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One of the early clubs of which Jerrold was
a member was The Rationals — a society, chiefly
theatrical, that met every Saturday at the
Garrick's Head in Bow Street. An occasion
there when his fellow members goaded Jerrold
into a fury has been described in lively fashion
by the dramatist's son-in-law :

' On one of these Saturday nights, I remember
Douglas making his appearance at the Wrekin
somewhat earlier, and rather more excited, than
usually. There was no necessity to ask the reason :
some one had evidently been having a good stir at
the little genius's fire, and his steam was up — to a
hundred horse-power at least. So he was too full of
what had occurred not to be communicative.

" Now one of the first principles of these same
' Rationals,' as they called themselves, was that
fines were to be levied for every offence against
the club rules, which had been framed certainly
upon the most irrational basis. Thus, there were
fines for treating the chairman with anything like
respect — fines for making a pun — fines for repeating
a joke which was a known ' Old Joe ' — and fines for
telling an anecdote of an earlier date than B.C., or of
more than five minutes' duration. Then there were
fines for having the ' hiccups ' before supper — fines
for murdering the Queen's English, and particularly
for &r-asperating the h's — fines for calling your
brother Rational an ass — and fines for swearing, or
indulging in an oath even of the mildest description.
Further, fines were imposed on any member stating,
when he rose to make a speech, that he was un-
accustomed to public speaking — fines for starting a

discussion on the immortality of the soul before two
vol. i. x


o'clock in the morning — and fines for vowing that
you loved your sainted mother, or prided yourself
on being a good husband and a father, at any hour
of the evening.

" These fines served to form a fund for the repeated
replenishment of the punch-bowl in the course of the
entertainment. Consequently every member kept a
sharp watch upon the others, and each persisted
during dinner in either exciting his brother opposite
or next to him to some infraction of the rules, or else
in making out that the said brother had transgressed
them even if he had not ; so that, in the heat of the
discussion which might ensue, some one might call
upon the ' holy poker ' or take his ' sacred davy ' as
to the truth of something or other ; or appeal to the
worthy chairman for an impartial decision ; or else
affirm, with withering sarcasm, that it was no wonder
the ' creature ' on his right didn't mind about the
pence, and only took care of the pounds, since it
behoved all stray animals of his class to keep a
sharp lookout for the pounds certainly — each of
which matters being a finable offence, it generally
followed that money enough came to be collected
in the pool for just a bowl or two as a commence-
ment to the festivities, by the time the cloth was

" Well, it so happened that, on the night above
referred to, the chairman, who, if I recollect rightly,
was no less a person that Fitzball (the celebrated slow-
music and blue -fire dramatist of the minor theatres),
begged of some one near him, who would keep on
shouting ' Waiter ! ' at the top of his voice, to have
pity on his ears, saying : ' Please bear in mind, old
boy, I've got a head on my shoulders," whereupon
Jerrold cried out across the table —

" ' For my part, Fitz, I think you've only got a


blind boil on your shoulders, which will never come
to a head.'

' Fine him,' chuckled the rollicking Paul Bedford,
who was the ' vice ' of the evening ; ' fine Jerrold for
saying 'ed.'

' I'll take my oath I didn't ! ' exclaimed the
sensitive little man, stung to the quick at the bare
idea that any one could think it possible for him to
be guilty of so vulgar an error in his pronunciation.

' Fine him again ! ' roared Tom Grieve, from the
bottom of the table, ' for having recourse to an oath.'

' Dear me ! what long ears some creatures have,'
sneered Douglas, getting rapidly out of temper.

' Fine him, too, for the base insinuation,' once
more interposed the roguish Paul.

' Fine him ! Fine him ! Fine him ! ' was echoed
from every part of the table, for all were only too
glad to catch the redoubtable little satirist on the hop.

' I'll trouble you for eighteenpence, Mr. Jerrold ! '
said the secretary, blandly walking up to the dramatist
with the plate.

' I'll see you d — d before I pay a halfpenny,'
fumed the author of Black-Eyed Susan, now boiling
over with passion.

' That makes half-a-crown, sir,' added the imper-
turbable club official, without moving a muscle. ' We

charge a shilling a d , sir ; though, I believe you

know, we make a liberal allowance on your taking
a quantity.'

" This was too much for little Douglas. Fairly
beside himself with rage, he knocked the plate from
the secretary's hand, and sent all the money which
had been previously placed in it by offending members
flying into the air.

' Such an incident, of course, threw the convivial
meeting into the wildest disorder. Paul Bedford was


up in an instant : he flew with Tom Grieve to the
side of the hot-blooded author, and each held him
by an arm to prevent him doing any further damage.

" Now both of these worthies were alike sons of
Anak, in their build and stature : men of comparatively
herculean frames, and each standing some six feet
at least in his shoes.

" Jerrold, on the other hand, was a mere mite of
a man — hardly taller, stouter or stronger than a
girl of sixteen ; and yet he was quickened with a
spirit which gave him, when roused, the pluck and
fury of a stag at bay.

' So little David struggled and struggled with the
Goliath on either side of him; and having at length
burst away from their hold, he threw himself into an
attitude of resolute defence, while he growled out
between his clenched teeth —

" ' By God, sirs ! if you lay a hand upon me again,
I'll throw the pair of you out of the window.'

" ' Ay ! and I believe I should have done it too,'
added the little fellow on recounting the adventure
to me, utterly unconscious as he was of the gross
absurdity of his fancying that it was possible for a
dwarf like him to fling two giants like them through
the casement." *

Another story to which no date is attached
may be given here. There was at one time a
clever, drunken, dissipated individual con-
nected with the press, who from his habits,
and being at any time ready to prostitute his
talent for gain, had obtained the unenviable
name of " Dirty Cummings." An article re-

1 From a magazine article on Jerrold's London, by
Henry Mayhew.


markable for the brilliancy of its wit and the
keenness of its satire had appeared anonymously
in one of the popular journals and caused
something of a sensation. Jerrold and several
literary men were in the parlour of a theatrical
tavern one evening, when the conversation
turned upon this article and the question of
its authorship. Cummings at length solemnly
rose and said : " Gentlemen, I feel over-
whelmed by your flattering eulogy of the
article in discussion. A feeling of modesty
has hitherto sealed my lips, but I can no longer
conceal the truth — / am the author" The
company were astounded, and incredulous, till
Jerrold, who had remained calm and silent,
quietly addressed Cummings, saying : " I regret
to be compelled to deprive you, Mr. Cummings,
of that portion of fame you have a laudable
desire to obtain, and of which you certainly
stand in need; however, it happens most
unfortunately for your well-known love of
truth that I have the draft of the article in
question in my pocket " — producing the proof
slips — " it is here, with the corrections, singu-
larly enough, marked in my handwriting — /
am the author." Poor Cummings, it is added,
made an ignominious retreat, amid the scornful
laughter of the company.

In the autumn of 1838 it was announced
in one of the journals that " Jerrold has a new
five-act comedy nearly ready for Macready " ;
some weeks later : " several new farces and
dramas have been accepted at Covcnt Garden,


from the several pens of Sheridan Knowles,
Bulwer, Jerrold, Poole, and Egerton Wilks " ;
and again :

" The Advertiser, a journal now and then par-
ticularly heavy on the theatres and theatrical matters
generally, weekly chronicling the debut in the country
of some favourite Snooks or Jenkins, who may have
walked on for the third or fourth robber in a fifth-rate
Surrey melodrama, has undertaken this week to
relate the progress of a five-act drama now being
prepared by Jerrold. After stating that the first
four acts have already seen the light, it states that
the delivery of the fifth may be daily looked for.
Here's news — rare news ! only think when the act
is brought to completion, of Jerrold being brought
to bed. Poor Jerrold ! here are materials for a new
domestic drama. We trust that this bantling will
be soon able to run alone and speak for itself. We
should be sorry to learn that when, as the author was
expecting the critical caudle, he should instead receive
from the audience the customary groaning. At
present we are happy to announce in obstetric phrase-
ology, that he is ' as well as can be expected.' :

Yet again in the same periodical we read,
early in 1839, " the fifth act of Jerrold's new
play was found frozen in a garret last week in
the vicinity of Hampstead." It was no friendly
spirit that dictated some of these comments,
yet the fact that they were made was in itself
a tribute to the position of the dramatist.
The strange thing is that the piece thus
heralded to an unusual extent by newspaper
announcement is the only play of Jerrold's


that was to remain unacted, and why it so
remained is a mystery. From some of the
comments pencilled on the copy of the manu-
script which I have examined it may be
imagined that Macready and the author could
not agree as to certain changes in the plot
which the actor thought would improve it.
The story opens on the very day on which
" George Malpas of Malpas Hall in the county
of Nottingham " should have wedded the fair
Alice, daughter of the blind Everingham who
had " lost all his substance in the war " which
cost Charles the First his throne and life. The
wedding is prevented, for there are unredeemed
bonds which put the lawyers in possession of
Malpas Hall and send the owner off a wanderer
with a promise to return to Alice in three years.
A pretty romance is developed in which the
man of parchment, Lapwing, and Sir Edwy
Somercoate — doubly the rival of Malpas — play
their parts before that happy ending is attained
to which in the days of optimistic drama an
audience confidently looked.

In The Spendthrift, Douglas Jerrold once
again essayed the use of blank verse in the
more serious parts of the dialogue though the
play opened with a prose scene in which a
complacent innkeeper lauded his house as one
of his fellows was later to do in the opening of
Time Works Wonders.

" Collop. Aye, sir, aye ; I think that is beef ! But
my heart, Sir ! you should see the thing some people
call beef in this town ; veal, Sir, veal, crossed in its


growth. But you say well, Sir; that is, indeed, an
ox to be proud of. Ha ! Sir, that ale's as soft as
moonlight. 'Tis true, the town has a name for ale,
but there's only one Blue Dog for all that. Ha !
ha ! Sir, as you say, 'tis like honey in your throat.
Last summer, the thunder spoilt the liquor here-
about — the thunder never came near the Blue Dog !
I pray you, Sir, don't look to find another fowl like
that in these parts; not another, save in the roost
at the Blue Dog. A bed of roses hasn't the sweetness
of that ham, Sir. Pork cured into a nosegay : but
then I smoked it, myself, Sir — not that I ever brag
of anything in my poor homestead — but for smoke,


Church bells are heard to ring.

Lapwing. Eh? bells?

Collop. Aye, Sir; a beautiful silvery peal — but
you can hear them nowhere so well as where you sit.

Lapwing. A wedding, eh ? Many people marry at
Nottingham ?

Collop. Why, Sir, we have, I hope, our share of
simplicity with the rest of the kingdom.

Lapwing. Ha ! a great bridal this ?

Collop. Very great; that is, great on one side.
He's a good one as ever carried purse.

Lapwing. And the bride — the girl — the wench ?

Collop. She's good, too, of a sort : but, master
lawyer, when the weight's all in one scale, eh ?

Lapwing. Bad — bad ! Justice is neither carved
nor painted in that way. Her scales are equal.

Collop. Why, I take it — for the Blue Dog has been
to Sessions — I take it, that's sometimes according to
the money you put in 'em."

Beginning thus lightly, the story is shown
to be a shadowed one by the arrival of the


dismissed musicians. The shadow is such as
to compel the young man to leave the girl
on the very day on which she should have
been his wife, and a tender story of constancy
is developed as those who are responsible for
the exile of Malpas seek also to victimise the
patient Alice. The play though shot through
with comedy is more dramatic than most of
its author's comedies of manners, but suffers
perhaps a little from the blank verse in which
its more serious scenes are presented, for
Jerrold, gifted with a keen poetic sense, did not
move easily in " the gewgaw fetters of rhyme."
It is to be regretted that Macready did not
produce the play, for it might well have scored
a success.

Among the meeting-places of men of letters,
actors and others of the 'thirties and 'forties
were the cigar shops and " divans," some of
which seem to have been in effect clubs. Of
these one of the best known seems to have
been Kilpack's Divan in King Street, Covent
Garden — premises that later became more
famous as Evans' Supper Rooms. In a miscel-
lany journal of 1839, The Town, a perfect
storehouse of facts reputable and disreputable
concerning the social life of the period, I find
the following account of this place — then known
as " Gliddon's Divan " :

" This elegant place of amusement, and intellectual
as well as physical refreshment, was established in
1825, by Mr. Arthur Gliddon, whose lady, when he
kept a tobacconist's shop in Tavistock Street, was


celebrated in Leigh Hunt's Indicator as ' La Bella
Tobacoia.' It is a handsomely furnished apartment,
about sixty feet long, twenty high and twenty broad.
Its present proprietor is Mr. Thomas Kilpack, a dark
little man, below rather than above the middle
height, with his heart in the right place, becoming
civility of manner, an intelligent head, a large family
and a chatty amiable disposition. It is well known
that his Divan is thriving. Father as it is to all
similar places of resort, and anxiously as our little
Tommy endeavours to merit the patronage of an
enlightened and discriminating public, we should
be surprised were it not so. The society one meets
with there is difficult of definition. Its variety is, in
fact, a great attraction. Artists, authors, actors,
attorneys, soldiers, sailors, surgeons, members of
Parliament, with a sprinkling of our nobility are
daily and nightly to be viewed on the premises. . . .

D s J d, the man who did Black-Eyed Susan,

is also a subscriber. He said a devilish good thing
by the way, to Orator Clarke, the intellectual weaver
of Bedford Street, who made so great a sensation at
the Radical meeting in Maiden Lane a week or two
back. Clarke, having made some remarks worthy
the excellent Tory principles he advocates, looked at

J d for a reply to what he had said. ' Oh, my

dear boy,' said the good-natured little scribbler,
' you're a good lantern — but you've got no light
inside you.' C — bb, 1 the Tory frame-maker, who was
by, roared as he always does, like a bullock."

Jerrold must long have been a habitue of
Kilpack' s. As we saw in one of his letters he
earlier made it a place for meeting friends, and

1 i. e. William Crabb, who seconded the nomination of
Sir Francis Burdett as candidate for Westminster.


George Augustus Sala must have been writing
of the late 'forties when he said : " Often have
I sidled into Kilpack's shop to get a twopenny
cheroot and catch a furtive glimpse of the
author of Men of Character and Mrs. Caudle's
Curtain Lectures, as he sat on a cask of snuff,
swinging his legs and dangling his eyeglass,
and ever and anon removing his hat to pass
the fingers of one hand through his grey mane
of hair."




Boulogne, it has been said, was a favourite
resort of Jerrold's, where he could enjoy the
change of life and relief from the distractions
of London, which it may well be imagined
interfered over much with the work of one so
strongly social and clubbable. To a school at
Boulogne each of his three boys was sent as
soon as he was of sufficient age, and thither
Thomas soon followed his brothers William and
Edmund, the parents with the two girls, Jane
and Polly, occupying a house in the neighbour-
hood for months at a time.

Although for some while a resident of the
now popular French watering-place, Douglas
Jerrold was by no means an infrequent visitor
to London, occupying when there the house at
the extreme southern end of Essex Street,
Strand (No. 25), while the Hammonds were in
Liverpool, where Hammond was lessee of another
theatre, and where his other brother-in-law,
William Robert Copeland, was long connected
with theatrical management as proprietor of the
Theatre Royal and Amphitheatre. The stay in



Boulogne had been fruitful of another comedy,
and during January, theatre-goers learned from
the daily press that " the White Milliner,
Jerrold's forthcoming comedy at Covent
Garden, is said to be founded on an historical
anecdote related by Walpole and quoted by
Pennant. In the New Exchange, or England's
Bourse, erected in 1608, north of the present
Adelphi Terrace, and pulled down in 1735, a
female, according to Walpole, suspected to be
the widow of the Duke Tyrconnel, supported
herself by the trade of this place. She sat
in a white mask and a white dress, and was
known by the name of the White Milliner.
Vestris, of course, acts the Milliner."

That this truly explains the origin of the
piece may be gathered from the fact that the
item of information was sent by the playwright
himself to Moran of " the great Globe "—
requesting a corner for its insertion.

On February 9, 1841, the play made its
appearance, and was well received. The cast
included a number of actors and actresses of
considerable note in their day, some of whose
names have indeed become classical in the
Green Room — Charles Mathews, W. Farren,
Keeley, Madame Vestris and Mrs. Humby,
at least, are names still familiar to all with
but the slightest acquaintance with the stage
history of the nineteenth century. Charming,
indeed, is the dainty comedy, with its striking
scenes, its admirable play of witty language,
and the scope it allows for pretty and varied


stage effects. The scene is laid in the days
of good Queen Anne, and the whole of the
interest turns, of course, upon the identity of
the mysterious masked milliner. 1

Shortly after the production of The White
Milliner the play was published in Duncombe's
" acting edition," and a copy of this which
has come into my hands bears an interesting
announcement to the effect that on the follow-
ing first of March there would be published
Volume I of " Jerrold's Plays," contain-
ing eight of his comedies and dramas. The
issue consisted, it may be imagined, of
Duncombe's " acting editions," with special
title-pages, bound together in volume form.
I have been so far unsuccessful in my effort
to light upon a volume of this series of
Douglas Jerrold's plays; the earlier series
published by Miller has also proved unobtain-
able, though I have a few odd plays from

Once more, in 1841, the early summer saw
the Jerrold family deserting the dingy house
overlooking the unembanked Thames for the
bright and pleasant surroundings of a cottage
near Boulogne. This was the house which
the famous actress, Dorothy Jordan, had
occupied after her unhappy flight from England,
before she passed on to Paris and a lonely
death. Here Jerrold stayed, devoting his
mornings to the desk and his afternoons to

1 This play was acted twice in the spring of 1885 by
an amateur company at the Criterion Theatre.


rambles and excursions with his young family
and the friends who came over to visit him,
then he removed to a house in the Rue d'Alger,
Capecure — on the south side of Boulogne, and
there he was visited by George Hodder, who
describes a happy fortnight spent in August
as his guest.

" A dip in the sea — his native element as he some-
times called it — was a relaxation to which he was
especially addicted, but he did not care to indulge
it where the multitude was wont to assemble for the
same object. On one occasion I was walking with
him at sunset along the beach, in the outskirts of the
town, when the tide was unusually low, and the
sands were as smooth and unruffled as a drawing-
room carpet. The charm of the weather seemed to
absorb Jerrold's attention, for the evening was as
calm and placid as the countenance of a sleeping
infant, and he made frequent allusions to the atmo-
sphere, which, he said, was such as he had never
experienced ' out of France.' At length, fixing his
eye upon the almost motionless sea, and inhaling
the fresh air as if he were sipping nectar, he suddenly
exclaimed, ' How lovely the water looks ! Egad,
I'll have a dip ! ' and in scarcely more time than is
occupied by the pantomime clown in making his
inevitable ' change ' he stuck his stick in the sand,
placed his hat upon the top and his clothes around
it, and ran into the water with a nimbleness which
he could hardly have surpassed in the midshipman
days of his youth."

The same visitor, too, gives a pleasant
picture of what he terms " the domiciliary


habits of Jerrold," of his delight in juvenile
parties when his children and their school
companions found him one of the readiest to
join in any fun, and when he always included
in the evening's amusement acting charades,
in which the principal performers were himself,
Alfred Wigan and his wife, and M. Bonnefoy,
the master under whom the Jerrold boys were
being educated.

By early rising and devoting his mornings
to the desk, Douglas Jerrold got through a
goodly amount of work while giving his
visitors the impression that he was always at
their service, so one of those visitors said.
During this summer he was writing two
comedies, one for Drury Lane and one for
Covent Garden — both of them to be hailed
as literary successes and one of them as a
considerable stage success.

This year is a notable one in Jerrold 's
career, for while he was in Boulogne a group
of his friends in London were bringing to
fruition an idea which seems to have been
" in the air " for a little time. I am not
going to re-open the vexed question of the
origin of Punch ; and I need not enter at all
fully into the story of Jerrold's association
with the paper, for I have already dealt with
that story at some length in a previous volume. 1
Suffice it that the projectors of Punch found
their scheme take definite shape in the summer
of 1841, that Jerrold was evidently early ac-

1 Douglas Jerrold and " Punch" Macmillan, 1910.


quainted with the fact, and invited to send in
contributions, and that his first contribution
only arrived in time for insertion in the second
number. One of the early political articles
which he signed " Q "—the subject a Bishop's
consecrating of regimental colours — " made so
great a sensation that the Society of Friends
had it reprinted and placarded it on the walls
of Nottingham." Henceforward Punch and
the Punch circle were to form an important
part of his life, but to his special association
with them it will only be necessary here to
make occasional reference.

It was at about this time that Jerrold
was instrumental with other devoted Shake-
speareans in starting the Shakespeare Society
—Frederick Guest Tomlins is credited with

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