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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/586

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [io s. XIL DEC. is, im


On Smith's showing the sketch to Thackeray, the latter said, " What a lovely design ! I hope you have given the man a good cheque for it." Smith states that " the only complaint that has ever been made against the design is that the sower shown in it is sowing with his left hand. But a sower uses his hands alternately. He goes down the row scattering with his right hand, and as he comes back he scatters with his left.' 1 Smith was in the country just after the criticism on the design appeared in the papers, and actually saw a man sowing with his left hand ; and, says Smith, " of course I made the most of the circumstance."'

Thackeray remained editor only to March, 1862, when he suddenly resigned. ' He " was far too tender-hearted to be happy as an editor. He could not say ' No * without himself suffering a pang as keen as that inflicted by his ' No * on the rejected con- tributor. He would take pains such as, I believe, few editors have ever taken to soften his refusal.** Thackeray poured out his sorrows as an editor in one of his " Roundabout Papers, 54 ' Thorns in the Cushion.' In his farewell address he stated that, though editor no more, he hoped " long to remain to contribute to my friend's magazine." This hope was realized up to the moment of his sudden death on the 23rd of December, 1863.

On Thackeray's withdrawal from the editorship the office was temporarily placed in commission. Lewes and Mr. Frederick Greenwood aided Smith in conducting the magazine. In 1864 Lewes retired, and Mr. Greenwood became sole editor ; but in 1868 other work compelled him to resign, and he was followed by Button Cook.

In 1871 Leslie Stephen became editor, but in 1882 other duties caused him to with- draw. James Payn succeeded him, filling, as before, the position of the firm's reader in addition. With a view to converting The Cornhill into an illustrated repertory of popular fiction, Payn induced Smith to reduce its price to sixpence. The magazine was one of the earliest monthly periodicals to appear at that price. The first number under the new conditions was issued in July, 1883 ; but the public did not appre- ciate the change, and on Payn retiring from the editorial chair in 1896, The Cornhill returned to its old tradition and the old price of one shilling. Mr. Reginald J. Smith, K.C., is the present editor, with able and discriminating assistance.

In Smith's * Autobiography,* under the title of ' Lawful Pleasures/ one is surprised to


find that among these he enjoyed pleasurable excitement in being the defendant in actions for libel, " It being granted that the libeller conscientiously believes that the libel is true in substance and in fact, and that he has done a public service by its publication. 12 It is curious that the only libel case in which Smith had to pay more than a farthing damages was against The Cornhill. There was no intention on the part of the writer of libelling any one, but the trial resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff for 501.

The Jubilee number of The Cornhill is well worthy of its traditions, and should find a place in all libraries. It was a happy thought that the daughter of its distin- guished first editor should occupy the open- ing pages with her reminiscences and c ongratulat ions.

To Lady Ritchie " the old days of The Cornhill Magazine convey an impression of early youth, of constant sunshine mysteri- ously associated with the dawn of the golden covers, even though it was in winter that they, first appeared." Lady Ritchie rightly claims that " many of the growing convictions of to-day were first pre- echoed in those bygone pages." Notable among these were Ruskin's papers ' Unto this Last.* In these, as is well known, he attacks " the modern soi-disant science of political economy," and the labour system generally. On this question he considers that " the only means which the master has of doing justice to the men employed by him is to ask himself sternly whether he is dealing with such subordinates as he would with his own son, if compelled by circumstances to- take such a position." In the last paper which appeared Ruskin states that " luxury is possible in the future innocent and exquisite ; luxury for all, and by the help of all ; but luxury at present can only be enjoyed by the ignorant " ; and his advice is- " that all effectual advancement towards the true felicity of the human race must be by individual, not public effort." The state- ments made in these papers would not be considered revolutionary in the present day, but, as Lady Ritchie reminds us, " when, the series first appeared in The Cornhill so great an outcry was raised that the papers had to be stopped."

Mr. E. T. Cook well remarks in his interest- ing contribution ' The Cornhill Jubilee * :

"At the present day, when economic thought and political practice have come largely into line with Ruskin's ideas, it requires some effort of the historical imagination to realize the storm of indignant protest which the essays raised. It was