+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

duello are strictly adhered to, the defeated
combatant being carried away in the arms of his
seconds after a fashion with which any gentleman
let alone a frogmight be "satisfied."

But the gentleman whose productions are the
subject of this critical analysis has not limited
his studies entirely to frog tribe. Ready to
enlist any real "talent," wherever it is to be
found, native or otherwise, he has secured the
services of an orchestra of squirrels. A more
fascinating band of performers than these little
bright-eyed innocents, sitting up in a row upon
their tails and fiddling away with their music-books
spread out before them, can hardly be
imagined. But they are none of themno, not
even the squirrel with his head on one side,
listening critically to his own playingnot one of
them, we say, is equal to a very little mouse,
playing on the violin in a corner all by himself,
and who evidently finds, in the resources of his
art, consolation for being thus sent to Coventry
by the squirrels, and totally ignored by the

But, after all, M. Verreaux's heart is evidently
with the frogs, and he is not long, after this
temporary dalliance with the squirrels, in getting
back to his old favourites. So we have next in
order a companion to the Modern Midnight
Conversation of Hogarth, in the shape of a frog
orgie, which is not calculated to do as much
for the cause of temperance, however, as might
be expected, because the frogs really have a look
of such extraordinary enjoyment, are such
convivial and such extremely pleasant fellows to
look at, that the spectator really longs to join
them. It is curious how the frog externally
lends himself to conviviality, with his round
bloated body, and his thin staggering legs, and
his blotchy complexion. A couple of these
gentlemen madly dancing, arm-in-arm, one with
a pipe stuck in the corner of his mouth, the
other flourishing a bottle over his head, present
a picture of jollity which the reader may rest
assured it is highly corrupting to the morals to
behold. There are, however, elements in this
scene which are intended to correct any such
disastrous influences, and Mr. George
Cruikshank, himself, might be satisfied with the
drunkard who is sprawling on the floor (which
is stained, by-the-by, all over with wine), or
with him who is grasping madly at the broken
bottle; not to speak of that very horrible frog
in the corner, in whom excess has produced a
series of symptoms not wholly different from
those which are developed in sensitive subjects
by the voyage from Dover to Calais.

Away dashes our artist from the convivial to
the sentimental, from the tavern to the grove,
and gives us a pair of lovers under a tree. This
is evidently the original Froggy "who would a
wooing go," and on whom a desperate retribution
is about to fall for his obstinacy, for as he
kneels at the feet of his beloved, who is turning
her head bashfully away, an invidious frog in
the background, who may be either a rival or a
male relative doubtful of Froggy's "intentions,"
is aiming a terrific blow at him with a club of
formidable size and weight. It is pleasant after
this to see another pair of lovers of a more
prosperous order, who, unmolested by any rivals or
male relatives, are exchanging vows in a scene
of sylvan innocence; the lady with uplifted
forefinger cautioning Froggy, as he kneels at her feet,
to remember the important nature of the
protestations which he is making, and to promise
nothing which he is not quite sure he can

With this tranquil and delicious scene fresh
in our minds we will take leave of the Verreaux
troupe, sincerely congratulating their proprietor,
not only on the extraordinary perfection which
he has attained in the art of preparing and
stuffing these little animals, but much more on
his keen perception of the dramatic capabilities
of the frog, and his powers of developing them.
It is almost worth the trouble of taking a
journey to Paris to learn what a funny fellow a
frog is, and what profundities of satirical power
lie hid under his seemingly contemptible


NOT a word. I hate the subject. Convict
service! Convict discipline! Bah! a worn-out,
dull, dreary, hopeless tale.

But if I can show you, at the hazard of being
dull only for a few minutessay, five or six at
the outsidethat the system as it at present
exists is open to the gravest objections, and
fails of accomplishing any of the aims for which
it was principally designed, surely you will listen
to me?

Will you swear to be short?

I promise. I abstain, therefore, from entering
into any of the statistics which lie ready to
my hand, and by which it is distinctly and
incontrovertibly shown that whilst, during the
last ten years, the class of minor offences
punished in the ordinary jails of the country
have diminished by very nearly a full third, the
heavier offences, punishable in the penal prisons
to which the system of convict discipline is
applied, have remained almost stationary in
amount, or, if they have diminished at all, have
diminished only in so slight a degree as to be
scarcely appreciable.

Well, what do you infer from that?

Naturally, that the penal prisons, notwithstanding
their supposed terrors, are in truth less
formidable to the vicious than the common
county and borough gaols.

An instance. Come, give me an instance.

I suppose you will not dispute the testimony
of such a man as the Deputy-Governor of the
convict prison at Chatham. In a pamphlet he
has recently published, MR. MEASOR says, "I
found last year a man in Kirkdale jail, who,
having been discharged from Portsmouth
convict prison, had again fallen into crime, and
being sentenced to two years' imprisonment,
candidly expressed to me his regret that he had
not been sent back to a convict prison, saying
that he would willingly have done at least three