George Cruikshank

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all the while. There was an artist in Paris, an artist hair-dresser, who used to be fatigued and take restoratives after inventing a new coiffure. By no such gentle operation of head-dressing has Cruikshank lived : time was (we are told so in print) when for a picture with thirty heads in it he was paid three guineas -- a poor week's pittance truly, and a dire week's labour. We make no doubt that the same labour would at present bring him twenty times the sum; but whether it be ill-paid or well, what labour has Mr Cruikshank's been! Week by week, for thirty years, to produce something new; some smiling offspring of painful labour, quite independent and distinct from its ten thousand jovial brethren; in what hours of sorrow and ill-health to be told by the world, " Make us laugh or you starve -- Give us fresh fun; we have eaten up the old and are hungry." And all this has he been obliged to do -- to wring laughter day by day, sometimes, perhaps, out of want, often certainly from ill- health or depression -- to keep the fire of his brain perpetually alight, for the greedy public will give it no leisure to cool. This he has done and done well. He has told a thousand truths in as many strange and fascinating ways; he has given a thou- sand new and pleasant thoughts to millions of people; he has never used his wit dishonestly; he has never, in all the exuberance of his frolicsome humour, caused a single painful or guilty blush; how little do we think of the extraordinary power of this man, and how ungrateful we are to him!

Here, as we are come round to the charge of ingratitude, the starting-post from which we set out, perhaps we had better conclude. The reader will perhaps wonder at the high-flown tone in which we speak of the services and merits of an individual, whom he considers a humble scraper on steel, that is wonderfully popular already. But none of us remember all the benefits we owe him; they have come one by one, one driving out the memory of the other : it is only when we come to examine them altogether as the writer has done, who has a pile of books on the table before him* -- a heap of personal kindnesses from George Cruikshank (not presents, if you please, for we bought, borrowed, or stole every one of them), that we feel what we owe him. Look at one of Mr Cruikshank's works, and we pronounce him an excellent humourist. Look at all, his reputation is increased by a kind of geometrical progression; as a whole diamond is a hundred times more valuable than the hundred splinters into which it might be broken would be. A fine rough English diamond is this about which we have been writing. 9

The long list of Mr Cruikshank's works which heads this article is, we fear, far from complete, though we have tried hard to make it so.

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