Fables and Myths


 “The Babes of the Wood: Lost On the Way To The White House”
  Cartoonist:  Thomas Nast
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   August 10, 1872, p. 632

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
With this cartoon, Nast appears for the first time to concede that the end for Greeley and his seldom pictured vice-presidential designate B. Gratz Brown was within view. This pictorial adaptation of an English children's story concerns two babes who had been left to die in a forest so that a wicked uncle might secure their inheritances. In the original, they are covered with leaves by "friendly Robin Redbreasts" in a vain attempt to keep them warm.

Here the "blanket" is formed of voting-ballots for Grant and his running mate, Henry Wilson. Greeley sleeps the sleep of the innocent, while Brown, who was allegedly intoxicated at a Yale commencement dinner in early July, sprawls stiff as a board across the editor's lap. At the dinner, Brown, who apparently had a longstanding drinking problem, was reported to have been seen buttering his watermelon. The candidate's alcoholism provoked the Nation to call for him to withdraw from the ticket. Nast would later portray Brown as Bacchus the God of Wine in "Apollo Amusing The Gods." The accompanying text for the latter cartoon describes Governor Brown as "generally represented with a wreath of soft-shell crabs about his brow and riding on a buttered water-melon."













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