Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/190

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ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

moods, a few of the designs are excellent, and the tailpieces—A Six Inside, at page 36; Cleaned Out, at page 88; and the Pawn Shop, at page 87—suffice to show of how much better work Robert Cruikshank was capable. George, as was usual with him on these occasions, was horribly annoyed, and loudly and (as it seems to us) unnecessarily proclaimed to the world that he had no connection with the work. Probably this manifesto did no good to a book little calculated either by its literary or pictorial merits to command success; and as the copy before us remained uncut from the date of the publication until the present, the inference is that the speculation of Messrs. Sherwood, Jones & Co., proved scarcely a remunerative one.

Among the forgotten books of half a century ago, we meet with one whose title reminds us of the "Life in London." It is called, "Doings in London; or, Day and Night Scenes of the Frauds, Frolics, Manners, and Depravities of the Metropolis." It came out in threepenny numbers, in 1828, and its professed object (in the queer language of George Smeeton, its compiler and publisher) was to "show vice and deception in all their real deformity, and not by painting in glowing colours the fascinating allurements, the mischievous frolics and vicious habits of the profligate, the heedless, and the debauchee, tempt youth to commit those irregularities which often lead to dangerous consequences, not only to themselves but also to the public." This shot of course was aimed at Pierce Egan, who, engaged at that time in bringing out the "Finish," not unnaturally considered these "Doings" an attempt to derive profit by an indirect infringement of his own title. The title in fact was a misleading one, and the book a specimen of a class of useless literature of the time, by which paste-and-scissors information compiled from books, newspapers, and statistics by some one at best imperfectly acquainted with his subject, was attempted to be conveyed by means of questions and answers, supplemented by dreary and unnecessary remarks of a moralizing tendency. The persons in whose company Smeeton would send us round, in order that we may form a just conception of the "vice and deception in