Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/310

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
224
ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

he had come to the melancholy conclusion that the grapes he longed for were absolutely beyond his reach.

The new periodical assumed from the outset a position which cannot fail to amuse the journalist and reader of the present day. It professed to look down upon all other publications (with certain exceptions of magnitude, whom the editor deemed it prudent to conciliate) with supercilious contempt. The absurdity of these pretensions will strike any one who turns over its forgotten pages, and compares his pretensions with Mr. à Beckett's own share of the performance. The mode in which this young gentleman's editorial duties were conducted, gathered from extracts taken at random from the "Notices to Correspondents," were, to say the least, peculiar: "A. B., who has written to us, is a fool of the very lowest order. His communication is rejected." Poor Mr. Cox of Bath is told he "is a rogue and a fool for sending us a letter without paying the postage. If he wants his title page, let him order it of his bookseller, when it will be got as a matter of course from our publisher," and so on. The aristocracy are regarded with a disfavour which must have given them serious disquietude. The "coming out" of the daughter of the late Lord Byron, or a soirée at the Duchess of Northumberland's town house, serve as occasions for indulging in splenetic abuse of what Mr. à Beckett was pleased to term "the beastly aristocracy." Authors, even of position, were not spared by this young Ishmael of the press, the respected Mrs. Trollope, for instance, being unceremoniously referred to as "Mother Trollope." The only excuse of course for this sort of thing is to be found in the fact that comic journalism being then in its infancy, personal abuse was mistaken for satire; while, so far as the bad taste of the editor is concerned, allowance must be made for an inexperienced young man who imagined that the editorship of a paper, wholly destitute of merit except that which Seymour brought to its aid, conferred upon himself a position which rendered him superior to the rules of literary courtesy.

With all these pretensions, however, à Beckett was conscious of the powerful assistance he was receiving from the artist; and we find