LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Recollections of Writers
Douglas Jerrold

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX
John Keats
Charles Lamb
Mary Lamb
Leigh Hunt
‣ Douglas Jerrold
Charles Dickens
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH

The leading characteristic of Douglas Jerrold’s nature was earnestness. He was earnest in his abhorrence of all things mean and interested; earnest in his noble indignation at wrong and oppression; earnest in the very wit with which he vented his sense of detestation for evil-doing. He was deeply earnest in all serious things; and very much in earnest when dealing with less apparently important matters, which he thought needed the scourge of a sarcasm. Any one who could doubt the earnestness of Jerrold should have, seen him when a child was the topic; the fire of his eye, the quiver of his lip, bore witness to the truth of the phrase he himself uses in his charming drama of “The Schoolfellows,” showing that to him indeed “children are sacred things.” We once received a letter from him expressing in pungent terms his bitter disgust at an existing evil, and concluding with a light turn serving to throw off the load that oppresses him:—

Putney, Oct. 21st, 1849.

My dear Mrs. Clarke,—The wisdom of the law is about to preach from the scaffold on the sacredness of life; and, to illustrate its sanctity, will straightway strangle a woman as soon as she have strength renewed from childbirth. I would fain believe, despite the threat of Sir G—— G—— to hang this wretched creature as soon as restorations shall have had their benign effect, that the Government only need pressure from without to commute the sentence. A
petition—a woman’s petition—is in course of signature. You are, I believe, not a reader of that mixture of good and evil, a newspaper; hence, may be unaware of the fact. I need not ask you, Will you sign it? The document lies at
Gilpin’s—a noble fellow—the bookseller, Bishopsgate. Should her Majesty run down the list of names, I think her bettered taste in Shakespeare would dwell complacently on the name of Mary Cowden Clarke.

I don’t know when they pay dividends at the Bank, but if this be the time, you can in the same journey fill your pocket, and lighten your conscience. Regards to Clarke.

Yours ever truly,
D. Jerrold.

Jerrold took a hearty interest in an attempted reform, in a matter which affected him as a literary man, a reform since accomplished—the Repeal of all Taxes on Knowledge. He had been invited to take the chair at a meeting for the consideration of the subject; and he sent the following witty letter to be read instead of a speech from him, being unable to attend:—

West Lodge Putney, Lower Common.
Feb. 25th, 1852.

Dear Sir,—Disabled by an accident from personal attendance at your meeting, I trust 1 may herein be permitted to express my heartiest sympathy with its great social purpose. That the fabric, paper, newspapers, and advertisements should be taxed by any Government possessing paternal yearnings for the education of a people, defies the argument of reason. Why not, to help the lame and to aid the short-sighted, lay a tax upon crutches, and enforce a duty upon, spectacles?

I am not aware of the number of professional writers—of men who live from pen to mouth—flourishing this day in merry England; but it appears to me, and the notion, to a new Chancellor of the Exchequer (I am happy to say one of my order—of the goosequill, not of the heron’s plume) may
have some significance; why not enforce a duty upon the very source and origin of letters? Why not have a literary poll-tax, a duty upon books and “articles” in their rawest materials? Let every author pay for his licence, poetic or otherwise. This would give a wholeness of contradiction to a professed desire for knowledge, when existing with taxation of its material elements. Thus, the exciseman, beginning with authors’ brains, would descend through rags, and duly end with paper. This tax upon news is captious and arbitrary; arbitrary, I say, for what is not news? A noble lord makes a speech: his rays of intelligence compressed like
Milton’s fallen angels, are in a few black rows of this type; and this is news. And is not a new book “news”? Let Ovid first tell us how Midas first laid himself down, and—private and confidential—whispered to the reeds, “I have ears;” and is not that news? Do many noble lords, even in Parliament, tell us anything newer?

The tax on advertisements is—it is patent—a tax even upon the industry of the very hardest workers. Why should the Exchequer waylay the errand-boy and oppress the maid-of-all-work? Wherefore should Mary Ann be made to disburse her eighteenpence at the Stamp Office ere she can show her face in print, wanting a place, although to the discomfiture of those first-created Chancellors of the Exchequer—the spiders?

In conclusion, I must congratulate the meeting on the advent of the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Right Honourable Benjamin D’Israeli is the successful man ot letters. He has ink in his veins. The goosequill—let gold and silver-sticks twinkle as they may—leads the House of Commons. Thus, I feel confident that the literary instincts of the right honourable gentleman will give new animation to the coldness of statesmanship, apt to be numbed by tightness of red-tape. We are, I know, early taught to despair of the right honourable gentleman, because he is allowed to be that smallest of things, “a wit.” Is arithmetic for ever to be the monopoly of substantial respectable dulness? Must it be that a Chancellor of the Exchequer, like Portia’s portrait, is only to be found in lead?


No, sir, I have a cheerful faith that our new fiscal minister will, to the confusion of obese dulness, show his potency over pounds, shillings, and pence. The Exchequer L.S.D. that have hitherto been as the three Witches—the weird sisters—stopping us, wherever we turned, the right honourable gentleman will at the least transform into the three Graces, making them in all their salutations, at home and abroad, welcome and agreeable. But with respect to the L.S.D. upon knowledge, he will, I feel confident, cause at once the weird sisterhood to melt into thin air; and thus—let the meeting take heart with the assurance—thus will fade and be dissolved the Penny News’-tax—the errand-boy and maid-of-all-work’s tax—and the tax on that innocent white thing, the tax on paper. With this hope I remain, yours faithfully,

Douglas Jerrold.
J. Alfred Novello, Esq., Sub-Treasurer of the Association for the Repeal
of all Taxes upon Knowledge.

Another letter, excusing his attendance at a meeting, serves to show his lively interest in the Whittington Club, of which he was the Founder and President; and also demonstrates his sincere desire for the establishment of recognized social equality for women with men. This is the letter:—

To the Secretary of the Whittington Club.
West Lodge, Putney Lower Common, June 18th.

Dear Sir,—It is to me a very great disappointment that I am denied the pleasure of being with you on the interesting occasion of to-day; when the club starts into vigorous existence, entering upon—I hope and believe—a long life of usefulness to present and succeeding generations. I have for some days been labouring with a violent cold, which, at the last hour, leaves me no hope of being with you. This to me is especially discomfiting upon the high occasion the council meet to celebrate; for we should have but very little to boast of by the establishment ot the club, had we only
founded a sort of monster chop-house; no great addition this to London, where chop-houses are certainly not among the rarer monuments of British civilization.

We therefore recognize a higher purpose in the Whittington Club; namely, a triumphant refutation of a very old, respectable, but no less foolish fallacy—for folly and respectability are somehow sometimes found together—that female society in such an institution is incompatible with female domestic dignity. Hitherto, Englishmen have made their club-houses as Mahomet made his Paradise—a place where women are not admitted on any pretext whatever. Thus considered, the Englishman may be a very good Christian sort of a person at home, and at the same time little better than a Turk at his club.

It is for us, however, to change this. And as we are the first to assert what may be considered a great social principle, so it is most onerous upon us that it should be watched with the most jealous suspicion of whatever might in the most remote degree tend to retard its very fullest success. Again lamenting the cause that denies me the gratification of being with you on so auspicious a day,

Believe me, yours faithfully,
Douglas Jerrold.

That Jerrold felt the misinterpretation with which his satirical hits at women’s foibles had been sometimes received is evident in the following letter, which he wrote to thank our sister, Sabilla Novello, who had knitted him a purse:—

Putney Green, June 9th.

Dear Miss Novello,—I thank you very sincerely for your present, though I cannot but fear its fatal effect upon my limited fortunes, for it is so very handsome that whenever I produce it I feel that I have thousands a year, and, as in duty bound, am inclined to pay accordingly. I shall go about, to the astonishment of all omnibii men, insisting upon paying sovereigns for sixpences. Happily, however, this
amiable insanity will cure itself (or I may always bear my wife with me as a keeper).

About this comedy. I am writing it under the most significant warnings. As the Eastern king—name unknown, to me at least—kept a crier to warn him that he was but mortal and must die, and so to behave himself as decently as it is possible for any poor king to do, so do I keep a flock of eloquent geese that continually, within ear-shot, cackle of the British public. Hence, I trust to defeat the birds of the Haymarket by the birds of Putney.

But in this comedy I do contemplate such a heroine, as a set-off to the many sins imputed to me as committed against woman, whom I have always considered to be an admirable idea imperfectly worked out. Poor soul! she can’t help that. Well, this heroine shall be woven of moon-beams—a perfect angel, with one wing cut to keep her among us. She shall be all devotion. She shall hand over her lover (never mind his heart, poor wretch!) to her grandmother, who she suspects is very fond of him, and then, disguising herself as a youth, she shall enter the British navy, and return in six years, say, with epaulets on her shoulders, and her name in the Navy List, rated Post-Captain. You will perceive that I have Madame Celeste in my eye—am measuring her for the uniform. And young ladies will sit in the boxes, and with tearful eyes, and noses like rose-buds, say, “What magnanimity!” And when this great work is done—this monument of the very best gilt gingerbread to woman set up on the Haymarket stage—you shall, if you will, go and see it, and make one to cry for the “Author,” rewarding him with a crown of tin-foil, and a shower of sugar-plums.

In lively hope of that ecstatic moment, I remain, yours truly,

Douglas Jerrold.

The following is one of his playful notes, also addressed to Sabilla Novello:—

Putney Common, June 18th.

My dear Miss Novello,—I ought ere this to have thanked you for the prospectus. I shall certainly avail my-
self of its proffered advantages, and, on the close of the vacation, send my girl.

I presume, ere that time, you will have returned to the purer shades of Bayswater from all the pleasant iniquities of Paris. I am unexpectedly deprived of every chance of leaving home, at least for some time, if at all this season, by a literary projection that I thought would have been deferred until late in the autumn; otherwise, how willingly would I black the seams and elbows of my coat with my ink, and elevating my quill into a cure-dent, hie me to the “Trois-Frères”! But this must not be for God knows when—or the Devil (my devil, mind) better. I am indeed “nailed to the dead wood,” as Lamb says; or rather, in this glorious weather, I feel as somehow a butterfly, or, since I am getting fat, a June fly, impaled on iron pin, or pen, must feel fixed to one place, with every virtuous wish to go anywhere and everywhere, with anybody and almost every body. I am not an independent spinster, but—“I won’t weep.” Not one unmanly tear shall stain this sheet.

With desperate calmness I subscribe myself, yours faithfully,

Douglas Jerrold.

The next enclosed tickets of admission to the performance of Ben Jonson’s comedy of “Every Man in his Humour,” at Miss Kelly’s little theatre in Dean Street, Soho, when Jerrold played Master Stephen; Charles Dickens, Bobadil; Mark Lemon, Brainworm; John Forster, Kitely; and John Leech, Master Mathew. It was the first attempt of that subsequently famous amateur company, and a glorious beginning it was. Douglas Jerrold’s Master Stephen,—that strong mongrel likeness of Abraham Slender and Andrew Aguecheek,—was excellently facetious in the conceited coxcombry of the part, and in its occasional smart retorts was only too good—that is to say, he showed just too keen a consciousness of the aptness and point in reply for the blunt perceptions of such an
oaf as Master Stephen. For instance, when Bobadil, disarmed and beaten by Downwright, exclaims, “Sure I was struck with a planet thence,” and Stephen rejoins “No, you were struck with a stick” the words were uttered with that peculiar Jerroldian twinkle of the eye and humorously dry inflection of the voice that accompanied the speaker’s own repartees, and made one behold Douglas Jerrold himself beneath the garb of Master Stephen.

Thursday, Sept., 1845.

My dear Mrs. Clarke,—In haste I send you accompanying. “Call no man happy till he is dead,” says the sage. Never give thanks for tickets for an amateur play till the show is over. You don’t know what may be in store for you—and for us!

Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play—(or try to play).
Yours faithfully,
D. Jerrold.

Jerrold would perceive the germ of a retort before you had well begun to form your sentence, and would bring it forth in full blossom the instant you had done speaking. He had a way of looking straight in the face of one to whom he dealt a repartee, and with an expression of eye that seemed to ask appreciation of the point of the thing he was going to say, thus depriving it of personality or ill-nature. It was as if he called upon its object to enjoy it with him, rather than to resent its sharpness. There was a peculiar compression with a sudden curve or lift up of the lip that showed his own sense of the fun of the thing he was uttering, while his glance met his interlocutor’s with a firm, unflinching roguery and an
unfaltering drollery of tone that had none of the sidelong, furtive look and irritating tone of usual utterers of mere rough retorts. When an acquaintance came up to him and said, “Why, Jerrold, I hear you said my nose was like the ace of clubs!” Jerrold returned, “No, I didn’t; but now I look at it, I see it is very like.” The question of the actual resemblance was far less present to his mind than the neatness of his own turn upon the complainant. So with a repartee, which he repeated to us himself as having made on a particular occasion, evidently relishing the comic audacity, and without intending a spark of insolence. When the publisher of
Bentley’s Miscellany said to Jerrold, “I had some doubts about the name I should give the magazine; I thought at one time of calling it ‘The Wits’ Miscellany;’” “Well,” was the rejoinder, “but you needn’t have gone to the other extremity.” Knowing Jerrold, we feel that had the speaker been the most brilliant genius that ever lived the retort would have been the same, the patness having once entered his brain. He would drop his witticisms like strewed flowers, as he went on talking, lavishly, as one who possessed countless store; yet always with that glance of enjoyment in them himself, and of challenging your sympathetic relish for them in return which acknowledges the truth of the Shakespearian axiom, “A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear of him that hears it.” He illustrated his conversation, as it were, by these wit-blossoms cast in by the way. Speaking of a savage biting critic, Jerrold said, “Oh yes, he’ll review the book, as an east wind reviews an apple-tree.” Of an actress who thought inordinately well of herself, he said, “She’s a perfect whitlow of vanity.” And of a young writer who brought out his first raw specimen of author-
ship, Jerrold said, “He is like a man taking down his shop-shutters before he has any goods to sell.”

One of the pleasant occasions on which we met Douglas Jerrold was at a house where a dance was going on as we entered the room; and in a corner, near to the dancers, we saw him sitting, and made our way to his side. With her back towards where he and we sat was a pretty little shapely figure in pink silk, standing ready to begin the next portion of the quadrille; and be pointed towards it, saying,—

“Mrs. Jerrold is here to-night; there she is.

“Not like the figure of a grandmamma” was the laughing reply, for we had heard that a grandchild had just been born to them, and we thought of what we had once heard recounted of the first time he had seen her,—he, an impetuous lad of eighteen, just returned from sea,—and she, a girl with so neat and graceful a figure that as he beheld it he exclaimed, “That girl shall be my wife!” So mere a stripling was he when he married that he told us the clergyman who joined their hands, seeing the almost boyishly youthful look of the bridegroom, addressed a few kind and fatherly words to him after the ceremony, bidding him remember the serious duty he had undertaken of providing for a young girl’s welfare, and that he must remember her future happiness in life depended henceforth mainly upon him as her husband.

It was on that same evening that we are speaking of that Jerrold said, “I want to introduce you to a young poetess only nineteen years of age;” and took us into the next room, where was a young lady robed in simple white muslin, with light brown hair smoothly coiled round a well-formed head, and an air of grave and
queenly quiet dignity. She sat down to the piano at request, and accompanied herself in
Tennyson’s song of “Mariana in the Moated Grange,” singing with much expression and with a deep contralto voice. It was before she was known to the world as a prose writer, before she had put forth to the world her first novel of “The Ogilvies.”

Another introduction to a distinguished writer we owe to Douglas Jerrold. We had been to call upon him at his pretty residence, West Lodge, Putney Common, when we found him just going to drive himself into town in a little pony carriage he at that time kept. He made us accompany him; and as we passed through a turnpike on the road back to London we saw a gentleman approaching on horseback. Jerrold and he saluted each other, and then we were presented to him, and heard his name,—William Makepeace Thackeray. Many years after that his daughter, paying her first visit to Italy, was brought by a friend to see us in Genoa, and charmed us by the sweetness and unaffected simplicity of her manners.

That cottage at Putney—its garden, its mulberry-tree, its grass-plot, its cheery library, with Douglas Jerrold as the chief figure in the scene—remains as a bright and most pleasant picture in our memory. He had an almost reverential fondness for books—books themselves—and said he could not bear to treat them, or to see them treated, with disrespect. He told us it gave him pain to see them turned on their faces, stretched open, or dog’s-eared, or carelessly flung down, or in any way misused. He told us this holding a volume in his hand with a caressing gesture, as though he tendered it affectionately and gratefully for the pleasure it had given him. He spoke like one who had known what it was in former
years to buy a book when its purchase involved a sacrifice of some other object, from a not over-stored purse. We have often noticed this in book-lovers who, like ourselves, have had volumes come into cherished possession at times when their glad owners were not rich enough to easily afford book-purchases.
Charles Lamb had this tenderness for books; caring nothing for their gaudy clothing, but hugging a rare folio all the nearer to his heart for its worn edges and shabby binding. Another peculiarity with regard to his books Jerrold had, which was, that he liked to have them thoroughly within reach; so that, as he pointed out to us, he had the bookshelves which ran round his library walls at Putney carried no higher than would permit of easy access to the top shelf. Above this there was sufficient space for pictures, engravings, &c, and we had the pleasure of contributing two ornaments to this space, in the form of a bust of Shakespeare and one of Milton, on brackets after a design by Michael Angelo, which brought from dear Douglas Jerrold the following pleasant letter:—

Putney, August 8th.

My dear Mrs. Clarke,—I know not how best to thank you for the surprise you and Clarke put upon me this morning. These casts, while demanding reverence for what they represent and typify, will always associate with the feeling that of sincerest regard and friendship for the donors. These things will be very precious to me, and, I hope, for many a long winter’s night awaken frequent recollections of the thoughtful kindness that has made them my household gods. I well remembered the brackets, but had forgotten the master. But this is the gratitude of the world.

I hope that my girl will be able to be got ready for this quarter; but in a matter that involves the making, trimming, and fitting of gowns or frocks, it is not for one of my be-
nighted sex to offer a decided opinion. I can only timidly venture to believe that the young lady’s trunk will be ready in a few days.

Pandora’s box was only a box of woman’s clothes—with a Sunday gown at the bottom.—Yours truly,

Douglas Jerrold.

It was while Jerrold was living at West Lodge that he not only founded the Whittington Club, but also the Museum Club, which, when he asked us to belong to it, he said he wanted to make a mart where literary men could congregate, become acquainted, form friendships, discuss their rights and privileges, be known to assemble, and therefore could be readily found when required. “I want to make it,” he said, “a house of call for writers.” It was at Putney that Jerrold told us the amusing (and very characteristic) story of himself when he was at sea as a youngster. He and some officers on board had sent ashore a few men to fetch a supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, at some port into which the ship had put when she was on one of her voyages, and, on the boat’s return alongside, it was found that one of the men had decamped. The ship sailed without the runaway, and on her return to England Jerrold quitted the service. Some years after he was walking in the Strand, and saw a man with a baker’s basket on his shoulder staring in at a shop window, whom Jerrold immediately recognized as the deserter from the ship. He went up to the man, slapped him on the shoulder, and exclaimed, “I say! what a long time you’ve been gone for those cherries!” The dramatic surprise of the exclamation was quite in Jerrold’s way.

There was a delightful irony—an implied compliment beneath his sharp things—that made them exquisitely
agreeable. They were said with a spice of slyness, yet with a fully evident confidence that they would not be misunderstood by the person who was their object. When we went over to West Lodge after the opening of the Whittington Club, to take him a cushion for his library arm-chair, with the head of a cat that might have been
Dick Whittington’s own embroidered upon it, Jerrold turned to his wife, saying, “My dear, they have brought me your portrait.” And the smile that met his showed how well the woman who had been his devoted partner from youth comprehended the delicate force of the ironical jest which he could afford to address to her. In a similar spirit of pleasantry he wrote in the presentation copy of “Mrs. Caudle’s Curtain Lectures” which he gave to M. C. C.: “Presented with great timidity, but equal regard, to Mrs. Cowden Clarke.”

In 1848 was brought out a small pocket volume entitled “Shakespeare Proverbs; or, The Wise Saws of our Wisest Poet collected into a Modern Instance;” and its dedication ran thus: “To Douglas Jerrold, the first wit of the present age, these Proverbs of Shakespeare, the first wit of any age, are inscribed by Mary Cowden Clarke, of a certain age, and no wit at all.” This brought the following playful letter of acknowledgment:—

West Lodge, Putney, December 31st.

My dear Mrs. Clarke,—You must imagine that all this time I have been endeavouring to regain my breath, taken away by your too partial dedication. To find my name on such a page, and in such company, I feel like a sacrilegious knave who has broken into a church and is making off with the Communion plate. One thing is plain, Shakespeare had great obligations to you, but this last inconsiderate act has certainly cancelled them all. I feel that I ought never to speak or write again, but go down to the grave with my
thumb in my mouth. It is the only chance I have of not betraying my pauper-like unworthiness to the association with which you have—to the utter wreck of your discretion—astounded me.

The old year is dying with the dying fire whereat this is penned. That, however, you may have many, many happy years (though they can only add to the remorse for what you have done) is the sincere wish of yours truly (if you will not show the word to Clarke, I will say affectionately),

Douglas Jerrold.

When the “Concordance to Shakespeare” made its complete appearance, it was thus greeted:—

December 5th, West Lodge, Putney Common.

My dear Mrs. Clarke,—I congratulate you and the world on the completion ot your monumental work. May it make for you a huge bed of mixed laurels and bank-notes.

On your first arrival in Paradise you must expect a kiss from Shakespeare,—even though your husband should happen to be there.

That you and he, however, may long make for yourselves a Paradise here, is the sincere wish of—Yours truly,

Douglas Jerrold.

P.S. I will certainly hitch in a notice of the work in Punch, making it a special case, as we eschew Reviews.

The kind promise contained in the postscript to the above letter was fulfilled in the most graceful and ingenious manner by its writer, in a brilliant article he wrote some time after on “The Shakespeare Night” at Covent Garden Theatre, that took place the 7th December, 1847. After describing in glowing terms the festive look of the overflowing house, Jerrold proceeded:—“At a few minutes to seven, and quite unexpectedly, William Shakespeare, with his wife, the late Anne Hathaway, drove up to the private box door, drawn by
Pegasus, for that night only appearing in harness. . . . . Shakespeare was received—and afterwards lighted to his box—by his editors,
Charles Knight and Payne Collier, upon both of whom the poet smiled benignly; and saying some pleasant, commendable words to each, received from their hands their two editions of his immortality. And then from a corner Mrs. Cowden Clarke, timidly, and all one big blush, presented a play-bill, with some Hesperian fruit (of her own gathering). Shakespeare knew the lady at once; and, taking her two hands, and looking a Shakespearian look in her now pale face, said, in tones of unimaginable depth and sweetness, ‘But where is your book, Mistress Mary Clarke? Where is your Concordance?’ And, again, pressing her hands, with a smile of sun-lighted Apollo, said, ‘I pray you let me take it home with me.’ And Mrs. Clarke, having no words, dropped the profoundest ‘Yes,’ with knocking knees. ‘A very fair and cordial gentlewoman, Anne,’ said Shakespeare, aside to his wife; but Anne merely observed that ‘It was just like him; he was always seeing something fair where nobody else saw anything. The woman—odds her life!—was well enough.’ And Shakespeare smiled again!”

That sentence, of Shakespeare’s “always seeing something fair where nobody else saw anything,” is a profound piece of truth as well as wit; while the smile with which the poet is made to listen to his wife’s intolerance of hearing her husband praise another woman is perfectly Jerroldian in its sly hit at a supposed prevalent feminine foible.

Jerrold had a keen sense of personal beauty in women. In the very article above quoted he uses expressions in speaking of Shakespeare’s admiration for Mrs. Nesbitt’s
charms that strikingly evidence this point:—“Then taking a deep look—a very draught of a look—at Mrs. Nesbitt as Katherine, the poet turned to his wife and said, drawing his breath, ‘What a peach of a woman!’ Anne said nothing.” Here, too, again, he concludes with the Jerroldian sarcastic touch. In confirmation of the powerful impression that loveliness in women had upon his imagination, we remember his telling us with enthusiasm of the merits in the
Hon. Mrs. Norton’s poem “The Child of the Islands,” dilating on some of its best passages, and, adding that he had lately met her and spoken to her face to face; he concluded with the words “She herself is beautiful—even dangerously beautiful!”

Four letters we received from him were in consequence of an application that is stated in the first of them. The second mentions the wish of “the correspondent;” and this was that the letter in which the desired “two lines” were written should be sent without envelope, and on a sheet of paper that would bear the post-mark, as an evidence of genuineness. The third accepts the offer to share the promised “two ounces of Californian gold.” And the fourth was written with one of the two gold pens, which were the shape in which the promised “two ounces” were sent to England by the “Enthusiast:”—

West Lodge, Putney, October 10th, 1849.

My dear Mrs. Clarke,—I know a man who knows a man (in America) who says, “I would give two ounces of Californian gold for two lines written by Mrs. Cowden Clarke!” Will you write me two lines for the wise enthusiast? and, if I get the gold, that will doubtless be paid with the Pennsylvanian Bonds, I will struggle with the angel Conscience that you may have it—that is, if the angel get the best of it. But against angels there are heavy odds.

I hope you left father and mother well, happy, and com-
placent, in the hope of a century at least. I am glad you stopped at Nice, and did not snuff the shambles of Rome.
Mazzini, I hear, will be with us in a fortnight. European liberty is, I fear, manacled and gagged for many years. Nevertheless, in England, let us rejoice that beef is under a shilling a pound, and that next Christmas ginger will be hot i’ the mouth.

Remember me to Clarke. I intend to go one of these nights and sit beneath him.—Yours faithfully,

Douglas Jerrold.
October 19th, 1849, Putney.

My dear Mrs. Clarke,—Will you comply with the wish of my correspondent? The Yankees, it appears, are suspicious folks. I thought them Arcadians.—Truly yours,

Douglas Jerrold.
West Lodge, Putney Common, February 22nd, 1850.

My dear Mrs. Clarke,—I will share anything with you, and can only wish—at least for myself—that the matter to be shared came not in so pleasant a shape as that dirt in yellow gold. I have heard naught of the American, and would rather that his gift came brightened through you than from his own hand. The savage, with glimpses of civilization, is male.

Do you read the Morning Chronicle? Do you devour those marvellous revelations of the inferno of misery, ot wretchedness that is smouldering under our feet? We live in a mockery of Christianity that, with the thought of its hypocrisy, makes me sick. We know nothing of this terrible life that is about us—us, in our smug respectability. To read of the sufferings of one class, and of the avarice, the tyranny, the pocket cannibalism of the other, makes one almost wonder that the world should go on, that the misery and wretchedness of the earth are not, by an Almighty fiat, ended. And when we see the spires of pleasant churches pointing to Heaven, and are told—paying thousands to bishops for the glad intelligence—that we are Christians! the cant of this country is enough to poison the atmosphere.
I send you the Chronicle of yesterday. You will therein read what I think you will agree to be one of the most beautiful records of the nobility of the poor: of those of whom our jaunty legislators know nothing; of the things made in the statesman’s mind, to be taxed—not venerated. I am very proud to say that these papers of “Labour and the Poor” were projected by
Henry Mayhew, who married my girl. For comprehensiveness of purpose and minuteness of detail they have never been approached. He will cut his name deep. From these things I have still great hopes. A revival movement is at hand, and—you will see what you’ll see. Remember me with best thoughts to Clarke, and believe me yours sincerely,

Douglas Jerrold.
Putney, February 25th, 1850.

My dear Mrs. Clarke,—Herewith I send you my “first copy,” done in, I presume, American gold. Considering what American booksellers extract from English brains, even the smallest piece of the precious metal is, to literary eyes, refreshing. I doubt, however, whether these gold pens really work; they are pretty holiday things, but to earn daily bread with, I have already my misgivings that I must go back to iron. To be sure, I once had a gold pen that seemed to write of itself, but this was stolen by a Cinderella who, of course, could not write even with that gold pen. Perhaps, however, the Policeman could.

That the Chronicle did not come was my blunder. I hope ’twill reach you with this, and with it my best wishes and affectionate regards to you and flesh and bone of you.

Truly ever,
Douglas Jerrold.

The next note evinces how acutely Jerrold felt the death of excellent Lord George Nugent: the wording is solemn and earnest as a low-toned passing-bell:—

Putney, December 2nd, 1850.

My dear Clarke,—I have received book, for which
thanks, and best wishes for that and all followers. Over a sea-coal fire, this week—all dark and quiet outside—I shall enjoy its flavour. Best regards, I mean love, to the authoress. Poor dear
Nugent! He and I became great friends: I’ve had many happy days with him at Lilies. A noble, cordial man; and—the worst of it—his foolish carelessness of health has flung away some ten or fifteen years of genial winter—frosty, but kindly. God be with him, and all yours.

Truly yours,
D. Jerrold.

There was a talk at one time of his going into Parliament; and at a dinner-table where he was the subject was discussed, there chancing to be present several members of the house, some of them spoke of the very different thing it was to address a company under usual circumstances and to “address the House,” observing what a peculiarly nervous thing it was to face that assembly, and that few men could picture to themselves the difficulty till they had actually encountered it. Jerrold averred that he did not think he should feel this particular terror: then turning to the Parliamentary men present round the dinner-table, he counted them all, and said, “There are ten of you members of Parliament before me; I suppose you don’t consider yourselves the greatest fools in the house, and yet I can’t say that I feel particularly afraid of addressing you.”

We have a portrait of Douglas Jerrold, which he himself sent to us; and which we told him we knew must be an excellent likeness, for we always found ourselves smiling whenever we looked at it. A really good likeness of a friend we think invariably produces this effect. The smile may be glad, fond, tender—nay, even mournful: but a smile always comes to the lip in looking upon a truly close resemblance of a beloved face.


Jerrold was occasionally a great sufferer from rheumatic pains, which attacked him at intervals under various forms. The following letter adverts to one of these severe inflictions; at the same time that it is written in his best vein of animation and vigour of feeling:—

Friday, Putney.

My dear Clarke,—I have but a blind excuse to offer tor my long silence to your last: but the miserable truth is, I have been in darkness with acute inflammation of the eye; something like toothache in the eye—and very fit to test a man’s philosophy; when he can neither read nor write, and has no other consolation save first to discover his own virtues, and when caught to contemplate them. I assure you it’s devilish difficult to put one’s hand upon one’s virtue in a dark room. As well try to catch fleas in “the blanket o’ the dark.” By this, however, you will perceive that I have returned to paper and ink. The doctor tells me that the inflammation fell upon me from an atmospheric blight, rife in these parts three weeks ago. I think I caught it at Hyde Park Corner, where for three minutes I paused to see the Queen pass after being fired at. She looked very well, and—as is not always the case with women—none the worse for powder. To be sure, considering they give princesses a salvo of artillery with their first pap—they ought to stand saltpetre better than folks who come into the world without any charge to the State—without even blank charge.

Your friend of the beard is, I think, quite right. When God made Adam he did not present him with a razor, but a wife. ’Tis the d—d old clothesmen who have brought discredit upon a noble appendage of man. Thank God we’ve revenge for this. They’ll make some of ’em members of Parliament.

I purpose to break in upon you some early Sunday, to kiss the hands of your wife, and to tell you delightful stories of the deaths of kings. How nobly Mazzini is behaving! And what a cold, calico cur is John Bull, as—I fear—too truly rendered by the Times. The French are in a nice mess. Heaven in its infinite mercy confound them!—Truly yours,

Douglas Jerrold.

And now we give the last letter, alas! that we ever received from him. It is comforting in its hearty valedictory words: yet how often did we—how often do we still—regret that his own yearning to visit the south could never be fulfilled! He is among those whom we most frequently find ourselves wishing could behold this Italian matchless view that lies now daily before our eyes. That his do behold it with some higher and diviner power of sight than belongs to earthly eyes is our constant, confident hope:—

26, Circus Road, St. John’s Wood, October 20th, 1856.

My dear friends,—I have delayed an answer to your kind letter (for I cannot but see in it the hands and hearts of both) in the hope of being able to make my way to Bayswater. Yesterday I had determined, and was barred, and barred, and barred by droppers-in, the Sabbath-breakers! Lo, I delay no longer. But I only shake hands with you for a time, as it is my resolute determination to spend nine weeks at Nice next autumn with my wife and daughter. I shall give you due notice of the descent, that we may avail ourselves of your experience as to “location,” as those savages the Americans yell in their native war-whoop tongue.

Therefore, God speed ye safely to your abiding-place, where I hope long days of serenest peace may attend ye. Believe me ever truly yours,

Douglas Jerrold.
Charles Cowden
Mary Victoria Clarke.