Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/414

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ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

however, was in his mortal agony; and when his valet, Charles Sargent, entered his master's chamber on the morning of Christmas Eve, and tried to arouse him, he found that he answered not, neither regarded, having passed into the slumber from which the spirit of man refuses to be awakened.

Dying Jerrold had time vouchsafed to him to whisper, "Tell the dear boys," meaning his associates in Punch, "that if I have ever wounded any of them, I've always loved them," and so he went his way. To Thackeray no such grace was given; the hands peacefully spread over the coverlet, which stirred not when Sargent bent anxiously over his master, proclaimed that true-hearted noble Thackeray had gone the long journey, leaving no word of message for those who had loved him. "We talked of him," said Mr. Edmund Yates, "of how, more than any other author, he had written about what is said of men immediately after their death—of how he had written of the death-chamber, 'They shall come in here for the last time to you, my friend in motley.' We read that marvellous sermon which the week-day preacher delivered to entranced thousands over old John Sedley's dead body, and 'sadly fell our Christmas Eve.'" That same Christmas Eve, the melancholy tidings were conveyed to Mark Lemon by his sorrowing friend, John Leech. The artist was terribly affected, and told Millais of his presentiment that he also should die suddenly and soon.

In March, 1864, we notice the death of another author, whose almost unrecorded name is, nevertheless, intimately associated with that of the artist. This was Mr. R. W. Surtees, author of the sporting novels which the genius of Leech has made for ever famous. Mr. Surtees for some years practised as a London solicitor; but the death of an elder brother improved his position, and enabled him to quit a profession which he disliked, in favour of the more congenial employment of literature. Those of his works best known (he published several others) are, of course, "Handley Cross," "Sponge's Sporting Tour," "Plain or Ringlets," "Ask Mamma," and "Mr. Facey Romford's Hounds." Notwithstanding a decidedly horsey and somewhat vulgar tone,—a tone which by the way certainly did not charac-