Page:Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day.djvu/233

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Shirley Brooks.

him was that of some young ladies who were too far from a town to procure the fashions early, so they dressed themselves after the style of his caricatures.' Albert Smith (1816-1860) was an able contributor. Thomas Hood (1778-1845), whose various pen touched alike the springs of laughter and the sources of tears, was amongst those who wrote for 'Punch.' This is the story of the publication of the celebrated 'Song of the Shirt.' Hood sent it to Mark Lemon, for insertion in 'Punch,' with a note of apology. 'I sent it to a first-rate magazine, and they wrote back, "It is hardly the thing for genteel people." 'What say you?' said Shirley Brooks. The answer of his audience need hardly be told—how their applause recorded their appreciation of the writings of Thomas Hood.

Tom Taylor, born at Sunderland in 1817, was also a contributor. Perceval Leigh—whose name was not so well known, but 'Pips his Diary,' and 'Ye Manners and Customs of ye English in ye Nineteenth Century,' &c., were from his pen—Henry and Horace Mayhew, Laman Blanchard, Maguire, Thackeray, Tennyson, Trench, were also among the writers; and Doyle, who drew the design for the cover—which, by the bye, is not the original one in which Mr. 'Punch' first showed—and Kenny Meadows were among the illustrators. The names of those of the present time are too well known to need mention here.

Shirley Brooks said, 'The cartoons were settled at a dinner given once a week, at which the editor met the contributors and artists. These meetings were most pleasant, and the dinners remarkably good.'

He farther related some humorous anecdotes of the curious communications forwarded to the editor. 'Ladies sometimes sent accounts of the dresses, ribbons, and bonnets of other persons, with a request to "cut them up," the information being of so minute a character that it could only be written by one lady of another. Sometimes the editor was requested to write something stinging about persons who gave parties and did not pay their debts, laying special stress on those who crammed 120 guests into a room not capable of holding fifty.

'Some persons were patronising; and one gentleman sought to bribe, by stating he, if something he sent were inserted, would take twenty copies of "Punch." Sometimes artful advertisers sent communications deprecatory