Occasionally a word of admonition, but gently
expressed, as an Oxford under-gi'aduate might have
expressed it, or master of arts. How the authors
whose publications were consigned to my col-
leagues were treated by them I know not; I
suppose they were treated in an urbane and Oxford-
like manner, but I cannot say; I did not read the
reviewals of my colleagues, I did not read my own
after they were printed. I did not hke reviewing.
Of all my occupations at this period I am free to
confess I Uked that of compiling the '' Newgate
Lives and Trials" the best; that is, after I had
surmounted a kind of prejudice which I originally
entertained. The trials were entertaining enough ;
but the lives — how full were they of wild and racy
adventures, and in w^hat racy, genuine language
76 A PLAIN STORY. [Ch. VIII.
were they told. What struck me most with respect
to these lives was the art which the wi'iters, w^ho-
ever they were, possessed of telling a plain story.
It is no easy thing to tell a story plainly and dis-
tinctly by mouth ; hut to tell one on paper is dif-
ficult indeed, so many snares lie in the way.
People are afraid to put down what is common on
paper, they seek to embellish their narratives, as they
think, by pliilosophic speculations and reflections ;
they are anxious to shine, and people who are
anxious to shine can never tell a plain story. " So
I went with them to a music booth, where they
made me almost drunk with gin, and began to talk
their flash lang-uage, which I did not understand,"
says, or is made to say, Hem*y Simms, executed at
Tvburn some seventy years before the time of
which I am speaking. I have always looked upon
this sentence as a master-piece of the narrative
style, it is so concise and yet so very clear. As I
gazed on passages Hke tliis, and there were many
nearly as good in the Newgate lives, I often sighed
that it was not my fortune to have to render these
lives into German rather than the publisher's philo-
sophy — his tale of an apple and pear.
CL YIIL] ILL-REGULATED MIND. 77
Mine was an ill-regulated mind at this period.
As I read over the lives of these robbers and pick-
pockets, strange doubts began to arise in my mind
about virtue and crime. Years before, when quite
a boy, as in one of the early chapters I have hinted,
I had been a necessitarian ; I had even written an
essay on crime (I have it now before me, penned in
a round boyish hand), in which I attempted to
prove that there is no such tiling as crime or
virtue, all oiu' actions being the result of circum-
stances or necessity. These doubts were now again
reviving in my mind ; I could not, for the life of
me, imagine how, taking all cux-umstances into
consideration, these highwaymen, these pickpockets,
should have been anything else than highwa^TQen
and pickpockets; any more than how, taking all
circumstances into consideration. Bishop Latimer
(the reader is aware that I had read " Fox's Book
of Martp's") should have been anything else than
Bishop Latimer. I had a very ill-regulated mind
at that period.
My own peculiar ideas with respect to evei*y-
thing being a lying dream began also to revive.
Sometimes at midnight, after having toiled for
78 UNSNUFFED CANDLE. [Ch. VIII.
hours at my occupations, I would fling myself back
on my chair, look about the poor apartment, dimly
lighted by an unsnuffed candle, or upon the heaps
of books and papers before me, and exclaim, — " Do
I exist? Do these things, which I think I see
about me, exist, or do they not? Is not every
thing a dream — a deceitful dream ? Is not tliis
apartment a dream — the furniture a dream? The
publisher a dream — his philosophy a dream ? Am
I not myself a dream — dreaming about translating
a dream ? I can t see why all should not be a
dream; what's the use of the reality?" And then
I would pinch myself, and snuff the burdened
smoky light. " I can't see, for the life of me, the
use of all this ; therefore why should I think that it
exists ? If there was a chance, a probability of all
this tending to any tiling, I might believe; but ..."
and then I would stare and think, and after some
time shake my head and return again to my occu-
pations for an hour or two ; and then I would per-
haps shake, and shiver, and yawn, and look wist-
fully in the direction of my sleeping apartment; and
then, but not wistfully, at the papers and books
before me; and sometimes I would return to my
Ch. YIIL] STRANGE DREAMS. 79
papers and books; but oftener I would arise, and,
after another yawn and shiver, take my hght, and
proceed to my sleeping chamber.
They say that hght fare begets light dreams; my
fare at that time was hght enough; but I had any-
tliing but light dreams, for at that period I had all
kind of strange and extravagant dreams, and
amongst other things I dreamt that the whole
world had taken to dog-fighting; and that I,
myself, had taken to dog-fighting, and that in a
vast circus I backed an English bulldog against
the bloodhound of the Pope of Eome.
MY BROTHER, — FITS OF CRYING. — MAYOR ELECT. — THE COirillTTEE.
— THE NORMAN ARCH. — A WORD OF GREEK. CHURCH AND STATE.
— AT MY OWN EXPENSE. IF YOU PLEASE.
One morning I arose somewhat later than usual,
having been occupied during the greater part of the
night with my literary toil. On descending from
my chamber into the sitting room I found a person
seated by the fire, whose glance was directed side-
ways to the table, on which were the usual pre-
parations for my morning's meal. Forthwith I
gave a cry, and sprang forward to embrace the
person ; for the person by the fire, whose glance was
directed to the table, was no one else than my
" And how are things going on at home?" said I
to my brother, after we had kissed and embraced.
" How is my mother, and how is the dog ?"
'' My mother, thank God, is tolerably well," said
my brother, " but veiy much given to fits of cr}dng.
Ch. IX.] FITS OF CRYING. 81
As for the clog, he is not so well; but we will talk
more of these matters anon," said my brother, again
glancing at the breakfast things : "I am very
hungry, as you may suppose, after having travelled
Thereupon T exerted myself to the best of my
ability to perform the duties of hospitality, and I
made my brother welcome — I may say more than
welcome; and, when the rage of my brother's
hunger was somewhat abated, we recommenced
talking about the matters of our little family, and
my brother told me much about my mother; he
spoke of her fits of crying, but said that of late the
said fits of crying had much diminished, and she
appeared to be taldng comfort; and, if I am not
much mistaken, my brother told me that my mother
had of late the prayer book frequently in her hand,
and yet oftener the Bible.
We were silent for a time — at last I opened my
mouth and mentioned the dog.
" The dog," said my brother, " is, I am afraid, in
a very poor way; ever since the death he has done
nothing but pine and take on. A few mojiths ago,
you remember, he was as plump and fine as any
82 MAYOR ELECT. [Ch. IX.
dog in the town ; but at present he is little more
than skin and hone. Once we lost him for tw^o
days, and never expected to see him again, ima-
gining that some mischance had befallen him ; at
length I found him — where do you think ?
Chancing to pass by the churchyard, I found him
seated on the grave ! "
" Very strange," said I ; '' but let us talk of
something else. It w^as very kind of you to come
and see me."
" Oh, as for that matter, I did not come up to see
you, though of course I am very glad to see you,
having been rather anxious about you, like my
mother, who has received only one letter from you
since your departure. No, I did not come up on
pui-pose to see you; but on a quite different
account. You must know that the corporation of
our town have lately elected a new mayor, a person
of many quahfications — big and portly, with a voice
like Boanerges; a religious man, the possessor of
an immense pew; loyal, so much so that I once
heard him say that he w^ould at any time go three
miles to hear any one sing ' God save the King ;'
moreover, a giver of excellent dinners. Such is
Ch. IX.] THE COMMITTEE. 83
our present mayor; who, owing to Lis loyalty, liis
religion, and a Little, perhaps, to his dinners, is a
mighty favourite; so much so that the town is
anxious to have his portrait painted in a superior
style, so that remote posterity may know what kind
of man he was, the colour of his hair, his air and
gait. So a committee was formed some time ago,
which is still sitting; that is, they dine with the
mayor every day to talk over the subject. A few
days since, to my great surprise, they made their
appearance in my poor studio, and desired to be
favoured with a sight of some of my paintings;
well, I showed them some, and, after looking at
them with great attention, they went aside and
whispered. 'He'll do,' I heard one say; 'Yes,
he'll do,' said another; and then they came to me,
and one of them, a little man vfith a hump on his
hack, who is a watchmaker, assumed the office of
spokesman, and made a long speech — (the old
town has been always celebrated for orators) — in
which he told me how much they had been pleased
with my productions — (the old town has been
always celebrated for its artistic taste) — and, what
do you think? offered me the painting of the
84 THE NORMAN ARCH. [Ch. IX.
mayor's portrait, and a himdred pounds for my
trouble. Well, of course I was mucli surprised,
and for a minute or two could scarcely speak;
recovering myself, however, I made a speech, not so
eloquent as that of the watchmaker of course, being
not, so accustomed to speaking; but not so bad
either, taking everything into consideration, telling
them how flattered I felt by the honour which they
had conferred in proposing to me such an under-
taking; ex23ressing, however, my fears that I was
not competent to the task, and concluding by
saying what a pity it was that Crome was dead.
' Crome,' said the little man, 'Crome; yes, he was
a clever man, a ven^ clever man in his way; he
was good at painting landscapes and farm-houses,
but he would not do in the present instance
were he ahve. He had no conception of the
heroic, sir. We want some person capable of
representing our mayor striding under the Norman
arch out of the cathedral.' At the mention of the
heroic an idea came at once into my head. ' Oh,'
said I, ' if you are in quest of the heroic, I am glad
that you came to me; don't mistake me,' I con-
tinued, ' I do not mean to say that I could do
Ch. IX.] A WORD OF GREEK, 86
justice to your subject, though I am fond of the
heroic; hut I can introduce you to a great master
of the heroic, fully competent to do justice to your
mayor. Not to me, therefore, he the painting of
the picture given, hut to a friend of mine, the
great master of the heroic, to the best, the strongest,
ToJ K^ariarcp,' I added, for, being amongst orators,
I thought a word of Greek would tell."
" Well," said I, '' and what did the orators say?"
" They gazed dubiously at me and at one an-
other," said my brother; " at last the watchmaker
asked me who this Mr. Christo was ; adding, that he
had never heard of such a person ; that, from my re-
commendation of him, he had no doubt that he was a
very clever man; but that they should like to know
something more about him before giving the com-
mission to him. That he had heard of Christie
the great auctioneer, who was considered to be an
excellent judge of pictures; but he supposed that I
scarcely .... Whereupon, inteiTupting the watch-
maker, I told him that I alluded neither to Christo
nor to Christie; but to the painter of Lazarus
rising from the grave, a painter under whom I had
myself studied during some months that I had
86 CHURCH AND STATE. [Ch. IX.
spent in London, and to whom I was indebted for
much connected with the heroic."
" I have heard of him," said the watchmaker,
'' and his paintings too; hut I am afraid that he is
not exactly the gentleman by whom our mayor
would wish to be painted. I have heard say that
he is not a very good friend to Church and State.
Come young man," he added, '^ it appears to me
that you are too modest; I like your style of
painting, so do we all, and — why should I mince the
matter? — the money is to be collected in the town,
why should it go into a stranger's pocket, and be
spent in Loudon?"
"' Thereupon I made them a speech, in which I
said that art had nothing to do with Church and
State, at least with English Church and State,
which had never encouraged it; and that, though
Church and State were doubtless very fine things,
a man might be a very good artist who cared not a
straw for either. I then made use of some more
Greek words, and told them how painting was one
of the Nine Muses, and one of the most independent
creatures ahve, inspiring whom she pleased, and ask-
ing leave of nobody; that I should be quite unworthy
Ch. IX.] AT MY OWN EXPENSE. 87
of the favours of the Muse if, on the present occasion,
I did not recommend them a man whom I considered
to be a much greater master of the heroic than
myself; and that, with regard to the money being
spent in the city, I had no doubt that they would
not weigh for a moment such a consideration
against the chance of getting a true heroic picture
for the city. I never talked so well in my life, and
said so many flattering things to the hunchback
and his friends, that at last they said that I should
have my own way; and that if I pleased to go up
to London, and bring down the painter of Lazarus
to paint the mayor, I might; so they then bade me
farewell, and I have come up to London."
" To put a hundred pounds into the hands
'' A better man than myself," said my brother,
" of course."
" And have you come up at your own expense?"
" Yes," said my brother, " I have come up at my
I made no answer, but looked in my brother's
face. We then returned to the former subjects of
88 IF YOU PLEASE. [Ch. IX.
conversation, talking of the dead, my mother, and
After some time, my brother said, "I will now
go to the painter, and communicate to him the
business which has brought me to town; and, if
you please, I will take you with me and introduce
you to him." Having expressed my willingness,
we descended into the street.
PAINTER OF THE HEROIC— I 'lL GO ! — A MODEST PEEP. WHO IS
THIS 1 — A CAPITAL PHARAOH. — DISPROPORTIONABLY SHORT. —
IMAGINARY PICTURE. — ENGLISH FIGURES.
The painter of the heroic resided a great way off,
at the western end of the town. We had some dif-
ficuhy in obtaining admission to him; a maid-
servant, who opened the door, eyeing us somewhat
suspiciously : it was not until my brother had said
that he was a friend of the painter that we were
permitted to pass the threshold. At length we
were shown into the studio, where we found the
painter, with an easel and brush, standing before a
huge piece of canvas, on which he had lately
commenced painting a heroic picture. The painter
might be about thirty-five years old; he had a
clever, intelligent countenance, with a sharp grey
eye — his hair was dark brown, and cut a-la-Rafael,
as I was subsequently told, that is, there was Httle
90 I 'll go ! [Ch. X.
before and much behind — he did not wear a neck-
cloth; but, in its stead, a black riband, so that his
neck, which was rather fine, was somewhat exposed
— he had a broad muscular breast, and I make no
doubt that he would have been a very fine figure,
but unfortunately his legs and thighs were some-
what short. He recognised my brother, and ap-
peared glad to see him.
" What brings you to London?" said he.
Whereupon my brother gave him a brief account
of liis commission. At the mention of the hundred
pounds, I obser\^ed the eyes of the painter ghsten.
" Keally/' said he, when my brother had concluded,
'' it was very kind to think of me. I am not very
fond of painting portraits; but a mayor is a mayor,
and there is something grand in that idea of the
Norman arch. I'll go; moreover, I am just at this
moment confoundedly in need of money, and when
you knocked at the door, I don't mind telling you,
I thought it was some dun. I don't know how it
is, but in the capital they have no taste for the
heroic, they will scarce look at a heroic picture; I
. am glad to hear that they have better taste in the
provinces. I'll go; when shall we set off?"
Ch. X.] A MODEST PEEP. 91
Thereupon it was arranged between the painter
and my brother that they should depart the next day
but one; they then began to talk of art. "I'll
stick to the heroic," said the painter; " I now and
then dabble in the comic, but what I do gives me
no pleasure, the comic is so low; there is nothing
like the heroic. I am engaged here on a heroic
picture," said he, pointing to the canvas; "the
subject is 'Pharaoh dismissing Moses from Egypt,'
after the last plague — the death of the first-born; — it
is not far advanced — that finished figure is Moses:"
they both looked at the canvas, and I, standing
behind, took a modest peep. The picture, as the
painter said, was not far advanced, the Pharaoh
was merely in outline; my eye was, of course,
attracted by the finished figure, or rather what the
painter had called the finished figure; but, as I
gazed upon it, it appeared to me that there was
something defective — something unsatisfactory in
the figure. I concluded, however, that the painter,
notwithstanding what he had said, had omitted
to give it the finishing touch. " T intend this to
be my best picture," said the painter; "what I
92 WHO IS THIS ? [Ch. X.
want now is a face for Pharaoh; I have long been
meditating on a face for Pharaoh." Here, chancing
to cast his eye upon my countenance, of whom he
had scarcely taken any manner of notice, he
remained with his mouth open for some time.
" Who is this?" said he at last. ^' Oh, this is my
brother, I forgot to introduce liim "
We presently afterwards departed; my brother
talked much about the painter. '*He is a noble
fellow," said my brother; "but, like many other
noble fellows, has a great many enemies; he is
hated by his brethren of the brush — all the land
and waterscape painters hate liim — but, above all,
the race of portrait painters, who are ten times
more numerous than the other two sorts, detest him
for his heroic tendencies. It will be a kind of
triumph to the last, I fear, when they hear he has
condescended to paint a portrait; however, that
Norman arch will enable him to escape from their
mahce — that is a capital idea of the watchmaker,
that Norman arch."
I spent a happy day with my brother. On the
morrow he went again to the painter, with whom he
Ch. X.] A CAPITAL PHARAOH. 93
dined; I did not go with liim. On liis return he
said, '^ The painter has been asking a great many
questions about you, and expressed a wish that you
would sit to him as Pharaoh; he thinks you would
make a capital Pharaoh." '' I have no wish to
appear on canvas," said I; '^moreover he can find
much better Pharaohs than myself; and, if he
wants a real Pharaoh, there is a certain Mr. Petul-
engro." '' Petulengro?" said my brother; ^' a
strange kind of fellow came up to me some time
ago in our town, and asked me about you; when I
inquired his name, he told me Petulengro. No, he
will not do, he is too short; by the by, do you
not think that figure of Moses is somewhat short?"
And then it appeared to me that I had thought the
figure of Moses somewhat short, and I told my
brother so. " Ah ! " said my brother.
On the morrow my brother departed with the
painter for the old town, and there the painter
painted the mayor. I did not see the picture for a
gi'eat many years, when, chancing to be at the old
town, I beheld it.
The original mayor was a mighty, portly man,
94 DISPROPORTIONABLY SHORT. [Ch. X.
with a bull's Lead, black hair, body like that of a
dray horse, and legs and thighs corresponding; a
man six foot high at the least. To his bull's head,
black hair, and body the painter had done justice;
there was one point, however, in which the portrait
did not correspond with the original — the legs were
disproportionably short, the painter having substi-
tuted liis own legs for those of the mayor, which
when I perceived I rejoiced that I had not con-
sented to be painted as Pharaoh, for, if I had, the
chances are that he would have served me in
exactly a similar way as he had served Moses and
Short legs in a heroic picture will never do; and,
upon the whole, I think the painter's attempt at the
heroic in painting the mayor of the old town a
decided failure. If I am now asked whether the
picture would have been a heroic one provided the
painter had not substituted his own legs for those
of the mayor — I must say, I am afraid not. I
have no idea of making heroic pictures out of
English mayors, even with the assistance of Nor-
man arches; yet I am sure that capital pictures
Ch. X.] IMAGINARY PICTURE. 95
might be made out of English mayors, not issuing
from Norman arches, hut rather from the door of
the "Checquers" or the ''Brewers Three." The
painter in question had great comic power, which
he scarcely ever cultivated; he would fain he a
Rafael, w^hich he never could he, when he might
have been something quite as good — another Ho-
garth; the only comic piece which he ever pre-
sented to the world being something little inferior
to the best of that illustrious master. I have often
thought what a capital picture might have been made
by my brother's friend, if, instead of making the
mayor issue out of the Xorman arch, he had painted
liim moving under the sign of the '' Checquers," or
the " Three Brewers," with mace — yes, with mace, —
the mace appears in the picture issuing out of the
Norman arch behind the mayor, — but likewise with
Snap, and with wliiffler, quart pot, and frying pan,
Billy BHnd, and Owlenglass, Mr. Petulengro,
and Pakomovna; — then, had he clapped his own
legs upon the mayor, or any one else in the con-
course, what matter? But I repeat that I have no
hope of making heroic pictures out of English
96 ENGLISH FIGURES. [Ch. X.
mayors, or, indeed, out of English figures in general.
England may be a land of heroic hearts, but it is
not, properly, a land of heroic figures, or heroic
posture-making. — Italy what was I going
to say about Italy ?
NO AUTHORITY WHATEVER. INTERFERENCE. — WONDROUS FARRAGO. —
BRANDT AND STRTJENSEE, — WHAT A LIFE ! — ^THE HEARSE. — MORTAL
RELICS. — GREAT POET. — FASHION AND FAME. — WHAT A DIFFERENCE.
OH, BEAUTIFUL. — GOOD FOR NOTHING.
And now once more to my pursuits, to my Lives
and Trials. However partial at first I might be to
these hves and trials, it was not long before they
became regular trials to me, owing to the whims and
caprices of the pubUsher. I had not been long
connected with him before I discovered that he was
wonderfully fond of interfering with other people's
business — at least with the business of those who
were under liis control. What a life did Ms un-
fortunate authors lead ! He had many in his employ
toiling at all kinds of subjects — I call them authors
because there is something respectable in the term
author, though they had little authorship in, and no
authority whatever over, the works on which they
were engaged. It is true the pubHsher interfered
VOL. II. F
98 INTERFERENCE. [Ch. XI.
with some colour of reason, the plan of all and
OYery of the works alluded to having originated with
himself; and, he it observed, many of his plans were
highly clever and promising, for, as I have abeady
had occasion to say, the publisher in many points
was a highly clever and sagacious person; hut he
ought to have been contented with planning the works
originally, and have left to other people the task of
executing them, instead of which he marred every-
thing by his ;*age for interference. If a book of fairy
tales was being compiled, he was sure to introduce
some of his philosophy, explaining the faii*y tale by
some theory of his own. Was a book of anecdotes
on hand, it was sure to be half filled with sayings
and doings of himself during the time that he was
common councilman of the City of London. Now,
however fond the pubhc might be of fauy tales, it
by no means rehshed them in conjunction with the
pubhsher's philosophy ; and however fond of anec-