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not one collection but a constant at the right moment a Raffaelle or succession, and of every quality, a Prudhon. It is clear at any rate, good, bad, and tolerable, as well as M. Burty concludes, that this mansometimes better and best.
ner of procedure is most likely to The Christie who built the rooms have with us French a favourable in King Street, and who, as influence upon the proceeds of the Frenchman might say, created the sale. place, died just sixty years ago. It With us English also, it would is recorded of him in the contem- seem, from stray allusions in old porary obituary that 'with an easy books and journals, that once upon and gentlemanlike flow of eloquence, a time some such management was he possessed, in a great degree, the almost as much the custom at Lonpower of persuasion.' The visitor don picture sales as it is now at . will feel that the power of persua
those of the Hôtel Drouot. At the sion' has been inherited 'in a great present day, however, we are condegree' by the great man's descend- tent to leave to the auctioneers and ants and successors, but he will their experts of the neighbourhood witness little 'flow of eloquence' of St. Paul's or Leicester Square from the King Street rostrum now. this study of the gradations of enThat seems to have departed from thusiasm in their bidders, for whose our high-class auction-rooms with behoof a Raffaelle or a Morlandthe late George Robins. One of Prudhon, it is to be feared, would the things in our art-auctions most be a name unknown to them-is noticed by our more demonstrative always available at the right moneighbours across the Channel is ment. Elsewhere we are content the quiet, orderly way in which the as we are. However it may be in sale is conducted. As M. René Paris, it is pretty clear, from the Gersaint, an avowed admirer of our prices they fetch, that in London system, writes in the 'Gazette des good pictures little need any.expert Beaux-Arts,' The affair proceeds jockeying. without gesticulation or outcry (but The prices obtained for works of then those English abominate all art in the auction-room during the unnecessary noise), every article last few years, have, indeed, been being put up and sold strictly in very remarkable and suggestive, the order of the catalogue.' Very whether regarded as tests of an true, retorts M. Ph. Burty, an op- actual advance in their value, or as ponent of M. Gersaint and his an indication of the fluctuations of Anglomania—very true, but this taste and the influence of fashion. wouldn't suit the latitude of Paris. Look, for example, at the Bicknell Your cold and sensible English sale of the last season, where & auctioneer addresses a public as hundred English pictures sold for sensible and as cold. Between the 55,000l., their cost to Mr. Bicknell Parisian sales, so animated, noisy, having been less than half that and picturesque, and those silent, sum: and it was not less remarkable regular, and economic London ones, as a sign of the times that the printhere is, I grant, as much difference cipal purchaser was a Manchester as there is between French humour picture-dealer, who bought to the and British temperament. But I extent of upwards of 30,000!., and confess I prefer our excited, variable, that in the very height of the cotton Parisian sales to those frigid, orderly famine! London ones, which follow an ar- Take another illustration. One rangement as precise and preor- morning-it was the 8th of June, dained as a railway time-table. In- 1774—whilst Sir Joshua Reynolds stead of having a picture sacrificed was painting the portrait of a young like a mere piece of merchandise, I bride, Lady
Carysfort, the husband, am content to see the Parisian ex- in sauntering round the paintings pert studying the gradations of room, took å liking to a couple of enthusiasm in his public, and inter- pictures. They were both portraits
; rupting the puerile order of the but then they were 'fancy portraits' catalogue in order to bring forward -one being the likeness of a merry
little girl, in semi-rustic costume, relentless hammer, and was knocked
Strawberry Girl' was purchased pictures, prints, gems, vases, what-
sermons in stones and canvas. As It is not, however, always in one it is, and lying ready on the surface, way that the current runs. My recent art-auction prices are older readers will remember a line curious and suggestive in many engraving that had some popularity ways that it is surprising no one in its day: the subject · Calandrino has thought of bringing together the and his Companions '—the unlucky more remarkable of them. No one, wight of Boccaccio's story, who, fan- however, having done so, suppose cying he has found the Eliotropia we jot down a few. An exhaustive and become invisible, is receiving list-even a moderately full listwith rueful satisfaction the buffets of is of course out of the question in his wicked companions, who pretend a paper of this kind. But we may they cannot see him: the painter, pick out here and there an example, H. P. Briggs, R.A. The picture say of the highest prices, in each of was a large one, almost gallery size, the several classes sufficient for and when exhibited was thought comparison and fairly comprehenvery fine. What was paid for it I sive and thus furnish as suitable, don't know. But it was engraved: perhaps as agreeable, a conclusion, it found a purchaser; and a promi- or at the least one that will be as nent place in the drawing-room of little tedious, as any other to this a serjeant learned in the law. Well, desultory paper. But it must be the years rolled on. In the spring in a second part: the last line of of 1859 it was submitted to Christie's this is run out.)
NOTHING would be more delight-
' And have lots of adventures.'
Perhaps have some trifling balance to the good.'
Why trifling? Very likely make a couple of hundred each.'
* Couple of hundred-oh, come!
. Why not? Giving it six times a week, and clearing only rol. per night, that's 60l. a week. Six sixties three hundred and sixty. I put it at the lowest; supposing we take zol.' * True. It will be great fun!'
Great fun! The speakers were my old friend and schoolmate, Jack Bradley and myself. We had been thinking how we should spend the vacation accorded by a grateful country and the chiefs of our department. Accidentally, we mentioned the name of the late Albert Smith, which led naturally to that of Mr. Woodin, which led to Charles Mathews's, which led to the German Reeds', John Parry's, the Howard Pauls', and Arthur Sketchley's.
Why not?' I said, rapidly, as if under the influence of sudden inspiration. Why not go about and give an entertainment ?
And indeed, why not? We had
seen all the entertainments, and it seemed easy enough to do—from the stalls.
Both Jack and I were rather celebrities as amateur actors. The back drawing-rooms of Bayswater and Kensington had long been the theatres of our triumphs. In the neighbourhood of Pimlico I was the Fechter, or Alfred Wigan, of private life, as Jack the Mario, Giuglini, or Sims Reeves of Westbourne Grove. We often regretted that our obscure lot was cast in a humdrum, horse-in-themill Government office, and longed for the brilliant triumphs of the theatre; its large emoluments, incessant excitement, and consequent peace of mind, comfort, and enjoyment.
I am sorry to have to force upon my reader å knowledge of the full extent of my accomplishments, but the conduct of my story compels me. I was not only a famous actor (amateur), I was also an author. Yes; on me had fallen the mantle of Molière, and of Shakspere, and I served the Tragic and the Comic Muses in the double capacity. No one who knows them will accuse amateur actors of egotism, and I think I may fearlessly assert that I was equally excellent as creator as executant; and for the correctness of my statement, I refer my readers to the numerous circle of friends who have so often partaken of my mother's hospitality previous to my private public performances.
I was to write the entertainment, and to speak it. It was to be 'illustrated' with about a dozen songsEnglish, Scotch, Irish, Italian, French, German, and Welsh. We were not to assume characters, or change our costume, but to act in our customary evening suits of solemn black. We arranged this as being not only an economical, but a gentlemanly thing.
If we asked out — say to the lord-lieutenant's-we could slip away after dinner, delight our audiences for a couple of hours, and return.
And apropos of the lord-lieutenant: we did not venture to start in England, where we were known, nor in Scotland, where we had re
VOL. V.-NO. XXIX.
lations; we therefore resolved to begin our campaign in Ireland-to commence in the provinces, gain confidence as we progressed to the cities, and finally bear down in triumph upon Dublin.
We often used to dispute as to who originated the idea of our tour. I need hardly say that the suggestion came from me.
' It was my notion,' Jack would say.
No. It was mine.' • Mine.'
Poor Bradley had but one fault, and that was an extraordinary and monstrous egotism.
We sneaked up a dirty lane that led to a printing-office, and ordered our posters. They were in two long strips, on one of which was printed
MELODIES OF M and on the other
* ANY LANDS, THIS EVENING.' which with the words 'with Patter and Chatter on every Matter,' was the title of our entertainment—an alliterative jingle, which, printed in large capitals, would look proudly in the bills. I shall never forget our delight at the first proof of our posters, which were on green and yellow paper - a delicate compliment to the opinions of all classes of our prospective patrons.
I wrote and committed to memory. Jack selected music, practised, and in time we were perfect. And with light hearts, heavy boxes, a few pounds in our porte-monnaies—not forgetting the glorious green and yellow posters — we started for Dublin via Holyhead.
While walking down Dame Street, we met Desmond O'Sullivan, who had formerly been in our office. Desmond was a thorough Dublin man, with the Dublin man's hat, the Dublin man's back, and the Dublin man's look; half-benevolent, half-blagueur. To him we imparted our intentions.
'Is it to give an entertainment ?' said he, highly amused with the idea.
We mentioned that we intended to throw off' ata town, which I will call here Shandranaghan.