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an that be all—Well, father, and how do all at home 2 how does brother Dick, and brother Wal? Sir Sampson. Dick' body o' me, Dick has been dead these two years. I writ you word when you were at Leghorn. Ben. Mess, that's true; Marry, I had forgot. Dick's dead, as you say—Well, and how?—I have a many questions to ask you— Here is an instance of insensibility which in real life would be revolting, or rather in real life could not have co-existed with the warm-hearted temperament of the character. But when you read it in the spirit with which such playful selections and specious combinations rather than strict metaphrases of nature should be taken, or when you saw Bannister play it, it neither did, nor does wound the moral sense at all. For what is Ben—the pleasant sailor which Bannister gave us—but a piece of a satire—a creation of Congreve's fancy—a dreamy combination of all the accidents of a sailor's character— his contempt of money—his credulity to women—with that necessary estrangement from home which it is just within the verge of credibility to
suppose might produce such an hallucination as is here described. We never think the worse of Ben for it, or feel it as a stain upon his character. But when an actor comes, and instead of the delightful phantom—the creature dear to half-belief—which Bannister exhibited — displays before our eyes a downright concretion of a o sailor—a jolly warmhearted Jack Tar—and nothing else —when instead of investing it with a delicious confusedness of the head, and a veering undirected goodness of §. gives to it a downright daylight understanding, and a full consciousness of its actions; thrusting forward the sensibilities of the character with a pretence as if it stood upon nothing else, and was to be judged by them alone—we feel the discord of the thing; the scene is disturbed ; a real man has got in among the dramatis personae, and puts them out. We want the sailor turned out. We feel that his true place is not behind the curtain, but in the first or second gallery.
(To be resumed occasionally.) Eli A. .
Our article last month was not extraordinarily long, but this will be shorter:—not that we are deficient, as we flatter ourselves, either in will, or ability to talk; but that there is little to talk about,-and that little (the pantomime excepted) little pleasant. The mighty mother, having decided on another avatar, is greatly gravelled by the superhuman efforts of the rival Bayeses for the honour of becoming her fleshy receptacle. Piece after piece they throw out to be damned, with hisses, or with the worse doom, faint applause ; and heroically persist in running them against that most satisfactory proof of public disapprobation,--empty benches. Who shall decide on the ultimate success of these belligerents P At which house are we most soporific P Whether is the immutable order of mundame things, mutability, better oppugned at Drury, by Geraldi Duval, Monsieur Tomson, and
the Coronation of George the Fourth; or by The Erile, The Two Pages of Frederick, and the Two Gentlemen of Verona at Covent Garden?–To come to the point: the managers must by this time have found out that costly spectacles which do not draw, and which, from the vast preparatory expenses, they cannot afford to withdraw, return into the treasury fewer net profits than sterling tragedies and comedies, carefully cast. §. Elliston has had very miserable audiences, and latterly his great “ masque” must have eaten its own head off; and though there was a fuller show of heads, on the average, at the other theatre, their receipts must have been smaller in proportion; for this reason, that, to the best of our information, the amount of salaries paid from the treasury of Mr. Harris is in relation to that of the great lessee as four to one. We are, indeed, afraid that Mr. Harris's wish to treat the public with liberality is carried to an excess hurtful to his own interests. His company, like a com§. of the Guards, is assured with
ouble numbers; he can present a front on every side; while that of E. resembles a skeleton battalion of a condemned West India Regiment. The simile will also hold with regard to their arrangements of novelties. At Covent Garden, they form four deep ; if one drops, another is pushed forwards with promptitude to the murderous fire. The Venison Pasty is damned' Let it go! The Two Gallant Pages will make the pass good; and if they too fall, we have another, and another, and another. The Russian troops in the Erile slacken fire:
Try we the day then with our hot Italians, Our Veronese, cat-footed, to climb towers Where damsels be, though perpendicular straight, And with the steamy breath of swathing clouds Most dizzying slippery. Now how is it on the other side of the Euxine? The English beef-eaters, worn with ninety mights' successive watch and ward, were relieved by an ill officered levy of Irish Galloglasses, who, thrown speedily into confusion, were, after a feeble resistance (to use a phrase of Soult's) annihilated—and the overweening general having no fresh troops in reserve, was forced to protect his re"treat with his jaded yeomen: that is to say, Giovanni in Ireland received its well deserved quietus; and though Mr. Elliston has had experience of the public for thirty years, “man and boy,” he had nothing in rehearsal against accidents; so that after a very formal red-lettered interment of his “King and no King,” the royal Vampire was dragged from the tomb df all the Capulets, or wherever it was, to amuse the little Christmas People, (who had, doubtless, had a glimpse of it before) in lieu of that wnysterious entertainment, chartered to them by custom, viz. a pantoamime. The consequences of this grand failure were . sensibly in the treasuries of both houses:–new ven'tilators were required by Covent Garden, and more fires at Drury. Loss of money was not all;-miscarriages at such a critical season create a want of confidence in play-goers
every one is fiot amused with, the damnatory sound arising from a conflict between expellent breath and repellent teeth; and Elliston, who knows this as well as any body, in his despair, laid violent hands on the new Scotch Novel, and, assisted by Mr. T. Cooke, and Mr. Moncrief, or Mr. Somebody, actually strained forth a premature bantling, which seemed to interest nobody. Still we must inflict somewhat concerning it on our poor readers. Jan. 15.-Bowed together by the rushing force of the chill north wind, wethreaded rapidly the yelling groups under Covent Garden Piazza, pressing onwards to the warmth of a full house, on the first night of The Pirate; but, as we obliqued from the angle of Bow Street, to the angle of Bridges Street, our hopes were blanked. Before the swinging valves of Drury stood no carriages, but those with the Arabian numerals. “Are you full?” said we, “Middling ! ver fair, Sir!” (Gentlemen / we mean. We would try the dress circle, however; and there, by the aid of that obliging box keeper, Mr. Stewart, (whom we thus ...) we got a seat, second row, third from the stage. Soon we wished for the great coats unheedfully delivered into Mr. S’s safe custody—for though the pit was full, and rolled below us like a black lake, the boxes, in general, were merely dotted about here and there, with extremely plain-faced people, pale, disconsolate, having no voice but wheezes, snuffles, and coughs. We are believers in ugly nights, and handsome mights; and nearly always contrive to go on the former—which is pleasantl Reader, we take leave to set it down that you have eaten (a more genteel word than devoured) the novel. You shall not therefore be bored to chew the cud of it with Messrs. Foote, Penley, and Mrs. W. West, as we were. We will speak briefly, and only let you know that the Pirate limped very much, notwithstanding the excision of his worst corns, Mr. Trips Yellowley, and his sister BàWe should have been for casting off the poet Halcro, with his *... yarns,” instead of aiding his proper dullness with some ingredients from “the clod compeller;” and putting the active little old man (as the Unknown denominates him) into the gaolership of that stout, ablebodied actor, Mr. Gattie; whose harsh treatment so muddled his brains, and lowered his poetic fire, that at the whale hunt (of which we merely hear) he not only engaged the stranded mass with a hay-fork, but deserted his friend Mordaunt, in the most cowardly way; and for the whole long eve was absolutely unable to chaunt one stave in praise of the lass of Northmaven—poor Bet, (“I call her Maryl though Betsy does well for an English song,”) of poor Bet Stimbister; let alone his
Headlong forward, foot, and horsemen, Charge and fight, and die like Norsemen.
We augured no good, when we saw he had on a heavy full-bottomed wig' his knees tottered too, P. man! “ and a plentiful lack of wit doth ever comrade your weak hams.” For this, however, Mr. G., though an indifferently bad performer, is not entirely accountable; we must look to the blundering carpenter, who knocked so clumsily together the good boards. In the whole job, there is neither selection, nor common stage knowledge of effect. Even Mr. Farley, who so mauled Undine, would have turned out a better thing. The bare scaffolding, the simple plot, was hardly to be missed; but the incidents which carry it on seem to have been dipped for in the dark. A man dragged out of green canvas is a very stale trick to play-frequenters— not so is a whale fishing, yet one is rejected and the other retained. The half-fearful, half-impudent evasions of the jagger to Cleveland's demands for the restitution of his doubloons and pocket book, combined with the drubbing he suffers from that irritated worthy, might have been worked up very efficaciously for Mundem; and, as the grand excuse for the Pirate's re-connexion with his ruffians hangs on that incident, its insertion is more necessary in the Drama (where the son of Norna is comfortably united to the daughter of Magnus) than in the romance, which ends in the grave. But we should be silly to look for any thing like propriety in a new serious drama (with music,”) soletus sweeten our mouths a
little with sweet words on Cooper; who really personated the corsair hero with much ease, animation, and feeling of the original character. The over-acted bluntness, the disagree. able airs of a bullying, patronizing gratitude towards young Mertoum, in their first colloquy, were correctly exhibited; nor can less be said of the natural haughtiness, civilized into dignity, which, merely laid down while he heaves the lead, is resumed, together, with his splendid attire, on coming into safe anchorage. If we said that Mr. , whoever he was, the presenter or disfigurer of the jolly Udaller, knew nothing at all about the matter, our sentence would comprise two good things, brevity and truth; and why should we notin. clude in our memorables Mr. Penley, (Mordaunt Mertoum) when his me. rits may be summed with so simple a combination of letters as ditto. The sentimental Buccaneer, Fredericalta. mont, alias Jack Bunce, was allotted to the fidgetty-active, gasping-jawed, oddly-trotting, smile-creating Harley, the sal volatile of Drury; who very ably proved that Mr. Elliston is not always out in his managerial distribution of MSS. studienda. His cos. tume was very discreetly in unison with his amalgamation of nautical duties, and histrionic hankerings;– and we admired equally his white petticoat, black steenkirk, red stockings, and verditer blue breeches. But who, save Sir Walter himself, with antiquarian gusto, shall blazon thy glorious array, Old Goffe? Who shall pour thy ambitiously dressed form on the field-dulled fancy of our Westmoreland perusers?—How, except by coloured plate, can the full effect of thy tasteful assortment ber come tangible enough for vision? The brown bob-wig l—the laced satin vest, full-flapped, of heavenly blue ! the brass-buckled baldric of honest black harness leather, stuck full of brass pistols still it looks like a bandileer' — the gold-fringed, thickplaited seaman's petticoat! — the cocked hat, gay with red ribbons, and involuted like a sea-shell !—the red-heeled pumps!—the collarless, spacious-cuffed coat, in hue like the bloody mulberry ! — a coat, whose skirts alone would swallow full six such coats as we degenerate wear;-the point cravat!—the public-house physiognomy — the ineffable stand of the legs —and the cloathing of those ship-adapted legs, of sky-blue silk grizzled horizontally with white heraldic palisades! – What else? what is omitted?—Everything, himself! — But if “the Fortune's Fa'vourite” be not blown up at point non-plus before we are off the stocks you must go and see the old “monkey-sucker,” with his one-eyed boatswain, and his men, carousing in the cabin; singing manfully the best song in the piece, or the tale—
Thus said the Rover, To his gallant crew, Up with the black flag, Down with the blue ! Fire on the maintop, Fire on the bow, Fire on the gun deck, Fire down below ! When we call to mind this joyous chorus, we almost incline to set down the Pirate as an amusing spectacle; but then Mr. Pope and Mrs. West arise, and crush the humane feeling. And here we will just note the different treatment which these two rformers met with from the vulgar |. audience. Mrs. West, who in the rapt enthusiast Norna was a little more mannered, a little more false, and a little more weak, than customary, seemed to join the powers of Cecilia and Timotheus; drawin down applause from the gods, an raising rapturous shouts from “the satyrs of the pit.” On the other hand, Pope (Basil Mertoun) was laughed at, and hissed by a parcel of half-price shop boys, to whom this long tried servant of the public might be grandfather. . . Is this all the consideration and the kindness that onglish youth show to an old familiar face, falling somewhat into “the sear and yellow leaf” “Fie on’t, 40 fie!”—When indeed novel imbecility is smuggled on the town at the commencement of a season (as in the recent case of a young soi-disant comedian at Covent Garden) to cheat us of an able hand, it beseems the real theatrical amateur to let no means of warfare escape that may bring about the pristine integrity; he must combat stratagem with stratagem; but surely in the space of forty years, acts of amnesty must
have been passed, which privilege Mr. Pope from all petty hostility. That unequalled humourist, Munden (whom we seldom see now, because Mr. Elliston considers him too dainty to be supped on often) was ut into Bryce Smaelsfoote; but e did little; for he had nothing to do;—still he gave us his unctuous countenance.—Reader! did you ever see him in the Deaf Lover ? or is that luxury yet in unenjoyed perspective? if so, take our envy! The ladies ask a word or two. —Minna, the lofty-visioned, “ call her fair not pale,” was thrust on Vestris with the roving eye, who used a whole sixpenny paper of car
mine on her pretty face, tried to look
grave, and sang delightfully. Her style was steady yet graceful, and her intonation rich, full, airy, and Miss Cubitt, a favourite with us, was much applauded in her musical portions: but spite of her very beautiful sunny hair, and her odd saucy looks, she was not much nearer to Brenda, than Lucy Giovanni to the Zetland Zuleika. We are quite at fault respecting the “faits et gestes” of sweet-voiced Mrs. Bland and Miss Povey; but their names are in the bills. Adieu Mesdames et Mesdemoiselles au revoir. The scenery was very respectable, but not correct; for example, tho many of the excellent views of #. wall and St. Magnus are to be found in the last interesting volume of William Daniel's Coasting Tour, yet the street scene before the cathedral in that burgh was copied from an English town very familiar to us, though we cannot at this moment tell where, but we should say in Herts. As to the machinery, the less we speak of it the better: the engagement between the Pirate's schooner and the Halcyon (if that may be termed an *. where the slap-bangi is on one side) was jocose, an the fizzling squib which blew up the “Fortune's Favourite” excited much laughter. When the drop fell, a contest arose which kept Mr. Cooper for some five minutes in cap-in-hand suspense. The contents evidently had it, and he gave out “ The Pirate” for the next night amidst a chaos of Bravos / Ya! Yes | No 1 No 1 Catcalls / Hisses / Turn the
ese out, &c. &c. This was our no#. of the case;—but as a proof that all people do not hear with the same ears, the actor-emperor announced in his manifestoes, “ that the new piece was received on its first appearance by the unanimous applause of a brilliant and overflowing audience s” At Covent Garden, nothing has been done as yet in the fine old preeminent way; in the regular Drama. Macready has played his Rob Roy (which is a clever thing, but not at all like the genuine article); and Miss Stephens has appeared as Polly in the sweet pretty refined abridgement of the Beggar's Opera, executed we Thear by Mr. Bowdler the reformer of Shakspeare. Our country friends will be pleased to learn that those rofligate wretches, Moll Brazen, 4. Slammerkin and Co. are now omitted, in pursuance of remonstrances from the modest and tenderconscienced ladies who nightly occupy such retired and retiring stations as the slips, lobbies, and the pigeonholes. What a miserable self-betraying disguise all this make-believe goodness is When we, the dramatic whipperin, were a little boy, we always, in destroying mince pies, reserved the rich meat for the finish. Characters are best studied from things that the superficial set down as superficial. The principle of selective epicurism, which caused the above delicate separation of the two grand comonents of the Christmas delicacy, is ecome so diffused through our nature, that, without any observable exercise of the judicial process, we have hoarded up for our grand finale the following account of the pantomime by a friend “ who hath words and wit at will.” Here, take it, and allow that we leave you con la bocca dolce till the next month.
The PANTomim e.
Drury Lane has no pantomime this Christmas, which we very sincerely regret, for we know no amusement hi so rich as the first night of such a piece at this house. The performers begin hopelessly—and "nothing turns out perfect. We remember seeing a splendid failure of this
kind a season or two ago, and were nearly as much entertained at it as if it had been Mother Goose in all her bloom and freshness. The disguises, though touched by a silver wand, and ordered off by a little lady with gauze wings, positively, declined making their departure—but stuck to the legs and arms of the irritated Harlequin, as though he had been dressed in cobwebs. Columbine was a considerable time in taking the shutters down from her spangles and laces—and the Clown himself was obliged to stamp at the negligent trap-door, before it would condescend to admit his charmed and charming habiliments. The disaster of this commencement was the prologue to a thousand failures. Half the river Thames, with half a collier, and three fourths of the patent shot manufactory, was pushed on, and joined by half a parlour, and the moiety of a pianoforte; at another change of scene, half a house glided on by itself, and in vain yawned after its partner, which kept struggling in canvas convulsions at the side of the stage, unable to advance or retreat.
The sky was laid on as the roof to a
kitchen—and the beams of the kit
chen were suspended over “ a view
at sunrise,” and were the only beams #. to illuminate the prospect.
arlequin danced about in dejected gaiety, and faded lustre—and Columbine followed, sighing, and shuffling, like a lady who is following the dance of a runagate husband. The Clown and Pantaloon cuffed one another with desperate pleasantry— and there was no other humour that told. In vain Harlequin flogged a hard-hearted chest of drawers that ought to have cracked—opened, and flapped into a wheelbarrow, or a temple, or some such animal; there it stood, with its hateful brass handles, and eternal drawers, determined not to throw off its nature. Harlequin gave his wand an additional flourish, and then in the silence of an expecting audience, banged the stubborn furniture enough to have beat in the brains of a real chest:— No—the hint was not taken—the bureau did not move a muscle of its mahogany countenance. At length the jaded Harlequin seized it with one hand, chastised it with the other,