Copyright
William Makepeace Thackeray.

Complete works (Volume 22) online

. (page 1 of 31)
Online LibraryWilliam Makepeace ThackerayComplete works (Volume 22) → online text (page 1 of 31)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



GIFT



WORKS

OF

WILLIAM MAKEPEACE
THACKERAY



SKETCHES
AND TRAVELS

ETC.



EDITED BY

WALTER JERROLD

ILLUSTRATED BY

CHARLES E. BROCK.



LONDON

J. M. DENT & CO.

NEW YORK

FRED DEFAU & COMPANY



The Chiswick Edition limited to 1000
copies for United States and Canada

No.. J9l_



Library



Pot



CONTENTS

PAGE

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES ..... vii

SKETCHES AND TRAVELS IN LONDON

TRAVELS IN LONDON . ..... . . 3

THE CURATE'S WALK . . . iV> . . 8

A DINNER IN THE CITY . . . . . .19

A NIGHT'S PLEASURE . . . . . .34

A CLUB IN AN UPROAR ...... 62

A ROUNDABOUT RIDE ...... 67

CHILD'S PARTIES : AND A REMONSTRANCE CONCERNING THEM . 72

WAITING AT THE STATION . . .' . .83

GOING TO SEE A MAN HANGED JULY 1840 . . .90

MR. BROWN'S LETTERS TO His NEPHEW . . . . 1 1 1

ON TAILORING AND TOILETTES IN GENERAL . . .116

THE INFLUENCE OF LOVELY WOMAN UPON SOCIETY . . 122

SOME MORE WORDS ABOUT THE LADIES .... 128

ON FRIENDSHIP . . . . . . .134

MR. BROWN THE ELDER TAKES MR. BROWN THE YOUNGER TO A

CLUB ........ 144

A WORD ABOUT BALLS IN SEASON . . . .161

A WORD ABOUT DINNERS . % . . . .168

ON SOME OLD CUSTOMS OF THE DINNER-TABLE . . . 175

GREAT AND LITTLE DINNERS . . . . .181

ON LOVE, MARRIAGE, MEN, AND WOMEN . . .186

OUT OF TOWN ....... 201

THE PROSER : ESSAYS AND DISCOURSES BY DR. SOLOMON PACIFICO

I. ON A LADY IN AN OPERA-BOX . . .214

II. ON THE PLEASURES OF BEING A FOGY . .221

III. ON THE BENEFITS OF BEING A FOGY . . . 226

IV. ON A GOOD-LOOKING YOUNG LADY . . . 232

V. ON AN INTERESTING FRENCH EXILE . . . 237
VI. ON AN AMERICAN TRAVELLER .... 244

VII. ON THE PRESS AND THE PuBLIC . . . 250



iv CONTENTS

PAPERS BY THE FAT CONTRIBUTOR

CHAP. PAGB

I. WANDIRINGI or OUR FAT CONTRIBUTOR . .259

II. THE SEA ...... 265

III- .... . 273

IV. THE SHIP AT SEA DOLORM ! . . . .276

V. FROM MY LOG- BOOK AT SIA .... 281

PUNCH IN THI EAST

CHAP.

I. FROM OUR FAT CONTRIBUTOR .... 287

II. ON THE PROSPECTS or PUNCH IN THE EAST . . 292

III. ATHENS ...... 297

IV. PUNCH AT THE PYRAMIDS .... 301

V. PUNCH AT THE PYRAMIDS (CONCLUDED) . . 305

BRIGHTON ........ 308

A BRIGHTON NIGHT ENTERTAINMENT . . . .311

MEDITATIONS OVER BRIGHTON . . . . .315

BRIGHTON IN 1847
CHAP.

I. .... 319

". 32J

VARIOUS ESSAYS, LETTERS, SKETCHES, ETC.

MEMORIALS or GORMANDISING IN A LETTER TO OLIVER YORKE,

ESQUIRE, BY M. A. TITMARSH . . . 331

MEN AND COATS ....... 365

GREENWICH WHITEBAIT ...... 387

THE DIGNITY or LITERATURE . ... 397

MR. THACKERAY IN THE UNITED STATES .... 403



ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

W. M. THACKERAY, FROM THE STATUETTE BY J. E.
BOEHM, R.A. By kind permission of the
Athenaeum Club Committee {photogravure] Frontispiece

SKETCHES AND TRAVELS IN LONDON .... 3

'THE ISLAND OF RARITONGO is THE LEAST FREQUENTED

OF ALL THE CARIBBEAN ARCHIPELAGO* facing IO

' HANG IT, SIR, THEY KNOW A GENTLEMAN WHEN

THEY SEE ONE '...... 60

A GENERAL LAZY AND INDOLENT HABIT . . . 121
BADE HIM BEAR WITNESS TO MY INNOCENCE facing 138

WOULD OCCUPY THE BEST PART OF A LITTLE BACK

DRAWING-ROOM . . . . facing 164

SELF-IMPORTANCE AND GOOD-HUMOUR . . . 171
AN UNCOMMONLY GOOD FIGURE ON HORSEBACK . 203
THE LITTLE SECRETS THAT GUSH so EASILY facing 224
PAPERS BY THE FAT CONTRIBUTOR . . . .259

The remaining Pictures in the text are from the original
Illustrations by the Author



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

SKETCHES AND TRAVELS IN LONDON

THE various items now included under this title, with
one exception, appeared originally in Punch between
November 20, 1847, ant ^ August 3, 1850. The
exception is the essay Going to See a Man Hanged^ which
appeared in Fraser for August 1840, and was first
reprinted in the second volume of Miscellanies (1856).
The first five papers of the Travels in London, Mr.
Brown's Letters to a Young Man about Town, and the
first five papers of The Proser were also first reprinted
in the second volume of Miscellanies; the other papers
were only added to the collected works in 1886.

Canon Irvine, in describing Thackeray's delivery of
his lecture on Charity and Humour at Charterhouse
in the summer of 1853, added : c He afterwards read to
us that charming paper, The Curate s Walk, and ended
by saying, with a characteristic gesture, " They call
the man who wrote that a cynic ! "

PAPERS BY THE FAT CONTRIBUTOR

In August 1844 Thackeray set out on his tour in the
East, the chief literary fruit of which was his Notes of a
"Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo. On August 3
he contributed to Punchy Wanderings of Our Fat Con-

vii



viii SKETCHES AND TRAVELS IN LONDON

tributar, on August 10, and subsequently until
December 14, they appeared as Travelling Notes by Our
Fat Contributory and Punch in the East appeared in the
issues of the same journal from January 1 1 to February
8, 1845. It may be mentioned that an article with the
same title, Punch in the East, which appeared in the
journal for August 19, 1848, was by Douglas Jerrold.
The first three of the Brighton papers appeared, also
in Punch, on October u, 18, 25, 1845, and Brighton
in 1847 on October 23, 30, 1847.

VARIOUS ESSAYS, LETTERS, ETC.

Memorials of Gormandising appeared originally in
Eraser's Magazine for June 1841, and Men and Coats
in the same magazine for the following August ; both
were first reprinted in a volume of Early and Late
Papers in 1867, and were added to the collected
works in 1885.

* Greenwich Whitebait^ by Mr. Wagstaff' appeared
originally in Colburn's New Monthly Magazine for July
1844, and was added to the collected works in 1885.

The letter on The Dignity of Literature appeared in
the Morning Chronicle for January 12, 1850, and was
first added to the collected works in 1885.

Mr Thackeray in the United States appeared in Eraser's
Magazine for January 1853, when Thackeray was still
in America on his first tour ; it was his last contribution
after a hiatus of six years to Eraser's. Mr. Eyre
Crowe in his pleasant book, With Thackeray in America,
records the occasion of this letter as follows : * With
evident heartiness and an air of literary confraternity,
Thackeray was welcomed and relished, as he had been



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES ix

by the select and cultured audiences of his own country.
A few cantankerous members of the press were adverse,
'tis true, but they may be pardoned as they were the
originating cause of the amusing lucubration sent by
Thackeray to Eraser's Magazine (appearing in January
1853), which was a renewal of his old bantering reviews
in that publication. Without telling anyone in the
States that he had written it, without having his name
affixed to it, when it came to the United States, ten days
after, it was at once recognised as his, and was received
with good-humoured laughter by some, but by others
as an unpleasant scarification of the minor penny-a-
lining fraternity.'

W. J.



SKETCHES AND TRAVELS
IN LONDON




TRAVELS IN LONDON

HE had appointed me in Saint James's Park, under the
Duke of York's Column, on Guy Fawkes' day ; and I
found the venerable man at the hour and at the place
assigned looking exceedingly sweet upon the gambols of
some children : who were accompanied, by the way,
by a very comely young woman as a nursery -maid.
He left the little ones with a glance of kindness, and,
hooking his little arm into mine, my excellent and
revered friend Mr. Punch and I paced the Mall for a
while together.

I had matters of deep importance (in my mind, at
least) to communicate to my revered patron and bene-
factor. The fact is, I have travelled as Mr. Punch's
Commissioner in various countries ; and having, like all
persons of inquiring mind, from Ulysses downwards, a
perpetual desire for locomotion, I went to propose to our
beloved chief a new tour. I set before him eloquently
the advantages of a trip to China : or, now that the
fighting was over, a journey to Mexico I thought might
be agreeable or why not travel in the United States, I



4 SKETCHES AND TRAVELS IN LONDON

asked, where Punch's Commissioner would be sure of a
welcome, and where the natives have such a taste for
humorous description ?

' My dear Spec,' said the sage, in reply to a long
speech of mine, * you are, judging from your appearance,
five-and-twenty years old, and consequently arrived at
the estate of man. You have written for my publication
a number of articles, which, good, bad, and indifferent
as they are, make me suppose that you have some
knowledge of the world. Have you lived so long in this
our country as not to know that Britons do not care a
fig for foreign affairs ? Who takes any heed of the
Spanish marriages now ? of the Mexican wars ? of the
row in Switzerland ? Do you know whether a Vorort
is a gentleman, or a legislative body, or a village in the
Canton of Uri ? Do you know a man who reads the
Spanish and Portuguese correspondence in the news-
papers ? Sir, I grow sick at the sight of the name of
Bomfin, and shudder at the idea of Costa Cabral ! ' and
he yawned so portentously as he spoke, that I saw all my
hopes of a tour were over. Recovered from that spasm,
the Good and Wise One continued 'You are fond of
dabbling in the fine arts, Mr. Spec now pray, sir,
tell me, which department of the Exhibition is most
popular ? '

I unhesitatingly admitted that it was the portraits
the British public most liked to witness. Even when I
exhibited my great picture of Heliogabalus, I owned
that nobody

* Exactly that nobody looked at it ; whereas every
one examines the portraits with interest, and you hear
people exclaim, " Law, Ma ! if it ain't a portrait of Mrs.
Jones, in a white satin and a tiara ; " or, " Mercy me ;
here's Alderman Blogg in a thunderstorm," &c. &c.
The British public like to see representations of what
they have seen before. Do you mark me, Spec ? In
print as in art, sir, they like to recognise Alderman



TRAVELS IN LONDON 5

Blogg.' He paused, for we had by this time mounted
the Duke of York's Steps, and, panting a little, pointed
to the noble vista before us with his cane. We could
see the street thronged with life; the little children
gathered round the column ; the omnibuses whirling
past the Drummond light ; the carriages and flunkeys
gathered round Howell and James's; the image of
Britannia presiding over the County Fire Office in the
Quadrant, and indeed over the scene in general.

' You want to travel ? ' said he, whisking his bamboo.
* Go and travel there, sir. Begin your journey this
moment. I give you my commission. Travel in
London, and bring me an account of your tour.
Describe me yonder beggar's impudence, sir ; or
yonder footman's calves; or my Lord Bishop's cob and
apron (my Lord Bishop, how do you do ?). Describe
anything anybody. Consider your journey is begun
from this moment; and, left foot forward March!'
So speaking, my benefactor gave me a playful push in
the back, in the direction of Waterloo Place, and turned
into the Athenaeum, in company with my Lord Bishop
of Bullocksmithy, whose cob had just pulled up at the
door, and I walked away alone into the immensity of
London, which my Great Master had bidden me to
explore.

I staggered before the vastness of that prospect. Not
naturally a modest man, yet I asked myself mentally,
how am I to grapple with a subject so tremendous ?
Every man and woman I met was invested with an
awful character, and to be examined as a riddle to be
read henceforth. The street-sweeper at the crossing
gave me a leer and a wink and a patronising request for
a little trifle, which made me turn away from him and
push rapidly forward. * How do I know, my boy,'
thought I inwardly, * but that in the course of my travels
I may be called upon to examine you to follow you
home to your lodgings and back into your early years



6 SKETCHES AND TRAVELS IN LONDON

to turn your existence inside out, and explain the
mystery of your life ? How am I to get the clue to
that secret ? ' He luckily spun away towards Waterloo
Place with a rapid flourish of his broom, to accost the
Honourable Member for Muffborough, just arrived in
town, and who gave the sweeper a gratuity of twopence ;
and I passed over the crossing to the United Service
Club side. Admiral Boarder and Colonel Charger were
seated in the second window from the corner, reading
the paper the Admiral, bald-headed and jolly-faced,
reading with his spectacles the Colonel, in a rich,
curly, dark purple wig, holding the Standard as far off
as possible from his eyes, and making believe to read
without glasses. Other persons were waiting at the
gate. Mrs. General Cutandthrust's little carriage was
at the door, waiting for the General, while the young
ladies were on the back seat of the carriage, entertained
by Major Slasher, who had his hand on the button. I
ran away as if guilty. 'Slasher, Boarder, Charger,
Cutandthrust, the young ladies, and their mother with
the chestnut front there is not one of you,' thought I,
4 but may come under my hands professionally, and I must
show up all your histories at the stern mandate of Mr.
Punch:

I rushed up that long and dreary passage which skirts
the back of the Opera, and where the mysterious barbers
and boot-shops are. The Frenchman who was walking
up and down there, the very dummies in the hairdressers'
windows seemed to look at me with a new and dreadful
significance a fast-looking little fellow in check
trousers and glossy boots, who was sucking the end of
his stick and his cigar alternately, while bestriding a
cigar chest in Mr. Alvarez's shop Mr. A. himself, that
stately and courteous merchant who offers you an
Havanna as if you were a Grandee of the first class
everybody, I say, struck me with fright. * Not one of
these,' says I, * but next week you may be called upon to



TRAVELS IN LONDON 7

copy him down ; ' and I did not even look at the fast
young man on the chest, further than to observe that a
small carrot sprouted from his chin, and that he wore a
shirt painted in scarlet arabesques.

I passed down Saint Albans Place, where the noble
H. P. officers have lodgings, without ever peeping
into any one of their parlours, and the Haymarket,
brilliant with gin-shops, brawling with cabmen, and
thronged with lobsters. At the end towards the
Quadrant, the poor dirty foreigners were sauntering
about greasily ; the hansoms were rattling ; the
omnibuses cutting in and out ; my Lord Tomnoddy's
cab with the enormous white horse, was locked in with
Doctor Bullfrog's purple brougham, and a cartful of
window-frames and shop-fronts. Part of the pavement
of course was up, and pitch-caldrons reeking in the
midst ; omnibus cads bawling out c Now then,
stoopid ! ' over all. c Am I to describe all these,' I
thought ; * to unravel this writhing perplexity ; to set
sail into this boundless ocean of life ? What does my
Master mean by setting me so cruel a task ; and how
the deuce am I to travel in London ? ' I felt dazzled,
amazed, and confounded, like stout Cortes, when with
eagle's eyes he stared at the Pacific in a wild surprise,
silent upon a peak in What-d'ye-call-'em. And I
wandered on and on.

4 Well met,' said a man, accosting me. ' What is the
matter, Spec ? Is your banker broke ?'

I looked down. It was little Frank Whitestock, the
Curate of Saint Timothy's, treading gingerly over the
mud.

I explained to Frank my mission, and its tremendous
nature, my modest fears as to my competency, my per-
plexity where to begin.

The little fellow's eyes twinkled roguishly. ' Mr.
Punch is right,' said he. ' If you want to travel, my
poor Spec, you should not be trusted very far beyond



8 SKETCHES AND TRAVELS IN LONDON

Islington. It is certain that you can describe a tea-
kettle better than a pyramid/

' Tea-kettle, tea-kettle yourself,' says I. * How to
begin is the question.'

4 Begin ? ' says he, ' begin this instant. Come in here
with me ;' and he pulled at one of four bells at an old-
fashioned door by which we were standing.

SPEC.



IT was the third out of the four bell-buttons at the door
at which my friend the Curate pulled ; and the summons
was answered after a brief interval.

I must premise that the house before which we
stopped was No. 14 Sedan Buildings, leading out of
Great Guelph Street, Dettingen Street, Culloden Street,
Minden Square ; and Upper and Lower Caroline Row
form part of the same quarter a very queer and solemn
quarter to walk in, I think, and one which always
suggests Fielding's novels to me. I can fancy Captain
Booth strutting out of the very door at which we were
standing, in tarnished lace, with his hat cocked over his
eye, and his hand on his hanger ; or Lady Bellaston's
chair and bearers coming swinging down Great Guelph
Street, which we have just quitted to enter Sedan
Buildings.

Sedan Buildings is a little flagged square, ending
abruptly with the huge walls of Bluck's Brewery. The
houses, by many degrees smaller than the large decayed
tenements in Great Guelph Street, are still not un-
comfortable, although shabby. There are brass-plates



THE CURATE'S WALK 9

on the doors, two on some of them : or simple names, as
* Lunt,' * Padgemore,' &c. (as if no other statement
about Lunt and Padgemore were necessary at all) under
the bells. There are pictures of mangles before two of
the houses, and a gilt arm with a hammer sticking out
from one. I never saw a Goldbeater. What sort of a
being is he that he always sticks out his ensign in dark,
mouldy, lonely, dreary, but somewhat respectable places ?
What powerful Mulciberian fellows they must be, those
Goldbeaters, whacking and thumping with huge mallets
at the precious metals all day. I wonder what is Gold-
beaters' skin? and do they get impregnated with the
metal ? and are their great arms under their clean shirts
on Sundays, all gilt and shining ?

It is a quiet, kind, respectable place somehow, in spite
of its shabbiness. Two pewter pints and a jolly little
half-pint are hanging on the railing in perfect confidence,
basking in what little sun comes into the court. A
group of small children are making an ornament of
oyster-shells in one corner. Who has that half-pint ?
Is it for one of those small ones, or for some delicate
female recommended to take beer ? The windows in
the court, upon some of which the sun glistens, are not
cracked, and pretty clean ; it is only the black and
dreary look behind which gives them a poverty-stricken
appearance. No curtains or blinds. A bird-cage and
very few pots of flowers here and there. This with
the exception of a milkman talking to a whitey-brown
woman, made up of bits of flannel and strips of faded
chintz and calico seemingly, and holding a long bundle
which cried this was all I saw in Sedan Buildings while
we were waiting until the door should open.

At last the door was opened, and by a porteress so
small, that I wonder how she ever could have lifted up
the latch. She bobbed a curtsey, and smiled at the
Curate, whose face gleamed with benevolence too, in
reply to that salutation.



io SKETCHES AND TRAVELS IN LONDON

'Mother not at home?' says Frank Whitestoclc,
patting the child on the head.

* Mother's out charing, sir,' replied the girl ; * but
please to walk up, sir.' And she led the way up one and
two pair of stairs to that apartment in the house which
is called the second-floor front ; in which was the abode
of the charwoman.

There were two young persons in the room, of the
respective ages of eight and five, I should think. She of
five years of age was hemming a duster, being perched
on a chair at the table in the middle of the room. The
elder, of eight, politely wiped a chair with a cloth for
the accommodation of the good-natured Curate, and
came and stood between his knees, immediately along-
side of his umbrella, which also reposed there, and which
she by no means equalled in height.

4 These children attend my school at St. Timothy's,'
Mr. Whitestock said, 'and Betsy keeps the house while
her mother is from home.'

Anything cleaner or neater than this house it is
impossible to conceive. There was a big bed, which
must have been the resting-place of the whole of this
little family. There were three or four religious prints
on the walls ; besides two framed and glazed, of Prince
Coburg and the Princess Charlotte. There were brass
candlesticks, and a lamb on the chimney-piece, and a
cupboard in the corner, decorated with near half-a-dozen
plates, yellow bowls, and crockery. And on the table
there were two or three bits of dry bread, and a jug with
water, with which these three young people (it being
then nearly three o'clock) were about to take their meal
called tea.

That little Betsy who looks so small is nearly ten
years old : and has been a mother ever since the age of
about five. I mean to say, that her own mother having
to go out upon her charing operations, Betsy assumes
command of the room during her parent's absence : has




_

*?Ae ifJ^nef of /?aYbn^o w /Ae

/roowen/ei/ aC ill the C*r//6&en /lneA!



THE CURATE'S WALK u

nursed her sisters from babyhood up to the present time :
keeps order over them, and the house clean as you see
it ; and goes out occasionally and transacts the family
purchases of bread, moist sugar, and mother's tea.
They dine upon bread, tea and breakfast upon bread
when they have it, or go to bed without a morsel.

Their holiday is Sunday, which they spend at Church
and Sunday-school. The younger children scarcely
ever go out, save on that day, but sit sometimes in the
sun, which comes in pretty pleasantly ; sometimes blue
in the cold, for they very seldom see a fire except to
heat irons by, when mother has a job of linen to get up.
Father was a journeyman bookbinder, who died four
years ago, and is buried among thousands and thousands
of the nameless dead who lie crowding the black church-
yard of St. Timothy's parish.

The Curate evidently took especial pride in Victoria,
the youngest of these three children of the charwoman,
and caused Betsy to fetch a book which lay at the
window, and bade her read. It was a Missionary
Register which the Curate opened haphazard, and this
baby began to read out in an exceedingly clear and
resolute voice about

'The island of Raritongo is the least frequented of
all the Caribbean Archipelago. Wankyfungo is at four
leagues S.E. by E., and the peak of the crater of
Shuagnahua is distinctly visible. The "Irascible"
entered Raritongo Bay on the evening of Thursday
agth, and the next day the Rev. Mr. Flethers, Mrs.
Flethers, and their nine children, and Shangpooky, the
native converted at Cacabawgo, landed and took up
their residence at the house of Ratatatua, the Principal
Chief, who entertained us with yams and a pig/ &c.
&c. &c.

c Raritongo, Wankyfungo, Archipelago.' I protest
this little woman read off each of these long words with
an ease which perfectly astonished me. Many a lieu-



12 SKETCHES AND TRAVELS IN LONDON

tenant in Her Majesty's Heavies would be puzzled with
words half the length. Whitestock, by way of reward
for her scholarship, gave her another pat on the head ;
having received which present with a curtsey, she went
and put the book back into the window, and clambering
back into the chair, resumed the hemming of the blue
duster.

I suppose it was the smallness of these people, as well
as their singular, neat, and tidy behaviour, which
interested me so. Here were three creatures not so high
as the table, with all the labours, duties, and cares of life
upon their little shoulders, working and doing their
duty like the biggest of my readers ; regular, laborious,
cheerful content with small pittances, practising a
hundred virtues of thrift and order.

Elizabeth, at ten years of age, might walk out of this
house and take the command of a small establishment.
She can wash, get up linen, cook, make purchases, and
buy bargains. If I were ten years old and three feet in
height, I would marry her, and we would go and live in
a cupboard, and share the little half-pint pot for dinner.
'Melia, eight years of age, though inferior in accom-
plishments to her sister, is her equal in size, and can
wash, scrub, hem, go errands, put her hand to the dinner,
and make herself generally useful. In a word, she is fit
to be a little housemaid, and to make everything but the
beds, which she cannot as yet reach up to. As for
Victoria's qualifications, they have been mentioned
before. I wonder whether the Princess Alice can
read off 'Raritongo,' &c., as glibly as this surprising
little animal.

I asked the Curate's permission to make these young



Online LibraryWilliam Makepeace ThackerayComplete works (Volume 22) → online text (page 1 of 31)