Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/498

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figures, but no finished illustration ever told its story better."[1] We read these remarks with profound astonishment, and can only ask in reply: If, as Mr. Trollope has admitted, Thackeray "never learned to draw,—perhaps never could have learned," how he could manage "to convey" in any of his pictures "the exact feeling he has described in the text"?—how, in the face of the admitted incorrectness of "his delineations," he could be in any way fitted to illustrate a novel of such transcendent excellence as "Vanity Fair"?

It has been assumed, without any sort of authority, that it was only when Thackeray found he could not succeed as an artist that he turned to literature. The statement is altogether unwarranted. At or about the very time he was engaged in drawing the cuts for "Figaro in London," he was—if we are to judge of the sketch of "the Fraserians" in the "Maclise Portrait Gallery," in which young Thackeray may easily be recognised—writing for "Fraser's Magazine." Be this, however, as it may, it seems tolerably certain that the rebuff he received from Dickens had no hand in turning him into the path of letters, towards which his genius and unerring judgment alone most fortunately guided him.

  1. "Thackeray," by Anthony Trollope, in "English Men of Letters," p. 7.