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LITERATURE, FINE ARTS, SATIRE, AND THE STAGE.
“ 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
TO DO—for the fashionables and men of letters, while sipping their coffee and flirting with their toast, at the comfortable'
“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 them, and regaling on the delicious honey made by the
him. 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 who choose to number themselves among our friends : The way of a slothful man is as a hedge of and acquaintances. Unused to apology,-being old
thorns.' Take him with regard to health-What
sluggishness of circulation ! What depression friends with the public,-we leave our first number to be its own "prospectus”—fearing lest, if we make pledges, him with regard to temper and enjoyment-Who
of spirits! What enervation of frame! Take 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 ardships 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 nervous feeling, and who writes from a convic- censorious talk?—The active only have the
others with their company, and questions, and 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 Mallin'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. vacant.
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 Dur 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 ?) yond 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 among his luggage a dictionary of quotations; if strut: the Actor has not forgotten the part he speak of history, “why, he has played in last night; his head, accustomed to the vel 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 r?
termination, as though ambition, love, or ty- | than has the univitiated man. The Actor loses ranny yet burned in every toe; his hand still all recollection of the dramatist in self; he is seems to grasp a hilt or cartel; the coat sits as persuaded that he has snatched the unformed though it knew it had usurped the place of tunic, lump from the author, and, by his own feelings vest, or robe; the very cravat dilates with the and emotions, given shape and beauty to the conscious pride of " station.” He looks at the plastic mass ! It is he who has made the passers-by with the air of an old acquaintance- part. of one who has obliged them- suns himself in The low, creeping envy of the Actor is to be the fair eyes that have wept at his “serious accounted for on the same principle as his conbusiness”-and bathes his spirit in the dewy ceit; the approbation paid to another, reaches lips that have tittered at his comedy. Verily, him as loudly as that awarded to self. Actors we have seen a successful Actor air himself in the come in more direct collision with one another Park; we have seen him, whilst his inward man than any kind of men besides. Hence, there is was wholly inebriated with the looks and ges- more envy, more low, petty intrigues, in a tures that he drew upon him!
green-room, than in a court of France. The vanity of our Actor is never more apparent Popularity is the Actor's idol. No matter how than in his benevolent custom of helping the it be gained, so that the precious spoil—the ignorant dramatists whose creations he embodies: golden bough, the glittering aureus ramus—be his philanthropy is unbounded. Even the Bard acquired. We close this article by rejoicing in of Avon's language sometimes gains correction the fact, of their being in this case many,) and adornment. We once heard an Actor tag honorable exceptions to every general rule. the exit of the starved Apothecary with an original interpolation. We should much like to have the measure of the importance of a popular
REVIEWS OF BOOKS. Actor as taken by himself; it would be a curiosity for the study of the contemplative. Rory O'More. By the Author of " Legends and We remember one striking instance. A cele
Stories of Ireland.” London. R. Bentley. brated mimic, a few seasons since, modestly expressed his hope that he might be the means of
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 cheek 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 had done 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, fying rivulet of rose-water. Now our Actor has
you say that it was for the particular purpose of asking
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). “And
what would Mrs. Finnegan want wid it ?" says the man. lightens, all the cares of existence are lost, an
“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
life of him they adored was at stake; and the sound of De Porquet's Tresor de l'Ecolier Francais.--De mirth at such a moment fell more gratingly on their ears than the fierce manner of the bullying prosecutor. But
Porquet's First French Reading-Book.-De the witness was encouraged, for he saw his examiner
Porquet's Petit Secretaire Parisien.- Key to was annoyed, and he took a hint from the result, and Petit Secretaire.-De Porquet's Italian Phrase lay in wait for another opportunity of turning the laugh Book.—London, 1837. F. de Porquet and against his tormentor. He was not long in getting such an opening; and the more he was examined, in hope of
Cooper. shaking his testimony, the less the prosecutor gained by
The announcement of our New Paper having it.
At length the counsel received a whisper from Sweeny, that the fellow was drunk. “He has his wits
attracted the notice of Messrs. F. de Porquet most d-nably about him for all that,” said the lawyer. and Cooper, we have received from them a num“He has been drinking all the morning-I can prove ber of their publications,—we conclude for the it,” said Sweeny; "and you may upset his testimony, if you like, on that score." " I'll have a touch at him
purpose of their being reviewed. Having had then," said the lawyer. When the jury perceived the
several days' leisure during the past week, we same witness still kept on the table, and a re-examina- have looked over them with a very critical eye; tion for the prosecution entered upon, they became
and are happy to have it in our power to recomwearied, and, indeed, no wonder; for the silk-gowned gentleman became excessively dull, and had he possessed
mend them as admirable works, either for adopany tact, must have perceived from the demeanor of the tion in schools, or for self-tuition. With these jury that the present course of proceeding was ill-timed.
books, a man may learn more in one week, than, Yet he continued ; and, in violation of all custom, sought to invalidate his testimony of the man he himself had by the usual mode of teaching, in several months called as a witness: but Larry's cross-examination hav- of severe study. How essential, then, must be ing favored the prisoner, the crown counsel became in- their universal reception in public seminaries ! censed, and abandoned all ceremony and discretion, which at length was noticed by the bench.
“I beg your
It gives us pleasure to perceive, that they have pardon, my lord, but I am anxious to sift this witness.” all passed into new and greatly improved edi“By gor," said Finnegan,” “if you wor to sift me from tions.-One of them, Le Tresor (a most invaluthis till to-morrow, the devil a grain more you'll get out
able book) has on its title page “17th Edition.” o'me!-and indeed you've been gettin' nothin' but chaff for the last half-hour." The answer had so much of
This simple fact prevents us entering more truth in it, that the counsel became doubly annoyed at fully into the merits of M. de Porquet's works, the suppressed laugh he heard around him; and then he -we must, however, cordially thank that gendetermined to bring up his heavy artillery, and knock Larry to atoms. Counsel : Now, sir, I've just a question
tleman for the personal benefit we have derived, or two that you'll answer by virtue of
from a perusal of his very clever and intelligent Bench : Really Mr. :-Counsel: I beg your lord- books. ship's pardon--but it is absolutely important. Now, by virtue of your oath, havn't you been drinking this morning ?-Witness: To be sure I have.-Counsel: How much did you drink?-Witness: 'Faith, I don't know,
Observations on the Preservation of Health in InI never throuble myself keepin' count, barrin' I'm sar- fancy, Youth, Manhood, and Age; with the vin' the customers at home.-Counsel : You took a glass best means of improving the Moral and Physical of whiskey before breakfast of course ?-Witness : And
Condition of Man. By John Harrison Curtis, glad to get it !--Counsel : And another after ?-Witness: Av coorse-when it was to be had.--Counsel : When Esq., 12mo. H. Renshaw. you came into the town, you went to a public house, I hear, and were drinking there, too, before you came into
Having received this book at the eleventh court?-Witness: Oh, jist a thrifle among some friends. hour,' we were about to lay it on one side, till a -Counsel: What do you call a trifle ?-Witness: Four glance at the title-page arrested our attention. pots o' porther and a quart o' spirts.-Counsel : Good
We find, on a hasty perusal, that we cannot do God! Gentlemen of the jury, listen to this :-a gallon of porter and a quart of whiskey !-Witness: Oh, but that adequate justice to its merits this week. It apwas betune six iv uz! - Counsel : Then, sir, by your pears one of the most practically useful and neown account, you're drunk at this moment.-Witness: cessary books for constant reference in the Not a bit.--Counsel : On your oath-remember, on your oath, sir-do you think, after drinking all you yourself
nursery, drawing-room, and chamber of the Inhave owned to, you are in a state to give evidence in a valid, that we remember to have seen. We court of justice?-Witness : ’Faith, I think a few glasses must find room for two random extracts,-the only helps to brighten a man !-and betune ourselves,
first addressed to seven-eighths of the population Counsellor, I think you'd be a grate dale the better ov a glass yourself this minit." The laugh which this
of London,--the latter to those numberless dirty rejoinder produced, finished "the counsellor,” and he animals, who luxuriate in the horrid custom of sat down without roaring, as usual, at the witness, “Go
taking snuff: down, sir.” But Larry kept his seat until the laugh was over; and, not receiving the ordinary mandate to retire,
MONEY-GETTING. he looked at the discomfited barrister with the most pro- “ Thousands I might say millions--of our countryvoking affectation of humility, and said, “ Do you want me any more, sir?” This renewed the laugh, and Fin
men devote all their energies, bodily and mental, to the negan retired from the table under the shadow of his
one concern of money-getting. Early and late they pur
sue their object; they engage in endless schemes for the laurels."
increase of their wealth; their minds are perpetually on A few such blunt witnesses as Larry Fin- the rack; not a day passes without intense mental lanegan, are much wanted in our English courts.
bor and excitement: their health is neglected, and their
present comfort despised, that they may the more uninThe brutal insolence of our barristers can only terruptedly pursue their plans of aggrandisement. The be checked by such characters. Mr. Lover's innumerable speculations that are daily starting up, and Larry Finnegan, and Boz's Sam Weller, are
the avidity, the blind eagerness, with which they are well matched; so far, at least, as regards “queer
entered into, are abundant evidence that this picture is
not overdrawn. Who can enumerate the various assoing" the counsellors. We have ourselves heară ciations for the carrying on of all imaginable objects, such questions asked, in a court of law, as
which occupy so large a portion of the attention of the would have disgraced any but a lawyer even to
legislature, and each of which promises to its promoters
the speedy realisation of that, after which all men seem have conceived.