Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/449

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349
"MRS. PIPCHIN."

novel issued in monthly numbers depended on two sources of attraction—the skill of the novelist and the skill of his artistic coadjutor. Dickens' requirements, however, were of so exacting a nature that they proved in the end too exacting even for the patience of the accommodating artist, and the reader will not be surprised to learn that a coolness was ultimately established between artist and author, the outcome of which was the employment of Marcus Stone and Luke Fildes on the later novels of "Our Mutual Friend" and "Edwin Drood."

Those who would find fault with Charles Dickens for the mode in which he controlled his artists quite fail to understand the man himself. Although he had no knowledge of the pencil, although he himself had no knowledge of drawing, he was nevertheless a thorough artist in heart and mind. There is scarcely a character in his books which does not show the care and thought which he bestowed upon, its elaboration. Ralph Nickleby, Squeers, Smike, little Nell, Quilp, Barnaby Rudge, Steerforth, Paul Dombey, Lady Dedlock, Joe, each and all show how carefully they were elaborated; how distinctly they presented themselves to the retina of the mind of their distinguished creator. When this is borne in mind, it will be at once understood why the Mrs. Pipchin of Hablot Browne was not the Mrs. Pipchin with whose outward appearance and mental peculiarities the author himself was so intimately acquainted.

"Auriol."Notwithstanding the exhibition, after his death, of water-colours and other works, which took the public by surprise, Hablot Knight Browne will continue to be known to most of us as an illustrator of books, and nothing more. "Oh! I'm aweary, I'm aweary," he said himself in a letter to one of his sons, "of this illustration business." Some of these illustrations, however, are wonderfully graceful, and one in particular seems to call for special notice. It will be found in the "New Monthly Magazine" for 1845, and is undoubtedly one of the best examples of the artist's work which may be found anywhere. It represents a prisoner in a dungeon lying at the foot of a pillar, which, except in a ghastly carved work running round it of skulls and cross bones, reminds us somewhat of Bonneval's pillar at