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Title: The Confessions of a Caricaturist, Vol. 1

Author: Harry Furniss

Release date: July 16, 2009 [eBook #29425]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Marius Borror and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Original page numbers are displayed in the margin as: Pg xxx.








[All rights reserved.]
December, 1901.


If, in these volumes, I have made some joke at a friend's expense, let that friend take it in the spirit intended, and—I apologise beforehand.

In America apology in journalism is unknown. The exception is the well-known story of the man whose death was published in the obituary column. He rushed into the office of the paper and cried out to the editor:

"Look here, sur, what do you mean by this? You have published two columns and a half of my obituary, and here I am as large as life!"

The editor looked up and coolly said, "Sur, I am vury sorry, I reckon there is a mistake some place, but it kean't be helped. You are killed by the Jersey Eagle, you are to the world buried. We nevur correct anything, and we nevur apologise in Amurrican papers."

"That won't do for me, sur. My wife's in tears; my friends are laughing at me; my business will be ruined,—you must apologise."

"No, si—ree, an Amurrican editor nevur apologises."

"Well, sur, I'll take the law on you right away. I'm off to my attorney."

"Wait one minute, sur—just one minute. You are a re-nowned and popular citizen: the Jersey Eagle has killed you—for that I am vury, vury sorry, and to show you my respect I will to-morrow find room for you—in the births column."

Now do not let any editor imagine these pages are my professional obituary,—my autobiography. If by mistake he does, then let him place me immediately in their births column. I am in my forties, and there is quite time for me to prepare and publish two more volumes of my "Confessions" from my first to my second birth, and many other things, before I am fifty.


London, 1901.

[The Author begs to acknowledge his indebtedness to the Proprietors and the Editor of Punch, the Proprietors of the Magazine of Art, the Graphic, the Illustrated London News, English Illustrated Magazine, Cornhill Magazine, Harper's Magazine, Westminster Gazette, St. James' Gazette, the British Weekly and the Sporting Times for their kindness in allowing him to reproduce extracts and pictures in these volumes.]



Introductory—Birth and Parentage—The Cause of my remaining a Caricaturist—The Schoolboys' Punch—Infant Prodigies—As a Student—I Start in Life—Zozimus—The Sullivan Brothers—Pigott—The Forger—The Irish "Pathriot"—Wood Engraving—Tom Taylor—The Wild West—Judy—Behind the Scenes—Titiens—My First and Last Appearance in a Play—My Journey to London—My Companion—A Coincidence pp. 129


I arrive in London—A Rogue and Vagabond—Two Ladies—Letters of Introduction—Bohemia—A Distinguished Member—My Double—A Rara Avis—The Duke of Broadacres—The Savages—A Souvenir—Portraits of the Past—J. L. Toole—Art and Artists—Sir Spencer Wells—John Pettie—Milton's Garden pp. 3053


The Light Brigade—Miss Thompson (Lady Butler)—Slumming—The Boat Race—Realism—A Phantasmagoria—Orlando and the Caitiff—Fancy Dress Balls—Lewis Wingfield—Cinderella—A Model—All Night Sitting—An Impromptu Easel—"Where there's a Will there's a Way"—The American Sunday Papers—I am Deaf—The Grill—The World's Fair—Exaggeration—Personally Conducted—The Charnel House—10, Downing Street—I attend a Cabinet Council—An Illustration by Mr. Labouchere—The Great Lincolnshire Trial—Praying without Prejudice pp. 5487


Drawing—"Hieroglyphics"—Clerical Portraiture—A Commission from General Booth—In Search of Truth—Sir Walter Besant—James Payn—Why Theodore Hook was Melancholy—"Off with his Head"—Reformers' Tree—Happy Thoughts—Christmas Story—Lewis Carroll—The Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson—Sir John Tenniel—The Challenge—Seven Years' Labour—A Puzzle MS.—Dodgson on Dress—Carroll on Drawing—Sylvie and Bruno—A Composite Picture—My Real Models—I am very Eccentric—My "Romps"—A Letter from du Maurier—Caldecott—Tableaux—Fine Feathers—Models—Fred Barnard—The Haystack—A Wicket Keeper—A Fair Sitter—Neighbours—The Post Office Jumble—Puzzling the Postmen—Writing Backwards—A Coincidence pp. 88130


What is Caricature?—Interviewing—Catching Caricatures—Pellegrini—The "Ha! Ha!"—Black and White v. Paint—How to make a Caricature—M.P.'s—My System—Mr. Labouchere's Attitude—Do the Subjects Object?—Colour in Caricature—Caught!—A Pocket Caricature—The Danger of the Shirt-cuff—The Danger of a Marble Table—Quick Change—Advice to those about to Caricature pp. 131153


Gladstone and Disraeli—A Contrast—An unauthenticated Incident—Lord Beaconsfield's last Visit to the House of Commons—My Serious Sketch—Historical—Mr. Gladstone—His Portraits—What he thought of the Artists—Sir J. E. Millais—Frank Holl—The Despatch Boxes—Impressions—Disraeli—Dan O'Connell—Procedure—American Wit—Toys—Wine—Pressure—Sandwich Soirée—The G.O.M. dines with "Toby, M.P."—Walking—Quivering—My Desk—An Interview—Political Caricaturists—Signature in Sycamore—Scenes in the Commons—Joseph Gillis Biggar—My Double—Scenes—Divisions—Puck—Sir R. Temple—Charles Stewart Parnell—A Study—Quick Changes—His Fall—Room 15—The last Time I saw him—Lord Randolph Churchill—His Youth—His Height—His Fickleness—His Hair—His Health—His Fall—Lord Iddesleigh—Sir Stafford and Mr. Gladstone—Bradlaugh—His Youth—His Parents—His Tactics—His Fight—His Extinction—John Bright—Jacob Bright—Sir Isaac Holden—Lord Derby—A Political Prophecy—A Lucky Guess—My Confession in the Times—The Joke that Failed—The Seer—Fair Play—I deny being a Conservative—I am Encouraged—Chaff—Reprimanded—Misprinted—Misunderstood pp. 154214


Two Punch Editors—Punch's Hump—My First Punch Dinner—Charles Keene—"Robert"—W. H. Bradbury—du Maurier—"Kiki"—A Trip to the Place of his Birth—He Hates Me—A Practical Joke—du Maurier's Strange Model—No Sportsman—Tea—Appollinaris—My First Contribution—My Record—Parliament—Press Gallery Official—I Feel Small—The "Black Beetle"—Professor Rogers—Sergeant-at-Arms' Room—Styles of Work—Privileges—Dr. Percy—I Sit in the Table—The Villain of Art—The New Cabinet—Criticism—Punch's Historical Cartoons—Darwen MacNeill—Scenes in the Lobby—A Technical Assault—John Burns's "Invention"—John Burns's Promise—John Burns's Insult—The Lay of Swift MacNeill—The Truth—Sir Frank Lockwood—"Grand Cross"—Lockwood's Little Sketch—Lockwood's Little Joke in the House—Lockwood's Little Joke at Dinner—Lewis Carroll and Punch—Gladstone's Head—Sir William's Portrait—Ciphers—Reversion—Punch at Play—Three Punch Men in a Boat—Squaring up—Two Pins Club—Its One Joke—Its One Horse—Its Mystery—Artistic Duties—Lord Russell—Furious Riding—Before the Beak—Burnand and I in the Saddle—Caricaturing Pictures for Punch—Art under Glass—Arthur Cecil—My Other Eye—The Ridicule that Kills—Red Tape—Punch in Prison—I make a Mess of it—Waterproof—"I used your Soap two years ago"—Charles Keene—Charles Barber—Punch's Advice—Punch's Wives pp. 215302


My Caricature of Mr. GladstoneFrontispiece.
Initial "In." Writing my Confessions. A Visitor's Snapshot1
My Mother3
My Father5
Harry Furniss, aged 106
A Caricature, made when a Boy (never published). Dublin Exhibition.
Portrait of Sir A. Guinness (now Lord Iveagh) in centre11
An Early Illustration on Wood by Harry Furniss. Partly Engraved by him.16
Sketches in Galway19
"Judy," the Galway Dwarf23
Phelps, the first Actor I saw24
Mrs. Hardcastle. Mr. Harry Furniss. From an Early Sketch25
Caricature of Myself, drawn when I first arrived in London30
Age 2035
A successful "Make-Up"36
Two Travellers38
The Duke of "Broadacres"40
Savage Club House Dinner. From a Sketch by Herbert Johnson41
The Earl of Dunraven as a Savage42
"Another Gap in Our Ranks"43
H. J. Byron44
A Presentation45
Savage Club. My Design for the Menu, 25th Anniversary Dinner47
Letter from Sir Spencer Wells51
Distress in the Black Country54
At the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race55
As Special at the Balaclava Celebration57
Distress in the North59
"The Caitiff" and Orlando62
An Invitation63
At a Fancy Dress Ball65
Lewis Wingfield as a Street Nigger Home from the Derby67
"The Liberal Candidate"68
Sketches at the Liverpool Election: A Ward Meeting69
My Easel. Drawing Mr. Gladstone at a Public Meeting71
The American Sunday Papers72
Major Handy74
The World's Fair, Chicago. A "Special's" Visit75
"On dashed the Horses in their wild Career"77
Initial "A"79
The Charnel-House. Chicago World's Fair80
Initial "London"83
The Bishop of Lincoln's Trial85
Initial "If"88
Majuba Hill89
Canon Liddon. A Sketch from Life92
Letter from Sir Walter Besant94
The Late Sir Walter Besant95
The "Jetty"95
Illustration for "The Talk of the Town"96
"That's just what I have done!"98
Specimen of James Payn's Writing99
The Typical Lovers in Illustrated Novels100
Initial "T"101
Instructions in a Letter from Lewis Carroll103
Specimen of Lewis Carroll's Drawing and Writing106
Original Sketch by Lewis Carroll of his Charming Hero and Heroine107
Lewis Carroll's Note to me or a Pathetic Picture108
Sylvie and Bruno. My Original Drawing for Lewis Carroll110
I Go Mad!111
From Lewis Carroll112
"I do want a Wicket-keeper!"113
Portion of Letter from Lawrence, age 9114
Reduction from a Design for my "Romps"115
Portion of a Letter from George du Maurier117
A Transformation119
"Yours always, Barnard"119
Barnard and the Models120
"I sit for 'Ands, Sir"121
The Grand Old Hand and the Young 'Un122
My Fighting Double124
Specimen of Mr. Linley Sambourne's Envelopes to me125
Cheque for 5½d. passed through two Banks and paid. I signed it
backwards, and it was cancelled by Clerk backwards127
Sir Henry Irving writes his Name backwards128
Sir Henry Irving's Attempt128
Mr. J. L. Toole's first Attempt128
Mr. J. L. Toole's second Attempt128
Autograph: Harry Furniss129
Initial "If"131
The Studio of a Caricaturist132
Caricature of me by my Daughter, age 15134
A serious Portrait—from Life135
Initial "H"136
Mr. Brown, Ordinary Attire. Court Dress139
Two Portraits140
A Caricature140
Not a Caricature140
The Editor of Punch sits for his Portrait144
A Model unawares and the Result145
Sketch on a Shirt-Cuff146
Mr. Labouchere149
The M.P. Real and Ideal150
The Photo. As he really is151
"Dizzy" (Beaconsfield) and Gladstone154
The Inner Lobby of the House of Commons156
Explanation to Illustration on page 156157
Lord Beaconsfield. A Sketch from Life158
The last Visit of Lord Beaconsfield to the House161
Mr. Gladstone. A Sketch from Life163
Mr. Gladstone "under his Flow of Eloquence"165
Mr. Gladstone. Conventional Portrait167
Caricature of the Holl Portrait169
Note of Mr. Gladstone made in the Press Gallery with the wrong
end of a Quill Pen171
Invitation to a "Sandwich Soirée"173
Mr. Gladstone sits on the Floor174
The Fragment of Punch Mr. Gladstone did not see175
The Gladstone Matchbox176
Mr. Gladstone's Collars178
To Room 15182
Outside Room 15183
Outside my Room185
"The G.O.M." and "Randy"185
Mr. Louis Jennings186
Lord Randolph and Louis Jennings188
Lord Randolph Churchill189
Behind the Speaker's Chair190
Initial "S"191
Initial "H"193
Bradlaugh Triumphant. From "Punch"194
Charles Bradlaugh195
The Meet at St. Stephen's197
Sir George Campbell199
Heraldic Design illustrating Mr. Plunkett's (now Lord Rathmore) Joke201
Mr. Farmer Atkinson202
I must Introduce you to Lucy. Here he is203
Joseph Gillis Biggar204
Initial "I"206
The House of Commons from Toby's Private Box208
The Government Bench—before Home Rule211
Reduction of one of my Parliamentary Pages in Punch214
Initial "T"215
Age 26, when I first worked for Punch216
My first Meeting with the Editor of Punch217
My first Invitation from Punch218
A Letter from Charles Keene, objecting to an Editor interviewing him219
George du Maurier221
Suggestion by du Maurier for Punch Cartoon224
Du Maurier's Souvenir de Fontainebleau. From "Punch"225
Punch Staff returning from Paris227
Japanese Style229
"Birch—His Mark"231
Chinese Style. From a Drawing on Wood232
Familiar Faces234
An Official in the Press Gallery235
"He spies me"236
"What are you?"236
"Blowed if the Country wants you"238
"I feel smaller!"241
The Black Beetle242
The Sergeant-at-Arms' Room243
Capt. Gosset, late Sergeant-at-Arms244
My "Childish" Style in Punch245
A simple Document246
I Sketch the House247
Dr. Percy. "The House Up"250
Mr. Punch's Puzzle-Headed People. Mr. Goschen251
Mr. Punch's Puzzle-Headed People. "All Harcourts"252
The New Cabinet255
Reduction of Page in Punch, showing that my Caricatures were—in this
case—published too large258
Reduction from the Original Drawing, showing that I gave Instructions for the Caricature to be
"reduced as usual"259
What really happened261
Dr. Tanner262
Assault on me in the House. What the Press described263
John Burns265
Note from Sir Frank Lockwood, after reading the Bogus Account of the "Assault"266
Letter supposed to come from Lord Cross. (Lockwood's Joke)267
Sir F. Lockwood269
Lewis Carroll's Suggestion, and my sketch of it in Punch270
Nature's Puzzle Portrait271
Initial "W"272
"Three Oarsmen under a Tree"273
Lord Russell's Acceptance to dine with me275
"It's your Turn next"277
Letter from Sir Frank Lockwood277
Mr. Linley Sambourne278
Portrait of me as a Member of the Two Pins Club, by Linley Sambourne279
The late Lord Russell, the President of the Two Pins Club280
"Furious Riding." Sketch by F. C. Gould282
My Portrait, by F. C. Burnand285
Mr. Punch "doing" the Picture Shows286
The Picture Shows. Design from Punch288
"The World-Renowned and Talented Barnardo Family"289
The Great Baccarat Case. My Sketch in Pencil made in Court, and
Congratulatory Note from the Editor of Punch291
Letter from Professor Herkomer293
A Prisoner294
"Good Advertisement." Original Idea as sent to me297
Ditto. My Drawing of it in Punch297
"English Waterproof Ink"299
I sit for John Brown300
A Crib by an American Advertiser301

[Pg 1]




Introductory—Birth and Parentage—The Cause of my remaining a Caricaturist—The Schoolboys' Punch—Infant Prodigies—As a Student—I Start in Life—Zozimus—The Sullivan Brothers—Pigott—The Forger—The Irish "Pathriot"—Wood Engraving—Tom Taylor—The Wild West—Judy—Behind the Scenes—Titiens—My First and Last Appearance in a Play—My Journey to London—My Companion—A Coincidence.

In offering the following pages to the public, I should like it to be known that no interviewer has extracted them from me by the thumbscrew of a morning call, nor have they been wheedled out of me by the caresses of those iron-maidens of literature, the publishers. For the most part they have been penned in odd half-hours as I sat in my easy-chair in the solitude of my studio, surrounded by the aroma of the post-prandial cigarette.

I would also at the outset warn those who may purchase this work in the expectation of finding therein the revelations of a caricaturist's Chamber of Horrors, that they will be disappointed. Some day I may be tempted to bring forth my skeletons from the seclusion of their cupboards and strip my mummies, taking [Pg 2] certain familiar figures and faces to pieces and exposing not only the jewels with which they were packed away, but all those spicy secrets too which are so relished by scandal-loving readers.

At present, however, I am in an altogether lighter and more genial vein. My confessions up to date are of a purely personal character, and like a literary Liliputian I am placing myself in the hand of that colossal Gulliver the Public.

I may, it is true, in the course of my remarks be led to retaliate to some extent upon those who have had the hardihood to assert that all caricaturists ought, in the interest of historical accuracy, to be shipped on board an unseaworthy craft and left in the middle of the Channel, for the crime of handing down to posterity distorted images of those now in the land of the living. This I feel bound to do in self-defence, as well as in the cause of truth, for to judge by the biographical sketches of myself which continually appear and reach me through the medium of a press-cutting agency, caricaturists as distorters of features are not so proficient as authors as distorters of facts.

I think it best therefore to begin by giving as briefly as possible an authentic outline of my early career.

For the benefit of anyone who may not feel particularly interested in such details, I should mention that the narration of this plain unvarnished tale extends from this line to page 29.

I was born in Ireland, in the town of Wexford, on March 26th, 1854. I do not, however, claim, to be an Irishman. My father was a typical Englishman, hailing from Yorkshire, and not in his appearance only, but in his tastes and sympathies, he was an unmistakable John Bull. By profession he was a civil engineer, and he migrated to Ireland some years before I was born, having been invited to throw some light upon that "benighted counthry" by designing and superintending the erection of gas works in various towns and cities.

My mother was Scotch. My great-great-grandfather was a captain in the Pretender's army at Culloden, and had a son, Angus, who settled in Aberdeen. When Æneas MacKenzie, my grandfather, was born, his family moved south and settled [Pg 3] in Newcastle-on-Tyne. A local biographer writes of him: "A man who by dint of perseverance and self-denial acquired more learning than ninety-nine in a hundred ever got at a university—an accomplished and most trustworthy writer. The real founder of the Newcastle Mechanics' Institute, and the leader of the group of Philosophical Radicals who made not a little stir in the North of England at the beginning of the last century." He was not only a benevolent, active member of society and an ardent politician (Joseph Cowen received his earliest impressions from him—and never forgot his indebtedness), but the able historian of Northumberland, Durham, and of Newcastle itself, a town in which he spent his life and his energies. If I possess any hereditary aptitude for journalism, it is to him I owe it; whilst to my mother, who at a time when miniature painting was fashionable, cultivated the natural artistic taste with much success, I am directly indebted for such artistic faculties as are innate in me.

My family moved from Wexford to Dublin when I was ten. It is pleasant to know they left a good impression. In Miss Mary Banim's account of Ireland I find the following reference to these aliens in Wexford, which I must allow my egotism to transcribe: "Many are the kindly memories that remain in Wexford of this warm-hearted, gifted family, who are said not only to be endowed with rare talents, but, better still, with those qualities that endear people to those they meet in daily intercourse." The flattering adjectives with which the remarks about myself are sandwiched prevent my modest nature from quoting any more. However, as one does not remember much of that period of their life before they reach [Pg 4] their teens I need not apologise for quoting from the same work this reference to me at that age:

"One who was his playmate—he is still a young man—describes Mr. Furniss as very small of stature, full of animation and merriment, constantly amusing himself and his friends with clever[!] reproductions of each humorous character or scene that met his eye in the ever-fruitful gallery of living art—gay, grotesque, pathetic, even beautiful—that the streets and outlets of such a town as Wexford present to a quick eye and a ready pencil."

I can appreciate the fact that at that early age I had an eye for the "pathetic, and even beautiful," but, alas! I have been misunderstood from the day of my birth. I used to sit and study the heavens before I could walk, and my nurse, a wise and shrewd woman, predicted that I should become a great astronomer; but instead of the works of Herschel being put into my hands, I was satiated with the vilest comic toy books, and deluged with the frivolous nursery literature now happily a thing of the past. At odd times my old leaning towards serious reflection and ambition for high art come over me, but there is a fatality which dogs my footsteps and always at the critical moment ruins my hopes.

It is indeed strange how slight an incident may alter the whole course of one's life, as will be seen from the following instance, which I insert here although it took place some years after the period to which I am now alluding.

The scene was Antwerp, to which I was paying my first visit, and where I was, like all artists, very much impressed and delighted with the cathedral of the quaint old place. The afternoon was merging into evening as I entered the sacred building, and the broad amber rays of the setting sun glowed amid the stately pillars and deepened the shadowy glamour of the solemn aisles. As I gazed on the scene of grandeur I felt profoundly moved by the picturesque effect, and the following morning discovered me hard at work upon a most elaborate study of the beautiful carved figures upon the confessional boxes. I had just laid out my palette preparatory to painting that picture [Pg 5] which would of course make my name and fortune, when a hoarse and terribly British guffaw at my elbow startled me, and turning round I encountered some acquaintances to whom the scene seemed to afford considerable amusement. One of them was good enough to remark that to have come all the way to Antwerp to find a caricaturist painting the confessional boxes in the cathedral was certainly the funniest thing he had ever heard of, and thereupon insisted upon dragging me off to dine MY FATHER MY FATHER with him, a proposition to which I immediately assented, feeling far more foolish than I could possibly have looked. I may add that as the sun that evening dipped beneath the western horizon, so vanished the visions of high art by which I had been inspired, and thus it is that Michael Angelo Vandyck Correggio Raphael Furniss lies buried in Antwerp Cathedral. Strangely enough I came across the following paragraph some years afterwards: "The guides of Antwerp Cathedral point out a grotesque in the wood carving of the choir which resembles almost exactly the head of Mr. Gladstone, as depicted by Harry Furniss."

My earliest recollections are altogether too modern to be of much interest. Crimean heroes were veterans when they, as guests at my father's table, fought their battles o'er again. The Great Eastern steamship was quite an old white elephant of the sea when I, held up in my nurse's arms, saw Brunel's blunder pass Greenore Point. I was hardly eligible for "Etons" when our present King was married. When first taken to church I was most interested, as standing on tiptoe on the seat in our square family pew, and peering into the next pew, I saw a young governess, at that moment the most talked-of woman in Great Britain, the niece of the notorious poisoner Palmer. She [Pg 6] had just returned from the condemned cell, having made that scoundrel confess his crime, and there was more pleasure in the sight than in listening to the good old Rector Elgee who had christened me, or in seeing his famous daughter the poetess "Speranza," otherwise known as Lady Wilde.

In the newspaper shop windows—always an attraction to me—the coloured portrait of Garibaldi was fly-blown, the pictures of the great fight between Sayers and Heenan were illustrations of ancient history, and in the year I was born Punch published his twenty-sixth volume.


Leaving Wexford before the railway there was opened, my parents removed to the metropolis of Ireland, and I went to school in Dublin at the age of twelve. It was at the Wesleyan Connexional School, now known as the Wesleyan College, St. Stephen's Green, that I struggled through my first pages of Cæsar and stumbled over the "pons asinorum," and here I must mention that although the Wesleyan College bears the name of the great religious reformer, a considerable number of the boys who studied there—myself included—were in no way connected with the Wesleyan body. I merely say this because I have seen it stated more than once that I am a Wesleyan, and as this little sketch professes to be an authentic account of myself, I wish it to be correct, however trivial my remarks may seem to the general reader. It is in the same spirit that I have disclaimed the honour of being an Irishman.

Once upon a time, when I was a very little boy, I remember being very much impressed by a heading in my copybook which [Pg 7] ran: "He who can learn to write, can learn to draw." Now this was putting the cart before the horse, so far as my experience had gone, for I could most certainly draw before I could write, and had not only become an editor long before I was fit to be a contributor, but was also a publisher before I had even seen a printing press. In fact, I was but a little urchin in knickerbockers when I brought out a periodical—in MS. it is true—of which the ambitious title was "The Schoolboys' Punch." The ingenuous simplicity with which I am universally credited by all who know me now had not then, I fancy, obtained complete possession of me. I must have been artful, designing, diplomatic, almost Machiavellian; for anxious to curry favour with the head master of my school, I resolved to use the columns of "The Schoolboys' Punch" not so much in the interest of the schoolboy world as to attract the head master's favourable notice to the editor.

Accordingly, the first cartoon I drew for the paper was specially designed with this purpose in view, and I need scarcely say it was highly complimentary to the head master. He was represented in a Poole-made suit of perfectly-fitting evening dress, and the trousers, I remember, were particularly free from the slightest wrinkle, and must have been extremely uncomfortable to the wearer. This tailorish impossibility was matched by the tiny patent boots which encased the great man's small and exquisitely moulded feet. I furnished him with a pair of dollish light eyes, with long eyelashes carefully drawn in, and as a masterstroke threw in the most taper-shaped waist.

The subject of the picture, I flattered myself, was selected with no little cleverness and originality. A celebrated conjuror who had recently exposed the frauds of the Davenport Brothers was at the moment creating a sensation in the town where the school was situated, and from that incident I determined to draw my inspiration. The magnitude of the design and the importance of the occasion seemed to demand a double-paged cartoon. On one side I depicted a hopelessly scared little schoolboy, not unlike myself at the time, tightly corded in a cabinet, which represented the school, with trailing Latin roots, [Pg 8] heavy Greek exercises, and chains of figures. The door, supposed to be closed on this distressing but necessary situation, is observed in the opposite cartoon to be majestically thrown open by the beaming and consciously successful head master, in order to allow a young college student, the pink of scholastic perfection, to step out, loaded with learning and academical honours.

"Great events from little causes spring!"—great, at least, to me. So well was my juvenile effort received, that it is not too much to say it decided my future career. Had my subtle flattery taken the shape of a written panegyric upon the head master in lieu of a cartoon, it is possible that I might, had I met with equal success, have devoted myself to journalism and literature; but from that day forward I clung to the pencil, and in a few years was regularly contributing "cartoons" to public journals, and practising the profession I have ever since pursued.

Drawing, in fact, seemed to come to me naturally and intuitively. This was well for me, for small indeed was the instruction I received. I recollect that a German governess, who professed, among other things, to teach drawing, undertook to cultivate my genius; but I derived little benefit from her unique system, as it consisted in placing over the paper the drawing to be copied, and pricking the leading points with a pin, after which, the copy being removed, the lines were drawn from one point to another. The copies were of course soon perforated beyond recognition, and, although I warmly protested against this sacrilege of art, she explained that it was by that system that Albert Dürer had been taught. This, of course, accounts for our having infant prodigies in art, as well as music and the drama. The rapidity with which Master Hoffmann was followed by infantile Lizsts and little Otto Hegner as soon as it became apparent that there was a demand for such phenomena, seems to indicate that in music at all events supply will follow demand as a matter of course, and if the infant artist can only be "crammed" in daubing on canvas as youthful musicians are in playing on the piano, then perhaps a new sensation is in store for the artistic world, and we shall see babies executing replicas of the old masters, and the Infant [Pg 9] Slapdash painter painting the portraits of Society beauties. As a welcome relief to Chopin's Nocturne in D flat, played by Baby Hegner at St. James's Hall, we shall step across to Bond Street and behold "Le Petit Américain" dashing off his "Nocturne" on canvas. I sometimes wonder if I might have been made such an infant art prodigy, but when I was a lad public taste was not in its second childhood in matters of art patronage, nor was the forcing of children practised in the same manner as it is nowadays.

Naturally enough I did not altogether escape the thraldom of the drawing-master, and as years went on I made a really serious effort to study at an art school under the Kensington system, which I must confess I believe to be positively prejudicial to a young artist possessing imagination and originality. The late Lord Beaconsfield made one of his characters in "Lothair" declare that "critics are those who have failed in literature and art." Whether this is true as to the art critics, or that the dramatic critic is generally a disappointed playwright, it must in truth be said that drawing-masters are nearly always those who have failed in art. I can remember one gentleman who was the especial terror of my youth. I can see him now going his rounds along the chilly corridor, where, perhaps, one had been placed to draw something "from the flat." After years and years of practice at this rubbish, he would halt beside you, look at your work in a perfunctory manner, and with a dexterity which appalled you until you reflected that he had been doing the same thing exactly, and nothing else, for perhaps a decade, he would draw in a section of a leaf, and if, as in my case, you happened to have a pretty sister attending the ladies' class in the school, he would add leaf to leaf until your whole paper was covered with his mechanical handiwork, in order to have a little extra conversation with you, although, I need scarcely add, it was not exclusively confined to the subject of art.

This sort of thing was called "instruction in freehand drawing," and had to be endured and persisted in for months and months. Freehand! Shade of Apelles! What is there free in squinting and measuring, and feebly touching in and fiercely [Pg 10] rubbing out a collection of straggling mechanical pencil lines on a piece of paper pinned on to a hard board, which after a few weeks becomes nothing but a confused jumble of fingermarks?

Had I an Art School I would treat my students according to their individual requirements, just as a doctor treats his patients. I am led here to repeat what I have already observed in one of my lectures, that for the young the pill of knowledge should be silver-coated, and that while they are being instructed they should also be amused. In other words, interest your pupils, do not depress them. Giotto did not begin by rigidly elaborating a drawing of the crook of his shepherd's staff for weeks together; his drawings upon the sand and upon the flat stones which he found on the hillsides are said to have been of the picturesque sheep he tended, and all the interesting and fascinating objects that met his eye. Then, when his hand had gained practice, he was able to draw that perfect circle which he sent to the Pope as a proof of his command of hand. But the truth is that we begin at the wrong end, and try to make our boys draw a perfect circle before they are in love with drawing at all. For my part, I had to endure some weeks of weary struggling with a cone and ball and other chilly objects, the effect of which was to fill my mind with an overwhelming sense of the dreariness of art education under the Kensington system. A short time, therefore, sufficed to disgust me with the Art School, and I preferred to stay at home caricaturing my relatives, educating myself, and practising alone the rudiments of my art.

[Pg 11]


[Pg 12]


[Pg 13]

Early in my teens, however, I was invited to join the Life School of the Hibernian Academy, as there happened to be a paucity of students at that institution, and in order to secure the Government grant it was necessary to bring them up to the required number. But here also there was no idea of proper teaching. Some fossilised member of the Academy would stand about roasting his toes over the stove. A recollection of a fair specimen of the body still haunts me. He used to roll round the easels, and you became conscious of his approaching presence by an aroma of onions. I believe he was a landscape painter, and saw no more beauty in the female form divine than in a haystack. It was his custom to take up a huge piece of charcoal and come down upon one of your delicately drawn pencil lines of a figure with a terrible stroke about an inch wide.

"There, me boy," he would exclaim, "that's what it wants," and walk on, leaving you in doubt upon which side of the line you had drawn he intended his alteration to come.

I soon decided to have my own models and study for myself, and this practice I have maintained to the present day. I really don't know what Mrs. Grundy would have said if she had known that at this early age I was drawing Venuses from the life, instead of tinting the illustrations to "Robinson Crusoe" or "Gulliver's Travels" in my playroom at home.

Few imagine that a caricaturist requires models to draw from. Although I will not further digress at this point, I may perhaps be pardoned if I return later on in this book to the explanation of my modus operandi—a subject which, if I may judge from the number of letters I receive about it, is likely to prove of interest to a large number of my readers.

It was when I was still quite a boy that my first great chance came. Being in Dublin, I was asked one day by my friend the late Mr. A. M. Sullivan to make some illustrations for a paper called Zozimus, of which he was the editor and founder. As a matter of fact, Zozimus was the Irish Punch. Mr. Sullivan, who was a Nationalist, and a man of exceptional energy and ability, began life as an artist. He came to Dublin, I was told, as a very young man, and began to paint; but the sails of his ships were pronounced to be far too yellow, the seas on which the vessels floated were derided as being far too green, while the skies above them were scoffed at as being far too blue. In these adverse circumstances, then, the artist soon drifted into journalism, and, inducing his brothers to join him in his new venture, thenceforth took up the pen and abandoned the brush. Each member of the family became a well-known figure in Parliamentary life. Mr. T. D. Sullivan, the poet of the Irish [Pg 14] Party, is still a well-known figure in the world of politics; but my friend Mr. A. M. Sullivan, who died some years ago, belonged rather to the more moderate régime which prevailed in the Irish Party during the leadership of Mr. Butt.

At the time when I first made his acquaintance he was the editor and moving spirit of the Nation. It was a curious office, and I can recall many whom I first met there who have since come more or less prominently to the front in public life. There was Mr. Sexton, whom my friend "Toby" has since christened "Windbag Sexton" in his Parliamentary reports. Mr. Sexton then presided over the scissors and paste department of the journals owned by Mr. A. M. Sullivan, and, unlike the posing orator he afterwards became, was at that early stage of his career of a very modest and retiring disposition. Mr. Leamy also, I think, was connected with the staff, while Mr. Dennis Sullivan superintended the sale of the papers in the publishing department.

But the central figure in the office was unquestionably the editor and proprietor, Mr. A. M. Sullivan. His personality was of itself remarkable. Possessed of wonderful energy and nerve, he was a confirmed teetotaller, and his prominent eyes, beaming with intelligence, seemed almost to be starting from his head as, intent upon some project, he darted about the office, ever and anon checking his erratic movements to give further directions to his subordinates, when he had a funny habit of placing his hand on his mouth and blowing his moustache through his fingers, much to the amusement of his listeners, and to my astonishment, as I stood modestly in a corner of the editorial sanctum observing with awe the great Mr. Sexton, who, amid the distractions of scissors and paste, would drawl out a sentence or two in a voice strongly resembling the sarcastic tones of Mr. Labouchere.

In another part of the office sat Mr. T. D. Sullivan, the poet aforesaid, who, like his brother, is a genial and kindly man at heart, although possessing the volcanic temperament characteristic of his family. There he sat—a poet with a large family—his hair dishevelled, his trousers worked by excitement halfway up [Pg 15] his calves, emitting various stertorous sounds after the manner of his brother, as he savagely tore open the recently-arrived English newspapers. Such was the interior of the office of the Nation, the representative organ of the most advanced type of the National Press of Ireland.

But Zozimus, the paper to which I was then contributing, had nothing in common with the rest of the publications issuing from that office. It was of a purely social character, and was a praiseworthy attempt to do something of a more artistic nature than the coarsely-conceived and coarsely-executed National cartoons which were the only specimens of illustrative art produced in Ireland. Fortunately for me, there was an effort made in Dublin just then to produce a better class of publications, and the result was that I began to get fairly busy, although it was merely a wave of artistic energy, which did not last long, but soon subsided into that dead level of mediocrity which does not appear likely to be again disturbed.

I was now in my seventeenth year, and, intent on making as much hay as possible the while the sun shone, I accepted every kind of work that was offered me; and a strange medley it was. Religious books, medical works, scientific treatises, scholastic primers and story books afforded in turn illustrative material for my pencil. One week I was engaged upon designs for the most advanced Catholic and Jesuitical manuals, and the next upon similar work for a Protestant prayer-book. At one moment it seemed as if I were destined to achieve fame as an artist of the ambulance corps and the dissecting-room. One of my earliest dreams—which I attribute to the fact that my eldest brother, with whom I had much in common, was a doctor—had been to adopt the medical profession. Curiously enough, my brother also had a taste for caricaturing, and, like the illustrious John Leech in his medical student days, he was wont to embellish his notes in the hospital lecture-room with pictorial jeux d'esprit of a livelier cast than those for which scope is usually afforded by the discourses of the learned Mr. Sawbones.


I remember that about this period a leading surgeon was anxious that I should devote myself to the pursuit of this [Pg 16] anything but pleasant form of art, and seriously proposed that I should draw and paint for him some of his surgical cases. I accepted his offer without hesitation, and, burning to distinguish myself as an anatomical expert with the brush, I gave instruction to our family butcher to send me, as a model to study from, a kidney, which was to be the acme of goriness and as repulsive in appearance as possible. Of this piece of uncooked meat I made a quite pre-Raphaelite study in water-colours, but so realistic was the result that the effect it had upon me was the very antithesis to what I anticipated, disgusting me to such an extent that I not only declined to pursue further anatomical illustration, but for years afterwards was quite unable to touch a kidney, although I believe that had I selected a calf's head or a sucking-pig for my maiden effort in this direction, I might by now have blossomed into a Rembrandt or a Landseer.

Amongst other incidents which occurred during this period of my life was one which it now almost makes me shudder to think of. I was commissioned by no less a personage than the late [Pg 17] Mr. Pigott, of Parnell Commission notoriety, to illustrate for him a story of the broadest Irish humour. Little did I think when I entered his office in Abbey Street, Dublin, and had an interview with the genial and pleasant-looking little man with the eye-glass, that he would one day play so prominent a rôle in the Parliamentary drama, or that the weak little arm he extended to me was destined years afterwards to be the instrument of a tragedy. I can truly say, at all events, my recollection as a boy of sixteen of the great Times forger is by no means unfavourable, and he dwells in my memory as one of the most pleasant and genial of men. I ought, perhaps, to say that in feeling I was anything but a Nationalist, because in Ireland, generally speaking, you must be either black or white. But like a lawyer who takes his brief from every source, I never studied who my clients were when they required my juvenile services.

Although I was not of Irish parentage and did not lean towards Nationalism in politics, it was necessary to sympathise now and then with the down-trodden race. For instance, I remember that one evening a respectable-looking mechanic called at my fathers house and requested to see me. His manner was strange and mysterious, and as he wanted to see me alone, I took him into an anteroom, where, with my hand on the door handle and the other within easy distance of the bell, I asked the excitable-looking stranger the nature of his business. Pulling from his pocket a roll of one-pound Irish bank-notes, he thrust them into my hand, and besought me at the same time not to refuse the request he was about to make. An idea flashed through my mind that perhaps he had seen me coming out of the offices of the National Press, and had jumped to the conclusion that I could therefore be bought over to perpetrate some terrible political crime. I even imagined that in the roll of notes I should find the knife with which the fell deed had to be done. Seeing that I shrank from him, he seized hold of my arm, and, in a most pitiable voice, said:

"Don't, young sorr, refuse me what I am about to ask you. I'm only a working man, but here are all my savings, which you may take if you will just dhraw me a picter to be placed at the [Pg 18] top of a complete set of photographs of our Irish leaders. I want Britannia at the head of the group, a bastely dhrunken old hag, wid her fut on the throat of the beautiful Erin, who is to be bound hand and fut wid chains, and being baten and starved. Thin I want prisons at the sides, showing the grand sons of Ould Oireland dying in their cells by torture, whilst a fine Oirish liberator wid dhrawn sword is just on the point of killing Britannia outright, and so saving his disthressful country."

About this time someone had been good enough to inform me that all black and white artists are in the habit of engraving their own work, and, religiously believing this, I duly provided myself with some engraving tools, bought some boxwood, a jeweller's eye-glass, and a sand bag, without which no engraver's table can be said to be complete.

Then, setting to work to practise the difficult art, I struggled on as best I could, until one fine day a professional engraver enlightened me upon the matter. I need scarcely say he went into fits of laughter when I told him that every artist was expected to be a Bewick, and he pointed out to me that not only do artists as a rule know very little about engraving, but in addition they have often only a limited knowledge of how to draw for engravers.

However, thinking I should better understand the difficulties of drawing for publishers if I first mastered the technical art of reproduction, with the assistance of the engraver aforesaid I rapidly acquired sufficient dexterity with the tools to engrave my own drawings, and this I continued to do until I left Dublin, at the age of nineteen. Since then I have never utilised one of my gravers, except to pick a lock or open a box of sardines. Nor is this to be wondered at, considering that one can make a drawing in an hour which takes a week to engrave, and that an engraver may take five guineas for his share of the work whilst an artist may get fifty. There is very little doubt, therefore, as to the reason why artists who can draw refrain from engraving their own work.

[Pg 19]

Republished by permission of the proprietors of the "Illustrated London News."

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In the studio of the engraver to whom I have above referred there hung a huge map of London, and as I used to pore over it I took many an imaginary walk down Fleet Street, many a canter in the Row, and many a voyage to Greenwich on a penny steamboat, before I bade adieu to "dear dirty Dublin" in the year 1873, and, as many have done before me, arrived in the "little village" in search of fame and wealth.

Just prior to my leaving Ireland for the land of my parents I met no less an editor than Tom Taylor, who was then the presiding genius of the Punch table, and he gave me every encouragement to hasten my migration. He, however, had just returned from the wilds of Connemara, and before setting my face in the direction of Holyhead he strongly advised me also to pay a visit to the trackless wastes of the Western country, for the purpose of committing to paper the lineaments of the natives indigenous to the soil. This I did a week or so before quitting the land of my birth, and the sketches I made upon that occasion formed part of my stock-in-trade when I arrived in London.

After making the accompanying page of studies, I strolled along the bank of the river; and while sketching some men breaking stones an incident happened which first aroused me to the fact that the lot of the sketching artist is not always a happy one. A fiend in human shape—an overbearing overseer—came up at the moment, and roundly abused the poor labourers for taking the "base Saxon's" coin. Inciting them to believe that I was a special informer from London, he laughed on my declaring that I was merely a novice, and informed me that I ought to be "dhrounded." He was about to suit the action to the word and pitch me into the salmon-stuffed river when he was stopped by the mediation of my models, and I escaped from the grip of the agitator. In due course I found myself in the Claddagh, a village of mud huts, which formed the frontispiece by John Leech to "A Little Tour in Ireland" by "An Oxonian," "a village of miserable cabins, the walls of mud and stone, and for the most part windowless, the floors damp and dirty, and the roofs a mass of rotten straw and weeds." Pigs and fowls mixed up with boats and fish refuse. Women old, dried and ugly; girls young, dark, of Spanish type, [Pg 22] scantily dressed in bright-coloured short garments, all tattered and torn; and children grotesque beyond description. I sketch three members of one family clothed (!) in the three articles of attire discarded by their father—one claimed the coat, another the trousers, whilst the third had only a waistcoat. No doubt Leech had seen the same sixteen years before, when he was there; and if "the Oxonian," who survives him—Canon Hole, of Rochester—were to make another little tour in Ireland, he would find the Claddagh still a spot to give an Englishman "a new sensation." All I can say is, that having escaped a "dhrouning" in the river when in Galway in 1873, I have visited many countries and seen much filth and misery, but I have seen nothing approaching the sad squalor of the wild West of Ireland.

The majority of those I sketched were hardly human. Tom Taylor was right—"I would find such characters there not to be found in all the world over," and I haven't. The people got on my overstrung youthful nerves. I left the country the moment I had sufficient material for my sketches. I had shaken off the unpleasant feeling of being murdered in the river. I had survived living a week or two in the worst inns in the world. I had risked typhoid and every other disease fostered by the insanitary surroundings—for I had to hide myself in narrow turnings and obnoxious corners so as to sketch unseen, as the religion of the natives opposed any attempt to have themselves "dhrawn," believing that the destruction of their "pictur'" would be fatal to their souls! I had sketched the famous house in Deadman's Lane—and listened as I sketched it, in the falling shades of night, to the old, old story of Fitz-Stephen the Warden, who had lived there, and had in virtue of his office to assist at the hanging of his own son. And, when in the dark I was strolling back to my hotel, my reflections were suddenly interrupted by something powerful seizing me in a grip of iron round my leg. I was held as in a vice, and could hardly move, by what—a huge dog—a wolf? No, something heavier; something more hideous; something clothed! As I dragged it under a lamp I saw revealed a huge head, covered by a black skull cap—a man's head—a dwarf, muttering in Irish something I could not [Pg 23] understand—except one word, "Judy! Judy! Judy!" It was a woman of extraordinary strength thus clasped on to me. I dragged her to the hotel door, where I engaged an interpreter in the shape of the "boots," and made a bargain with "Judy" to release me on my giving her one shilling, and to sit to me for this sketch for half-a-crown. I have still a lively recollection of the vice-like grip.

My friend who had introduced me to the editor of Punch was a prominent city official, and entertainer in chief of all men of talent from JUDY, THE GALWAY DWARF. "JUDY," THE GALWAY DWARF. London, and was also, like Tom Taylor, an author and dramatist; and when I was a boy I illustrated one of his first stories. He also introduced me behind the scenes at the old Theatre Royal. I recollect my boyish delight when one day I was on the stage during the rehearsal of the Italian opera. Shall I ever forget that treat? It was much greater in my eyes than the real performance later on. If my memory serves, "Don Giovanni" was the opera. One of the principals was suddenly taken ill, and this rehearsal was called for the benefit of the understudy. He was a dumpy, puffy little Italian, and played the heavy father. Madame Titiens was—well—the heavy daughter. In the first scene she has to throw herself upon her prostrate father. This is the incident I saw rehearsed: the little fat father lay on the dusty stage, with one eye on the O.P. side. As soon as the massive form of Titiens bore down upon him he rolled over and over out of the way. This pantomime highly amused all of us, the ever-jovial Titiens in particular, and she again and again rushed laughingly in, but with the same result.

The first actor I ever saw perform was Phelps, in "The Man of the World." If anything could disillusionise a youth regarding the romance of the theatre, that play surely would. Be it to [Pg 24] my credit that my first impression was admiration for a fine—if dull—performance. From that day I have been a constant theatre-goer. If I am to believe the following anecdote, published in a Dublin paper a few years ago, I "did the theatre in style," and had an early taste which I did not possess for making jokes.

"The jarvey drove Harry Furniss, when a boy, down to the old Theatre Royal, Dublin. On the way there Jehu enquired of the budding artist whether it was true that the roof was provided with a tank whence every part of the building could be deluged, shower-bath fashion, if necessary. 'Yes,' replied Raphael junior; 'and, you see, I always bring an umbrella in case of fire.'"


I may confess that I have only once appeared in theatricals, and that was in high comedy as a member of the Dublin Amateur Theatrical Society. The play was "She Stoops to Conquer," and I took the part of—think!—Mrs. Hardcastle. I was only seventeen, and very small for my age, so I owe any success I may have made to the costumier and wig-maker. The Tony Lumpkin was so excellent that he adopted the stage as his profession, and became a very popular comedian; and our Diggory is now a judge—"and a good judge too"—in the High Court.

It was on a bright, breezy morning late in July, 1873, I shook the dust of "dear dirty Dublin" off my feet. With the exception of the Welsh railways, the Irish are notoriously the slowest in the world, and on that particular morning the mail train seemed to my impatient mind to progress pig-ways. The engine was attached to the rear of the train and faced the station, so that when it began to pull it was only the "parvarsity in the baste" caused it to go in the opposite direction, towards Kingstown, in an erratic, spasmodic, and uncertain fashion, so that the eight miles journey seemed to me eighty. It was quite a tedious journey to Salthill and Blackrock. At the latter station I saw [Pg 25] for the last time the porter famous for being the slave of habit. For years it had been his duty to call out the name of the station, "Blackrock! Blackrock! Blackrock!" In due course he was removed to Salthill station, on the same line, and well do I remember how he puzzled many a Saxon tourist by his calling out continually, "Blackrock—Salthill-I-mane! Blackrock—Salthill-I-mane!" No doubt the MRS. HARDCASTLE. MR. HARRY FURNISS. MRS. HARDCASTLE. MR. HARRY FURNISS,
traveller put this chronic absent-mindedness down to "Irish humour." I must confess that I agree in a great measure with the opinion of the late T. W. Robertson (author of "Caste," "School," &c.), that the witticisms of Irish carmen and others are the ingenious inventions of Charles Lever, Samuel Lover, William Carleton, and other educated men.

Dickens failed to see Irish humour, or in fact to understand what was meant by it. So when he was on tour with his readings a friend of mine, who was his host, in the North, undertook to initiate him into the mysteries of Irish wit. As a sample he gave Dickens the following: A definition of nothing,—a footless stocking without a leg. This conveyed nothing whatever to the mind of the greatest of English humourists; but when my friend took him to a certain spot and showed him a wall built round a vacant space, and explained to him that the native masons were instructed to build a wall round an old ruined church to protect it, and pulled down the church for the material to build the wall, he laughed heartily, and acknowledged the Irish had a sense of humour after all,—if not, a quaint absence of it.

[Pg 26]

To me so-called Irish wit is a curious combination not wholly dependent on humour, and frequently unconscious. There is a story that when Mr. Beerbohm Tree arrived in Dublin he was received by a crowd of his admirers, and jumping on to a car said to his jarvey, "Splendid reception that, driver!"

The jarvey thought a moment, and replied, "Maybe ye think so, but begorrah, it ain't a patch on the small-pox scare!" Was that meant?

The poor Saxon "towrist"—what he may suffer in the Emerald Isle! There is a story on record of three Irishmen rushing away from the race meeting at Punchestown to catch a train back to Dublin. At the moment a train from a long distance pulled up at the station, and the three men scrambled in. In the carriage was seated one other passenger. As soon as they had regained their breath, one said:

"Pat, have you got th' tickets?"

"What tickets? I've got me loife; I thought I'd have lost that gettin' in th' thrain. Have you got 'em, Moike?"

"Oi, begorrah, I haven't."

"Oh, we're all done for thin," said the third. "They'll charge us roight from the other soide of Oireland."

The old gentleman looked over his newspaper and said:

"You are quite safe, gintlemen; wait till we get to the next station."

They all three looked at each other. "Bedad, he's a directhor,—we're done for now entoirely."

But as soon as the train pulled up the little gentleman jumped out and came back with three first-class tickets. Handing them to the astonished strangers, he said, "Whist, I'll tell ye how I did it. I wint along the thrain—'Tickets plaze, tickets plaze,' I called, and these belong to three Saxon towrists in another carriage."

On the morning I left Ireland to seek my fortune in London I had a youthful notion that, once on the mainland of my parents' country, St. Paul's and the smoke of London would be visible; but we had passed through the Menai tunnel, grazed Conway Castle walls, and skirted miles of the Welsh rock-bound [Pg 27] coast, and yet no St. Paul's was visible to my naked eye which was plastered against the window-pane of the carriage. The other eye, clothed and in its right mind, inspected the carriage and discovered that there were two other occupants—a lady and her maid. These interesting passengers had recovered from the effects of the Channel passage, and were eating their lunch. The lady politely offered me some sandwiches. "No, thanks," I replied; "I shall lunch in London." This reminds me of a story I heard when I was in America, of two young English ladies arriving at New York. They immediately entered the Northern Express at the West Central. About 7 o'clock in the evening they arrived at Niagara—half an hour or so is given to the passengers to alight and look at the wonderful Falls. The gentleman who told me the story informed me that as the two ladies were getting back into the carriage he asked them if they were going to dine at once. They, ignorant of the vastness of the "gre—e—at country Amuraka," replied, "Oh, no, thanks, we are going to dine with our friends when we arrive. It can't be long now, we have been travelling so fast all the day!"

"And may I ask, young ladies, where your friends live?"

"We are going to an uncle who has been taken suddenly ill in San Francisco."

These young ladies would have had to wait certainly five days for their dinner,—I only five hours.

The strange lady and I conversed a great deal on various topics. By degrees she discovered that I was a young artist, friendless, and on his way to the great city to battle with fortune. I may have told her of my history, of my youthful ambitions and my professional plans,—anyway she told me of hers, and, while her maid was lazily slumbering, she confessed to me her troubles.

"My story," she said, "is a sad one. I am of good family, and I married a well-known professional London man. He turned out to be a gambler, and ran through my money, and I returned to my parents. I have left them this morning again, [Pg 28] and, like you, I am now on my way to London to start in life, and if possible make my own living. You see my appearance is not altogether unprepossessing" (she was tall, singularly handsome, a refined woman of style) ... I bowed ... "Well, I am also fortunate in having a good voice, it is well-trained, and I am going to London to sing as a paid professional in the houses in which I have formerly been a guest."

I sympathised with her, and she continued, weeping, to relate to me events of her unhappy married life until we arrived at Euston. I saw her and her maid into a four-wheeler, and I saw their luggage on the top. She gave me her card with her parents' address in London written on it, and requested that I would write to her at that address, as she would like to hear how I got on in London. I never saw her again. But I did write home, and found there was such a lady, her family were well-known society people in Ireland, and that her marriage had not been a happy one.

After three years in London I ran over to Ireland to see my parents. On my return I seemed to miss the charming companion of my journey over the same ground three years previously. Two uninteresting men were in the carriage: a typical German professor on tour, and communicative; and a typical English gentleman, uncommunicative. As the journey was a long one the German smoked, ate and drank himself to sleep, and after some hours the other man and I exchanged a word. The fact is I thought I knew his face,—I told him so. He thought he knew mine. "Had we gone to school together?" "No." He was at least ten years my senior. It happened he had been to school with my half-brother (my father was married twice,—I am the youngest son of his second family). We chatted freely about each other's family and on various topics, including the sleeping Teuton in the corner. I incidentally mentioned my last journey. The lady interested him, so I told him of the way in which she confessed to me. I waxed eloquent over her wrongs. He got still more excited as I described her husband as she described him to me; and as the [Pg 29] train rolled into Euston, he said, "Well, you know who I am, I know who you are,—I'll tell you one thing more: that woman's story is perfectly true—I'm her husband!"

That was one of the most extraordinary coincidences which ever happened to me. Three years after meeting the wife, over the same journey, at the same time of the year, I meet the husband; and I had never been the journey in the meantime.

[Pg 30]



I arrive in London—A Rogue and Vagabond—Two Ladies—Letters of Introduction—Bohemia—A Distinguished Member—My Double—A Rara Avis—The Duke of Broadacres—The Savages—A Souvenir—Portraits of the Past—J. L. Toole—Art and Artists—Sir Spencer Wells—John Pettie—Milton's Garden.

I did not make my appearance in London with merely the proverbial half-crown in my pocket, nor was I breathlessly expectant to find the CARICATURE OF MYSELF. CARICATURE OF MYSELF,
streets paved with gold. Thanks chiefly to my savings in Dublin, my balance at my bankers' was sufficient to keep me for at least a year, and as soon as the editors returned from their summer holidays I was fortunate enough to procure commissions, which have been pouring in pretty steadily ever since.

It was with a strange feeling that I found myself for the first time in London, among four millions of people, with not one of whom I could claim acquaintance, and I think it will not be out of place if I here offer a hint which may possibly be of use to other young men who are placed in similar circumstances. Upon first coming to the metropolis, then, let them invariably act, in as much as it is possible, as if they were Londoners old and seasoned. To stand gazing at St. Paul's with mouth agape and eyes astare, or to enquire your way to the National Gallery or Madame Tussaud's, is a sure means of finding yourself ere long [Pg 31] in the hands of the unscrupulous and designing. For my part, as I took my first admiring peep at the masterpiece of Sir Christopher, I whistled to myself with an air of nonchalance, and as I passed down Fleet Street I made a point of nodding familiarly to the passers-by as if I were already a frequent habitué of the thoroughfare of letters. Did I find myself accosted by any particularly ingenuous stranger asking his way, I always promptly told him to go on as straight as ever he could go—a piece of advice which, coming from one so young, I think was highly proper and creditable, whatever may have proved its value in some cases from a topographical point of view. On the other hand, the following incident will serve to show the prudence of exercising due caution in addressing strangers oneself.

Upon the evening of my arrival in the big city I had dined at the London Restaurant, which was situate at the corner of Chancery Lane and Fleet Street, in the premises now occupied by Messrs. Partridge and Cooper (the name of this firm must not be taken as an indication of the nature of my repast), and, fired with the curiosity of youth, I mounted the knifeboard of an omnibus bound for Hyde Park. Arrived at the famous statue of Wellington astride the impossible horse which has since ambled off to the seclusion of Aldershot, and which at once recalled to my mind the inimitable drawings of that infamous quadruped by John Leech, an artist who had done as much to familiarise me with London scenes and characters with his pencil as had Dickens with the pen, I happened to ask a sturdy artisan who was sitting beside me whether this was Hyde Park Corner.

"'Ide Park!" he muttered. "'Oo are you a-tryin' ter git at? 'Ide Park! None o' yer 'anky panky with me, my covey!"

I forthwith slipped off that 'bus, not a little nettled that the first person to whom I had spoken in London should have taken me for a rogue and a vagabond.

I had been fortunate enough to secure quarters which had been recommended to me in a comfortable boarding-house in one of the old-fashioned Inns in Holborn—Thavies' Inn—in which, I [Pg 32]was informed, whether accurately or not I do not pretend to know, the Knight Templars of old had once resided. There were no Knight Templars there when I arrived, but in their stead I found some highly-proper and non-belligerent clerics with their wives and families, and other visitors from the country, who seemed very satisfied with the comfortable provision that was made for them. But, best of all, I found a hostess who soon became one of the kindest and best of friends I ever had, and although I at once engaged a studio in the neighbouring artistic quarter of Newman Street, I continued for some time to live in Thavies' Inn in the enjoyment of the pleasant society and many advantages of her pleasant home.

Not the least of these to me was the perfect gallery of characters who were continually coming and going, and the many and various studies I made of the different visitors to that boarding-house long supplied me with ample material for my sketch-book.

I should be ungallant indeed were I to omit to add that not only was it a lady who first made me feel at home amid the bustle and turmoil of Modern Babylon, but that it was also a lady who primarily welcomed me as a contributor to the Press and gave me my first work in London. Curiously enough, both of these ladies possessed points of resemblance, not only in person, but in manner and goodness of heart. It was Miss Florence Marryat, then editress of London Society, who gave me my first commission, and I am more anxious to record the fact because I am aware that many a youthful journalist besides myself owed his first introduction to the public to the sympathy and enterprise of this accomplished lady. Perhaps I have less to grumble at personally than most others concerning the treatment which, as a young man, I experienced at the hands of editors; but I must say that the majority of such potentates with whom I then came in contact lamentably lacked that readiness to welcome new-comers which Miss Florence Marryat notably, and possibly too readily, evinced. Here I may offer a hint to beginners—that on coming to London letters of introduction are of little or no value. One such letter I [Pg 33] possessed, and it led me into more trouble, and was the means of my losing more time, than I should ever have received recompense for, even if it had obtained me the work which it was intended to bring me.

In the first place, these letters often get into the hands of others than the particular individuals to whom they are addressed. In my case the letter had been inadvertently directed to the literary editor instead of to the art editor of one of the largest publishing firms, and that gentleman—I refer to the literary editor—was good enough to supply me with a quantity of work. I executed the commission, but, lo and behold! when I sent the work in, the monster Red Tape intervened in the person of the art editor, who became scarlet with rage because he had not been invoked instead of his colleague, and promptly repudiated the entire contract. Thereupon the literary editor wrote to me saying that unless I withdrew my contributions he would be personally out of pocket; and it may not be uninteresting to record that some day, when I strip this amongst my other mummies, it will be found that he subsequently became a wearer of lawn sleeves. Thus, whilst the two editors quarrelled between themselves, I was left out in the cold, and became a considerable loser over the transaction.

A propos of letters of introduction, I am reminded of a brother artist, who, although a caricaturist, was entirely devoid of guile, and, in addition, was as absent-minded as the popularly-accepted type of ardent scientist or professor of ultra-abstruse subject. Well, this curious species of satirist was setting forth on travels in foreign climes, and in order to lighten in some measure the vicissitudes inseparable from peripatetic wandering, he was provided with a letter of introduction to a certain British consul. The writer of this letter enclosed it in one to my friend, in which he said that he would find the consul a most arrant snob, and a bumptious, arrogant humbug as well—in fact, a cad to the backbone; but that he (my friend) was not to mind this, for, as he could claim acquaintanceship with several dukes and duchesses, all he had to do was to trot out their names for the edification of the consul, who would then render him every [Pg 34] attention, and thus compensate him to some extent for having to come into contact with such an insufferable vulgarian. On the return of the guileless satirist to England the writer of the letter of introduction inquired how he had fared with the consul, and great was his surprise to hear him drawl out, in his habitual lethargic manner:

"Well, my dear fellow, he did not receive me very warmly, and he did not ask me to dinner. In fact, he struck me as being rather cool."

"Well, you do surprise me!" rejoined his friend. "He's a horrible cad, as I told you in my letter, but he's awfully hospitable, and I really can't understand what you tell me. You gave him my letter of introduction?"

"Well, I thought so," said my friend; "but, do you know, on my journey home I discovered it in my pocket-book, so I must have handed him instead your note to me about him!"

Of course, in the remarks which I have been making I have not been alluding to letters of merely social introduction, which are of an entirely different nature. Such letters are generally handed to the individual to whom they are addressed at more propitious moments, when he is not either hard at work, as the case may be, in his editorial chair, or overburdened with anxiety as to the fluctuations of the Bank rate.

Be that as it may, I cannot refrain from citing here the case of another brother artist, who was particular in the extreme as regarded the neatness of his apparel and his personal appearance in general; in fact, he laboured, rightly or wrongly, under the impression that the manner in which a letter of introduction is received and acted upon by the person to whom it is addressed depends upon the raiment and tout ensemble of the bearer.

Well, it so happened that he once had a letter of introduction to a man he particularly wished to know, but, of all places in the world, fate had designed that he should have no choice but to deliver it in the boring of the Channel Tunnel, where the dripping roof rendered it necessary for all visitors to be encased from head to foot in the vilest and most unbecoming tarpaulin overalls. It was in these circumstances, then, that [Pg 35] the introduction took place, and as nothing came of it, my friend will now go to his grave in the firm belief that fine feathers make fine birds in the eyes of all those who receive letters of introduction.

The first Bohemian Club I joined was located over Gaze's Tourist Offices in the Strand. Nearly my first engagement in London was for a still flourishing sixpenny weekly. Started in Wellington Street, close by, the editorial offices were there certainly, but editor, proprietors, and others were not. They were only to be found in "the Club," so through necessity I became a member. AGE 20. AGE 20.
[From a photo. by W. & D. Downey.]
The flowing bowl of that iniquitous concoction, punch, was brewed for the staff early in the afternoon and kept flowing till early the next morning. The "Club" never closed day or night till the broker's man took possession and closed it for good. I, being young and unknown, was surprised to find myself an object of attraction whenever I was in the Club. There was something strange about me, something mysterious. This was so marked that my brief visits to find my editor were few and far between. I discovered afterwards that the curiosity and attention paid me had nothing to do with my work, or my personal appearance, or my natural shyness or youth. It was aroused by the fact that I was known as "the member who had paid his subscription!"

This fact being noised abroad. I found it an easy matter to get elected to another and a better Bohemian Club, having beautiful premises on the Adelphi Terrace—a Club which has since gone through many vicissitudes, but I think still exists in a small way. At the time I mention it was much what the Savage Club is now; in fact, was located in the same Terrace. Its smoking concerts, too, were its great attractions, and on one [Pg 36] of these evenings I played a part worth reciting, if only to illustrate how difficult it is for some minds to understand a joke.

A well-known literary man called to see me. On a table in my studio lay a "make-up" box—used by actors preparing their faces for the footlights—a bald head with fringe of light hair, large fair moustache, wig paste, a suit of clothes too large for me, and other trifles. My visitor's curiosity was aroused. Taking up my "properties," he asked me what they were for. I explained to him a huge joke had been arranged as a surprise at the Club smoking concert to take place that very evening, A SUCCESSFUL MAKE-UP. A SUCCESSFUL "MAKE-UP." in which I was to play a part with a well-known and highly-popular member—the funny man of the Club, and an eccentric-looking one to boot. He had conceived the idea to make me up as a double of himself. We were the same height, but otherwise we in no way resembled each other. He was stout, I was thin; he prematurely bald, I enjoyed a superabundance of auburn locks; but he had very marked characteristics, and wore very remarkable clothes. He was also very clever at "making-up." The idea was to test his talent in this direction, and deceive the whole of our friends. It was arranged that he was to leave the piano after singing half his song, and I—up to that moment concealed—was to come forward and continue it. This I explained to my visitor, who expressed his belief that the deception was impossible. He promised to keep the secret, and that evening was early in the room and seated close to the piano. My "double"—fortunately for me, an amateur—sang the first verses of one of his well-known songs, but in the middle of it complained of the heat of the room (one of those large rooms on the first floor in Adelphi Terrace, famous for the Angelica Kaufmann paintings on the ceiling), and opening the French [Pg 37] window close to the piano he went out on to the balcony. There I was, having walked along the balcony from the next room. So successful was my "make-up" that in passing through the supper-room to get on to the balcony some of the members spoke to me under the impression I was the other member! The hall-porter had handed me a letter intended for my "double." Of course I imitated his walk, his mannerisms at the piano, and his voice, but I made a poor attempt to sing. This was the joke. "What was the matter?" "Never sang like that before," "Evidently thinks it is funny to be completely out of tune," "Hullo, what is this?" as my "double" walked through the crowded room just as I finished, and shook hands with me!

I would really have sung the song better, but my eye happened to catch the puzzled stare of my friend the literary visitor in the front row. He looked angry and annoyed, and before my "double" came up to me, my friend, scowling at me, said, "Sir, I think it is infernal bad taste on your part to imitate my friend Harry Furniss!"

Who is it that says we English have no sense of humour? My "double" in the preceding tale was my brother-in-law, who as a boy was the companion of Mr. George Grossmith, and in fact once appeared as an amateur at German Reed's, the old Gallery of Illustration, in a piece, with "Gee Gee" as his double, entitled "Too much Alike."

He was also an inveterate and clever raconteur, and of course occasionally made a slip, as for instance, on a railway journey to Brighton once, when he found himself alone with a stranger. The stranger in conversation happened to ask my relative casually if he were fond of travelling. "Travelling? I should rather think so" he replied airily, and imagining he was impressing someone who was "something in the City," he continued, "Yes, sir, I'm a pretty experienced traveller. Been mostly round the world and all that kind of thing, you know, and had my share of adventures, I can tell you!" After a bit he gained more confidence, and launched into details, giving the stranger the benefit of his experience. "Why, sir, you read in books that hunters of big game, such as tigers, watch their eyes. [Pg 38] Not a bit of it. What you have got to do is to watch the tail, and that's the thing. It mesmerises the animal, so to speak, and you have him at your mercy," and so forth, and so forth. On arriving at the hotel he found his travelling companion had just signed his name in the visitors' book. It was Richard Burton! My brother-in-law hastened to apologise to Sir Richard for his absurd tales. He had no idea, of course, to whom he was retailing his stiff yarns. Burton laughed. "My dear sir, not a word, please. I was more entertained than I can tell you. You really might have travelled—you lie so well!"

One of the most eccentric men I ever met, and certainly one of the most successful journalists—a rara avis, for he made a fortune in Fleet TWO TRAVELLERS. TWO TRAVELLERS. Street, and retired to live in a castle in the country—was a man whose name, although a very singular one, remains absolutely unknown even to members of the Fourth Estate. He was a clever, hard-working journalist; every line he wrote—and he was always writing—was printed and well-paid for, but he never signed an article, whilst others, journalists, specialists, poets, essayists—logrollers of high degree—see their name often enough, are "celebrities," "men of the time," fêted and written about, but eventually retire on the Civil List. Eccentricity is the breath of their nostrils, their very existence depends upon it, publicity is essential. My friend's eccentricity was for his own pleasure. He lived in a frugal—some might think in a miserly way—in two rooms in one of the Inns of Court. Perhaps I shall be more correct if I say he existed in one. A loaf of bread and half a pint of milk was his daily fare. The room he slept in he worked in. The other was empty, save for bundles of dusty old newspapers containing articles from his ever active brain. "I keep this room," said he, "for times when I am over-wrought. Then I shut myself up in it, and roar! When by this process I have blown away my mental cobwebs, my brain [Pg 39] regains its pristine energy, and I go back to my study calm and collected, having done no one any harm, and myself a lot of good." I have dined at his Club with him in the most luxurious fashion, quite regardless of expense. He was a capital host, but, like the magazines he wrote for, he only appeared replete once a month. His Press work he looked upon as mere bread and milk. His work was excellent, journalism which editors term "safe," neither too brilliant nor too dull, certainly having no trace whatever of eccentricity.

I may here offer an opinion, and make a suggestion to young journalists, and that is—safe, steady, dull mediocrity is what pays in the long run; to attempt to be brilliant when not a genius is fatal. To have the genius, brilliancy, pluck, and success means tremendous prosperity and favour for a time, but the editors and the public tire of your cleverness. You are too much in evidence. It is safer from a mere business standpoint to be the steady, stupid tortoise than the brilliant hare. The man or woman who writes a carefully thought-out essay is flattered, and quoted, and talked about: for that article the writer may possibly receive as many sovereigns as the writer of a newspaper article receives shillings; but the shillings come every day, and the sovereigns once a month. It is wiser in the long run to be satisfied with a loaf and milk once a day than with a dinner at a Club every four weeks.

If in the old days the Bohemian scribbler was not in Society, he could at least imagine himself there. There was nothing to prevent his speaking of a member of the aristocracy as "one of us" with far less embarrassment and with as much truth as he could nowadays when he is invited—but still as the oil that never will mix with water. Except in imagination—an imagination such as I recollect a well-known figure in literary Bohemia had when I knew it well, a writer of stories for the popular papers: Society stories, in which a Duke ran away with a governess, or a Duchess eloped with an artist, each weekly instalment winding up with a sensational event, so as to carry forward the interest of the reader. This writer—quite excellent in his way—a thorough Bohemian, knowing nothing about the [Pg 40] Society he wrote about, had the power of making himself, and sometimes fresh acquaintances, believe that he played in real life a part in the story he was writing. He did not refer to the experiences as related by him as incidents in his story, but as actual events of the day.

"Brandy and soda? Thanks. My dear fellow, I feel a perfect wreck, shaken to pieces. I had an experience to-day I shall never forget. I have just THE DUKE OF BROADACRES. THE DUKE OF BROADACRES. arrived from Devonshire; ran down by a night train to look at a hunter Lord Briarrose wanted to sell me. Bob—that is Briarrose—and I travelled together. He is going to be married, you know; heiress; great beauty—neighbour—rolling in wealth. I stopped at the Castle last night, and before Bob was up I was on the thoroughbred and well over the country, returning about eleven along the top of the cliffs. To my horror, I saw a carriage and pair charging down a road which at one time continued a long distance skirting the cliffs. Cliffs had fallen; road cut off; unprotected; drop down cliff eight hundred feet on to pointed rocks and deep sea. There was nothing between the runaway horses and the cliff, except a storm-broken solitary tree with one branch curved over the road. When the horses bolted, the groom fell off. There was only a lady in the carriage, powerless to stop the frightened steeds dashing on to death. As she approached I was electrified. Something told me she was Bob's fiancée. A moment and I was charging the hunter under that tree. Jumping up out of the saddle, I clasped the solitary branch with both hands, and turning as an acrobat would on a trapeze, I hung by my legs, hands downwards, calling to the lady to clasp them. The fiery steeds and the oscillating carriage dashed under me—our [Pg 41] hands met. With a superhuman effort I raised the fainting fairy form out of the vehicle as it passed like a whirlwind. The next moment horses and carriage were being dashed to pieces on the rocks below. Under our united weight the branch of the tree broke, and we fell unhurt on the moss-covered path. When the eyes of the fair lady opened to gaze upon her deliverer, I started as if shot. She sprang to her feet. 'Reginald!' she cried. 'Is it you?'


"She was my first love. We had not seen each other for years! Thanks. I'll have some more brandy. Hot this time, with some sugar, please."

The following week The London Library appeared. I bought it, and read "The Duke's Oak," all about Lord Briarrose and Lady Betty Buttercup and the runaway horses. The tree with the one branch gave the title to the story, and the Dashing Duke of Broadacres was the aristocratic acrobat—my friend the author!

The Savage Club is a remnant of Bohemian London. It was started at a period when art, literature, and the drama were at their lowest ebb—in the "good old days" when artists wore seedy velveteen coats, smoked clays, and generally had their works of art exhibited in pawnbrokers' windows; when journalists were paid at the same rate and received the same treatment as office-boys; and when actors commanded as many shillings a week as they do pounds at present. This typical trio now exists only in the imagination of the lady novelist. When first the little band of Savages met they smoked their calumets over a public-house in the vicinity of Drury Lane, in a room with a sanded floor; a chop and a pint of ale was [Pg 42] their fare, and good-fellowship atoned for lack of funds. The Brothers Brough, Andrew Halliday, Tom Robertson, and other clever men were the original Savages, and the latter in one of his charming pieces made capital out of an incident at the Club. One member asks another for a few shillings. "Very sorry, old chap, I haven't got it, but I'll ask Smith." Smith replies, "Not a cent myself, but I'll ask Brown." Brown asks Robinson, and so on until a Crœsus is found with five shillings in his pocket, which he is only too willing to lend. But this true Bohemianism is as dead as THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN AS A SAVAGE. THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN AS
Queen Anne, and the Savages now live merely on the traditions of the past. His Majesty the King, when Prince of Wales, was a member of the Club, and an Earl takes the chair and entertains my Lord Mayor with his flunkeys and all. The Club is now as much advertised as the Imperial Institute, but the true old flavour is no more. No doubt some excellent men and good fellows are still in the Savage wigwam. Some Bohemians—a sprinkling of those Micawbers, "waiting for something to turn up"—keep up its reputation, but in reality it is only Savage now in name.

I was not thirty when I ceased to be a member. I had been on the committee, and had taken an active part in matters concerning it, until it changed its character and lost its true Bohemian individuality, and being a member of the Garrick Club, I found matured in it the element the Savage endeavoured at that time to emulate. Although I am still in my forties, few of those with whom I smoked the calumet of peace round the camp fire at a great pow-wow in the wigwam of the excellent Savages, alas! remain.

The old Grecian Theatre in the City Road was the nursery of many members of the theatrical profession, and authors too. [Pg 43] Two well-known members of the Savage Club, Merritt and Pettitt, were writers of the ANOTHER GAP IN OUR RANKS. ANOTHER GAP IN OUR
common stuff necessary for the melodramas of the kind connected with their names. Merritt would have made an equal fortune if exhibited as the original fat boy in "Pickwick," or as a prize baby at a show. I suppose my readers are aware that it is not necessary to be a baby in order to be exhibited as one, for I recollect, in my Bohemian days, going down to Woolwich Gardens when the famous William Holland was manager of them, and accidentally strolling into a tent outside of which was a placard, "The Largest Baby in the World! 6d." I was not expected,—and the "Baby" was walking about in his baby-clothes, with little pink bows on his shoulders, smoking a horrible black clay pipe. He was the dwarf policeman in Holland's pantomime in the winter-time!


Merritt would have made a capital prize baby. He was tall, very stout, and possessed of a perfectly hairless, baby's face and a squeaky little voice. I shall never forget a prize remark this transpontine author made in the Savage Club, when an editor rushed in and said, "Have you heard the news? Carlyle is dead!" Merritt rose, and putting his hand on his chest, squeaked out, "Another gap in our ranks!"

A peculiar figure in Bohemia in those old days was "J." Pope, known as "Jope," brother of the late celebrated K.C. Jo was [Pg 44] nearly as large as his brother, the well-known legal luminary, and Paul Merritt rolled into one, and wore his black wide-awake on the back of his pleasing, intelligent head. I saw him one sultry autumn evening leaning against a lamp-post in Chancery Lane to take breath.

"Hullo, Pope, where are you going?"


"My dear boy, let me lean on you a minute. I'm going up to the Birkbeck—to lecture—to lecture on 'Air, and How We Breathe!'"

As a contrast to the popular Doctor was a wit more popularly known, H. J. Byron—as thin as the proverbial lamp-post. Of course the stories about Byron would fill a volume, but there is one that is always worth repeating, and that is his reply to a vulgar and obtrusive stranger who met him at Plymouth, and said to him, "Mr. Byron, I've 'ad a walk hall round the 'Oe."

"Yes, old chap, and the next time you have a walk I advise you to walk all round the H."

In those merry gatherings I recall the familiar features of true Bohemians, when Bohemianism was at its best—not the ornamental names of those one finds mentioned in all reports of the famous gatherings, but of the members who really used and made the Club. Few of the outside public recollect, for instance, the name of Arthur Mathieson, who wrote and sang that pathetic ballad, "The Little Hero"; who also was an actor and writer of ability,—in fact, he was what is fatal to men of his class—a veritable Crichton. Being in appearance not unlike Sir Henry Irving, he was engaged by our leading actor to play his double in "The Corsican Brothers," and made up so like his chief that no one could possibly tell the difference between the two. One evening during the run of the piece an old Irishwoman who was duster of the theatre, and with whom [Pg 45] the genial double of Sir Henry often had a friendly word, approached as she thought the familiar M., and in a rather frivolous mood innocently tickled the actor under the chin with her dusting-broom.

"My good woman, what do you mean?"

The poor Irishwoman dropped on her knees, clasped her hands and said, "The Saints protect me! it's the Masther himself—I'm kilt entoirely."

The "Masther," however, probably enjoyed the humour of it. Sir Henry, like his dear old friend Mr. J. L. Toole, has found a relief in occasional harmless fun. Toole, however, was irrepressible.


I was one day walking with him in Leeds (when he was appearing in the evening on the stage, and I on the platform). A street hawker proffered the comedian a metal pencil-case for the sum of a halfpenny. Toole made this valuable purchase. As soon as I left the platform that night, I found a note for me, inviting me to the theatre directly after the performance. Toole came back on to the stage, and making me an elaborate and complimentary speech, referring to me as "a brother artist in another sphere," etc., etc., presented me with the pencil! I made an appropriate reply, and we went to supper.

The following paragraph from the pen of Mr. Toole appeared in the Press the next day in London as well as the provinces:

"Brother artists, even when working in different grooves, do not lack appreciation of each other's work. After Mr. Harry Furniss's lecture in Leeds the other night, he and Mr. Toole foregathered; and the popular and genial actor presented the 'comedian of the pencil' with a very neat and handsome pencil-case, just adapted for the jotting down, wherever duty takes him, of those graphic sketches with which the caricaturist amuses us week by week."

[Pg 46]

I must confess I am sometimes guilty of mild practical jokes, but I am always careful to select reciprocative and kindred spirits—with such a spirit of practical joking as J. L. Toole, for instance. He and I have had many a joke at each other's expense. It so happened that when he was producing the great success, "The House Boat," he wintered at Hastings, where I had a house for the season, and we saw a great deal of each other. Toole was always what is called a bad study—that is, it was with great difficulty and pain he learnt his parts. On this occasion the time was drawing nearer and nearer for the production; he was getting more and more nervous about his new part, and I received a visit from his friend the late Edmund Routledge, asking me to protect "Johnny" from his friends—in other words, to keep his whereabouts dark, as he had to study. Toole had had one or two little practical jokes with me, which I owed him for, so having to rush up to town, I had the following letter written to him:

"Dear Mr. Toole,—I suppose you recollect your old friends in Smoketown when you performed one night at our Hall and did us the honour of stopping at our house over Sunday. You then kindly asked us all to stop with you when we went to London—a promise we have treasured ever since. We called at Maida Vale yesterday, but finding you were at Hastings I write now to say that we are on our way. Besides myself I am bringing dear Aunt Jane you will remember—now unfortunately a confirmed invalid—and my boy Tom who has got a bad leg, and Uncle William and his three daughters, and my dear Sue, who, I am sorry to say, is still suffering, but I think a week at Hastings will do us all a world of good—particularly to have you to amuse us all the time.

"Yours very truly,"

And a signature was attached which I could not myself read.

The next day in London a hansom pulled up close to where I was walking, and a friend of Toole's jumped out, and, seizing my hand, he said, "I say, Furniss, you travel about a lot, lecturing and all that kind of thing—do you know Smoketown?"

[Pg 47]

The Original Drawing was by request presented to His Royal Highness.

[Pg 48]


[Pg 49]

"Smoketown!" I said, "Smoketown!" (Truth to tell, at the moment I had quite forgotten all about my letter to Toole; then it dawned upon me.) "Oh, yes—well," I said; "I had one night there, and some frightful friends of Toole's bored my life out. He had invited them, I believe, to stop with him in London, and they—"

"Just the people I want. What's their name?"

"I forget that entirely."

"Can you read this?" he said, producing my letter.

"No," I said; "I can't read that signature."

"Do you know where they are likely to put up in town?"

"Not the slightest idea."

"I've tried every hotel in London."

"Temperance?" I asked.

"No, not one. Happy thought!—of course that is where they'll be."

"Try them all," I said, as I waved my hand. And off the cab rushed to visit the various temperance hotels in London.

The next day I returned to Hastings, and went straight to Mr. Toole's hotel. Getting the hall porter into my confidence, he sent up a message to Mr. Toole that a gentleman with a large family had arrived to see him; and the porter and I made the noise of ten up the stairs, and eventually the gentleman and family were announced at Toole's door. I shall never forget poor Toole, standing in an attitude so familiar to the British public, with his eye-glass in his hand and his eyes cast on the ground—he was afraid to raise them. As soon as he did, however, his other hand caught the first book that was handy, and it was flung at my head.

Bohemianism, when I arrived in London, was emigrating from the tavern of sanded floors and clay pipes into Clubland. Artists, authors, actors, and journalists were starting clubs of their own, simply to continue the same pot-house life without restraint; in place of turning the public-house into a club, they turned the club into a public-house. If journalists in Grub Street were at their worst in those days, artists were at their best. The great boom in trade which followed the Franco-German War produced [Pg 50] a wave of extraordinary prosperity, which landed many a tramp struggling in troubled waters safely on the beach of fortune. Working men in the North were drinking champagne; some of them rose to be masters and millionaires. They tired of drinking champagne, they could not play the pianos they had bought, or enjoy the mansions they had built; but they could rival each other in covering their walls with pictures, so the poorest "pot-boiler" found a ready sale. The most indifferent daubs were sold as quickly as they could be framed. Artists then built their mansions, drank champagne, and played on their grand pianos. When I, still in my teens, first met these good fellows, I might have been tempted, seeing what wretched work satisfied the picture-dealer, to abandon black and white for colour; but already the boom was over. Artists, like their patrons, had found out their mistake. They had either to let or sell their costly houses, and have, with few exceptions, little to show now for those wonderful days of prosperity in the early seventies—which they still talk over in their clubs in Bohemia.

The few exceptions are the survival of the fittest. But the best of artists have never seen such a boom in art as that I saw in my early days in London. It cannot be denied that, from a fashionable point of view, picture shows are going down. Artists have had to stand on one side as popular Society favourites: the actors have taken their place. One has only to visit the studios on "Show Sundays" to see what a falling off there is. "Show Sunday" was, some years ago, one of the events of the year. From Kensington to St. John's Wood, and up to Hampstead, the studios of the mighty attracted hosts of fashionable people to these annual gatherings.

[Pg 51]

A familiar figure at these for many years was the genial Sir Spencer Wells, the well-known surgeon. He lived monarch of all he surveyed at Golder's Hill, Hampstead, and many a morning I met him when riding, and we jogged into town together. He was a capital raconteur, a happy wit, and told one incident I always recall to mind as I pass a house on the top of Fitzjohn's Avenue, where a few years ago lived, painted and "received" that Wilson Barrett of the brush, Edwin Long, R.A., a hard-working, self-made artist who amassed a fortune by successfully gauging the taste of the large middle-class English public in mixing religion with voluptuous melodrama. On the annual "Show Sunday" no studio was more popular than Long's. His subjects perhaps had something to do with it. They were in keeping with the Sabbath. The work too was as smooth and as highly finished as the most orthodox sermon. Ars longa est. Yes, said some cynic, but art is not Long. But anyway Long's art was commercially successful, and he was what is known as "a good business man."

As haberdashers in the days of crude advertising used to place men in costume at the shop door—a fireman when they were selling off a damaged salvage stock, or a sailor or, if a very enterprising tradesman, a diver, helmet and all, when selling off goods damaged from a wreck—so did this Academician, when exhibiting Biblical subjects on "Show Sunday," engage a Nubian model to stand at the door of his shop. This man had also to announce the names of the guests, and when the small, spectacled, simple man with the large smile gave his name, Sir Spencer Wells, the model pulled himself up to his full height and in his best [Pg 52] English proudly and loudly announced to the crowd in the studio—

"The Prince of Wales!"

The effect was magical: all fell in line, ladies curtseyed, men bowed, when the Prince of Hampstead Heath entered. The artist looked as black as his model, and the visitors laughed.

At the other end of Fitzjohn's Avenue once lived that ever popular Academician, the late Mr. John Pettie. Mr. Pettie was a vigorous draughtsman and a beautiful colourist, and many of his portraits are very fine. He seemed to revel in painting a red coat—an object to many painters as maddening as it is to the infuriated bull. On one "Show Sunday" before the sending-in day of the Royal Academy, at which he exhibited, I recollect admiring a portrait of Mr. Lamb, the celebrated golfer, in his red coat, when the original of the portrait came into the studio. Not feeling very well, Mr. Pettie had to avoid the crowd of his admirers seeing him. There were a few exceptions, of which I was one. I had just left him when I saw Mr. Lamb before his picture. In this portrait the "bulger" golf club—which Mr. Lamb, I believe, invented, to the delight of the golfing world—is introduced. I ran back to Mr. Pettie and told him that there was a stupid man in the studio wanting to know why artists always draw golf clubs wrongly; that as a Scotchman he must protest against such a club, which was out of shape, like a club foot. "Tell him, mon, it's a bulger—Lamb's invention!" I returned. "He wants to know who Mr. Lamb is, and what is a bulger?—perhaps it's a new kind of hunting-crop and not a golf club at all?" In rushed Mr. Pettie, like an enraged lion, to slay the ignorant visitor, but in reality to shake hands with Mr. Lamb and explain my childish joke.

Leaving Pettie, I called at a studio near Hampstead occupied by a very clever Irish artist, who was very much depressed when I entered. Gazing in bewilderment at his picture for the Academy, representing Milton with his daughters in his garden at Chalfont St. Giles, he said—

"Furniss, I'm in an awful state entoirely over this picture. One of those critic fellows has been in here, and he tells me this [Pg 53] picture won't do at all at all. I've painted in Milton's garden as I've seen it, but the critic tells me that these are all modern flowers and weren't known in the country in the poet's time. Now, what on earth am Oi to do?"

"Oh, don't bother about those critics," I said. "They know nothing. Milton was blind, don't you know, so how could he tell whether the flowers were correct or not?"

"Begorrah, Furniss, you're right. Oi never thought of that. It's just like those ignorant critic chaps to upset a fellow in this way."

[Pg 54]



Acting as Special Artist for The Illustrated London News.

The Light Brigade—Miss Thompson (Lady Butler)—Slumming—The Boat Race—Realism—A Phantasmagoria—Orlando and the Caitiff—Fancy Dress Balls—Lewis Wingfield—Cinderella—A Model—All Night Sitting—An Impromptu Easel—"Where there's a Will there's a Way"—The American Sunday Papers—I am Deaf—The Grill—The World's Fair—Exaggeration—Personally Conducted—The Charnel House—10, Downing Street—I attend a Cabinet Council—An Illustration by Mr. Labouchere—The Great Lincolnshire Trial—Praying without Prejudice

[Pg 55]


[Pg 56]


[Pg 57]

Sir William Russell and I were called upon at a banquet in the City to respond to the toast of the Press. Sir William made one of his characteristic, graceful little speeches, reminiscential and modest. When I rose I was for a moment also reminiscential—but not modest. "My Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, and Masters of this Worshipful Company,—I appreciate the appropriateness in coupling my name with that of Sir William Russell, for both of us have made a noise in the world at the same time—Dr. Russell with his first war letters to the Times, and I in my cradle, for I came into this troubled world while others in arms were making a noise in the Crimea."


Naturally for this reason I have always taken an interest in the doings of that time; so it was quite con amore that I acted as "special" at the first Balaclava Celebration Banquet (1875), twenty years after "Billy" Russell's first war letters and my first birthday.

The roll-call on the occasion was funny, seeing that it was that of the "Light Brigade"—some were "light" and many were heavy—one I recollect was about eighteen stone. The [Pg 58]banquet was held in the Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill. The visitors, except the military—past or present—were shamefully treated. We had to stand all the time behind the chairs and wearily watch a scene not altogether elevating to lookers-on. We were not allowed a chair to sit on, nor any refreshment of any kind—not even if we paid for it; and I well recollect how hungry I was when I returned to my studio after a tedious journey at 1 in the morning, having had nothing to eat since 1 of the previous day. Such Red Tape was, I suppose, to illustrate the disgraceful arrangements of the commissariat in the Crimea! I was standing close to Miss Thompson (Lady Butler), who had just become famous by her picture "The Roll Call." She was making notes, and possibly intended painting a sequel to her celebrated picture. She was exhausted and tired, and no doubt too disgusted by such ungallant conduct on the part of the organisers of the banquet to touch the subject. Had she painted this particular roll-call I fear many of the figures would have had to be drawn out of the perpendicular.

Twenty years before one of the heroes was, possibly, a better and a wiser man, and tackled the "Rooshins" with greater dexterity than he displayed on this occasion in managing a jelly. He had waiters to right of him, waiters to left of him, and waiters behind him, but that jelly defeated him, although he charged it with fork, spoon, and finally with fingers.

From a very early age it was naturally my ambition to be introduced to Mr. Punch, but this was not to be just yet, and the first London paper for which I drew regularly was the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, which was started soon after I arrived in London. I continued to work for it until it was bought by the proprietor of the Illustrated London News, when I became a large contributor to that leading illustrated paper.

Most of my work for the Illustrated London News consisted of single and double pages of character sketches, in which Eton and Harrow cricket matches, Oxford and Cambridge boat races, tennis meetings, the Lawn at Goodwood, and many other scenes [Pg 59]of English life were treated pictorially; but I also acted sometimes in the capacity of a special correspondent, and this duty sometimes took me into places far from pleasant.

Page (reduction), "Illustrated London News." Republished by permission of the proprietors.

On my twenty-fourth Christmas, the year after I was married, I recollect having to start off upon such a mission to the North of England, where, owing to strikes and labour disputes, most distressing scenes were taking place. Throwing myself into the work, I thoroughly ferreted out the distress which prevailed, pursuing my investigations into the very garrets of the poor starving creatures whose privacy I thus disturbed at the entreaty and under the escort of the district visitors and other benevolent people, whilst the criminal classes also came in for a share of my observation, which in this case was conducted under the sheltering wing of a detective.

I cannot, however, say that my energy met with its due reward, for such was the realism with which I had treated the [Pg 60]subject allotted to me that the editor and proprietors of the Illustrated London News were reluctant to shock the susceptibilities of their readers by presenting them with such scenes, and I had to substitute for them sketches of soup kitchens, committee meetings and refuges. That the editorial decision was not a sound one was amply proved a few years later, when during a somewhat similar crisis Mr. G. R. Sims and the late Mr. Fred Barnard published work of a similar breadth and boldness with signal effect.

Visiting slums, seeing death from want and misery on all sides, is certainly not the most pleasant way of spending the festive season. In company with detectives, clergymen, or self-sacrificing district visitors, you may swallow the pill with the silver on; but try it single-handed, and it is a very different affair. I was taken for some demon rent-collector prowling about, and was peered at through broken windows and doors, and received with language warm enough to thaw the icicles. The sketches I made during the weeks I spent in the haunts of want and misery would have made a startling volume, but time and money were thrown away, and only the perfunctory pictures were published. The public have no idea, or seldom think, of the great trouble and expense incurred in faithfully depicting everyday scenes. Still, it is not possible for a "special" even to see everything, or to be in two places simultaneously; and consequently, in ordinary pictorial representations, dummy figures are frequently looked upon as true portraits. One boat race, for example, is very much like another. Some years ago I executed a panoramic series of sketches of the University Race from start to finish, and as they were urgently wanted, the drawings had to be sent in the same day. Early in the morning, before the break of fast, I found myself at Putney, rowing up to Mortlake, taking notes of the different points on the way—local colour through a fog. Getting home before the Londoners started for the scene, I was at work, and the drawings—minus the boats—were sent in shortly after the news of the race. The figures were imaginary and unimportant, but one correspondent wrote to point out the exact spot where he stood, and complained [Pg 61]of my leaving out the black band on his white hat, and placing him too near a pretty girl, adding that his wife, who had not been present, had recognised his portrait.

Yes, I must confess, one has often to draw upon the imagination even in serious "realism," Some years ago I went with a colleague of the pen to illustrate and describe the dreadful scenes which were said to take place in St. James's Park, where the poor people were seen to sleep all night on the seats. We arrived about 2 a.m. It was a beautiful moonlight night, but though we walked up and down for hours not a soul came in sight. My companion said, "It's a bad business; we cannot do anything with this." I replied, "We must not go away without something to show; REALISM! REALISM! now if you will lie down I will make a sketch of you, and then I will lie down and you can describe me."

One of the most "uncanny" experiences I ever had as a "special" I find graphically described by the late Hon. Lewis Wingfield, who accompanied me on the strange mission.

"Winter without. Snow. A sea of billows drifting across the sky, glittering, frosted—a symphony in metals—silver, aluminium, lead—rendered buoyant for the nonce, ethereal—as though the world were really gone Christmas mad, and, having a sudden attack of topsy-turvydom in its inside, had taken to showering its treasures about the firmament, instead of keeping them snugly put away in mines below ground. A sheet of snow, and bitter white rain driving still. A huge building looming black, its many eyes staring into the dark—lidless, bilious, vacant. This is a hospital. Or is it a factory, disguised with a veneer of the Puginesque? Or an æsthetic barrack? Or an artistic workhouse? Visible yet, under falling snow which has not had time to cover them, are flower-beds, shrub-plots, meandering walks. Too genteel and ambitious for the most æsthetic of workhouses or advanced of hospitals, we [Pg 62] wonder what the building is; and our wonder is not decreased by seeing a postern opened in a huge black wall, from which a handful of conspirators creep silently. We rub our eyes. Are we dreaming? Is this, or is it not, the age of scientific marvels, levelling of castes, rampant communism, murder, agrarian outrage, sudden massacre?—the olla podrida which we are pleased to denominate enlightenment? That first black figure is James the Second. Heavens! The Jacobites live yet, and will join, doubtless, with the Fenians and Mr. Bradlaugh, and a posse comitatus of iconoclasts, to upset the reign of THE CAITIFF AND ORLANDO. "THE CAITIFF" AND ORLANDO. order, and add a thorn to the chaplet of our hard-run Premier. James the Second. Not a doubt of it. There he is—periwig, black velvet, and bugles. Where, oh where, is the Great Seal, with which he played ducks and drakes in the Thames? Yet no. This is no Jacobite plot, for His Majesty is followed by no troop of partisans on tiptoe in hose and doublet. He is not seeking to win his own again. A woodman trudges behind—we recognise him, for his name's "Orlando"—(Wingfield himself, in a beautiful costume, which he had made two years previously when playing the part of Orlando in a production of "As You Like It" in Manchester, the Calvert Memorial performance; Miss Helen Faucit (Lady Martin), Rosalind; Herman Merivale, Touchstone; Tom Taylor, Adam; and other well-known celebrities assisting). Then he describes me: "A muffled creature of sinister aspect. Short, auburn-locked, extinguished by a portentous hat, tripping and stumbling over a cloak, or robe, in whose dragging folds he conceals his identity as well as his power of volition, a weird and gruesome phantom. What—oh [Pg 63]what—is this hovering ghost? He must be just defunct, for the purgatorial garments fit him not, he stumbles at every step, and when he trips an underdress is unveiled that's like a City waiter's. What is he—the arch conspirator—doing himself? He starts, tries to conceal a book, but we snatch it from him. Sketches! lots of sketches! caricatures, low and vulgar portraits of ourselves! 'What are you?' we scream, 'and why this orgy? Speak, caitiff, or for ever hold your peace!'

"Perceiving that we are in earnest and not to be trifled with, and glare with forbidding mien, the caitiff speaks in trembling accents. 'If you please,' he says, 'I'm the artist from the great illustrated journal; I'm drawing pictures of the lunatics. My disguise is beyond my own control, and trips me up, but I'm told it's becoming.' 'Lunatics!' we echo.

"'Yes,' the caitiff murmurs. 'This is the annual fancy dress ball at Brookwood Asylum. You and I and the doctors and attendants are the only sane people in the place. By-and-by the country gentry will be admitted, and then the tangle will be hopeless, for even in everyday life it's impossible to know who's mad and who isn't. How much more here?'

"We left the trembling caitiff to his secret sketching, and the despondency produced by his appearance. He was sane, was he? Then in him were we revenged on human nature, for sure never was mortal more oppressed by his gear and his surroundings."

The fact is that my editor, in sending his "young man," omitted to say that the invitation was crossed with "fancy dress only," so I arrived in ordinary war-paint. The Doctor was horrified. "This will never do. My patients will resent it. You must be in fancy dress." All my host could find was a seedy red curtain and an old cocked hat (had it been a nightcap I should have been complete as Caudle). I wrapped this martial cloak around me, and soon found myself in the most extraordinary scene, so graphically described by Wingfield. [Pg 64]He was not alone in his scorn for me. The "Duke of York" had a great contempt for my appearance, but when introduced to him as His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, he unbent, waved his bauble, and commanded me to be seated. The visitors eyed me suspiciously all the evening, and on my entering the supper-room, accompanied by the Doctor, they were seized with the idea that I must be a very dangerous case, and readily made room—in fact, made off. One of the poor patients was an artist, and showed me his sketch-book, the work of many, many months—a number of drawings in colour, stuck one on top of the other, resembling an elongated concertina, so that only the corners of the pages could be seen. The patients wore costumes designed and made by themselves, in marked contrast to their stylish keepers. Among the guests the county families were well represented, and garrison officers from a neighbouring depôt formed a motley group which a looker-on, viewing the scene as in a kaleidoscope, would laugh at. One turn, and the next moment some incident might occur which an imaginative brain could easily work into a romance too touching to relate.

For some years I had quite a run of fancy dress balls, a craze at that time, acting as special artist for various periodicals, the Illustrated London News in particular. The ball above recorded was unique, but there is very little variety in such gatherings, where variety is the one thing aimed at, thus showing the limit of our English artistic invention. The ingredients of a ball of three hundred, say, would be as follows,—Thirty Marie Stuarts, ten Marguerites, twenty-eight Fausts, fifty Flower Girls, nine Portias, three Clowns, sixteen Matadores, thirty Sailors, twenty-five Ophelias, twenty-five Desdemonas, the remainder uniforms and nondescripts. Of course any popular figure, picture or play of the moment will be represented. When the relief of Mafeking took place, the number of Baden-Powells, tall, short, young, old, thin and stout, in the various fancy balls and bazaars appearing will be, as newspaper leader-writers say, "a fact fresh in the mind of the reader." Some years ago a portrait of the "missing Gainsborough," a picture of [Pg 65]the Duchess of Devonshire, which mysteriously vanished from Agnew's gallery in Bond Street, was represented in dozens at the fancy balls of the period, and the Gilbert-Sullivan opera "Patience," supplied many a costume. My brother "special" on this occasion—Lewis Wingfield—was a Crichton of eccentricity. The son of an Irish peer, an officer in the Guards, he dressed as a ballet-girl and danced on the stage; was a journalist and wrote for Charles Dickens when that great novelist edited Household Words. Wingfield never did anything by halves, so in writing a series of articles for Dickens on the casual wards of London he personated a street photographer (having delicate hands he could not pretend to be a labourer), and wrote his experiences of the dreadful state of affairs existing in those days under the rule of Bumbledom. The last he sought relief at was situated close to Golden Square. Here he was very harshly treated, and when he left he rapidly changed into his usual clothes, drove up to the establishment as one of the life patrons (all his family had for years supported the charity), and had the satisfaction of dismissing the overbearing overseer, to the wretch's chagrin. Wingfield related this incident with great glee.


[Pg 66]

Anxious to find out the amount niggers made on the Derby Day, he decided to go as a burnt-cork nigger himself; but it is impossible to do this unless you are of that ilk, for like the business of the beggars and street performers, everything is properly organised; there is a proper system and superintendent to arrange matters. After some difficulty he managed to get introduced as the genuine article, and at 4 in the morning had to stand with the other Ethiopian minstrels at "Poverty Junction," between Waterloo Bridge and Waterloo Station, while lots were drawn for positions on the course. As luck would have it, Wingfield drew a pitch opposite the Grand Stand, where at least he would be among his own acquaintances. All the niggers had to walk to Epsom, unless it happened some friendly carter could be induced to offer a seat. Had four-in-hands come along Wingfield might have been saved a walk, but costers were to him unknown. By lunch-time he was heartily sick of his new life. However, he was determined to carry it through. In the evening, after his long, hot day's work, he found he had to wait for the policeman's train. After the half-million people had returned to London, he was allowed to crawl into a carriage, and being thoroughly tired he fell asleep in a corner of the compartment. But the police wanted some entertainment, and waking him up, said:

"Now then, darky, tune up! we can pay you as well as the toffs; let's have a song!" They had a concert all the way, Wingfield singing the solos. The hat was sent round and a collection made, and to the bitter end Wingfield had to bang away at his banjo and squeak with what little voice he had left. This nearly finished him. Arriving at Victoria, he hailed a hansom. One driver after another eyed him scornfully and passed on. He then for the first time realised that it is not a customary thing for an itinerant nigger to drive about London in hansoms, even on Derby Day. So he dragged himself wearily along the streets until he happened to meet an intimate friend. To him he explained matters, and his friend called a hansom for him and paid the driver as well before he would take up his dusky fare. He thought the fact of his driving a street nigger [Pg 67]a great joke, and made merry over his passenger as he passed the other drivers. But he was very much astonished when he drove up in front of quite an imposing dwelling and saw the door opened by a footman as the nigger toiled up the steps.

As an artist Wingfield was ambitious. Finding, as he told me, that he could never be a great artist, he preferred not to be one at all. On his walls were large classic paintings, not likely ever to find their way to the walls of anyone else. But he tried his hand at popular art as well. A scene in a circus, for instance, was one subject. A pretty little LEWIS WINGFIELD AS A STREET NIGGER LEWIS WINGFIELD AS
child was engaged to sit in his studio, but as that day he was going to Hengler's Circus to paint the background he, to the delight of the child, took her with him. The little girl played about in the ring, and was noticed by Mr. Hengler, who asked her if she would like to be dressed up and play in the same ring at night. This led to the child becoming a professional. She enchanted everyone as Cinderella. Her name was Connie Gilchrist. I fell in love with her myself when I was in my teens and first saw her as Cinderella. Afterwards when I came to London I was as ignorant as a Lord Chief Justice as to who Connie Gilchrist was; but I recollect a model sitting to me recommending my writing to her younger sister for some figures she thought her sister would suit. The day was fixed, but by the morning's post I received a letter from the young lady to say that Mr. Hollingshead, of the Gaiety Theatre, had sent for her, and she could not sit to me. She was Connie Gilchrist, and I believe this was the last engagement she had accepted as a professional model.

Telegram from the editor of the Illustrated London News:—"Election, Liverpool, see to it at once." So I did. On arriving in the evening, I rushed off to a "ward meeting," To my surprise the artist of a rival paper sat down beside me. He did not frighten me away, but candidly confessed that he had seen a [Pg 68] private telegram of mine saying I was starting, and his editor packed him off by the same train. Ha! I must be equal to him! I sat up all night and drew a page on wood, ready for engraving, and sent it off by the first train in the morning. It was in the press before my rival's rough notes left Liverpool. One would hardly think, to see candles stuck in my boots, that the hotel was the Old Adelphi. I trust the "special" of the future will find the electric light, or a better supply of bedroom candlesticks. All day again sketching, and all night hard at work, burning the midnight oil (I was nearly writing boots). A slice of luck kept me awake in the early morning. A knock at my door, and to my surprise a friend walked in who had come down by a night train for a "daily" and seeing my name in the AN ALL-NIGHT SITTING. AN ALL-NIGHT SITTING. visitors' book had looked me up, thinking I could give him some "tips." "All right," I said; "a bargain: you sit for me and I'll talk. Here, stand like this"—the Liberal candidate. "Capital! Now round like this"—the Conservative. "Drawn from life! And after another day of this kind of thing, I reached home without having had an hour's sleep. Oh! a "special's" life is not a happy one.

Great political excitement, there is no doubt, turns men's heads. Once I recollect finding a most dignified provincial politician in this state, and necessity compelled me to turn him into a sketching-stool. Mr. Gladstone was speaking at Bingley Hall, Birmingham, and although close to him on the platform, I could not, being only five feet two, see over the heads of others when all stood to cheer. I mentioned this fact to my neighbour. "Oh, you must not miss this scene!" he said, and quickly, without ceremony, he had me on his back, his bald head serving as an easel. It has struck me since that had this old gentleman, a big man in his native town, and still bigger in his own estimation, seen himself as others saw him at that moment, the probability is that he would not have felt anything like so kindly to me as I did to him.

[Pg 69]

Reduction of Page Design. Brush Drawing on wood, made after election meeting at night, and despatched to London by early morning train. See the Confessions of a Special Artist.

[Pg 70]


[Pg 71]

Another instance of a special artist having to depend upon his wits was when I found myself at a big central manufacturing town, sent down in a hurry from London by the Illustrated London News to illustrate a most important election meeting—an election upon which the fate of the Government of the day depended. When I arrived the mills had been closed, crowds were in the streets, and it would have been a simple matter to have got into Mafeking compared with getting into the hall in which the meeting was at the time being held.


If there is one thing I dislike more than another it is a crowd, particularly an electioneering crowd. Political fever is a bad malady, even when one is impervious to it, if he has to fight his way through an infected mob. Quickly slipping round to the principal hotel, and finding there the carriages engaged for the celebrities of the meeting, I got into one and was driven rapidly up to the hall, cheered by the mob, who doubtless looked upon me as some active politician. Had I put my head out of the window and promised them any absurdity, I believe they would have chosen me their member on the spot. Arriving at the hall, I was received by the tipstaffs, who, probably not catching my name distinctly, thought as the hotel people had done, that I was sent down in some official capacity, and politely ushered me to the platform, where I was given a seat in the front row.

Ah, you little know the difficulties of the poor artist in running his subjects to earth. When in New York I was specially engaged by the New York Herald to contribute a series of studies of the leading public men. These were to appear in the Sunday edition.

[Pg 72]

Those Sunday papers! What gluttons for reading the Americans are! The first Sabbath morning I was in the States I telephoned in an off-hand sort of way from my bedroom for "some Sunday papers." I went on dressing, and somehow forgot my order, but on leaving, or rather attempting to leave, my room afterwards, I found to my astonishment the doorway completely blocked with newspapers to the quantity of several tons. I rang my bell vigorously. The attendant arrived, and seemed considerably amused at my look of consternation. He explained to me that these were five of the Sunday papers, and added apologetically that they were all he could get at present. If I had stayed to read through that pile I should be in the States now.


The first "subject" I was requested to caricature was the celebrated sensational preacher, Dr. Parkhurst. When I arrived at his church it was crowded to the doors, and I could not get near him. A churchwarden told me to sit down where I was, but I put my hand to my ear and shook my head, as much as to say "I do not hear you." Then one churchwarden said to the other churchwarden, "This man is deaf, he doesn't hear; I was telling him to sit down—"

"Pardon me, but are you speaking?" I whispered. "I regret to say that I am very deaf. I came specially from London to hear your great preacher, and I should not like to return without gratifying this one desire I have."

"Say, is your wife here to-day?" asked one churchwarden of the other.

[Pg 73]

"No, she is sick at home."

"Could not you squeeze this funny little Britisher into your pew?"

"Guess I could."

So they beckoned to me to follow them, and I was ushered up the aisle and sat under the Doctor. The result of that little manœuvre was that I did my work in peace, although sadly troubled to see his face in consequence of the church being dark and the reading lamp hiding portion of it.

In America introductions are superfluous, so knowing Dr. Parkhurst came over in the Germanic, the same ship that I travelled in some months later, I walked boldly after the service into his room, shook him by the hand, and mentioned in a familiar way the officers of the ship, the storm, and other matters connected with his journey, and in that way had the chance of ten minutes' chat and a closer observation of his facial expression.

It may happen, even when everything is carefully prepared to make the visit of a special artist easy and comfortable, that work may be difficult to accomplish. I must go to the United States for an illustration of what I mean.

Some years ago I met Max O'Rell at a London club, and was introduced by him to a very English-looking gentleman with an American accent, who immediately said:

"Glad to meet you, Mr. Furniss. When you come over to the States we must put you on the grill!"

What did he mean? I looked at Max. Max turned pale, and seemed for a moment to lose his self-possession, then hurriedly whispered in my ear:

"Jolly good fellow—very witty—president of strange club in America where they chaff their guests—see my last book!"

I recollected reading about a club that goes in for roasting as well as toasting its guests, and replied:

"Strange!" I said. "I always thought the Americans were in advance of the English; yet here in my country we do not put the Furniss on the grill, but the grill on the furnace!"

Max laughed and looked relieved, and said:

[Pg 74]

"You'll do—they'll let you off easy. A Frenchman can't stand chaff, so I sat down."

He had stood the fire of the enemy upon the field of battle, but he couldn't stand the fusillade of wit from the Americans at their dinner table.

The stranger was no other than Major Moses P. Handy, afterwards "Chief of Department of Publicity and Promotion at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago;" so when I found myself in the "Windy City" as an unattached "special" from the Old World to the New "World's Fair," I called at Rand-McNally Buildings, not to be put on the grill, but to be put in possession of some facts concerning that great "Exposition."


Sometimes there is a great deal in a name. For instance, the late Major Handy at once indicated the man—handy, always ready with tongue, hands and legs. He handed me round the city, told me of its wonders, and sent me off enraptured to the "Exposition." Here I was met by one of the staff, and escorted all over the skeleton of what eventually proved to be the most wonderful "Exposition," Exhibition, World's Fair, or whatever you like to call it, that the New World had ever seen.

The gentleman in possession who met me and acted as my guide was a clean-cut featured, smooth-faced, typical American, "full of wise saws and modern instances" and—tobacco juice. He had a merry wit, and his running commentary would have been invaluable "copy" to America's pet humourist, Bill Nye.

I had a pencil in the pocket in one side of my coat, and a note-book in the pocket in the other side, but the carriage in which I was driven about rushed on so over the rough ground and "corduroy roads" and hills and chasms, that I found it a matter of utter impossibility to get the pencil and the book out together, and, therefore, the facts I give about the "Exposition" may [Pg 75] want verification, for my worthy guide kept firing them into me with the rapidity of a Maxim or a Hotchkiss.


"Now here is the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building. Guess the largest building ever erected—1,641,223 feet long, 17,894 feet high—" Down goes the trap on one side, plunging into some excavation, like a double-harnessed Roman chariot. However, we scrambled up again, but I had lost the important figure of the width of the building. Now I don't for a moment wish to imply that my guide was exaggerating, but this rather reminds me of a story told of an American visiting England, and his host there one day remarked to him:

"My dear fellow, we are delighted with you here—in fact, you are quite a favourite; but you will excuse me if I tell you [Pg 76] that you possess one failing pretty general with your countrymen—you do exaggerate so!"

"Guess I kean't help it, but if you'll just kindly give me a kick under the table when I'm going too far I'll pull up sharp!"

With this agreement they went out to dinner that evening, and among other topics the conversation turned upon conservatories. Captain de Vere said that he had a conservatory 200 feet long, but that the Duke of Orchid had one nearly 1,000 feet long. The American here struck in with:

"I reckon, gentlemen, you're talking about conservatories. Now there's a friend of mine in Amurrca, a private gentleman, who has a conservatory 5,000 feet long, 3,000 feet high, and" (kick)—"oh!—2 feet wide!"

But had I heard the figures representing the width of the building, I don't suppose they would have been in the same absurd proportion as this, for not all the shin-kicking in the world would have deterred my entertaining and conversational conductor.

"You must assemble together in your mind's eye all the mighty structures already existing in the world to form any idea of the magnitude of this tremenjious edifice before you. It is sixteen times as large as St. Peter's Cathedral at Rome, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral would nestle together in its ventilating shaft, and the whole of the armies of Europe could sit down comfortably to dinner in the central hall. The Tower of London would be lost under one of the staircases, and fifty Cleopatra's Needles stuck one on top of the other would not scratch the roof. The building cost fifty million six hundred and eighty-four thousand two hundred dollars seventy-five cents, and——" On dashed the horses in their wild career.

Down we went, I thought into the bed of Lake Michigan, but in an instant we were up again, my hat in one direction and my stick in another, and I was well shaken before being taken to the next building.

"Say, Mr. Furniss, the roads are not complete yet, but you mustn't mind these little ups and downs. Guess these horses [Pg 77] would pull through anything—brought 'em right away from the fire-engine shed, considerable fresh!"

At this moment a train came puffing along laden with masses of ironwork for the central building. The horses shied at the smoky monster, turned a somersault (at least, so it seemed to me), and we nearly took a header into the lake again; but the charioteer managed to turn them just in time, and the fiery fire-engine steeds snorted past their iron brother, eclipsing even his noise and steam.


I now began to feel thoroughly happy, but I kept a watchful eye on those gee-gees, and as we skipped over impromptu bridges, whizzed round the corners of newly-made piles, and bumped over incomplete parapets, I quite enjoyed myself; but somehow or other I couldn't quite manage to catch all the marvellous details respecting the buildings we were passing. I was qualifying myself for the Volunteer Fire Brigade. But our steeds were reined in for a moment while my guide pointed out to me the Dairy Building.

"I reckon, sir," he said, "that dairy will be an eye-opener. It'll be sooperb, and I guess it won't be long after the opening of the show that they'll be turning out gold-edged butter!"

Off we go again, over mounds and down dykes, jumping [Pg 78] rocks and shooting rapids, and I am certain that had our conveyance been a milk-cart, butter, gold-edged or otherwise, would have been produced pretty soon. We pull up with a jerk opposite the Agricultural Building.

"The building is 5,000 by 8,000 feet, design bold and heroic. On each corner and from the centre of the building are reared pavilions."

"Indeed!" I said. "Are they reared by incubators, or upon some special soil from the fertile tracts of the Far West?"

My guide did not evidently deem my question worthy an answer, and continued:

"Surmounted by a mammoth glass dome 460 feet high, constructed on purpose to accommodate the giant Pennsylvania pumpkin we're having raised specially for the Exposition. That pumpkin will be hollowed out, and 600 people will be able to sit down together at once in its interior."

"Now we'll go to the Transportation Building," said my indefatigable conductor to the driver.

"Bless me!" I thought; "is this a convict prison? Are we to have visitors from Sing Sing, and am I to see some of my friends from Portland and Dartmoor? Will there be a model of the Bastille, and a contingent of escaped refugees from the mines of Siberia? Or is the building an enormous concern for the transport of visitors to and from the Exposition?"

"Say, Mr. Furniss, this is the most original conception in the whole Exposition. You'll see contrasted here every mode of transport, and a complete train, with a display of locomotives never before attempted, will be quite stupendous! To quote the guidebook: 'There will be at least 100 engines exhibited, and placed so as to face each other,' and every day we will have a steam tournament. Guess it will be a case of the survival of the fittest of the engines when they meet! Visitors fond of railway accidents can be despatched with a completeness only to be witnessed in the stock-yards of this great city!"

This ghastly suggestion had the effect of making me feel more comfortable than ever.

We had been some hours driving through this wonderful [Pg 79] skeleton city. The last dying rays of the setting sun, sinking behind the sweeping prairies of the far, far West, lit up the horizon with a blood-red glow, and, as the shades of evening began to descend and envelop the embryo Exposition, the driver turned the horses' heads whence we had come—towards the sunset.

The animals snorted, their nostrils inflated, their eyes glistened, and, with tails erect, they tore off straight ahead at a tremendous rate. They couldn't understand why they had been driven aimlessly about all this time; but now they saw the glare, as they thought, of the fire—the glare they had been accustomed to regard as the beacon to guide them to their goal—a goal which had to be reached with lightning speed.

It seemed as if we were flying through a beautiful place destroyed by the ravages of fire, for in the dim evening light the outlined houses gave one the impression that they formed a city dead, not a city newly-born.

Away to the Wild West of the Exposition we flew, and were eventually pulled up outside of one of the larger and more complete buildings. My faculties had been about all shaken out of me by this time, and I was so bewildered by the chaos of figures in my brain—all that were left of the volumes that had been poured into my ears—that I had to be all but lifted out of the fire-engine trap by my good guide. He said, in an undertone:

"Now I'm going to show you something we keep a profound secret."

Making a supreme effort, I dispersed temporarily the armies of figures conflicting in my unfortunate head, and became once more a rational being, so as to appreciate fully this visual tit-bit reserved to the last. We entered the structure. What was it? A mortuary, a dissecting-chamber, or a pantomime property-room? Numbers of ghost-like beings with bared arms streaming with an opaque-white liquid appeared to be engaged in some ghoulish machinations. Mutilated figures of gigantic creatures lay strewn about in reckless confusion. It seemed as if pigmies [Pg 80] were butchering giants; and in the dim, weird light among these uncanny surroundings my jumbled imagination whispered to me that, after all, this stupendous Exhibition I had just rushed through could not possibly be the work of the insignificant little men who swarmed all over the colossal buildings in such ridiculously absurd proportion to their pretended handiwork.


No, these giants had performed this herculean undertaking, and were now being cut up—the reward of many who attempt such ambitious tasks. In reality, though, this charnel-house was the sculptors' studio, in which were modelled the gigantic figures which were to be placed on the buildings and about the grounds.

Now were I to design a model for a statue to be placed in the Exposition, it would certainly be one of my excellent and entertaining companion, who proved himself a model conductor, a model of an American gentleman, and one who is justly proud, as [Pg 81] all Americans must be, of the greatness and thoroughness of the most splendid and most interesting Exhibition ever recorded in the annals of their great country.

One day I slipped up to 10, Downing Street, to make a note of that very ordinary, albeit mystical, abode of English Premiers and officials. The eagle eye of the policeman was upon me, and he was soon at my side subjecting me to minute examination. My explanation satisfied him that the only lead I had about me was encased in wood for the purpose of drawing, and that the substance in my hand was not dynamite, but innocent indiarubber, for wiping out people and places only of my own creation. "Ah, sir, there ain't much to see there, unless the 'all porter's a-lookin' out of the winder. But you ought ter be 'ere in the mornin' and see the Premier a-shavin' of 'imself, with a piece of old lookin'-glass stuck up on the winder ter see 'imself in—just wot the likes of us would do!"

So I, as a "special," was allowed to make a sketch of the outside of the famous No. 10. Not long afterwards I happened to be standing in the same place with a number of journalists and a crowd of the public when a political crisis drew all attention to the Cabinet, the members of which were arriving at intervals, recognised and cheered by the curious. As the door opened to allow one of the members of the Cabinet to enter, a certain official noticed me standing on the opposite side of the street. To my surprise he beckoned to me, and said, "I have been waiting to see you, Mr. Furniss, for a long time. I have some sketches in the house here I want you to see whenever you can honour me with a visit."

"No time like the present moment," I said.

Before the official realised that the present moment was a dangerous one for the admittance of strangers I was taken into the house. While examining the works of art in the official's private room a knock came to the door, which necessitated his leaving me. The moment of the "special" had arrived—now or never for a Cabinet Council! I was down the passage, and in a few minutes stood in the presence of the Cabinet, when [Pg 82] Mr. Gladstone, the Premier, was addressing Lord Granville and the others, who were seated, and just as the Duke of Devonshire (then Lord Hartington) pushed by me into the room, I was seized by the alarmed official. Of course I apologised for my stupidity in taking the wrong turning, and I asked him about Mr. Gladstone's three mysterious hats in the hall, which he informed me Mr. Gladstone always had by him,—three hats symbolic of his oratorical peculiarity of using the well-known phrase, "There are three courses open to us."

I patted Lord Hartington's dog on the head, and had quietly taken my departure before the official was called into the Cabinet and questioned about the "spy" who had so mysteriously interrupted their proceedings.

But what was perhaps a more daring and difficult feat than seeing a Cabinet Council was to disturb the "Sage of Queen Anne's Gate" in his semi-official residence. It so happened some few years ago I was commissioned by an illustrated paper to make a drawing of a peculiar scene that took place in the House of Commons. It was Mr. Gladstone's only appearance in the Strangers' smoking-room of the House, into which he had been lured by the Member for Northampton to attend a performance of a thought reader, which Mr. Labouchere had arranged perhaps to show his serious interest in the business of the country connected with our great Houses of Parliament. Not being present at this show, I had no means of getting material, and, being in a hurry, I boldly drove up to the house of the "Sage of Queen Anne's Gate." And as I always treat people as they treat others, I thought that a little of the Laboucherian cheek (shall I substitute the word for confidence?) would not be out of place in this instance. The servant took my card, and brought back the message that Mr. Labouchere was not at home. As I was at that moment actually acting the character of the "Sage," and remembering the stories, true or untrue, which he so delights in telling himself about his own coolness in matters probably not less important than this, I asked the servant to allow me to write a letter to Mr. Labouchere, and I was shown into his study, where [Pg 83] I sat, and intended to sit, until Mr. Labouchere made his appearance. From time to time the servant looked in, but the letter was never written. And my thought-reading proved correct. Without my pen and pencil I drew Mr. Labouchere. He eventually came downstairs, and gave me all the information I required.

was in darkness. To quote the papers, "Foggy obscuration rested over the greater part of its area." And I, in common with millions of others, was having my breakfast by gaslight, when I received an editorial summons to attend the trial of the Bishop of Lincoln at Lambeth Palace. Soon a hansom was at the door, with two lamps outside and one within; the latter smelt most horribly, and I found out later on that it leaked and had ruined my new overcoat. With an agility quite marvellous under the circumstances the horse slipped its slimy way over the greasy streets to Lambeth, and dashed through the fog over Westminster Bridge in a most reckless manner, which disconcerting performance was partly explained by its suddenly stopping at the stable door of Sanger's and refusing to budge. I was partially consoled by the fact that we were just opposite St. Thomas's Hospital, so that I should be in good hands if the worst befell. The fog becoming even denser, Sanger's became veiled from the sight of our fiery steed, which thereupon consented to slide on towards Lambeth Palace. A sharp turn brought us to the gateway, where stood a hearse and string of mourning coaches. Was I too late? Had the Bishops passed sentence, and had the loved one of Lincoln really been beheaded?

My fears on this point were relieved by a policeman, who restrained my driver's energetic endeavours to drive through the wall of the Palace, and as my password was "Jeune" (November would have been more appropriate on such a morning) I was allowed inside the gates. Here I could not see my hand, or [Pg 84] anyone else's, in front of me, and after stumbling up some steps and down some others I finally flattened my nose against a door. Policeman No. 2 suddenly appeared, and turned his bull's-eye upon me. I felt that I was doomed to the deepest dungeon beneath the castle moat; I thought of the whipping-post I have read of in connection with the Palace; of the Guard Room with its pikes and instruments of torture, and I trembled. Luckily, however, the rays of the lantern fell upon the note in my hand, addressed to Francis Jeune, Q.C., and the good-natured "All right, sir. Go hup. 'E's a-speakin' now," came as a reprieve.

I stumble into the large historic hall known as the Library, wherein the great trial of the Bishop of Lincoln is being held. The weird scene strongly resembles the Dream Trial in "The Bells," where the judges, counsel, and all concerned are in a fog. I expect the limelight to flash suddenly upon the chief actor, the Bishop of Lincoln, as he takes the stage and re-acts the part that has caused the trial. The only lights in the long and lofty Library, excepting the clerical and legal, are a dozen or two wax candles and a few oil-lamps—of daylight, gaslight, or electric light, nothing. I can hear the voice of Jeune, Q.C., which gladdens my heart amid these sepulchral surroundings, but I see him not. As my eyes gradually become accustomed to the strange scene, I find that it is composed of three distinct "sets," which present the appearance of a muddled-up stage picture when the flats go wrong, and you have a part of the Surrey Hills, a corner of Drury Lane and a side of a West End drawing-room run on at the same time.

At the further end of the Library we have the Church, very High Church, represented by an Archbishop and five Bishops; also a Judge, in a full-bottomed wig, who has evidently got in by mistake. Then we have the Law, represented by a row of Q.C.'s, their juniors, and attendants; and then a chorus of ordinary people and common, or Thames Policemen. These are separated by red ropes and some red tape; the latter I cut with my self-written passport—my note to the Q.C. who still addresses the Court.

[Pg 85]


I have come here to see the Bishop of Lincoln, and I roam about in the fog to find him. Ah, that figure! there he is! I immediately sketch him, only to find out that the individual in question is the Clerk of the Court, or whatever the title of that functionary's equivalent may be in Lambeth Palace. What vexes me is that whenever I enquire the whereabouts of the Bishop, a warning finger is raised to the lips to denote silence. The Bishops sit round three tables, on a raised platform. In the centre is the Archbishop of Canterbury; on his right the mysterious Judge, in full wig and red robes; here is the Vicar-General, Sir James Parker Deane, Q.C.; next to him sits Assessor Dr. Atlay, Bishop of Hereford, who looks anything but happy, his hair presenting the appearance of being blown about by a strong draught, while his hand is raised to his face, suggesting that the draught had caused toothache. The portly Bishop of Oxford on his right, like the other corner man, the Bishop of [Pg 86] Salisbury, scribbles away at a great rate in a huge manuscript book or roll of foolscap. On the left of the Archbishop sits the Bishop of London, who severely interrogates the Counsel, and evidently relishes acting the schoolmaster once more. The Bishop of Rochester, sitting on London's left, supplies the element of comedy as far as facial expression goes, and his wide-open mouth and papers held in front of him lead me to expect him to burst into song at any moment. But where is the Bishop—the Bishop of Lincoln? Ah, now I see him, in one of those side courts, and I forthwith sketch him, marvelling at my stupidity in not identifying him before. I write his name under the sketch, and show it to one of the reporters. He scribbles "Wrong man" across it. Done again! I write, "Then where is he?" He waves me away, as Mr. Jeune is quoting some extraordinary document six hundred years old in reply to Sir Horace Davey's authority, which only dates back five hundred and ninety-nine years. It suddenly occurs to me that the Bishop is beside his Counsel at the other end of the long table, but, alas! there is a candle in front of him. This is all I can see, so I make my way to the other side of the table, only to discover that my Bishop is an old lady. I write on a piece of paper, "Where does the Bishop of Lincoln sit?" and take it to an official. It is too dark to read, so some time is lost while he takes my memorandum to a candle. He looks across at me, and points to a corner.

At last! good! The old gentleman in the corner is in plain clothes, it is true, but still he looks every inch a Bishop. I cautiously approach to a coign of vantage close beside him, and have just finished a careful study of him, when he turns round to me and whispers, "Please, sir, can you tell me which is the Bishop of Lincoln?" I shake my head angrily, and move away. This is really humbug. I'll bide my time, and take Counsel's opinion—I'll ask Mr. Jeune. He is just occupied in answering the hundred and seventh question of the Bishop of London, and is being "supported" by Sir Walter Phillimore. Indeed, it amuses me to see the way in which these two clever Counsel, when in a fog (and are we not all in one?), hold an [Pg 87] animated legal conversation between themselves, and totally ignore the Bishops—not that the latter seem to mind, for they scribble away merrily. An evil suspicion creeps into my head that they are seizing the opportunity to write their next Sunday's sermons.

In the meantime I discover that one of the little side courts is converted into a studio, with an easel and canvas. I approach my brother brush, feeling that he, or she, or both (for a lady and a gentleman were jointly at work upon a picture of the Trial, in black and white—the black was visible, but there was no chance of seeing the white) will tell me where I can catch a glimpse of the Bishop of Lincoln. I whisper the question. But a "Hush!" goes up from the H'Usher, and the artists, sympathising with me in my dilemma, obtain a candle and point out the Bishop to me in their picture. I slip away in search of that face. Its owner ought to be near his Counsel. The severe Sir Horace Davey sits writing letters; next him is the affable Dr. Tristram, then the rubicund Mr. Danckwerts, but no Bishop—in fact, there is no one of public interest to be seen; probably they have not come, as to-day is to be a half-holiday. It is now one o'clock, and the Bishops rise to go to the Levée. I pounce upon Francis Jeune, Q.C., and gasp, "Where, oh, where is the Bishop of Lincoln? Quick! I want to sketch him before he leaves." "Oh, he's not here—never comes near the place!"

The play is over for the day. I have seen "Hamlet" with the Prince left out.

[Pg 88]



Drawing—"Hieroglyphics"—Clerical Portraiture—A Commission from General Booth—In Search of Truth—Sir Walter Besant—James Payn—Why Theodore Hook was Melancholy—"Off with his Head"—Reformers' Tree—Happy Thoughts—Christmas Story—Lewis Carroll—The Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson—Sir John Tenniel—The Challenge—Seven Years' Labour—A Puzzle MS.—Dodgson on Dress—Carroll on Drawing—Sylvie and Bruno—A Composite Picture—My Real Models—I am very Eccentric—My "Romps"—A Letter from du Maurier—Caldecott—Tableaux—Fine Feathers—Models—Fred Barnard—The Haystack—A Wicket Keeper—A Fair Sitter—Neighbours—The Post-Office Jumble—Puzzling the Postmen—Writing Backwards—A Coincidence.


I confess as a caricaturist, surely I need not caricature my confessions by any mock-modesty. Although I have illustrated novels, short stories, fairy tales, poems, parodies, satires, and jeux d'esprit, for the realistic, the fanciful, the weirdly imaginative and the broadly humorous, as my Punch colleague, E. T. Milliken, wrote, my more distinctive, natural and favourite métier is that of graphic art. This intimate friend, in publishing his "appreciation" of me, put in his own too highly-coloured opinion of my black and white work in this direction. I blush to quote it:

"And they are in error who imagine Mr. Furniss's powers to be substantially limited to political satire or Parliamentary caricature. Much of the work he has already given to the public, and perhaps more of that which he has not yet published, but of which his chosen familiars are aware, will prove that in more serious or imaginative work, in strong, vivid realism as well as in frolic fancy, in landscape as well as in life, in the picturesque as well as in the humorous, he can display a notable mastery."

[Pg 89]

Reproduced by permission of the proprietors of the "Illustrated London News."

[Pg 90]


[Pg 91]

This confession of one of my "chosen familiars" I have the pluck to reprint, as an answer to those unknown strangers who so frequently write me down as "a conventional comic draughtsman of funny ill-drawn little figures." "What shall I call him?" said one; "a master of hieroglyphics?" Well, if I am commissioned to draw humorous hieroglyphics, I do my best to master their difficulties. Caricature pure and simple is not the art I either care for or succeed in practising as well as I do in my less known more serious and more finished work. When I joined Punch, at the age of twenty-six, I had had nine-tenths of my time previous to that occupied (ever since I was fifteen years of age) in drawing far more elaborate and finished work than would be in keeping in a periodical such as Punch. Punch required "funny little figures," and I supplied them; but my métier, I must confess, was work requiring more demand upon direct draughtsmanship and power. I am a funny man, a caricaturist, by force of circumstances; an artist, a satirist, and a cartoonist by nature and training. The one requires technical knowledge—in the other, "drawing doesn't count." The more amateurish the work, the funnier the public consider it. The serious confession I have to make is that I have been mistaken for a caricaturist in the accepted and limited meaning of the term.

"It is the ambition of every low comedian to play Hamlet, that of every caricaturist to be able to paint a picture which shall be worthy of a place on the walls of the National Gallery," are my own words on the platform; but I do not essay to play Hamlet on the platform, nor do I paint pictures for posterity in my studio. Therefore I do not place myself in the category of [Pg 92] either, for I am neither a low comedian nor am I strictly and solely a mere caricaturist. This fact is perhaps not generally known to the public, but it is known to the publishers, and when a Society Church paper wished to present a series of supplements—portraits of the leading clergy—I was selected as the artist. The portrait of Canon Liddon, which is here very much reduced, is one of these.


And furthermore I received a commission from General Booth, which unfortunately, through pressure of work, I was [Pg 93] unable to undertake, to make a study of Mrs. Booth, who was at the time on her death-bed, suffering from cancer, which the General was "exceedingly anxious" to reproduce and issue to his Army, as he had "never yet been able to secure a good photograph, although frequent attempts had been made by eminent London photographers."

I must confirm, a confession I made some years ago to the editor of the Magazine of Art regarding some of the difficulties with which artists illustrating books have to contend. In that I questioned whether authors and artists worked sufficiently together. Few authors are as conscientious as Dickens was, or, in fact, care to consult with their illustrators at all. In operatic work the librettist and composer must work hand in hand. Should not the artist do likewise?

Undoubtedly there are some writers who take great trouble to see their subject from the artistic standpoint. One sensational writer with whom I am acquainted will make a complete model in cardboard of his "Haunted Grange," so as to avoid absurdities in the working out of the tale. The "Blood-stained Tower" is therefore always in its place, and the "Assassin's Door" and "Ghost's Window" do not change places, to the bewilderment of the keen-witted reader. Many writers, on the other hand, show an extraordinary carelessness, or, shall I say, agility? "Hilarity Hall" or "Stucco Castle" is supposed to be a firm erection, capable of withstanding storm, or, if necessary, siege; whereas the artist too often detects the author turning it inside out and upside down to suit his convenience, like the mechanical quick-change scenes in our modern realistic dramas.

It may seem strange, but I have never found over-conscientiousness in seeking to secure "local colour" meet with the slightest reward. Two instances among many similar experiences which have fallen to my lot will serve to show my ground for making this observation.

Those who have read Sir Walter Besant's delightful but little known "All in a Garden Fair" (it is interesting to know that this was semi-autobiographical, and that its original title [Pg 94] was "All in a Garden Green") will recollect the minute description of the locality in which the opening scenes take place. The author and I "talked it over." He told me the exact spot where the story was laid—a village a good many miles from London. The next day, provided with exact information, my wife and I went by train to the station nearest to the village in question, and then, taking a "trap," went on a voyage of discovery. First, however, we endeavoured to gain some useful directions from the proprietor of the hotel where we lunched, but, to our surprise, he knew of no such village. The driver of our "conveyance" was equally unlearned concerning the object of our search.

"Strange," said I, "how these country people ignore all the beauties and graceful associations that are around them—they don't even know of the existence of this idyllic village."

Nothing daunted, I undertook to pilot the party to the place, and after a lovely drive we reached the spot where the village ought to be. Here I saw a kind of model hotel, and, I think, a shanty of some description; the rest was an ordinary English landscape. I hardened my heart, and patiently sketched the building, which, of course, was not there at the period the story referred to, and some details of the place where a village only existed in the author's imagination.

When next I saw Sir Walter Besant, he tried to console me [Pg 95] with the assurance that there certainly must have been a village there some centuries ago!


Besides being a wit and a delightful conversationalist, Sir Walter was the most practical and businesslike of authors. It was a treat to meet him, as I frequently did, walking into Town, and enjoy his vivacious humour. I recollect one morning, speaking of illustrators, mentioning the fact that Cruikshank always imagined that Dickens had taken "Oliver Twist," merely endowing it with literary merit here and there, and palming it off as his own!

"Ah!" said Besant, "how funny! Do you know, I overheard two of my little girls talking a few mornings ago, and one said to the other, 'Papa does not write all his stories, you know—Charlie Green helps him.'"

(Green was at the time illustrating Besant's "Chaplain of the Fleet.")


My second instance occurred about the same period. The author was the most delightful and entertaining of literary men of our time, Mr. James Payn. I was selected to illustrate the serial story in the Illustrated London News, and as in that also the author minutely describes the scene of the semi-historical romance, I, being a thoroughly conscientious artist, visited James Payn, then editor of Cornhill, in his editorial den in Waterloo Place, to talk the matter over. My notes were: "Jetty—Lovers meet—Ancient church—Old houses." But the "Jetty" was the important object—I must get that. I therefore started for the South Coast. Again I was forced to bow down before [Pg 96] my author's wonderful powers of imagination, for once more, in company with my wife, with a hireling to carry my sketching stool and materials, I walked a great distance in search of the jetty. Vain, vain! not a ghost of a jetty was to be seen. The menial could not enlighten us. At last we unearthed the "oldest inhabitant," who took us back to where a few sticks in the water alone marked where it stood "a many years ago." I tried to develop some of the powers of the late Professor Owen, when he constructed an animal from the smallest bone, and succeeded in "evolving" a jetty from the green remains of four wooden posts.

I forgave Payn as I forgave Besant. Both men were as genial as they were eminent, and but for the circumstances of illustrating their stories I might not have enjoyed their acquaintanceship. I also illustrated Payn's most charming story, "The Talk of the Town," for Cornhill Magazine. I never enjoyed any work of the kind so well as this—it has always been my regret Payn did not write another of the same period. I recollect, when I first saw him in Waterloo Place, I had just read an article of his in which he gave a recipe for getting rid of callers, which was to bring the conversation to an abrupt termination, say absolutely nothing, but steadfastly stare at your visitor until he left. I can vouch for its being a simple and effective plan.

By permission of the proprietors of "Cornhill Magazine."

When I entered his editorial sanctum the genial essayist received me most cordially, and looked the picture of comfort, [Pg 97] surrounded as he was by a heterogeneous collection of pipes. Presently, through the clouds of smoke through which he had chatted in that lively, vivacious manner peculiarly his own, he knocked the ashes out of his finished pipe and mutely stared point-blank at me till I, like the pipe, went out also. But before making my exit I reminded him that I had read the article I refer to, up to which he was no doubt acting, and that I was pleased and interested that he practised the doctrine he preached. Possibly this remark of mine was unexpected, and therefore somewhat disconcerted him for a moment, for he quickly replied, "Not at all! not at all! Fact is, I was rather upset before you came in by a miserable man who called to see me, and at the moment I was, à propos of him, thinking of a funny story about Theodore Hook I came across last night I never heard before. Poor Hook was at a smart dinner one evening, but instead of being as usual the life and soul of the party, he proved the wet blanket on the merry meeting, despite the fact that he, in all probability, had imbibed his stiff glass of brandy to get him up to his usual form before entering the house at which he was entertained. This most unusual phase of Hook's character surprised everybody present, so much so that his host ventured to remark that the volatile Theodore did not seem so merry as usual.

"'Merry? I should think not! I should like to see anyone merry who has gone through what I have this afternoon!'

"'What was that?' asked everyone, with one voice.

"'Well, I'll tell you,' said Hook. 'I have just come up from York in the stage coach, and I was rather late in taking my seat; the top was occupied to the full, so I had no alternative but to become an inside passenger. The only other occupant of the interior was a melancholy individual rolled up in a corner. He had donned his great-coat, the collar of which was turned right up over his ears. He stolidly sat there, never uttering a word, until I became fascinated by his weird appearance. By-and-by the sun sank below the western horizon, the inside of the coach became darker and darker, and more ghastly seemed the cadaverous stranger as the [Pg 98] blackness increased. The strain was too much for me. I could not keep silent another minute.

"'My good sir,' I said, 'whatever is the matter with you?'"

"'I'll tell you,' he slowly muttered. 'Some months ago I invested in two tickets in a great lottery, but when I told my wife of the speculation I had indulged in she nagged and nagged at me to such a frightful extent that at last I sold the tickets.'


"'Well, do you know, sir, to-day those two numbers won the two first prizes, and those two prizes represent a sum of money of colossal magnitude!'

"'Goodness gracious me!' I shouted. 'If that had happened to me it would have driven me to desperation! In fact I really believe that I should have been frantic enough to cut my throat!'

"'Why, that's just what I have done!' replied the stranger, as he turned down his collar. 'Look here!'"


This ghastly tale reminds me of one of my earliest and most trying experiences in illustrating stories. I had made a very careful drawing to illustrate a startling episode in a novel by Mrs. Henry Wood. Naturally it was designed on a block, and represented the hero having just swallowed poison after committing a murder. The face in the drawing was everything, and I had taken the greatest pains to depict in the distorted features all the authoress desired—in fact, I was rather proud of it. The authoress was pleased, and the block was sent to the engraver. I was then about twenty—photographing a drawing on to wood was unknown, and process work was not invented—all drawings were made on boxwood and engraved by hand. To my horror the engraver returned the block to me a week afterwards with an apologetic note. The face had been destroyed in the engraver's hands, and he had "plugged the block"—that is, another piece of wood had been inserted where [Pg 99] the hero's head had been, and whitened over, for me to draw another. The rest of the design had been engraved. That face gone! How could I conjure it up again on that unsightly, isolated patch of block, with all the rest of the drawing engraved and therefore my lines undiscernible? I did my best. When it was printed it was seen that the face did not fit on the neck properly, and to my chagrin I received a sarcastic letter from the editor to inform me that I had made a mistake. The hero had swallowed poison and had not, as I supposed, cut his head off!


Another illustration of the conscientious illustrator in search of the truth. I had to introduce the Reformers' Tree, Hyde Park, into a picture. Now we are always hearing about the Reformers' Tree in reference to demonstrations in the Park, so I went in search of the historical stump. The first person to whom I put a question as to its whereabouts pointed to a huge tree in flourishing condition. I had just sketched in its upper branches when it somehow occurred to me that it would be just as well to ask someone else and make assurance doubly sure. This time I interrogated a policeman.

"No, that ain't it; that there row of hoaks is wot people calls the Reformers' Tree."

I started another sketch on the strength of this statement, but feeling a bit dubious over his assertion that the one tree was comprised of a whole row, I tackled the "oldest inhabitant," an ancient and pensioned park-keeper, who luckily hove in sight.

[Pg 100]

"Hover there," he replied, gruffly, pointing to a stump that resembled the sole remaining molar the old man possessed.

This stump was picturesque. It must be the Reformers' Tree. Result—another sketch, which I showed to the gatekeeper at the Marble Arch.

"Reformers' Tree? Why, there ain't no such thing in the Park." And I really believe there isn't. It is a myth, and merely exists in the fertile brain of the descriptive author or the imagination of the agitator.


After James Payn's "Talk of the Town" no book has given me such pleasure to illustrate as F. C. Burnand's "Incompleat Angler." The combination of the picturesqueness of Isaak Walton with the humour of Burnand could not be otherwise, but most unfortunately the form of its publication ruined the effect of the drawings. Over this, too, the author and I talked—no, not exactly—to be exact we laughed over it. I dined with Burnand, and afterwards in his study he read it to me, and as he frankly admitted he never laughed so much at anything before.

The illustrator's difficulties by no means end when the author is satisfied. Many authors give you every facility, and hamper you with no impossibilities; but then steps in the editor, especially if he be the editor of a "goody" magazine. Novels will be novels, and love and lovers will find their way even into the immaculate pages of our monthly elevators. I once found it so, and certainly I thought that here was plain sailing. A tender interview at the garden gate. She "sighed and looked down as Charles Thorndike took her hand"—unavoidable and not unacceptable subject. Lovers are all commonplace young men with large eyes, long legs, and small moustaches (villains' moustaches grow apace); moreover, lovers, I believe, generally take care to avoid observation; but no! it appears that "our [Pg 101] subscribers" have a stern code which may not be lightly infringed. A letter from the editor rebukes my worldly ways:

"Dear Sir,—Will you kindly give Charles Thorndike a beard, and show an aunt or uncle or some chaperon in the distance; the subject and treatment is hardly suitable otherwise to our young readers."

Sometimes a publisher steps in and arranges everything, regardless of all the author and artist may cherish.

Years ago a well-known but not very prosperous publisher sent for me, and spoke as follows:

"Now, Mr. F., what I want is to knock the B.P. with Christmas. The story is all blood and murder, but don't mind that—you must supply the antidote; put in the holly and mistletoe, plenty of snow and plum-pudding (the story was a seaside one in summer time). I like John Tenniel's work—give us a bit of him, with a dash of Du Maurier and a sprinkling of Leech here and there; but none of your Rembrandt effects—they are too dark, and don't print up well. Never mind what the author says; he hasn't made it Christmas, so you must!"

It is equally difficult to comply with an editorial request such as this: "The story I send you is as dull as ditch-water; do please read it over and illustrate it with lively pictures."

But some authors are their own publishers, and they are then generally more careful of the illustrations. Perhaps the most exacting of all authors was "Lewis Carroll."

he name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson is practically unknown outside of Oxford University, where he was mathematical lecturer of Christ Church; but the name and fame of "Lewis Carroll," author of those inimitable books for children, both young and old, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking-glass and what Alice found there," are known and beloved all over the world. His first book for children, "Alice's Adventures," was published at a time exactly to suit me. I was just eleven—the age [Pg 102] to be first impressed by the pen of Carroll and the pencil of Tenniel.

When I, a little, a very little boy in knickerbockers, first enjoyed the adventures of Alice and worshipped the pen and the pencil which recorded them, I little thought I would some day work hand in hand with the author, and when that day did arrive I regretted that I had not been born twenty-two years before I had, for for me to follow Tenniel was quite as difficult and unsatisfactory a task as for Carroll to follow Carroll. The worst of it was that I was conscious of this, and Lewis Carroll was not. Fortunately for me Sylvie was not like her prototype Alice; the illustrations for Sylvie would not have suited Tenniel as Alice did. I therefore did not fear comparison, but what I did fear was that Carroll would not be Carroll, and Carroll wasn't—he was Dodgson. I wish I had illustrated him when he was Carroll; that he was not the Carroll of "Alice" is plainly indicated in his life in the following passage:[1] "The publication of 'Sylvie and Bruno' marks an epoch in its author's life, for it was the publication of all the ideals and sentiments which he held most dear. It was a book with a definite purpose; it would be more true to say with several definite purposes. For this very reason it is not an artistic triumph as the two 'Alice' books undoubtedly are; it is on a lower literary level, there is no unity in the story. But from a higher standpoint, that of the Christian and the philanthropist, the book is the best thing he ever wrote. It is a noble effort to uphold the right, or what he thought to be the right, without fear of contempt or unpopularity. The influence which his earlier books had given him he was determined to use in asserting neglected truths.

[1] "The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll," by Stuart Dodgson Collingwood (Fisher Unwin).

"Of course the story has other features—delightful nonsense not surpassed by anything in 'Wonderland,' childish prattle with all the charm of reality about it, and pictures which may fairly be said to rival those of Sir John Tenniel. Had these been all, the book would have been a great success. As things are, there are probably hundreds of readers who have been scared by [Pg 103] the religious arguments and political discussions which make up a large part of it, and who have never discovered that Sylvie is just as entrancing a personage as Alice when you get to know her."


The character of the book was a bitter disappointment to me. I did not want to illustrate a book of his with any "purpose" other than the purpose of delightful amusement, as "Alice" was. Tenniel had point-blank refused to illustrate another story for Carroll—he was, Tenniel told me, "impossible"—and Carroll evidently was not satisfied with other artists he had tried, as he wrote me: "I have a considerable mass of chaotic materials for a story, but have never had the heart to go to work to construct the story as a whole, owing to its seeming so hopeless that I should ever find a suitable artist. Now that you are found," etc. That was in 1885, and we worked together for seven years. Tenniel and other artists declared I would not work with Carroll for seven weeks! I accepted the challenge, but I, for that purpose, adopted quite a new method. No artist [Pg 104] is more matter-of-fact or businesslike than myself: to Carroll I was not Hy. F., but someone else, as he was someone else. I was wilful and erratic, bordering on insanity. We therefore got on splendidly.

Of course it was most interesting to me to study such a genius at such a time, and in recording my experiences and impressions of Lewis Carroll my object is not so much to deal with the actual illustration to those ill-conceived books "Sylvie and Bruno," but to deal with my impressions of the man obtained by working with him for so long, for to have known the man was even as great a treat as to read his books. Lewis Carroll was as unlike any other man as his books were unlike any other author's books. It was a relief to meet the pure simple, innocent dreamer of children, after the selfish commercial mind of most authors. Carroll was a wit, a gentleman, a bore and an egotist—and, like Hans Andersen, a spoilt child. It is recorded of Andersen that he actually shed tears, even in late life, should the cake at tea be handed to anyone before he chose the largest slice. Carroll was not selfish, but a liberal-minded, liberal-handed philanthropist, but his egotism was all but second childhood.

He informed my wife that she was the most privileged woman in the world, for she knew the man who knew his (Lewis Carroll's) ideas—that ought to content her. She must not see a picture or read a line of the MS.; it was sufficient for her to gaze at me outside of my studio with admiration and respect, as the only man besides Lewis Carroll himself with a knowledge of Lewis Carroll's forthcoming work. Furthermore he sent me an elaborate document to sign committing myself to secrecy. This I indignantly declined to sign. "My word was as good as my bond," I said, and, striking an attitude, I hinted that I would "strike," inasmuch as I would not work for years isolated from my wife and friends. I was therefore no doubt looked upon by him as a lunatic. That was what I wanted. I was allowed to show my wife the drawings, and he wrote: "For my own part I have shown none of the MS. to anybody; and, though I have let some special friends see the pictures, I have [Pg 105] uniformly declined to explain them. 'May I ask so-and-so?' they enquire. 'Certainly!' I reply; "you may ask as many questions as you like!' That is all they get out of me."

But his egotism carried him still further. He was determined no one should read his MS. but he and I; so in the dead of night (he sometimes wrote up to 4 a.m.) he cut his MS. into horizontal strips of four or five lines, then placed the whole of it in a sack and shook it up; taking out piece by piece, he pasted the strips down as they happened to come. The result, in such an MS., dealing with nonsense on one page and theology on another, was audacious in the extreme, if not absolutely profane—for example:

"And I found myself repeating, as I left the Church, the words of Jacob, when he 'awaked out of his sleep,' surely the Lord is in this.

"And once more those shrill discordant tones rang out:—

"'He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk
Descending from a bus;
He looked again, and found it was—
A Hippopotamus.'"

These incongruous strips were elaborately and mysteriously marked with numbers and letters and various hieroglyphics, to decipher which would really have turned my assumed eccentricity into positive madness. I therefore sent the whole MS. back to him, and again threatened to strike! This had the desired effect. I then received MS. I could read, although frequently puzzled by its being mixed up with Euclid and problems in abstruse mathematics.

I soon discovered that I had undertaken a far more difficult task than I anticipated, for in the first letter of instructions I received from the author he frankly acknowledged I had my work "cut out." "Cut out" suggests dressmaking, the very subject first chosen for discussion and correspondence.

The extraordinary workings of this unique mind are shown by quotations from his letters to me:

"I think I had better explain part of the plot, as to these two—Sylvie and Bruno. They are not fairies right through the book—but children. All these conditions make their dress rather a puzzle. They mustn't have [Pg 106] wings; that is clear. And it must be quite the common dress of London life. It should be as fanciful as possible, so as just to be presentable in Society. The friends might be able to say 'What oddly-dressed children!' but they oughtn't to say 'They are not human!'

"Now I think you'll say you have 'got your work cut out for you,' to invent a suitable dress!"


How I wish I had had those dresses cut out for me! The above instructions were quickly followed by other suggestions which added to my already scanty idea of a costume suitable to Kensington Gardens and to fairyland! I was thinking this difficulty would be lessened if the story took place in winter, when I received another letter, which I must frankly confess rather alarmed me:

"As to the dresses of these children in their fairy state (we shall sometimes have them mixing in Society, and supposed to be real children; and for that they must, I suppose, be dressed as in ordinary life, but eccentrically, so as to make a little distinction). I wish I dared dispense with all costume; naked children are so perfectly pure and lovely, but Mrs. Grundy would be furious—it would never do. Then the question is, how little dress will content her? Bare legs and feet we must have, at any rate. I so entirely detest that monstrous fashion high heels (and in fact have planned an attack on it in this very book), that I cannot possibly allow my sweet little heroine to be victimised by it."

[Pg 107]

Another monstrous fashion he condemns refers to a picture of his grown-up heroine in London Society:

"Could you cut off those high shoulders from her sleeves? Why should we pay any deference to a hideous fashion that will be extinct a year hence? Next to the unapproachable ugliness of 'crinoline,' I think these high-shouldered sleeves are the worst things invented for ladies in our time. Imagine how horrified they would be if one of their daughters were really shaped like that!"


I did make a note of a horrified mother with a nineteenth century malformation, but I did not send it to the author, as it struck me, when re-reading his letter, he was possibly serious. Still we had Sylvie's dress, Mrs. Grundy, crinolines, and high heels to discuss:

"As to your Sylvie I am charmed with your idea of dressing her in white; it exactly fits my own idea of her; I want her to be a sort of embodiment of Purity. So I think that, in Society, she should be wholly in white—white frock ('clinging' certainly; I hate crinoline fashion): also I think we might venture on making her fairy dress transparent. Don't you think we might face Mrs. Grundy to that extent? In fact I think Mrs. G. would be fairly content at finding her dressed, and would not mind whether the material was silk, or muslin, or even gauze. One thing more. Please don't give Sylvie high heels! They are an abomination to me."

Then for months we corresponded about the face of the Heroine alone. My difficulty was increased by the fact that the fairy child Sylvie and the Society grown-up Lady Muriel were one and the same person! So I received reams of written descriptions and piles of useless photographs intended to inspire me to draw with a few lines a face embodying his ideal in a [Pg 108] space not larger than a threepenny-piece. By one post I would receive a batch of photographs of some young lady Lewis Carroll fancied had one feature, or half a feature, of that ideal he had conjured up in his own mind as his heroine.

He invited me to visit friends of his, and strangers too, from John o' Groats to Land's End, so as to collect fragments of faces. A propos of this I wrote in an artists' magazine a brief account of artists' difficulties with the too exacting author. (It is quite safe to write anything about Judges and Dons: they never read anything.) I described how I received the author's recipe for constructing the ideal heroine. I am not to take one model for the lady-child or child-lady. I am to take several; for all know no face—at least, no face with expression, or with plenty of life or good abilities, or when showing depth of LEWIS CARROLL'S NOTE LEWIS CARROLL'S NOTE TO ME FOR A PATHETIC PICTURE. religious thought—is perfect. I am therefore to go to Eastbourne to see and study the face of Miss Matilda Smith, in a pastry-cook's shop, for the eyes. I am to visit Eastbourne and eat buns and cakes, gazing the while into the beauteous eyes of Miss Smith. Then in Glasgow there is a Miss O'Grady, "with oh, such a perfect nose! Could I run up to Scotland to make a sketch of it?" A letter of introduction is enclosed, and, as a precaution, I am enjoined that I "must not mind her squint." But I do mind, and I am sure the blemish would sadly mar my proper judgment of the lovely feature for gazing on which those eyes have lost their rectitude. For the ears a journey to Brighton to see Miss Robinson, the Vicar's daughter, is recommended. No, she may listen, think I, to the "sad sea-waves," or to her father's sermons, but never to any flattery from me. The mouth I shall find in Cardiff—not an English or Welsh mouth, but a sweet Spaniard's Señora Niccolomino, the daughter of a merchant there. In imagination I picture that cigarette held so lovingly in those [Pg 109] perfect lips. But I am to draw an English heroine of fifteen innocent summers—how those curly wreaths of pearly smoke would disenchant my mind of the spell of youth and innocence! For the hair I must go to Brighton; for the figure to a number of different places. In fact, my author had mapped out a complete tour for me. Had he never heard the old story of the artist who was determined to paint a perfectly correct figure, strictly in accordance with the orthodox rules of art? As he painted a portion he covered it up, and so went on until the figure was complete. When it was finished he tore off the covering. The result was hideous! He went mad! I feel sure that fate would have been mine had I attempted to carry out Lewis Carroll's instructions. I therefore worked on my own lines with success. As his biographer states: "Meanwhile, with much interchange of correspondence between author and artist, the pictures for the new fairy tale, 'Sylvie and Bruno,' were being gradually evolved. Each of them was subjected by Lewis Carroll to the most minute criticism—hypercriticism, perhaps, occasionally." Still he was enthusiastic in his praise, and absurdly generous in his thanks. He was jealous that I would not disclose to him who my model was for Sylvie. When dining with us many a smile played over the features of my children when he cross-questioned me on this point. Repeatedly he wrote to me: "How old is your model for Sylvie? And may I have her name and address?" "My friend Miss E. G. Thomson, an artist great in 'fairies,' would be glad to know of her, I'm sure," and so on.

The fairy Sylvie was my own daughter! All the children in his books I illustrated were my own children; yet this fact never struck him! He visited us in the country when I was at work, and I soon afterwards received the following letter:

"Thanks. I was not aware that the boy, whose photo I sent you, had far-apart eyes. If you think (and you are quite the best judge of the point) that these eyes are needed in order to give to the face the fun and roguery I want expressed, by all means retain them.

"It had occurred to me to write and beg that, if Arundel did not furnish all requisite models for drawing from life, you would let all portions of [Pg 110] pictures which would have to be done without models or wait till you return to town, wait. But as I think you definitely told me that you never do the finished pictures except from life, I presume the petition to be superfluous."

(Never published.)

When I received this letter at Arundel my second boy was sitting in his bathing costume on a garden-roller on the lawn for a picture of Bruno sitting on a dead mouse. I was chaffing my model about flirting with a young lady he met at a children's garden party, and threatened to inform his sweetheart in London, when he assured me with knowingness, "Fact is, papa, the young lady here is all right for the country, you know—but she would never do in town!"

It was the same idea as Lewis Carroll's about models.


As I have brought my family into this, I may mention that there is one picture in "Sylvie and Bruno" (vol. i., p. 134) which [Pg 111] brings back to me the only sorrowful hour I had in connection with the otherwise enjoyable work. My wife was very ill—so ill it was a question of life and death. Expert opinion was called in, and the afternoon I had to make that drawing—with my own children as models—the "consultation" was being held in my wife's room. Carroll was on his way from Oxford to see the work, and I was drawing against time. It's the old story of the clown with the sick wife. Caricaturists are after all but clowns of the pencil. They must raise a laugh whatever their state of mind may be. For a long time I never would show Lewis Carroll my work, for the simple reason I did not do it. He thought I was at work, but I was not. That's where my acting eccentricity came in. I knew that I would have to draw the subjects "right off," not one a month or one in six months. Correspondence for three months, as a rule, led to work for one week. Isolated verse I did let him have the illustrations for, but not the body of the book. This was my only chance, and I arrived at this secrecy by the following bold stroke.

Lewis Carroll came from Oxford one evening, early in the history of the work, to dine, and afterwards to see a batch of work. He ate little, drank little, but enjoyed a few glasses of sherry, his favourite wine. "Now," he said, "for the studio!" I rose and led the way. My wife sat in astonishment. She knew I had nothing to show. Through the drawing-room, down the steps of the conservatory to the door of my studio. My hand is on the handle. Through excitement Lewis Carroll [Pg 112] stammers worse than ever. Now to see the work for his great book! I pause, turn my back to the closed door, and thus address the astonished Don: "Mr. Dodgson, I am very eccentric—I cannot help it! Let me explain to you clearly, before you enter my studio, that my eccentricity sometimes takes a violent form. If I, in showing my work, discover in your face the slightest sign that you are not absolutely satisfied with any particle of this work in progress, the whole of it goes into the fire! It is a risk: will you accept it, or will you wait till I have the drawings quite finished and send them to Oxford?"

"I—I—I ap—appreciate your feelings—I—I—should feel the same myself. I am off to Oxford!" and he went.

I sent him drawings as they were finished, and each parcel brought back a budget of letter-writing, each page being carefully numbered. This is the top of page 5 in his 49,874th letter. I am not sure if I received all the remaining 49,873 letters in the seven years. To meet him and to work for him was to me a great treat. I put up with his eccentricities—real ones, not sham like mine.—I put up with a great deal of boredom, for he was a bore at times, and I worked over seven years with his illustrations, in which the actual working hours would not have occupied me more than seven weeks, purely out of respect for his genius. I treated him as a problem, and I solved him, and had he lived I would probably have still worked with him. He remunerated me liberally for my work; still, he actually proposed that in addition I should partake of the profits; his gratitude was overwhelming. "I am grateful; and I feel sure that if pictures could sell a book 'Sylvie and Bruno' would sell like wildfire."

[Pg 113]

Perhaps the most pleasant confession I have to make is my fondness for children. They always interest and amuse me more than "grown-ups." The commonplace talk is to them unknown; it is full of surprises.

Perhaps the nursery's record of my family is not longer or any more interesting than the sayings and doings of the youngsters of any other family; still a few extracts may interest those who, like myself, are interested in first impressions.

My eldest, just entering on his teens, had as companions two brothers and one sister. Hearing there was an addition to this little family group, he, dressed in flannels, ran into my studio, bat in hand, "Papa, is it a boy or a girl?"

"A boy."

"Oh, I am so glad. I do want a wicket-keeper, and Dorothy can't wicket-keep a bit."


A stoutly-made little fellow of eight, to his mother, who happened to be extremely thin:

"Oh, mother, I do believe you must be the very sweetest woman in the world!"

"Thanks very much, Lawrence. But why so affectionate? What do you want?"

"I don't want anything. I only know you must be the very sweetest woman in the world."

"Really, you are too flattering. Why this sudden outburst of affection?"

"Well, you know, I've been thinking over the old, old saying, 'The nearer the bone the sweeter the meat.'"

Children, I think, have the art of "leading up" to jokes better than adults. They hear some strange remark, they naturally analyse it, and it suggests an application. For instance, this brat possibly objected to some portion of meat at table. His mother had reminded of the old saying, "The nearer the bone the sweeter the meat." Thin mother,—there's the application.

[Pg 114]

One of my youngsters ran into the drawing-room at five o'clock tea. A lady visitor thus addressed him:

"Come here, my little man. I suppose when you grow up you will be an artist, like your father?"

"My father is not an artist."

"Oh, my dear, he is an artist."

"Oh, no, no, no, my father is not an artist—he's only a black and white man. I am going to be an artist in all colours."


My own children have been my models, not only for Lewis Carroll's books, but for all my drawings of children. I have three boys and one girl. Dorothy is now a successful artist, and Lawrence is, at the age of eighteen, a professional draughtsman of mechanical subjects; my youngest is just out of his teens. Their portraits manifolded will be found in the page sketch from "Romps" Du Maurier wrote me a most graceful appreciation of these books, which, considering his delightful pictures of children in Punch, was most gratifying to me.

An artist for whose work I have the greatest admiration was the late Randolph Caldecott, and the only occasion on which I had the pleasure of meeting him was of a semi-theatrical kind. It was at one of the "Artists' Tableaux" which were given in London some years ago. In those produced in Piccadilly I took no part, and the entertainment to which I refer was held at the Mansion House.

[Pg 115]


[Pg 116]


[Pg 117]

At the last moment, in order to complete one of the pictures, a portly Dutchman was required, and a telegram was despatched to me to enquire whether I would represent the character. A dress, which was not a very good fit, was provided for me by the costumier of the show, and with the PORTION OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE DU MAURIER. PORTION OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE DU MAURIER. aid of a little padding, a good deal of rouge, a long clay pipe, and a bottle of schnapps, I managed to look something like the inflated Hollander I was representing, in the centre of the group, where I was supposed to be looking on at a game of bowls. Caldecott, who was placed at a window, flirting with the maids of the Queen, was attired in a graceful costume of the most faultless description, surmounted by a magnificent hat with a sweeping brim and splendid feathers, upon which he had expended no little pains and money. My head-gear consisted of a very insignificant stage property hat, but as I was not intended to contribute an element of beauty to the picture, that didn't matter. The tableau was arranged by [Pg 118] Mr. E. A. Abbey, and when taking his last look round before the curtain was raised, his artistic eye detected that more black was required in the centre. While we were thus in our allotted positions, and straining every nerve to remain perfectly rigid—an ordeal which, by the way, I never wish to go through again, as I had hard work to restrain myself from breaking out into a Highland fling or an Irish jig, or calling out "Boo!" to the audience to relieve my pent-up feelings—Mr. Abbey suddenly seized the superb hat on Caldecott's head, which the latter had had specially made, and in which he really fancied himself, handed it to me, and to Caldecott's horror, and almost before he was conscious that he had been made ridiculous by the wretched remnant which had been sent from Bow Street for me, the curtain was rung up.

I confess I have a certain amount of pity, closely akin to contempt, for the artist who must have the actual character he wants to paint, who cannot use a model merely for reference, but paints in everything like a photograph. Some artists call such feebleness conscientiousness, but to me it seems mere weakness. Must an author paint each character in his book, or an actor take his every impersonation on the stage, minutely from some living model? Surely observation and natural originality is more than the photographic copying of your "conscientious" artist! Worse feebleness still it is when an artist has to paint a well-known character, say King Lear or Mary Queen of Scots, and goes about hunting for a living person as near as possible in appearance to the original, and then costumes and slavishly reproduces him or her, without any show of judgment or insight after the model is once selected. And this lack of insight into character seems deplorably prevalent among our figure painters, for how often we see in the exhibitions the model with a "good head" tamely reproduced over and over again—here as a monk, there as a Polonius, Thomas à Becket, a "blind beggar," "His Excellency," a pensioner, or painted by some artist who wants to make a bid for portraiture as "A portrait of a gentleman"!

[Pg 119]


Black and white men have to introduce so many characters into their work, they are obliged to invent them; but it is a curious fact that this facility disappears at times. The late Mr. Fred Barnard, clever as he was at inventing character for his black and white work, found, when he was painting in oil, that confidence had left him, and he spent several days wandering about London to find real characters for a picture he was painting representing the jury in "Pilgrim's Progress." One day in Oxford Street he saw a hansom-cab driver with a face besotted with drink and "ripe" for production as a slave to Bacchus. Barnard hailed the hansom, jumped in, and directed the jehu to drive him to his studio on Haverstock Hill. In going up the Hampstead Road a tram-car ran over a child. Barnard was terribly upset by the touching sight, and told the driver to pull up at the nearest tavern. Getting out, he looked at his "subject," intending to invite him to refreshment before taking him on to his studio, where he intended to paint him. To his horror the face of the bibulous cabman had lost all its "colour," and was of a pale greenish hue.

"That was horful, sir, warn't it? It'll upset me for a week."

The disappointed artist dismissed his "subject."

Much could be written of this genuine humourist. His buoyant fun was irrepressible; indoors and out of doors he entertained himself—and sometimes his friends—with his jokes. In his studio he kept as pets some little tortoises. They were allowed to crawl about as they liked, but he had painted on their backs caricatures—a laughing face, a sour-green face, one with a look of horror, another of mischief. A visitor seated unaware [Pg 120] of these would suddenly spring off the sofa as the walking mask slowly appeared from underneath it! Barnard's power of mimicry was great, and his jokes were as excellent as his drawings. Even when sitting before the camera for his photograph, he had his little joke.


There are a number of girls who go the round of the studios, but have no right whatever to do so. They generally hunt in pairs, and this habit surely distinguishes them from the real model. They are more easily drawn than described. Two of this class once called on Barnard.

"What do you sit for?" he asked.

"Oh, anything, sir."

"Ah, I am a figure man, you are no use to me, but there is a friend of mine over there who is now painting a landscape—I think you might do very well for a haystack; and your friend might try studio No. 5 and sit for a thunder-cloud, the artist there is starting a stormy piece—oh, good morning." Tableau!

A wretched individual once called upon me and begged me to give him a sitting. I asked him to sit for what I was at work upon: this was a wicket-keeper in a cricket match bending over the wicket. I assured the man he need not apologise, as he had really turned up at an opportune moment; the drawing was "news," and it had to be finished that day. When I had shown my model the position and made him understand exactly what I wanted, I noticed to my surprise that he was trembling all over. I immediately asked him if he were cold.





"Then why not keep still?"

[Pg 121]

"Well, that's just what I can't do, sir! I had to give up my occupation because, sir, I am hafflicted with the palsy, and when I bend I do tremble so. I only sit for 'ands, sir—for 'ands to portrait painters. I close 'em for a military gent—I open 'em for a bishop—but when the hartist is hin a 'urry I know as 'ow to 'ide one 'and in my pocket and the hother hunder a cocked 'at."

Hiding hands recalls to me a fact I may mention in justice to our modern English caricaturists. We never make capital out of our subjects' deformities. This I pointed out at a dinner in Birmingham a few years ago, at which I was the guest of the evening, and as I was addressing journalists I mention this fact in justice to myself and my brother caricaturists. As it happened, that afternoon I had heard Mr. Gladstone making his first speech in the opening of Parliament, 1886, after being returned in Opposition. Turning round to his young supporters, he used for the first time the now famous expression "an old Parliamentary hand," holding up at the same time a hand on which there were only three fingers. Now had I drawn that hand as it was, minus the first finger, showing the black patch? It would have been tempting on the part of a foreign caricaturist, because it had a curious application under the circumstances. (But it would be noticed that in my sketch in Punch the first finger, which really did not exist, is prominently shown.) This was the first time the fact was made public that Mr. Gladstone had not the first finger on the left hand; since then, however, all artists, humorous or serious, were careful to show Mr. Gladstone's left hand as pointed out by me.

Now I had noticed this for years in the House, and I hold as an argument that men are not observant the fact that Members who had sat in the House with Mr. Gladstone, on the same benches, for years, assured me that they had never noticed [Pg 122] his hand before I made this matter public. So that when I am told that I misrepresent portraits of prominent men I always point to this fact.

Mr. Gladstone was careful to hide the deformity in his photographs, but in his usual energetic manner in the House the black patch in place of the finger was on many occasions in no way concealed.


These are plebeian models, but sometimes artists' friends recommend amateur models—a broken-down gentleman or some other poor relation—and when you are drawing social modern subjects, of course these are really of more use than the badly-dressed professional model.

On "Private View Day" at the Royal Academy a few years ago a knot of artists and their wives were in one of the rooms; it was late, and few of the visitors remained. The attention of the artists was attracted by a stately and beautiful being who entered and went round examining the pictures.

"How charming!" remarked one.

"Delightful!" replied another.

"Oh, if she would but sit to me!" prayed a third.

"Why not ask her?" asked the practical one. "If anyone can, you can; so remember that faint heart never won fair sitter!"

[Pg 123]

"Well, here goes!" whispered the cavalier, Mr. Val Prinsep, R.A., in the tone of one about to lead a forlorn hope, and he charged desperately across the gallery. He approached the fair stranger, and politely taking off his hat said diffidently:

"Madam, I am one of the Academy. Should you wish to know anything about the pictures I shall be glad——"

"Oh, thanks. I know a good deal about them."

"Indeed! Then you will understand how we artists are always on the look-out for beauty to paint—and—ah—hm—well, you see I—that is we" (pointing to the group) "were so struck with your presence that—ah—pardon my abruptness—we thought that if such a thing were possible you might condescend to allow one of us to make a study of your head—ah."

"Oh, with pleasure," said the fair visitor, taking from her hand-bag a neat little note-book, and opening it, she said:

"Well, I have only got Sundays and one Wednesday next month disengaged,—I have got sittings on every other day. Will this be of any use to you?"

She was a model!

The first house I occupied after I married faced one occupied by a well-known and worthy fiery-tempered man of letters, and it so happened that one evening my wife and I were dining at the house of another neighbour. We were gratified to learn that our celebrated vis-à-vis, hearing we had come to live in the same square, was anxious to make our acquaintance. On our return home that night we discovered the latch-key had been forgotten, and unfortunately our knocking and ringing failed to arouse the domestics. It was not long, however, before we awoke our neighbours, and a window of the house opposite was violently thrown open, and language all the stronger by being endowed with literary merit came from that man of letters, who in the dark was unable to see the particular neighbours offending him, and he referred to my wife and myself in a way that could not be passed over. A battle of words ensued in which I was proved the victor, and my neighbour beat a hasty retreat. Before retiring I wrote a note to the friend we had just left to say that in the circumstances I refused to know my [Pg 124] neighbour, and MY FIGHTING DOUBLE. MY FIGHTING DOUBLE. he had better inform him that I would on the first opportunity punch his head. By the same post I wrote for a particular model,—a retired pugilist. As soon as he arrived next morning I placed him at the window of my studio facing the opposite house, now and then sending him down to the front door to stand on the doorstep to await some imaginary person, and to keep his eye on the house opposite. I went on with my work in peace. Presently a note came:

"Dear Furniss,—Your neighbour has sent round to ask me what you are like. He has never seen you till this morning, and he is frightened to leave his house. He implores me to apologise for him."

He departed from the neighbourhood shortly afterwards.

Sad to relate that all Governmental undertakings of an artistic nature, from our most colossal public building or monument to the design of a postage stamp, are fair game for ridicule! The outward manifest record of the Post Office Jubilee—rather the "Post Office Jumble"—was the envelope and post card published by the Government and sold for one shilling. The pitiful character of the design, from an artistic point of view, shocked every person of taste; so I set to work and burlesqued it, strictly following the lines of the genuine article. A glance at my envelope alone, therefore, is sufficient to show the wretched quality of the original. It happened that the postmen's grievances were very prominent at that time. The Postmaster-General and the trade unionists and others were at fever heat, and excitement ran high. This caricature-parody, therefore, was a sketch with a purpose. It was said at one of the meetings that my pencil "may perhaps touch the public sympathy in behalf of the postman more effectually than any language has been able to do." The wretched thing was thought worthy of an article by Mr. M. H. Spielmann. My skit, it is needless to add, was very popular with the postmen. They showed their gratitude by saving many a misdirected letter. A letter addressed "Harry Furniss, London," has frequently found me, without the loss of a post.

[Pg 125]


[Pg 126]


[Pg 127]

I signed a certain number, which sold at 10s. 6d. each, and were bought up principally by the members of the Philatelic Society.


Perhaps the publication of this "Post Office Jumble" card was also the cause of the puzzled postmen taking the trouble to decipher and deliver the far more amusing artistic jokes of that irrepressible joker, Mr. Linley Sambourne. By his permission I here publish a page, a selection of the envelopes he has sent me from time to time.

It is bad enough purposely to puzzle the overworked letter-carriers—they are too often tried by unintentional touches of humour emanating from the most innocent and unsuspected members of the public—but I confess that I was once the innocent cause of Mr. Sambourne trying the same thing on with the overworked bank clerk.

I sent my Punch friend a cheque, here reproduced, for the sum of ½d., payable to "Lynnlay Sam Bourne, Esqre," signed [Pg 128] SIR HENRY IRVING WRITES HIS NAME BACKWARDS. SIR HENRY IRVING WRITES HIS NAME BACKWARDS. by me backwards, crossed "Don't you wish you may get it and go." Sambourne endorsed it "L. Sam. Bourne," and sent it to his bank. The clerk went one better, and wrote "Cancelled" backwards across my reversed signature. It passed through my bank, and the money was paid. This is probably unique in the history of banking.

A propos of writing backwards, in days when artists made their drawings on wood everything of course had to be reversed, and writing backwards became quite easy. To this day I can write backwards nearly as quickly as I write in the ordinary way. One night at supper I was SIR HENRY IRVING'S ATTEMPT. SIR HENRY IRVING'S ATTEMPT. explaining this, and furthermore told my friends that they themselves could write backwards—in fact, they could not avoid doing so. Not of course on the table, as I was doing, but by placing the sheet of paper against the table underneath, and writing with the point upwards. Perhaps my reader will try—and see the effect. For encouragement here are a few of the first attempts on that particular evening.


A few years ago a banquet was given at the Mansion House to the representatives of French art; several English painters and others interested in art were invited to meet them. Previous to being presented to the Lord Mayor, every guest was requested to sign an autograph album—an unusual proceeding, I think, at a City dinner. MR. J. L. TOOLE'S SECOND ATTEMPT. MR. J. L. TOOLE'S SECOND ATTEMPT. Were I Lord Mayor I would compel my guests to sign their names—not on arrival, but when leaving the [Pg 129] Mansion House, and thus possess an autograph album of erratic graphology, and one worth studying. In company with my friend Mr. Whitworth Wallis, the curator of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, I entered the Mansion House, when we were immediately accosted by a powdered flunkey in gorgeous uniform, in possession of the autograph album, who presented a truly magnificent pen at us, and in peremptory tones demanded our life or our signatures. Whitworth Wallis wrote his first, with a dash and confidence. I stood by and admired. "Oh," I said, taking the pen, "that's not half a dash; let me show you mine."

Jeames, in taking the pen from me, looked condescendingly over the page, and with the air of a justice delivering judgment said to me:

"Beaten 'im by hinches, sir. Beaten 'im by hinches!"

Months after that I gave an entertainment one evening at Woolwich. My audience was principally composed of Arsenal hands. On leaving the platform I was taken into the Athletic Club rooms, and asked to sign their autograph book and say a "few words" to the members. The few words consisted of the "record" I had made in the signing match I had with Mr. Wallis at the Mansion House—an incident which was brought to my mind suddenly when I took the pen in my hand. It so happened that Whitworth Wallis, who is a well-known lecturer on art matters, was on that same night lecturing in the North of England, and as he left the platform at the same hour as I at Woolwich, he was, like me, asked to sign an autograph book, and told the very same story to his friends in the North as I was telling under exactly similar circumstances, the same evening, at the same hour, in the South. Neither of us knew that the other was lecturing that night. It is not by any means a usual thing to be asked to sign a club album, and Wallis and I had not met or corresponded since the evening at the Mansion House.

After working many years for the Illustrated London News, [Pg 130] I became a contributor to the Graphic, and for that journal wrote and illustrated a series of supplements upon "Life in Parliament"; but from this time forward it would be difficult to name any illustrated paper with which I have not at some time or other been connected. For instance, the Yorkshire Post a few years ago started a halfpenny evening paper, and sent their manager down to me to ask my honorarium to illustrate the first few numbers with character sketches of the members of the British Association, who were holding their meetings that week in Leeds. This was a happy thought, as the "British Asses," as they are too familiarly called, sent these first numbers of the paper all over the country; the new ship had something to start upon, and is now a prosperous concern. There are various stories about the sum I received for this work. It was a large sum for England, where enterprise of this kind is very rare. I was "billed" all over the town as if I were a Patti or Paderewski, and telegrams were sent to the London papers by the special reporters announcing the terms upon which I was at work; altogether it was a bit of Yankee booming that would have made a Harmsworth or a Newnes green with envy.

[Pg 131]




What is Caricature?—Interviewing—Catching Caricatures—Pellegrini—The "Ha! Ha!"—Black and White v. Paint—How to make a Caricature—M.P.'s—My System—Mr. Labouchere's Attitude—Do the Subjects object?—Colour in Caricature—Caught!—A Pocket Caricature—The Danger of the Shirt-cuff—The Danger of a Marble Table—Quick Change—Advice to those about to Caricature.

I am asked what is caricature, how can I define it? Ah, here it is explained by some great authority—whom I cannot say, for I have it under the heading of "Cuttings from Colney Hatch," undated, unnamed. Kindly read it carefully:

"The word itself, 'caricature,' is related etymologically to our own 'cargo,' and means, in all Italian simplicity, a loading. So, then, the finely analytical quality of the Italian intellect, disengaging the ultimate (material) element out of all the (spiritual) elements of pictorial distortion and travesty, called it simply a 'loading.' After all, 'exageration' only substitutes the idea of mound, or agger for carica—the heaping up of a mound—for the common Italian word 'load' or 'cartload.' One can easily understand how a cold, cynical, and hating Neapolitan, pushed about by the [Pg 132] police for a likeness much too like, would shrug his shoulders, and say, possibly, the likeness was loaded. But when we look at the character of the loading, there may be anything there, from diabolical and malignant spite up to the simplest fun, to say nothing of the almost impossibility of drawing the real truth, and the almost necessary tendency to exaggerate one thing and diminish another. But if the Italian mind, with a head to be chopped off by a despot for a joke, discovered the colourless and impregnable word 'load,' the French gamin, on his own responsibility, hit upon the identical word in French, namely, 'charge'—une charge meaning both a pictorial or verbal goak or caricature, and a load. When did the word 'caricature' first obtain in the Italian language, and how? When did the word 'charge' acquire a similar meaning in France, and was it or not suggested by the Italian word? But the thing caricature goes back to the night of ages, and is in its origin connected with the subjective risible faculty on the one side and the [Pg 133] objective tendency to making faces on the other. Curiously enough, the original German ideas of caricature appear to have hinged precisely upon the distortion of the countenance, since Fratze, the leading word for caricature, signifies originally a grimace. Then we have Posse, buffoonery (Italian, pazzie), which, without original reference to drawing, would exactly express many of Mr. ——'s very exquisite drolleries, diving as they do into the weirdest genius—conceptions of night and of day, of dawn and of twilight—the mixture of the terrible, the grotesque, the gigantic, the infinitely little, the animal, the beast, the ethereal, the divinely loving, the diabolically cynical, the crawling, the high-bred, all in a universal salmagundi and lobster nightmare, mixing up the loveliest conceptions with croaking horrors, the eternal aurora with the everlasting nitschewo of the frozen, blinding steppe. Caricature! What can we English call it?"


What indeed after this? Except in despair we adopt the child's well-known definition—"First you think, and then you draw round the think." I have been more than once asked to deliver a lecture explaining the process. Of course such an idea is too absurd for serious consideration. The comic writer cannot give anyone a recipe for making jokes, nor can a comic actor show you how to grimace so as to make others laugh in this serious country. We are not taught to look at the comic side of things—any humorous element may grow, like Topsy, unaided—nor is the power given to many to explain to others their inventions. Bessemer, the inventor of the steel bearing his name, when he first made his discovery was asked to read a paper explaining his invention to a large meeting of experts. He had his carefully-prepared notes in front of him, but they only embarrassed him. He struggled to speak, but failed. Only the weight of the lumps of metal dangling in his coattail pocket kept him from collapsing. Suddenly he dived his hand into the pocket and produced a piece of steel, which he thumped on the table. "Bother the paper! Here is my steel, and I'll tell you how I made it!" So would it be with a caricaturist. After a struggle he would say, "Bother words, [Pg 134] words, words! Here is a pencil, and here is some paper. I'll show you how I caricature."


Personally, I have no objection to being caricatured—I frequently make caricatures of myself. Nor have I any objection to being interviewed—I interview myself. What else are these pages but interviews? I confess I fail to see any objection to a legitimate caricature or a legitimate interview. On the contrary, I look upon interviewing by an experienced and sympathetic writer as invaluable to a public man who is bringing out something novel and of interest to the public at large. It certainly seems to me judicious that he should give his preliminary ideas regarding it to the public firsthand, instead of allowing them to leak out in an unauthentic and disfigured form through the fervid imaginations of irresponsible scribes, leading to much misconception.

But I do object to the incapable, be he an interviewer wielding the pencil or the pen. To illustrate my meaning I shall take the latter first. The pen in this case did his work in true professional style. He came to interview me, and by doing so to "boom" me for a journal which was about to make a feature of my contributions to its pages. He brought with him a new note-book of remarkable size; an artist with a portfolio, pencils, and other artistic necessities; and a [Pg 135] photographer! The interviewer shall describe the scene in his own words.

The interviewer remarked that the readers of the ——"would be very interested in knowing exactly how the thing (interviewing) was done. How did the ideas come? How did they take shape? And what was the method of work? Neither at these nor at any other questions did Mr. Furniss wince. It must not be forgotten that when he was in America last year he was interviewed, on an average, once a day; and a man who has passed through A SERIOUS PORTRAIT—FROM LIFE. A SERIOUS PORTRAIT—FROM LIFE. such an experience as that is unlikely to recoil before any ordinary ordeal; although Mr. Furniss was bound to admit that a combination of interviewer, artist, and photographer had never before got him into his grip. The situation would have had its ludicrous side for anybody who had chanced to peep through the skylight. The spectacle of five men (for the presence of the indefatigable secretary was an indispensable part of the proceedings) all solemnly drinking tea, while a deer-hound kept a wistful eye on the sugar-basin, was unusual, and perhaps a little grotesque—to all save the participants. Seated at his easel in the characteristic position represented in our sketch, Mr. Furniss would now and again ask permission to move his arm towards his cup of tea, and would then bend back to the make-belief work at which he was posing." There is a picture of interviewing! Everything so prepared, so studied, so well described to impress the subscribers of the enterprising journal. The photographer with a wide angle lens took in all that was in my studio—to "make-believe," as the camera [Pg 136] invariably does, that the apartment was six times larger than it really is. But the artist, who should idealise if the photographer could not, who so sadly interfered with my enjoying my tea, who was sent to make the most of me to raise the enthusiasm of the readers and to increase the subscriptions, succeeded in doing with his pencil what no interviewer has done with his pen,—he made me wince! Here is a reduction of the serious portrait published.

I have sat down time after time to answer young correspondents' questions about the "system" to adopt for the production of caricature. I invariably end by drawing imaginary caricatures of my correspondent and fail to reply. When interviewed on the subject of caricature, I discourse on the history of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and the technique in the work of Burne-Jones, Rossetti, and Holman Hunt, and caricature is therefore driven from our minds.

However, the difficulty was solved in a very unexpected manner. One day, whilst smoking my cigar after lunch, I overheard an interview in my studio, which I here reproduce.

A Pencil of mine was working away merrily shortly after the opening of the Session, when suddenly my favourite Pen flew off the writing-table, where it had been enjoying a quiet forty winks, and alighted on the easel.

ow very awkward you are!" cried the Pencil. "See, you have knocked against and so agitated me that I have actually given Sir William an extra chin."

"One more or less does not matter, does it?" rejoined the Pen. "I apologise, and trust you will make allowances for me, as I am only an artist's Pen, don't you know, and naturally rather uncouth, I fear."

[Pg 137]

"Pray take a seat upon the indiarubber, and let me know to what I am indebted for the honour of this visit."

"Well," continued the Pen, "I have flown over here to remind you of your promise to confess to me some of the secrets of caricature."

"Ah, yes," replied the Pencil, "I remember now. I have really been so busy sketching Members of Parliament at St. Stephen's, that I had almost forgotten my promise."

"A poor Pen is out of place in an artist's studio, except to minister to the requirements of the autograph hunter. Well, you need not be jealous. My literary flight is not intended to be a very high one after all. Now you know more about the secrets of the studio than I do; so tell me, is it the custom of H. F. to have a regular sitting for a caricature, after the fashion of the portrait painters?"

"Oh, you are too delightfully innocent altogether," laughed the Pencil, rubbing its leaden head rapidly on a piece of paper, to sharpen its point. "A regular sitting! What do you think? No, sir, no, emphatically never. Such an operation would be fatal to the delicate constitution of a caricature, and the result would not be worth the paper upon which it is drawn. It is only in ordinary portraiture that a sitting is required, and upon that point I have a theory."

"Oh, never mind your theories now, old fellow," rejoined the Pen, as it took a sip of ink and prepared to chronicle the reply. "What I want to chat to you about at present is how to catch a caricature."

The Pencil pricked up his ears, and with a knowing wink, said:

"Ah, I see! You want to know secrets. Well, I will tell you 'how it's done.' The great point about a caricature is that it must be caught unawares. A man when he thinks he is unobserved struts about gaily, just for all the world like a hedgehog. All his peculiarities are then as evident as your cousins the quills upon the back of the fretful porcupine. But the moment the man or woman who is about to be caricatured observes H. F. take me in hand, I always notice that he shrivels up and collapses as quickly as one of the insectivora surprised at his feast. But wait a moment: now you ask me, I do [Pg 138] recollect one unfortunate man who, despite H. F.'s protest, insisted upon coming here once to sit for a caricature. He looked the picture of misery, and sat in the chair there, just as if he were at a dentist's. H. F. made a most flattering portrait. Indeed, so much too handsome was it that I could hardly follow the workings of his fingers, I was laughing so."

"'Oh, what a relief!' cried the sitter, when H. F. showed him the drawing. 'You have certainly made a pretty guy of me, but, thank heaven, I am not thin-skinned.'

"'Only thick-headed,' muttered H. F. sotto voce to me as he continued to chat with the sitter.

"No sooner had he left the studio than the 'study' was in the fire, and the caricature which afterwards came from the Furniss was drawn entirely from memory.

"The artist is in more evil case when he has absolutely no chance whatever of making the slightest memorandum, for he must trust to memory alone," remarked the Pencil.

"Yet Pellegrini boasted that he always trusted to memory," said the Pen.

"I know he did," replied the Pencil, "and more than once chaffed H. F. for bringing me out. H. F., I know, has the greatest admiration for most of Pellegrini's work, but thinks that 'Ape' certainly had the failing common to all Italian caricaturists of being cruel rather than funny. I may mention too, here, an incident for the truth of which H. F. can vouch, and which illustrates another weakness of the inhabitants of the Sunny South. When the poor fellow was ill a friend of his one day set to work to put his room in order, and in moving a screen was surprised to find behind it a number of soiled shirts. He began to count them over with a view to sending them to the laundry, when Pellegrini starting up exclaimed, 'You fellow! you leave my shirts there, or I am a ruined man. Don't you see they are my "shtock in drade"?' And sure enough upon the huge familiar linen cuffs were numerous notes in pencil—sketches, in fact, from life for coming caricatures. Now, when H. F. intends to trust entirely to memory, I often find that he makes a note in writing after this fashion: 'Like So-and-so, [Pg 139] with a difference,'—and the difference is noted. Or 'Think of an animal, a bird, or a fish, and to that add So-and-so, and subtract So-and-so,' and this results in a portrait. For instance, if he saw a man like this, I should not be surprised by his writing a single word as 'Penguin' for his guidance, and so on."


"The old caricaturists, I suppose, had a decided advantage over the moderns in having artistic costumes to depict?" asked the Pen.

"Of course," replied the Pencil. "Even up to the time of Seymour the tailor made the man, and was, therefore, largely responsible for the caricature. You have only to see Mr. Brown in the ordinary attire of to-day and also in Court dress to appreciate this, and sympathise with me."


"Now here is another point," continued the Pen, "upon which you can throw some light, old fellow. I have often seen letters on the writing-table from people asking H. F. for his recipe for the making of caricatures. I invariably scribble the same reply, 'Find out the chief points and exaggerate them.' Not satisfied with this, some have asked him to explain his modus operandi." "I recollect an instance," replied the Pencil. "It was in the studio here. An interviewer called, and asked H. F. to explain the art of caricature. So he took down a volume of portraits from the book-shelves, and opened it at this one. You see it is the head of a man who should be universally respected by us of the grey goose fraternity. 'Well, you see there is not much to caricature,' [Pg 140] said H. F.; 'it is simply the portrait of a kindly, intellectual-looking man, the late Chief Librarian of the British Museum, I remember well," continued the Pencil, brightening up, "H. F. took me in hand, and telling me to knock over the forehead, keep in the eyes, pull the nose, and wipe off the chin, produced a caricature 'on the spot.'"

"I suppose sometimes you find caricatures ready-made, Mr. Pencil?" continued the Pen.

"Of course we do," replied the Pencil. "Nature will have her joke sometimes, nor can we blame her, for it is only by reason of contrast that we admire the beautiful. A propos of this, my dear Pen, I may A CARICATURE. A CARICATURE. tell you that in county Wexford, in Ireland, there is a certain very beautiful estate, round which runs a carefully-built wall. At a particular point the regularity ceases, and the wall runs on, constructed in every conceivable style, and contrary to all the canons of masonry. There is a legend that the owner of the estate, tired of the NOT A CARICATURE. NOT A CARICATURE. monotonous appearance of the wall, ordered that a certain space should be left in it which should be filled up with a barrier as irregular in construction as possible. This was done, and that portion of the wall is called the 'Ha-ha!' because so funny does it look that everyone who passes is observed to laugh. Now is it not much the same in Nature? A [Pg 141] world full of Venuses and Adonises would soon pall. So now and then we find a human 'Ha-ha!' interspersed among them. In that case, I say, the caricaturist's work is already done. He has simply to copy Nature. Yet there are some who actually find fault with H. F. for doing that very thing, saying that his pencil (that's me) is 'unkind,' 'cruel,' 'gross,' and so on. There are many M.P.'s whom he habitually draws without the slightest exaggeration, notwithstanding which, Mr. Pen, there are members of your calling who do not scruple to inform the world that in drawing the Parliamentary 'Ha-ha!' as he is, H. F. is libelling him. There is one M.P. in particular—— No, I shall not give his name or show his portrait. I believe him to be very clever, very interesting, undeniably a great man, and extremely vain of his personal appearance. But he is built contrary to all the laws of Nature, and if H. F. draws him as he is, he is accused of libelling him. If he improves him, no one knows him. Oh, Mr. Pen, you may take it from me that the lot of the caricaturist is not a happy one."

"For the matter of that," put in the Pen, "neither is the painter's. You know Gay's lines:

"So very like, a painter drew,
That every eye the picture knew,
He hit complexion, feature, air,
So just, the life itself was there.
He gave each muscle all its strength,
The mouth, the chin, the nose's length,
His honest pencil touched with truth,
And marked the date of age and youth.
He lost his friends, his practice failed,—
Truth should not always be revealed."

But Gay did not live in the days of Sargent!"

"We are getting on nicely," said the Pen. "Now answer a question which is often put to me—viz., why caricaturists eschew paint?"

"Because," replied the Pencil, "people often seem to forget that in the present day, when events follow each other in quick succession, a subject becomes stale almost before the traditional [Pg 142] nine days' interest in it has expired—that paint is no longer the medium by which a caricaturist can possibly express his thoughts. Of course, I am not referring to mere tinting, such as that in which the old caricaturists had their drawings reproduced, but to colouring in oils, after the manner of the great satirist Hogarth. Some may remember H. F.'s caricature in Punch of the late Serjeant-at-Arms, Captain Gosset, as a black-beetle. Now, had he painted a full-length portrait of him, and sent it elaborately framed to the Royal Academy, it would not only have taken him very much longer to execute, but the Captain would not have looked a whit more like a black-beetle than he did in black and white in the pages of Punch.

"It must be remembered, also, that in caricature everything depends upon contrast. For instance, in a Parliamentary sketch he can easily make Sir William Harcourt inflate himself to such an extent that he occupies a good third of the picture, but were he to paint a portrait of him of similar proportions it would be necessary to take the roof off Burlington House and bring over the Eiffel Tower to which to hang the enormous frame that would be requisite. Moreover, there would be an additional disadvantage, for it would be impossible to take in the whole figure at once, and it would be necessary to mount the first platform at least to obtain a peep at even the lowest of the series of chins which distinguishes the descendant of kings. However, it is just on the cards that some day he may open a Parliamentary Portrait Gallery, and then I can promise that Sir William will have justice done to him at last. Sixteen yards of 'Historicus' would assuredly be enough to draw the town. But, in point of fact, it would be just as reasonable to ask an actor why he is not an opera singer as well, or to ask an opera singer why he does not dispense with the music and play in legitimate tragedy, as to enquire of a modern caricaturist why he does not work in colours."

The Pencil, after the delivery of this discourse, rolled over to the barber-knife, who trimmed him up.

"There are some people," continued the Pen, "who object to be sketched in any shape or form. I recollect an editor once [Pg 143] challenging H. F. to get a sketch of an interesting man who had defied photographers and artists alike, and absolutely refused to have his portrait taken. You will find a paragraph about this in press-cutting book, marked 'Pritt.' Just read it when I'm being attended to."

"Mr. Pritt, Leeds, is reckoned chief of the Yorkshire anglers. 'A striking peculiarity with him,' a Yorkshire correspondent says, 'is that he never will sit for his likeness. Mr. Harry Furniss, however, the well-known artist of Punch, during his recent visit to Leeds, on the occasion of the meeting of the British Association, managed to 'take' Mr. Pritt; and the portrait, drawn in characteristic style, appears in the Yorkshire Weekly under the heading 'Caught at Last'."

"Yes, that's it. H. F. was invited to dine by this curious and clever individual.

"'Delighted to see you, Mr. Furniss; but one thing I must ask you to understand at once—I'm not going to be sketched.'

"'I assure you,' he said, 'I shall not sketch you unless you are well aware I am drawing you, and, in fact, willingly give me assistance.'

"'That's very good of you. Now I am happy. I have made up my mind I shall never allow my face to be drawn or photographed, and once I make up my mind nothing in the world will move me.'

"'Indeed!' he replied. 'But, pardon me, you have not always had that antipathy. I am looking at a photograph of you hanging on the wall there, taken when you were a baby.'

"'Oh, ah! Do you detect that? No one knows it to be me. Of course, I was not accountable for my actions at that age.'

"'Ah, how you have altered! Dear me! why, your nose is not that shape now. Here it is Roman; you have a sort of——'

"'Have a—what, eh?'

"'Have you a pencil?' (Taking me out.) 'This will do. Now, your nose is like that.'

"'Is it? But my mouth is the same, isn't it?'

"'Not quite—I will show you.'

[Pg 144]

"'Of course, my chin isn't as round?'

"'Oh, no! It's more like this. And you have less hair—see here.'

"'Dear me! Of course, one can see who this is. This astonishes me.'

"Someone else coming in at that moment, he quickly pocketed the sketch and me, and, much to his host's chagrin, it was duly published as a portrait of the gentleman from a 'special sitting'—'Caught at Last.'


"This reminds me, by the way, of a portrait which H. F. once drew of the author of 'Happy Thoughts' as a frontispiece to a new edition of that humorous book of books. Our guv'nor's first effort at this portrait was distinctly a failure, and no wonder, for the moment I was produced the editor of Punch turned his back upon us, and, with the greatest vigour, commenced writing at his table. Not being so intimate then with Mr. Burnand as we subsequently became, both I and the guv'nor thought him peculiar. But after a considerable time the editorial chair was wheeled round, and with a smile its genial occupant said calmly, 'Well, let me see the result.'

"'The result is nil at present,' replied H. F., 'for I have not yet caught a glimpse of your face.'

"Mr. Burnand looked surprised. 'Dear me!' he said; 'I thought you were making a study of me at work, you know.'

"'All I could see was the back of your head in silhouette. There now—sit just as you are, please. That's exactly the pose and expression which I want to catch. Thanks!' cried the guv'nor, as he rapidly set to work, when suddenly all cheerfulness vanished from Mr. Burnand's countenance, as with a horrified look he pointed to the table by my side, where lay the sketching materials.

"'What's that?' he cried, dismayed.

[Pg 145]

"'Oh, a lump of bread, useful in touching up high lights,' said H. F.

"'You don't say so! The sight of it quite upset me. I really thought you had brought your supper with you, and intended to work from me all night. I shall never recover my natural expression this evening, so please call again.' And as H. F. closed his sketch-book, the following brief colloquy took place:

"The editor of 'Happy Thoughts': 'Caught anything?'

"H. F.: 'No.'

"The editor: 'Good evening!'

"And the door closed.

"Frequently a subject has posed for H. F. without being aware of the fact that he was making a sketch. For instance, in his happy hunting ground—Parliament—Brown, M.P., say, comes up to him in the Lobby: 'Ha! I see you are up to mischief—taking someone off.'

"H. F. gives a knowing look, and points to Jones.

"'Ha! ha! I see. I'll talk to him. Ha! ha! and I'll look out for the caricature. Don't be too hard on poor Jones!'

"'Thanks, awfully,' replies H. F. He makes a rapid sketch, nods to Brown as much as to say, 'That'll do,' smiles, and walks off. He has of course never troubled about Jones at all; it's Brown he has been sketching all the time.

"It is utterly absurd to imagine you can escape from the caricaturist.

"H. F. trained himself to make sketches with his hand in his pocket, and worked away with me and his book—or rather cards, which he had specially for the purpose—whilst looking straight into the face of his victim. He manages in this way to [Pg 146] sketch people sitting opposite to him in the train, and sometimes when talking to them all the time.

"You know that without special permission from the Lord High Great Chamberlain no stranger is allowed to pass the door of the English House of Lords, even when it is empty; but when the precious Peers are sitting, the difficulty of making a sketch is too great for description. You are not allowed to sit down, speak, smile, sneeze, or sketch. H. F. once produced me in the House of Lords. Had he drawn a sword instead of a pencil he could not have created greater consternation. Explanation was useless. The officials knew that he was only for 'takkin' notes' for Punch, but the vision of a pencil produced an effect upon them the same as if they had caught sight of an infernal machine. But necessity is the mother of invention. It was then he hit upon the plan I have just told you about. He draws in his pocket. Keeping the card against his leg, he sketches quite easily. A pocket Hercules is an oft enough heard-of individual—so why not a pocket artist?


"Previous to this he used to make a rapid note on his shirt-cuff; but that is a dangerous practice. Wives might resent the face if it were too pretty, and your washerwoman might recognise a Member of Parliament as her intimate friend. The incident which cured him of using his shirt-cuff for sketching happened at a large dinner, where he was introduced to the wife of a well-known public man, who soon showed she was not altogether pleased by the introduction, and truly at the moment he had forgotten that he had made a sketch of the lady on his shirt-cuff, which he did not take sufficient care to conceal.

"I recollect once on the terrace of the House of Commons he was sketching a lady of foreign extraction, the wife of a gentleman well-known to the Irish Party, with a profile something like this. I made the sketch, unfortunately, on the marble tea-table. When H. F.'s friends were leaving, he found he could not rub this off the table, [Pg 147] and what embarrassed him more was the fact that some Irish Members were bearing down to take possession of the table as soon as we left. I had a rapid vision of our guv'nor floating in the Thames, being hurled over by the infuriated Members from the Emerald Isle; so I quickly transformed the lady into something resembling a popular Member of Parliament at the time, and, as we were leaving, I overheard an Irish Member say, 'Bedad! and Furniss has been dhrawin' that owld beauty, Mundella!'


"Have you anything new?" asked the Pen. "May I look? I know that St. Stephen's is your happy hunting ground."

"Ah, yes," responded the Pencil, "I know it well. But I can tell you it is not altogether a bed of roses. When we come across Members who have taken liberties with their personal appearance during the recess, H. F. and I resent it, I can tell you."

"Naturally," observed the Pen in a voice of the utmost sympathy, "for it means more work."

"Of course," continued the Pencil. "Now I have always held that model M. P.'s have no right to alter. They are the property of the political caricaturist, and what on earth is to become of him if the bearded men begin to shave and the smooth-faced to disguise themselves in 'mutton-chops' or 'Dundrearys'? Yet they will do it. We may draw them in their new guise, but the public won't have them at any price. They want their old favourites, and if they miss a well-known 'Imperial,' a moustache, a pair of dyed whiskers, or other such hall-mark in the picture, or on the other hand find a set of familiar chins concealed beneath an incipient Newgate fringe, a nose and chin which have been accustomed to meet for many a long year suddenly divided by the intrusion of a bristly moustache, or a delightfully asinine expression lost under the influence of a pair of bushy side-whiskers, recognition becomes impossible and the caricature falls flat. The fact is, my friend Pen, it is not only their features, [Pg 148] but their characteristic attitudes which we make familiar, and their political differences cause the artistic effect. To me it is marvellous to note how differently artists draw the same head. Expression of course varies, but the construction of the head must always remain the same. Yet I have seen no less a head than that of Mr. Gladstone so altered in appearance in the work of different artists that I have been forcibly reminded of the old story of St. Peter's skull. A tourist travelling in Italy was shown a cranium at Rome which he was assured was the veritable relic. In Florence he was shown another, and somewhere else he was shown a third. Upon his remonstrating the guide observed, 'It is quite right, sir: the skull you saw at Rome was that of St. Peter when he was a boy; that at Florence was his when he was a young man, and this was his skull when he died.'

"Then again, familiarity with the subject is only arrived at by continually watching and sketching a Member. A few years ago I was lying down in my berth in the sketch-book which was in H. F.'s pocket, when I overheard a conversation between him and Mr. Labouchere upon Parliamentary portraits."

"What did H. F. say about them?" asked the Pen. "He ought to know the alphabet of Parliamentary portraiture at all events by this time."

"You're right," nodded the Pencil. "He's drawn a few thousand of them in his time. What did H. F. say? Well, he told Labouchere that he always created a type for each Member, and to that he adheres."

"'Yes,' said the Sage, late of Queen Anne's Gate, 'and when the original turns up, those who derive their impression of a Member from your sketches are disappointed if the two do not exactly tally.'"

"But surely our guv'nor does not sketch direct from life?" asked the Pen, amazed.

"Of course he does," indignantly replied the Pencil. "He whips me out of my bed at all times, but as he pointed out to the Member for Northampton (see how Parliamentary I am getting), it would never do invariably to sketch a man as you see him. 'For instance,' went on H. F. addressing him, 'I [Pg 149] made a sketch of you, Mr. Labouchere, in the corridor of the House of Commons, kneeling on a seat, and had I never seen you before, I should have no doubt used this as a characteristic instead of an accidental attitude of yours.'

"Just fancy what you would have written, my dear Pen, if you had seen in Punch one of H. F.'s portraits of Lord Hartington with his hat upon the back of his head instead of over his eyes, or Mr. Gladstone depicted with a Shakespeare collar, or Mr. Cyril Flower without one, or Mr. Arnold Morley smiling, or Mr. Balfour looking cross, or Mr. Broadhurst MR. LABOUCHERE. MR. LABOUCHERE. in evening dress, or Mr. Chamberlain without an orchid in the button-hole of his coat! Yet I venture to say the time has been when Mr. Chamberlain may have had to rush down to the House orchidless, and when Mr. Broadhurst may have worn evening dress. Stranger things than that have happened, I can tell you. I have actually seen the irrepressible smile vanish from the face of Mr. John Morley. But never—no, never, will I believe that the ex-Chief Liberal Whip has ever looked jovial, that Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Cyril Flower ever exchanged collars, or that Lord Hartington ever wore his hat at the back of his head.

"On the other hand, my dear Pen, you know as well as I do that Lord Randolph Churchill did not wear imitation G.O.M. collars, that Mr. Herbert Gladstone is no longer in his teens, that Mr. Gladstone was not always so wild-looking as H. F. usually represented him, and that perhaps Sir William Harcourt is not simply an elephantine mass of egotism."

"Then why did he draw them so?" enquired the Pen.

"Ah! that is the secret of the caricaturist," laughed the Pencil. "There is something more in politicians, you know, than meets the eye, and the caricaturist tries to record it. You're so captious, my dear Pen. It is not given to everyone to see a portrait properly, however true it may be. Some folks there are who are colour-blind. There are others who are portrait-blind. [Pg 150] Others again are blind to the humorous. An old M.P. came up to H. F. one day in the Lobby of the House of Commons when a new Parliament had assembled for the first time, and said to him, 'Well, you have a rich harvest for your pencil (that was me). I never saw such odd specimens of humanity assembled together before.'


"'That may be so,' replied H. F., 'but mark my words, after a session or two, my comic sketches of the Members—for which, by the way, the specimens you are looking at are merely notes, and which you are now good enough to call faithful portraits—will become so familiar to you that they will cease to amuse you. And you may even come to pronounce them gross libels. In other words, you will find that their frequent repetition will rob them in your eyes of their comic character altogether, just as in the case with the attendants at the Zoo, on whose faces you will fail to detect the ghost of a smile at the most outrageous pranks of the monkeys, although you shall see everyone else in the place convulsed with laughter.'"

"But surely, Mr. Pencil," argued the Pen, "you lose friends by caricaturing them?"

"Not those who are worthy of friendship," replied the Pencil, with a solemn air. "And those who cannot take a joke are not worthy of it. H. F. is not a portrait painter. It makes the lead turn in my case to witness the snobbishness which exists nowadays among certain thin-skinned artists and writers. The Society grub has eaten the heart out of all true artistic ambitions. An honest satirist has no chance nowadays. He must not draw what he sees, or write what he really thinks about it. Pleasing wishy-washiness is idolised, whilst Hogarth is voted coarse. Great Scott! How this [Pg 151] age of cigarettes and lemon squash would have stirred the pulse and nerved the brush of the greatest of English caricaturists!"


Then as the Pencil wiped away a tear of regret for the decadence of English satirical art the Pen jotted down the following lines culled from the old tomb-stone at Chiswick:

"If Genius fire thee Stranger stay,
If Nature touch thee, drop a tear.
If neither move thee, turn away,
For Hogarth's honoured dust lies here."

"When he has not seen a Member, and has no reference to go by, how does he manage?"

"He does not find photography of much use. Sometimes, if he has to draw a man for some special reason, and has not seen him, a photograph is, of course, the only means possible; then he generally gets a letter something like this:

"'Dear Sir,—I enclose you a photograph of myself, the only one I possess. It belongs to my wife, and she has reluctantly lent it, and trusts you will take every care of it and return it at once. It was taken on our wedding trip. I may mention that I have less hair at the top of my head and more on my face, and I may seem to some a trifle older.'

[Pg 152]

"Well, here, you see, H. F. has to use his judgment.

"But to my surprise H. F. received a visit from the original of the photograph shortly after his sketch was published, who came to inform the guv'nor that no one could possibly recognise him in the sketch; and when I saw him in the flesh I quite believed him. You can judge from the sketch how useful the photograph was.

"The second appearance of the new and ambitious M.P. in the pages of Punch did not satisfy the legislator either. It was not his face he took exception to, but his boots, like Mr. Goldfinch in 'A Pair of Spectacles.' He lost faith in his bootmaker, squeezed his extremities into patent leather shoes of the most approved and uncomfortable make, and hobbled through the Lobbies doing penance at the shrine of caricature. A caricature, you see, does not depend upon the face alone.

"One of H. F.'s earliest Parliamentary caricatures was a sketch of Mr. Henry Broadhurst, the deservedly popular representative of the working classes. He was Member for Stoke when the sketch was made. There is no affectation about him. Neither the skin that covers his solid frame nor that which encases his active feet is thin. His figure is one of the best known and most characteristic in Parliament. Who is not familiar with the round, determined little head, with the short cropped hair, the square-cut beard, the shrewd expression, the genial smile, the short jacket, the horsey trousers, the round hat, and the thick boots? The figure often appeared in Mr. Punch's Parliamentary Portrait Gallery. When our friend the late William Woodall introduced his fellow-candidate to the electors of Stoke a voice cried out, 'We know 'im! we know 'im! We've seen 'is boots in Punch!'

"No one can deny that the potters of Staffordshire are an artistic public.

"The late chief proprietor of the leading paper had the largest feet ever seen in the House of Commons, and a certain noble lord whose name will ever be connected with Majuba carries off the palm for the largest in the Upper House. The new Member for —— will, in due course, owe his Parliamentary fame to the [Pg 153] extraordinary heels of his boots, if nothing else, just as the late Lord Hardwicke's reputation was due to the mysterious shine of his hat.

"But, judging from the illustrated papers, M.P.'s all wear spats, new trousers every day (for they never have a crease), the most beautifully-fitting coats, and white hats with black bands round them. Why are they drawn so?" asked the Pen.

"Excuse the familiar vulgar rejoinder—Ask me another."

"I hear it said that you never caricature women."

"What rot! Have I not worked in illustrating the Members of the Houses of Parliament for years, to say nothing of Judges and—their wives?"

"I mean young women."

"Oh, really I have no time to answer these questions; here are a bundle of my unpublished caricatures; take them and be off."

[Pg 154]



Gladstone and Disraeli—A Contrast—An unauthenticated Incident—Lord Beaconsfield's last Visit to the House of Commons—My Serious Sketch—Historical—Mr. Gladstone—His Portraits—What he thought of the Artists—Sir J. E. Millais—Frank Holl—The Despatch Boxes—Impressions—Disraeli—Dan O'Connell—Procedure—American Wit—Toys—Wine—Pressure—Sandwich Soirée—The G.O.M. dines with "Toby, M.P."—Walking—Quivering—My Desk—An Interview—Political Caricaturists—Signature in Sycamore—Scenes in the Commons—Joseph Gillis Biggar—My Double—Scenes—Divisions—Puck—Sir R. Temple—Charles Stewart Parnell—A Study—Quick Changes—His Fall—Room 15—The last Time I saw him—Lord Randolph Churchill—His Youth—His Height—His Fickleness—His Hair—His Health—His Fall—Lord Iddesleigh—Sir Stafford and Mr. Gladstone—Bradlaugh—His Youth—His Parents—His Tactics—His Fight—His Extinction—John Bright—Jacob Bright—Sir Isaac Holden—Lord Derby—A Political Prophecy—A Lucky Guess—My Confession in the Times—The Joke that Failed—The Seer—Fair Play—I deny being a Conservative—I am Encouraged—Chaff—Reprimanded—Misprinted—Misunderstood.

[Pg 155]


[Pg 156]


[Pg 157]

1. Dr. Tanner
2. Rt. Hon. A. Akers-Douglas
3. Lord A. Hill
4. G. Cavendish-Bentinck
5. J. A. Pinton
6. Sir W. H. Houldaworth
7. Sir Albert K. Rollit
8. Rt. Hon. H. Chaplin
9. Sir E. Waskin
10. T. W. Rusell
11. Rt. Hon. C. B. Spencer
12. Christopher Sykes
13. Lord Halabury
14. H. Lubouchere
15. T. Sexton
16. Sir R. H. Fowler
17. Earl Spencer
18. Rt. Hon. J. Chamberlain
19. Admiral Field
20. Sir Frank Lockwood
21. Rt. Hon J. B. Balfour
22. Wm. Woodall
23. F. Ashmead Bartlett
24. Baden-Powell
25. Sir T. W. Maclure
26. Marquis of Hartington
(Duke of Devonshire)
27. Sir R. Temple
32. H. W. Lucy (Toby M.P.).
33. Rt. Hon. John Morley
34. Lord Randolph Churchill
Press (Times)
37. J. Henniker Heaton
38. James A. Jacoby
39. Sir H. H. Howorth
40. P. Power
41. C. S. Parnell

Some years before Mr. Disraeli quitted the House of Commons upon his elevation to the Peerage, I enjoyed witnessing a very remarkable encounter between him and Mr. Gladstone. It was one of those passage of arms, or to be more correct I should say, perhaps, of words, which in the days of their Parliamentary youth were so frequent between the great political rivals; and although I am unable to recall the particular subject of the debate, or the exact date of its occurrence, I well remember that Mr. Gladstone had launched a tremendous attack against his opponent. However, notwithstanding the fact that from the outset of his speech it was evident that Mr. Gladstone meant war to the knife, that as it proceeded he waxed more and more hostile, and that his peroration was couched in the most vehement terms, Disraeli remained to the finish as if utterly unmoved, sitting in his customary attitude as though he were asleep, with his arms hanging listlessly at his sides. Once only during the progress of the attack he appeared to wake up, when, taking his single eye-glass, which he usually kept in a pocket of his waistcoat, between his finger and thumb, he calmly surveyed the House as if to satisfy himself how it was composed, just as an experienced cricketer eyes the field before batting, in order [Pg 158] to see how the enemy are placed. Then, having taken stock of those present, the eye-glass was replaced in his pocket, and to all appearance he once more subsided into a tranquil slumber. But this was only a feint, for the very instant that Mr. Gladstone sat down up jumped Disraeli. The contrast between his method and that of Mr. Gladstone was very noticeable. Placing one hand artistically upon the box in front of him, and the other under his coat tails, he commenced to speak, and in the calmest manner possible, although with the most telling and polished satire, he aimed dart after dart across the table at Mr. Gladstone. As he proceeded to traverse the speech of his distinguished opponent with the most perfect and effective skill, it soon became evident that in reality he had slept with one eye open. With masterly tact, he had reserved the principal point in his reply to the end, and then, bringing his full force to bear upon it, the conclusion of his speech told with redoubled effect.


Whilst upon the subject of Mr. Gladstone and Lord Beaconsfield, I may narrate a remarkable story, although I am unable to [Pg 159] vouch for the accuracy of it, as I cannot remember who was my original informant, nor among my friends in or out of Parliament have I succeeded in discovering anyone who actually witnessed the incident to which it refers. Should it turn out to be an invention, like the champagne jelly of Lord Beaconsfield or the eye-glass of Mr. Bright, I shall no doubt be corrected. But if on the contrary the anecdote be authentic, I may earn some thanks for resuscitating it. In any case I can testify that at the time the story was told to me I had undoubtedly every reason to believe that it was true.

A similar scene to that which I have described above was taking place in the House between Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli, when the latter in the course of his remarks had occasion to quote a passage from a recent speech made by his rival upon some platform in the country.

Suddenly Mr. Gladstone started up and exclaimed:

"I never said that in my life!"

Disraeli was silent, and, putting his hands behind his back, simply gazed apparently in blank astonishment at the box in front of him. Several seconds went by, but he never moved. The members in the crowded House looked from one to the other, and many imagined that Disraeli was merely waiting for his opponent to apologise. But Mr. Gladstone, who had a habit, which he developed in later years, of chatting volubly to his neighbour during any interruption of this kind in which he was concerned, made no sign. A minute passed, but the sphinx did not move.

A minute and a quarter, but he was still motionless.

A minute and a half of this silence seemed as if it was an hour.

When the second minute was completed, the excitement in the House began to grow intense. Disraeli seemed to be transfixed. Was he ill? Was the great man sulking? What could this strange silence portend?

Two minutes and a half!

Some Members rose and approached him, but Disraeli raised his hand as if to deprecate their interference, and they stole back [Pg 160] to their places conscious that they were forbidden to interrupt. Then, at last, when the second hand of the clock had passed three times round its course, the most remarkable silence which the House had ever experienced within living memory was broken as the Tory leader slowly began once more to speak.

"'Mr. Chairman,'" he said, "'and gentlemen,'" and then word for word he repeated the whole speech of Mr. Gladstone from which he had made his quotation, duly introducing the particular passage which the Liberal leader had denied. Then he paused and looked across at his rival. The challenge was not to be avoided, and Mr. Gladstone bowed. He would have raised his hat did he wear one in the House, which, in the phraseology of the ring, was equivalent to throwing up the sponge. Mr. Disraeli afterwards informed a friend that, working backwards, he had recalled the whole of Mr. Gladstone's speech to his mind. Beginning at the disputed quotation, he recovered the context which led up to it, and so step by step the entire oration. Then he was enabled to repeat it from the outset, exactly as he had read it.

I saw Lord Beaconsfield in the House of Commons on the occasion of his last visit to that chamber in which he had been the moving spirit. I well recollect that morning. There had been an Irish all-night sitting: the House was supposed to be listening to the droning of some Irish "Mimber." The officials were weary, the legislative chamber was untidy and dusty, and many of those present had not had their clothes off all night. Lord Beaconsfield, scented, oiled, and curled, the daintiest of dandies, sits in the gallery, examining the scene through his single eye-glass. Leaning over him stands the ever-faithful Monty Corry—now Lord Rowton. I sat within a few yards of them, and made a sketch which happens to be the most successful study I ever made. The Academy wrote of it: "In humour Mr. Harry Furniss generally excels; but his portrait of Lord Beaconsfield on his last appearance in the House of Commons is something else than amusing—it is pathetic, almost tragic, and will be historical;" and columns of flattering notices must be my excuse for confessing in these pages that I myself consider it to be the best portrait of Lord Beaconsfield, and in no way a caricature.

[Pg 161]


[Pg 162]


[Pg 163]


A caricaturist is an artistic contortionist. He is grotesque for effect. A contortionist twists and distorts himself to cause amusement, but he is by nature straight of limb and a student of grace before he can contort his body in burlesque of the "human form divine." Thus also is it with the caricaturist and his pencil. The good points of his subject must be plainly apparent to him before he can twist his study into the grotesque; to him it is necessary that the sublime should be known and appreciated ere he can convert it into the ridiculous, and without the aid of serious studies it is impossible for him fully to analyse and successfully produce the humorous and the satirical. Perchance he may even entertain a feeling of admiration for the subject he is holding up to ridicule, for serious moments and serious work are no strangers to the caricaturist.

The famous collars I "invented" for grotesque effect, but I always saw Mr. Gladstone without them, for to me his head has [Pg 164] never been, as some suppose, a mere block around which to wreathe a fantastic and exaggerated collar.

"I am told a Japanese artist who wishes to study a particular flower, for instance, travels to the part of the country where it is to be found; he takes no photographic camera, no superb sketching pad or box of paints, but he lives by the plant, watches day by day the flower grow, blossom, and decay, under every condition, and mentally notes every detail, so that ever afterwards he can paint that flower in every possible way with facility and knowledge. I have myself treated Mr. Gladstone as that Japanese artist treats the beautiful flower. I have frequently sat for many many hours watching every gesture, every change of expression. I have watched the colour leave his cheeks, and the hair his head; I have marked time contract his mouth, and have noted the development of each additional wrinkle. I have mused under the shade of his collars, and wondered at the cut of his clothes, sketched his three hats and his historical umbrella. More than that; during a great speech I have seen the flower in his button-hole fade under his flow of eloquence, seen the bow of his tie travel round to the back of his neck."

Thus I spoke night after night from the platform, and the laugh always came with the collars. It was not as a serious critic that I was posing before the audience, so I could fittingly describe the collars rather than the man. But when I had left the platform and the limelight, and my caricatures, I have had many a chat with Mr. Gladstone's admirers, with regard to the light in which I saw the great man without his collars, and this fact I will put forward as my excuse for publishing in my "Confessions" a few studies that I have made from time to time of the Grand Old Man, as an antidote not only to my own caricatures, but to the mass of Gladstone portraits published, which, with very few exceptions, are idealised, perfunctory, stereotyped, and worthless.


[Pg 165]

"I have seen the flower in his buttonhole fade under his flow of eloquence."
Engraved on wood from an original study.

[Pg 166]


[Pg 167]

Generations to come will not take their impressions of this great man's appearance from these unsatisfactory canvases, or from the cuts in old-fashioned illustrated papers, in which all public men are drawn in a purely conventional tailor's advertisement fashion, with perfect-fitting coats, trousers without a crease, faces of wax, and figures of the fashionable fop of the period. The camera killed all this. But the photographer, although he cannot alter the cut of the clothes, can alter, and does alter, everything else. He touches up the face beyond recognition, and the pose is the pose the sitter takes before the camera, and probably quite different from his usual attitude. So it will be the caricatures, or, to be correct, the character sketches, that will leave the best impressions of Mr. Gladstone's extraordinary individuality.


I heard Mr. Gladstone express his own views on portraiture one evening at a small dinner-party. My host of that evening had hit on the happy idea of having portraits of the celebrities of the age painted for him by a rising young artist. It was curious to note Mr. Gladstone as he examined these portraits. His manner was a strange comment on the political changes which had taken place, for as he came to the portraits of those of his old supporters who no longer fought under his colours, he would pass them by as though he had not seen them, or if his attention were called to any of them he would seem not to recognise the likeness, and pass on till his eye lighted on some political ally still numbered among the faithful, when he would at once pronounce the portrait excellent, and dwell upon its merits with apparent delight. A portrait of Mr. Labouchere, however, he generally failed to recognise. The portrait represented the Member for Northampton in a contemplative mood, certainly not characteristic of his habitual demeanour in the House.

[Pg 168]

"I have found," said he, "the artist I have been looking for for years. I have found an artist who can paint my portrait in four hours and a half; he has painted three in thirteen hours; that is Millais."

I was much surprised by this curious criticism on portrait painting. Surely, if the portrait of the great orator is to be painted in four hours and a half, the same limitation, if carried out, would confine the greatest speech ever made to a period of four-and-a-half seconds!

Someone pointedly asked Mr. Gladstone whether he liked Millais' portraits.

"Well," he replied, evading any brutal directness of reply, "I have been very much interested with his energy; he is the hardest-working man I ever saw."

"Do you prefer his result to Holl's?"

"Ah, Holl took double the time, and put me in such a very strained position, nearly on tiptoe. I know my heels were off the ground; it tired me out, and I was really obliged to lie down and sleep afterwards."

"You found Millais charming in conversation?"

"He never spoke when at work; his interest in his work fascinated me."

"Mr. Watts?"

"Ah, there is a delightful conversationalist, and a wonderful artist; he has attempted my portrait often—three attempts of late years—but he has not satisfied himself, and I am bound to say that my friends are of the same mind."

"I well remember," remarked Lord Granville, who was one of the party, "how uneasy poor Holl was before he painted your portrait. He came to me and said, 'I think if you would speak to Mr. Gladstone on some subject that would interest him, I would watch him, and that would aid me very much.'"

In this picture of Mr. Gladstone the late Frank Holl failed to maintain his reputation as an artist of the highest class: that picture of the great Liberal leader was disappointing and altogether unworthy of his name. This was the more unfortunate because, by the exercise of a little forethought, the artist [Pg 169] might easily have avoided that pitfall of portrait-painters, an awkward, constrained, and unaccustomed attitude, which Mr. Gladstone confessed was torturing him, and by a very simple expedient have succeeded in placing Mr. Gladstone in the position which everyone who has seen him in the act of delivering a speech in the House of Commons would have recognised at once as a true and characteristic pose.

Here I have mentioned Mr. Gladstone himself, saying how uncomfortable he felt upon the occasion of Mr. Holl's visit to his house for the purpose of obtaining a sitting; but I should add that the genial artist who was to do the work informed me that he also was no less ill at ease. When Mr. Gladstone enquired how he should sit for the portrait, Mr. Holl, anxious no doubt to secure a natural pose, replied, "Oh, just as you like!" This appeared to disconcert the great statesman somewhat, and he appeared to be ruminating as to what sedentary attitude was really his favourite one, when Holl came to the rescue.


"I happened," said Mr. Gladstone, "to be standing at my library table with my hands upon a book, when Mr. Holl said, 'That will do, Mr. Gladstone, exactly,' and the result was that he painted me in that position. But I felt uncommonly awkward and uncomfortable the whole time, and as I have just said, I had to lie down and sleep after each sitting."

Now why was this? It was the very attitude of all others with which we who have studied it so often when the ex-Premier has been standing at the table in the House are so familiar. No artist who had once seen him in that position would have failed to select it as the most favourable and characteristic for the purposes of a historical portrait. And yet the picture, when it was completed, was a failure, and the artist himself knew that it was. The explanation is, I think, very simple, and it exemplifies once more the truth of the formula which defines genius to be "an infinite capacity for taking pains." Frank [Pg 170] Holl undoubtedly had talent, but his omission of an important detail in this picture—a detail which would have probably made all the difference between success and failure—shows once more by how narrow a line the highest art is often divided from the next best, that art of which we have such a plethora nowadays—which just contrives to miss hitting the bullseye of perfection.

When Mr. Holl exclaimed, "That will do, Mr. Gladstone, exactly," he was no doubt impressed with the idea that the great orator was more at ease standing at the table in the House of Commons than in any other position, and he therefore selected it for his picture. But he forgot that upon the table in the House there stands a box on which Mr. Gladstone was always in the habit, when he was speaking, of resting one of his hands, and that if that box was missing he would naturally, although perhaps unconsciously, be sensible that something to which he was accustomed was absent, and that he would therefore be as uncomfortable as a fish out of water. This was actually the case. But if some substitute for the box, of the proper height and size, had been forthcoming, I have not the slightest doubt, from my long and close observation of the habits and movements of Mr. Gladstone in the House, that he would at once have dropped easily into his customary attitude, and that the picture in the hands of so true an artist as Holl would then have been a conspicuous success.

Mr. Gladstone was asked whether he thought the tone of the House had degenerated in recent times. He replied that he did not think so at all, quoting in proof that after the introduction of the first Reform Bill many Members used to express their feelings in cock-crows and other offensive ways. Mr. Gladstone, however, at the time I met him, was getting decidedly deaf, and no doubt much that went on behind him in the House "did not reach" him.

Asked if the "count out" ought to be abolished, Mr. Gladstone said it was too convenient a custom to be abolished, but that he noticed a very important alteration of late years in the mode of conducting it. Years ago he recollected it was [Pg 171] the rule that, when a Member moved that "forty Members were not present, he was obliged to remain in his place while the 'count out' was in progress." "Now," said Mr. Gladstone, "he gets up and rushes out.

"Indeed," continued the veteran statesman, "I understand very little about the rules and regulations of the House now. I am very ignorant indeed; I believe I am the most ignorant man in the House, and I mean to continue so; it is not worth my while to begin now to learn fresh rules."


He told us of a curious incident which happened in the House when he was a young Parliamentary hand. Members did not leave the House for a division, but it was left to the discretion of the Speaker to decide which side was in the majority. He would then order them to walk to the other side of the House, and anyone remaining would of course be counted with the opposite side. Old Sir Watkin Wynn, I believe, was determined to vote against a certain Bill. He had been hunting all day, and rode up to town in time to vote. Arriving in his hunting costume and muddy boots, he took his seat tired out, and soon went fast asleep. The division came on, and his party were ordered to go over to the other side of the House. He slept in blissful ignorance, waking some time afterwards to find to [Pg 172] his horror that he had been counted with those in favour of the Bill.

Mr. Gladstone remarked that it was curious that in the old days the Whips could tell to a vote how a division would go. He recollected well, in 1841, a vote of no confidence in Lord Melbourne was moved. The point was going to be decided by one vote. I shall never forget the "Grand Old Man's" graphic description of that vote. There was an old Member who was known to be to all intents and purposes as dead as a door-nail. The excitement was intense to know if that still breathing corpse could be brought to vote. Mr. Gladstone, with other young Tory Members, stood anxiously round the lobby door watching, and just at the critical moment when the vote was to be taken the all but lifeless body was borne along ignorant of all that was going around him, his vote was recorded, and that one vote sealed the fate of a Ministry.

In Mr. Gladstone's opinion, American humour invariably consisted in dealing with magnitudes. He preferred to hear American stories on this side of the Atlantic. He never had been in America, and never intended going. He expressed himself as apprehensive of the effect on the nervous system of the vibration caused by the engines of a steamer travelling at a high speed, but spoke with admiration of the rapid travelling at sea performed by the Continental mail packets, saying that a few days before, returning from the Continent, he had only just settled down to read when he was told to disembark, for the steamer had reached Dover.

I overheard Mr. Gladstone asking the question: "Why is it that when we get a good thing we do not stick to it?" I fully expected him to launch into some huge political question, such as the "Unity of the Empire" or "Universal Franchise." Instead of this, I was somewhat surprised to hear him proceed: "Now, I recollect an excruciatingly funny toy which you wound up, and it danced about in a most comical way. I have watched that little nigger many and many a time, but lately I have been looking everywhere to get one. I have asked at the shops in the Strand and elsewhere, and they show me other things, but [Pg 173] not the funny nigger I recollect, so I have given up my search in despair."

I noticed that Mr. Gladstone took champagne at dinner, and after dinner a glass of port. Some conversation arising with reference to the history of wines, the old politician seemed to know more on the subject than anyone else at table; in fact, during the whole evening, there was not a subject touched upon on which he did not give the heads for an interesting essay. The only time Mr. Gladstone mentioned Ireland was in connection with the subject of wines, when he dilated upon the beauties of Newfoundland port, which was to be found in Ireland in the good old days.

In one respect Mr. Gladstone was not an exception among the old, for he seemed fond of dwelling upon the great age which men have attained. He seemed to think that the high pressure at which we live nowadays would show its effect on the longevity of the rising generation, and remarked:

"You young men will have a very bad time of it."

It is curious that very few statesmen indeed have led the House of Commons in their old age. It may be said that Lord John Russell was the first to do so; Lord Palmerston also was very old before he obtained office. And so chatted the Grand Old Man, in the most fascinating and delightful manner. He was always the same on such occasions, entering into the spirit of the entertainment, and, as was his habit, forgetting for the time everything else. When my old friend William Woodall, M.P. for Stoke (Governor-General of the Ordnance in Mr. Gladstone's Government 1885), gave at St. Anne's Mansions his famous "Sandwich Soirées" to his friends, the spacious ballroom on the ground floor packed with his many friends—a characteristic, polyglot gathering of Ministers and Parliamentarians [Pg 174] of all kinds, musicians, dramatists, authors, artists, actors, and journalists, who sang, recited, and gave a gratuitous entertainment (for some of these I acted as his hon. secretary, and helped to get together a collection of modern paintings on the walls, besides designing the invitations)—I recollect the greatest success was the Grand Old Man. There was "standing room" only, but a chair was provided for Mr. Gladstone in the centre of the huge circle which had formed around the mesmerist Verbeck. Many guests sat on the floor, to afford those behind a better chance of seeing. The MR. GLADSTONE SITS ON THE FLOOR. MR. GLADSTONE SITS ON THE FLOOR. Prime Minister, noticing this, absolutely declined to be an exception, and he squatted "à la Turk" on the floor. I confess this struck me as "playing to the gallery." It certainly was playing to the Press, for Mr. Gladstone's attitude on that occasion was paragraphed all over the country, by means of which fact I have here refreshed my memory. In fact, Mr. Gladstone was always en évidence. When the great statesman dined with Toby, M.P., I was sitting close to him. He had dispensed with his own shirt-collars, and wore quite the smallest, slenderest, and most inconspicuous of narrow, turn-down collars, assumed for that occasion only. "One of Herbert's cast-offs," someone whispered to me. "That's strange," said another guest to me. "Last night at dinner the pin in the back of Gladstone's collar came out, and as he got excited, the collar rose round his head, and we all agreed that 'Furniss ought to have witnessed what he has so often drawn, but never seen.'"

Mr. Lucy has made the statement that Mr. Gladstone was "a constant student of Punch" and "knew no occasion upon [Pg 175] which he was not able to join in the general merriment of the public; but hadn't there been enough about the fabulous collars?"

I received an editorial order to bury them, "but before long they were out again, flapping their folds in the political breeze."


Well, I have no doubt that Mr. Gladstone for many years was "a constant student of Punch," for during the greater portion of his political career he was idealised in the pages of Punch, and not caricatured. I doubt very much, however, if he made Punch an exception in his latter period, for it is well known that for years he was only allowed to see flattering notices of himself, and all references at all likely to disturb him were kept from his sight. At Mr. Lucy's own house, the night Mr. Gladstone dined with him, a copy of Punch was lying on the table, containing a rare thing for Punch—a supplement. In this case it took the shape of my caricatures of the Royal Academy, 1889. Just as dinner was announced Mr. Gladstone [Pg 176] saw the paper, and was on the point of taking it up. I handed it to him, but at the same moment slipped the supplement out of the number and threw it under the table, for it contained a caricature of Professor Herkomer's Academy portrait of Mrs. Gladstone, objecting to being placed next to a lady by Mr. Val Prinsep sitting for the "altogether." During dinner Mr. Gladstone mentioned this portrait of Mrs. Gladstone, and expressed great delight with Herkomer's work: it showed her mature age, he said, and as a portrait was very happy and true—he did not say anything about the hanging of it!

Mr. Gladstone was the life and soul of a party, and seemed to enjoy being the centre of attraction wherever he was.


Mr. Gladstone's portrait has been adopted by others besides caricaturists. It is carved as a gargoyle in the stone-work of a church, and the head of the Grand Old Man has been turned into a match-box. The latter I here reproduce. It was shown to me one evening when I was the guest at the Guard Mess at St. James's Palace. A clever young Guardsman, who had a taste for turning, worked this out in wood from my caricatures of Mr. Gladstone, and I advised his having it reproduced in pottery. The suggestion was carried out by the late Mr. Woodall, the Member for the Potteries, and was largely distributed at the time the G.O.M. was politically meeting his match and thought by some to be a little light-headed.

In being shown round the beautiful municipal buildings in Glasgow I found my caricature there accidentally figuring in the marble-work; and the guides at Antwerp Cathedral (as I have mentioned in the first chapter) point out a grotesque figure in the wood carving of the choir stalls which resembles almost exactly Mr. Gladstone's head as depicted by me.

I find a note which I introduce here, as I hardly know where to place it in this hotch-potch of confessions. Is it a fact that [Pg 177] Mr. Gladstone once signed a caricature of himself? In 1896 a Mr. J. T. Cox, of the "Norwich school" of amateurs, procured a slab of a sycamore tree felled by Mr. Gladstone, and on it reproduced in pencil my Punch cartoon depicting a visit of the "Grand Old Undergrad" to his Alma Mater, Oxford. This was sent to Hawarden, and returned signed with the following note:

"Hawarden Castle.

"Mr. Gladstone is obliged to refuse his signature, but Mrs. Drew asked him for it for herself on enclosed—it was so cleverly arranged.

"May 5th, 1896."

Here is to me, I confess, a first-he-would-and-then-he-wouldn't, Cox and Box mystery I fail to explain.

I drew the G.O.M., Mr. Cox drew me, he drew Mrs. Drew, and Mrs. Drew drew Mr. Gladstone. Mr. Gladstone refused his signature, and yet he signed it. I think he signed his cut of sycamore, and not my cut at him.

Both as a "special artist" for the Illustrated London News in my pre-Punch days, and later for various periodicals, I saw and sketched Mr. Gladstone on many important occasions, but towards the end of his career it was sad to see the great man. The Daily News once gave me a chance in the following account of Mr. Gladstone during one of these scenes; when Mr. Gladstone, having accidentally mentioned the approach of his eightieth birthday, "the vast audience suddenly leapt to its feet and burst into ringing cheers. Mr. Gladstone was evidently deeply touched by this spontaneous outburst of almost personal affection. He stood with hands folded, head bent down, and legs quivering." The fun of this joke, however, lies in the fact that the "legs" which quivered were the telegraph operators'. The reporter wrote "lips."

So great was the public admiration for the illustrious leader of the Liberal Party that merely to see him was, to the majority of his audience, enough. In later years he could not be heard at public meetings. Penetrating as his voice was, it was absolutely impossible for any but those standing immediately around [Pg 178] the platform to hear him upon such occasions as that of the famous Blackheath meeting, or those at Birmingham or elsewhere; but the masses nevertheless came in their thousands, and were more than repaid for their trouble by catching only a distant glimpse of William Ewart Gladstone.

Whatever one may think of Mr. Gladstone as a politician (and some say that he was no statesman, and others that he was never sincere, while many maintain that he was merely a "dangerous old woman"), all must agree that as a man he was a figure that England might well be proud of. It will be interesting to see what historians will make of him. When the glamour of his personality is forgotten, what will be remembered? His figure, his face—and shall I say his collars?

In my time Mr. Parnell was the most interesting figure in Parliament, and, after Mr. Gladstone, had the greatest influence in the House. Mr. Gladstone was, politically speaking, Parliament itself (at one time he was the Country); but I doubt if even Mr. Gladstone ever hypnotised the House by his personality as Parnell did. There was a mystery in everything connected with the great Irish leader; no mystery hung about Mr. Gladstone. Mr. Gladstone in the House was voluble, eloquent, communicative. Mr. Parnell was silent, a poor speaker, and as uncommunicative as the Sphinx. Mr. Gladstone's power lay in his unreservedness; Mr. Parnell's lay in his absolute reserve. His orders were "No one to speak to the man at the wheel," and the man at the wheel spoke to no one. He guided the Irish ship just as he liked over the troubled waters of a political crisis, and not one of his men knew what move would be his next. By this means, so foreign to the Irish character, he held that excitable, rebellious, irrepressible crew in thrall. He made them dance, sleep, roar; he made them obstructionists, orators, buffoons, at his will. He made them everything but friends. [Pg 179] A characteristic story was circulated when Parnell was known as "the uncrowned king." Accompanied by his faithful private secretary, he was walking from the House, when he met one of his colleagues. The satellite saluted his chief and "smiled affably at the private secretary." Mr. Parnell took no notice whatever of Mr. ——, but after a few seconds had elapsed, turned to his companion and said, "Who was that, Campbell?"


"Why, ——" (mentioning the name of the hon. Member), was the reply.

"What a horrible-looking scoundrel!" exclaimed the uncrowned king in his most supercilious manner, and then began to talk of something else.

He was a study as fascinating to the artist as to the politician, and no portrait ever drawn by pen or pencil can hand down to future generations the mysterious subtlety in the personality of the all-powerful leader.

He was as puzzling to the Parliamentary artist as he was to the politician: he never appeared just as one expected him. When I first made a sketch of him he had short hair, a well-trimmed moustache, shortly-cut side whiskers, a neat-fitting coat and trousers, and well-shaped boots. He then let his beard and hair grow, and his coat and trousers seemed to grow also—the coat in length and the trousers in width; and his boots grew with the rest—they were ugly and enormous. His hat didn't grow, but it was out of date. Then he would cut his beard and hair again, wear a short coat, a sort of pilot jacket, and eventually a long black coat. So that if a drawing was not published at once it would have been out of date.

Some artists have been flattering enough to take my sketches as references for Parliamentarians, but others depended on photographs, and for years I have seen Mr. Parnell represented with the neatly-trimmed moustache and closely-cut side whiskers. A propos of this, I may mention here how mistakes often become [Pg 180] perpetuated. John Bright, for instance, was generally represented in political sketches with an eye-glass. This was a slip made by an artist in Punch many years ago. But ever after John Bright was represented with an eye-glass—which he never wore, except on one occasion just to see how he liked it.

The effect upon the House when Mr. Parnell rose was always dramatic. He sat there during a debate, seldom, if ever, taking a note, with his hat well over his eyes and his arms crossed, in strong contrast to the restlessness of those around him. When he rose, it seemed an effort to lift his voice, and he spoke in a hesitating, ineffective manner. Neither was there much in what he said, but he was Parnell, and the fact that he said little and said it quietly, that what he said was not prepared in consultation with his Whips or with his Party, that in fact he was playing a game in which his closest friends were not consulted, made his rising interesting from the reporters' gallery to the doorkeepers in the Lobby the other side.

Mr. Parnell seemed to have been very little affected by his continued reverses; and perhaps the only visible effect of his loss of power was that the "uncrowned king" of Ireland changed his top-hat to a plebeian bowler, but he did not change his coat. He was always careless about his dress, and his tall, handsome figure looked somewhat ridiculous when he wore a bowler, black frock coat, and his hair as usual unkempt.

The fall of Parnell was one of the most sensational and certainly the most dramatic incident in the history of Parliament.

Mr. Parnell was politically ruined and the Irish Party smashed beyond recovery in the famous Committee Room No. 15, after the disclosures in the Divorce Court in which Mr. Parnell figured as co-respondent. Mr. Parnell had found the Irish Party without a leader, without a programme, without a future. He had by his individual force made it a power which had to be reckoned with, and which practically controlled Parliament. He had been attacked by the most important paper in the world. He had come out of the affair, in the eyes of many, a hero; he [Pg 181] made his Party stronger than their wildest dreams ever anticipated. But his followers little thought that in hiding from them his tactics he had also hidden the weakness which caused his ultimate downfall. Howbeit the Irish Party, whom he held in a hypnotic trance, agreed to stand by him still. Then, suddenly, Mr. Gladstone made his demand for a sacrifice to Mrs. Grundy. His famous letter, written November 24th, 1894, to Mr. Morley, was the death-warrant to Parnellism, and, as it subsequently proved, to Gladstonianism as well.

There was a strange fascination in watching the mysterious Leader of the Irish Party during the crisis, and I took full advantage of my privilege in the House to do so. I was in and about the House early and late, and probably saw more of Mr. Parnell than anyone else not connected with him. It was just before his exposure that I happened to be in an out-of-the-way passage leading from the House, making a little note in my sketch-book on a corner of the building, when Mr. Parnell walked out. He stood close by, not observing me, and was occupied for a minute in taking letters out of the pocket on the right side of his overcoat: they were unopened. He looked at them singly; now and then he would tap one on the other, as much as to say, "I wonder what is in that?" Then he passed it over with the others and put them all into the pocket on the left side of his overcoat, and strolled off to catch his train to Brighton. That incident, as I subsequently found out, was the cause of much of his trouble; for I was informed, when I mentioned it to a great friend of Mr. Parnell's and of mine—Mr. Richard Power—that about that time he had written him important letters which might have saved him if they had been attended to in time.

But those who saw the fallen chief during the sittings in Committee Room No. 15, when, through the letter of Mr. Gladstone to which I have referred, he was denounced, and had to fight with his back to the wall, can never forget his tragic figure during that exciting time. No one knew better than he that the tactics of his lieutenant would be cunning and perhaps treacherous; so this lazy, self-composed man suddenly awoke as [Pg 182] a general who finds himself surprised in the camp, and determines to keep watch himself. Every day he took by right the chair at the meetings. Had he not been present, who knows that it would not have been wrested from him? In the early afternoon I saw him more than once walk with a firm step, with an ashy pale face, his eyes fixed straight in front of him, through the yard, through the Lobby, up the stairs, and into Room 15, accompanied by his secretary, Mr. Campbell. The members of his Party, on their arrival, found him sitting where they had left him the night before. I recollect one morning, as he passed where I was standing, he never moved his head, but I heard him say to Mr. Campbell, "Who's that? what does he want?" in a sharp, nervous manner. He never seemed to recognise anyone, or wish them to recognise him. His one idea was to face the man who wished to fight him in the little ring they had selected in the Committee Room No. 15.


No outsider but myself heard any portion of that debate, for at the beginning of it the reporters, who were standing round the doors outside to hear what they could, were ordered away; and I was left there, not being a reporter, to finish a rather tedious sketch of the corridor. A policeman was placed at either end of this very long passage, and if anyone had to pass that way he was not allowed to pause for a moment at the door of the room upon which the interest of the political world was centred at the moment. Nearly all the time I was there I only saw the policeman at either end, and one solitary figure seated on the bench outside the door. It was the figure of a woman with a kind, homely-looking face, resting with her head upon her hand. She seemed not to be aware of, or at least not interested in what was going on inside; she simply sighed as Big Ben tolled on toward the hour for the dismissal of the [Pg 183] Leader of the Irish Party. She was the wife of a blind Member of Parliament who was taking part in the proceedings, and her thoughts were evidently more intent upon seeing that her husband was not worn out by that strange, long struggle than in the political significance of the meeting.

It was my good fortune to hear what was perhaps the most interesting of the speeches—John Redmond's defence of his chief—and I never wish to listen to a finer oration. Everyone admits that the Irish are, by nature, good speakers, but they are not always sincere. Here was a combat in which there was no quarter, no gallery, and no reporters. The men spoke from their hearts, and if any orator could have moved an assembly by his power and genius, Mr. Redmond ought to have had a unanimous vote recorded in favour of his chief. I am not a phonograph, nor was I a journalist privileged to record what passed, and have no intention of breaking their trust.


I shall never forget the scene one Wednesday afternoon when Mr. Maurice Healy, brother of "Tim," and one of the Members for Cork, challenged Mr. Parnell to retire and so enable their respective claims to the confidence of the people of Cork to be tested. He tried to drag Mr. Parnell into a newspaper controversy upon this point, but failing to do so repeated in tragic tones his somewhat Hibernian sentiment that Mr. Parnell did not represent the constituency which elected him. Mr. Maurice Healy, a somewhat sickly-looking young man, with a family resemblance to his brother, is much taller than his more famous relative, but lacks the stamina and vivacity of the Member for Longford.

At this moment, when the Irish Party might have been likened to machinery deprived of its principal wheel, it was curious to [Pg 184] notice how energetic Mr. Parnell became. He tried to cover his position by being unusually active in Parliament; he followed the Chief Secretary for Ireland in the debates upon the Land Purchase Bill, to the obvious discomfort of Mr. Morley, and rather delighted the young Conservatives by twitting the faction which had thrown him over. His speeches, however, were laboured, and, as one of the Irish Members remarked to me in the Lobby, it had a curious effect on them to see Mr. Parnell sit down after making an important speech without hearing a single cheer. And whereas for years he had addressed the House with the greatest calmness, his chief characteristic being his "reserve force," he now changed all this, and one Friday night caused quite a sensation in the House in his attack upon Mr. Gladstone, not so much by what he said as by the manner in which he said it. His excitement was visible to all, and he was observed to be positively convulsed with anger. He also remained, contrary to his previous custom, late in the House.

The last occasion on which I saw Charles Stewart Parnell was a few months before his death. I was in Dublin during the Horse Show week, giving my "Humours of Parliament" to crowded houses in the "Ancient Concert Rooms," and my ancient hotel rooms were at Morrison's Hotel—"Parnell's Hotel," for the "uncrowned king" (at that time deposed) always stopped there—in fact it was said he had an interest in the property. It was late on Sunday afternoon. I was writing in my sitting-room on the first floor, next to Parnell's room, when the strains of national music of approaching bands smote my ear, and soon the hotel was surrounded by a cheering, shouting crowd. Banners were flying, bands were playing, thousands of voices were shouting. Standing in a brake haranguing the surging mass of people was the familiar figure of Charles Stewart Parnell. With difficulty he descended from the brake, and had literally to fight his way into the hotel, while his worshippers clung on to him into the building, till they were seized and ejected by OUTSIDE MY ROOM. OUTSIDE MY ROOM. the servants. I went out of my door to see the scene, and in the passage outside, between Parnell's sitting-room and mine, he sat apparently exhausted. His flesh seemed transparent—I could [Pg 185] fancy I saw the pattern of the wall-paper through his pallid cheeks. The next moment, before I was aware, another figure sat on the same seat, arms were thrown round my neck. It was my old Irish nurse, who had come up from Wexford to see me, and had been lying in wait for me.

The first picture I drew for Punch's essence of Parliament was a portrait of Lord Randolph Churchill, "Caught on the Hip," to illustrate the following truly prophetic words of Toby, M.P.: "The new delight you have given us is the spectacle of an undisciplined Tory—a man who will not march at the word of command and snaps his fingers at his captain. You won't last long, Randolph; you are rather funny than witty—more impudent than important." That was written at the opening of Parliament, 1891.


I must plead guilty to being the cause of giving an erroneous impression of Lord Randolph's height. He was not a small man, but he looked small; and when he first came into notoriety, with a small following, was considered of small importance and, by some, small-minded. It was to show this political insignificance in humorous contrast to his bombastic audacity that I represented him as a midget; but the idea was also suggested from time to time by his opponents in debate. Did not Mr. Gladstone once call him a gnat? and do we not find the [Pg 186] following lines under Punch's Fancy Portraits, No. 47, drawn by Mr. Sambourne?

"There is a Midge at Westminster,
A Gnatty little Thing,
It bites at Night
This mighty Mite,
But no one feels its sting."

Two gentlemen of Yorkshire had a dispute about his correct height, and one of them, anxious to have an authoritative pronouncement, wrote to the noble Lord, and received the following reply:

"2, Connaught Place, W.

"Dear Sir,—Lord Randolph Churchill desires me to say, in reply to your letter of the 21st inst., that his height is just under 5ft. 10in.

"I am, yours faithfully,

"Cecil Drummond-Wolff, Secretary."


Lord Randolph Churchill was a mere creature of impulse, the spoilt pet of Parliament—what you will—but no one can deny that he was the most interesting figure in the House since Disraeli. He had none of Disraeli's chief attraction—namely, mystery. Nor had he Disraeli's power of organisation, for, although Lord Randolph "educated a party" of three—the first step to his eventually becoming Leader of the House—it cannot be said that at any time afterwards he really had, in the strict sense of the word, a party at all. He was a political Don Quixote, and he had his Sancho Panza in the person of Mr. Louis Jennings. Perhaps nothing can show the impulsive nature of Lord Randolph more than the incident which was the cause of Mr. Jennings breaking with Lord Randolph. Mr. Louis Jennings was, in many ways, his chief's superior: a brilliant journalist, originally on the Times, afterwards editor of [Pg 187] the New York World, when, by dint of his energy and pluck, he was the chief cause of breaking up the notorious Tammany Ring; a charming writer of picturesque country scenes—in fact, an accomplished man, and one harshly treated by that fickle dame Fortune by being branded, rightly or wrongly, as the mere creature of a political adventurer.

One afternoon I was standing in the Inner Lobby when Mr. Jennings asked me to go into the House to a seat under the Gallery to hear him deliver a speech he had been requested to make by the Government Party, and one he thought something of. At that moment Lord Randolph came up and said, "I am going in to hear you, Jennings; I have arranged not to speak till after dinner." And we all three entered the House.

Lord Randolph, who had then left the Ministry, sat on the bench in the second row below the gangway, on the Government side of the House. Mr. Jennings was seated on the bench behind, close to where he had found a place for me under the Gallery. He carefully arranged the notes for his speech, and directly the Member who had been addressing the House sat down, Mr. Jennings jumped to his feet to "catch the Speaker's eye." But Lord Randolph, who had been very restless all through the speech just delivered, sprang to his feet. Jennings leant over to him and said something, but Churchill waved him impatiently away, and the Speaker called upon Lord Randolph. Jennings sank back with a look of disgust and chagrin, which changed to astonishment when Lord Randolph fired out that famous Pigott speech, in which he attacked his late colleagues with a vituperation and vulgarity he had never before betrayed. His speech electrified the House and disgusted his friends—none more so than his faithful Jennings, who left the Chamber directly after his "friend's" tirade of abuse, returning later in the evening to make a capital speech, full of feeling and power, in which he finally threw over Lord Randolph. In the meantime, meeting me, he did not hide the fact that the incident had determined him to have nothing more to say to Churchill. And this was the man I once drew a cartoon of in Punch on all fours, [Pg 188] with a coat covering his head (suspiciously like a donkey's head), with "Little Randy" riding on his back!


If Samson's strength vanished with his hair, Lord Randolph's strength vanished with the growing of his beard. The real reason why Lord Randolph so strangely transformed himself is not generally known, but it was for the simplest of all reasons—like that of the gentleman who committed suicide because he was "tired of buttoning and unbuttoning," Lord Randolph was tired of shaving or being shaved; hence the heroic beard, which has offended certain political purists who think that a man with an established reputation has no right to alter his established appearance. Still, if he had not vanished to grow his beard, I doubt if he would have survived the winter; and probably he discovered that it was good for any man to escape now and then from what the late Mr. R. L. Stevenson called "the servile life of cities." Perhaps no one received such a "sending off," or was more fêted, than Lord Randolph Churchill. Happening to be a guest at more than one of those festive little gatherings, I heard Lord Randolph say that all the literary food that he was taking out with him to Mashonaland consisted of the works of two authors—one English, and the other French. We were asked who they were. "In Darkest England," suggested one. "Ruff's Guide to the Turf," said another. Both were wrong. And it ultimately transpired that, together with his friends' best wishes for his safe return, Lord Randolph was carrying with him complete sets of the works of Shakespeare and Molière.

The deafness which attacked Lord Randolph led to his making mistakes, and to others making a scene, particularly when the [Pg 189] noise in the House was so great through the excitement on the Home Rule question. I find a note made then upon this point, alluding to a little incident à propos of Lord Randolph Churchill's deafness: "It is really dangerous, considering the high state of feeling in the House, that Members antagonistic to each other should have to sit side by side. LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL. LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL. During the stormy scene to which I have just alluded, I was sitting in one of the front boxes directly over the Speaker's chair, and, although remarks kept flying about from the benches below, it was difficult to catch the words, and still more difficult to stop the utterer; so I don't wonder that Lord Randolph Churchill—who is rather deaf—should have misconstrued the words, 'You are not dumb!' as 'You are knocked up!' Later on, however, an Irish Member knocked down another one who was opposed to him in politics; and this the Press called 'coming into collision.'"

There is little doubt that ill-health was the cause of that querulousness which led to Lord Randolph's curious and fatal move. I recollect being introduced to an American doctor in the Lobby one afternoon when Lord Randolph was at the zenith of his height and fame. Lord Randolph passed close to us, and stood for a few minutes talking to the Member who had introduced the doctor to me. I whispered to the American to take stock of the Member his friend was talking to. He did, and when Lord Randolph walked away he said, "Well, I don't know who that man is, but he won't live five years." It was unfortunate for the reputation of Lord Randolph that the doctor's words did not come true.

Many efforts were made by the friends of Lord Randolph to [Pg 190] bring Lord Salisbury and his lieutenant together again. A deputation of a few intimate friends, ladies as well as gentlemen, called on Lord Salisbury, presumably on quite a different matter, but led up to Lord Randolph. Lord Salisbury, seeing through their object, asked the question, "Have any of you ever had a carbuncle on the back of your neck?"


"Then I have, and I do not want another."

But perhaps Lord Salisbury saw more than anyone else that Lord Randolph was not the man he once was. It was painful in his latter days to see the Members run out of the House when he rose to speak, and to recollect that but a few years before they poured in to listen to the "plucky little Randy"; and the sympathy of everyone for him was shown in a very marked way by the kindness of the Press when one of the most extraordinary figures in the Parliamentary world had passed away.


Lord Randolph Churchill recalls another familiar figure I caricatured—Lord Iddesleigh, a statesman who will always be remembered with respect. No statue has ever been erected in the buildings of the House of Commons to any Member who better deserves it, and, strange to say, the white marble took [Pg 191] the character and style of the man, chilliness, pure, and firm. A country gentleman in politics and out of it, free from flashy party-colour rhetoric.

ir Stafford Northcote, as he was known in the House of Commons, the gentlest of statesmen, had by no means a peaceful career in politics. He was at one time Mr. Gladstone's secretary, and those who knew him declare that he never lost his respect and admiration for his former master, although time took him from Mr. Gladstone's flock to the fold of Lord Beaconsfield. I recollect on one occasion, when I was seated in a Press box directly over the Speaker's chair, seeing Mr. Gladstone write a memorandum on a piece of paper and throw it across the table to Sir Stafford, who was at that time Leader of the House of Commons; after reading it, Sir Stafford nodded to Mr. Gladstone, and they both rose together and went behind the Speaker's chair. One could easily detect in the manner of the two old friends an existence of personal regard, and their estrangement on political circumstances must have been a matter of mutual regret. Sir Stafford and Mr. Gladstone towards the end, however, did not show that friendliness that had gone on for so many years. This may have been brought about by many causes, not the least of which was the fact that Mr. Gladstone refused to lead the House during the Bradlaugh scene, and left it to Sir Stafford, then Leader of the Opposition. For instance, after the division in which Mr. Bradlaugh was [Pg 192] refused the House by a vote of 383 to 233, the Speaker appealed to the House to know what to do. Mr. Bradlaugh stood at the table and refused to leave it. Mr. Gladstone lay back on the seat of the Government bench motionless, so Sir Stafford took up the leadership of the House, and asked the Prime Minister, whom he facetiously called the Leader of the House, "whether he intended to propose any counsel, any course for the purpose of maintaining the authority of the House and of the Chair." And so it was on many occasions. When Mr. Bradlaugh did rush up to the table of the House, escorted by Mr. Labouchere and Mr. Bass, and went through the amusing part of taking the oath, he brought the book which he kissed and the papers which he signed, and then rushed back into his seat. The House witnessed the scene indescribable by either pen or pencil. But here again Mr. Gladstone refused to lead the House. There had been a division, and Mr. Bradlaugh had once more been refused admission; so Sir Stafford Northcote came forward, as he always did on these occasions, in the mildest possible way and the most gentlemanly manner, which rather added to the effect of his taking the reins left dangling uselessly by the Leader of the House. He said: "Mr. Speaker, I need hardly say that if the Leader of the House desires to rise, I will give him the opportunity; but assuming that he does not, I intend to do so, and as I see no indication of his consent to do so, I shall call the attention of the House to the position in which we stand," and so on. Sir Stafford Northcote was not a man to stand the rough treatment which Members have had in the House during the last fifteen years. Had he been a Member twenty years before that, or even a little more, he would have been more in tone with the "best club in London." He was perplexed by Mr. Gladstone, he was bullied by Lord Randolph Churchill, and he was generally looked upon as an old woman, and eventually he was simply sent up to the other House. It was not until his sad and tragic death occurred that everyone realised that they had lost one of the most able statesmen and one of the finest gentlemen that ever sat in the House of Commons.

[Pg 193]

ad Mr. Bradlaugh taken the oath with the rest of the Members when first introduced to the House, or had he, after refusing to take it, behaved with less violence, I doubt if he would have made any name in Parliament. The House was determined to fight Bradlaugh, and it is not to be wondered at, for he paraded his atheism, and his views on other matters, in the most repulsive manner possible. But Bradlaugh did not run the risk of fighting down mere prejudice. Had he taken the oath, he would only have won the ear of the House by proving himself a great politician. This he was not, though he was a hard-working one, and a model Member from a constituency's point of view. But the only big question he mastered was his own right to take his seat. Once he got it, he became a respectable and respected Member of Parliament, and nothing more. So, with the wisdom of the serpent, he did not enter the House quietly to fight a wearisome and impossible battle against the inveterate prejudices of the Members. No, Bradlaugh defied the House of Commons; he horrified it, he insulted it, he lectured it, he laughed at it, he tricked it, he shamed it, he humiliated it, he conquered it. He brought to their knees the men who howled at him—as no other man has ever been howled at before—by sheer force of character.

[Pg 194]


Bradlaugh's bitter struggle would fill a volume. Select Committees were appointed, and they declared against him. Ignoring them, Bradlaugh marched up to the table and demanded to be sworn. The Fourth Party would not let him touch the Testament. Three days followed of angry debate on Bradlaughism, with more scenes. A new Committee reversed the decision of its predecessor, and said that Bradlaugh might affirm. Two days were consumed in discussing this, and the present Lord Chancellor, then Sir Hardinge Giffard, swayed the [Pg 195] House against the report of the Committee. Nothing daunted, Mr. Bradlaugh the very next day was back at the table of the House, clamouring to be allowed to address the House on his case. A scene of wild confusion resulted, Mr. Bradlaugh endeavouring to speak, the House howling to prevent him. Eventually he was ordered below the Bar—that is, nominally outside the House, although within the four walls. After much acrimonious chatter from all sides, he was CHARLES BRADLAUGH. CHARLES BRADLAUGH. allowed to make his speech. His hour had come. He stood like a prisoner pleading before a single judge and a jury of 670 of his fellow-men. His speech was more worthy of the Surrey Theatre than of the "Best Club." It was bombastic and theatrical. He was ordered to withdraw, while the jury considered their verdict. When he was recalled, it was to hear sentence of expulsion passed on him. But he would not depart, and another tremendous uproar took place. Mr. Bradlaugh's well-trained platform voice rose above all others in loud assertion of his "rights," and he continued to call for them all through the House, the Lobbies, the corridors, up the winding stair into the Clock Tower, where he was immured by the Sergeant-at-Arms. The following day he was released after another angry debate, and he quickly returned to the forbidden precincts. Then he was induced to quit, but on the next day he came down to the House with his family, and with a triumphant procession entered the House amid the cheers of the crowd. So the drama went on day after day, like a Chinese play. The characters in it were acted by the leading players on both sides of the House, and the excitement never flagged for a moment until Mr. Bradlaugh was allowed to affirm. He was told that he would vote at his own [Pg 196] risk. He voted repeatedly, and by so doing incurred a fine, at the hands of Mr. Justice Mathew, of the little round sum of £100,000 (he never had 100,000 farthings), nor could he even open his mouth in the House without savage interruption. Finally, Mr. Labouchere, his colleague, moved for a new writ for the borough of Northampton. Bradlaugh re-won the seat by the small majority of 132 votes, and the Bradlaugh incubus lay once more on Parliament. Then followed the same old cycle of events, the same scene at the table, the same angry religious warfare in debate (Mr. Bright's great oratorical effort will be remembered), the same speech from Mr. Bradlaugh at the Bar, the same division, the same result. Scene followed scene, and scandal scandal for weeks, months, years.

To appreciate Mr. John Bright fully, one must have heard him. Really to comprehend his power and greatness, one must have heard him at his best. Yet the greatness of his oratory lay not so much in what he said as in the beautiful way he said it.

Previous to my having the opportunity of listening to the debates, Mr. Bright had reached that stage a singer reaches who has to all intents retired from the stage, and merely makes an appearance for someone's benefit now and then. In the first two or three years which I recall in these pages Mr. Bright was making his last appearance in grand political opera. He was in the Government, but although he assured the House that "he was not going to turn his back upon himself"—an assertion of his powers as a contortionist I endeavoured to depict in Punch the following week—Mr. Bright had practically turned his back upon making great oratorical displays. The Bradlaugh scandal was in 1881 the subject of the hour, and it was whilst appearing for Mr. Bradlaugh's benefit, on the occasion of one of the numerous matinées arranged by the elected for Northampton, that Mr. Bright used the words. But on no occasion in my memory did he rise in a full-dress debate to make one of those grand efforts with which his name will ever be remembered as the great orator.

Statesmanship was not so much to him as speechifying. He [Pg 197] was not a diplomatist such as Beaconsfield, a tactician like Mr. Gladstone, a fearless, dashing debater like Lord Derby the elder, "The Rupert of Debate"; nor had he the weight of Lord Salisbury, nor the æstheticism of Mr. Balfour. But as a mere voice in the political opera he had a charm above them all. In appearance he was commonplace compared with these others I have mentioned. Often the most indifferent-looking horse in the stable or in the paddock is the best in action. You would not give £40 for some standing at ease; but in action, moving to perfection, with fire and speed and staying power, the price is more like £20,000. Mr. Bright never got into his stride at any time or in any event while he came under my observation.


These equine remarks about a great politician bring to mind a protest I received about a drawing of mine, which appeared a year or two ago, representing Mr. Gladstone as a Grand Old Horse, hearing the horn at the meet, cantering towards his companions in so many runs in which he had taken the [Pg 198] lead, and for which his day had gone. The protest came from a Quaker, horrified at my depicting Mr. Gladstone as a gee-gee! as if he had not been so depicted often enough before.

Jacob Bright was the very antithesis to his brother, both in appearance and manner—tall, of a nervous, wiry frame, rigid face, severe expression. He, like others without a spark of humour, was often the means of unconscious merriment. For instance, when Lord Randolph Churchill was Member for Woodstock, Mr. Jacob Bright referred to him as the noble lord "the Member for Woodcock." Sir John Tenniel in the cartoon in Punch, and myself in the minor pictures of Parliament in that journal, made full use of the "woodcock," and, therefore, revelling in heraldry, quickly added the woodcock to the Churchill arms.

Half the bores in London clubs are Indian officials returned to us with their digestion and their temper destroyed, to spend the rest of their days in fighting their poor livers and their unhappy friends. The etiquette of Clubland prevents one from protesting. But in the "Best Club" they are not spared. They are either howled at, or left to speak to empty benches.

Perhaps Sir George Campbell, who had been Governor of Bombay, was the most eccentric bore we have ever had in the House of Commons. Sir George has acknowledged that he could not resist the temptation to speak. On one occasion he made no less than fifty-five speeches on the Standing Committee of one Bill. At breakfast in the morning he read in the Times his heated, unconsidered interruptions in the House the night before, and he read of the contempt with which they were received—the "Loud laughter," cries of "Order!" "Divide! divide! divide!" and the snubs administered to him by the wearied and disgusted Members. He read after lunch at his club the jeering remarks of the evening Press. He was well aware he was a nuisance to the House, and he resolved as he walked down Whitehall not to open his mouth. But as soon as he crossed Palace Yard and entered the corridors of the House he sniffed the odour of authority and the fever of debate. He, the Great Sir George of India,—silent? Never! Whether [Pg 199] there was a question about the bathing-machines on the beach at Hastings, or the spread of scarlet fever at Battersea, or about an old pump at Littleshrimpton, he cared not: he must act his part—that of the Pantaloon in Parliament.


In appearance he was a striking, handsome man, with a strong individuality. A good head, piercing eye, well-shaped nose, and tall, active frame no doubt added to his authority in India. He struck me as a man who had been taken to pieces on his way home to this country, and put together again badly, for his joints were all wrong. Certainly his head was, and he was over wound up. His tongue never ceased, and the worst of it was he had a rasping, penetrating voice, with the strongest Scotch accent. One afternoon in the House this accent led to one of those frequent outbursts of merriment and protest combined—so common when Sir George bored the House, as he was always doing. Sometimes he made over thirty speeches in one evening. A question was asked about the obstructive methods of the irrepressible Sir George, who on this particular afternoon was supported in his boredom by two other bores, the Member for Sunderland and Mr. Conybeare. These three had the House to themselves, and peppered the Government benches with question after question, speech after speech. Sir George alluded to themselves as "a band of devoted guerillas." The weary House, not paying particular attention to every accent, failed to catch most of what Sir George said, as his rasping Scotch accent left them no escape. But the last word was misunderstood, and an outburst of laughter, long, loud, and hearty, followed, and, in a Parliamentary sense, killed Sir George for the day. The House understood him to say "a band of us devoted gorillas."

Perhaps the neatest rebuke Sir George ever had in the House—or, as a matter of fact, any Member ever had—was administered by that most polished wit, Mr. Plunket (now Lord Rathmore). [Pg 200] Sir George solemnly rose and asked Mr. Plunket, who happened at the time to be Minister of Public Works, whether he (Mr. Plunket) was responsible for the "fearful creatures" whose effigies adorn the staircase of Westminster Hall. Mr. Plunket rose and quietly replied, in his effective, hesitating manner, "I am not responsible for the fearful creatures either in Westminster Hall or in this House," a retort which "brought down the House" and caused it to laugh loud and long. This I chronicled in a drawing for Punch the following week.

The subject of gargoyles recalls another witticism, which, however, has the light touch that failed.

Now there is nothing so disappointing to a humorist as to lead up to an interruption, and then find he is not interrupted. Mr. Chamberlain seldom fails to bring off his little unsuspected repartee, and it is his mastery of this art that make his speeches sparkle with diamond brilliancy, but then these are usually serious, and he can afford a few miss-fires. Mr. Goschen, in the Commons, romped through his "plants" for his opponents; his interruptions were three or four deep, but he was ready for all of them. He may be likened to a professional chess player, playing a dozen opponents at once, and remembering all the moves on the separate boards. But for a humorist to miss fire—after an elaborate joke is prepared—is a catastrophe.

Colonel Sanderson rose on a very important and ticklish occasion to "draw" Mr. Labouchere. The Member for Northampton had been electrifying the House by his free handling of a matter affecting the morality of private individuals, a course of action for which, later on, he was suspended. Colonel Sanderson, alluding to Mr. Labouchere, called him a "political gargoyle." Mr. Labouchere did not, as was expected, rise in a furious state and demand an explanation. The Colonel paused and repeated, "I say the hon. gentleman, the Member for Northampton, is a political gargoyle." No notice was taken by the gentleman compared to the architectural adornment of past days; it was evident that, like the gargoyle in ancient architecture, the remark of the humorous Colonel was some elaboration too lofty to be noticed. A few days afterwards [Pg 201] Mr. Labouchere met the Colonel, and asked him what he meant by calling him a political gargoyle. "Well," said the Colonel, "rather late to ask me; you will find the definition in the dictionary. It is a grotesque gutter-spout." Said Mr. Labouchere, "You're a very clever fellow, Colonel; that would have been a capital point—if you had made it."


[Pg 202]

Mr. Farmer Atkinson, who succeeded Sir William Ingram of the Illustrated London News and the Sketch as Member for Boston, Lincolnshire, was an invaluable "subject" for me during his brief hour upon the Parliamentary stage. Our introduction was peculiar. It so happened that when Mr. (now Sir) Christopher Furness was first returned for Hartlepool, Mr. Atkinson, although of opposite politics, was most anxious to welcome him to Parliament as a companion Dissenter. After diligent inquiries for Mr. Furness, I was by mistake pointed out to him. I suddenly found both my hands clasped and warmly shaken by the mistaken M.P. "Delighted to meet you, Mr. Furness! Allow me to congratulate you. We are both Dissenters, you know,—what a pity we are on different sides of the House!"


"Yes," I replied, "a thousand pities,—you see, you are inside and I am outside.

My introduction to Mr. Christopher Furness a day or two afterwards was in a way similar, but rather more embarrassing.

Perhaps there are not two men with surnames so similar and yet so different in every other way than that great man of business, Sir Christopher Furness, and myself. He has an eye for business, but not one for his surname—I have an "I" in my name, and two for art only. When Mr. Furness was first returned to Parliament, plain Mr., neither a knight nor a millionaire, then he asked to see me alone in one of the Lobbies of the House of Commons. He held a note in his hand, strangely and nervously,—so I knew at once it was not a bank-note.

"I—ah—am very sorry,—you are a stranger to me, I—a—stranger to the House. This note from a stranger was handed [Pg 203] to me by a strange official. I read it before I noticed the mistake. It is addressed to you."

"Oh, that is of no consequence, I assure you," I said.

"Oh, but it is—it must be of consequence. It is—of—such a private nature, and so brief. I feel extremely awkward in having to acknowledge I read it,—a pure accident, I assure you!"

He handed me the note and was running away, when I called him back. It read:—

"Meet me under the clock at 8.


"I must introduce you to Lucy."

"No, no! not for worlds,"

But I did. Here he is.

There were more "scenes" in Parliament in the few sessions that I have selected to write about in this volume than there were in the rest of the last century put together. This was largely due to the climax of Irish affairs in the House. For effect in debate the English and Scotch Members,—not to speak of the Welsh Representatives,—are failures compared with those Members from across the water. No matter how hard the phlegmatic Englishman, the querulous Scotchman, or the whinings of those from gallant little Wales may try for effect, they have to give way to the Irish in the art of making a scene in the House. Occasionally, as when Dr. Kenealy shook some pepper over the House, and in the case of Mr. Plimsoll—or some other honourable gentleman—who went so far as to hang his umbrella on the Mace, an English Member causes a sensation which might almost excite a pang of envy in the breast of Dr. Tanner or Mr. Healy. No Englishman, however, has exceeded Mr. Bradlaugh in the persistent quality of sensationalism in Parliament, which now is sadly in want of another political phenomenon to enliven its proceedings.

One of the best studies in those days of good subjects for the Parliamentary caricaturist was the figure of that "squat and [Pg 204] leering Quilp," Joseph Gillis Biggar, Member for County Cavan. Mr. Lucy (Toby, M.P.), who acted as Biggar's Boswell, records the interesting fact that when Mr. Biggar rose for the first time in the House (1874) to put a supplementary question to a Minister, Mr. Disraeli, startled by the apparition, turned to Lord Barrington as if he had seen seated in the Irish quarter an ourang-outang or some other strange creature,—"What's that?"


From that moment Mr. Biggar was a continual source of amusement—and "copy." I venture to say that Toby, M.P., has written a good-sized volume about Mr. Biggar's waistcoat alone. What he saw in the waistcoat to chronicle I confess I have failed to see. "A fearsome garment," Mr. Lucy called it, "which, at a distance, might be taken for sealskin, but was understood to be of native manufacture."

Mr. Biggar—waistcoat and all—was certainly seen and heard to advantage "at a distance." He was no doubt useful to his Party, acting, as I believe he did, as a kind of good-natured nurse to them, looking after their comfort and seeing they kept in bounds.

Mr. Biggar was always repulsive in both appearance and manner. His unfortunate deformity, his gargoyle-like face, his long, bony hands, large feet, the black tail coat and baggy black trousers, the grin and the grating voice, and the fact that pork was his study before Parliament, made Joseph Gillis Biggar's appearance as ugly as his name. His chief claim to a niche in Parliamentary history is the fact that he originated Obstruction, and showed the manner in which it should be [Pg 205] applied by making a speech occupying four hours of valuable time. He also showed the length to which gross impertinence can be carried to bring the House into contempt. He "spied" His Royal Highness, our present King, one day in the gallery, and by the law of Parliament a Member by suddenly observing that he "spies" a stranger may have the House cleared of all but its Members, including Royalty—worse than that he on one occasion alluded to Mr. Gladstone as "a vain old gentleman."

The nearest approach I ever had to enter into practical politics was a request I received in March, 1892, to become the successor of Lord (then Sir Charles) Russell, as chairman of a local Radical association. In reply I confessed my political creed, and I see no reason to alter it.


"I have just received your flattering communication asking me to become the chairman of No. 2 Ward of the East Marylebone Liberal and Radical Association. It is the first time my name has ever been associated with Party politics, and I am puzzled to know myself whether I am a Radical, a Tory, a Liberal, or a Liberal Unionist!

"I read the Times every morning, and the Star and the Pall Mall Gazette every evening. I read the sporting papers for their politics, and the political papers for their literary and artistic notes.

"I work sixteen hours a day myself, and would agree to any law prohibiting others in my profession from working more than three hours.

"I am strongly opposed to Home Rule, as the disappearance of the Irish Members (who are invaluable to me in my profession) from St. Stephen's would be a serious loss to me.

"I agree to paying Members of Parliament, but would propose that they should be fined for non-attendance, and for the privilege of speaking too long, too often, or not often enough. These fines, in the majority of cases, would come to three times the amount of the Member's income.

"I am not in favour of capital punishment, and would do away with all judges and trials by jury, leaving the Press to fight out the criminal cases between themselves.

"I believe in free education, free libraries, and a free breakfast table, [Pg 206] and would propose that free book-stalls and free restaurants should be compulsory on all railways.

"I am strongly opposed to vivisection, and hold that the life of a rabbit is quite as valuable as that of a professor. At the same time I would not countenance any law making it a punishable offence to boil a lobster alive.

"I am a believer in hypnotism, thought-reading, and theosophy (I have been a bit of an amateur conjurer myself).

"Right of public meeting? Certainly. This should be a free country—everyone do as he likes. Football in Hyde Park, and fairs in Trafalgar Square. Equal freedom for all processions—if Booth can stop the traffic, why not Sanger's menagerie?

"As to local option, by all means let all public-houses be closed. (I never enter one.) And all clubs, too, so long as my own are not interfered with.

"I am not at present a member of any political club, but if you wish me to become one I will put up at the Reform, either as a fervent Gladstonian or a red-hot Unionist; I don't mind which, as neither have the slightest chance of getting in now.

"If, after considering these qualifications, you are of opinion that I would be the right man in the right place, I shall be most happy and willing to become your chairman.—Yours, etc."

regret to have to confess that I once posed as a political prophet. I was encouraged to prophesy the fact that six months before the election of July, 1892, when Mr. Gladstone was confident of "sweeping the country" and coming back with a majority of 170 or so, when both sides predicted a decisive result, and political prophets were cocksure of large figures, I luckily happened to be more successful in my vaticinations than they, giving the Gladstonians a majority of something between forty and forty-five. [Pg 207] The actual majority turned out, six months afterwards, to be forty-two. This encouraged me to write the following letter to the Times, and it appeared July 19th:

"A Parliamentary Prophecy.

"Sir,—I am surprised that no Parliamentary chronicler has written to the papers to thank the electors of the United Kingdom for the happy result of the General Election. The jaded journalist is the only person to whom the result is pleasing, as he will have no lack of material for descriptive matter in the coming Parliament.

"The Gladstonians are not pleased, because they have barely got a working majority. The Conservatives are not pleased, because they have not got one at all. The Liberal Unionists are not pleased, because they go with the Conservatives. The Irish Nationalists are chagrined, because of the success of five Unionists in Ireland. The Parnellites feel mischievous but unhappy. The Labour representatives mischievous and happy—they are the heroes of the hour—and, although the members of the Labour Party have hitherto been nonentities in the House, they will probably be 'named' several times in the future. But Parliament is a refrigerator for red-hot rhetoric, and such Members will, in time, find respectability and aspirants,[2] and grow dull.

"A harassed leader, an ambitious Opposition, the balance of power resting in the hands of the Irish, divided amongst themselves, a new and probably noisy party, boredom increased, faddism intensified—such are the ingredients of the new House; and with little spice thrown in in the shape of a revived morality scandal, the new Parliament promises to be a hotch-potch of surprises. I myself take no side in politics, and am glad to say that I have numerous friends in all parties. Perhaps it was in consequence of this that I heard all sides of opinion, thereby enabling me six months ago to weigh all my information correctly and predict the result of the General Election—a Gladstonian majority of between forty and forty-five votes—and to this opinion I have firmly adhered in spite of the fluctuating prospects before the fight. Even on Wednesday, the 6th inst., when the returns pouring in seemed to point to a Government majority, I stuck to my prophecy.

"I am now receiving from my friends (more especially from my Liberal friends) congratulations upon my perspicacity, and, although I am no Schnadhorst, I must now regard myself in the light of a Parliamentary prophet. Having in that capacity chanted my incantations and calculated the number of square feet of Irish linen in one of Mr. Gladstone's collars to be in inverse ratio to the dimensions of his Mid-Lothian majority, and having by abstruse computations discovered the hitherto unknown quantity of Sir William Harcourt's chins, I can safely predict that there will be [Pg 208] another General Election within the space of thirteen months, and that the result of the same will be the return of the Unionists with a majority of fifteen.

[2] See page 212.


"Yours truly,

"Harry Furniss.

"Garrick Club, London, July 19."

The regret I felt was not caused by any failure of my prediction contained in the last paragraph in that letter, but that the whole of it was taken seriously. Editorial leaders appeared in [Pg 209] the principal papers all over the kingdom. Letters followed, discussions took place, and politicians referred to it in their speeches. "Mr. Harry Furniss has taken the public into his confidence, as one who is thoroughly acquainted with Party politics, though he takes no personal interest in them. Men who can thus truthfully describe themselves are excessively rare, as far as we know. It is usually the person who does not understand politics who takes no interest in them. A man who understands politics, but does not concern himself to take sides, is in the position of the looker-on who sees most of the game," was truthfully written of me à propos of this letter—but why à propos of this letter? Why not of my serious work instead? No, my "airy persiflage" was only a cloak. I was seriously and instantaneously accepted as a serious political prophet, and otherwise criticised:

"To the Editor of the 'Times.'

"Sir, In a letter signed by Mr. Harry Furniss, which appeared in the Times of the 21st inst., the writer concluded by predicting that there would be another general election within thirteen months, and that the result would be a Unionist majority of fifteen.

"Mr. Furniss is evidently fond of odd numbers, but may I point out to him, and to many other political prophets who have fallen into the same trap, that the fulfilment of his prediction is an impossibility?

"In a House of 670 Members, or any other even number, if divided into two parties, the majority (in the sense he uses the word—viz., the difference) must always be an even number. It is true that the division lists sometimes show a majority which is an odd number, but in such a case an odd number of Members must have been absent from the division. Mr. Furniss must prophesy either fourteen or sixteen.

"The English language is so defective that the word 'majority' is used to mean 'the greater number,' and also 'the difference between the greater number and the less.' Cannot a new word be invented to replace 'majority' in one or other of these meanings, and so avoid the use of the same word for two distinct ideas?

"Your obedient servant,

"George R. Gallaher,

"Fellow of the Institute of Bankers.

"44, Fenchurch Street, London, E.C."

[Pg 210]

I suppose F.I.B. stands for "Fellow of the Institute of Bankers." Anyway, before I had time to reply to the courteous captious critic the Times published the following:

"Political Prophecy.

"Sir,—In endeavouring to correct Mr. Furniss your correspondent Mr. Gallaher has forgotten that, although the House of Commons consists of an even number of Members, one of those Members will be elected Speaker; and that consequently, if all the Members were on any occasion to attend, the majority would be an odd, and not an even number. There is therefore no necessity for Mr. Furniss to alter his prophecy at present.

"Your obedient servant,

"Fair Play."

Other correspondents, less technical but strongly political, accused me of being "an inspired Conservative spy." Others that I was an oracle worth "rigging." And the Irish and Radical Press questioning my impartiality, I published this letter:

"To the Editor of the 'Manchester City News.'

"Sir,—My attention has been called to a paragraph in your issue of July 23rd, stating that I am a Conservative, an assertion which has highly amused those who know me well, for I am one of the strongest of Radicals in some things and the hottest of Tories in others. I earnestly advocate the claims of the working man, and sometimes I feel myself a Whig of the old school. Whether I am a Tory, a Liberal or a Radical, troubles me very little, but as you seem to take a kind interest in my political opinions I should have preferred you to have styled me an Independent, which I understand means nothing.

"Harry Furniss.

"Garrick Club, London."

But neither "Independent" nor humorous would the partisan Press allow me to be. Certainly I was applauded by some for having held steadfastly to my prophecy, despite temptations which would have made Cassandra succumb. I was flattered by being held up as an exception among the prophets. From Mr. Gladstone to Mr. T. P. O'Connor politicians had prophesied and were hopelessly wide of the mark. Mr. Chamberlain, speaking at Birmingham that week, said, "The gravity of the weighty man of the House of Commons, gentlemen, is a thing to which there is no parallel in the world," and oh! so serious!

[Pg 211]

A rough Sketch made in the House.
Mr. W. E. Foster.Mr. Gladstone.Mr. John Bright.
Lord E. Fitzmaurice.Lord Hartington. 

"Prophets—at any rate political prophets—are chiefly distinguished from other people by being always dull and nearly always wrong. To-day, however, appears a brilliant exception to the almost universal rule," wrote one paper, and yet continued, "Mr. Furniss is simply within his own ground as one of the shrewdest and best trained of living observers, when he describes the newly-elected House of Commons as thoroughly discontented with itself. But we wish that Mr. Furniss had carried his prediction into the regions of counsel, and had been able to read in 'Mr. Gladstone's collars,' or in the 'unknown quantity of Sir William Harcourt's chins,' and whatever else serves him for his Stars, what is to be the outcome of a situation in which no party is able to obtain a working majority. If Mr. Furniss is right, the question of 'how is the Queen's Government to be carried on?' will assume a practical importance which it never had before; and unless he himself, as a thoroughly non-party man, can be induced to undertake the formation of an administration of similarly fortunate persons, one does not see what is [Pg 212] to be done. Party government is based upon big majorities—it is within measurable distance of breaking down altogether unless the country will make up its mind to stand no more nonsense, and to prefer what is really a party to a conglomerate of fads and factions."

I was beginning to feel like a man who had started a story and forgotten the point of it. The only "comic relief" was the following note from the Editor of Punch:

21st July, 1892.

Vates et Vox Stellarum.

"Dear H. F.,—'Respectability and aspirants.' Didn't you squirm at the misprint? Is that setter-up-of-type still alive? Je m'en doute. The reference to Harcourt's chins will get you liked very much. You dated it from the Garrick, but you didn't put the time of night when you wrote it. 'P.S.'—Post Supperal, eh?

"Farewell, O Prophet!—but 'why didn't you say so before?'

"Allah il Allah Ari Furniss is His Prophet!

"Yours ever,

"F. C. B.

"Advt.—'LIKA JOKO'! Parliamentary Prophet!! Prophecies sent out on shortest notice. Terms, ——. Reduction on taking a quantity."

Yes! I did squirm at the misprint, which, however, was rectified in the next issue:

"A Parliamentary Prophecy.—In Mr. Harry Furniss's letter under this title in the Times of yesterday the word 'aspirates' should be read instead of 'aspirants' in the following passage: 'The Labour representatives feel mischievous and happy—they are the heroes of the hour—and, although the members of the Labour Party have hitherto been nonentities in the House, they will probably be 'named' several times in the future. But Parliament is a refrigerator for red-hot rhetoric, and such members will, in time, find respectability and aspirants, and grow dull."

I wish I had followed the example of Mr. John Morley, who announced a couple of months before the election that he had written down his General Election tip and placed it in a sealed envelope; but so far as I have heard, he never risked his reputation for prophecy—he refrained from publishing the secret. That grave and weighty right hon. gentleman scored as the humorist, and I failed as a prophet in my second attempt.

[Pg 213]


[Pg 214]


[Pg 215]



Two Punch Editors—Punch's Hump—My First Punch Dinner—Charles Keene—"Robert"—W. H. Bradbury—du Maurier—"Kiki"—A Trip to the Place of his Birth—He Hates Me—A Practical Joke—du Maurier's Strange Model—No Sportsman—Tea—Appollinaris—My First Contribution—My Record—Parliament—Press Gallery Official—I Feel Small—The "Black Beetle"—Professor Rogers—Sergeant-at-Arms' Room—Styles of Work—Privileges—Dr. Percy—I Sit in the Table—The Villain of Art—The New Cabinet—Criticism—Punch's Historical Cartoons—Darwen MacNeill—Scenes in the Lobby—A Technical Assault—John Burns's "Invention"—John Burns's Promise—John Burns's Insult—The Lay of Swift MacNeill—The Truth—Sir Frank Lockwood—"Grand Cross"—Lockwood's Little Sketch—Lockwood's Little Joke in the House—Lockwood's Little Joke at Dinner—Lewis Carroll and Punch—Gladstone's Head—Sir William's Portrait—Ciphers—Reversion—Punch at Play—Three Punch Men in a Boat—Squaring up—Two Pins Club—Its One Joke—Its One Horse—Its Mystery—Artistic Duties—Lord Russell—Furious Riding—Before the Beak—Burnand and I in the Saddle—Caricaturing Pictures for Punch—Art under Glass—Arthur Cecil—My Other Eye—The Ridicule that Kills—Red Tape—Punch in Prison—I make a Mess of it—Waterproof—"I used your Soap two years ago"—Charles Keene—Charles Barber—Punch's Advice—Punch's Wives.

he first representative of Mr. Punch with whom I came into contact was the late Tom Taylor, at that period the tenant of the editorial chair. To this meeting I have referred on a previous page, when I mentioned that Mr. Taylor had just returned from the wilds of Connemara and strongly advised me to make some explorations in that little-known district for the purpose of making sketches of the "genus homo indigenous to the soil," [Pg 216] which I did a week or so prior to my setting foot in the busy haunt of men on murky Thames.

Tom Taylor was, I believe, one of the best of men, and the possessor of one of the kindest hearts; but although he certainly professed to take an interest in me (probably owing to the fact that it was to a relative of mine that he was indebted for his first introduction to literature), the fact remains that whenever I sent him a sketch I used to receive one of his extraordinary hieroglyphical missives supposed to be a note courteously declining my efforts, notwithstanding that I was often flattered although not enriched by subsequently seeing the subjects of them appear redrawn under another name in the pages of Punch.

[From a Photo by C. Watkins.]

It was not until Tom Taylor had passed away that Mr. Punch would deign to give me a chance. I had then been seven years in London hard at work for the leading magazines and illustrated papers, and I may truly say that my work was the only introduction I ever had to Mr. Burnand.

When I first entered the goal of my boyish ambition—that is to say, the editorial sanctum of Mr. Punch—I had never met the gentleman who for a number of years afterwards was destined to be my chief, and I fully expected to see the editor turn round and receive me with that look of irrepressible humour and in that habitually jocose style which I had so often heard described. I looked in vain for the geniality in the editor's glance, and there was a remarkably complete absence of the jocose in the sharp, irritable words which he addressed to me.

[Pg 217]

"Really," said he, "this is too bad! I wrote to you to meet me at the Surrey Theatre last night, and you never turned up. We go to press to-day, and the sketches are not even made."

"I don't quite understand you," I replied, "for I never heard from you in my life, and I don't think that you ever saw me before."

"But surely you are Mr. ——?" (a contributor who had been drawing for Punch for some weeks). "Are you not?"

"No," I said. "My name is Furniss, and I understood that you wanted to see me."


This was in 1880, and from that period up to the time of my resignation from the staff of Punch I certainly do not think that I have ever seen Burnand's face assume such a threatening and offended expression as it wore that day.

I was then twenty-six. Strange to say, Charles Keene and George du Maurier were exactly the same age when they first made their début in Punch, but not yet invited to "join the table."

As I was leaving my house one summer evening a few years afterwards, the youngest member of my family, who was being personally conducted up to bed by his nurse, enquired where I was going.

"To dine with Mr. Punch," I replied.

"Oh, haven't you eaten all his hump yet, papa? It does last a long time!" And the little chap continued his journey to the arms of Morpheus, evidently quite concerned about his father's long-drawn-out act of cannibalism.

The first feast to which I was bidden was not one of the ordinary or office description, but a banquet given at the "Albion" Tavern, in the City, on the 3rd of January, 1881, to celebrate the installation of Mr. Burnand as the occupant of the editorial chair. And on my invitation card I first sketched my new [Pg 218] friends, the Punch staff, and a few of the outside contributors who were present, conspicuous among whom was George Augustus Sala, the honoured stranger of the evening. That he should be so struck me as peculiar, for it was an open secret that Sala wrote and illustrated that famous attack (nominally by Alfred Bunn), "A Word with Punch," a most vulgar, vicious, and personal insult which had given much offence years before; a clear proof of Mr. Punch's forgiving nature.


That grand old man of Punch, Tenniel, I made an attempt to sketch as he was "saying a few words," but on this particular occasion it was my vis-à-vis Charles Keene who interested me more than any other person present. He wore black kid gloves and never removed them all during dinner—that puzzled me. Why he wore them I cannot say. I never saw him wearing gloves at table again, or even out of doors. Then he was in trouble with his cigar, and finally I noticed that he threw it under the table and stamped upon it, and produced his favourite dirty Charles the First pipe, the diminutive bowl of which he filled continually with what [Pg 219] smokers call "dottles." He was then apparently perfectly happy, as indeed he always looked when puffing away at his antique clay.


Years afterwards, when sketching a background for a Punch drawing in the East End, I noticed some labourers [Pg 220] returning from working at excavations, laughing over something they had found in the ground; it was a splendid specimen of the Charles clay pipe, longer than any I have seen. I bought it from them to present to Keene, but he was ill then, and soon after the greatest master of black and white England ever produced had passed away.

Robert. "Robert."

After Keene the strangest character present was Mr. Deputy Bedford—"Robert" in the pages of Punch—an undertaker in the City, and one of the most humorous men within its boundary. I recollect introducing my wife to him at some function at the Mansion House—not as Robert, but as Mr. Deputy Bedford. She expressed her pleasure at meeting one of the City dignitaries, and he offered to show her over the treasures in the Mansion House. "There's a fine statue for you! Don't know who did it, but we paid a thousand pounds for it. And that one over there, which weighs half a ton less, cost twice as much. Oh! the pictures are worth something, too. That portrait cost £800; I don't know what that one cost, but the frame is cheap at £20. Yes, fine gold plate, isn't it? Old designs? Yes, but old or new, boiled down, I should think £80,000 wouldn't be taken for the pile!" And so on, and so on, with a merry twinkle in his eye and an excellent imitation of what outsiders consider City men to be.

My caricature of the genial E. L. S. (Sambourne) is not good, but quite as kind as Sala's remarks were on that occasion in chaffing Sambourne for turning up in morning costume. In the bottom right-hand corner of the card is a note of the late Mr. W. H. Bradbury, one of the proprietors of Punch, the kindest [Pg 221] and the best host, the biggest-hearted and most genial friend, I ever worked for. He has his eye, I notice, on a gentleman making an impromptu speech—the sensation of the evening—referred to by Mr. M. H. Spielmann in "The History of Punch." Next to that irrepressible orator is Mr. Lucy, "Toby, M.P.," as I saw him first.

From a pen and ink drawing by himself, the property of the Author.

[Pg 222]


[Pg 223]

I note on this card an attempt to sketch du Maurier, the "Thackeray of the pencil." By the way, I was certainly the first to apply that term to him—in my first lecture, "Art and Artists." He was some distance from me at the banquet when I made these notes.

It is a curious fact that I really never had a seat allotted to me at the Punch table. I always sat in du Maurier's, except on the rare occasions when he came to the dinner, when I moved up one. It was always a treat to have du Maurier at "the table." He was by far and away the cleverest conversationalist of his time I ever met,—his delightful repartees were so neat and effective, and his daring chaff and his criticisms so bright and refreshing.

For some extraordinary reason du Maurier was known to the Punch men as "Kiki," a friendly sobriquet which greeted him when he first joined, and refers to his nationality. In the same way as an English schoolboy calls out "Froggy" to a Frenchman, his friends on the Punch staff called him Kiki, suggested by the Frenchman's peculiar and un-English art of self-defence.

Du Maurier took very little interest in the discussions at the table; in fact, he resented informal debate on the subject of the cartoon as an interruption to his conversation, although he once suggested a cartoon which will always rank as one of the most historical hits of Mr. Punch—a cartoon of the First Napoleon warning Napoleon the Third as he marches out to meet the Germans in the War of 1870.

At times he might enter into the artistic treatment of the cartoon; and I reproduce a sketch he did on the back of a menu to explain some idea in connection with the cartoon which appeared the following week in Punch.

Du Maurier's extremely clever conversation struck me the [Pg 224] moment I joined the staff of Punch. As I went part of his way to Hampstead, we sometimes shared a cab, and in one of these journeys I mentioned my conviction that he, in my mind, was a great deal more than a humorous artist, and if he would only take up the pen seriously the world would be all the more indebted to him. He told me that Mr. James had for some time said nice things of a similar character.


About ten days afterwards I received a letter saying that my conversation had had an effect upon him, and that he was starting his first novel. So perhaps the world is really indebted to me, indirectly, for the pleasure of reading "Peter Ibbetson" and "Trilby;" the fact being that he had, with Burnand and myself, just visited Paris—the first time he had set foot in the gay city since his youth. Many things he saw had impressed him, and "Peter Ibbetson" was the result. How interesting it was to watch him in Paris, the place of his birth, standing, the ideal type of a Frenchman himself, smiling and as amused as a boy at his own countrymen and women. "So very un-English, you know!" Then, as we drove about Paris, he stood up in the carriage, excitedly showing us places familiar to him in his young days, and greatly amused us by pointing out no fewer than three different houses in which he was born! We three were the guests of Mr. Staat Forbes at Fontainebleau during the same trip, and du Maurier's sketches of our pleasant experiences on that occasion appear in Punch, under the heading "Souvenir de Fontainebleau," in three numbers in October, 1886. In the drawing of our al fresco dinner, "Smith" is our host, I am "Brown," du Maurier "Jones," and Mr. Burnand "Robinson."

Three years afterwards du Maurier re-visited Paris with most [Pg 225] of the staff to see the Paris Exhibition, 1889. In my sketch "En Route—Mr. Punch at Lunch," du Maurier is speaking to Mr. Anstey Guthrie, who, "for this occasion only," called du Maurier the Marquis d'Ampstead.

Du Maurier had a little of the green-eyed monster in his bosom, although he lived to laugh at all when he himself became the greatest success of any man in his sphere.

When I made my hit with my Exhibition of the "Artistic Joke," du Maurier, to my surprise, turned sharply round to me one night in the cab and said, "My dear Furniss, I must be honest with you—I hate you, I loathe you, I detest you!"

From "Punch."

"Thanks, awfully, my dear fellow! But why?"

"Ah!" he said, "your success is too great. When I get the return you send me in the morning, showing me the number of people that have been to your Exhibition, the tremendous takings at the turnstiles, the number of albums subscribed for, the number of pictures you have sold, I cannot work. I go on to Hampstead Heath to walk off my jealousy; when I come in to lunch I find your first telegram, telling me you have made £80 that morning. I walk out again, and looking down upon London, although I shake my fist at the whole place, my wrath is for you alone. I come in to tea to find another telegram—you have made £100! How can I sit down and scratch away on a piece of paper when you are making a fortune in a week?"

This nearly took my breath away.

"My dear du Maurier," I replied, "I feel hurt—seriously, [Pg 226] irrevocably. I shall always feel degraded in your eyes. Of course you are the victim of a practical joke."

Du Maurier pulled from his pocket one of my supposed returns. It was an imitation of printing, with the amounts filled in. "This is the kind of thing I get every morning."

"Why, of course, it is written, not printed. That is the work of the irrepressible practical joker. But it makes no difference, du Maurier; if you thought that I would be such a cad as to send you these returns, I cannot see how we can ever be great friends."

Although as du Maurier believed for a time I had the necessary vulgarity of the "bloated millionaire," to use his own words, we were never much more than acquaintances—although very pleasant acquaintances—and I believe du Maurier reciprocated the kind feeling I had towards him. Du Maurier rarely forgave a satirical thrust at his expense. His dislike for Mr. Whistler on this account is well known to all the early readers of "Trilby," and he often related with unconcealed glee a remark he once made to Whistler. It appears they had not met for a long period, during which du Maurier with his satirical pictures on the æsthetic craze, published in Punch, and Whistler with his "symphonies" and "harmonies" on canvas, exhibited in the Law Courts, had both increased their reputation.

"Hullo, Kiki!" cried Whistler. "I'm told that your work in Punch is the making of some men. You have actually invented Tomkins! Why, he never would have existed but for you! Ha! ha! how on earth did you do it?"

"Look here, Jimmy, if you don't look out, by Jove, I'll invent you!"

How Kiki—du Maurier—carried out his threat in "Trilby," and what resulted from it, all the world knows.

By the way, the mention of "Trilby" reminds me of a story about Mr. du Maurier's own Trilby which is perhaps worth recording. Du Maurier for some years lived on the top of Hampstead Heath, rather inaccessible for models. But more than once friends asked him to take a sitting from some lady or another, as he, drawing fashionable ladies, was different, perhaps, [Pg 227] from painters using models for costumes or, as du Maurier would say, for the "altogether." In this way a model was introduced to him, and, to his surprise, she drove up to his house in a hansom, and he heard her asking one of the servants for change of a sovereign to pay the cabman. She did not sit very well, so after a short time Mr. du Maurier told her that he only drew from models for part of the day, and, rather apologetically, said he of course did not pay for the whole of the usual day's sitting. And she said:

(The original hangs on the wall of Mr. Punch's dining room.)

"Oh, thanks! I am only too pleased to sit for a short time. But would you kindly ask one of your servants to fetch me a hansom?"

This made the artist more than ever miserable, and he said:

"Excuse me, but perhaps you are not aware we only pay a modest amount for sitters; in fact, I generally pay five shillings for two hours—aw——"

[Pg 228]

"You don't mean to say you are really going to give me five shillings? Oh, how kind of you! It will just pay half my cab fare home. I didn't know I was going to be so lucky." And she vanished, leaving the artist more bewildered than ever.

Some time afterwards, in Hyde Park, he was surprised to see a carriage beautifully appointed pulled up to where he was standing, and a lady lean out and say:

"I have never seen you before to thank you for your kindness in allowing me to sit for you. I was so anxious to see what a studio was like. Thanks, awfully; you must let me call again."

Du Maurier had the faculty of unaffected fun, he had also a feeling for caricature in portraiture, but he did not care to exercise either to any extent in Punch. I recollect Sir Henry Thompson—the celebrated physician—showing me a copy of a book he had written, in which he speaks of hospital life in London. Du Maurier had studied in a London hospital when he first arrived in England, and he wrote to Sir Henry, then a stranger to him, to ask him if the wretch in his book who wheeled off the remains of the corpses from the dissecting-room was the same man he knew and loathed years ago. The sketch accompanying this query Sir Henry had pasted in the book in triumph. "There is the man," he said, "to the life!"

At dinner du Maurier ate sparingly, drank moderately, and smoked cigarettes. He avoided champagne, preferring the wine of his country—claret; and after dinner, in place of coffee, he had a huge breakfast-cup of tea, and, like the soap advertisement boy, he was not happy till he got it.

Mentioning an advertisement suggests that it may interest some to know du Maurier drew the label for a most popular mineral water. It is safe to predict that not one person in the tens of thousands looking at it yearly would connect du Maurier with it. It is that elaborate and rather inartistic design on Appollinaris water, for which he received fifty guineas from his friend—one of the proprietors. Anyone following his work in Punch must have noticed that he was a hypochondriac.

[Pg 229]


[Pg 230]


[Pg 231]

Hypochondriasis was a disease with him, he was always thinking of his health, and I fear that sudden burst of popularity following the success of "Trilby," in place of bracing him up, made him dwell somewhat more upon his state of health, and hastened the end.

I recollect his telling me years ago he was advised to take horse exercise for his health's sake, so he hired a hack and started in the direction of Richmond Park. Arriving at the well-known windmill, and before descending the beautiful slopes on the other side, he took out his watch and, opening the case, put out his tongue to see what effect the ride had had on his health. The horse moved, and he found himself the next moment on the ground.

He gave up horse exercise after that!

My first contribution to Punch appeared in the number dated October 30th, 1880. "Punch," as a policeman, commanded the removal of the newly-erected "Griffin" in the place of Old Temple Bar: "Take away that Bauble!" The much-abused "Griffin" is the work (but after the design of Horace Jones) of an old friend of mine, the late C. B. Birch, R.A., a clever sculptor and a capital fellow. He sent me "his mark" of appreciation, but I may say he was the last man to use the instrument of torture suggested by his name.

I then "did the theatres" with the editor—no mistake this time—and a very pleasant time it was. My first "social" drawing appeared in the second number in the following December, illustrating Scotch "wut" manufactured in London.

Two Scotch rustics outside an eating-house. One points to a card in the window on which is "Welsh Rabbit, 6d."

Hungry visitor (ignorant of the nature of this particular delicacy): "Ah, Donal, mon, we ken weel hev the Rawbit fur saxpence. We ken get twa Bawbees fur the Skeen when we get bock to Glasgow!"

The Scotch is certainly new, if the joke is not.

[Pg 232]


An Irish joke followed, and then in the Almanack I illustrated a hit at the style of ladies' dress of the period; in fact, at that time I drew for Punch quite a number of social subjects dealing with the æsthetic craze. Besides illustrating various social subjects and caricaturing the Academy and the new plays, I was illustrating the "Essence of Parliament." As Mr. M. H. Spielmann in "The History of Punch" says truly, "I romped through Punch's pages." I open a number of Punch published only eighteen months after my first contribution appeared, and two years previous to my joining the staff, and find no fewer than eleven separate subjects from my pencil; and I may say that up to the last I probably contributed more work to Punch [Pg 233] than any other artist ever contributed in the same number of years, Leech not excepted. I do not claim that this was wholly due to artistic merit, but to a business one. I never refused to draw a subject I was asked to do, I never was at a loss for a subject, and I was never late. It was to this facility I owe the good terms on which the editor and I worked so pleasantly and for so long. Being accustomed to work at high pressure for the illustrated papers and magazines since boyhood, I confess that Punch work to me was my playtime.

I contributed over two thousand six hundred designs, from the smallest to the largest that ever appeared in its pages (the latter were published in the Christmas Numbers, 1890 and 1891), and I was not in receipt of a salary, but was paid for each drawing at my full rate. I have reason to think I drew in the time more money from Punch, proportionately, than any other contributor in its history in a like period. I read from time to time accounts of the remuneration men like myself receive. Of course these statements are invariably fiction, as in fact is nearly everything I have read outside Mr. Spielmann's careful analysis of Punch concerning myself and my friends.

I deal with my Parliamentary confessions, personal and artistic, in other chapters; I shall in this merely touch upon a few points in connection with Punch. The greater portion of my Parliamentary work, however, appeared in other periodicals, but it is probably by Punch work in this direction most of my readers identify me. I was fortunate, in the twelve years I represented Punch in Parliament with the pencil, in having the exceptional material for work upon Mr. Gladstone at his most interesting period, Parnell's rise and fall, Churchill's rise and fall, Bradlaugh's rise and fall, and a host of others strutting their brief hour on the political stage. Where are they now? Mr. Chamberlain alone interests the caricaturist. Parliament itself is dull, the public is apathetic, and everything appertaining to politics is flat and unprofitable. Yet as far back as 1885, in the figure "Punch," I asked for some new character, the familiar faces were getting worked out!

I had attended some sessions of Parliament before I made [Pg 234] the acquaintance of the official presiding over the Press Gallery. The Press Gallery is, as all know, directly over the Speaker. The front row is divided into little boxes where the representatives of the leading papers sit. The others are seated above them against the wall. These members of the Press look like a row of aged schoolboys very much troubled to write anything about Parliament to-day. Their monitor sits by the seat near the door, which in former days was in the middle of the Gallery.

Mr. Punch (Cartoonist-in-Chief).
"Oh, I know all you Old Models. I want some New 'Character'!"

I shall never forget my first experience of this Press Gallery official. He was big, and fat, and greasy; in evening dress, [Pg 235] and he wore a real gold chain with a badge in front like a mayor or sheriff. He awed me—recollect I am now speaking of the day I attended as a comparatively new boy, and I trembled in his presence. There was no seat vacant except the one next to him. He sleeps! Nervously I slip into the seat. He wakes, and looks down at me.

"H'm! What are you?" is his sleepy remark.


"Punch," I reply.


"Left at home."

"Bring it next time."

"Certainly," say I, relieved. He slumbers again. I strain over to see who is speaking. This wakes the gentleman with the real gold chain again. He gazes down upon me. I feel smaller.

"What are you?"


"Eh! Where's ticket?"

"Left at home."

"Bring it next time. Saves bother, young fellow."

"Certainly," I reply, and, encouraged by his familiarity, I venture to ask, "Who is that speaking?" I just got the question out in time, for he was dozing off again.

"New Member," he replied, and, half dozing, he goes on, more to himself than to me: "One more fool! Find his level here! All fools here! Stuff you've been givin' them at your College Union. Rubbish! Yer perambulator's waitin' outside. Oh, follow yer Dad to the Upper House, an' look sharp about it." He mumbles. I well recollect the youthful Member, so criticised, labouring through his maiden speech. The eldest son of a [Pg 236] Peer, with a rather effeminate face, Saxon fairness of complexion, and with an apology for a moustache, it struck me that if petrified he would do very well as a dummy outside a tailor's establishment. Yet this youthful scion of a noble line has a good record. He carried off innumerable prizes at Eton, was a double first at Oxford, President of the Union, and a fellow of his college; one of the University Eight, and of the Eleven; distinguished at tennis, racquets, and football; hero of three balloon ascents; great at amateur theatricals; a writer upon every possible subject, including theology, for the leading magazines; member of sixteen London clubs; married a titled heiress, and is only thirty years of age.


Some of his college friends sit in the Strangers' Gallery to hear their late President make his first great effort in the real Parliament. The effect disappoints them. Their champion is "funky." When the Oxford Eight were behind at Barnes Bridge, it was "Dolly's" muscle and nerve that pulled the crew together and won the race. When at Lord's the match was nearly over, and the Light Blues had won all but the shouting, "Dolly" went in last man and rattled up fifty in half an hour and won [Pg 237] the match. When at the Oxford Union he spoke upon the very question now before the House—namely, whether a tax should be imposed upon periwinkles—his oratory alone turned the scale, and gave his party the victory. Yet now his speech upon the periwinkle problem has certainly not impressed the House. Men listened for a time and then adjourned to dinner, and his splendid peroration, recognised by his friends as the same which he had delivered at the Oxford Union, failed to elicit a single cheer.

Curiosity, however, induced his supporters to remain and hear the reply. The next speaker was a contrast to their hero, and a titter went round among Dolly's friends in the Gallery. He was a type of the preaching Member. No doubt a very worthy soul, but hardly an Adonis to look at, nor a Cicero to listen to. Still he is sincere, and with his own class effective; and sincerity, after all, is the most valuable, and I may add the most rare, quality in the composition of an ordinary Member of Parliament.

My neighbour, the Usher, at this point opens his left eye, which takes in at a glance the Opposition side of the House, and breaks out in this style:

"All right, little 'un! Keep wot yer sayin' till Sunday. Yer sermon's sending me to sleep. Forcing taxation on the winks of the 'ungry Englishman will raise the country to revolt. Tommy rot! Here endeth the first lesson, thank goodness!"

The soliloquising official rolls off his seat chuckling along the Gallery. Envelopes are handed to him by the reporters. He rolls back to the door, opens it, gives the copy to the messengers waiting for it, and rolls back once more into his seat. In doing so he spies me.

I feel smaller.

"Here, I say, what are you?"


"Where's ticket?"

"Left at home."

"H'm! Don't forget it again."

"Certainly not."

I say nothing more, as I am too interested in his running commentary of the proceedings. A grunt. Shake down:

[Pg 238]

"Old Waddy, is it? Another sermon. Blow black plaster. Tell that to the juries, and use it again in chapel. Yer a good friend to us—get a count soon. Ah, I thought so. Joey Biggar up to count and snuff."

"Have a pinch?" he said to me.

"Thanks." I sneeze.

"What are you?" asked the man of the golden badge, looking down at me. I met his query as before.

Same demand.

Same reply.

Same promise.


The electric bells were ringing for a "count out." He opened both eyes to watch if forty Members came in. They did; and three times forty.

"Torment 'em! Keep me here all night, I see."

Samuel Banks Waddy—Pleader, Preacher, Parliamentarian (as he is designated in a work on M.P.'s)—continues preaching. He is followed by the Leader of the House. My soliloquising friend continues:

"Ah, Old Morality—as Lucy calls ye—up at last. Move the closure, now then, that's right; speak of yer dooty to the House and Country. Set the Rads laughing, shut yer own mouth, and sit down. Oh lor! 'Ere's the Grand Old Muddler up. We're getting 'usky, old 'un; both of us have 'ad too much of this job. We're very much alike, Gladdy and me—both great eaters and great sleepers."

Mr. Gladstone was telling the House all about black plaster, and gave three points why it should not be used in public hospitals. With the third point he landed a blow at Home Rule, [Pg 239] and his ingenuity in doing so brought forth a derisive cheer from the Irish benches, which roused my neighbour.

I looked up at him smiling, as much as to say, "Just like the Old Parliamentary Hand."

"What are you?" he growled.



Same reply and promise.

Appeased, he continued:

"Words, words, words—no 'ed no tail. Oh, of course you remember the introduction of white plaster—3rd of June, 1840—why didn't you say half-past two o'clock? More convincing. No doubt you got into some scrape and 'ad to use it. Won't you catch it from the old woman in the Gallery when you get home if you say so! Can't 'ear yer, thank goodness. Scribblers will take down any rot you talk. They want me, I suppose. Blowed if the country wants you."

Again he rolls out of his seat, collects the reporters' copy, and gives it to the attendants.

"Who are you? Ah, Punch. Don't forget yer ticket."

Again he dozes.

"'Icks Beach up! 'Ave all the Board of Trade chaps up, capping each other. Funny thing—Board of Trade chap says anything, all the Board of Traders must have a word in. Same with Local Government Board—new man says anything, old 'uns put in a word for theirselves, just to keep the place warm for them to return. Board!—I'm bored—joke there for Lucy. Thought the Irish lot couldn't keep quiet much longer. Tanner up,—ought to know more about plaster than politics. Rum fellers, these doctors in the House; leave their patients at 'ome, and come here to try ours—'nother good joke for Lucy—make his 'air stand on end. Tanner sticking to the plaster—now then, young Tories, jeer 'im down. The Doctor's goin' it. Order! order! That's right, Brand, turn 'im out,—wouldn't stand 'im in any place else. City Fowler's bellowing,—scene a-brewing,—good copy for these quill-drivers."

Dr. Tanner had recited some harrowing tale about black [Pg 240] plaster being used in his native town by a hospital surgeon on the scratched face of some old woman who had joined "the boys" in a street fight, although she protested that pink suited her complexion.

"It was a base Saxon trick!" roared the infuriated Member for Cork County. "On a par with the mane, dirty doings of puppets and spalpeens like the Mimbers opposite."

"Order! order!" cried the Speaker. "The hon. Member must withdraw that expression."

"I'll not withdraw anything except by adding that they're all liars on the Tory benches."

"The hon. Member must withdraw."

The Doctor "exits" with a flourish, glares at the Conservative benches below the gangway, and hisses at them:

"Better order a ton of plaster, for you'll want it after I meet ye outside."

Mr. Labouchere and two or three Irish Members rise at once.

My neighbour sneers.

"Oh, sit down, ye rubbishy lot! Labby,—better keep yer jokes for yer paper. Bless me if Conybeare ain't left standing! Now for an hour of boredom."

"He is a bore," I remark.

"Yes, I've stood Kenealy and Wharton, but this bore I can't. I'll chuck it up. Kenealy did his best for the Claimant, and was amusing at times; and Wharton,—well, he had good snuff, and his hat was a treat; but this Conybeare is a bore and nothing else."

So he went on.

The "descendant of kings," Sir William Harcourt, rose to pulverise Torydom and put an end to the Government and everything in general, when the Speaker rose and said that the question before the House was whether black sticking-plaster could be used in public hospitals.

"Oh, that's right, he wants putting down; too much of the grand Old Bailey style. Make yer fortune in plush and knee breeches as a prize flunkey; platform stuff won't do for us. What are you?" I feel smaller!

[Pg 241]


"You take Harcourt off with the chins?"


"Shake hands!"

We were friends ever afterwards.

One day when I arrived,—actually with my Gallery ticket,-a fresh pleasant official sat in my old friend's place, wearing his gold chain and badge. "Should this meet the eye" of his predecessor, soliloquising in the retirement of his suburban home, I trust it will not disturb the serenity of his well-earned repose, for he was a capital fellow, and I can answer for much good sense in his "official utterances."


If a politician were not a caricature by nature, I made him one. Mr. Gladstone's collar I invented—for the same reason a journalistic friend of mine invented Beaconsfield's champagne jelly—for "copy." When Members suggested nothing new, I turned my attention to officials. The Sergeant-at-Arms in that way became known as the "Black Beetle."

I watched Captain Gosset from the Press Gallery walk up the floor of the House in court dress, his knee-breeches showing off his rather bandy legs, elbows akimbo, and curious gait; his back view at once suggested the beetle, and as the Black Beetle he was known. This, I was assured, gave offence, so that I was rather anxious to see how I should be greeted when Professor Thorold Rogers took me into the Sergeant's presence, after I had been drawing him as the "Beetle" for some time.

The late Professor Thorold Rogers was for many years a familiar Bohemianish figure in Parliament. He had a marked [Pg 242] individuality, a strong head and a rough tongue, an uncouth manner, sloppy attire, and his conversation was anything but refined. Still he was kind and amusing, and, for a Professor in Parliament, popular. Professors are not liked in St. Stephen's, and never a success; and as a politician Professor Thorold Rogers was no exception to this rule. It was he who introduced me to the Sergeant-at-Arms' room, that sanctum sanctorum of the lively spirits of Parliament. Perhaps I ought correctly to call it Captain Gosset's room, for although Captain Gosset was the Sergeant-at-Arms, the Sergeant-at-Arms was by no means Captain Gosset. An anecdote will illustrate this.


A friend of mine, a well-known journalist, travelling abroad during the Recess, fell in with Captain Gosset, and they became companions in their journey. A few days after they arrived home my journalistic acquaintance was in the Inner Lobby of the House of Commons as the Sergeant-at-Arms was passing through, and he called out, "How are you, Captain Gosset? Any the worse for your journey?"

"I beg your pardon, sir, I have not the pleasure of your acquaintance. You are mistaken."

"Nonsense, Captain! Why, we travelled together. I am——"

"That may be, but—— Oh, I see, you are thinking of that fellow Gosset. Sir, I am the Sergeant-at-Arms!" And he strode off with the greatest dignity.

I was agreeably surprised when I was introduced to the "Black Beetle."

"Here is Harry Furniss, Gosset" (not Sergeant, I observed); "now give it to him."

"Delighted to make your acquaintance, Mr. Furniss. You see how I appreciate your work." And he pointed to a row of black beetles, cut out of Punch and pasted on the wall, the rest of the wall being covered with interesting and dignified portraits of Members. Here was Gosset at twelve o'clock at [Pg 243] night. At twelve noon he would be Sergeant-at-Arms, with power to take me to the Clock Tower.


This room is still the Sergeant-at-Arms' office, but in it are no portraits, no black beetles—on paper; there may be some living specimens, for aught I know, haunting the old room in search of the lively company, the pipes, and the huge decanters. The present Sergeant-at-Arms is as unlike a black beetle as he is unlike the Bohemian Gosset. But I shall be surprised if, when the courteous and universally appreciated Sergeant-at-Arms retires, and the present Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr. Gosset, takes his place, we shall not see the old room again the most entertaining spot in the Houses of Parliament.

When Professor Rogers was escorting me to the famous room, he implored me to leave politics outside of it,—as if I ever talked politics in the House! "Rule is—no politics, so don't forget it."

[Pg 244]

"Ah," he said, as soon as he sat down, "why aint you in the House, Tom, vilifying and misrepresenting the Irish as I heard you this afternoon! Disgraceful, I say, disgraceful!" and he thumped the table.

"No politics, Professor," "Dick" Power remarked.


"Oh, indeed, my noble Whip; that comes well from a beater to a beaten gang. Why aint you at your post,—the door-post, ha! ha!—and rally your men and overthrow these damned Tories? Oh, yes, King-Harman, your good looks do not atone for bad measures."

"No politics, Professor," all cried.

"Come, Furniss, come away, they're all drunk here. I'll tell you my last story on the Terrace. These Tories destroy everything."

Such was my introduction to this select little club in Parliament, in which, with the exception of the Professor, all forgot politics, and the best of the Tories, Home Rulers, Radicals, and officials were at peace. I was always on most friendly terms with my "Black Beetle," a proof that caricature leaves no unkind sting when the victim is really a man of the world and a jolly good fellow. Surely nothing could be more offensive to an official in high office than to be continually represented as a black beetle!

When I did not "invent" a character, such as the "Beetle," I adopted for a change various styles of drawing. For even the work of a caricaturist becomes monotonous if he is but a master of one style and a slave to mannerisms. To avoid this I am Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese, and at times "Childish"—a [Pg 245] specimen of each style in Punch the proprietors have kindly allowed me to republish in these pages. There is really very little artistic merit in the "Childish" style of work. I did not use it often, but whenever I did I tried to introduce some "drawing" as well. Here, for instance, are my Academy skits—drawn as if by a boy, but the figures of the teacher and pupil are in drawing. By the way, these different styles, I am glad to see, are still kept alive in the pages of Punch by new—if not younger—hands. This year's (1901) Academy skits and other drawings, I notice, are signed "'Arry's Son," but they are not—as might be thought—by one of my own boys.


[Pg 246]

During most of the time I enjoyed a privilege which belonged to no one else, not excepting Members, for even Members must, like schoolboys, keep "within bounds." They are not permitted, for instance, to enter the Press Gallery, or the portion of the House reserved to the Press; neither can Press-men enter the Members' rooms at will. The public, being ignorant of the stringent rules of St. Stephen's, cannot understand the obstacles there are to seeing the House. One instance will suffice to show the absurdity of the rules. The ex-Treasurer of the House of Lords, whose acquaintance I had, and whose offices were in the corridor by the Select Chamber, could not take anyone into the House, even when it was empty, without a written order. Although armed with a Gallery Ticket, and also on the "Lobby list," i.e., the right to enter the Inner Lobby, I was not free to make any sketches of the House itself, inside or out. Requiring to get such material for the elaborate interiors and exteriors I use in my Lecture-Entertainment, "The Humours of Parliament," I boldly bearded the highest official in his den, and left with this simple document. Aladdin's key could not have caused more surprise than this talisman. The head of the police, the Sergeant-at-Arms himself, could not interfere. "The Palace of Westminster" includes the House of Commons, so I made full use of my unique opportunity, and possess material invaluable for my Parliamentary work.

[Pg 247]


[Pg 248]


[Pg 249]

I had facilities in another way. At one time the Engineer-in-Chief was a friend of mine, Dr. Percy. Few men were better known in and about the House than this popular official engineer of the Palace of Westminster. To begin with, he was over six feet high, and had a voice that would carry from the Commons to the House of Lords. He had to be "all over the place"—under the House, over the House, and all round the House. He was as well-known in the smoking-room of the Garrick Club as he was in the smoking-room of the Commons, and it was when I joined the Garrick I made his acquaintance. He was also an art connoisseur, and had a very fine collection of water-colours. The first time I saw the Doctor was years before on a steamer on the Rance, between Normandy and Brittany. I made a sketch of his extraordinary features, so that when he entered the Garrick Club I recognised the original of my caricature. We frequently walked down to the Houses of Parliament together after dinner, and more than once he invited me behind the scenes and under the stage of Parliament, through the "fog filter" and ventilating shafts, when he was wont to indulge in a grim, saturnine humour appropriate to his subterranean subject. As he opened the iron doors for us to pass from one passage to another, close to and above which the benches are situated,—for the whole House is honeycombed for ventilating purposes,—he pretended that long experience enabled him to discriminate between the odours from different parts of the House, and declared that he could tap and draw off a specimen of the atmosphere on the Government benches, the Opposition side, or the Radical seats, at will.

"There, my boy! eh? Pretty thick, aint it? That's the Scotch lot. Now hold your nose. I open this door and we get the Irish draught. Ugh! Come on, come on quickly—mixture of Irish, working-men M.P.'s, and Rads. Kill a horse!"

The table of the House, which Mr. Disraeli erroneously described as "a solid piece of furniture," is in reality—like so many arguments which are flung across it—perfectly hollow; [Pg 250] and one evening when I arrived with Dr. Percy and found that in consequence of the winding-up speech of Mr. Gladstone in a great debate the Press Gallery was full and all the seats under the gallery were occupied, Dr. Percy kindly allowed me to sit inside the table. I was sorely tempted to try the effect of inserting my pencil through the grating which forms the side of the table, and tickle the shins of the right hon. gentleman. Anyway, I looked straight into the faces of the Ministers and those on the front bench, and not only heard every word, but the asides and whispers as well.

From "Punch."

I only once caricatured Dr. Percy in Punch (December, 1886), after there had been a sort of earthquake in the Inner Lobby of the House, and the tesselated pavement was thrown up. I made [Pg 251] a drawing, "The House up at last." Dr. Percy "is personally directing the improvements." It is interesting to know that some of the pavement taken up on that occasion is laid in the hall of an hon. Member's house in the country, not far from West Kirby, Cheshire.

From "Punch."


One frequently hears the remark, "Caricature is so ugly." Well, certainly pure caricature is the villain of art, and the popular draughtsman, like the popular actor, should, to remain popular in his work, always play the virtuous hero. If the leading actor must play the villain, he takes care to make up inoffensive and tame. So the villain caricaturist need not be [Pg 252] "ugly"—but then he cannot be strong. Nor is it left to an actor—unless he be the star or actor-manager—to remain popular by being tame and pretty in every part. So is the caricaturist, if he is not the star, liable to be cast to play the villain whether he likes it or not, and if he is a genuine worker he will not shrink from the part, merely to remain popular and curry favour with those deserving to be satirised.

From "Punch."

Now in Punch, as I was cast for it, I played the villain's part. In doing so I was at times necessarily "ugly," and therefore to some unpopular. I confess I felt it my duty not [Pg 253] to shrink from being "ugly," although whenever I could I introduced some redeeming element into my designs—the figure of a girl, allegorical of Parliament or whatever the "ugly" subject might happen to be—but in some of my Punch drawings this relief was impossible. For instance, the series of "Puzzle Heads," in each of which a portrait of the celebrity is built up of personal attributes, characteristics, or incidents in the career of the person represented, could not but be unpleasant pictures. Some subscribers threatened to give up the paper if they were continued; others became subscribers for these Puzzle Heads alone. It is ever so. The old saying, "One man's meat is another's poison," is as applicable to caricature as to anything else. It is impossible to please all tastes when catering for the large public, unless an editor is satisfied to be stereotyped and perfunctory; but Mr. Punch has made his name by his strength, not his weakness, and it may be safely inferred that no Tory thinks less of him for having used all his talent in attacking Benjamin Disraeli year after year as no man has been attacked before—or since—in his pages.

In looking through the volumes of Punch one is apt to forget that the strong situations and stirring events by which a caricaturist's hit is made effective at the time of publication fade from one's memory. The cartoon in all its strength remains a record of an event which has lost its interest. One cannot always realise that the drawing was only strong because the feeling and interest at the time of its conception demanded it. Allowance should therefore be made for the villain's ugly caricature, if it is a good drawing, prophetically correct, and therefore historically interesting.

Perhaps no cartoon of mine in Punch caused such hostile criticism as "The New Cabinet" (August 27, 1892). It gave great offence to the Gladstonians. The Radical Press attacked me ferociously, and as I think most unfairly, for they treated it politically and not pictorially, and severely reprimanded Mr. Punch for publishing it. Had it been a Conservative Cabinet the Tory Press would not have resented it or allowed narrow-minded party politics to prejudice their mind in such trivial [Pg 254] matters. Punch is supposed to be non-political. Its present editor is impartial. Mr. Punch's traditions are Whig, and somehow or other a certain class of its readers at that particular crisis was strongly opposed to the two sides of a question being treated. Yet I venture to say two-thirds of the readers of Punch are Conservatives, and should therefore be amused. It is impossible to treat a strong political subject—such as the meeting of that particular Cabinet caricatured by me—without offending some readers by amusing others, unless, as I say, the subject is treated in a colourless manner. This particular cartoon hurt because it hit a strong situation in a truthful and straight-forward manner, and subsequent events proved it to be a correct conception. Yet at the time no name was too bad for me, and as these are my confessions, let me assure the public that had the Cabinet been a Conservative one I would have treated it in exactly the same way; and it is my firm conviction that had such been the case I would have given no offence either inside or outside of Mr. Punch's office.

My readers will sympathise with me. I am to draw political cartoons without being political; I am to draw caricatures without being personal; I am to be funny without holding my subject up to ridicule; I am to be effective without being strong—in fact, I am to be a caricaturist without caricature! On the other hand, no cartoon I ever drew for Punch was more popular. Non-politicians were good enough to accept it as an antidote to the usual caricatures, and those papers on the other side of politics were extravagantly complimentary, and I received a large sum for the original for a private collection. I allow the following leaderette from the Birmingham Post to illustrate the point, and at the same time to describe the cartoon. The same paper, I may add, comments on the principal cartoon in Punch that week—drawn by Tenniel—as showing that Punch "thinks little of the prospects of the present Government":

"'Mr. Punch' is in 'excellent fooling' this week. Rarely has he, even he, more happily burlesqued a political situation than in Mr. Harry Furniss's cartoon of 'The New Cabinet.' Not a word of explanation accompanies the picture: it is good wine, needing no bush, and making very merry.

[Pg 255]


A glance suffices to seize its meaning, for it expresses a thought that has flitted, at one time or another, through everyone's mind. The big moment has come when Mr. Gladstone is to reveal to his colleagues the secret he has hitherto withheld from them, not less than from the electorate—to submit to them, masterly, succinct, complete, the scheme which, with unexampled courage and sublimest modesty, they have defended on trust, for which they have sacrificed their personal independence without knowing why, and as to which, painful to remember, they have sometimes blundered into confident and contradictory conjecture. We can picture the subtle excitement—in one Minister of joyful expectation, in another of horrid misgiving—under which they have come together. Well, Mr. Gladstone unfolds the fateful document, and lo! it is a blank sheet. Paralysis and grim despair fall upon the spirits of the assembly; face to face with a nightmare reality, not a man amongst them has strength to say, 'This is a dream.' At the head of the table, his elbows resting on the parchment, and an undipped quill actually split upon it in his angry grasp, sits the Premier, a never-to-be-forgotten picture of impotent ill-humour. The task with which the Cabinet is confronted, for him as for the rest, is impossible and yet inexorable. In the candle-flame, by an effect of hallucination natural at [Pg 256] such a moment, the face of Mr. O'Brien seems to limn itself out, implacable and contemptuous; and there is a fearsome shadow on the blind—the massive head of Lord Salisbury. The candle, marked '40,' is the majority, which dwindles while the Ministers are sadly musing; and over the mantelpiece, behind the Premier's chair, mutely reproachful, hangs a picture of the great Cabinet of 1880. It is distinctly the best thing Mr. Furniss has done."

That impression was shared by my private friends as well, even those on Punch. My dear friend Mr. E. J. Milliken, a strong Radical, and a most active member of the staff, in a reply to a letter of mine, in which I intimated that I was afraid my cartoon would give offence, replied in a most flattering spirit.

I had to play the "villain" in another scene in the same political drama, "Mr. Punch's Historical Cartoons" (1893), in which the same Cabinet is shown in Mr. Gladstone's room in the "Bauble Shop"—the House of Commons. Those Radicals who had not joined the Unionists again took offence. Those Radicals who had become Unionist wrote to congratulate me. From one well-known and powerful personality, a historical name in the publishing world, I received the following:

"February 23rd, 1893.

"Your cartoon p. 95 delights us all. I have looked at it twenty times and seen fresh points in it. Nothing for years, I should say, has so entirely caught the very spirit of a great crisis.

"We shall owe something to you for this felicitous exposure of Gladstone's insane Bill. Alas! the miners and the brickies, the costermongers and the dust-cart drivers, have now the power. The middle class has been out-numbered, and if it were not that some labouring men and artisans have hard heads enough to comprehend the position we should be landed in a pretty pickle next September.

"It is a pity traitors' heads are nowadays their own copyright."

A "copyright" in heads is a good suggestion, and coming from a publisher too! But apart from "traitors," there are others known to a caricaturist. The House of Commons at one time was rich in them. Some such works of art suffer in being [Pg 257] translated. Indeed, what the poet "Ballyhooley" wrote of one might apply to others:

"Darwin MacNeill.

"Darwin MacNeill, all the papers are hot on you,
Darwin MacNeill, they are writing a lot on you.
What in the world sort of face have you got on you?
Send us your photograph, Darwin MacNeill.
Surely you must be both lovely and pure!
Have you got fatures that nothing can cure?
Let's have the first of it,
Let's know the worst of it:
Is your face only a caricature?
Here's a health to you, Darwin MacNeill,
Let penny canes all your enemies feel;
Show me the crature would slander a fature
Of the beautiful Mimber for ould Donegal.

"Our childhers are dull, and we wish to be brightening them
Send us your picture and we'll be enlightening them,
Maybe 'twill only be useful for frightening them;
Still let us have it, dear Darwin MacNeill.
Shut up the slander and talk they are at,
Show us the head you've got under your hat;
True every particle, genuine article,
Send us your picture in answer to that.
Here's a health to you, etc.

"I hear that the Queen she has simply gone crazy, man;
Says she to Gladstone, 'Get out, you old lazy man!
Cannot you see that I'll never be aisy, man,
Till I've a portrait of Darwin MacNeill?'
When of that picture she first got a sight,
She held it up, so they say, to the light,
Looked at the head of it, then all she said of it,
'I'm of opinion that Darwin is right.'
Here's a health to you, etc.

"There's just arrived now, to give great content to us,
A lovely picture, which someone has sent to us.
We know the worst now, for there has been sent to us
What's called a portrait of Darwin MacNeill.
If it's a likeness, I just tell you what,
That you have acted in ways you should not.
Don't try a turn of fists
On with the journalists;
Thrash those who gave you the head you have got.
[Pg 258] But here's a health to you, Darwin MacNeill!
Only just manage new fatures to steal,
Then show me the crature would slander a fature
Of the beautiful Mimber for ould Donegal."


This "Pen Portrait," by Mr. Robert Martin, refers to a matter of much regret to me. I have to confess my sorrow that I was the means of making a Member of Parliament ridiculous! The innocent item came in the ordinary course of my work for Punch. I was sent an incident to illustrate for the Diary of Toby, M.P., which, when published, was used as an excuse to "technically assault" me in the Inner Lobby of the House of Commons.

Perhaps in the circumstances I may be pardoned if I confess a secret connected with these Parliamentary caricatures. For some years I provided a page drawing and some small cuts in every number during Parliament—the latter were generally sketches of Members of Parliament. These single portraits were supplied in advance, and engraved proofs sent in a book to Mr. Lucy to select from week by week. The following letter is worth quoting in full as a characteristic letter from the Editor, typical of his light and pleasant way of transacting business with his staff:

"Dear H. F.,—"Please keyindly see that H. L. (not 'Labby,' but 'Lucy') has all your parliamentarians whom you (as your predecessor Henry VIII. did) have executed on the block sent to him, as he found himself unprovided up to the last moment and so wrote to me in his haste.

"(?) Fancy portrait. Our artist, H. F., as Henry VIII. taking off his victims' heads on the block, eh?

"Yours, "F. C. B."

[Pg 259]

To this rule, however, there were exceptions. This particular caricature was one of them: it was drawn at the last moment to illustrate a particular passage in Mr. Lucy's Diary of Toby, M.P. Here it is:


"'Look here, Bartley,' said Tommy Bowles; 'if you're going on that tack, you must come and sit on this side. When I saw MacNeill open his mouth to speak, I confess I thought I was going to be swallowed whole. You sit here; there's more of you.'"

Now had I shown "Pongo," as he was familiarly called in the House, in the act of swallowing "Tommy Bowles," I might have produced a most objectionable caricature. I made, however, a smiling portrait of the genial Member. I was away at the time recovering from a long illness: the sketch was made in the country, and sent up to the Punch engraver's office. By some mistake there, it was not reduced in size in reproduction as others had been; therefore in the paper it was apparently given extra importance—I had nothing to do with that. That Mr. Lucy's reference to Mr. MacNeill is not a caricature can be judged by anyone reading the passage I had to illustrate, given above. The notion that the drawing was purposely produced on a larger scale than usual, so as to give this special caricature prominence, is disproved by the fact that the caricature of the gallant and genial [Pg 260] Admiral Field I drew exactly under the same conditions appears on the same page also far too large. Therefore it is a mistaken idea that this particular portrait was intentionally offensive, or different from others.

It was really the combination of circumstances, if anything, that called special attention to that particular page in Punch, and gave rise to


I shall, in describing the curtain rising on this historical incident, borrow Mr. Lucy's own account of the way in which the Member approached me after he had seen my illustration to Mr. Lucy's clever Diary of the Week:

"It was shortly after seven o'clock that Mr. Harry Furniss strolled into the Lobby. He had been suffering from a long and severe sickness, dedicating this the first evening of his convalescence to a visit to the scene of labours which have delighted mankind. Over the place there brooded an air of ineffable peace. The bustle of the earlier hour of meeting was stilled. The drone of talk went on in the half-empty House within the glass doors. Now and then a Member hastily crossed the floor of the Lobby, intent on preparations for dinner. One of these chanced to be Mr. Swift MacNeill, a Member who, beneath occasional turbulence of manner, scarcely conceals the gentlest, kindliest disposition, a gentleman by birth and training, a scholar and a patriot. The House, whilst it sometimes laughs at his exuberance of manner, always shows that it likes him. Mr. Furniss, seeing him approach with hurried step, may naturally have expected that he was making haste to offer those congratulations on renewed health and reappearance on the scene of labour that had already been proffered from other quarters. What followed has been told by Mr. Furniss in language the simplicity and graphicness of which Defoe could not have excelled."

Mr. Lucy refers to the following account I wrote at the time:

"On my return to continue my work in Parliament for [Pg 261] Mr. Punch after my severe illness, I found the jaded legislators yearning for fresh air, and even the approaching final division on the Home Rule Bill had failed to arouse more than a languid interest. I felt this depression when I entered the Lobby, its sole occupants being the tired-out doorkeepers and the leg-weary policemen. I really believe a swarm of wasps would not have roused them to activity, for I noticed a bluebottle resting undisturbed upon the nose of one of Inspector Horsley's staff. Even the Terrace was dusty, and the Members rusty and morose. One of the Irish Members had selected as his friend Frank Slavin, the well-known prize-fighter, who had an admiring group round him, to whom no doubt he was relating the history of his many plucky battles.


"The stimulating effect of this may have been the cause for the assault upon me in the Inner Lobby, which has afforded the stale House some little excitement, which has been the salvation of the silly season. So many papers have given startling accounts of this attack upon me, some stating that I was caned, others that I was pummelled, shaken like a dog, and so on, that I am glad to take the opportunity of giving a clear statement of what really occurred. I was standing close to the doors of the Inner Lobby, talking to Mr. Cuthbert Quilter, when Mr. Swift MacNeill interrupted us by asking me, 'Are you the man that draws the cartoons in Punch?' 'That depends upon what they are,' said I. 'I refer to one,' said the excited Member, 'that has annoyed me very much,' 'Let me see it,' I replied. Mr. MacNeill then drew out his pocket-book and showed me a cutting from the current number of Punch. 'Yes,' I said, 'that is from a drawing of mine,' 'Then ye're a low, black-guardly scoundrel,' melodramatically exclaimed the usually genial Member. Taking two or three steps back, he hissed at me, with a livid face, a series of offensive epithets too coarse for [Pg 262] publication. Having exhausted his vocabulary of vulgarity, a happy thought seemed to strike him. 'I want to assault you,' he said, and forthwith he nervously and gingerly tapped me as if he were playing with a hot coal. He then danced off to Members who were looking on, crying, 'This is the scoundrel who has caricatured me; witness, I assault him!' and he recommenced the tapping process which constituted this technical assault. DR. TANNER. DR. TANNER. Knowing that Mr. MacNeill is a very excitable subject, and at once detecting that this assault was a 'put-up job,' I was determined to remain perfectly cool; and, truth to tell, the pirouetting of the agitated Member hugely amused me, particularly as the more excited he became, the more he resembled the caricature which was the cause, or supposed to be the cause, of this attack, I treated the hon. Member exactly as the policeman treated the bluebottle—with perfect indifference, not even troubling to brush away the trifling annoyance. But when in the midst of its buzzing round me I moved in the direction of one of the officials, it flew away. Then appeared what I had been anticipating, and the real cause of the insult transpired. Dr. Tanner came up to me just as I recollect Slavin approaching Jackson in their historic fight. He showered the grossest insults upon me, and I was surrounded at once by his clique, who were anxious for the scene which must have occurred had I, like Jackson, been the first to let out with my left. But here again was I face to face with a chronically excited Member, backed up by his friends, and I refused to be drawn into a brawl. But the secret of the real cause of this organised attack upon me was revealed to me by Dr. Tanner, who at once informed me that it was the outcome of my imitations of the Irish Members in my entertainment, 'The Humours of Parliament,' which I have given for two seasons all over the country. This was my [Pg 263] offence; my caricature of Mr. Swift MacNeill the excuse for the attack."


Mr. MacNeill's "technical assault" was a very childish incident. He merely touched the sleeve of my coat with the tip of his finger, and asked me if I would accept that as a "technical assault." This mysterious pantomime was subsequently explained to me, and meant that I was to take out a summons—but I only laughed. At the moment Mr. MacNeill was pirouetting round me at a distance, Mr. John Burns came on to the scene, and chaffed Mr. MacNeill, drawing an imaginary picture (for Mr. Burns was not in the Lobby) of a real assault upon me. A gentleman connected with an evening paper, who happened to enter with Mr. Burns, failed to see Mr. Burns's humour, and thereupon took down in shorthand Mr. Burns's imaginary picture as a matter of fact. It was published as a fact, and, for all I know or care, some may still believe that I was assaulted!

When I read that I had been treated like a cur, I was rather amused; but when I read a statement in the papers from a man like John Burns saying that he saw me "taken by the lapels of the coat and shaken like a dog, and then taken by the ear and shaken by that," I thought the joke had been carried far enough. Determined to have this cock-and-bull story contradicted at once, I went down to the House and saw Mr. John Burns, who expressed to me his regret that he should have invented the story, and he left me to go to the writing-room, and promised I should have from him a written contradiction.

After waiting a considerable time, a message was brought to [Pg 264] me that Mr. Burns declined to keep his promise. I therefore wrote these particulars and sent them off to the Press. At the same time Mr. Burns, who had been closeted with some Radical journalists, wrote an offensive note—which was shown me, and which I advised him to publish.

Poor Mr. MacNeill! Well may he say, "Save me from my friends!" The Press put on their comic men to make copy at his expense. If I were to publish it all, it would make a volume as large as this. By permission I publish the following lay from the St. James' Budget (September, 1893):


(Picked up in the Lobby.)

"Have ye heard, have ye heard, of the late immortal fray,
When the lion back of Swift MacNeill got up and stood at bay,
When the lion voice of Tanner cried, 'To Judas wid yer chaff!'
An' the Saxon knees were shaking, though they made believe to laugh.

"'Twas widin the Commons' Lobby, in the corner by the dure,
There was Misther Harry Furniss a-standing on the flure,
When up to him came stalking, like O'Tarquin in his pride,
The bowldest of the bowld, MacNeill, wid the Docther by his side.

"Then the valiant Swift MacNeill from his pocket he took out
A picther very like him, an' he brandished it about,
An' he held it up to Furniss for his Saxon eyes to see,
An' he asked of him, 'Ye spalpeen, is this porthrait meant for me?'

"''Tis your likeness, as I see it,' was the answer that he got,
An' the wrath of Misther Swift MacNeill then wax'd exceeding hot,
An' he cast the picther from him, an' he trod it on the ground,
An' he took an' danced an Irish jig the artist's form around.

"'Ye spalpeen,' thus again he spoke, 'ye most obnoxious fellow!
Ye see that I'm a lion, yet ye've made me a gorilla;
If your Saxon eyes are blinded to the truth of what I say,
Go and borrow for a moment the glasses of Tay Pay.

"'They will show ye that our seventy are Apollos one and all,
That we're most divinely lovely an' seraphically tall;
They will show ye we're all angels—though for divils I'll allow,
'Tis the black ones ye'll be seeing where the lost to Redmond bow.'

"Then Misther Swift MacNeill, just to lave his meaning clear,
Wid flowers of Irish eloquence filled Mr. Furniss' ear;
An' he also shook wid passion, an', moreover, shook his fist,
An' the Docther an' his blackthorn stood all ready to assist.

[Pg 265]

"Misther Furniss smiled serenely, an' the only word he spoke
Was to say it seemed that Misther Swift was slow to see a joke,
But for all his jokes an' blarney, things were looking like a fight,
When a minion of the Spayker was seen to be in sight.

"Then Apollo Swift MacNeill from his dignity got down,
An' he withered Misther Furniss wid a godlike parting frown,
An' he stalked along the Lobby wid his grand O'Tarquin stride,
An' the other Mimbers followed him, an' went the House inside.

"An' there they still are threading on the necks of Saxon slaves,
An' nightly wid their eloquence they're digging Saxon graves;
An' my counsel to the artist who their fatures would porthray,
Is to thry and see their beauty through the glasses of Tay Pay."


This manufactured "scene," coming as it did in the silly season, was made to serve instead of the Sea-Serpent, the Toad-in-the-Rock, the Shower of Frogs, and other familiar inventions for holiday reading. Unfortunately the poor Members of Parliament obliged to remain in St. Stephen's had to suffer far more than I did through the eccentricity of Mr. Swift MacNeill. Several of them complained to me that he lured them into the corridors and corners of the House, and then vigorously set to work to demonstrate practically how he assaulted me, or how he imagined he assaulted me, to the discomfiture and consternation of the poor M.P's.

I should like to explain why this "technical assault" on me was not made a matter of discussion. I did intend a friendly Member should have brought it before the Speaker, and in that way published the truth of the matter and exposed the stupid inventions of Burns & Co. With that object I had an interview with the Speaker, and he implored me not under any circumstances [Pg 266] to have it brought before the House. He was already tired, at the end of a trying session, and did not want any personal questions discussed, which invariably led to protracted scenes. For that reason, and for that reason only, it was not mentioned in Parliament, notwithstanding it was really a much more serious affair than was imagined. It was a deliberately organised conspiracy. When I was leaving the Lobby, after my amusing interview with Mr. MacNeill, in which he told me that I was "technically assaulted," Chief Inspector Horsley took me down a private passage, and informed me that he had been looking for me, as he had discovered there was a conspiracy to attack me, and at that moment nine or ten Members from Ireland were in the passage downstairs, out of which I would have in the ordinary course gone through, lying in wait for me. So I left with him by another door.


In this I was not more to blame than other caricaturists, but I was more in evidence, and was selected to be "technically assaulted," so as to force me to bring an action, in which all papers, except those supporting the Irish Party, would have been attacked and discussed, and their influence if possible injured for purely political purposes. An aggrieved person, smarting [Pg 267] under a gross injustice, does not "technically assault" the aggressor. Had Mr. MacNeill tried it on with me, weak and ill as I was, I think I had enough power to oblige him; as it happened, I only saw the humour of the thing.


One of the most amusing sketches I received was this from Sir Frank Lockwood. Lockwood and I frequently exchanged caricatures, as shown by the clever sketches I introduce here and there in these pages. Sometimes he sent me some chaffing note written in a disguised hand, and disguised drawing; but the latter experiment, although it failed to deceive, certainly entertained me greatly. Here is a letter supposed to be from Lord Cross, a favourite subject of mine when he was in the Lower House. Seldom a week passed but I made his nose shorter and his upper lip longer, made his head stick out, and his spectacles glisten. Did he object? No, no! "Grand Cross" is a man of the world; nor was he ever a mere notoriety-seeking political adventurer. I once met him at dinner, and we chatted over my caricatures of him, and I recollect his saying, "A man [Pg 268] is not worth anything if he is thin-skinned, and certainly not worth much if he cannot enjoy a joke at his own expense."

Sir Frank Lockwood whiled away the weary hours in Parliament to his own amusement and those around him, but he was not aware perhaps that what he did was seen from the Ladies' Gallery. The ladies got a birdseye view of his caricatures in progress. One in particular was the cause of much amusement, not only to the ladies, but to the Members. My lady informant related the incident to me thus: "I always watch Mr. Lockwood sketching, and I saw he had his eye on the burly figure of a friend of mine sitting on the Ministerial bench. Mr. Gladstone turned round to say something to him, and his quick eye detected Mr. Lockwood sketching. The artistic Q.C. handed the sketch (which I saw was a caricature of the late Lord Advocate) to Mr. Gladstone, who fairly doubled up with laughter, and handed it to those on either side of him. Eventually it was sent over to Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Balfour, and they thoroughly enjoyed the caricature of themselves, as did all their Tory friends. But we had seen it first!" It may have been this sketch subsequently sent to me and redrawn in Punch.

I recall an incident which happened one evening when I was on watch in the Inner Lobby to find and sketch a newly-elected M.P., who, I heard, was about to make his maiden speech, and it was most important I should catch him. Just as I was going up to the Press Gallery, Sir Frank Lockwood came into the Lobby and offered to get me a seat under the Gallery where I could see the new M.P. to advantage. The new M.P. was "up," so Lockwood went into the House to fetch me the Sergeant's order. I waited impatiently for his return; a long time passed; still I waited. A smiling Member came out of the House, and I asked him if he had seen Lockwood. "Oh, rather," he replied, smiling still; "I've just been sitting by him, watching him make a capital caricature of a chap making his maiden speech." When the Member had finished his speech, Lockwood ran out, and cheeringly apologised to me for his absent-mindedness. "So tempting, you know, old chap, I couldn't resist sketching him!"

Sir Frank Lockwood was perhaps the most favourable modern [Pg 269] specimen of the buoyant amateur. Possessing a big heart, kindly feeling, a brilliant wit, and a facile pen, he treated art as his playfellow and never as his master. And in the spirit in which his work was executed so must it be judged. The work of an amateur artist possessing a distinct vein of humour is, in my opinion, far more entertaining than that of the professional caricaturist, the former being absolutely spontaneous and untrammelled by the conscientiousness of subsequent publication, of correct draughtsmanship, made only from impressions of the moment, and not the effort (as in the case of many a professional humorist) of having to be funny to order.


An excellent example of the amateur at his best is to be found in the drawings of Sir Frank Lockwood. No one would resent less than Lockwood himself having the term "amateur" applied to his work; indeed, he would, I am sure, have felt proud to be classed in the same category as several of our most popular humorous artists.

Circumstances connected with a curious coincidence concerning a caricature (what alliteration!) are worth confirming.

One morning I was taking my usual horse exercise round the ride in the inner circle of Regent's Park, before that spot, once the quiet haunt of the horseman, became the noisy ring of the cyclist. At that time a few cycling beginners used the circle for practice, and their alarming performances were gradually depleting the number of equestrians. One of these novices came down the hill, having an arm round the neck of his instructor, and one leg on the pedal, the other in mid air. He was unable to steer the machine, and as I cantered up, the performer's hat, which had been over one eye, fell off, disclosing the features of Professor Bryce. The next moment the machine, its rider and his instructor, were "all of a heap" on the ride up which my horse was cantering. I had just time to jump my horse on to the path [Pg 270] and thus save my own neck, and the life of the energetic Member of Parliament, who I noticed later in the day, when sitting in the Press Gallery, was on the front Opposition bench, next to Sir Frank Lockwood, quite unconcerned. I made a rough sketch of the incident of the morning, and sent it down to my brother Two Pins, Sir Frank, with a request that his friend Bryce should in future select some other spot to practise bicycling. This was handed to Lockwood just as he was leaving the House, strange to say, on his way home to dress for a dinner at Professor Bryce's. Lockwood mischievously placed the sketch in the pocket of his dress coat, and at the dinner led up to the subject of cycling, suggesting at the same time that his host ought to try it.


"Well, strange to say, Lockwood, I've been seriously thinking of it, but I don't know how one should begin."

"Don't you?" cried Lockwood from the other end of the table. "What do you say to this, nearly killing my friend Harry Furniss!" And my caricature was produced and handed down from guest to guest, to the chagrin of the host. That was Lockwood's version of the coincidence.

Suggestions for Punch came to me from most unexpected quarters, but were rarely of any use. Lewis Carroll—like every one else—got excited over the Gladstonian crisis, and Sir William Harcourt's head to Lewis Carroll was much the same as Charles the First's to Mr. Dick in "David Copperfield," for I find in several letters references to Sir William.

"Re Gladstone's head and its recent growth, couldn't you make a picture of it for the 'Essence of Parliament'? I would call it 'Toby's Dream of A.D. 1900,' and have Gladstone addressing the House, with his enormous head supported by Harcourt on one side, and Parnell on the other."

[Pg 271]

This suggestion is the only one I adopted. Strange to say, neither Gladstone, Parnell, nor Lewis Carroll lived to see 1900.

"Is that anecdote in the papers true, that some one has sent you a pebble with an accidental (and not a 'doctored') likeness of Harcourt? If so, let me suggest that your most graceful course of action will be to have it photographed, and to present prints of it to any authors whose books you may at any time chance to illustrate!"

This is the "anecdote":

"Someone found on the seashore the other day a pebble moulded exactly on the lines of Mr. Furniss' portrait of Sir William Harcourt."


Other notices were in verse. This from Vanity Fair is the best:

"For Fame, 'tis said, Sir William craves,
And to some purpose he has sought her;
His face is fashioned by the waves:
When will his name be 'writ in water'?"

I lay under a charge of plagiarism. Nature had "invented" my Harcourt portrait, and had been at work upon it probably before I was born; the wild waves had by degrees moulded a shell into the familiar features, and when completed had left the sea-sculptured sketch high and dry on the coast. I now publish, with thanks, a photo-reproduction of the shell (not a pebble) as I received it: it is not in any way "doctored." It is a large, weather-beaten shell.

There is no doubt but that at one time Lewis Carroll studied Punch, for in one of his earliest letters to me he writes:

"To the best of my recollection, one of the first things that suggested to me the wish to secure your help was a marvellously successful picture in Punch of a House of Lords entirely composed of Harcourts, where the figures took all possible attitudes, and gave all possible views of the face; yet each was a quite unmistakable Sir William Harcourt!"

[Pg 272]

Again he refers to Punch (March, 1890):

"A wish has been expressed in our Common Room (Christ's Church, Oxford), where we take in and bind Punch, that we could have 'keys' to the portraits in the Bishop of Lincoln's Trial and the 'ciphers' in Parliament" (a Parliamentary design of mine, "The House all Sixes and Sevens"). "Will you confer that favour on our Club? If you would give me them done roughly, I will procure copies of those two numbers, and subscribe the names in small MS. print, and have the pages bound in to face the pictures. The simplest way would be for you to put numbers on the faces, and send a list of names numbered to correspond."

Yet a few years brought a change (October, 1894):

"No doubt it is by your direction that three numbers of your new periodical have come to me. With many thanks for your kind thought, I will beg you not to waste your bounties on so unfit a recipient, for I have neither time nor taste for any such literature. I have much more work yet to do than I am likely to have life to do it in—and my taste for comic papers is defunct. We take in Punch in our Common Room, but I never look at it!"

Hardly a generous remark to make to a Punch man who had illustrated two of his books, and considering that Sir John Tenniel had done so much to make the author's reputation, and Punch had always been so friendly; but this is a bygone.


ell, Sir John, the Grand Old Man of Punch, the evergreen, the ever-delightful Sir John, has earned a night's repose after all his long day of glorious work and good-fellowship. "A great artist and a great gentleman": truer words were never spoken. It seems but yesterday he and I took our rides together; but yesterday he and I and poor Milliken—three Punch men in a boat—were "squaring up" at Cookham after a week's delightful boating holiday on the Thames.

[Pg 273]

"There sat three oarsmen under a tree,
Down, a-down, a-down—hey down!
They were as puzzled as puzzled could be,
With a down;
And one of them said to his mate,
'We've got these mems in a doose of a state,'
With a down derry, derry down!

"Oh, they were wild, these oarsmen three,
Down, a-down, a-down—hey down!
Especially one with the white puggree,
With a down;
For it's precious hard to divide by three
A sum on whose total you can't agree,
With a down derry, derry down!

"They bit their pencils and tore their hair,
Down, a-down, a-down—hey down!
But those blessed bills, they wouldn't come square,
With a down;
'Midst muddle and smudge it is hard to fix
If a six is a nine or a nine is a six,
With a down derry, derry down!

[Pg 274]

"A crumpled account from a pocket of flannel
Down, a-down, a-down—hey down!
With dirt in dabs, and the rain in a channel,
With a down,
Is worse to decipher than uniform text,
Oh, that is the verdict of oarsmen vext,
With a down derry, derry down!

"A man in a boat his ease will take,
Down, a-down, a-down—hey down!
But financial conscience at last will wake,
With a down;
Then Nemesis proddeth the prodigal soul
When he finds that the parts are much more than the whole,
With a down derry, derry down!

"Those oarsmen are having a deuce of a time,
Down, a-down, a-down—hey down!
The man in the puggree is ripe for crime,
With a down.
Now heaven send every boating man
For keeping accounts a more excellent plan,
With a down derry, derry down!"

So pencilled poet Milliken. "The man in the puggree" is Sir John,—ripe for many years to come, and when he has another banquet, may I be there to see.

The Two Pins Club was a Punch institution.

Original notice of


"There are Coaching Clubs, Four-in-hand Clubs, Tandem Clubs, and Sporting Clubs of all sorts, but there is no Equestrian Club.

"The object of the present proposed Club is to supply this want.

"The Members will meet on Sundays, and ride to some place within easy reach of town: there lunch, spend a few hours, and return.

"Due notice will be given of each 'Meet,' and replies must be sent in to the Secretary by Wednesday afternoon at latest. When it is considered necessary, Luncheon will be ordered beforehand for the party, and those who have neglected to reply by the time fixed, and who do not attend the Meet, will be charged with their share of the Luncheon.

"There will be other Meets besides those on Sundays, which will be arranged by the Members from time to time.

[Pg 275]

"The title of the Club is taken from the names of the two most celebrated English Equestrians known to 'the road,' viz.:—




"The Members of 'THE TWO PINS' will represent all the dash of the one and all the respectability of the other.

"The original Members at present are:—


"It is not proposed at first to exceed the number of twelve. The other names down for invitation to become members are—


"We hope you will join. The eight Members can then settle a convenient day for the first Meet, and inaugurate the TWO PINS CLUB.

[3] "N.B. No hounds."


The Two Pins Club was started in 1890, and flourished until its President, Lord Russell, was elevated to the Bench. My only claim for distinction in connection with it rests on the fact that I was the only member who, except when I was in mid-Atlantic on my return from the States, never missed a meet. Were the Club now a going concern, I would, of course, refrain from mentioning it, but as it is referred to in the "History of [Pg 276] Punch" by Mr. Spielmann, and in "John Hare, Comedian," by Mr. Pemberton, I may be pardoned and also forgiven for repeating the one joke ever made public in connection with this remarkable Club.

One afternoon our cavalcade was approaching Weybridge, which had been the scene of the boyish pranks of one of our members. To the amusement of us all, this brother Two Pins, as reminiscences of the district were recalled to him by one object and another, grew terribly excited.

"Ah, my boys, there is the dear old oak tree under which I smoked my first cigarette! And there, where the new church stands, I shot my first snipe. Dear me, how all is altered! I wonder if old Sir Henry Tomkins still lives in the Lodge there, and what has become of the Rector's pretty daughter?" etc.

Sir Frank Lockwood, observing lettering on the side of a house, "General Stores," casually asked our excited reminiscent friend if he "knew a General Stores about these parts?"

"General Stores! Of course I do, but he was only a Captain when I lived here!"

When the members lunched at The Durdans our host and honorary member, Lord Rosebery, remarked that it was a Club of "one joke and one horse!" the fact being that we all drove over from Tadworth, Lord Russell's residence, where we were staying, with the exception of Lord Russell himself, who rode. We had, of course, each a horse: some of the members a great deal more than one, but we were careful to trot out one joke between us: "General Stores" became our general and only story.

The first public announcement respecting the Club appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the 4th of May, 1891:

"The T.P.C. held its first annual meeting at the 'Star and Garter Hotel' yesterday morning. There was a full attendance of members. Under the careful and conciliatory guidance of the President, Sir Charles Russell, supported mainly by Mr. F. C. Burnand, Mr. Frank Lockwood, Mr. Harry Furniss, Mr. Edward Lawson, Mr. Charles Mathews, Mr. John Hare, Mr. Linley Sambourne, and Mr. R. Lehmann (hon. sec.), [Pg 277] the customary business was satisfactorily transacted, and the principal subjects for discussion were dealt with in a spirit of intelligent self-control. Mr. Arthur Russell was unanimously elected a member of the association, which in point of numbers is now complete."

This sketch is à propos of Mr. Linley Sambourne's portrait in "Vanity Fair." Note refers to his being made Solicitor-General.


But the object of the Club being carefully concealed, much mystery surrounds its name. Few were aware that it was merely a band of "Sontag-Reiters." Our hon. sec., being at the time prominent in politics, received congratulations from those who imagined the T.P.C. was a political association, and much wonderment was excited by the decidedly enigmatical appellation [Pg 278] of the small and select society. Sir Edward Lawson showed marked ingenuity in retaining the mystery by his paragraphs in his paper. The first meet of our second season was the only one I missed during the years the Club existed:

"The first meeting of the T.P.C. for the season of 1892 took place yesterday at the 'Star and Garter Hotel,' under the presidency of Sir Charles Russell, who was assisted in the performance of his duties by Mr. Frank Lockwood, Mr. Linley Sambourne, Mr. Edward Lawson, and Mr C. W. Mathews. The arrangements for the season were completed, and a digest was made of the subjects which claimed the immediate consideration of the members. The President called attention to a delay which had occurred in the fulfilment of certain artistic duties which had been entrusted to Mr. Harry Furniss and Mr. Linley Sambourne, and which had been retarded in their accomplishment by Mr. Furniss' voyage to America. But it was understood that immediate attention would now be bestowed upon the work in hand; and the remainder of the business was of a routine character."


The "artistic duties" referred to, I have no recollection of, but I know that at our preliminary meeting, when all matters, artistic and otherwise, were discussed and arranged, the two following important resolutions were proposed, seconded, and carried unanimously:—

"That Mr. Rudolph Lehmann be elected Permanent Secretary, and that the duty of sending out all notices convening the Meets of the T.P.C., as well as all arrangements connected with the Club, be entrusted to him; and that every notice of meeting be posted and prepaid by him eight lunar, or at least three calendar, days before the date of each Meet; and further, that records in a neat and clerkly style of each and every Meet be faithfully kept by the said Secretary, and be at all times open for the inspection of each and every member of the T.P.C."

"That Mr. Linley Sambourne shall provide at his own expense the notepaper and envelopes required for the business of the Club, and shall invent and draw a design, which design, also at his own expense, he shall cause to be stamped or otherwise engraved on the said notepaper and envelopes, and shall cause the said notepaper so stamped or engraved [Pg 279] to be forwarded to the Perpetual President, the Permanent Secretary, and the other members, for use in connection only with the business of the Club."

"It was further resolved that all maps and charts be kept at the Secretary's Office, and in the event of any dispute, the Ordnance Map or the Admiralty Chart shall be decisive."

But during the existence of the Club there never was any cause to refer to an Ordnance Map or Admiralty Chart. There never was a Secretary's Office, nor did Mr. Linley Sambourne either design or provide the notepaper or envelopes, nor are there any records in existence, either printed or written "in a neat and clerkly style," of the merry meetings of this unique Club. It ran its delightful and dangerous course, its wild career, unmarred by any dispute or accident. The last "meet" was to dine Lord Russell on his elevation to the Bench.


I shall never forget the first occasion on which I saw the late Lord Russell. It was in the old days when the Law Courts were in Westminster,—and I, in search of "character," strangely enough found myself wandering about the Divorce Court, where so many characters are lost. It was a cause célèbre,—the divorce suit of a most distinguished Presbyterian cleric who charged his wife, the co-respondent being the stable-boy. Russell (then plain Mr.) was for the clergyman, and when I entered the crowded court, he was in the midst of his appeal [Pg 280] to the jury, working himself up to a pitch of eloquence, appealing to all to look upon the saintly figure of the man of prayer (the plaintiff, who was playing the part by kneeling and clasping his hands), and asking the jury to scorn all idea of his client having any desire to free himself of his wife so as to marry his pretty governess, or cousin, or whomever it was suggested he most particularly admired. Russell had arrived at quoting Scripture,—he was at his best, austere, eloquent, persuasive, an orator, a gentleman, a great advocate, and as sanctimonious as his kneeling client.


He was interrupted by someone handing him a telegram. As he opened it he said, waving it towards his client, "This may be a message from Heaven to that saint,—ah, gentlemen of the jury, the words so pure—so—so——" (he reads the telegram).

"D——! D——! D——!" He crushed the telegram in his hand, and with an angry gesture threw it away. Although his words were drowned by the "laughter in Court," his gestures and face showed his chagrin and disgust. The Grand National had been run half-an-hour before.

Years afterwards, on his own lawn at Tadworth, I told him of this incident, and asked him what the contents of that telegram were. He declared I was wrong, such an incident never occurred in his career. I convinced him I was right—it was the first time I saw him, and every detail was vividly impressed upon my memory. After dinner he came to me and said, "Furniss, I have been thinking over that incident. You are quite right—it has all come back to me. I lost my temper, I recollect, because I had wired to my boy over there to make a bet for me on an outsider at a long price; when at lunch, I [Pg 281] heard the horse had won. I was delighted, and therefore at my best when I addressed the jury. The telegram was from my boy to say that he forgot to put the money on!"

Riding has caused my appearance in a Police Court, but not as a member of the Two Pins Club. In October, 1895, I was returning from my usual ride before breakfast, accompanied by my little daughter; we turned into the terrace in which we live, and our horses cantered up the hill about 120 yards. As we were dismounting, a Police Inspector passed, addressing me by name, and in a most offensive tone declared that he would summon me, as I had been cautioned before for furious riding. This remark was so absolutely untrue that I met the summons, and the Inspector in the Court made three distinct statements on oath: That I spurred my horse (when cross-examined by me, he gave a minute description of my spurs); that I charged up the hill 250 yards at the rate of sixteen miles an hour; and that I had been cautioned before for the same thing. Now, I have never been cautioned in my life; the distance I went up the hill is 120 yards, and no horse could get up any pace in that distance; and I do not wear spurs, although two constables swore I did.

The magistrate, face to face with these three facts, looked the picture of misery. It was evident to him, as it must be evident to every fair-minded man, that the police were in the wrong. And when the magistrate was thinking out this dilemma, I made a fatal mistake. I gave my reason for appearing as a sacrifice on my part to show the magistrate the sort of evidence upon which poor cabmen and others are fined and made to suffer. The magistrate, Mr. Plowden, waxed very wroth, and as he could not punish me, and would not reprimand the police, I was asked to pay the costs of the summons, which was withdrawn. The late Mr. Montagu Williams, who sat in the Marylebone Police Court, the court in which I was charged with furious riding, gave it as his private opinion that the longer a policeman was in the service the less he could rely upon his word.

[Pg 282]

From the "Westminster Gazette."

This case led to all sorts of trouble. I was assailed by people in the street, strangers to me, for "riding over children." Letters came from all sorts of societies—Cruelty to Animals, and other excellent institutions. I found people measuring the terrace; others riding up it to see if it were possible to get the pace (which it is not), but few knew the truth. The constable when I left the court remarked to me, "I'll tache ye to caricature Oirishmen in Parleymint!" However, I was repaid by the humour the incident gave rise to in the imagination of my brother workers on the Press. Mr. F. C. Gould made this capital sketch, and others portrayed my crime in verse. The following was written to me by one of London's most celebrated editors, and has never been published before:

"H. Furniss was an artist gent
Of credit and renown,
Who'd ride a horse up Primrose Hill
With any man in town.

"The morn was fine as morn could be
Upon last Thursday week,
And, like the early morn, H. F.
Was up before the beak.

"(Full little dreamed that worthy cit,
Some dozen mornings hence
He would be 'up before the beak'
In quite another sense.)

[Pg 283]

"Upon two tits of pranksome mood,
The gallant Lika Joko
And Likajokalina rode,
'Desipere in loco.'

"'Cantare pares' rode the pair,
Ad equitatum nati,'
But to a bobby's summons not
'Respondere parati.'

"So 'appy rode the blithesome pair,
They scoured the hill and plain,
And warming with their morning's work,
Rode hotly home again.

"But by the slope of Primrose Hill
The rude Inspector Ross
Beheld H. Furniss canter up
Upon his foaming hoss.

"'Look 'ere, young man,' says he to him,
'There are some children dear
That by the ridin' of you folk
Do go in bod'ly fear.

"'Your hasting steed pull up, I say!
S'welp me, draw your rein!
The innocents abroad, young man,
Are frightened by you twain.

"'Look at yer smokin' job 'oss 'ere—
I seen you job 'is flank!
'E's well nigh done—tyke 'im away,
And back upon the rank.'

"H. Furniss fixed him with his eye;
His brow was awful cross;
He Kyrled his lip contemptuous-like
At this rude man of Ross.

"'The spirit of my gallant cob,
Ruffian, you shall not squelch;
I ride nor Scotch nor Irish hot,
But Furniss-heated Welsh.

"'Mine and my daughter's gentle pace
Could not affright a foundling;
Be off, and peep down areas, or
Move on some harmless groundling!'

[Pg 284]

"The Inspector glared: 'Come, Mr. F.,
We can't stand this no longer;
I summons you to Marylebone'—
(He muttered something stronger).

* * * * *

"Good Mr. Plowden heard the charge,
As two policemen swore it;
Then heard H. Furniss' defence,
And sagely pondered o'er it.

"'The Inspector swears you galloped up;
You swear you merely trotted:
My own opinion in this case
Is, as usual, Gordian-knotted.

"'Now Gordian knots were tied to be
By magistrates divided;
We cut them—and the severed ends
Do much as once the tied did.

"'In this case, add the paces up,
And then divide by two:
A canter is the quotient;
I think that that should do.

"'A sound decision that will please
Both parties this I trust is;
It is a fine distinction, but
Avoids the fires of justice.

"'You, Mr. Furniss, must disburse
Two bob costs to my till,
And promise me to try no more
Primrose babes to kill.

"'And all in Court, take warning by
The furious Canterer's fate,
And go not up the Primrose path
At such an awful rate.

"'But if your sluggish livers you
Must vigorously shake,
"Vigor's Horse Exercise at Home"
(Vide Prospectus) take.'"

As a matter of fact, the magistrate did not look at the charge-sheet, or know me, or catch my name, or he might have made his usual joke at my expense in another way.

[Pg 285]


Mr. Burnand and I rode a great deal together. Avoiding the Row, my editor preferred to ride to Hampstead, Harrow, or Mill Hill, calling for me on the way. Once, when I could not ride, he wrote: "Very sorry to hear of your being laid up with a cold; it shows what even the Wisest and Best amongst us are liable to. The idea is monstrous of a Cold Furniss. A coal'd furniss is satisfactory. Don't take too much out of yourself with riding. 'He speaks to thee who hath not got a horse'—Shakespeare." Then follows later a specimen of his irrepressible good humour:

22 Nov.

"Alas and alack!
I've got a hack,
But the weather's been such,
I've not got on his back.

"I got no jog
Because of the fog,
And up to twelve,
In breeches and boots,
Which I had to shelve
And recover my foots.
I lunched at the 'G'
(So there was, you see,
One Gee for me).

"Then I came back
And wrote some play
But oh, good lack!
No riding to-day.
If foggy here,
At Ramsgate 'twas clear.

"Alas and alack!
I'll sell my hack,
Much to my sorrow.
I'll ride to-morrow,
[Pg 286] That is, if fine,
But not at nine.
I shall not start, if I'm alive
And have the heart, till ten forty-five.

"Away to parks I'll trot
To get a little hot,
Also to get a little dirty,
And with you be 11.30.

"Till one,
Then done.
Back to Lunch,
Then to Office of Punch.
This my plan, you'll be happy to learn, is
At your disposal, Mr. Furniss."

But excursions in search of material my editor and I had to do on foot, and were not so pleasing; still, Mr. Burnand always managed to have his little joke in all circumstances.

One day he and I were "doing" the picture shows in the interests of Mr. Punch. At one o'clock, feeling jaded and tired, a retreat to the Garrick Club to lunch was suggested. "Happy thought!" said my editor. "Better still, here is an invitation for two to the Exhibition of French Cookery at Willis's Rooms. Capital lunch there, I should think." So off we went, anticipating a recherché lunch. Fancy our chagrin on arrival to find cooks galore, discussing their art, but, alas! their art, like the high art of the Masters of the Brush in our National Gallery, was all under glass! Aggravatingly appetising, but absolutely uninteresting to the two hungry art critics. We soon were in a cab and at the Garrick. As we pulled up, the greatest gourmet of the Club, that clever actor, Arthur Cecil, greeted us:

"Hallo, Frank, where have you two come from?"

"Oh, Arthur, such luck! Furniss and I have just had the most recherché lunch you could imagine."

[Pg 287]

"H'm—hullo—h'm—where? The deuce you have! Lucky dogs! Eh, what was it like?"

"Oh, you can see it for yourself; it's going on now at the French Cookery Exhibition in Willis's Rooms. Special invitation—ah, here's a ticket."

"Thanks, old chap! what a treat! I'm off there! No, no; you fellows mustn't pay the cab—I'll do that. Here, driver—Willis's Rooms—look sharp!"

Arthur Cecil undoubtedly was a quaint fellow and a clever actor, but he had an insatiable appetite. One would never have thought so, judging from appearance: his clever, clean-cut face, his small, thin figure, together with the little hand-bag he always carried, rather suggested a lawyer or a clergyman. His eccentricity was a combination of absent-mindedness and irritability. The latter failing, he told me, would at times take complete control of him: for instance, he had to leave a train before his journey was completed, as he felt it impossible to sit in the carriage and look at the alarm bell without pulling it. I have watched him seated in the smoking-room of the club we both attended, in which the star-light in the centre of the ceiling was shaded by a rather primitive screen of stretched tissue paper, gazing at it for half-an-hour at a time, and eventually taking all the coins out of his pocket to throw them one after another at the immediate object of his irritation. He frequently succeeded in penetrating the screen, the coins remaining on the top of it, to the delight of the astonished waiters.

His eccentricity—perhaps I ought to say in this case his absent-mindedness—is illustrated by an incident which happened on the morning of the funeral of a great friend of his. As Cecil (his real name was Blount) was having his bath, he was suddenly inspired with some idea for a song; so, pulling his sponge-bath into the adjoining sitting-room closer to the piano, he placed a chair in it, and sat down to try it over. A friend, rushing in to fetch him to the funeral, found him so seated, singing and playing, balancing the dripping sponge on the top of his head.

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Design from "Punch."

To feed upon one's own kind is a custom which, like so many other vestiges of a previous civilisation, seems in the present day to have a fair chance of revival. We have long had with us the City Cannibal, the Fleet Street Cannibal, the Dramatic, Literary and Musical Cannibals. Latterly the Society Cannibal has come more distinctly to the front. Then why, I long ago asked myself, should there not be the Cannibal of the etching pen and the brush? Especially as the writhing victims of those mighty instruments appear to be so enamoured of their fate as to besiege that comic slaughter-house, the studio of the caricaturist, and with persistent cries of "Eat us! eat us! Our turn next!" [Pg 289] solicit the "favour of not being forgotten" in his next batch of "subjects."

It may be a revelation to many of my readers, but I can assure them it is a fact, that it is only in very exceptional cases that artists object to having their pictures caricatured. Indeed, many of the leading painters have given me to understand that the omission of their work from my sketches would be anything but agreeable to them, although, when the desired travesties of their pictures appear, they may pretend to be highly indignant. There is one Royal Academician of my acquaintance who has so keen an appreciation of humour that he never loses an opportunity of giving me a hint when his magnifying glass has detected the slightest element of the grotesque in a fellow artist's work. And that most amiable of men, the late Frank Holl, could never refrain, when occasion offered, from directing my attention to the humorous points of his sitters, although I need hardly add that no trace of his having perceived them was ever apparent in any of his works. Do artists object? Well, in Punch, May, 1889, du Maurier touches this point:

"What our artist (the awfully funny one) has to put up with: Brown: 'I say, look here! What the deuce do you mean by caricaturing my pictures—hay?' Jones: 'Yes, confound you! and not caricaturing mine!'"

I have even known artists so anxious to be parodied that, if [Pg 290] they happened to have a vein of humour in their pencils, they would actually send me caricatures of their own pictures. Even poor Fred Barnard once sent me an admirable sketch, caricaturing an excellent portrait of his three children which he had painted for the Royal Academy, where it duly appeared. Others less humorously imaginative perhaps have written to me assuring me of the great pleasure which would have been theirs had they themselves conceived the idea which my caricature of their work supplied.

Although, however, there are so few artists who object to having their pictures caricatured, there is, of course, another side to the question. It is indeed most true that nothing kills like ridicule, and in the course of my experience I have found it is just as easy unconsciously to inflict an injury with my pen and Indian ink as it is to do good. Let us suppose, for instance, that a great painter has just finished a very sentimental work—a picture so brimful of beauty and pathos that it appeals to everybody, myself included. As I stand before it, and admire, it is impossible perhaps for me to restrain a sympathetic tear from making its appearance in, at all events, one of my eyes. But how about the other? Ah! with regard to that other eye, I must confess it is very differently employed, and, superior to my control, is searching the canvas high and low for that "something ridiculous" which, except in the case of the very greatest masters, is always there. Now what ensues? The purchaser of that picture, who, mark you, unlike myself, regarded it and admired it with both of his eyes, congratulates himself upon its acquisition. I have known it for a fact, however—to my regret—that after the publication of the caricature the purchaser was never able to look at his picture again through his own glasses, and bitterly regretted his outlay.

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An art publisher with whom I was acquainted agreed to pay a heavy sum for the copyright of a work of a well-known and popular painter, and after the caricature had appeared in Punch he resolved to forego the publication of the engraving from it by which he had hoped to recoup his expenditure, because he considered that the sobriety of the work was so completely destroyed as to preclude the possibility of sale; and an eminent sculptor, who was responsible for a well-known statue which I caricatured some years ago when it appeared in the Royal Academy, has told me, since it was put up in the Metropolis, that he has actually meditated replacing it by another piece, owing to the ludicrous suggestion affixed to it.

On the other hand, the caricature of an important work is sometimes received in the proper spirit. Here is a letter from Professor Herkomer, with reference to my caricature of the work of our greatest art genius, Alfred Gilbert, R.A.:

Of course, the caricaturing of pictures has its seamy as well as its smooth side. Among the annoyances to which an artist engaged on this description of work is exposed I am inclined to give a prominent place to the fussy and vexatious regulations imposed upon him by the authorities at Burlington House. One would have supposed, for instance, that anyone like myself, who is well-known as merely taking notes for caricature, would have been allowed to consult his own convenience to some extent in making his sketches. But not a bit of it. The [Pg 294] penalty is something too dreadful if you are found making the slightest note of a picture at the Royal Academy at any other time than on the one appointed day. The object of this regulation is, of course, to protect the copyright of the pictures—a very proper and legitimate precaution; but I submit that a better instance of the spirit of Red Tapeism which is so rampant at Burlington House, and which I am always endeavouring to expose, could not be adduced than the inability of the officials to discriminate between the accredited representative of a paper and the piratical sketcher who is taking notes for an illegitimate purpose. I need hardly say that this regulation is peculiar to the Royal Academy. At the Grosvenor Gallery, which, alas! is no more, the officials about the place understood these matters better, and at all times were pleased to give every facility to the representative of the Press. The polite secretary would give up his chair to me any day I liked to look in, and would often point out to me some comical feature in the surrounding canvases which his sly humour had detected.


Equal praise must indeed be accorded to the management of the New Gallery and all the other Exhibitions with which I have been brought in contact in the course of my professional duties. Personally, as I have always made my notes at the Royal Academy on the authorised occasion, I have had nothing to fear from those who preside there. But my friend Linley Sambourne, who wished upon one occasion to caricature a picture of Burne-Jones' for a political cartoon in Punch (of course altering the figures and indeed everything else, so as not in any way to trench upon the great artist's copyright) was dogged by a detective, arrested, and finally thrown into the darkest dungeon beneath the Burlington House moat! Protest was useless. What his terror must have been my pen fails to describe. Visions of the thumbscrew, the rack, and all the tortures conceivable rose in the fertile imagination of my colleague, and [Pg 295] beads of perspiration made their appearance upon his massive brow. After weary hours, when lunch-time without the lunch had come and gone, and the pangs of hunger began to be added to his other miseries, when he was reflecting that his week's work for Punch was yet unfinished, that the engravers would be in despair at not having it in time, and that at that moment his editor was probably telegraphing to him all over London and instituting a search for his person all over his club, suddenly the bolts of his prison-chamber were withdrawn and his gaoler, the blood-thirsty tyrant Red Tape, allowed the genial artist to return to the bosom of his wife and family—not, however, without leaving a hostage behind him. The sketch—the guilty sketch—the cause of all his troubles, was detained. In vain the harassed artist explained to his grim Cerberus that the work was wanted for the next week's issue of Punch, and although as a matter of fact it duly appeared at the appointed time, Mr. Sambourne had to trust to his memory instead of to the courtesy and common sense of Burlington House for the reproduction of his skit.

I remember another incident which will serve to illustrate the trials and misfortunes of the caricaturist when pursuing his vocation outside the walls of his studio. It was the opening day of the New Gallery, and as I draw my sketches of the pictures with an ordinary pen and liquid Indian ink direct, and have them afterwards, like all my drawings, photographed on wood and engraved—of late years they are reproduced by process engraving—I was holding my bottle of ink and my sketch-book in one hand, while my pen was busy with the other. Upon arriving very early in the morning I thought I must have made a mistake, and that I had entered a manufactory of hats, for the hall was almost entirely taken up with hat-boxes. Upon enquiry, however, I learned that these merely contained the new hats in which the directors would, later on, receive their visitors. When the hall began to fill, and the fashionable crowd was pouring in, I was standing in the central lobby, sketching away with a will, when my friend Sir William Agnew, always early to arrive on such occasions, happened to come up and soon interested me in conversation about the genius of Millais [Pg 296] and the beauties of Burne-Jones. In my energetic manner I was debating a matter of some little interest when my eye caught that of Mr. Comyns-Carr, who, with his newly-selected hat on, was standing close by and regarding me with an expression of indescribable horror. "What is the matter with Carr?" I observed to Agnew; "surely Sargent should be here and hand down that expression to posterity." But when I followed his eyes as they passed sternly from mine to the floor, my hat nearly sprang off my head at the sight which I beheld! Forgetting that I held the bottle of ink in the hand with which I had been suiting the action to the word in my animated harangue to Sir William, I had splashed the virgin marble on which we were standing in all directions with hideous stains of the blackest of liquids. In my consternation I did not stay to see the incongruous figure of the charwoman and bucket who was immediately introduced amid the élite of fashionable London, but fled incontinently from the gallery and, rushing in where angels fear to tread, sought sanctuary in my accustomed haunt, the Gallery of the House of Commons. There at least I thought I should be safe. Presently, when I had somewhat recovered from my agitation, I was making my way out of the House when I encountered a friend in the Central Lobby. I was explaining to him the unfortunate contretemps which had occurred at the New Gallery, and utterly forgot that I still held the bottle of ink in my hand, and on the sacred floor we stood upon I had perpetrated the offence again!

My only consolation for this chapter of accidents was that the particular ink in my bottle is different from the ordinary writing fluid, and leaves no stain behind it. It is in fact merely paint, and is innocent of gall. There are inks, as there are other forms of journalism, whose consequences are not so easily effaced or so harmless; but like the caricaturist's work itself, the material with which it is accomplished often looks blacker than it really is.

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Fortunately all this happened previous to the introduction of the ink I use now, known as Waterproof ink—ink that will not run when washed over with water. The manufacturers of this article sent me a specimen bottle to experiment with, and asked me for my opinion of it. In replying, I sent the following note. The sketch was touched in to amuse my youngest boy, who was puzzled by the meaning of Waterproof ink. The makers, in acknowledging the note, asked me to mention the sum I would accept if, with my permission, they used the note and sketch I sent as an advertisement. I replied that they were welcome to use my note, but that I could not accept payment. However I received in a few days a large parcel of artists' materials: paints, sketch-books, brushes, pencils, &c.

This is more than I ever received for a better known advertisement: "I used your soap two years ago." I was never offered so much as a cake of soap from those who used my Punch sketch so freely! Permission was given for its use by the proprietors of Punch, not knowing I had any objection, and at the time I was ill with fever and unable to protest. The firm certainly paid me some years afterwards for the publication of the same advertisement for two insertions in a periodical I was starting, but only at the ordinary rate. I mention this fact as I have heard from friends all over the world that I received untold gold for the use of it, and as it has interested so many perhaps I may at the same time clear up another fallacy, which [Pg 300] I did not know existed until I read Mr. Spielmann's "History of Punch." In that he refers to the very "oft-quoted drawing (lately used as an advertisement), the idea of which reached him from an anonymous correspondent. It is that of a grimy, unshaven, unwashed, mangy-looking tramp, who sits down to write, with a broken quill, a testimonial for a firm of soap-makers. A further point of interest about this famous sketch was that Charles Keene was deeply offended by it at first, in the groundless belief that it was intended as a skit upon himself. It must at least be admitted that the head is not unlike what one might have expected to belong to a dissipated and dilapidated Charles Keene." Poor Keene! How sorry I was to read this when too late to explain to him that he was never in my mind for a moment when I was drawing it! But, strange to say, the original who sat for it was a brother artist, another Charles, quite as delightful as Keene, equally clever in his own way, and my greatest friend—Charles Burton Barber, the animal painter, in appearance rather like Charles Keene, but nothing of the Bohemian about him, and a non-smoker! Still I am always being told that I had So-and-so in my eye when drawing the figure. I might in truth quote Sir John Tenniel's remark à propos of being accused of caricaturing his late comrade, Horace Mayhew, as the "White Knight" in "Alice in Wonderland": "The resemblance was purely accidental, a mere unintentional caricature, which his friends, of course, were only too delighted to make the most of." Ah, those friends are at the bottom of all these misunderstandings. I could a tale, or two, unfold, but that—that's another volume.


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Yes, poor Barber sat for the tramp, and I in return sat to him for a figure quite as incongruous in my case as the tramp was in his. I sat for John Brown for the picture Queen Victoria had commissioned of Mr. Brown surrounded by her pet dogs, which she had in her private room. She was so delighted with the picture that she had a replica made of it, and placed it in the passage outside, so that it was the first picture she looked at as she left her room. Barber's animals and children were delightful, but he was weak with his men, and was in trouble over John Brown's calves,—it was then that I posed for the "brawny Scott," but only for the portion here mentioned.


This figure of the tramp in my sketch of "I used your soap two years ago" has in fact been mistaken for myself. A relative of my own, who has been living in the Cape for many years, paid a visit to London, and on his return informed his children that he had seen me and brought my portrait back with him. "Oh, we have Cousin Harry's portrait in our nursery for some time: one he has signed too." It was the Punch-Pears production in colour! I am sure I do not know how ridiculous stories are received as true, that I got a fabulous sum for the use of this one; that such-and-such a member of the staff gets a huge retaining fee, &c., and other inventions—one in particular. If I have met one, I have met a score of people at different times of my life who positively declared that they [Pg 302] actually sent that ever famous line: "Punch's advice to those about to marry—Don't!" and received immediately remuneration in sums varying from £5 to £500. That joke was probably conceived and thrown in at the last moment, at the critical point when the editor is "making up" the paper.

As I am writing these disjointed notes for family reading, it may perhaps not be out of place just to refer to the domestic relations of the staff of Punch. Our wives and families were invited to meet on the occasion of the Lord Mayor's procession, when they may have been observed upon the roof of the publishing office—till recently it was in Fleet Street—from which coign of vantage they had an excellent view of the civic show, afterwards having a capital lunch in a room on the first floor. Yet how much men who live on their wits owe to their domestic happiness! It is a pleasant fact to be able to chronicle that—I believe at all times—the domestic lives of the Punch staff have been most happy. It is rather curious that all of them have made the same kind of matrimonial selection—they have married "sensible wives," women who have all been sympathetic, devoted, bright, and domesticated. The wit at the dinner-table, the humorous writer or the caricaturist in the pages you read, is a very different dog at home. It must naturally be so. It is the reaction, and it is to such men that the woman possessed of tact and cheerfulness is invaluable. In truth, Punch's advice to those about to marry, "Don't!" has been disregarded by the majority of his members, in every case with the utmost satisfaction to themselves.