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and himself whistling over a beautiful picture that he was finishing at his easel, with a bottle of gin hung upon one side, and a live mouse sitting for its portrait on the other." I must, however, abate the pathetic of this scene. Morland lived and died childless; consequently, the infant dead in the coffin, and the ass and its foal eating straw out of the cradle, must be dismissed from the group.
It may be safer to select a few anecdotes from Hassell, his intimate friend. This person's first introduction to Morland was in character. “As I was walking," he says, “ towards Paddington on a summer morning, to inquire about the health of a relation, I saw a man posting on before me with a sucking-pig, which he carried in his arms like a child. The piteous squeaks of the little animal, and the singular mode of conveyance, drew spectators to door and window; the person, however, who carried it minded no one, but to every dog that barked-and there were not a few-he set down the pig, pitted him against the dog, and then followed the chase which was sure to ensue. In this manner he went through several streets in Mary-le-bone, and at last, stopping at the door of one of my friends, was instantly admitted. I also knocked and ena tered, but my surprise was great on finding this original sitting with the pig still under his arm, and still greater when I was introduced to Morland the painter.”
A mutual friend, at whose house Morland resided when in the Isle of Wight, having set out for London, left an order with an acquaintance in Cowes to give the painter his own price for whatever works. he might please to send. The pictures were accompanied by a regular solicitation for cash in propora tion, or according to the nature of the subject. At length a small but very highly finished drawing arrived, and as the sum demanded seemed out of all proportion with the size of the drawing, the con
scientious agent transmitted the piece to London and stated the price. The answer by post was, “ Pay what is asked, and get as many others as you can at the same price.” There is not one sketch in the collection thus made but what would now produce. thrice its original cost.
One evening Hassell and some friends were returning to town from Hampstead, when Morland accosted them in the character of a mounted patrole, wearing the parish great-coat, girded with a broad black belt, and a pair of pistols depending. He hailed them with “horse patrole !" in his natural voice; they recognised him and laughed heartily, upon which he entreated them to stop at the Mother Red Cap, a well known public-house, till he joined them. He soon made his appearance in his proper dress, and gave way to mirth and good-fellowship. On another occasion he paid a parishioner, who was drawn for constable, to be permitted to serve in his place; he billetted soldiers during the day, and presided in the constable's chair at night. At another time, having promised to paint a picture for M. de Calonne, he seemed unwilling to begin, but was stimulated by the following stratagem. Opposite to his house in Paddington was the White Lion; Hassell directed two of his friends to breakfast there, and instructed them to look anxiously towards the artist's windows and occasionally walk up and down before the house. He then waited on Morland, who only brandished his brush at the canvass and refused to work. After waiting some time, Hassell went to the window, and affected surprise at seeing two strangers gazing intently at the artist's house. Morland looked at them earnestly-declared they were bailiffs, who certainly wanted him and ordered the door to be bolted. Hassell, having secured him at home, showed him the money for his work, and so dealt with him that the picture was completed, a landscape and six figures, one of his best produce
tions, in six hours. He then paid him, and relieved his apprehensions respecting the imaginary bailiffs : Morland laughed heartily. He considered it as a kind of pleasant interruption to the monotony of painting and drinking, that he was apprehended as a spy at Yarmouth, and subjected to a sharp examination. The drawings which he had made on the shores of the Isle of Wight were considered as confirmations of guilt; he was honoured, therefore, with an escort of soldiers and constables to Newport, and there confronted by a bench of justices. At his explanation they shook their heads, laid a strict injunction upon him to paint and draw no more in that neighbourhood, and dismissed him. On another occasion, he was on his way from Deal, and Williams, the engraver, was his companion. The extravagance of the preceding evening had fairly emptied their pockets; weary, hungry, and thirsty, they arrived at a small alehouse by the way-side: they hesitated to enter. Morland wistfully reconnoitred the house, and at length accosted the landlord6 Upon my life, I scarcely knew it; is this the Black Bull?" "To be sure it is, master," said the landlord, “there's the sign.” “Ay! the board is there, I grant,” replied our wayfarer, “but the Black Bull is vanished and gone. I will paint you a capital new one for a crown." The landlord consented and placed a dinner and drink before this restorer of signs, to which the travellers did immediate justice. “ Now, landlord,” said Morland,“ take your horse, and ride into Canterbury-it is but a little wayand buy me proper paint and a good brush." He went on his errand with a grudge, and returned with the speed of thought, for fear that his guests should depart in his absence. By the time that Morland had painted the Black Bull, the reckoning had risen to ten shillings, and the landlord reluctantly allowed them to go on their way; but not, it is said, without exacting a promise that the remainder of the money should be paid with the first opportunity. The painter, on his arrival in town, related this adventure in the Hole-in-the-Wall, Fleet Street. A person who overheard him, mounted his horse, rode into Kent, and succeeded in purchasing the Black Bull from this Kentish Boniface for ten guineas.
A bailiff, more subtle than his brethren, succeeded in arresting Morland. Fallen as he was, and discovered by the officer wallowing in a sty of filth and debauchery, his talents still found him friends, by whose recommendation and influence he obtained the Rules of the Bench. “This ill-fated artist," says Hassell," seemed to have possessed two minds -one, the animated soul of genius, by which he rose in his profession-and the other, that debased and grovelling propensity, which condemned him to the very abyss of dissipation.” In his new abode of misery, among the wreck of proud fortunes and high hopes, in the company of some whom prodia gality had utterly ruined, and of others who had only retired hither that they might live in affluence in spite of their just creditors, Morland was found by Hassell; he was not only content, but, like Tam O'Shanter in his glory, conceived himself victorious over all the ills of life. Even here he could jest and revel, indulge the wildest whims, and luxuriate in oddities and caprices.
Even amid misery and recklessness like this, the spirit of industry did not forsake him, nor did his taste or his skill descend with his fortunes. One day's work would have purchased him a week's sustenance; yet he laboured every day, and as skilfully and beautifully as ever. His favourite companion in his retreat was a waterman, whom, by way of distinction, Morland called “My Dicky;" and Dicky was now the established vender of his pictures. If chance detained the purchaser of a bespoke painting beyond the time he promised to send for it, “ My Dicky” was instantly despatched with it to the
pawnbroker's. Dicky once carried a picture wet from the easel, with a request for the advance of three guineas upon it. The pawnbroker paid the money; but in carrying it into the room his foot slipped, and the head and fore parts of a hog were obliterated. The money-changer returned the picture with a polite note, requesting the artist to restore the damaged part. “My Dicky !” exclaimed Morland, “ an that's a good one! but never mind !" He reproduced the hog in a few minutes, and said, 6 There'! go back and tell the pawnbroker to advance me five guineas more upon it, and if he won't, say I shall proceed against him; the price of the picture is thirty guineas." The demand was complied with.
For Spencer of Bow Street he painted several pictures; one of the best was a straw-yard; it had evidently cost him some pains, and he was no lover of minute work. He had introduced accordingly a raven seated on a straw-rack, and written on ihe rail under its feet, “No more straw-yards for me, G. Morland." The multitude of his orders induced him to neglect the finishing of many of his pictures, and the purchasers, glad to get them as they were, employed some second-rate hand to glaze up the foreground; “But this,” observes Hassell, so was confined to picture-dealers, whose skill lay in supplying half-worn landscapes with new skies, and in cracking and varnishing new historical pictures to produce the appearance of antiquity." His common price, when in confinement, was " four guineas per day with his drink ;" and his employer sat down beside him telling pleasant stories and pouring out liquor till the time expired. It often required some skill to obtain a good day's work; for the glass was apt to be in his fingers in the morning before the pencil, and he continued to handle both alternately till he had painted as much as he pleased, or till the liquor got the better, when he claimed his wages, and business closed for the day.