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AND

BREAKFAST-TABLE COMPANION;

A

NEW AND FASHIONABLE JOURNAL

OF

LITERATURE, FINE ARTS,

SATIRE AND THE STAGE.

VOLUME I.

LONDON:

PUBLISHED FOR THE PROPRIETOR BY GEORGE DENNEY,

AT THE OFFICE, 7, TAVISTOCK STREET, COVENT GARDEN;

Sold by PATTIE, 4, Brydges Street, Covent Garden; HETHERINGTON, Strand; Strange, 21,
and STEILL, 20, Paternoster Row; ONWHYNN, Catharine Street; PURKISS, Compton
Street; and CLEMENTS, Pulteney Street.

M.DCCC.XXXVII.

LONDON:

PRINTED BY J. EAMES, 7, TAVISTOCK STREET, COVENT GARDEN.

. 1962

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LITERATURE, FINE ARTS, SATIRE, AND THE STAGE.

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We at once plead guilty' to having put forth an ad captandum title, so far, at least, as regards our Christian

name.

We shall, however, religiously defend our Surname, having a conviction that we shall be read by all the fashionables and men of letters, while sipping their coffee and flirting with their toast, at the 'comfortable hour of breakfast. We shall not, however, relinquish our Christian name, without putting in a 'defence.' It must be remembered that Drones, though idlers, are happy animals, roving about just where their fancy leads them, and regaling on the delicious honey made by the more amiable bees. So far, we resemble the happy

drones; but in no other respect do we wish to institute a comparison. OUR happiness we intend to devote to the well-being of our fellow mortals, and the sweets which we sip, ever and anon, will be fairly divided among all who choose to number themselves among our friends and acquaintances. Unused to apology,-being old friends with the public,-we leave our first number to be its own "prospectus"-fearing lest, if we make pledges, we may resemble certain Gentlemen, in a certain House, who make them with a direct view to their never being

redeemed.

IDLERS.

It is pleasing to get a friend to write for a body on an emergency-one who is free from nervous feeling, and who writes from a conviction that he is speaking truth. The following

[PRICE TWO-PENCE.

observations, therefore, which pertinently refer to our leading title, will be considered an echo of tended to use the word "Idler," in a bad sense :-our own sentiments, and prove that we never in

"None so little enjoy life, and are such burdens to themselves, as those who have NOTHING TO DO-for

"A want of occupation is not rest

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A mind quite vacant is a mind distress'd." Such a man is out of God's order; and opposing his obvious design in the faculties he has given him, and the condition in which he has placed him. Nothing, therefore, is promised in the Scriptures to the indolent. Take the indolent, with regard to exertion - What indecision! What delay! What reluctance! What apprehension! The slothful man says, there is a lion without; I shall be slain in the streets.' The way of a slothful man is as a hedge of thorns.' Take him with regard to health-What sluggishness of circulation! What depression him with regard to temper and enjoyment-Who of spirits! What enervation of frame! Take childish cravings? Who is too soft to bear any is pettish and fretful? Who feels wanton and of the hardships of life? Who broods over every little vexation and inconvenience? Who not only increases real, but conjures up imaginary evils,and gets no sympathy from any one in either? is devoured by ennui and spleen? Who oppresses Who feels time wearisome and irksome? Who censorious talk?-The ACTIVE only have the others with their company, and questions, and true relish of life. He who knows not what it

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PERHAPS Fortune does not buffet any set of beings with more industry, and less effect, withal, than Actors. There may be something in the habitual mutability of their feeling that evades the blow; they live, in a great measure, out of this dull sphere, "which men call earth;" they assume the dress, the tone, the gait of emperors, kings, nobles; the world slides, and they mark it not. The Actor leaves his home, and forgets every domestic exigence in the temporary government of a state, or overthrow of a tyrant; he is completely out of the real world until the dropping of the curtain. The time likewise not spent on the stage is passed in preparation for the night; and thus the shafts of fate glance from our Actor like swan-shot from an Elephant. If struck at all, the barb must pierce the bones, and quiver in the marrow.

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devotion one hundred yards from the greenroom. It is amusing to perceive how blind, how dead, is our real Actor to the stir and turmoil of politics; he will turn from a Salamanca to admire a Sir John Brute's wig; Waterloo sinks into insignificance before the Amber-headed cane of a Sir Peter Teazle. What is St. Stephen's to him what the memory of Burke and Chatham? To be sure, Sheridan is well remembered; but then Sheridan wrote the Critic.

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Our Actor is completely great-coated in selfimportance-buttoned up to the throat in the impervious inch-thick vest of vanity. We never find his nature cold and shivering at the atmosphere of diffidence; no, it glows with all the comfortable fervor of self-opinion. Place him any where, and it is impossible that he should become frozen, every Actor is, in fact, his own Vesuvius. In Mallim's South Wales, there is a fine characteristic anecdote of the vanity of a dreamy Methodist: the man had come to so settled an opinion of his immaculate state, that he planted his belief in dwarf-box, and thus saw the memento of his salvation sprouting greenly around him. "Howel Harris, saved by grace, 17-," taught by the clipping sheers, grew letter by letter in gratifying distinctness. Now this is precisely what an Actor practises, only with different agents. The walls of his house (if he have one) are plastered with his character portraits; he is multiplied a hundred times; turn where you will, we meet him—not a niche is

vacant.

A mackerel lives longer out of water than does an Actor out of his element; he cannot, for a minute, "look around into universality." Keep him to the last edition of a new or old play, the burning of the two theatres, or an anecdote of John Kemble, and our Actor sparkles amazingly. Put to him an unprofessional question, and you strike him dumb; an abstract truth locks his jaws. On the contrary, listen to the stock-joke; lend an attentive ear to the witticism clubbed by the whole green-room-for there is rarely more than one at a time in circulation-and no man talks faster-none with a deeper delight to himself-none more profound, more knowing. The conversation of our Actor is a fine "piece of mosaic." Here Shakspeare is laid under contribution-here Farquhar-here Otway. have an undigested mass of quotations, dropping

Let us instance an author who, by the aid of pen, ink, and paper-implements for immortality-makes him a world of his own, peoples it according to his desires, and lies basking beneath the sky of summer-blue. Let us take Milton, in his divine phrenzy, drawing " empyreal air;" let us contemplate him suddenly snatched from the heaven of heavens by a shrill warning from his landlady, that an unpoetic cobbler refuses to leave the newly heel-tapped shoes of "Mr. Milton" without the groat! Is not this a check? Is not our poet brought from his Pegasus with a jolt that threatens dislocation? We take it, the feeling of an Actor, really awakened to wordly pressure, is, in some degree, the same. He descends from his throne, and the breath of assumed royalty is scarcely extinct within him, ere "our anointed self" may receive a no ceremonious deputation from a petty creditor, or the personal attack of an en-lutely impoverishable. What a lion he stalks in raged "cleanser of soiled linen."

Our Actor-we are speaking of players in the mass-is the most joyous, careless, superficial flutterer in existence. He knows every thing, yet has learned nothing; he has played at ducks and drakes over every rivulet of information, yet never plunged inch-deep into any thing beyond a play-book, or Joe Miller's jests. If he venture a scrap of Latin, be sure there is among his luggage a dictionary of quotations; if he speak of history, why, he has played in Richard and Coriolanus. The stage is with him the fixed orb, around which the whole world revolves; there is nothing worthy of a moment's

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without order from him. In words he is abso

a country town! How he stilts himself upon his jokes over the sleek, unsuspecting heads of his astonished hearers! He tells a story; and, for the remainder of the night, sits embosomed in the ineffable lustre of his humor.

An Actor can always be recognised in the street; he seems at ease (for where is he not?) in the crowd, yet not one of it. The peacock, stripped of its feathers, will still maintain its strut: the Actor has not forgotten the part of last night; his head, accustomed to the velvet cap, the overhanging plumes, and the sparkling gem, carries the meek beaver with a haughty, jerking air; his foot throws itself forth with de

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than has the uninitiated man. The Actor loses all recollection of the dramatist in self; he is persuaded that he has snatched the unformed lump from the author, and, by his own feelings and emotions, given shape and beauty to the plastic mass ! It is he who has made the

termination, as though ambition, love, or ty-
ranny yet burned in every toe; his hand still
seems to grasp a hilt or cartel; the coat sits as
though it knew it had usurped the place of tunic,
vest, or robe; the very cravat dilates with the
conscious pride of "station." He looks at the
passers-by with the air of an old acquaintance-part.
of one who has obliged them-suns himself in
the fair eyes that have wept at his "serious
business"-and bathes his spirit in the dewy
lips that have tittered at his comedy. Verily,
we have seen a successful Actor air himself in the
Park; we have seen him, whilst his inward man
was wholly inebriated with the looks and ges-
tures that he drew upon him!

The vanity of our Actor is never more apparent than in his benevolent custom of helping the ignorant dramatists whose creations he embodies: his philanthropy is unbounded. Even the Bard of Avon's language sometimes gains correction and adornment. We once heard an Actor tag the exit of the starved Apothecary with an original interpolation. We should much like to have the measure of the importance of a popular Actor as taken by himself; it would be a curiosity for the study of the contemplative. We remember one striking instance. A celebrated mimic, a few seasons since, modestly expressed his hope that he might be the means of conciliating one quarter of the world with England. Only think of the comfortable state of that man's mind, who, having rubbed a hare's foot over his cheek and nose, thinks himself sufficiently important to form a connecting link between Great Britain and America!

This feeling may, however, be reasonably accounted for. The Actor, unlike every other professional man, receives admiration through so violent and gross a medium-it comes with such a gust upon his senses-that he cannot maintain the equanimity arrived at by the poet, the painter, the sculptor. The man, accustomed to estimate his appearance as the signal for shouts and plaudits from congregated thousands, cannot soberly calculate his real importance, but is apt to confound his bearing in every other relation of life with his mere professional value. The admiration paid to other men, in other walks of art, comes to them cooled, purified, and sweetened by distance-just as the voluptuous Turk draws the bounty of the weed through a dulcifying rivulet of rose-water. Now our Actor has it hot-"burning hot"-and rolling up around him, eyes, mouth, nose, ears, all take in the intoxicating vapor, and a large monster of vanity is thereby generated.

An Actor, in the full enjoyment of his art, must experience the most intense and violent delight. He fairly bathes himself in the plaudits showered around him: he seems saturated with commendation. His person dilates, his eye lightens, all the cares of existence are lost, annihilated, in the brief rapture of the moment. The consciousness of self-importance knocks hardly at his heart; his pulses are at full gallop; his very being is multiplied. It is to this cause that an Actor has less admiration for his author

The low, creeping envy of the Actor is to be accounted for on the same principle as his conceit; the approbation paid to another, reaches him as loudly as that awarded to self. Actors come in more direct collision with one another than any kind of men besides. Hence, there is more envy, more low, petty intrigues, in a green-room, than in a court of France.

Popularity is the Actor's idol. No matter how it be gained, so that the precious spoil-the golden bough, the glittering aureus ramus-be acquired.-We close this article by rejoicing in the fact, of their being (in this case many,) honorable exceptions to every general rule.

REVIEWS OF BOOKS.

Rory O'More. By the Author of "Legends and
Stories of Ireland." London. R. Bentley.

Samuel Lover, whose name is beginning to ac-
A lively Irish romance, from the pen of Mr.
quire some celebrity in our Southern parts. In
Ireland he has long flourished as a second Boz,
in his peculiar line,—but with such a formidable
rival as Boz, he must be content to shine in
England, as a lesser light.' The story of the
novel is laid during the rebellion; and the trial
of Rory, as a Conspirator, affords some speci-
mens of racy humor. Larry Finnegan is the
witness under examination :-

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"Larry Finnegan again attempted to descend from the table, but was interrupted by the counsel for the prosecution; and the look of despair which the countenance of mine host of the "Black Bull" assumed, was most ludicrous. "Is it more you want o' me!" said he.Counsel: A few questions. Sit down. Larry scratched his head, and squeezed his hat harder than he had done before, and resumed his seat in bitterness of spirit; but his answers having latterly all gone smooth, he felt rather more self-possessed than he had done under his

previous examination by the prosecuting counsel, and his native shrewdness was less under the control of the novel situation in which he was placed. The bullying barrister, as soon as the witness was seated, began, in a thundering tone, thus :-Counsel: Now, my fine fellow, you say that it was for the particular purpose of asking for his crow-bar that the prisoner went to your house? -Witness: I do.-Counsel: By virtue of your oath?Witness: By the vorth o' my oath.-Counsel (slapping the table fiercely with his hand): Now, sir, how do you know he came for that purpose? Answer me that, sir. -Witness: 'Faith, thin, I'll tell you. When he came into the place that morning it was the first thing he ax'd for; and by the same token, the way I remimbir it is, that when he axed for the crow-bar he lint me, some one

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stan'in' by ax'd what I could want with a crow-bar; and
Rory O'More with that said, it wasn't me at all, but the
misthriss wanted it (Mrs. Finnegan, I mane).
"And
what would Mrs. Finnegan want wid it?" says the man.
Why," says Rory, "she makes the punch so sthrong
that she bent the spoons sthrivin' to stir it, and so she
borrowed the crow-bar to mix the punch." A laugh fol-
lowed this answer, and even Rory could not help smiling
at his own joke thus retailed; but his mother, and Mary,
and Kathleen, looked round the court, and turned their
pale faces in wonder on those who could laugh while the

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