Abbildungen der Seite
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Letter fra

SCENE I.—Mr. and Mrs. Dangle at Break-1-Pshaw! " To the first dash Doftke fast, and reading Newspapers.

dash Y.'- Genuine Extract of a

St. Kitts. Coxheath Intelligence:-) Dan. [Reading.) · Brutus to Lord North. novo confidently asserted, that Sir Charles Hard - Letter the Second, on the State of the Army.' -Pshaw !-Nothing but about the dieet Es

the nation !-and I hate all politics but theatri- Mrs. D. Yes; but wasn't the farce damned, cal politics—Where's the Morning Chronicle? Mr. Dangle? And to be sure it is extremely Mrs. D, Yes, that's your Gazette.

pleasant to have one's house made the motley Din. So, here we have it.

rendezvous of all the lackeys of literature: the Theatrical intelligence ertraordinary.— very high change of trading authors and jobbing “ We hear there is a new tragedy in rehearsal at critics! Yes, my drawing-room is an absolute Drury-lane theatre, called the Spanish Armada, register-office for candidate actors, and poets said to be written by Mr. Putf, a gentleman well without character; then to be continually known in the theatrical world: if we may allow alarmed with Misses and Ma’ams piping hysteric ourselves to give credit to the report of the per- changes on Juliets and Dorindas, Pollys and formers, who, truth to say, are in general but in. Ophelias; and the very furniture trembling at diferent judges, this piece abounds with the the probationary starts and unprovoked rants most striking and received beauties of mo- of would-be Richards and Hamlets! And what dern composition.” -So! I am very glad my is worse than all, now that the manager has friend Puff's tragedy is in such forwardness. monopolized the opera-house, baven't we the Mrs. Dangle, my dear, you will be very glad to Signors and Signoras calling here, sliding their bear that Puff's tragedy

smooth semi-breves, and gargling glib divisions Mrs. D. Lord, Mr. Dangle, why will you in their outlandish throats—with foreign emisplague me about such nonsense!--Now the plays saries and French spies, for ought I know, disare begun, I shall have no peace.- Isn't it sutti-yuised like fiddlers and figure dancers ! cient to make yourselt ridiculous by your passion Dan. Mercy! Mrs. Dangle; for the theatre, without continually teazing me Mrs. D. And to employ yourself so idly at to join you? Why can't you ride your hobby- such an alarming crisis as this too--when, if horse without desiring to place me on a pillion you had the least spirit, you would have been at behind you, Mr. Dangle?

the head of one of the Westminster associations, Dan. Nay, my dear, I was only going to or trailing a volunteer pike in the Artillery read

Ground !--But you—o’my conscience, I believe Mrs. D. No, no; you will never read any if the French were landed to-morrow, your first thing that's worth listening to; you hate to hear enquiry would be, whether they had brought a about your country; there are letters every day theatrical troop with them. with Roman signatures, demonstrating the cer- Dan. Mrs. Dangle, it does not signify-I say tainty of au invasion, and proving that the the stage is “ the Mirror of Nature," and the nation is utterly undone. But you never will actors are “ the Abstract, and brief Chronicles read any thing to entertain one.

of the Time.”—and pray what can a inan of Dun. What has a woman to do with politics, sense study better? Besides, you will not easily Mrs. Dangle?

persuade me that there is no credit or importance Mrs. D. And what have you to do with the in being at the head of a band of critics, who take theatre, Mr: Dangle? Why should you affect the upon them to decide for the whole town, whose character of a critic? I have no patience with opinion and patronage all writers solicit, and you!-haven't you made yoursell the jest of all whose recommendation no manager dares reyour acquaintance by your interference in mat- fuse! ters where you have no business? Are not you MIrs. D. Ridiculous ! Both managers and called a theatrical Quidnunc, and a mock Næ- authors of the least merit laugh at your pretencenas to second-hand authors?

sions. The public is their critic—without whose Dan. True; my power with the managers is fair approbation they know no play can rest on pretty notorious; but is it no credit to have ap- the stage, and with whose applause they welplications from all quarters for my interest? come such attacks as yours, and laugh at the maFrom lords to recommend fiddlers, from ladies lice of them, where they can't at the wit. zo get boxes, from authors to get answers, and Dan. Very well, madam-very well. From actors to get engagements ?

Enter Servant. Mrs. D. Yes, truly; you have contrived to zet a share in all the plague and trouble of thea- Sero. Mr. Sneer, sir, to wait on you. rical property, without the profit, or even the Dun. O, shew Mr. Sneer up. [E.rit Servant.] credit of the abusc that attends it.

Plague on't, now we must appear loving and afDan. I am sure, Mrs. Dangle, you are no fectionate, or Sneer will hitch us into a story. oser by it, however; you have all the advan- Mrs. D. With all my beart; you can't be ages of it: mightn't you, last winter, have had more ridiculous than you are. he reading of the new Pantomiine a fortnight Dan. You are enough to provokerevious to its performance? And doesn't Mr.

Enter Mr. SNEER. 'osbrook let you take places for a play before t is advertised, and set you down for a box Ia! my dear Sneer, I am vastly glad to see you. or every new piece through the season? And My dear, here's Mr. Sneer. lidn't my friend, Mr. Smatter, dedicate bis Mrs. D. Good morning to you, sir. est farce to you, at my particular request, Mrs. Dan. Mrs. Dangle and I have been diverting Dangle?

ourselves with the papers.--Pray, Sneer, won't

you go to Drury-lane theatre the first night of formed Housebreaker;" where, by the mere Puff's tragedy.

force of humour, house breaking is put into u Sneer. Yes; but I suppose one shan't be able ridiculous a light, that if the piece has its profer to get in, for on the first night of a new piece run, I have no doubt but that bolts and bars sill they always fill the house with orders to support be entirely useless by the end of the season. it. But here, Dangle, I have brought you two Dan. Egad, this is new, indeed! pieces, one of which you must exert yourself to Sneer. Yes; it is written by a particular inake the managers accept, I can tell you that, friend of mine, who has discovered that the folfor 'tis written by a person of consequence. lies and foibles of society, are subjects unworthy

Dan. So! now my playues are beginning. the notice of the comic muse, who should be tauti

Sneer. Aye, I am glad of it, for now you'll be to stoop only at the greater vices and blacker happy; Why, iny dear Dangle, it is a pleasure crimes of humanity-gibbeting capital offences to see how you enjoy your volunteer fatigue, and in five acts, and pillorying petty larcenies in two, your solicited solicitations.

In short, his idea is to dramatize the penal laws, Dan. It's a great trouble; yet, egad, it's plea- and make the stage a court of ease to the Old sant too. Why, sometimes of a morning, I have Bailey. a dozen people call on me at breakfast time, Dan. It is truly moral. whose faces I never saw before, nor ever desire to see again.

Enter Sertant.
Sneer. That must be very pleasant indeed!
Dan. And not a week but I receive fifty lel-

Scro. Sir Fretful Plagiary, sir. ters, and not a line iu thein about any business

Dun. Beg him to walk up. (Erit Sertant. of my own.

Now, Mrs. Dangle, Sir Fretful Plagiary is an Sneer. An amusing correspondence!

author to your own taste. Dan. [Reading:] “ Bursts into tears, and

Mrs. D. I confess he is a favourite of mine, eriti' - What is this a tragedy?

because every body else abuses bin. Sneer. No, that's a genteel comedy, not a

Sneer. Very much to the credit of your chariis, translation-only taken from the French; it is madam, if not of your judgment. written in a stile which they have lately tried

Dan. But, egad, he allows no merit to any to run down; the true sentimental, and nothing author but hinself; that's the truth on't - though ridiculous in it from the beginning to the end.

he's my friend. Mrs. D. Well, if they had kept to that, I

Sneer. Never. He is as envious as an old should not have been such an enemy to the maid verging on the desperation of six-and-thirty; stage; there was some edification to be got and then, the insidious humility with which le from those pieces, Mr. Sneer.

seduces you to give a free opinion on any of his Sneer. I am quite of your opinion, Mrs. Dan-works, can be exceeded only by the petalans gle; the theatre in proper hands, might certainly arrogance with which he is sure to reject your be made the school of morality; but now, I am

observations. sorry to say it, people seem to go there princi- Dan. Very true, egad—though he's my friend. pally for their entertainment.

Sneer. Then his affected contempt of all news Mrs. D. It would have been more to the paper strictures; though, at the same time, te credit of the managers to have kept in the other is the sorest man alive, and shrinks like scorched line.

parchment from the fiery ordeal of true criticism; Sneer. Undoubtedly, madam, and hereafter yet is he so covetous of popularity, that he had perhaps to have had it recorded, that in the rather be abused than not mentioned at all. midst of a luxurious and dissipated age, they

Dan. There's no denying it-though he is by preserved two houses in the capital, where the friend, conversation was always moral at least, if not

Sneer. You have read the tragedy he has just entertaining !

finished, haven't you? Dan. Now, egad, I think the worst alteration

Dan. O yes; lie sent it to me yesterday. is in the nicety of the audience. No double

Sncer. Well, and you think it execrable, door entendre, no smart inuendo admitted; even Van- you? burgh and Congreve obliged to undergo a bung

Dan. Why, between ourselves, egad, I most ling reformation!

own—though he's my friend--that it is one of Sneer. Yes, and our prudery in this respect is the most—He's here [Aside.)—finished and just on a par with the artificial bashfulness of a most admirable perform courtezan, who increases the blush upon her [Sir FRETFUL, without.) Mr. Sneer with bin, cheek in an exact proportion to the diminution did you say? of her modesty. .. Dan. Speer can't even give the public a good

Enter SIR FRETFUL. word! But what have we here? This seeins a Ah, my dear friend !-Egad, we were just speak.

ing of your tragedy.Admirable, Sir Fretiul, Sneer. O, that's a comedy, on a very new admirable ! plan; replete with wit and mirth, yet of a most Sneer. You never did any thing beyond it, serious moral ! You see it is called “ The Re- Sir Fretful-Qever in your life.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

very odd


Sir F. You make me extremely happy; for, | think I can hit that gentleman; for I can safely without a compliment, my dear Sneer, there swear he never read it. i n't a man in the world whose judgment I value Sneer. I'll tell you how you may hurt him as I do vour's, and Mr. Dangle's.

Mrs. 'D. They are only laughing at you, Sir Sir F. How? Fretful; for it was but just now that

Sneer, Swear lie wrote it. Dan. Mrs. Dangle!--Ah, Sir Fretful, you Sir F. Plague on't now, Sncer, I shall take it know Mrs. Dangle.—My friend Sneer was rally- ill.-I believe you want to take away my characing just now. He knows how she admires you, ter as an author! and

Sneer. Then I am sure you ought to be very Sir F. O Lord, I am sure Mr. Sneer has more much obliged to me. taste and sincerity than to-A damned double- Sir F. Hey!--sir !faced fellow!

Aside. Dan. O you know, he never means what he Dan. Yes, yes, Sneer will jest; but a better says. humoured

Sir F. Sincerely then you do like the piece? Sir F. 0, I know

Sneer. Wonderfully! Dan. He has a ready turn for ridicule-his Sir F. But, come, now, there must be some wit costs bim nothing.

thing that you think might be mended, hey?Sir F. No, egad—or I should wonder how he Mr. Dangle, has nothing struck you? came by it.

[Aside. Dan. Why, faith, it is but an ungracious thing Mrs. D. Because his jest is always at the ex- for the most part to pense of his friend.

Sir F. With most authors it is just so indeed; Dan. But, Sir Fretful, have you sent your play they are in general strangely tenacious!—but, for to the managers yet?-or can I be of any service iny part, I am never so well pleased as when a to you?

judicious critic points out any defect to me; for Šir F. No, no, I thank you ; I believe the what is the purpose of shewing a work to a friend, piece had sufficient recommendation with it. if you don't mean to profit by his opinion? I thank you, though-I sent it to the manager Eneer. Very true. Why then, though I seriously of Covent Garden Theatre this morning. admire the piece upon the whole, vet there is one

Sneer. I should have thought now, that it smali objection; which, if you'll give ine leave, might have been cast (as the actors call it) better I'll mention. at Drury Lane.

Sir F. Sir, you can't oblige me more. Sir F. O lud! no-nerer send a play there Sneer. I think it wants incident. while I live-harkye! [Whispers SNEER. Sir F. Good God! you surprise me!-wants

Sneer. Writes himself!--I know he docs- incident!

Sir F. I say nothing-I take away from no Sneer. Yes; I own I think the incidents are man's merit-Í am hurt at no man's good fortune too few. -I say nothing—but this I will say—through Sir F. Good God! believe me, Mr. Sneer, all my knowledge of life, I have observed, that there is no person for whose judgment I have a there is not a passion so strongly rooted in the more implicit deference; but I protest to you, human heart as envy!

Mr. Sneer, I am only apprehensive that the inciSneer. I believe you have reason for what dents are too crowded. - My dear Dangle, how you say, indeed.

does it strike you? Sir F. Besides-I can tell you it is not always Dan. Really I can't agree with my friend so safe to leave a play in the hands of those who Sneer. I think the plot quite sufficient; and write themselves.

the four first acts by many degrees the best I Sncer. What, they may steal from them, hey, ever read or saw in my life. If I might venmy dear Plagiary?

ture to suggest any thing, it is, that the interest Sir F. Steal to be sure they may; and, rather falls off in the fitth. egad, serve your best thoughts as gypsies do Sir F. Rises, I believe you mean, sir. stolen children, disfigure them, to make 'em pass Dan. No; I don't, upon my word. for their own.

Sir F. Yes, yes, you do, upon my soul-it cere Sneer. But your present work is a sacrifice to tainly don't fall off, I assure you—no, nom Melpomene; and he, you know, never

it don't fall off. Sir F. That's no security. A dexterous pla- Dan. Now, Mrs. Dangle, didn't you say it giarist may do any thing. Why, sir, for aught I struck you in the same light? know, he might take out some of the best Mrs. D. No, icdeed, I did not-I did not things in my tragedy, and put them into his own see a fault in any part of the play from the becomedy.

ginning to the end. Sneer. That might be done, I dare be sworn. Sir F. Upon my soul, the women are the best

Sir F. And then, if such a person gives you judges after all! the least hint or assistance, he is devilish apt to Mrs. D. Or if I made any objection, I am take the merit of the whole.

sure it was to nothing in the piece; but that I Dan. If it succeeds,

was afraid it was, on the whole, a little too long. Sir F. Aye; but with regard to this piece, Il Sir F. Pray, madam, do you speak as to dura


« ZurückWeiter »