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BREAKFAST-TABLE COMPANION ;
NEW AND FASHIONABLE JOURNAL
LITERATURE, FINE ARTS,
SATIRE AND THE STA G E.
PUBLISHED FOR THE PROPRIETOR BY GEORGE DENNEY,
AT THE OFFICE, 7, TAVISTOCK STREET, Covent GARDEN ;
Street; and CLEMENTS, Pulteney Street.
LITERATURE, FINE ARTS, SATIRE, AND THE STAG E.
“QUALITY,- NOT QUANTITY."-Common Sense.
VOL. I.—No. 1.]
SATURDAY, MAY 13, 1837.
observations, therefore, which pertinently refer to our leading title, will be considered an echo of
our own sentiments, and prove that we never inWe at once plead guilty' to having put forth an ad
tended to use the word “Idler," in a bad sense :-captandum title, --so far, at least, as regards our Christian
“None so little enjoy life, and are such burname. We shall, however, religiously defend our Sur- dens to themselves, as those who have NOTHING name, having a conviction that we shall be read by all
A want of occupation is not rest
A mind quite vacant is a mind distress'd." hour of breakfast. We shall not, however, relinquish our Christian name, without putting in a 'defence.' Such a man is out of God's order ; and opposing It must be remembered that Drones, though idlers, are
his obvious design in the faculties he has given happy animals, roving about just where their fancy leads
him, and the condition in which he has placed
him. them, and regaling on the delicious honey made by the
Nothing, therefore, is promised in the more amiable bees. So far, we resemble the happy Scriptures to the indolent. Take the indolent, drones; but in no other respect do we wish to institute a with regard to exertion What indecision !
What delay! What reluctance! What apprecomparison. Our happiness we intend to devote to the
hension. The slothful man says, 'there is a well-being of our fellow 'mortals, and the sweets which
lion without ; I shall be slain in the streets.' we sip, ever and anon, will be fairly divided among all
• The way of a slothful man is as a hedge of who choose to number themselves among our friends
thorns. Take him with regard to health-What and acquaintances. Unused to apology,-being old
What depression friends with the public,;-we leave our first number to be sluggishness of circulation?
of spirits! What enervation of frame! Take its own "prospectus”-fearing lest, if we make pledges, him with regard to temper and enjoyment-Who we may resemble certain Gentlemen, in a certain House, who make them with a direct view to their never being childish cravings? Who is too soft to bear any
is pettish and fretful? Who feels wanton and redeemed.
of the hardships of life? Who broods over every little vexation and inconvenience? Who not
only increases real, but conjures up imaginary IDLERS.
evils,and gets no sympathy from any one in either?
Who feels time wearisome and irksome? Who It is pleasing to get a friend to write for a
is devoured by ennui and spleen? Who oppresses body on an emergency-one who is free from
others with their company, and questions, and nervous feeling, and who writes from a convic- censorious talk !—The ACTIVE only have the tion that he is speaking truth. The following true relish of life. He who knows not what it
is labor, knows not what it is to enjoy. Recrea- | devotion one hundred yards from the greention is only valuable as it unbends us; the IDLE room. It is amusing to perceive how blind, how know nothing of it. It is exertion that renders dead, is our real Actor to the stir and turmoil rest delightful; and sleep, sweet and undisturbed. of politics ; he will turn from a Salamanca to That the happiness of life depends on the prose- admire a Sir John Brute's wig; Waterloo sinks cution of some laudable purpose or lawful calling, into insignificance before the Amber-headed which engages, helps, and enlivens all our cane of a Sir Peter Teazle. What is St. Stephen's powers, let those bear witness who, after spend- to him what the memory of Burke and ing years in active usefulness, retire to enjoy Chatham ? To be sure, Sheridan is well rememthemselves !''
bered ; but then Sheridan wrote the Critic.
Our Actor is completely great-coated in selfSKETCHES OF CHARACTER.-No. 1. importance-buttoned up to the throat in the
impervious inch-thick vest of vanity. We never
find his nature cold and shivering at the atmosTHE ACTOR.
phere of diffidence; no, it glows with all the PERHAPS Fortune does not buffet any set of comfortable fervor of self-opinion. Place him beings with more industry, and less effect, with any where, and it is impossible that he should al, than Actors. There may be something in become frozen , every Actor is, in fact, his own the habitual mutability of their feeling that Vesuvius. In Mallim's South Wales, there is a evades the blow; they live, in a great measure, fine characteristic anecdote of the vanity of a out of this dull sphere, “ which men call earth;' dreamy Methodist: the man had come to so they assume the dress, the tone, the gait of settled an opinion of his immaculate state, that emperors, kings, nobles; the world slides, and he planted his belief in dwarf-box, and thus saw they mark it not. The Actor leaves his home, the memento of his salvation sprouting greenly and forgets every domestic exigence in the tem- around him. “ Howel Harris, saved by grace, porary government of a state, or overthrow of a 17—" taught by the clipping sheers, grew letter tyrant ; he is completely out of the real world by letter in gratifying distinctness. Now this is until the dropping of the curtain. The time precisely what an Actor practises, only with likewise not spent on the stage is passed in pre- different agents. The walls of his house (if he paration for the night; and thus the shafts of have one) are plastered with his character porfate glance from our Actor like swan-shot from traits; he is multiplied a hundred times ; turn an Elephant. If struck at all, the barb must where you will, we meet him-not a niche is pierce the bones, and quiver in the marrow.
Let us instance an author who, by the aid of A mackerel lives longer out of water than does pen, ink, and paper-implements for immor- an Actor out of his element; he cannot, for a tality—makes him a world of his own, peoples minute, “ look around into universality.” Keep it according to his desires, and lies basking be- him to the last edition of a new or old play, the neath the sky of summer-blue. Let us take burning of the two theatres, or an anecdote of Milton, in his divine phrenzy, drawing “empy- John Kemble, and our Actor sparkles amazingly. real air ;" let us contemplate him suddenly Put to him an unprofessional question, and you snatched from the heaven of heavens by a shrill strike him dumb; an abstract truth locks his warning from his landlady, that an unpoetic cob- jaws. On the contrary, listen to the stock-joke; bler refuses to leave the newly heel-tapped lend an attentive ear to the witticism clubbed by shoes of “ Mr. Milton” without the groat! Is the whole green-room-for there is rarely more not this a check? Is not our poet brought from than one at a time in circulation--and no man his Pegasus with a jolt that threatens dislocation? | talks faster-none with a deeper delight to himWe take it, the feeling of an Actor, really self-none more profound, more knowing. The awakened to wordly pressure, is, in some de- conversation of our Actor is a fine “piece of gree, the same. He descends from his throne, mosaic.” Here Shakspeare is laid under conand the breath of assumed royalty is scarcely tribution-here Farquhar-here Otway. We extinct within him, ere “our anointed self" have an undigested mass of quotations, dropping may receive a no ceremonious deputation from a without order from him. In words he is absopetty creditor, or the personal attack of an en- lutely impoverishable. What a lion he stalks in raged "cleanser of soiled linen.”
a country town! How he stilts himself upon Our Actor-we are speaking of players in the his jokes over the sleek, unsuspecting heads of mass—is the most joyous, careless, superficial his astonished hearers ! He tells a story; and, flutterer in existence. He knows every thing, for the remainder of the night, sits embosomed yet has learned nothing; he has played at ducks in the ineffable lustre of his humor. and drakes over every rivulet of information, An Actor can always be recognised in the yet never plunged inch-deep into any thing be- street; he seems at ease (for where is he not?) ynnd a play-book, or Joe Miller's jests. If he in the crowd, yet not one of it. The peacock, venture a scrap of Latin, be sure there is stripped of its feathers, will still maintain its among his luggage a dictionary of quotations; if strut: the Actor has not forgotten the part of he speak of history, -why, he has played in last night; his head, accustomed to the velvet Richard and Coriolanus. The stage is with him cap, the overhanging plumes, and the sparkling the fixed orb, around which the whole world re- gem, carries the meek beaver with a haughty, volves; there is nothing worthy of a moment's jerking air; his foot throws itself forth with de
termination, as though ambition, love, or ty- | than has the uninitiated man. The Actor loses
green-room, than in a court of France.
REVIEWS OF BOOKS.
Stories of Ireland.” London. R. Bentley.
A lively Irish romance, from the pen of Mr. conciliating one quarter of the world with Samuel Lover, whose name is beginning to ac
In England. Only think of the comfortable state quire some celebrity in our Southern parts. of that man's mind, who, having rubbed a hare's Ireland he has long flourished as a second Boz, foot over his cheeks and nose, thinks himself in his peculiar line-but with such a formidable sufficiently important to form a connecting link rival as Boz, he must be content to shine in between Great Britain and America !
England, as a lesser light.' The story of the This feeling may, however, be reasonably ac
novel is laid during the rebellion; and the trial counted for. The Actor, unlike every other
of Rory, as a Conspirator, affords some speciprofessional man, receives admiration through so
mens of racy humor. Larry Finnegan is the violent and gross a medium--it comes with such
witness under examination: a gust upon his senses that he cannot maintain “Larry Finnegan again attempted to descend from the the equanimity arrived at by the poet, the
table, but was interrupted by the counsel for the prose
cution; and the look of despair which the countenance painter, the sculptor. The man, accustomed to
of mine host of the “ Black Bull" assumed, was most estimate his appearance as the signal for shouts ludicrous. “Is it more you want o' me !" said he. and plaudits from congregated thousands, cannot
Counsel : A few questions. Sit down. Larry scratched soberly calculate his real importance, but is apt before, and resumed his seat in bitterness of spirit; but
his head, and squeezed his hat harder than he had done to confound his bearing in every other relation his answers having latterly all gone smooth, he felt of life with his mere professional value. The rather more self-possessed than he one under his admiration paid to other men, in other walks of previous examination by the prosecuting counsel, and
his native shrewdness was less under the control of the art, comes to them cooled, purified, and sweet- novel situation in which he was placed. The bullying ened by distance-just as the voluptuous Turk barrister, as soon as the witness was seated, began, in a draws the bounty of the weed through a dulci- thundering tone, thus :-Counsel: Now, my fine fellow,
you say that it was for the particular purpose of asking fying rivulet of rose-water. Now our Actor has
for his crow-bar that the prisoner went to your house? it hot—"burning hot”-and rolling up around -Witness: I do.--Counsel: By virtue of your oath ?-him, eyes, mouth, nose, ears, all take in the Witness: By the vorth o' my oath.-Counsel (slapping intoxicating vapor, and a large monster of
the table fiercely with his hand): Now, sir, how do you
know he came for that purpose? Answer me that, sir. vanity is thereby generated.
-Witness : 'Faith, thin, I'll tell you. When he came An Actor, in the full enjoyment of his art, into the place that morning it was the first thing he ax'd must experience the most intense and violent 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 delight. He fairly bathes himself in the plaudits stan'in' by ax’d what I could want with a crow-bar; and showered around him: he seems saturated with Rory O'More with that said, it wasn't me at all, but the commendation. His person dilates, his eye
misthriss wanted it (Mrs. Finnegan, I mane). lightens, all the cares of existence are lost, an
what would Mrs. Finnegan want wid it?" says the man.
“Why,” says Rory, “she makes the punch so sthrong nihilated, in the brief rapture of the moment. that she bent the spoons sthrivin' to stir it, and so she The consciousness of self-importance knocks borrowed the crow-bar to mix the punch.” A laugh folhardly at his heart; his pulses are at full gallop ; lowed this answer, and even Rory could not help smiling
at his own joke thus retailed; but his mother, and Mary, his very being is multiplied. It is to this cause
and Kathleen, looked round the court, and turned their that an Actor has less admiration for his author pale faces in wonder on those who could laugh while the