George Cruikshank.

George Cruikshank's Table-book online

. (page 7 of 32)
Online LibraryGeorge CruikshankGeorge Cruikshank's Table-book → online text (page 7 of 32)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Now she avows that she loves him, loves him,
Darting a smile through the clouds again.

But soon hawking at higher game

Shadow for substance passing away
Now the queen of his heart is Fame
Life in its vigour and prime, and $Esj> t
She has flowers to grace him, grace him
And sharp lessons to brace him, brace him,
Like shrewd winds on a sunny day.

Now he thrills with a fierce delight ;
Prancing past in his pomp appears
Captain 0U1t0 t with his streamers bright
Flashing, thundering, flanked with fears ;

War is the cry, and he arms him, arms him
Proud is the pageant, and charms him, charms him,
But flashes are followed by floods of tears.



- .-* _.,-_c x


Calmly and brightly shines the sun

Ripens his heart, with the golden grain
Sweet 0Ulj) he has wooed and won
Doubled his pleasure, halved his pain :

Her sunny smile ever lights him, lights him
Though, as her faith she plights him, plights him,
She shed some drops of a gentle rain.

But when the scythe and the sickle come,
Comes a new comfort with a new care :
Fruitful EugttSt has blest his home

Crowned are his hopes with an infant heir :
But sick heats follow, to teaze him, teaze him
Fever and languor may seize him, seize him,
Filling the father's heart with fear.

Fortune now is his idol grown

Houses, and lands, and worldly ware
Life's 3temter has come and gone,
Fickle as April seldom so fair ;

Riches and rank may be near him, near him
Sport and good claret may cheer him, cheer him,
But where are the joys of his youth ah where ?

Soon enters Sorrow to play its part
Nature doffs her gauds at the call ;
Sad Ctflto has breathed on his heart,
Searing over the green spots all :

Ties are breaking that bound him, bound him
Friends are falling around him, round him,
Just as the leaves in the Autumn fall.

Now, he sits, and snores in his chaii

Feet to the fire well wrapped in gown :
Doctor jEflbetttto is always there,

Feeling his pulse so dingy and brown :

Night and morning he drugs him, drugs him
And nearer and nearer he tugs him, tugs him,
To December who waits with a frown.

Clattering hoofs on the hard ground ring :
What pale Rider dismounts at the door ?
'Tis HBmmfcet, the grisly king
'Tis King Death ! he will wait no more !
Yet he smiles as he meets him, meets him
Solemn but smiling he greets him, greets him
Rest to thy weary head, old Forty-four !






Fig. 2.

MY DEAR SIR, I beg to submit, through you, to the notice of that learned Society
of which you are the distinguished ornament and president, a brief account of some highly
interesting, and, I think, important experiments upon the theory of the refrangibility

and refractibility of light. I was sitting over the fire in the
front parlour of my house in Paradise Row, and gazing
listlessly out of the window, when my attention was sud-
denly roused by observing a very extraordinary figure leaning
against a post. The accompanying sketch (fig. 1), is as
near as possible the appearance it presented. I immediately
resolved to fathom this astounding mystery, and having
commenced by noting down accurately the hour and minute
of the day, I took the angle which my nose made with the
perspective line of the street before me, which would give
me the angle of sight (for I have repeatedly and accurately
fixed the shape of my nose and its angle in the course of
previous experiments of a similar nature). I next placed
myself far back in my chair, and scarcely had I completed these preparations, when the
figure before me suddenly, and as if by the agency of voltaic action,
assumed a totally different aspect. It was now thus (fig. 2) :
Noting down this change, I continued my observations, slightly
inclining my head to the right, when the figure happening to

walk a few steps forward, suddenly
became distorted in the form which
I have next sketched (fig. 3).
Astonished by these appearances I
was about to resume my pipe, and
scarcely had I raised it from the
table where I had laid it, when the
form began to alter. I intently
watched the phases of this change,
and passed the yet smoking pipe
several times before me, so as to
throw the vapour in my line of
sight. While I was thus employed
the figure suddenly took a fourth
and more astonishing form than

any it had yet assumed, for it now appeared as in fig. 4. I have no means of ascer-
taining the cause of these phenomena, and would be very thankful if any member of
your Society would favour me by a solution of them. Hoping to hear from you soon
on this subject, I have the honour to be,

My dear Sir, yours most obediently,


Fig 3.


P.S. A friend of mine has just called in, and looking at the results of my observa-
tions, considers that the appearances may have something to do with the glass of the
window. You will at once perceive the chimerical character of such an idea.

Fig. 4.




I AM passionately fond of skating. I can cut likenesses, dance the Polka, play at
football, hockey, or rounders, on the ice better than on terra firma, and I once challenged
all England to pick up sixpences with me on any frozen river in the universe. Such
is my love for skating, that even if I were to lose both my legs, I think I should have
a pair of skates fastened on to my wooden substitutes, and .go on skating upon crutches
all the same. I ought to have been born in Holland, where the pavements, I am told,
are made of ice, and the Fraus who come to market bring in their eggs and butter on
the " sliding scale." It is my confident belief that Sir John Ross never discovered the
passage of the North Pole, because he did not know how to skate. If a new world be
ever discovered, I predict that it will be by a member of the Skating Club, and I am
sure that the next Columbus will go down to posterity with a pair of skates in his hand.

Well, with all my love for this manly pastime, I had not skated for years. For
several winters past, if anything like a good frost came, I was sure to be at the sea-side
(I hate the sea because it never freezes). The weather, too, lately had been obstinately
mild : or at most indulging in a series of small frosts overnight, followed in the morning
by rapid thaws. At last, there came to my relief, in 1838, a good serious Russian
frost. I was at that time in Lincolnshire The papers were full of glowing accounts of
skating matches on the Serpentine, of quadrille parties, and thrilling accidents every
day in the Regent's Park. I stood the temptation for a long frosty week, but the
thermometer having fallen one morning ten degrees, I packed up my best pair of patent
skates in my carpet-bag, and started in the mail for London. I took a lodging in the
neighbourhood of Hyde Park, and the following morning at day-break (I could not sleep
a wink all night) I was the first on the ice. Oh, how I skated ! I went round and round
shrieking wildly pirouetted, and cut an infinity of eights and sixes for very joy !
must have written my initials all over the ice.

I never skated better in my life. The day was intensely cold. No great-coat
fettered the action of my legs, and, as I went through the most intricate evolutions,
executing them with a grace Taglioni would have envied, I felt that the eyes of the
Serpentine were upon me, and that every one was wondering who I could be. My self-
love warmed at these flattering notices, and I considered myself, in common gratitude,


bound to prove my capability of doing in skates still higher things. At that moment Sir
William N., acknowledged to be the best skater in the world, had arrived on the ice, and
was entertaining a select circle with some new figures. Conscious that he was, com-
paratively with myself, in the first steps only of the art, I flew into the circle, and,
regardless of his indignant glances, I began a vake a deux temps, humming the last new
melody of Strauss, and scrupulously keeping time to the music.

I became animated with the danse, and quickened the measure. My legs
were positively flying, not skating. Sir William, either with cold or rage, was
quite blue in the face. His defeat was as complete as my triumph was certain.
The applause from murmurs grew to "bravos." I smiled my thanks, and was pre-
paring to cut an entrechat, never yet attempted by a mortal in skates, when I
suddenly became paralyzed. My right leg, half raised in the air, fell powerless to
the ground ; I was transfixed to the spot, with my eyes riveted on one hideous
object, which was fastening its malignant spell upon me. I tried to shake off the
feeling, but all in vain. Its influence was too much for me. I madly plunged through
the gaping crowd, and with one spring cleared the circle. In another moment I was out
of sight.

The fact is, the public applause had not blinded me to the recognition of a very
familiar friend, whose acquaintance I had made three years before I left London, when
he was in the habit of calling upon me every morning, and always waiting for me at the
corner of the street. His visits at last had become so troublesome that I had been com-
pelled, in self-defence, to leave London. I turned round in terror to see what had
become of him, and lo, there he was, coming at full speed after me. He had the same
top-boots, the same knob-stick in his hand, the same bird's-eye handkerchief ; he was in
fact the same creature in every respect. A small piece of paper or parchment was
waving in his hand, which, as he saw me look round, he extended towards me. I only
redoubled my speed, but my friend in the top-boots was evidently a good skater. He
kept gaining on me every minute. I took him through the bridge, running through one
arch and darting back suddenly through another, but all in vain ; let me turn where I
would, he was sure to be close after me. I began to feel tired, but I still kept on con-
vulsively, rushing madly in every direction, plunging frantically into the thickest groups.
My strength, however, was fast failing me, (our chase had lasted for more than an hour,)
and yet my persecutor looked as fresh as ever. I felt nothing but a bold stroke could
save me. I therefore struck out for the least frequented part of the ice, where a board,
inscribed with the word "Dangerous," scared the boldest skaters away. As I drew
nearer to the treacherous spot, I went slower, to allow my vindictive pursuer to approach
closer to me. He hastened instantly forward, and I still rushed on. The people were
shouting from the bank, " Come back, you fools," the Humane Society's men were
running with their hooks like madmen after us.

I summoned fresh courage, and struck out boldly to the very edge of the precipice.
The ice was cracking beneath me. I felt it giving way ; but at that moment my pur-
suer's fingers tapped my right shoulder, and my legs instinctively became indued with
a supernatural agility. In a flash of lightning I had cleared the dangerous hole, and
was already lost in the crowd, which was rushing in hundreds, at the shouts of, "A
man in!" towards the spot I had just left. I guessed, with a cold shudder, who
it was, and paused to breathe more freely. I turned round : it was the poor fellow
who had been so hotly pursuing me ! I lingered long enough near the spot to ascertain
that he was got out, and then hastily repaired to the nearest hotel, which I did not


leave till the glad information was brought to me that my unfortunate pursuer was
drinking brandy-and- water, "warm within," at the receiving-house of the Society. I

left town the following day, and have never seen my friend since ; hut (I do not say it
boastingly) I can now venture on the ice without the fear of being driven by a skating
bailiff to risk the Scylla of the Serpentine to avoid the Charybdis of the sponging-house.
As no tale is complete now-a-days without a moral, I subjoin mine :


on the ice, unless you are sure you can keep your heads above water.


To the Editor of George Cruikshank's " Table-Book"

MY DEAR SIR, I inclose you a copy of a literary curiosity which I lately picked
out from among the papers of my lamented and learned friend, Dr. Fishup. It is an
old MS., but no date being affixed, its era cannot be ascertained.

Dr. Fishup "picked it up" at the Monastery of St. Gotopoto, in the Pyrenees,
where, as detained by heavy rain, he was amusing himself in the library, with looking
over the collection of the Fathers, between the leaves of an old missal he found this
curious production ; he immediately transferred it to his pocket-book, and, on the first
favourable occasion, carefully examined his new-found treasure, but could make nothing
of it ; nor can I find from any of his memoranda, that he ever discovered more than
that it was an epigram.

The notes are in his hand-writing.

It appears to me to have been the production of a very poor poet, for he has made
use of many abbreviations, as if to save ink. He appears also to have had a knowledge


of Greek, from the quotation in the last line but one ; biit not understanding that
language myself, and very little Latin, I can give no critical opinion upon it.


A dixe id tome, varse ave eu bene,

V. I. ' tome sed ea Cros * in 0. E. R. 3
Summisse it Brochitum Bel de in

Andeno V.M. 4 *c 5 Losa re stivse lea Fro 6 re
lo ! Peisa ? leno tecum tarme,

I M. 8 vericolae de an dua ar 9 me thylaci te,
Buteo l dicus urse lis baud bee ' ! varae me

Fore ave ona 1S Rufrae Zeae jacit
Hoi IS ver Nouvse " /Sports " '<

Euller 15 ne Tosca 16 te dici natrice !

As I have found no translation of this epigram among the papers of my late friend,
I feel warranted, from my knowledge of his habits, in saying, that he never " did" one.
He may have considered it to be too insignificant to be honoured by a written version,
as being too plain for any one to need it ; though from his notes it would appear most
probable that in the unsuspecting simplicity of his mind he searched too deep for the
meaning, which, to one whom the dust of wisdom's volumes had not blinded, had been
made to shine forth clearly. This is my plea against being thought presumptuous, in
endeavouring to do that which a very learned man and a profound antiquary seems not
to have been able to do or, at least, has not done ; and, therefore, I crave your indul-
gence in adding the following free translation :


" Ah, Dick ! " said Tom, " where have you been ? "

" Why, Tom," said he, " in crossing o'er
Some ice, it broke, I tumbled in,

And now my clothes are stiffly frore
I hope I shall not come to harm ;

I 'm very cold, and warmth I lack it."
" But, Dick ; you surely should be warm,

For you have got on a, frieze jacket.
However, now you 've broke the ice,
You '11 learn to skate, Dick, in a trice."

In conclusion I must remark, that in translating, I have substituted for any maxim,
proverb, or saying in the original, which would not be generally understood in the

(1.) V. I. abbrev. pro vir Justus, sive illustris. (10.) Buteo (non est marchio, sed) a Syr. Buz

(2.) Cros civitas Egypti. dirigere (anglicum Buzzard).

(3.) O. E. R. abbrev. pro ob earn rem. (11.) Bee tussis ovis est.

(4.) V. M. abbrev. pro VIRGINIS MARIA. (12.) Ona abbrev, pro omnia.

(5.) ec, pro ex (13.) Hoi sive of Gr.

(6.) Fro nominus est Dei Saxonium. (14.) A Pp6yx 5 fip^xQ 05 kat. g u l a -

(7.) Peisa lacus Noricus. (15.) Mathematicus quaere?

(8.) I. M. abbreviat pro-am. (16.) Tosca i. e. Toscana in Italia.

(9.) Ar pro ac sive ad.


present day, the one most similar in sense, current in our vernacular idiom thus
dressing the meaning of the ancient poet in modern phraseology.

Believe me, ever truly yours,



IT'S all very fine to talk about creative fancy, as if this same fancy had a per-
petually productive power of its own, and called beings out of nothing whenever it
pleased. I stoutly maintain that fancy, generally, requires a fillip from without before
it is set a-going. The merest touch in the world may suffice, but there must be a
jog of some sort or other. When we fire a Catherine-wheel, we often find it necessary
to propel the wheel a little, even at the risk of burning our fingers and are repaid by
seeing it scintillate and blaze, and by hearing it whiz and crackle. Our fancy is much
like a Catherine-wheel in this predicament a dull, motionless thing, if left to itself ; a
sparkling brilliant energy, if it receives the necessary impulse. We inventive folks are
not half so independent as people suppose. My ancestress, the Countess, for instance,
was forced to get an Arabian tale almost by heart, before she could pen down her
" Chery and Fair Star."

And now do I, being in want of a subject for a tale, and being moreover decidedly
hard up for an inspiration, turn to my own fire, which is blazing through the grate, and
humbly crave its Assistance that, while it diffuses a genial glow over the earthy frame
in which my fancy is cased, it may cause that fancy to whirl, and energise, until it shall
produce all sorts of pleasantries. I have heard of an old woman who saw the whole
battle of Waterloo fought among her coals. This gives me hopes. I will look to my
fire, and watch the forms which these shining substances assume.

Lo, the centre is bright and clear, so very clear that the burning coals are of a
yellow, and not what we call a fiery colour. Little sparks flit about, and the multitude
of shining protuberances looks like a multitude of tiny, glittering heads. And what a
contrast is presented by the huge, black mass of coal to my left, from which protrudes
a rude, fantastic imitation of a human face, with nose of formidable dimensions ! I
have my subject.

Once upon a time there was a land so bright and glittering, that the soil seemed to be
made of pure gold, and it was called the " Golden Region." The people were always
clad in brilliant garments, and passed a happy sort of existence, since they always
seemed to be flitting about and shining in each other's eyes. They were governed by
a king that shining thing in the centre of the clear part, is as much like a king as
the thing in a lobster's head is like a lady who sat on a golden throne, and was
glorious in the eyes of his subjects. Indeed the whole population of this island,
sovereign and subjects, seemed to have but one purpose shining themselves, and
admiring the brilliancy of their neighbours.

Well and what then ? Let me see Ah, there's a little black speck in the midst
of the clear, that will do ! One day a man attired in black costume unusual in that
happy country stepped into the midst of the multitude who were assembled to dance
and sparkle, and spake to them thus : " Vain and giddy people, to spend your time
thus in gauds and revelry, as if the evil day would never approach ! Know, oh ye silly

VOL. i. NO. m.


ones, that among the black rocks which encompass this sparkling country, there
dwelleth the fierce giant Aldiboronti, who will speedily drop down among you, and reduce
you all to mince meat. ' ' Thus do I ingeniously work into my narrative the dark human
form. Ye gods, this is the most delightful amusement ! This middle state between
borrowing and creating is the most exciting, and, paradoxical as it may seem, the most
soothing that can be imagined. The purpose of my light coals and my dark coals is
now determined, and I wait for more suggestions.

Whiz ! How has the stream of gas from that dark eminence opposite the giant
caught fire ! How vividly does it shine ! The inhabitants of the golden region have
lit signal fires upon their mountains they call on their neighbours to assist them
against the coming evil. And what a red glare is spread over the multitude ! Truly
their blood is up they feel their danger, but they do not quail hurrah for that golden
race ! The story becomes interesting.

Yes ; I hope they may prosper, and that the ugly giant will be shaken into shape-
lessness. But I fear that the issue will not be so fortunate. Those light pieces of
black that the vulgar call " strangers," are quivering on the bars. Those are the
ravens, the birds of ill-omen, that flutter over the Golden Region, and denote some dire
calamity. Oh, ye brave and brilliant race, will ye fall victims after all ?

Bang ! My fingers tingle, what is this ? Oh, I see ! A piece of cinder has shot
into my hand. It is what the prophets of cinders call a "purse." And a purse let it
be. Aye, the king of the Golden Region has opened his treasury to me that I may assist
him. My sympathies were with him already ; now my sympathies and my interest go
together. I will be an auxiliary, a sort of British legion, and no longer a mere spectator.

I grasp the poker I plant the point of it below the foot of the awful giant. One
sturdy move crash ! Aldiboronti is destroyed ! Rejoice ye bright people, for I have
annihilated your foe. Alas ! they cannot rejoice ! My unlucky stir has been too
potent. Not only is the giant crushed, but the Golden Region is buried in a black mass.
Not a vestige of the former scene is left.

The golden people were short-sighted when they summoned me to their assistance.
They had better have trusted to the forbearance of the giant, who, as I am now forced
to confess, was a very quiet sort of giant, in spite of all that the adviser of the people
said to the contrary.


Erring mortals often desire that, which, when granted, proves their greatest calamity.

There ends my tale, which I contend is a very decent sort of tale, considering the
scantiness of the material. And if any of my readers think it a poor affair, let them
try themselves, and see if they can get anything better out of a scuttle of Walls'-end.

B. D'A.


FIVE hundred grand pianos have been sent out to China, by an enterprising specu-
lator, who, it is to be hoped, has sent out five hundred pianists to play upon them. It is
quite out of the question for the Chinese themselves, with nails some inches long, to
attempt to make any use of the musical instruments that have been sent out, unless five
hundred pairs of nail-scissors are despatched after them.



These pianos may be destined to sound the note of civilisation in China, for if that
extraordinary nation should be induced to cut its nails, the people may soon have at
their fingers' ends many arts and sciences which they are precluded at present from
the possibility of putting their hands to. But if they play on the pianos, it is probable
they will soon be desirous of dancing to the music, and the foot must then be allowed
to unfold its powers.

At the news of five hundred pianos having gone out to China, the music-sellers will
naturally turn their attention to the exportation of songs ; but these must be written
expressly to suit the sentiments of the Chinese, who cannot be supposed to sympathise
with our " Marble Halls," our " Lights of other Days," and our requests to have our
" Arab Steeds " given back to us. An invitation from a lady to a gentleman to
" Meet him in the Willow Glen," might not be comprehended in the Celestial Empire;
though perhaps an invitation from a Chinese lover to his mistress to meet him in the
Willow pattern, might attain extensive popularity in the musical salons of Pekin.

With the view of facilitating as far as possible the introduction of vocal music
adapted to the pianos already sent out, we furnish a few specimens of songs, which a
Chinese bard may adapt from the English, for the benefit of his musical fellow-
countrymen :


I give thee all, I can no more,

Except a pound of tea ;
My heart and gong are all the store

That I have got for thee.


A gong, whose thundering twang reveals

More noise than any bell ;
And better still, a heart that feels

Much more than gong can tell.


A saucer of gunpowder fill, fill for me,

Give those who prefer it Pekoe :
No matter the tea, so a bumper it be,

Though I henceforth drink nothing but sloe.

For oh ! when the man is exceedingly dry,

Online LibraryGeorge CruikshankGeorge Cruikshank's Table-book → online text (page 7 of 32)