Abbildungen der Seite

ot exactly a prison, though a great many great men eside there. That—umph 1–that is the palace of St. James's, where our beloved monarch holds his court.” “Mon Dieu ! grand Palais Royal sacre Dieu o Stop, sair; I will take down vat you have say.—St. James live in de black ugly maison of de monarque, vid von hundred and seventy leetle rogue, all fine scoundrels, vich he feed vid a muffin, dey make de grande retreat ard lose dere limb– in de green vat—you call—honeur to Great Britain—lord Lovet stupid head—put de fleet in prison—Ah! dat is good—dat vill do, sair.” “Well, sir, have you made your proper remarks on our wonderful town "–Sair, I’ave very much wonder at your gay metropolis.” coc ENT REAsos. Some comedians had long promised a new piece, in which virtue was personified. A lady of quality woo was impatient to see it, asked one of the actors why it was not represented. “We cannot represent it for a fortnight, because the young lady who was to play Virtue, has just been brought to bed.”

[ocr errors]

eos vivi Al will.

Will of Samuel Purle went, late of Lincoln's Inn, in

the county of Middlesex, Esq. deceased, proved

Nov. 19, 1792.

" It is my express will and desire that I may be buried at Western, in the county of Souer et, if I die there, is not, to be carried down these, (but not in a hearse, nor will I have any parode or coach to attend "pon me, but let me be carried in any vehicle with all the expedition possible, to Bath, so as the same does not exceed the sum of 25l. and when I arrive there, I direct six poor people of Weste, a do support my corpse to the grave, . that six poor women and *ix poor men of Western do attend me to the grave,

them to have half-a-guinea; and I hereby order and direct, that a good boiled ham, a dozen fowls, a sirloin of beef, with plumb-puddings, may be provided at the Crown, in Western, for the said eighteen poor" people, besides the clerk and sexton. And I allow five

guineas for the same; and I request and hope they will be as merry and cheerful as possible, for I conceive it a mere farce to put on the grimace of weeping, crying, and snivelling, and the like, which can

answer no good end, either to the living or dead, and which I reprobate in the highest terms. Codicil : I desire that after I am buried, there be a cold col

lation provided at the public-house, a sirloin of beef,

potatoes, and a fillet of veal, with plenty of good ale,

where I hope they will refresh themselves with de

cency and propriety. No friends, or relatives what

ever to attend my funeral.”

Awkwa Rij QUESTI on. A French general, who was at once jealous and parasitical, said to the duke d'Enghien, who had just gained the celebrated battle of Rocroi, in 1643. “What will the envious now say of your glory?" “I Know not,” replied the prince ; I should wish to ask you the question.” tfi E. ST ROLLING ai an AGER. Behcld me now at the summit of my ambition, “ the high top-galiant of my joy,” as Romeo says. No longer a chieftain of a wandering tribe, but a monarch of a legitimate throne, and entitled to call even the great potentates of Covent-garden and Drury-lane cousins. You no doubt think my happiness complete. Alas, sirs I was one of the most uncomfortable dogs living. No one knows, who has uot tried, the miseries of a manager; but above all, of a country manager.—No one can conceive the contentions and quarrels within doors the oppressions and vexations from without. I was o with the bloods and loungers of a country town, who infested iny green-room, and played the mischief among my actresses. But there was no shaking them off. It would have been ruin to affront them; for though

o and that I may be buried at twelve at noon, and each of

troublesome friends, they would have been dangerous


enemies. Then there were the village critics and village amateurs, who were continually tormenting me with advice, and getting into a passion if I would not take it; especially the village doctor and the village attorney, who had both been to London occasionally, and knew what acting should be. I had also to manage as arrant a crew of scrapegraces as ever were collected together within the walls of a theatre. I had been obliged to combine my original troop with some of the former troop of the theatre who were favourites of the public. Here was a mixture that produced perpetual ferment. They were all the time either fighting or frolicking with each other, and I scarcely know which mood was least troublesome. If they quarrelled, every thing went wrong; and if they were friends, the were continually playing off some prank upon eac other or upon me; for I had unhappily acquired among them the character of an easy, good-natured. fellow—the worst character that a manager can possess. Their wagger; at times drove me almost crazy; for there is twing so vexatious as the hackneyed tricks and hoaxes and pleasantries of a veteran band of theatrical vagabonds. I relished them well enough it is true, while I was merely one of the company, but as manager I found them detestable. They were incessantly bringing some disgrace upon the theatre by their tavern frolics, and their pranks about the country town. All my lectures about the importance of keeping up the dignity of the profession and the respectability of the company were in vain. The villains could not sympathize with the delicate feelings of a man in station. They even trifled with the seriousness of stage business. I have had the whole piece interrupted, and a crowded audience of at least twenty-five pounds, kept waiting, because the actors had hid away the breeches of Rosalind; and have known Hamlet to stalk solemnly on to deliver his ...'. with a dishclout pinned to his skirts. Such are the baleful consequences of a manager's getting a character for good nature.

1 was intolerably annoyed, too, by the great actors

who came down starring, as it is called, from lar's Of all baneful influences, keep me from that of aldon star. A first-rate actress, going the rounds of to country theatres, is as bad as a blazing core "taing about the heavens, and shaking fire and Fagrs and discords from its tail. The moment one of these “heavenly odoro" + peared in my horizon, I wassure to be in his wate— My theatre was overrun by provincial dandos, coperwashed counterfeits of Bond-street loosses ** are always proud to be in the train of an actres intown, and anxious to be thonght on exceeds fo terms with her. It was really a relief to me wo some random young nobleman would coteers mrsof the bait, and awe all this small fry at a corI have always felt myself more at ease with s = * man, than with the dandy of a country town. And then the injuries I suffered in my Pdignity and my managerical authority, from the or of these great London actors' Sblood, sir. I = * longer master of myself on my throne. I ris tored and lectured in my own green-room, aris-an absoluted nincompoop on my own stage Tois no tyrant so absolute and capricious as a 1– star at a country theatre. I dreaded the sects s of them, and yet if I did not engage them. I -of having the public clamorous against re. For drew full houses, and appeared to be mours or fortune; but they swallowed up all the Prero their insatiable demands. They were absor -worms to my little theatre; the more it to a " poorer it grew. They were sure to ieave = ** * exhausted public, empty benches, and a set = of affronts to settle among the town's folk, in Fquence of misunderstandings about the taxo~ * places. But the worst thing I had to undergo or *-* gerical career was patronage. Oh, sir" of so * deliver me from the patronage of the great Fa country town. It was my ruin. You to that this town though small, was filled wro and parties, and great folks; being * *trading and manufacturing town. The

at their greatness was of a kind not to be settled by letence to the court calendar, or college of heraldry; ras therefore the most quarrelsome kind of greats in existence. You smile, sir, but let me tell you re are no feuds more furious than the frontier feuds ch take place in these “debatable lands” of gen y. The most violent dispute that I ever knew in life was one which occurred at a country town, question of precedence between the ladies of a ufacturer of pins and a manufacturer of needles. t the town where I was situated there were peral altercations of the kind. The head manufac's sady, for instance, was at daggers-drawings the head shopkeeper's, and both were too rich lad too many friends to be treated lightly. The r’s and lawyer's ladies held their heads still or : but they in their turn were kept in check by ife of a country banker, who kept her own car; while a masculine widow of cracked character econd-hand fashion, who lived in a large house, laimed to be in some way related to nobility, 1 down upon them all. To be sure her manners not over elegant, nor her fortune over large ; en, sir, her blood–oh, her blood carried it all ; there was no withstanding a woman with lood in her veins. or all, her claims to high connexion were quesand she had frequent battles for precedence s and assemblies with some of the sturdy dames neighbourhood, who stood upon their wealth eir virtue; but then she had two dashing ers, who dressed as fine as dragoons, had as ood as their mother, and seconded her in every so they carried their point with high heads, rv b hated, abused, and stood in awe of tadlins. was the state of the fashionable world in this ortant little town. Unluckily, I was not as o ua inted with its politics as I should have I had found myself a stranger and in great lies during my first season; I determined, to put m self under the patronage of some thus to take the field with the

| name, an

prejudices of the public in my favour. I cast round my thoughts for the purpose, and in an evil hour they fell upon Mrs. Fantadlin. No one seemed to me to have a more absolute sway in the world of fashion. I had always noticed that her party slammed the box door the loudest at the theatre ; that her daughters entered like a tempest with a flutter of red shawls and feathers; had most beaux attending on them ; talked and laughed during the performance, and used quizzing glasses incessantly. The first evening of my theatre's reopening, therefore, was announced in staring afts. on the play bills, as under the patronage of “the Honourable Mrs. Fantadlin.” Sir, the whole community flew to arms 1 Presume to patronize the theatre! insufferable and then for me to dare to term her “The Honourable !” What claim has she to the title, forsooth The fashionable world had long groaned under the tyranny of the Fantadlins, and were glad to make a common cause against this new instance of assumption. All minor feuds were forgotten. The doctor's lady and the lawyer's lady met together, and the manufacturer's lady and the shopkeeper's lady kissed each other; and all, headed by the banker's lady, voted the theatre a bore, and determined to encourage nothing but the Indian Jugglers and Mr. Walker's Eidouranion. Such was the rock on which I split. I never got over the patronage of the Fantadlin family. My house was deserted ; my actors grew discontented because they were ill paid ; my door became a hammering place for every bailiff in the county; and my wife became more and more shrewish and tormenting the more I wanted comfort. I tried for a time the usual consolation of a harassed and henpecked man : I took to the bottle, and tried to tipple away my cares, but in vain. I don't mean to decry the bottle; it is no doubt an excellent remedy in many cases, but it did not answer in mine. It cracked my voice, coppered my nose, but neither improved my wife nor my affairs. My establishment became a scene of confusion and peculation. I was considered a ruined man, and of course fair game for every one to pluck at, as every one plunders a sink.

thor should be required to mount, and stand his hour, exposed to the apples and oranges of the pit;-this amende honorable would well suit with the meanness of some authors, who in their prologues fairly

rostrate their sculls to the audience, and seem to invite a pelting. Or why should they not have their pens publicly broke over their heads, as the swords of recreant knights in old times were, and an oath administered to them that they should never write again.

*. provocations to which a dramatic genius is exposed from the public are so much the more vexatious, as they are removed from any possibility of retaliation, the hope of which sweetens most other injuries:—for the public never writes itself—Not but something very like it took place at the time of the O.-P. differences. The placards which were nightly exhibited, were, properly speaking, the composition of the roof. wrote them, the public applauded them, and precious morceaux of wit and eloquence ". were ; except some few, of a better quality, which it is well known were furnished, by professed dramatic writers. After this specimen of what the public can do for itself, it should be a little slow in condemning what others do for it. As the degrees of malignancy vary in people according as they have more or less of the Old Serpent (the father of hisses) in their ‘...." I have sometimes amused myself with analyzing this many-headed hydra, which calls itself the public, into the compo: nent parts of which it is “complicated, head and tail,” and seeing how many varieties of the snake kind it can afford.

First, there is the Common English Snake.—This is that part of the auditory who are always the majority at damnations, but who, having no critical venom in themselves to sting them on, stay till they hear others hiss, and then join in for company.

The Blind Worm is a species very nearly allied to the foregoing. Some naturalists have doubted whether they are not the same.

The Rattle Snake.—These are your obstreporous talking critics, the impertinent guides of the pit,

who will not give a plain man leave to tryi o evening's entertainment, but with their frothy soand incessant finding of faults, either drown sosure quite, or force him in his own defetc. o.o. 1 their clamorous censure. The hiss always roos with these. When this creature springs as -ox. you would think, from the noise it makes, the on something in it; but you have only to ena- or instrument from which the noise proceeds, slo will find it typical of a critic's tongue—s alomembrane, empty, voluble, and seated it to as: contemptible part of the creature's body.

The Whip Snake.—This is he that lashes topauthor the next day in the newspapers. The Deaf Adder, or Surda Echidna cf Laar—Under this head may be classed all that F== the spectators (for audience they properly or * who not finding the first act of a piece answer wo preconceived notions of what a first sciso's like Obstinate, in John Bunyan, Posiuvo, cotheir fingers in their ears, that they may to or word of what is coming, though perhaps to ~! next act may be composed in a style as difos possible, and be written quite to their ow; -These adders refuse to hear the voice of the cobecause the tuning of his instrument go. -offence. I should weary my reader and myself a were to go through all the classes of the kind. Two qualities are common to them or to: are creatues of remarkably cold dissa. chiefly haunt pits and low grounds. I proceed with more pleasure to give an o-si of a club to which I have the borour he so There are fourteen of us, who are all as to os have been once in our lives what is raio-, -o We meet on the anniversaries of our resperors =o and make ourselves merry at the expense of > * lic. The chief tenets which distinguish as a and which every man among us is loun..! --> gospel, are, That the public, or mob, in all ages, *:: a set of blind, deaf, obstinate, sesse

ages. That no man of genius in his senses would ambitious of pleasing such a capricious, ungraterabble. That the only legitimate end of writing them is to pick their pockets, and, that failing, are at o liberty to vilify and abuse them as :h as ever we think fit.

hat authors, by their affected pretences to humiwhich they made use of as a cloak to insinuate r writings into the callous senses of the multitude,

ise to every thing but the grossest flattery, have ||

legrees made that great beast their master; as we act submission to children till we are obliged to tise it in earnest. That authors are and ought to onsidered the masters and preceptors of the puband not vice versa. That it was so in the days }rpheus, Linus, and Musaeus, and would be so n, if it were not that writers prove traitors to iselves. That in particular, in the days of the of those three great authors just mentioned, ences appear to have been perfect models of what onces should be ; for though along with the trees the rocks and the wild creatures, which he drew him to listen to his strains, some serpents doubtsame to hear his music, it does not appear that ine among them ever lifted up a dissentient voice. knew what was due to authors in those days. every stock and stone turns into a serpent, aud voice. at the terms “ Courteous Reader” and “CanAuditors,” as having given rise to a false notion ise to whom they were applied, as if they con! upon them some right, which they cannot have, eroising their judgments, ought to be utterly led and exploded, ese are our distinguishing tenets. To keep up emory of the cause in which we suffered, as orients sacrificed a goat, a supposed unhealthy al, to Æsculapins, on our feast-nights we cut goose, an animal typical of the popular voice, deities of Candour and Patient Hearing. A is member of the society once proposed that we i revive the obsolete luxury of viper-broth ; he stomachs of some of the company rising at

the proposition, we lost the benefit of that highly salutary and antidotal dish. . The privilege of admission to our club is strictly limited to such as have been fairly damned. A piece that has met with ever so little applause, that has but languished its night or two, and then gone out, will never entitle its author to a seat among us. An exception to our usual readiness in conferring this privilege is, in the case of a writer, who, having been once condemned, writes again, and becomes candidate for a second martyrdom. Simple damnation we hold to be a merit, but to be twice damned we adjudge infamous. Such a one we utterly reject, and black-ball without a hearing : The common damn'd shun his society.

Hoping that this publication of our regulations may be a means of inviting some more members into our society, I conclude this history. SEMEL-DAMNATUS. phreat ATufte frault. An author had just seen one of his pieces damned at the theatre, when he had somewhat recovered from the mortification of this fall, he went to visit the actress who had played the principal part ; he told her, in the hope that she would say something to console him, that the public was not always just ; that, besides, his friends were wrong for having pressed him so much to write, and that the fruit was not yet ripe.—“Oh, ripe or not,” replied the actress, “it has, however, fallen.” 8PA Nish Pride. A Spanish ambassador was one day vaunting to Henry IV. of France, the power of his master. The king, in order to take down the Spaniard's vanity, observed to him, with a lively air of raillery, that if he were to take it into his head to get on horseback, he could go and breakfast at Milan, hear mass at Rome, and dine at Naples. “Sire,” replied the ambassador, “if your majesty travels so fast, you o: also go and hear vespers at Sicily on the same ay.

« ZurückWeiter »