describes ; neither do we want his effigy of a man under the gallows to remind us of what we must all come to. Your's,


The letter from Urania breathes the full spirit of that amiable ambition, which at present seems generally to inspire our heroines of the Atage to accept of none but shining characters, and never to present themselves to the public but as illustrious models of purity and grace. If virtue be thus captivating by resemblance only, how beautiful must it be in the reality! I cannot however help pitying the unknown poet, whose hopes were dasht with the following rebuke.


- I have run my eye over your tragedy, and am beyond measure surprized you could think of als Jotting a part to me, which is so totally unamiable. Sir, I neither can, nor will, appear in any public character, which is at variance with my private one ; and, though I have no objection to your scene of self.murder, and flatter myself I could do it justice, yet my mind revolts from spilling any blood but my own.

I confess there are many fine passages and some very striking situations, that would fall to my lot in your drama, but permit me to tell you, Sir, that until you can clear up the legitimacy of the child, you have been pleased therein to lay at my door, and will find a father for it, whom I may not blush to own for a husband, you must never hope for the assistance of your humble servant.



The other letter is addreffed to the fame unfortunate poet from an artist, who seems to have ftudied nature in her deformities only.

Dear Dismal, I wait with impatience to hear of the success of your tragedy, and in the mean time have worked off a frontispiece for it, that you, who bave a paffion for the terrific, will be perfectly charmed with.

I am seandalized when I hear people say that the fine arts are protected in this country; nothing can be farther from the truth, as I am one amongst many to witness. Painting I presume will not be disputed to be one of the fine arts, and I may say without vanity I have some pretensions to rank with the best of my brethren in that profession.

My firit studies were carried on in the capital of a certain county, where I was born ; and being determined to chuse a striking subject for my debût in the branch of portrait-painting, I persuaded my grandmother to fit to me, and I am bold to say there was great merit in my picture, considering it as a maiden production ; particularly in the execution of a hair-mole upon her chin, and a wart under her eye, which I touched to such a nicety, as to make every body start, who cast their eyes upon the canvass.

There was a little dwarfish lad in the parish, who besides the deformity of his perfon, had a remarkable hare-lip, which exposed to view a broken row of discoloured teeth, and was indeed a very brilliant subject for a painter of effect : I gave a fulllength of him, that was executed so to the lise, as to turn the stomach of every body, who looked upon it.

At At this time there came into our town a travelling show-man, who amongst other curiosities of the savage kind brought with him a man-ape, or Ourang.outang ; and this person, having seen and admired my portrait of the little hump-backed dwarf, employed me to take the figure of his celebrated suvage for the purpose of displaying it on the outside of his booth. Such an occasion of introducing my art into notice, spurred my genius to extraordinary exertions, and though I must premise that the savage was not the best sitter in the world, yet I flatter myself I acquitted myself to the satisfaction of his keeper and did justice to the ferocity of my subject : I caught him in one of his most striking attitudes, standing erect with a huge club in his paw : I put every muscle into play, and threw such terrific dignity into his features, as would not have disgraced the character of a Nero or Caligula. I was happy to observe the general notice which was taken of my performance by all the country folks who resorted to the show, and I believe my employer had no cause to repent of his having set me upon the work.

The figure of this animal with the club in his paw suggested a hint to a publican in the place of treating his ale-house with a new ign, and as he had been in the service of a noble family, who from ancient time have borne the Bear and ragged staff for their creít, he gave me a commission to provide him with a sign to that effect: Though I spared no pains to get a real bear to sit to me for his portrait, my endeavours proved abortive, and I was forced to resort to such common prints of that animal as I could obtain, and trusted to my imagination for supplying what else might be wanted for the piece:


As I worked upon this capital design in the room, where my grandmother's portrait was before my eyes, it occurred to me to introduce the same hairmole into the whiskers of Bruin, which I had so fuccessfully copied from her chin, and certainly the thought was a happy one, for it had a picturesque effect ; but in doing this I was naturally enough, though undesignedly, betrayed into give ing such a general resemblance to the good dame in the rest of Bruin's features, that when it came to be exhibited on the sign.poft all the people cried out upon the likeness, and a malicious rumour ran through the town, that I had painted my grand. mother instead of the bear ; which lost me the favour of that indulgent relation, though Heaven knows I was as innocent of the intention as the child unborn.

The disgust my grandmother conceived against her likeness with the ragged staff, gave me incre. dible uneasiness, and as she was a good customer to the landlord and much respected in the place, he was induced to return the bear upon my hands. I am now thinking to what use I can turn him, and as it occurs to me, that by throwing a little more authority into his features, and gilding his chain, be might very pollibly hit the likeness of some lord mayor of London in his fur-gown and gold chain, and make a respectable figure in some city hall, I am willing to dispose of him to any such at an easy price.

As I have also preserved a sketch of my famous Ourang.Outang, a thought has struck me that with a few finishing touches he might easily be converted into a Caliban for the Tempeit, and, when ihat is done I shall not totally despair of his obtaining a niche in the Shakspeare gallery.

It has been common with the great masters Rubens, Vandyke, Sir Joshua Reynolds and others, when they paint a warrior, or other great personage, on horseback, to throw a dwarf, or some such contrasted figure into the back-ground : Should any artist be in want of such a thing, I can very readily fupply him with my hare-lipped boy ; if otherwise, I am not totally without hopes that he may fuit fome Spanish grandee, when any such shall visit this country upon his travels, or in the character of ambassador from that. iHustrious court.

Before I conclude I shall beg leave to observe, that I have a complete set of ready-made devils, that would do honour to Saint Antony, or any other person, who may be in want of such accompaniments to set off the self-denying virtues of his character: I have also a fine parcel of mur. dered innocents, which I meant to have filled up with the story of Herod; but if any gentleman thinks fit to lay the scene in Ghent, and make a modern composition of it, I am bold to say my pretty babes will not disgrace the pathos of the subject, nor violate the Costuma. I took a notable sketch of a man hanging, and seized him just in the dying twitches, before the last stretch gave a stiffness and rigidity unfavourable to the human figure ; this I would willingly accommodate to the wishes of any lady, who is desirous of preserving a portrait of her lover, friend or husband in that interesting attitude.

These, cum multis aliis, are part of my stock on hand, and I hope, upon my arrival at my lodgings in Blood-bowl alley, to exhibit them with much credit to myself, and to the entire satisfaction of


« ElőzőTovább »