Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/77

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
25
JOSEPHINE.

ing them. I have before me the admirable anti-Bonaparte satires of both artists; and inseparably linked as they are with the men who began work after 1800, the almost irresistible tendency is to describe some of them in elucidation of the events to which I have occasion to refer. To do so, however, although fascinating and easy, would be not only to wander from my purpose, but to invade the province of the late Thomas Wright and of Mr. Grego, which I am not called upon to do; to refer to them, however, for the purpose of this chapter, I have found not only necessary, but unavoidable.

Injustice
of the Caricaturists.
Caricature, like literary satire (as we all know from the days of the "Dunciad" downwards), has little concern with justice; but we who look back after the lapse of the greater part of the century, and have moreover studied the history and the surroundings of Napoleon Bonaparte, may afford at least to do him justice. Gillray is a fair exponent of the intense hatred with which Bonaparte was regarded in this country, when not only the little "Corsican," but those about him, were held up to a ridicule which, oftentimes vulgar, partook not unfrequently of absolute brutality. Who would imagine, for instance, that the fat blousy female quaffing deep draughts of Maraschino from a goblet, in his famous satire of the Handwriting on the Wall, was intended for the refined and delicate Josephine? Occasionally, however, James Gillray descended to a lower depth, as in his Ci Devant Occupations (of 20th February, 1805), in which we see this delicate woman, with the frail but lovely Spaniard, Theresa de Cabarrus (Madame Tallien), figuring in a manner to which the most infamous women of Drury Lane would have hesitated to descend. Josephine de la Pagerie, as we all know, was anything but blameless; which indeed of les Déesses de la Revolution could pass unscathed through the fiery furnace of the Terror?[1] But this mis-


  1. In a loose age, Madame Tallien, notwithstanding such virtues as she possessed, was a loose character. Between 1798 and 1802 she had three children, who were registered in her family name of Cabarrus. On the 8th of April, 1802, at her own request a divorce was pronounced from Tallien, and with two husbands still alive she married (14th July, 1805,) Count Joseph de Caraman, soon after heir of the Prince de Chimay. She died in the odour of sanctity, on the 15th of January, 1835.