Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/426

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ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

noble in his calm; the hair and whiskers put back, gave tip his fine forehead and handsome features—and the eternal stillness gave his face an elevated expression. I looked a very long time on my old friend's face. We have known one another many years, and he has been engaged with me in business as well as in pleasure. He was very kind—very good—and is in heaven, whatever that means."

London was, perhaps, more shocked at the sudden and unexpected death of John Leech than even when Thackeray was smitten. The shock radiated all over the country; for there was not a household in the land in which his name was not familiar as a household word. His personal friends were deeply affected—none more so than his attached friend, Charles Dickens. Writing at the time to Forster, in reference to his coming book, "Our Mutual Friend," he said, "I have not done my number. This death of poor Leech (I suppose) has put me out woefully. Yesterday, and the day before, I could do nothing; seemed, for the time being, to have quite lost the power; and am only by slow degrees getting back into the track to day." Mr. John Tenniel heard of the loss of his valued confrère that same Sunday, 30th October, and "was stunned at the news, totally unexpected by him."[1] A special meeting of the Punch staff was called by Mark Lemon on the following day; himself, Messrs. Percival Leigh, Shirley Brooks, F. C. Burnand, Tom Taylor, Charles Keene, H. Silver, John Tenniel, all were present with the exception of Horace Mayhew. With the particulars of that meeting we of course have nothing to do; its melancholy character the reader may well imagine.

On Friday, the 4th of November, 1864, they laid John Leech to rest in Kensal Green Cemetery, "in the next grave but one to W[illiam] M[akepeace] T[hackeray]. When Annie Thackeray heard of the death, she [had] said to Mrs. Millais, 'How glad my father will be to meet him!' 'And he will,'" adds the friend whose note we have transcribed.[2] We take the account of his burial from Mr. Edmund Yates's impressive and touching account in the Morning

  1. MS. Diary of Mr. Shirley Brooks.
  2. Ibid.