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articles to the N.M.M. from myself. Morris coldly
informed me that he should never play the Beau
again. I was wrong not to give the play a spice
of the bawdy ; I understand that it is just now very
successful at the Haymarket,

" Yours ever truly,

" Douglas Jerrold."

It was during the stay in Thistle Grove that
one of those " home incidents " occurred which
Jerrold readily turned to literary purposes.
A pair of pea-fowls had been presented to
him and proved anything but agreeable pets.
Their story was tragic. The screaming of the
peacock and his wandering ways caused com-
plaints from the neighbours, and each time

1 B. W. Procter, still perhaps better known by his pen-
name as " Barry Cornwall."

2 Probably accompanying a manuscript signed with
the writer's nom de plume of Henry Brownrigg.



he was brought back his captor expected to
be rewarded. The experience was no doubt
heightened by fancy in The Peacock ; a House-
hold Incident, 1 which Jerrold wrote two or
three years later. When it was decided that
the troublesome birds should be got rid of a
friend who had greatly admired them begged
that he might have them as ornaments to his
grounds, and they were duly transferred to
him. A few weeks later a member of Douglas
Jerrold's household was calling at a poulterer's
shop near the friend's home, and mention was
made of the birds, when it was learned that
peacock and peahen had had but short shrift
in their new place, being handed over to the
poulterer in exchange for table poultry !

" Give a friend your hand as often as you
like," says Jerrold in one of his plays, " but
never, never let there be a pen in it." It would
have been well if he had acted up to his own
counsel, but possibly that counsel had been
born of experience, for towards the close of
1834 he had to pay the penalty for " backing
a bill " for a friend. However, he had done
the friendly act, the friend failed to meet his
engagement, and Jerrold was looked to for a
sum of money which it was quite out of his
power to pay. A retreat across the Channel
was made necessary, and to Paris the dramatist,
his wife and younger three -year-old daughter
and presumably the baby Thomas departed,

1 Reprinted in Tales by Douglas Jerrold now first
collected, 1891.


and there they spent the terribly severe winter
of 1834-5. If he had made himself responsible
for liabilities more than he could meet, the
brave man was by no means downcast, and
the months passed in the French capital were
fruitful of work of the most varied character.
It is not possible to say when Jerrold's
connection with the Examiner ceased, but the
following letters, addressed by him to John
Forster, appear to refer to work on that journal
— the only paper with which they were both
connected, so far as is known, before the
Daily News of a dozen years later. This
seems to have been the first occasion on which
Douglas Jerrold suffered from that rheumatism
of the eyes, by which he was more than once
severely tortured. As the letters are not
dated, it can only be assumed that they were
written about this time, for they are addressed
to Forster in Lincoln's Inn Fields, and he did
not go to reside there until 1834.

"Friday noon.

" My dear Forster, — If, without great risk, I
can get to the office to-morrow, I will ; if not I have
desired [ ] to send you the papers for the post-
script, and must trouble you for the same ; for I cannot
at all confront the light, and pen this with difficulty.
If I am not at the office by 10 — which if possible I
will be — you will have the papers from the office,

" Yours truly,

" D. Jerrold.

' I write this in a room all but entirely darkened.
I open letter to say that the doctor has just been with


me and pronounced another sentence of leeches
with supplementary blister and poultice. Order not
to quit room. Hence, I must trouble you to-morrow."

" Monday.

" My dear Forster, — It was only last night that
I was assured of the safety of my eye ; I trust I shall
now escape partial blindness, though at present I am
now in that condition. In every other respect I
am mending; and having now been twelve days on
tea and calomel, with incidental bleedings and
blisterings, am promoted to mutton broth. Before
I sent you the papers on Tuesday last, I literally
fainted away in my attempt to mark them for cutting
out. I was forbidden to make the slightest effort
with my eyesight, and — as I did not hear from you
last week — thought there would not have been much
difficulty in getting them done for the present. How-
ever, I have hit upon a way to meet the dilemma, and
if you will let me have to-day's papers by the boy
(they were served upon you this morning) I will get
somebody to read them to me and to make a selection.
The papers of to-morrow shall (I will take care) be
delivered upon me.

" Yours ever truly,

" D. Jerrold.

" I believe my dear and early friend Blanchard is
not employed after 3 o'clock every afternoon — but
' thafs not much.'* "

The third letter deals with Jerrold's final
break with the Examiner, apparently in conse-
quence of his position on the journal not being
properly defined.



My dear Forster, — I prepared copy this week,
not having heard from Mr. Fonblanque, to whom I
had promised a continuance until he should have
made another election; I, however, avail myself of
your offer, and on the close of the present week, lay
down my office.

" In Mr. Fonblanque's last letter to me he expresses
a hope of being able to make some arrangement with
me for contributions. Whether, however, this hope
still exists, I know not. At all events, I quit the
Ex. ; but my present office is susceptible of a mis-
representation in no way conducive to my interests
or agreeable to my feelings. This misrepresentation
— I hope not consciously — has been made, and by
Blanchard. It is, however, scarcely worth a thought.

" Ever yours,

" D. Jerrold.

" At the Club, in full conclave, on Saturday week,
my position on the Ex. was, I understand, defined,
that is misrepresented in no very flattering way to
me ; and that on the authority of a new contributor.
I have written to Mr. F."

It is possible that the misrepresentations,
whatever they may have been, were responsible
for the temporary coolness between Jerrold
and Laman Blanchard referred to in the letter
from the latter given in an earlier chapter.
Dateless correspondence is one of the greatest
difficulties, and one of the commonest, in the
path of the biographer.




Towards the close of 1834, as we have seen,
the delinquency of a friend in not meeting a
bill — which we may be sure he was quite
certain of meeting when he persuaded Jerrold
to back it — had made it advisable for the
dramatist to cross the Channel, and the early
part of 1835 found him, a young man of thirty-
two of acknowledged reputation as a dramatist,
working hard in Paris, that city whence so
many of his fellow playwrights sought all the
necessary " inspiration " for their pieces. The
few months' stay in the gay city must have
been spent in hard work, for the author soon
had several plays ready for the stage, and that
he had been writing short essays in fiction the
magazines of the period show.

In Paris in this early part of the year 1835
several young Englishmen were living who
were destined to play an important part in
the public eye. John Barnett, the popular
composer of The Mountain Sylph, 1 was in the
Rue d'Amboise, and in the same house with

1 Which had been successfully produced at the Lyceum
during the preceding autumn.



him dwelt young Henry Mayhew, to be honour-
ably known in later years as the pioneer into
a new world of investigation in his splendid
work on London Labour and the London Poor,
and in connection with the early history of
Punch. Another and yet more notable English
resident in Paris was William Makepeace
Thackeray, then a young man of three-and-
twenty, more or less busy over his art studies.
Visiting Barnett's rooms after dinner one
evening Jerrold first met Mayhew, his name
suggesting the firm of solicitors whose pressing
claims had something to do with the retire-
ment on Paris. Together the two left Barnett's
place, the younger man having volunteered to
accompany Jerrold back to his quarters in the
old Place Carrousel.

" Immediately we set foot in the street" (to repeat
Henry Mayhew's version of the incident) " Jerrold
said eagerly, ' You are connected with Mayhew, the
solicitor of Carey Street, are you not ? '

" ' I am,' I replied, more mystified than ever,
' his son.'

" ' I thought so ! ' exclaimed the author of Black-
Eyed Susan, with a heavy sigh, ' and you are come
over about those bills,' he quickly added.

" ' Those bills ! What bills ? I know nothing
about any bills,' was my rejoinder. ' You needn't
fancy that I have anything to do with the law.'

" ' Haven't you, by Jove ! ' cried the little man,
and he stopped suddenly, as if to shake a heavy
load of care from his back. ' Then give me your
hand, sir. I am glad to meet a gentleman,' said he,
with a significant emphasis on the word, ' who


doesn't require an Act of Parliament to make him
one,' for Jerrold could never resist the chance of
having a fling at the legal profession." x

Night after night, said Henry Mayhew, in
an article in a forgotten magazine, did dis-
cussions go on in the composer's rooms in
Paris with Jerrold, Mayhew and Barnett as
chief spokesmen, and Thackeray more as an
amused listener than as an active disputant.
To cite Henry Mayhew's recollections as further
given by his son :

" The evenings passed in John Barnett's rooms
at Paris among such splendid company as the future
authors of Vanity Fair and Mrs. Caudle's Lectures,
as well as the composer of the Mountain Sylph, were
things to be perpetually treasured in the brain — to
be treasured as tenaciously as the sea-shell stores up
the whisperings of the mighty ocean, and keeps on
for ever recalling the syren voices long after they
have ceased to murmur their music in the ear. . . .
Night after night did this celebrated triumviri
assemble in the Rue d'Amboise to talk, over their
coffee and ' caporal,' the wildest nonsense and the
finest sense it was ever my happy lot to listen to.
And night after night, let the discourse take at first
whatever turn it might, it was sure at last to get into
the same old metaphysical tangle — 'Which was the
greatest art : music, painting or the drama ? ' being
the nice little knot which the three young pundits
would invariably endeavour to unpick.

" Barnett, of course, was music's champion.

1 A Jorum of" Punch " with Those Who Helped to Brew
it, Being the Early History of " The London Charivari"
by Athol Mayhew, 1895.


Thackeray, on the other hand (for he was then
studying figure -drawing at Passy, in the vain belief,
strange to say, that he was more of an artist than
author), entered the lists in favour of painting ; while
Jerrold took up the cudgels for the drama, and be-
laboured away at the others in right good earnest —
his final knockdown blow generally being a reference
to Hamlet's celebrated soliliquy, ' To be or not to

" ' There, Master Thackeray ! ' the little man
would cry triumphantly, ' could you or your Michael
Angelo, or your Rubens, or Rembrandt, ever put
that upon canvas ? And you, Master Barnett !
could you, or any Beethoven or Mozart that ever
lived, set that to music ? '

" And with this slight poser the conversation
would lapse once more into that agreeable kind of
' chaff ' with which, the proverb tells us, young birds
rather than old ones are apt to be most taken."

These Paris gatherings were to be the pre-
cursors of many similar London ones — three
of the quartet were to be associated at the
Punch table a few years later — but though they
formed a pleasant opportunity for recreation
in his holiday exile, Jerrold was busy pre-
paring new plays, for 1835 was to prove one
of his busiest years in connection with the
theatre, and he was also engaged in writing
the first of a series of pregnant, suggestive
stories which were to appear in Blackwood's
Magazine, 1 and later in volume form with

1 In her biographical work on William Blackwood and
His Sons Mrs. Oliphant, referring to Douglas Jerrold's
contributions to Maga, says that he can scarcely have


illustrations by Thackeray. The great novelist
was still looking to his pencil rather than
to his pen to bring him fame, and it may
well be that it was when they met in Paris
that his illustrating Jerrold's stories was
first suggested. Silas Fleshpots, a Respectable
Man, which was written in Paris and de-
spatched thence to Blackwood's, was subse-
quently to be portrayed by Thackeray, and
it is not fanciful to believe that the proposal
that he should do so started in the Rue

The little matter of the bill was duly settled,
and the stay in the French capital was evidently
but a short one, for Jerrold was doubtless back
in London early in February, in the middle of
which month no fewer than four of his pieces
were produced, two at the Olympic, and one
each at Drury Lane and the Queen's Theatre.
The two former were unsuccessful, but the
others were both " hits," more especially the

felt himself at home in its pages, adding : " He contri-
buted a few of his farcical stories and was vigorously
denounced by [Samuel] Warren, who took the trouble to
write to the Black woods, solemnly asserting that his
sole motive was of the highest kind, to implore them to
put an end to contributions which were impairing the
tone of the magazine and disgusting its readers. I do
not suppose that this adjuration had any effect, but
Jerrold's contributions did not continue very long."
Possibly this was Warren's retort-underhand to Jerrold's
witticism at his expense ; for it is said to have been Warren
who, enlarging upon the fact that he had dined at a noble-
man's house, said that he could not understand why
there had been no fish on the table — ■" Perhaps they ate
it all upstairs," suggested Jerrold.


one which, played at the little Queen's Theatre
in Tottenham Court Road, had been rejected
by the " reader " for Covent Garden and
Drury Lane, as we see in the author's dedi-
catory epistle.

The first piece, Hearts and Diamonds, was
placed before the public at the Olympic on
February 13, and of it nothing now remains
but the briefest newspaper notices. Three
days later The Hazard of the Die, a tragic
drama in two acts, was brought out at Drury
Lane, and achieved a distinct success; on the
same evening The Schoolfellows, a two-act
comedy, made a brilliant debut at the " minor "
Queen's Theatre, and on the following night
The Man's an Ass was produced and instantly
condemned on account, it is reported, of some
" ticklish turn." The manuscript of this play
is in the Forster Collection at South Kensing-
ton Museum, briefly and pointedly endorsed,
" Played once and d d."

The Hazard of the Die, presented by a strong
cast including Messrs. Wallack and Benjamin
Webster and Mrs. Faucit, achieved a distinct
triumph, while the comedy at the Queen's
Theatre was by far the most notable of these
fruits of the winter's stay in Paris. It was,
indeed, probably only finished there, for, as
we saw, the author was at work on a new
comedy — " At 'em again" — the previous summer
shortly after the production of Beau Nash.
That new comedy was The Schoolfellows, one
of the most charming of all his dramatic


works, and the only one of these four plays
produced during February 1835 to find a place
in his collected writings.

It is a tender two-act comedy, telling the
story of a group of one-time schoolfellows, who
meet at Hampstead at the house of their
whilom master, Cedar, the kindly pedagogue
whose prejudice it had ever been " to prefer
one slip of olive to a whole grove of birch."
The schoolfellows comprise Horace, the son of
Sir Luke Meredith, who has made a runaway
match and brings his ten-day's bride to Cedar;
Jasper, the nameless boy who had been left
at the school by one Rushworth who had car-
ried off the schoolmaster's daughter ; Nicholas
Shilling, a purse-proud " man of property " ;
Jack Marigold, an apothecary in love with
Shilling's sister, and Tom Drops, whose weak-
ness for liquor has reduced him to the position
of factotum at the local inn. With Cedar is his
granddaughter Esther. Jasper, who had run
away from the school as a child, returns as a
man having made his fortune, and when he in-
sists on learning the secret of his parentage from
the old schoolmaster he is told that he is Esther's
half-brother, for it is only later when Rushworth
returns to make his peace that Cedar finds his
belief in the boy's origin wrong — that he is in
truth another son of Sir Luke Meredith.

Here is a pretty bit of talk in which the
runaway bridegroom tells of the elopement :

" Cedar. Silly boy and girl ! how could you marry ?
Horace. Why, sir, the match was made by the old


confederates — love and opportunity. Our hearts fell
victims to the cherry season.

Cedar. The cherry season ?

Horace. Sir, the proof. Many an evening had we
mingled oaths and sighs — Marion from her chamber
window — I from the garden. And thus, sir, guile-
less and loving, we should have gone on, ay, until the
day of wrinkles. 'Twas enough for us to see — to
hear each other.

Marion. Indeed, I had no other thought.

Horace. But, sir, in a disastrous hour, the gardener
left his ladder at a certain cherry tree. Well, sir, to
tell you how it happened passes my wit. Suffice
it — I found the ladder at Marion's window, and
Marion's hand, like a ripe peach, fast in mine. She
never looked so destroyingly lovely — her eyes were
never so bright

Marion. Horace !

Horace. Her lips never so red

Cedar. But then, 'twas the cherry season.

Horace. Still, to run away was not to be thought
of. I vow, sir, as I ascended the ladder, Plato went
with me every round.

Cedar. And having taken you to the top, it seems
he wouldn't spoil company, so left you there. Plato
was ever a good master of the ceremonies ; just
introducing people, and then politely making his
bow. Well, the lady came down.

Horace. My heart beating count — and each thump
louder than the last — at every step. Talk of Venus
rising from the sea ! Were I to paint a Venus she
should be escaping from a cottage window, with a
face now white, now red, as the roses nodding about
it; an eye, like her own star; lips, sweetening the
jasmine, as it clings to hold them; a face and form
in which harmonious thoughts seem as vital breath !


Nothing but should speak : her little hand should
tell a love-tale; nay, her very foot, planted on the
ladder, should utter eloquence, enough to stop a
hermit at his beads, and make him watchman whilst
the lady fled.

Cedar. Horace Meredith, if you propose to publish
a new mythology, I must say — schoolmaster as I am
— your Venus is a pretty sample of the work."

There is much neat wit in the play of dia-
logue. When the man of property says,
"Haven't I studied mankind?" "Aye,"
agrees the schoolmaster, " but I fear only
as thieves study a house — to take advantage
of the weakest parts of it." When Shilling
says to Marigold, " Do you question the effect
of my courage? " he gets the reply, " On the
contrary — I think no man makes so little go
so far." Shilling is like Falstaff, in that he is
often the cause that wit is in other men ; when he
snubs his old schoolmate Drops with, " You
have forgotten yourself in your drink," he is
countered with, " If the drink will do as much
for you, take to the bottle to-morrow."

In the end the tangle is cleared up, the irate
Sir Luke is placated, and a pleasant comedy
reaches its fitting close in the forgiveness of the
runaways, in the man of property bowing to
the inevitable in the love of his sister (though
he prudently declares that she shall not touch
her inheritance until twenty-one), and in the
promised union of Jasper and Esther.

In March the Schoolfellows was published
with the following interesting dedicatory epistle


to Thomas James Serle, which is worth quoting
here, as it only occurs in the early edition of
the play, and as it expresses pointedly some
of the author's views on the difficulties en-
countered by the conscientious playwrights
at a time when the drama was supposed to be
in a low state :

" My dear Serle, — Would the accompanying
little comedy were more worthy of your acceptance !
It was my wish to make it so ; but the evil crisis
upon which we have fallen, rendering the exercise
of our art, as an art, almost hopeless — the system
which has flung the Dramatic Muse under horse's
hoofs, turning every well-considered and elaborate
attempt at stage literature, to the confusion of its
projector, compelled me in the present instance to
forgo my first plan of five acts, and to adopt that of
two. In shortening my labour I, no doubt, lessened
my disappointment. This may, in some measure,
account for, if it do not wholly excuse, a want of
minute development of character, a hurry of incidents,
and a suddenness of catastrophe. The subject to be
duly illustrated required no less than five acts ; but
five acts in these days !

" In inscribing to you The Schoolfellows, you will
not, I am convinced, give the drama a less cordial
welcome because refused by the professionally
retained reader x — the one reader — appointed to the
two theatres, Drury Lane and Co vent Garden. 2 That

1 Frederick Reynolds, 1764-1841.

2 The following from a contemporary magazine is
interesting in this connection : " We would conclude our
theatrical remarks by offering a tribute of gratitude to
Mr. Jerrold, for endeavouring to arrest the decadence of
the drama, but find that, to act fairly by him, would be


gentleman was, doubtless, correct in his opinions,
that for the two patent stages the piece was alto-
gether ineffective. But tell me, in passing such
sentence, did not the one janitor to the twin temples
of fame somehow question their right to a privilege,
which the legislature makes almost wholly their
own ? However, such was the answer ; and though,
in our boyhood, we may have enjoyed a scene in
which Grimaldi fulfilled at the same moment the
office of porter to two mansions, yet, with the present
exclusive market, a negative from the one porter of
Drury Lane and Covent Garden, though the said
porter has himself been half-a-century a comic writer,
is, certainly, not one of his best jokes. Nay, there
are better, even in Laugh When You Can.' 1

" The Schoolfellows was not, we have it on authority,
calculated to attract sufficient money to either of the
two larger houses. I now conscientiously believe it.
Subsequent events have confirmed me in the melan-
choly conviction that a writer who — unassisted by a
troop of horse, an earthquake, a conflagration, or a

to devote an article exclusively to the subject, which just
now is impossible. Mr. Jerrold will believe us when we
state that The Hazard of the Die, if it has not proved a
lucky throw for Drury Lane, is owing to the caprice of the
manager who interrupted its success for reasons best
known to himself.

" It was given for eleven nights.

" The plot was excellent — -the soul-stirring interest was
most intense — and the performers generally, but Mr.
Wallack in particular, did the author that justice which
marked their full conception of his spirit. The School-
fellows at the Queen's and Hearts and Diamonds at the
Olympic (both by Mr. Jerrold) are mentioned, not merely
as being successfully performed, but because each in its
way deserves unmixed commendation. We do not
hesitate to affirm that The Schoolfellows at either of the
larger houses would have assisted the treasury."

1 One of Frederick Reynolds's own plays.


cataract — trusts merely to the conduct of his fable,
his words and his characters, must fail, at least in the
treasury sense, at either Drury Lane or Covent
Garden; this is one of the sternest truths that men
admit ; for it is a truth of the pocket. When the
prices at the patent houses are nearly double those

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