Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/419

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JOHN LEECH AT HOMBURG.

We find John Leech and his able coadjutor, Mr. John Tenniel, present at the Punch dinner of Wednesday, the 15th of June; but shortly afterwards he started on the journey ordered by his medical advisers, and set off for Homburg in the company of his friend, Mr. Alfred Elmore, sojourning afterwards for a time at Schwalbach. He was absent altogether about six weeks. A record in the diary to which I am indebted for so much information in relation to him tells me, under date of 10th August, "Leech has returned from Germany, but I am sorry to say I don't think he is stronger." The sole result, in fact, obtained was that his mind was amused by his visit to new scenery, while his sketch-book was filled with valuable memorials of the sojourn for future use. He was present at the Punch dinner on Wednesday, the 17th of August, and suggested to his colleagues by way of cartoon the subject of The American Juggernaut.

The Death of Robson.Just at the time when Leech came back from Germany, unbenefited by the change which it was hoped would recruit his exhausted strength, a great artist in another and a different walk in art, one who had not used his genius (we will not say his opportunities, for we doubt whether they were really given him) to the best advantage, took his departure from the scene of many triumphs and greater disappointments: this was Thomas Frederick Robson, the actor. He had been so long absent from the boards, that the event failed to create the sensation which might have been expected from the sudden fall of a theatrical star of such unquestionable magnitude. Full justice has been done to his remarkable genius elsewhere; and all united in regret that a man who was so great an artist, and might have been a greater, had been prematurely lost to the theatrical world. Those who remember Robson and his marvellous powers,—the lightning-like flashes of energy he was wont to throw into his parts,—his startling transition from passion to passion,—will agree with us that, if circumstances had led him to study the higher drama, his name would probably have occupied a place side by side with the more prominent names of George Frederick Cooke, Edmund Kean, and our own Irving. The remarkable power wasted on