DAYLEY' . S AND AUBRY'S TALE OF A TUB. MANY a good
joke is spoiled in the telling, while an indifferent one produces a roar of laughter if cleverly related : now the New Tale of a Tub is a capital story, admirably well told ; and the artist has supplied an illustrative comment answering to the significant tones, looks, and gesture of the humorous narrator. If you are content to read the text, the verse brings the incident before the mind's eye with all its extravagant drollery ; or should you chance to turn over the plates, the comical situations are represented with an irre- sistible humour, witose force is derived from the intensity of the fact; and taken both together, description and delineation, the effect is so complete that the most impossible points of absurdity appear actual. We know not which deserves most credit, the de- signer or the narrator; though we incline to bestow most praise on the artist, for such merit is rare : but whichever conceived the idea should bear the bell.
This adventure is a story of a hogshead and a tiger's tail. Two Bengalese, one tall-and-thin, the other short-and-stout, sally forth to enjoy a tiffin in the desert, under the shade of an empty cask : but while they luxuriate in " Hodgson's pale," a tiger, scenting the collation from afar, comes prowling from his jungle to where the big tub casts its grateful shadow on the sand : his roar of delight as he snuffs the fragrant ham, startles the festive pair; and as he nears them, its echoes reverberating in the hollow cask paralyze them with terror. What's to be done ? retreat is hope- less : stratagem alone can save them.
"When a man's life by peril is press'd, His wits will sometimes be at their best ;
So the presence of Tiger, I find, Inspires our heroes with presence of mind—
The Bengalese have abandon'd their grub, And they're dodging their gentleman round the tub." ' To come to the catastrophe at once. The tiger leaps on to the edge of the tub ; which overbalancing with his weight, tumbles over him ; and the two Bengalese, climbing on the bottom, con- trive to hold him down. The question now is, how to keep him there? The beast gives them a hint himself: in his efforts to get free, his tail peeps out at the bung-hole: it is instantly seized, and held fast. The next difficulty is how to retain their hold ?
" There they must pull if they pull for weeks, Straining their stomachs, and bursting their cheeks ; While Tiger alternately roars and squeaks, Trying to break away from.'em They must keep the Tub turned over his back,
And never let his long tail get slack,
For fear he should win the day from 'em. Yes ! yes ; they must hold him tight, From night till morning, from morn till night ! Mustn't stop to eat ! mustn't stop to weep! Mustn't stop to drink! mustn't stop to sleep! No cry ! no laugh! no rest! no grub !
Till they starve the Tiger under the Tub !
Till the animal dies, To his own surprise, With two Bengalese, in a dreadful quarrel, And his tail thrust through the hole of a barrel!"
The knotty point is presently adjusted-
" A knot is tied in the Tiger's tail,
And he carries the tub like the shell of a snail."
The lithographic sketches, by AUBRY, are full of spirit and the drollery of earnestness : the action and looks of the figures have an intensity that expresses the purpose of the story better than the
broadest caricature. We first see the tiger reposing in his lair; then the two Bengalese, seated on the shady side of their tub, with the savoury bait before them, and the tiger stealing towards it ; the " art- ful dodge" is next represented—Tall-and-thin craning over the tub, and Short-and-stout casting a fearful glance round the aide: the awful suspense while the tiger is balancing on the edge of the cask— the strenuous efforts to hold him fast when he is under it— and the exulting demonstrations when the beast crawls away with his house on his back—are in turn depicted with characteristic humour. The masterly drawing of M. AUBRY gives point to the grotesque situations : Short-and-stout, with his pockets laden with bottles, and his face surcharged with terror, is a glorious figure of fun.