Scarborough and the Critic
Part 2 out of 3
ever nature yet brought into the world.--Sir Tunbelly, strike me
speechless, but these are my friends and acquaintance, and my
guests, and they will soon inform thee whether I am the true Lord
Foppington or not.
_Enter_ LOVELESS, COLONEL TOWNLY, AMANDA, _and_
BERINTHIA.--LORD FOPPINGTON _accosts them as they pass, but
none answer him.
Fash_. So, gentlemen, this is friendly; I rejoice to see you.
_Col. Town_. My lord, we are fortunate to be the witnesses
of your lordship's happiness.
_Love_. But your lordship will do us the honour to introduce
us to Sir Tunbelly Clumsy?
_Aman_. And us to your lady.
_Lord Fop_. Gad take me, but they are all in a story!
_Sir Tun_. Gentlemen, you do me much honour; my Lord
Foppington's friends will ever be welcome to me and mine.
_Fash_. My love, let me introduce you to these ladies.
_Miss Hoyd_. By goles, they look so fine and so stiff, I am
almost ashamed to come nigh 'em.
_Aman_. A most engaging lady indeed!
_Miss Hoyd_. Thank ye, ma'am.
_Ber_. And I doubt not will soon distinguish herself in the
_Miss Hoyd_. Where is that?
_Fash_. You'll soon learn, my dear.
_Love_. But Lord Foppington--
_Lord Fop_. Sir!
_Love_. Sir! I was not addressing myself to you, sir!--Pray
who is this gentleman? He seems rather in a singular predicament--
_Col. Town_. For so well-dressed a person, a little oddly
_Sir Tun_. Ha! ha! ha!--So, these are your friends and your
guests, ha, my adventurer?
_Lord Fop_. I am struck dumb with their impudence, and
cannot positively say whether I shall ever speak again or not.
_Sir Tun._ Why, sir, this modest gentleman wanted to pass
himself upon me as Lord Foppington, and carry off my daughter.
_Love._ A likely plot to succeed, truly, ha! ha!
_Lord Fop._ As Gad shall judge me, Loveless, I did not expect
this from thee. Come, pr'ythee confess the joke; tell Sir
Tunbelly that I am the real Lord Foppington, who yesterday made
love to thy wife; was honoured by her with a slap on the face,
and afterwards pinked through the body by thee.
_Sir Tun._ A likely story, truly, that a peer would behave
_Love._ A pretty fellow, indeed, that would scandalize the
character he wants to assume; but what will you do with him, Sir
_Sir Tun._ Commit him, certainly, unless the bride and
bridegroom choose to pardon him.
_Lord Fop._ Bride and bridegroom! For Gad's sake, Sir
Tunbelly, 'tis tarture to me to hear you call 'em so.
_Miss Hoyd._ Why, you ugly thing, what would you have him
call us--dog and cat?
_Lord Fop._ By no means, miss; for that sounds ten times
more like man and wife than t'other.
_Sir Tun._ A precious rogue this to come a-wooing!
_Ser._ There are some gentlefolks below to wait upon Lord
_Col. Town._ 'Sdeath, Tom, what will you do now? [_Aside
to_ TOM FASHION.]
_Lord Fop._ Now, Sir Tunbelly, here are witnesses who I
believe are not corrupted.
_Sir Tun._ Peace, fellow!--Would your lordship choose to have
your guests shown here, or shall they wait till we come to 'em?
_Fash._ I believe, Sir Tunbelly, we had better not have these
visitors here yet.--[_Aside_.] Egad, all must out.
_Love._ Confess, confess; we'll stand by you. [_Aside
to_ TOM FASHION.]
_Lord Fop._ Nay, Sir Tunbelly, I insist on your calling
evidence on both sides--and if I do not prove that fellow an
_Fash_. Brother, I will save you the trouble, by now
confessing that I am not what I have passed myself for.--Sir
Tunbelly, I am a gentleman, and I flatter myself a man of
character; but'tis with great pride I assure you I am not Lord
_Sir Tun_. Ouns!--what's this?--an impostor?--a cheat?--fire
and faggots, sir, if you are not Lord Foppington, who the
devil are you?
_Fash_. Sir, the best of my condition is, I am your son-in-law;
and the worst of it is, I am brother to that noble peer.
_Lord Fop_. Impudent to the last, Gad dem me!
_Sir Tun_. My son-in-law! not yet, I hope.
_Fash_. Pardon me, sir; thanks to the goodness of your
chaplain, and the kind offices of this gentlewoman.
_Lory_. 'Tis true indeed, sir; I gave your daughter away,
and Mrs. Nurse, here, was clerk.
_Sir Tun_. Knock that rascal down!--But speak, Jezebel, how's
_Nurse_. Alas! your honour, forgive me; I have been
overreached in this business as well as you. Your worship knows,
if the wedding-dinner had been ready, you would have given her
away with your own hands.
_Sir Tun_. But how durst you do this without acquainting me?
_Nurse_. Alas! if your worship had seen how the poor thing
begged and prayed, and clung and twined about me like ivy round
an old wall, you would say, I who had nursed it, and reared it,
must have had a heart like stone to refuse it.
_Sir Tun_. Ouns! I shall go mad! Unloose my lord there, you
_Lord Fop_. Why, when these gentlemen are at leisure, I
should be glad to congratulate you on your son-in-law, with a
little more freedom of address.
_Miss Hoyd_. Egad, though, I don't see which is to be my
husband after all.
_Love_. Come, come, Sir Tunbelly, a man of your
understanding must perceive that an affair of this kind is not to
be mended by anger and reproaches.
_Col. Town_. Take my word for it, Sir Tunbelly, you are only
tricked into a son-in-law you may be proud of: my friend Tom
Fashion is as honest a fellow as ever breathed.
_Love_. That he is, depend on't; and will hunt or drink with
you most affectionately: be generous, old boy, and forgive them--
_Sir Tun_. Never! the hussy!--when I had set my heart on
getting her a title.
_Lord Fop_. Now, Sir Tunbelly, that I am untrussed--give me
leave to thank thee for the very extraordinary reception I have
met with in thy damned, execrable mansion; and at the same time
to assure you, that of all the bumpkins and blockheads I have had
the misfortune to meek with, thou art the most obstinate and
egregious, strike me ugly!
_Sir Tun_. What's this! I believe you are both rogues alike.
_Lord Fop_. No, Sir Tunbelly, thou wilt find to thy
unspeakable mortification, that I am the real Lord Foppington,
who was to have disgraced myself by an alliance with a clod; and
that thou hast matched thy girl to a beggarly younger brother of
mine, whose title deeds might be contained in thy tobacco-box.
_Sir Tun_. Puppy! puppy!--I might prevent their being
beggars, if I chose it; for I could give 'em as good a rent-roll
as your lordship.
_Lord Fop_. Ay, old fellow, but you will not do that--for
that would be acting like a Christian, and thou art a barbarian,
stap my vitals.
_Sir Tun_. Udzookers! now six such words more, and I'll
forgive them directly.
_Love_. 'Slife, Sir Tunbelly, you should do it, and bless
yourself--Ladies, what say you?
_Aman_. Good Sir Tunbelly, you must consent.
_Ber_. Come, you have been young yourself, Sir Tunbelly.
_Sir Tun_. Well then, if I must, I must; but turn--turn that
sneering lord out, however, and let me be revenged on somebody.
But first look whether I am a barbarian or not; there, children,
I join your hands; and when I'm in a better humour, I'll give you
_Love_. Nobly done, Sir Tunbelly! and we shall see you dance
at a grandson's christening yet.
_Miss Hoyd_. By goles, though, I don't understand this!
What! an't I to be a lady after all? only plain Mrs.--What's my
husband's name, nurse?
_Nurse_. Squire Fashion.
_Miss Hoyd_. Squire, is he?--Well, that's better than
_Lord Fop. [Aside_.] Now I will put on a philosophic air,
and show these people, that it is not possible to put a man of my
quality out of countenance.--[_Aloud_.] Dear Tam, since
things are fallen out, pr'ythee give me leave to wish thee joy; I
do it _de bon coeur_, strike me dumb! You have married into
a family of great politeness and uncommon elegance of manners,
and your bride appears to be a lady beautiful in person, modest
in her deportment, refined in her sentiments, and of nice
morality, split my windpipe!
_Miss Hoyd_. By goles, husband, break his bones if he calls
_Fash_. Your lordship may keep up your spirits with your
grimace, if you please; I shall support mine, by Sir Tunbelly's
favour, with this lady and three thousand pounds a year.
_Lord Fop_. Well, adieu, Tam!--Ladies, I kiss your, hands!--
Sir Tunbelly, I shall now quit this thy den; but while I retain
the use of my arms, I shall ever remember thou art a demned
horrid savage; Ged demn me! [_Exit_.]
_Sir Tun_. By the mass, 'tis well he's gone--for I should
ha' been provoked, by-and-by, to ha' dun un a mischief. Well, if
this is a lord, I think Hoyden has luck on her side, in troth.
_Col. Town_. She has, indeed, Sir Tunbelly.--But I hear the
fiddles; his lordship, I know, has provided 'em.
_Love_. Oh, a dance and a bottle, Sir Tunbelly, by all
_Sir Tun_. I had forgot the company below; well--what--we
must be merry, then, ha? and dance and drink, ha? Well, 'fore
George, you shan't say I do these things by halves. Son-in-law
there looks like a hearty rogue, so we'll have a night on't: and
which of these ladies will be the old man's partner, ha?--Ecod, I
don't know how I came to be in so good a humour.
_Ber_. Well, Sir Tunbelly, my friend and I both will
endeavour to keep you so: you have done a generous action, and
are entitled to our attention. If you should be at a loss to
divert your new guests, we will assist you to relate to them the
plot of your daughter's marriage, and his lordship's deserved
mortification; a subject which perhaps may afford no bad
_Sir Tun_. Ecod, with all my heart; though I am a main
bungler at a long story.
_Ber_. Never fear; we will assist you, if the tale is judged
worth being repeated; but of this you may be assured, that while
the intention is evidently to please, British auditors will ever
be indulgent to the errors of the performance. [Exeunt omnes.]
OR, A TRAGEDY REHEARSED _A DRAMATIC PIECE IN THREE ACTS_ TO
_MADAM_,--In requesting your permission to address the
following pages to you, which, as they aim themselves to be
critical, require every protection and allowance that approving
taste or friendly prejudice can give them, I yet ventured to
mention no other motive than the gratification of private
friendship and esteem. Had I suggested a hope that your implied
approbation would give a sanction to their defects, your
particular reserve, and dislike to the reputation of critical
taste, as well as of poetical talent, would have made you refuse
the protection of your name to such a purpose. However, I am not
so ungrateful as now to attempt to combat this disposition in
you. I shall not here presume to argue that the present state of
poetry claims and expects every assistance that taste and example
can afford it; nor endeavour to prove that a fastidious
concealment of the most elegant productions of judgment and fancy
is an ill return for the possession of those endowments. Continue
to deceive yourself in the idea that you are known only to be
eminently admired and regarded for the valuable qualities that
attach private friendships, and the graceful talents that adorn
conversation. Enough of what you have written has stolen into
full public notice to answer my purpose; and you will, perhaps,
be the only person, conversant in elegant literature, who shall
read this address and not perceive that by publishing your
particular approbation of the following drama, I have a more
interested object than to boast the true respect and regard with
which I have the honour to be, Madam, your very sincere and
obedient humble servant, R. B. SHERIDAN.
AS ORIGINALLY ACTED AT DRURY LANE THEATRE IN 1779
SIR FRETFUL PLAGIARY. _Mr. Parsons_.
PUFF. _Mr. King_.
DANGLE. _Mr. Dodd_
SNEER. _Mr. Palmer_.
SIGNOR PASTICCIO RITORNELLO. _Mr. Delpini_.
INTERPRETER. _Mr. Baddeley_.
UNDER PROMPTER. _Mr. Phillimore_.
MR. HOPKINS. _Mr. Hopkins_.
MRS. DANGLE. _Mrs. Hopkins_.
SIGNORE PASTICCIO RITORNELLO. _Miss Field and the Miss
Scenemen, Musicians, _and_ Servants.
CHARACTERS OF THE TRAGEDY
LORD BURLEIGH. _Mr. Moody_.
GOVERNOR OF TILBURY FORT. _Mr. Wrighten_.
EARL OF LEICESTER. _Mr. Farren_.
SIR WALTER RALEIGH. _Mr. Burton_.
SIR CHRISTOPHER HATTON. _Mr. Waldron_.
MASTER OF THE HORSE. _Mr. Kenny_.
DON FEROLO WHISKERANDOS. _Mr. Bannister, jun_.
BEEFEATER. _Mr. Wright_.
JUSTICE. _Mr. Packer_.
SON. _Mr. Lamash_.
CONSTABLE. _Mr. Fawcett_.
THAMES. _Mr. Gawdry_.
TILBURINA. _Miss Pope_.
CONFIDANT. _Mrs. Bradshaw_.
JUSTICE's LADY. _Mrs. Johnston_.
FIRST NIECE. _Miss Collett_.
SECOND NIECE. _Miss Kirby_.
Knights, Guards, Constables, Sentinels, Servants, Chorus, Rivers,
Attendants, &c., &c.
SCENE--LONDON: _in_ DANGLES _House during the First Act,
and throughout the rest of the Play in_ DRURY LANE THEATRE.
BY THE HONOURABLE RICHARD FITZPATRICK
THE sister Muses, whom these realms obey,
Who o'er the drama hold divided sway,
Sometimes by evil counsellors, 'tis said,
Like earth-born potentates have been misled.
In those gay days of wickedness and wit,
When Villiers criticised what Dryden writ,
The tragic queen, to please a tasteless crowd,
Had learn'd to bellow, rant, and roar so loud,
That frighten'd Nature, her best friend before,
The blustering beldam's company foreswore;
Her comic sister, who had wit 'tis true,
With all her merits, had her failings too:
And would sometimes in mirthful moments use
A style too flippant for a well-bred muse;
Then female modesty abash'd began
To seek the friendly refuge of the fan,
Awhile behind that slight intrenchment stood,
Till driven from thence, she left the stage for good.
In our more pious, and far chaster times,
These sure no longer are the Muse's crimes!
But some complain that, former faults to shun,
The reformation to extremes has run.
The frantic hero's wild delirium past,
Now insipidity succeeds bombast:
So slow Melpomene's cold numbers creep,
Here dulness seems her drowsy court to keep,
And we are scarce awake, whilst you are fast asleep.
Thalia, once so ill-behaved and rude,
Reform'd, is now become an arrant prude;
Retailing nightly to the yawning pit
The purest morals, undefiled by wit!
Our author offers, in these motley scenes,
A slight remonstrance to the drama's queens:
Nor let the goddesses be over nice;
Free-spoken subjects give the best advice.
Although not quite a novice in his trade,
His cause to-night requires no common aid.
To this, a friendly, just, and powerful court,
I come ambassador to beg support.
Can he undaunted brave the critic's rage?
In civil broils with brother bards engage?
Hold forth their errors to the public eye,
Nay more, e'en newspapers themselves defy?
Say, must his single arm encounter all?
By number vanquish'd, e'en the brave may fall;
And though no leader should success distrust,
Whose troops are willing, and whose cause is just;
To bid such hosts of angry foes defiance,
His chief dependence must be, your alliance.
SCENE I.--_A Room in_ DANGLE's _House_.
Mr. _and_ MRS. DANGLE _discovered at breakfast, and
_Dang. [Reading.] Brutus to Lord North.--Letter the second on
the State of the Army_--Psha! _To the first L dash D of the
A dash Y.--Genuine extract of a Letter from St. Kitt's.--Coxheath
Intelligence.--It is now confidently asserted that Sir Charles
Hardy_--Psha! nothing but about the fleet and the nation!--and
I hate all politics but theatrical politics.--Where's the Morning
_Mrs. Dang_. Yes, that's your Gazette.
_Dang_. So, here we have it.--[_Reads.] Theatrical
intelligence extraordinary.--We hear there is a new tragedy in
rehearsal at Drury Lane Theatre, called the Spanish Armada, said
to be written by Mr. Puff, a gentleman well-known in the
theatrical world. If we may allow ourselves to give credit to the
report of the performers, who, truth to say, are in general but
indifferent judges, this piece abounds with the most striking and
received beauties of modern composition.--_So! I am very glad
my friend Puff's tragedy is in such forwardness.--Mrs. Dangle, my
dear, you will be very glad to hear that Puff's tragedy--
_Mrs. Dang_. Lord, Mr. Dangle, why will you plague me about
such nonsense?--Now the plays are begun I shall have no peace.--
Isn't it sufficient to make yourself ridiculous by your passion
for the theatre, without continually teasing me to join you? Why
can't you ride your hobby-horse without desiring to place me on a
pillion behind you, Mr. Dangle?
_Dang_. Nay, my dear, I was only going to read--
_Mrs. Dang_. No, no; you will never read anything that's
worth listening to. You hate to hear about your country; there
are letters every day with Roman signatures, demonstrating the
certainty of an invasion, and proving that the nation is utterly
undone. But you never will read anything to entertain one.
_Dang_. What has a woman to do with politics, Mrs. Dangle?
_Mrs. Dang_. And what have you to do with the theatre, Mr.
Dangle? Why should you affect the character of a critic? I have
no patience with you!--haven't you made yourself the jest of all
your acquaintance by your interference in matters where you have
no business? Are you not called a theatrical Quidnunc, and a mock
Maecenas to second-hand authors?
_Dang_. True; my power with the managers is pretty
notorious. But is it no credit to have applications from all
quarters for my interest--from lords to recommend fiddlers, from
ladies to get boxes, from authors to get answers, and from actors
to get engagements?
_Mrs. Dang_. Yes, truly; you have contrived to get a share in
all the plague and trouble of theatrical property, without the
profit, or even the credit of the abuse that attends it.
_Dang_. I am sure, Mrs. Dangle, you are no loser by it,
however; you have all the advantages of it. Mightn't you, last
winter, have had the reading of the new pantomime a fortnight
previous to its performance? And doesn't Mr. Fosbrook let you
take places for a play before it is advertised, and set you down
for a box for every new piece through the season? And didn't my
friend, Mr. Smatter, dedicate his last farce to you at my
particular request, Mrs. Dangle?
_Mrs. Dang_. Yes; but wasn't the farce damned, Mr. Dangle?
And to be sure it is extremely pleasant to have one's house made
the motley rendezvous of all the lackeys of literature; the very
high 'Change of trading authors and jobbing critics!--Yes, my
drawing-room is an absolute register-office for candidate actors,
and poets without character.--Then to be continually alarmed with
misses and ma'ams piping hysteric changes on Juliets and
Dorindas, Pollys and Ophelias; and the very furniture trembling
at the probationary starts and unprovoked rants of would-be
Richards and Hamlets!--And what is worse than all, now that the
manager has monopolized the Opera House, haven't we the signors
and signoras calling here, sliding their smooth semibreves, and
gargling glib divisions in their outlandish throats--with foreign
emissaries and French spies, for aught I know, disguised like
fiddlers and figure dancers?
_Dang_. Mercy! Mrs. Dangle!
_Mrs. Dang_. And to employ yourself so idly at such an
alarming crisis as this too--when, if you had the least spirit,
you would have been at the head of one of the Westminster
associations--or trailing a volunteer pike in the Artillery
Ground! But you--o' my conscience, I believe, if the French were
landed to-morrow, your first inquiry would be, whether they had
brought a theatrical troop with them.
_Dang_. Mrs. Dangle, it does not signify--I say the stage is
_the mirror of Nature_, and the actors are _the Abstract
and brief Chronicles of the Time_: and pray what can a man of
sense study better?--Besides, you will not easily persuade me
that there is no credit or importance in being at the head of a
band of critics, who take upon them to decide for the whole town,
whose opinion and patronage all writers solicit, and whose
recommendation no manager dares refuse.
_Mrs. Dang_. Ridiculous!--Both managers and authors of the
least merit laugh at your pretensions.--The public is their
critic--without whose fair approbation they know no play can rest
on the stage, and with whose applause they welcome such attacks
as yours, and laugh at the malice of them, where they can't at
_Dang_. Very well, madam--very well!
_Ser_. Mr. Sneer, sir, to wait on you.
_Dang_. Oh, show Mr. Sneer up.--[_Exit_ SERVANT.]--
Plague on't, now we must appear loving and affectionate, or Sneer
will hitch us into a story.
_Mrs. Dang_. With all my heart; you can't be more ridiculous
than you are.
_Dang_. You are enough to provoke--
Ha! my dear Sneer, I am vastly glad to see you.--My dear, here's
_Mrs. Dang_. Good-morning to you, sir.
_Dang_. Mrs. Dangle and I have been diverting ourselves with
the papers. Pray, Sneer, won't you go to Drury Lane Theatre the
first night of Puff's tragedy?
_Sneer_. Yes; but I suppose one shan't be able to get in,
for on the first night of a new piece they always fill the house
with orders to support it. But here, Dangle, I have brought you
two pieces, one of which you must exert yourself to make the
managers accept, I can tell you that; for'tis written by a person
_Dang_. So! now my plagues are beginning.
_Sneer_. Ay, I am glad of it, for now you'll be happy. Why,
my dear Dangle, it is a pleasure to see how you enjoy your
volunteer fatigue, and your solicited solicitations.
_Dang_. It's a great trouble--yet, egad, it's pleasant too.
--Why, sometimes of a morning I have a dozen people call on me at
breakfast-time, whose faces I never saw before, nor ever desire
to see again.
_Sneer_. That must be very pleasant indeed!
_Dang_. And not a week but I receive fifty letters, and not
a line in them about any business of my own.
_Sneer_. An amusing correspondence!
_Dang_. [_Reading_.] _Bursts into tears and
exit_.--What, is this a tragedy?
_Sneer_. No, that's a genteel comedy, not a translation--
only taken from the French: it is written in a style which they
have lately tried to run down; the true sentimental, and nothing
ridiculous in it from the beginning to the end.
_Mrs. Dang_. Well, if they had kept to that, I should not
have been such an enemy to the stage; there was some edification
to be got from those pieces, Mr. Sneer!
_Sneer_. I am quite of your opinion, Mrs. Dangle: the
theatre, in proper hands, might certainly be made the school of
morality; but now, I am sorry to say it, people seem to go there
principally for their entertainment!
_Mrs. Dang_. It would have been more to the credit of the
managers to have kept it in the other line.
_Sneer_. Undoubtedly, madam; and hereafter perhaps to have
had it recorded, that in the midst of a luxurious and dissipated
age, they preserved two houses in the capital, where the
conversation was always moral at least, if not entertaining!
_Dang_. Now, egad, I think the worst alteration is in the
nicety of the audience!--No _double-entendre_, no smart
innuendo admitted; even Vanbrugh and Congreve obliged to undergo
a bungling reformation!
_Sneer_. Yes, and our prudery in this respect is just on a
par with the artificial bashfulness of a courtesan, who increases
the blush upon her cheek in an exact proportion to the diminution
of her modesty.
_Dang_. Sneer can't even give the public a good word! But
what have we here?--This seems a very odd--
_Sneer_. Oh, that's a comedy on a very new plan; replete
with wit and mirth, yet of a most serious moral! You see it is
called _The Reformed House-breaker_; where, by the mere
force of humour, house-breaking is put in so ridiculous a light,
that if the piece has its proper run, I have no doubt but that
bolts and bars will be entirely useless by the end of the season.
_Dang_. Egad, this is new indeed!
_Sneer_. Yes; it is written by a particular friend of mine,
who has discovered that the follies and foibles of society are
subjects unworthy the notice of the comic muse, who should be
taught to stoop only to the greater vices and blacker crimes of
humanity--gibbeting capital offences in five acts, and pillorying
petty larcenies in two.--In short, his idea is to dramatize the
penal laws, and make the stage a court of ease to the Old Bailey.
_Dang_. It is truly moral.
_Ser_. Sir Fretful Plagiary, sir.
_Dang_. Beg him to walk up.--[_Exit_ SERVANT.] Now,
Mrs. Dangle, Sir Fretful Plagiary is an author to your own taste.
_Mrs. Dang_. I confess he is a favourite of mine, because
everybody else abuses him.
_Sneer_. Very much to the credit of your charity, madam, if
not of your judgment.
_Dang_. But, egad, he allows no merit to any author but
himself, that's the truth on't--though he's my friend.
_Sneer_. Never.--He is as envious as an old maid verging on
the desperation of six and thirty; and then the insidious
humility with which he seduces you to give a free opinion on any
of his works, can be exceeded only by the petulant arrogance with
which he is sure to reject your observations.
_Dang_. Very true, egad--though he's my friend.
_Sneer_. Then his affected contempt of all newspaper
strictures; though, at the same time, he is the sorest man alive,
and shrinks like scorched parchment from the fiery ordeal of true
criticism: yet he is so covetous of popularity, that he had
rather be abused than not mentioned at all.
_Dang_. There's no denying it--though he is my friend.
_Sneer_. You have read the tragedy he has just finished,
_Dang_. Oh, yes; he sent it to me yesterday.
_Sneer_. Well, and you think it execrable, don't you?
_Dang_. Why, between ourselves, egad, I must own--though he
is my friend--that it is one of the most--He's here--
[_Aside_.]--finished and most admirable perform--
_Sir Fret. [Without_.] Mr. Sneer with him did you say?
_Enter_ SIR FRETFUL PLAGIARY.
_Dang_. Ah, my dear friend!--Egad, we were just speaking of
your tragedy.--Admirable, Sir Fretful, admirable!
_Sneer_. You never did anything beyond it, Sir Fretful--
never in your life.
_Sir Fret_. You make me extremely happy; for without a
compliment, my dear Sneer, there isn't a man in the world whose
judgment I value as I do yours and Mr. Dangle's.
_Mrs. Dang_. They are only laughing at you, Sir Fretful; for
it was but just now that--
_Dang_. Mrs. Dangle!--Ah, Sir Fretful, you know Mrs.
Dangle.--My friend Sneer was rallying just now:--he knows how she
admires you, and--
_Sir Fret_. O Lord, I am sure Mr. Sneer has more taste and
sincerity than to--[_Aside_.] A damned double-faced fellow!
_Dang_. Yes, yes--Sneer will jest--but a better humoured--
_Sir Fret_. Oh, I know--
_Dang_. He has a ready turn for ridicule--his wit costs him
_Sir Fret_. No, egad--or I should wonder how he came by it.
_Mrs. Dang_. Because his jest is always at the expense of
his friend. [_Aside_.]
_Dang_. But, Sir Fretful, have you sent your play to the
managers yet?--or can I be of any service to you?
_Sir Fret_. No, no, I thank you: I believe the piece had
sufficient recommendation with it.--I thank you though.--I sent
it to the manager of Covent Garden Theatre this morning.
_Sneer_. I should have thought now, that it might have been
cast (as the actors call it) better at Drury Lane.
_Sir Fret_. O Lud! no--never send a play there while I live--hark'ee!
_Sneer_. Writes himself!--I know he does.
_Sir Fret_. I say nothing--I take away from no man's merit--am
hurt at no man's good fortune--I say nothing.--But this I
will say--through all my knowledge of life, I have observed--that
there is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as
_Sneer_. I believe you have reason for what you say, indeed.
_Sir Fret_. Besides--I can tell you it is not always so safe
to leave a play in the hands of those who write themselves.
_Sneer_. What, they may steal from them, hey, my dear
_Sir Fret_. Steal!--to be sure they may; and, egad, serve
your best thoughts as gypsies do stolen children, disfigure them
to make 'em pass for their own.
_Sneer_. But your present work is a sacrifice to Melpomene,
and he, you know, never--
_Sir Fret_. That's no security: a dexterous plagiarist may
do anything. Why, sir, for aught I know, he might take out some
of the best things in my tragedy, and put them into his own
_Sneer_. That might be done, I dare be sworn.
_Sir Fret_. And then, if such a person gives you the least
hint or assistance, he is devilish apt to take the merit of the
_Dang_. If it succeeds.
_Sir Fret_. Ay, but with regard to this piece, I think I can
hit that gentleman, for I can safely swear he never read it.
_Sneer_. I'll tell you how you may hurt him more.
_Sir Fret_. How?
_Sneer_. Swear he wrote it.
_Sir Fret_. Plague on't now, Sneer, I shall take it ill!--I
believe you want to take away my character as an author.
_Sneer_. Then I am sure you ought to be very much obliged to
_Sir Fret_. Hey!--sir!--
_Dang_. Oh, you know, he never means what he says.
_Sir Fret_. Sincerely then--do you like the piece?
_Sir Fret_. But come, now, there must be something that you
think might be mended, hey?--Mr. Dangle, has nothing struck you?
_Dang_. Why, faith, it is but an ungracious thing for the
most part, to--
_Sir Fret_. With most authors it is just so, indeed; they
are in general strangely tenacious! But, for my part, I am never
so well pleased as when a judicious critic points out any defect
to me; for what is the purpose of showing a work to a friend, if
you don't mean to profit by his opinion?
_Sneer_. Very true.--Why, then, though I seriously admire
the piece upon the whole, yet there is one small objection;
which, if you'll give me leave, I'll mention.
_Sir Fret_. Sir, you can't oblige me more.
_Sneer_. I think it wants incident.
_Sir Fret_. Good God! you surprise me!--wants incident!
_Sneer_. Yes; I own I think the incidents are too few.
_Sir Fret_. Good God! Believe me, Mr. Sneer, there is no
person for whose judgment I have a more implicit deference. But I
protest to you, Mr. Sneer, I am only apprehensive that the
incidents are too crowded.--My dear Dangle, how does it strike
_Dang_. Really I can't agree with my friend Sneer. I think
the plot quite sufficient; and the four first acts by many
degrees the best I ever read or saw in my life. If, I might
venture to suggest anything, it is that the interest rather falls
off in the fifth.
_Sir Fret_. Rises, I believe you mean, sir.
_Dang_. No, I don't, upon my word.
_Sir Fret_. Yes, yes, you do, upon my soul!--it certainly
don't fall off, I assure you.--No, no; it don't fall off.
_Dang_. Now, Mrs. Dangle, didn't you say it struck you in
the same light?
_Mrs. Dang_. No, indeed, I did not.--I did not see a fault
in any part of the play, from the beginning to the end.
_Sir Fret_. Upon my soul, the women are the best judges
_Mrs. Dang_. Or, if I made any objection, I am sure it was
to nothing in the piece; but that I was afraid it was on the
whole, a little too long.
_Sir Fret_. Pray, madam, do you speak as to duration of
time; or do you mean that the story is tediously spun out?
_Mrs. Dang_. O Lud! no.--I speak only with reference to the
usual length of acting plays.
_Sir Fret_. Then I am very happy--very happy indeed--
because the play is a short play, a remarkably short play. I
should not venture to differ with a lady on a point of taste; but
on these occasions, the watch, you know, is the critic.
_Mrs. Dang_. Then, I suppose, it must have been Mr. Dangle's
drawling manner of reading it to me.
_Sir Fret_. Oh, if Mr. Dangle read it, that's quite another
affair!--But I assure you, Mrs. Dangle, the first evening you can
spare me three hours and a half, I'll undertake to read you the
whole, from beginning to end, with the prologue and epilogue, and
allow time for the music between the acts.
_Mrs. Dang_. I hope to see it on the stage next.
_Dang_. Well, Sir Fretful, I wish you may be able to get rid
as easily of the newspaper criticisms as you do of ours.
_Sir Fret_. The newspapers! Sir, they are the most
villainous--licentious--abominable--infernal.--Not that I ever
read them--no--I make it a rule never to look into a newspaper.
_Dang_. You are quite right; for it certainly must hurt an
author of delicate feelings to see the liberties they take.
_Sir Fret_. No, quite the contrary! their abuse is, in fact,
the best panegyric--I like it of all things. An author's
reputation is only in danger from their support.
_Sneer_. Why, that's true--and that attack, now, on you the
_Sir Fret_. What? where?
_Dang_. Ay, you mean in a paper of Thursday: it was
completely ill-natured, to be sure.
_Sir Fret_. Oh so much the better.--Ha! Ha! Ha! I wouldn't
have it otherwise.
_Dang_. Certainly it is only to be laughed at; for--
_Sir Fret_. You don't happen to recollect what the fellow
said, do you?
_Sneer_. Pray, Dangle--Sir Fretful seems a little anxious--
_Sir Fret_. O Lud, no!--anxious!--not I--not the least.--
I--but one may as well hear, you know.
_Dang_. Sneer, do you recollect?--[_Aside to_ SNEER.]
Make out something.
_Sneer_. [_Aside to_ DANGLE.] I will.--[_Aloud_.]
Yes, yes, I remember perfectly.
_Sir Fret_. Well, and pray now--not that it signifies--what
might the gentleman say?
_Sneer_. Why, he roundly asserts that you have not the
slightest invention or original genius whatever; though you are
the greatest traducer of all other authors living.
_Sir Fret_. Ha! ha! ha!--very good!
_Sneer_. That as to comedy, you have not one idea of your
own, he believes, even in your commonplace-book--where stray
jokes and pilfered witticisms are kept with as much method as the
ledger of the lost and stolen office.
_Sir Fret_. Ha! ha! ha!--very pleasant!
_Sneer_. Nay, that you are so unlucky as not to have the
skill even to steal with taste:--but that you glean from the
refuse of obscure volumes, where more judicious plagiarists have
been before you; so that the body of your work is a composition
of dregs and sentiments--like a bad tavern's worst wine.
_Sir Fret_. Ha! ha!
_Sneer_. In your more serious efforts, he says, your bombast
would be less intolerable, if the thoughts were ever suited to
the expression; but the homeliness of the sentiment stares
through the fantastic encumbrance of its fine language, like a
clown in one of the new uniforms!
_Sir Fret_. Ha! ha!
_Sneer_. That your occasional tropes and flowers suit the
general coarseness of your style, as tambour sprigs would a
ground of linsey-woolsey; while your imitations of Shakspeare
resemble the mimicry of Falstaff's page, and are about as near
the standard as the original.
_Sir Fret_. Ha!
_Sneer_. In short, that even the finest passages you steal
are of no service to you; for the poverty of your own language
prevents their assimilating; so that they lie on the surface like
lumps of marl on a barren moor, encumbering what it is not in
their power to fertilize!
_Sir Fret_. [_After great agitation_.] Now, another
person would be vexed at this!
_Sneer_. Oh! but I wouldn't have told you--only to divert
_Sir Fret_. I know it--I am diverted.--Ha! ha! ha!--not the
least invention!--Ha! ha! ha!--very good!--very good!
_Sneer_. Yes--no genius! ha! ha! ha!
_Dang_. A severe rogue! ha! ha! ha! But you are quite right,
Sir Fretful, never to read such nonsense.
_Sir Fret_. To be sure--for if there is anything to one's
praise, it is a foolish vanity to be gratified at it; and, if it
is abuse--why one is always sure to hear of it from one damned
good-natured friend or other!
_Ser_. Sir, there is an Italian gentleman, with a French
interpreter, and three young ladies, and a dozen musicians, who
say they are sent by Lady Rondeau and Mrs. Fugue.
_Dang_. Gadso! they come by appointment!--Dear Mrs. Dangle,
do let them know I'll see them directly.
_Mrs. Dang_. You know, Mr. Dangle, I shan't understand a
word they say.
_Dang_. But you hear there's an interpreter.
_Mrs. Dang_. Well, I'll try to endure their complaisance
till you come.
_Ser_. And Mr. Puff, sir, has sent word that the last
rehearsal is to be this morning, and that he'll call on you
_Dang_. That's true--I shall certainly be at home.--
[_Exit_ SERVANT.]--now, Sir Fretful, if you have a mind to
have justice done you in the way of answer, egad, Mr. Puff's your
_Sir Fret_. Psha! sir, why should I wish to have it
answered, when I tell you I am pleased at it?
_Dang_. True, I had forgot that. But I hope you are not
fretted at what Mr. Sneer--
_Sir Fret_. Zounds! no, Mr. Dangle; don't I tell you these
things never fret me in the least?
_Dang_. Nay, I only thought--
_Sir Fret_. And let me tell you, Mr. Dangle, 'tis damned
affronting in you to suppose that I am hurt when I tell you I am
_Sneer_. But why so warm, Sir Fretful?
_Sir Fret_. Gad's life! Mr. Sneer, you are as absurd as
Dangle: how often must I repeat it to you, that nothing can vex
me but your supposing it possible for me to mind the damned
nonsense you have been repeating to me!--let me tell you, if you
continue to believe this, you must mean to insult me, gentlemen--
and, then, your disrespect will affect me no more than the
newspaper criticisms--and I shall treat it with exactly the same
calm indifference and philosophic contempt--and so your servant.
Sneer_. Ha! ha! ha! poor Sir Fretful! Now will he go and vent
his philosophy in anonymous abuse of all modern critics and
authors.--But, Dangle, you must get your friend Puff to take me
to the rehearsal of his tragedy.
_Dang_. I'll answer for't, he'll thank you for desiring it.
But come and help me to judge of this musical family: they are
recommended by people of consequence, I assure you.
_Sneer_. I am at your disposal the whole morning!--but I
thought you had been a decided critic in music as well as in
_Dang_. So I am--but I have a bad ear. I'faith, Sneer,
though, I am afraid we were a little too severe on Sir Fretful--
though he is my friend.
_Sneer_. Why, 'tis certain, that unnecessarily to mortify
the vanity of any writer is a cruelty which mere dulness never
can deserve; but where a base and personal malignity usurps the
place of literary emulation, the aggressor deserves neither
quarter nor pity.
_Dang_. That's true, egad!--though he's my friend!
SCENE II.--_A drawing-room in_ DANGLE'S _House._
MRS. DANGLE, SIGNOR PASTICCIO RITORNELLO, SIGNORE PASTICCIO
RITORNELLO, INTERPRETER, _and_ MUSICIANS _discovered_.
_Interp_. Je dis, madame, j'ai l'honneur to introduce et
de vous demander votre protection pour le Signor Pasticcio
Ritornello et pour sa charmante famille.
_Signor Past_. Ah! vosignoria, not vi preghiamo di
favoritevi colla vostra protezione.
_1 Signora Past_. Vosignoria fatevi questi grazie.
_2 Signora Past_. Si, signora.
_Interp_. Madame--me interpret.--C'est à dire--in English--
qu'ils vous prient de leur faire l'honneur--
_Mrs. Dang_. I say again, gentlemen, I don't understand a
word you say.
_Signor Past_. Questo signore spiegheró--
_Interp_. Oui--me interpret.--Nous avons les lettres de
recommendation pour Monsieur Dangle de--
_Mrs. Dang_. Upon my word, sir, I don't understand you.
_Signor Past_. La Contessa Rondeau è nostra padrona.
_3 Signora Past_. Si, padre, et Miladi Fugue.
_Interp_. O!--me interpret.--Madame, ils disent--in English--Qu'ils
ont l'honneur d'être protégés de ces dames.--You
_Mrs. Dang_. No, sir,--no understand!
_Enter_ DANGLE _and_ SNEER.
_Interp_. Ah, voici, Monsieur Dangle!
_All Italians_. Ah! Signor Dangle!
_Mrs. Dang_. Mr. Dangle, here are two very civil gentlemen
trying to make themselves understood, and I don't know which is
_Dang_. Eh, bien!
[_The_ INTERPRETER _and_ SIGNOR PASTICCIO _here speak
at the same time_.]
_Interp_. Monsieur Dangle, le grand bruit de vos talens pour
la critique, et de votre intérêt avec messieurs les directeurs à
tous les théâtres--
_Signor Past_. Vosignoria siete si famoso par la vostra
conoscenza, e vostra interessa colla le direttore da--
_Dang_. Egad, I think the interpreter is the hardest to be
understood of the two!
_Sneer_. Why, I thought, Dangle, you had been an admirable
_Dang_. So I am, if they would not talk so damned fast.
_Sneer_. Well, I'll explain that--the less time we lose in
bearing them the better--for that, I suppose, is what they are
brought here for.
[_Speaks to_ SIGNOR PASTICCIO_--they sing trios, &c.,_
DANGLE _beating out of time.]
Enter_ SERVANT _and whispers_ DANGLE.
_Dang_. Show him up.--[_Exit_ SERVANT.] Bravo!
admirable! bravissimo! admirablissimo!--Ah! Sneer! where will you
find voices such as these in England?
_Sneer_. Not easily.
_Dang_. But Puff is coming.--Signor and little signoras
obligatissimo!--Sposa Signora Danglena--Mrs. Dangle, shall I beg
you to offer them some refreshments, and take their address in
the next room.
[_Exit_ MRS. DANGLE _with_ SIGNOR PASTICCIO, SIGNORE
PASTICCIO, MUSICIANS, _and_ INTERPRETER,
_Ser_. Mr. Puff, sir. [_Exit_.]
_Dang_. My dear Puff!
_Puff_. My dear Dangle, how is it with you?
_Dang_. Mr. Sneer, give me leave to introduce Mr. Puff to
_Puff_. Mr. Sneer is this?--Sir, he is a gentleman whom I
have long panted for the honour of knowing--a gentleman whose
critical talents and transcendent judgment--
_Sneer_. Dear Sir--
_Dang_. Nay, don't be modest, Sneer; my friend Puff only
talks to you in the style of his profession.
_Sneer_. His profession.
_Puff_. Yes, sir; I make no secret of the trade I follow:
among friends and brother authors, Dangle knows I love to be
frank on the subject, and to advertise myself _viva voce_.--
I am, sir, a practitioner in panegyric, or, to speak more
plainly, a professor of the art of puffing, at your service--or
_Sneer_. Sir, you are very obliging!--I believe, Mr. Puff, I
have often admired your talents in the daily prints.
_Puff_. Yes, sir, I flatter myself I do as much business in
that way as any six of the fraternity in town.--Devilish hard
work all the summer, friend Dangle,--never worked harder! But,
hark'ee,--the winter managers were a little sore, I believe.
_Dang_. No; I believe they took it all in good part.
_Puff_. Ay! then that must have been affectation in them:
for, egad, there were some of the attacks which there was no
_Sneer_. Ay, the humorous ones.--But I should think, Mr.
Puff, that authors would in general be able to do this sort of
work for themselves.
_Puff_. Why, yes--but in a clumsy way. Besides, we look on
that as an encroachment, and so take the opposite side. I dare
say, now, you conceive half the very civil paragraphs and
advertisements you see to be written by the parties concerned, or
their friends? No such thing: nine out of ten manufactured by me
in the way of business.
_Puff_. Even the auctioneers now--the auctioneers, I say--though
the rogues have lately got some credit for their language--not
an article of the merit theirs: take them out of their
pulpits, and they are as dull as catalogues!--No, sir; 'twas I
first enriched their style--'twas I first taught them to crowd
their advertisements with panegyrical superlatives, each epithet
rising above the other, like the bidders in their own auction
rooms! From me they learned to inlay their phraseology with
variegated chips of exotic metaphor: by me too their inventive
faculties were called forth:--yes, sir, by me they were
instructed to clothe ideal walls with gratuitous fruits--to
insinuate obsequious rivulets into visionary groves--to teach
courteous shrubs to nod their approbation of the grateful soil;
or on emergencies to raise upstart oaks, where there never had
been an acorn; to create a delightful vicinage without the
assistance of a neighbour; or fix the temple of Hygeia in the
fens of Lincolnshire!
_Dang_. I am sure you have done them infinite service; for
now, when a gentleman is ruined, he parts with his house with
_Sneer_. Service! if they had any gratitude, they would
erect a statue to him; they would figure him as a presiding
Mercury, the god of traffic and fiction, with a hammer in his
hand instead of a caduceus.--But pray, Mr. Puff, what first put
you on exercising your talents in this way?
_Puff_. Egad, sir, sheer necessity!--the proper parent of an
art so nearly allied to invention. You must know, Mr. Sneer, that
from the first time I tried my hand at an advertisement, my
success was such, that for some time after I led a most
extraordinary life indeed!
_Sneer_. How, pray?
_Puff_. Sir, I supported myself two years entirely by my
_Sneer_. By your misfortunes!
_Puff_. Yes, sir, assisted by long sickness, and other
occasional disorders: and a very comfortable living I had of it.
_Sneer_. From sickness and misfortunes! You practised as a
doctor and an attorney at once?
_Puff_. No, egad; both maladies and miseries were my own.
_Sneer_. Hey! what the plague!
_Dang_. 'Tis true, i'faith.
_Puff_. Hark'ee!--By advertisements--. Oh, I understand you.
_Puff_. And, in truth, I deserved what I got! for, I suppose
never man went through such a series of calamities in the same
space of time. Sir, I was five times made a bankrupt, and reduced
from a state of affluence, by a train of unavoidable misfortunes:
then, sir, though a very industrious tradesman, I was twice
burned out, and lost my little all both times: I lived upon those
fires a month. I soon after was confined by a most excruciating
disorder, and lost the use of my limbs: that told very well; for
I had the case strongly attested, and went about to collect the
_Dang_. Egad, I believe that was when you first called on
_Puff_. In November last?--O no; I was at that time a close
prisoner in the Marshalsea, for a debt benevolently contracted to
serve a friend. I was afterwards twice tapped for a dropsy, which
declined into a very profitable consumption. I was then reduced
to--O no--then, I became a widow with six helpless children,
after having had eleven husbands pressed, and being left every
time eight months gone with child, and without money to get me
into an hospital!
_Sneer_. And you bore all with patience, I make no doubt?
_Puff_. Why yes; though I made some occasional attempts at
_felo de se_, but as I did not find those rash actions
answer, I left off killing myself very soon. Well, sir, at last,
what with bankruptcies, fires, gout, dropsies, imprisonments, and
other valuable calamities, having got together a pretty handsome
sum, I determined to quit a business which had always gone rather
against my conscience, and in a more liberal way still to indulge
my talents for fiction and embellishment, through my favourite
channels of diurnal communication--and so, sir, you have my
_Sneer_. Most obligingly communicative indeed! and your
confession, if published, might certainly serve the cause of true
charity, by rescuing the most useful channels of appeal to
benevolence from the cant of imposition. But, surely, Mr. Puff,
there is no great mystery in your present profession?
_Puff_. Mystery, sir! I will take upon me to say the matter
was never scientifically treated nor reduced to rule before.
_Sneer_. Reduced to rule!
_Puff_. O Lud, sir, you are very ignorant, I am afraid!--Yes,
sir,. puffing is of various sorts; the principal are, the
puff direct, the puff preliminary, the puff collateral, the puff
collusive, and the puff oblique, or puff by implication. These
all assume, as circumstances require, the various forms of Letter
to the Editor, Occasional Anecdote, Impartial Critique,
Observation from Correspondent, or Advertisement from the Party.
_Sneer_. The puff direct, I can conceive--
_Puff_. O yes, that's simple enough! For instance,--a new
comedy or farce is to be produced at one of the theatres (though
by-the-by they don't bring out half what they ought to do)--the
author, suppose Mr. Smatter, or Mr. Dapper, or any particular
friend of mine--very, well; the day before it is to be performed,
I write an account of the manner in which it was received; I have
the plot from the author, and only add--"characters strongly
drawn--highly coloured--hand of a master--fund of genuine humour--mine
of invention--neat dialogue--Attic salt." Then for the
performance--"Mr. Dodd was astonishingly great in the character
of Sir Harry. That universal and judicious actor, Mr. Palmer,
perhaps never appeared to more advantage than in the colonel;--but
it is not in the power of language to do justice to Mr. King:
indeed he more than merited those repeated bursts of applause
which he drew from a most brilliant and judicious audience. As to
the scenery--the miraculous powers of Mr. De Loutherbourg's
pencil are universally acknowledged. In short, we are at a loss
which to admire most, the unrivalled genius of the author, the
great attention and liberality of the managers, the wonderful
abilities of the painter, or the incredible exertions of all the
_Sneer_. That's pretty well indeed, sir.
_Puff_. Oh, cool!--quite cool!--to what I sometimes do.
_Sneer_. And do you think there are any who are influenced
_Puff_. O Lud, yes, sir! the number of those who undergo the
fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed.
_Sneer_. Well, sir, the puff preliminary.
_Puff_. O, that, sir, does well in the form of a caution. In
a matter of gallantry now--Sir Flimsy Gossamer wishes to be well
with Lady Fanny Fete--he applies to me--I open trenches for him
with a paragraph in the Morning Post.--"It is recommended to the
beautiful and accomplished Lady F four stars F dash E to be on
her guard against that dangerous character, Sir F dash G; who,
however pleasing and insinuating his manners may be, is certainly
not remarkable _for the constancy of his attachments_!"--
in italics. Here, you see, Sir Flimsy Gossamer is introduced to
the particular notice of Lady Fanny, who perhaps never thought of
him before--she finds herself publicly cautioned to avoid him,
which naturally makes her desirous of seeing him; the observation
of their acquaintance causes a pretty kind of mutual
embarrassment; this produces a sort of sympathy of interest,
which if Sir Flimsy is unable to improve effectually, he at least
gains the credit of having their names mentioned together, by a
particular set, and in a particular way--which nine times out of
ten is the full accomplishment of modern gallantry.
_Dang_. Egad, Sneer, you will be quite an adept in the
_Puff_. Now, Sir, the puff collateral is much used as an
appendage to advertisements, and may take the form of anecdote,--
"Yesterday, as the celebrated George Bonmot was sauntering down
St. James's Street, he met the lively Lady Mary Myrtle coming out
of the park:--'Good God, Lady Mary, I'm surprised to meet you in
a white jacket,--for I expected never to have seen you, but in a
full-trimmed uniform and a light horseman's cap!'--'Heavens,
George, where could you have learned that?'--'Why,' replied the
wit, ' I just saw a print of you, in a new publication called
the Camp Magazine; which, by-the-by, is a 'devilish clever thing,
and is sold at No. 3, on the right hand of the way, two doors
from the printing-office, the corner of Ivy Lane, Paternoster
Row, price only one shilling.'"
_Sneer_. Very ingenious indeed!
_Puff_. But the puff collusive is the newest of any; for it
acts in the disguise of determined hostility. It is much used by
bold booksellers and enterprising poets.--"An indignant
correspondent observes, that the new poem called Beelsebub's
Cotillon, or Proserpine's Fête Champêtre, is one of the most
unjustifiable performances he ever read. The severity with which
certain characters are handled is quite shocking: and as there
are many descriptions in it too warmly coloured for female
delicacy, the shameful avidity with which this piece is bought by
all people of fashion is a reproach on the taste of the times,
and a disgrace to the delicacy of the age." Here you see the two
strongest inducements are held forth; first, that nobody ought to
read it; and secondly, that everybody buys it: on the strength of
which the publisher boldly prints the tenth edition, before he
had sold ten of the first; and then establishes it by threatening
himself with the pillory, or absolutely indicting himself for
_Dang_. Ha! ha! ha!--'gad, I know it is so.
_Puff_. As to the puff oblique, or puff by implication, it
is too various and extensive to be illustrated by an instance: it
attracts in titles and resumes in patents; it lurks in the
limitation of a subscription, and invites in the assurance of
crowd and incommodation at public places; it delights to draw
forth concealed merit, with a most disinterested assiduity; and
sometimes wears a countenance of smiling censure and tender
reproach. It has a wonderful memory for parliamentary debates,
and will often give the whole speech of a favoured member with
the most flattering accuracy. But, above all, it is a great
dealer in reports and suppositions. It has the earliest
intelligence of intended preferments that will reflect honour on
the patrons; and embryo promotions of modest gentlemen, who know
nothing of the matter themselves. It can hint a ribbon for
implied services in the air of a common report; and with the
carelessness of a casual paragraph, suggest officers into
commands, to which they have no pretension but their wishes.
This, sir, is the last principal class of the art of puffing--an
art which I hope you will now agree with me is of the highest
dignity, yielding a tablature of benevolence and public spirit;
befriending equally trade, gallantry, criticism, and politics:
the applause of genius--the register of charity--the triumph of
heroism--the self-defence of contractors--the fame of orators--and
the gazette of ministers.
_Sneer_. Sir, I am completely a convert both to the importance
and ingenuity of your profession; and now, sir, there is
but one thing which can possibly increase my respect for you, and
that is, your permitting me to be present this morning at the
rehearsal of your new trage--
_Puff_. Hush, for heaven's sake!--_My_ tragedy!--Egad,
Dangle, I take this very ill: you know how apprehensive I am of
being known to be the author.
_Dang_. I'faith I would not have told--but it's in the
papers, and your name at length in the Morning Chronicle.
_Puff_. Ah! those damned editors never can keep a secret I
--Well, Mr. Sneer, no doubt you will do me great honour--I shall
be infinitely happy--highly flattered--Dang. I believe it must
be near the time--shall we go together?
_Puff_. No; it will, not be yet this hour, for they are
always late at that theatre: besides, I must meet you there, for
I have some little matters here to send to the papers, and a few
paragraphs to scribble before I go.--[_Looking at
memorandums._] Here is _A conscientious Baker, on the
subject of the Army Bread; and a Detester of visible Brick-work,
in favour of the new invented Stucco_; both in the style of
Junius, and promised for to-morrow. The Thames navigation too is
at a stand. Misomud or Anti-shoal must go to work again
directly.--Here too are some political memorandums--I see; ay--
_To take Paul Jones and get the Indiamen out of the Shannon--
reinforce Byron--compel the Dutch to_--so!--I must do that in
the evening papers, or reserve it for the Morning Herald; for I
know that I have undertaken to-morrow, besides, to establish the
unanimity of the fleet in the Public Advertiser, and to shoot
Charles Fox in the Morning Post.--So, egad, I ha'n't a moment to
_Dang_. Well, we'll meet in the Green Room.
SCENE I.--The Theatre before the Curtain.
_Enter_ DANGLE, PUFF, and SNEER.
_Puff_: No, no, sir; what Shakspeare says of actors may be
better applied to the purpose of plays; they ought to be the
abstract and brief chronicles of the time. Therefore when
history, and particularly the history of our own country,
furnishes anything like a case in point, to the time in which an
author writes, if he knows his own interest, he will take
advantage of it; so, sir, I call my tragedy The Spanish Armada;
and have laid the scene before Tilbury Fort.
_Sneer_. A most happy thought, certainly I Dang. Egad it
was--I told you so. But, pray now, I don't understand how you
have contrived to introduce any love into it.
_Puff_. Love! oh, nothing so easy! for it is a received
point among poets, that where history gives you a good heroic
outline for a play, you may fill up with a little love at your
own discretion: in doing which, nine times out of ten, you only
make up a deficiency in the private history of the times. Now, I
rather think I have done this with some success.
_Sneer_. No scandal about Queen Elizabeth, I hope?
_Puff_. O Lud! no, no;--I only suppose the governor of
Tilbury Fort's daughter to be in love with the son of the Spanish
_Sneer_. Oh, is that all!
_Dang_. Excellent, i'faith! I see at once. But won't this
appear rather improbable?
_Puff_. To be sure it will--but what the plague! a play is
not to show occurrences that happen every day, but things just so
strange, that though they never did, they might happen.
_Sneer_. Certainly nothing is unnatural, that is not
_Puff_. Very true--and for that matter Don Ferolo
Whiskerandos, for that's the lover's name, might have been over
here in the train of the Spanish ambassador, or Tilburina, for
that is the lady's name, might have been in love with him, from
having heard his character, or seen his picture; or from knowing
that he was the last man in the world she ought to be in love
with--or for any other good female reason.--However; sir, the
fact is, that though she is but a knight's daughter, egad! she is
in love like any princess!
_Dang_. Poor young lady! I feel for her already! for I can
conceive how great the conflict must be between her passion and
her duty; her love for her country, and her love for Don Ferolo
_Puff_. Oh, amazing!--her poor susceptible heart is swayed
to and fro by contending passions like--
_Enter_ UNDER PROMPTER.
_Und. Promp_. Sir, the scene is set, and everything is ready
to begin, if you please.
_Puff_. Egad, then we'll lose no time.
_Und. Promp_. Though, I believe, sir, you will find it very
short, for all the performers have profited by the kind
permission you granted them.
_Puff_. Hey! what?
_Und. Promp_. You know, sir, you gave them leave to cut out
or omit whatever they found heavy or unnecessary to the plot, and
I must own they have taken very liberal advantage of your
_Puff_. Well, well.--They are in general very good judges,
and I know I am luxuriant.--Now, Mr. Hopkins, as soon as you
_Und. Promp_. [_To the_ Orchestra.] Gentlemen, will you
play a few bars of something, just to--
_Puff_. Ay, that's right; for as we have the scenes and
dresses, egad, we'll go to't, as if it was the first night's
performance,--but you need not mind stopping between the acts--
[_Exit_ UNDER PROMPTER.--Orchestra _play--then the bell
rings_.] Soh! stand clear; gentlemen. Now you know there will
be a cry of down! down!--Hats off!--Silence!--Then up curtain,
and let us see what our painters have done for us. [_Curtain
SCENE II.--_Tilbury Fort_.
"_Two_ SENTINELS _discovered asleep_."
_Dang_. Tilbury Fort!--very fine indeed!
_Puff_. Now, what do you think I open with?
_Sneer_. Faith, I can't guess--
_Puff_. A clock.--Hark!--[_Clock strikes_.] I open with
a clock striking, to beget an awful attention in the audience: it
also marks the time, which is four o'clock in the morning, and
saves a description of the rising sun, and a great deal about
gilding the eastern hemisphere.
_Pang_. But pray, are the sentinels to be asleep?
_Puff_. Fast as watchmen.
_Sneer_. Isn't that odd though at such an alarming crisis?
_Puff_. To be sure it is,--but smaller things must give way
to a striking scene at the opening; that's a rule. And the case
is, that two great men are coming to this very spot to begin the
piece; now it is not to be supposed they would open their lips,
if these fellows were watching them; so, egad, I must either have
sent them off their posts, or set them asleep.
_Sneer_. Oh, that accounts for it. But tell us, who are
_Puff_. These are they--Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir
Christopher Hatton. You'll know Sir Christopher by his turning
out his toes--famous, you know, for his dancing. I like to
preserve all the little traits of character.--Now attend.
"_Enter_ SIR WALTER RALEIGH and SIR CHRISTOPHER HATTON.
_Sir Christ_. True, gallant Raleigh!"
_Dang_. What, they had been talking before?
_Puff_. O yes; all the way as they came along.--[To the
actors.] I beg pardon, gentlemen, but these are particular
friends of mine, whose remarks may be of great service to us.--
[_To_ SNEER _and_ DANGLE.] Don't mind interrupting them
whenever anything strikes you.
True, gallant Raleigh
But oh, thou champion of thy country's fame,
There is a question which I yet must ask
A question which I never ask'd before--
What mean these mighty armaments?
This general muster? and this throng of chiefs?"
_Sneer_. Pray, Mr. Puff, how came Sir Christopher Hatton
never to ask that question before?
_Puff_. What before the play began?-how the plague could he?
_Dang_. That's true, i'faith!
_Puff_. But you will hear what he thinks of the matter.
"Alas I my noble friend, when I behold
Yon tented plains in martial symmetry
Array'd; when I count o'er yon glittering lines
Of crested warriors, where the proud steeds' neigh,
And valour-breathing trumpet's shrill appeal,
Responsive vibrate on my listening ear;
When virgin majesty herself I view,
Like her protecting Pallas, veil'd in steel,
With graceful confidence exhort to arms!
When, briefly, all I hear or see bears stamp
Of martial vigilance and stern defence,
I cannot but surmise--forgive, my friend,
If the conjecture's rash--I cannot but
Surmise the state some danger apprehends!"
_Sneer_. A very cautious conjecture that.
_Puff_. Yes, that's his character; not to give an opinion
but on secure grounds.--Now then.
"O most accomplish'd Christopher!"--
_Puff_. He calls him by his Christian name, to show that
they are on the most familiar terms.
_Sir Walt_. O most accomplish'd Christopher! I find Thy
staunch sagacity still tracks the future, In the fresh print of
the o'ertaken past."
_Sir Walt_. Thy fears are just.
_Sir Christ_. But where? whence? when? and what The danger
is,--methinks I fain would learn.
_Sir Walt_. You know, my friend, scarce two revolving suns,
And three revolving moons, have closed their course Since haughty
Philip, in despite of peace, With hostile hand hath struck at
_Sir Christ_. I know it well.
_Sir Walt_. Philip, you know, is proud Iberia's king!
_Sir Christ_. He is.
_Sir Walt_. His subjects in base bigotry And Catholic
oppression held;-while we, You know, the Protestant persuasion
_Sir Christ_. We do.
_Sir Walt_. You know, beside, his boasted armament, The
famed Armada, by the Pope baptized, With purpose to invade these
_Sir Christ_. Is sailed, Our last advices so report.
_Sir Walt_. While the Iberian admiral's chief hope, His
_Sir Christ_. Ferolo Whiskerandos hight--
_Sir Walt_. The same--by chance a prisoner hath been ta'en,
And in this fort of Tilbury--
_Sir Christ_. Is now Confined--'tis true, and oft from yon
tall turret's top I've mark'd the youthful Spaniard's haughty
mien Unconquer'd, though in chains.
_Sir Walt_. You also know--
Dang. Mr. Puff, as he knows all this, why does Sir Walter go on
_Puff_. But the audience are not supposed to know any-thing
of the matter, are they?
Sneer. True; but I think you manage ill: for there certainly
appears no reason why Sir Walter should be so communicative.
_Puff_. 'Fore Gad, now, that is one of the most ungrateful
observations I ever heard!--for the less inducement he has to
tell all this, the more, I think, you ought to be obliged to him;
for I am sure you'd know nothing of the matter without it.
_Dang_. That's very true, upon my word.
_Puff_. But you will find he was not going on.
"_Sir Christ_. Enough, enough--'tis plain--and I no more Am
in amazement lost!"--
_Puff_. Here, now you see, Sir Christopher did not in fact
ask any one question for his own information.
_Sneer_. No, indeed: his has been a most disinterested
_Dang_. Really, I find that we are very much obliged to them
_Puff_. To be sure you are. Now then for the commander-in-chief,
the Earl of Leicester, who, you know, was no favourite but
of the queen's.--We left off--_in amazement lost!_
"_Sir Christ_. Am in amazement lost. But, see where noble
Leicester comes supreme in honours and command.
_Sir Walt_. And yet, methinks, At such a time, so perilous,
so fear'd, That staff might well become an abler grasp.
_Sir Christ_. And so, by Heaven! think I; but soft, he's
_Puff_. Ay, they envy him!
_Sneer_. But who are these with him?
_Puff_. Oh! very valiant knights: one is the governor of the
fort, the other the master of the horse. And now, I think, you
shall hear some better language: I was obliged to be plain and
intelligible in the first scene, because there was so much matter
of fact in it; but now, i'faith, you have trope, figure, and
metaphor, as plenty as noun-substantives.
"_Enter_ EARL OF LEICESTER, GOVERNOR, MASTER OF THE HORSE,
How's this, my friends! is't thus your new-fledged zeal,
And plumed valour moulds in roosted sloth?
Why dimly glimmers that heroic flame,
Whose reddening blaze, by patriot spirit fed,
Should be the beacon of a kindling realm?
Can the quick current of a patriot heart
Thus stagnate in a cold and weedy converse,
Or freeze in tideless inactivity?
No! rather let the fountain of your valour
Spring through each stream of enterprise,
Each petty channel of conducive daring,
Till the full torrent of your foaming wrath
O'erwhelm the flats of sunk hostility!"
_Puff_. There it is--followed up!
No more!--the freshening breath of thy rebuke
Hath fill'd the swelling canvas of our souls!
And thus, though fate should cut the cable of
[_All take hands._]
Our topmost hopes, in friendship's closing line
We'll grapple with despair, and if we fall,
We'll fall in glory's wake!
There spoke old England's genius!
Then, are we all resolved?
We are--all resolved.
To conquer--or be free?
To conquer, or be free.
_Dang. Nem. con_. egad!
_Puff_. O yes!--where they do agree on the stage, their
unanimity is wonderful!
Then let's embrace--and now--[_Kneels._"
_Sneer_. What the plague, is he going to pray?
_Puff_. Yes; hush!--in great emergencies, there Is nothing
like a prayer.
O mighty Mars!"
_Dang_. But why should he pray to Mars?
If in thy homage bred,
Each point of discipline I've still observed;
Nor but by due promotion, and the right
Of service, to the rank of major-general
Have risen; assist thy votary now!
Yet do not rise--hear me! [_Kneels._]
And me! [_Kneels.]
And me! [_Kneels.]
And me! [_Kneels.]
And me! [_Kneels.]"
_Puff_. Now pray altogether.
Behold thy votaries submissive beg,
That thou wilt deign to grant them all they ask;
Assist them to accomplish all their ends,
And sanctify whatever means they use
To gain them!"
_Sneer_. A very orthodox quintetto!
_Puff_. Vastly well, gentlemen!--Is that well managed or
not? Have you such a prayer as that on the stage?
_Sneer_. Not exactly.
_Leic._ [_To_ PUFF.] But, sir, you haven't settled how
we are to get off here.
_Puff_. You could not go off kneeling, could you?
_Sir Walt._ [_To_ PUFF.] O no, sir; impossible!
_Puff_. It would have a good effect i'faith, if you could
exeunt praying!--Yes, and would vary the established mode of
springing off with a glance at the pit.
_Sneer_. Oh, never mind, so as you get them off!--I'll
answer for it, the audience won't care how.
_Puff_. Well, then, repeat the last line standing, and go
off the old way.
"_All_. And sanctify whatever means we use To gain them.
_Dang_. Bravo! a fine exit.
_Sneer_. Well, really, Mr. Puff--
_Puff_. Stay a moment!
"_The_ SENTINELS _get up.
_1 Sent_. All this shall to Lord Burleigh's ear.
_2 Sent_. 'Tis meet it should. [_Exeunt_.]"
_Dang_. Hey!--why, I thought those fellows had been asleep?
_Puff_. Only a pretence; there's the art of it: they were
spies of Lord Burleigh's.
_Sneer_. But isn't it odd they never were taken notice of,
not even by the commander-in-chief?
_Puff_. O Lud, sir! if people who want to listen, or
overhear, were not always connived at in a tragedy, there would
be no carrying on any plot in the world.
_Dang_. That's certain.
_Puff_. But take care, my dear Dangle! the morning gun is
going to fire. [_Cannon fires_.]
_Dang_. Well, that will have a fine effect!
_Puff_. I think so, and helps to realize the scene.--
[_Cannon twice_.] What the plague! three morning guns! there
never is but one!--Ay, this is always the way at the theatre:
give these fellows a good thing, and they never know when to have
done with it.--You have no more cannon to fire?
_Und. Promp_. [_Within_.] No, sir.
_Puff_. Now, then, for soft music.
_Sneer_. Pray, what's that for?
_Puff_. It shows that Tilburina is coming!--nothing introduces
you a heroine like soft music. Here she comes!
_Dang_. And her confidant, I suppose?
_Puff_. To be sure! Here they are--inconsolable to the
minuet in Ariadne! [Soft music.]
"_Enter_ TILNURINA _and_ CONFIDANT.
Now has the whispering breath of gentle morn
Bid Nature's voice and Nature's beauty rise;
While orient Phoebus, with unborrow'd hues,
Clothes the waked loveliness which all night slept
In heavenly drapery I Darkness is fled.
Now flowers unfold their beauties to the sun,
And, blushing, kiss the beam he sends to wake them--
The striped carnation, and the guarded rose,
The vulgar wallflower, and smart gillyflower,
The polyanthus mean--the dapper daisy,
Sweet-William, and sweet marjoram--and all
The tribe of single and of double pinks!
Now, too, the feather'd warblers tune their notes
Around, and charm the listening grove. The lark!
The linnet! chaffinch! bullfinch! goldfinch! greenfinch!
But O, to me no joy can they afford!
Nor rose, nor wallflower, nor smart gillyflower,
Nor polyanthus mean, nor dapper daisy,
Nor William sweet, nor marjoram--nor lark,
Linnet nor all the finches of the grove!"
_Puff_. Your white handkerchief, madam!--
_Tilb_. I thought, sir, I wasn't to use that till _heart-rending
_Puff_. O yes, madam, at _the finches of the grove_, if
Linnet, nor all the finches of the grove! [Weeps.]
_Puff_. Vastly well, madam! _Dang_. Vastly well,
For, O, too sure, heart-rending woe is now
The lot of wretched Tilburina!"
_Dang_. Oh!--it's too much.
_Sneer_. Oh!--it is indeed.
Be comforted, sweet lady; for who knows,
But Heaven has yet some milk-white day in store?
_Tilb_. Alas! my gentle Nora, Thy tender youth as yet hath
never mourn'd Love's fatal dart. Else wouldst thou know, that
when The soul is sunk in comfortless despair, It cannot taste of
_Dang_. That's certain.
"_Con_. But see where your stern father comes It is not meet
that he should find you thus."
_Puff_. Hey, what the plague!--what a cut is here! Why, what
is become of the description of her first meeting with Don
Whiskerandos--his gallant behaviour in the sea-fight--and the
simile of the canary-bird?
_Tilb_. Indeed, sir, you'll find they will not be missed.
_Puff_. Very well, very well!
_Tilb_. [_To_ CONFIDANT.] The cue, ma'am, if you
"_Con_. It is not meet that he should find you thus.
_Tilb_. Thou counsel'st right; but 'tis no easy task For
barefaced grief to wear a mask of joy.
_Gov_. How's this!--in tears?--O Tilburina, shame! Is this a
time for maudling tenderness, And Cupid's baby woes?--Hast thou
not heard That haughty Spain's pope-consecrated fleet Advances to
our shores, while England's fate, Like a clipp'd guinea, trembles
in the scale?
_Tilb_. Then is the crisis of my fate at hand! I see the
fleets approach--I see--"
_Puff_. Now, pray, gentlemen, mind. This is one of the most
useful figures we tragedy writers have, by which a hero or
heroine, in consideration of their being often obliged to
overlook things that are on the stage, is allowed to hear and see
a number of things that are not.
_Sneer_. Yes; a kind of poetical second-sight!
_Puff_. Yes.--Now then, madam.
"_Tilb_. I see their decks Are clear'd!--I see the signal
made! The line is form'd!--a cable's length asunder! I see the
frigates station'd in the rear; And now, I hear the thunder of
the guns! I hear the victor's shouts--I also hear The vanquish'd
groan!--and now 'tis smoke-and now I see the loose sails shiver in
the wind! I see--I see--what soon you'll see--
_Gov_. Hold, daughter! peace! this love hath turn'd thy
brain The Spanish fleet thou canst not see--because--It is not
yet in sight!"
_Dang_. Egad, though, the governor seems to make no
allowance for this poetical figure you talk of.
_Puff_. No, a plain matter-of-fact man;--that's his
"_Tilb_. But will you then refuse his offer?
_Gov_. I must--I will--I can--I ought--I do.
_Tilb_. Think what a noble price.
_Gov_. No more--you urge in vain.
_Tilb_. His liberty is all he asks."
_Sneer_. All who asks, Mr. Puff? Who is--
_Puff_. Egad, sir, I can't tell! Here has been such cutting
and slashing, I don't know where they have got to myself.
_Tilb_. Indeed, sir, you will find it will connect very
well. "--And your reward secure."
_Puff_. Oh, if they hadn't been so devilish free with their
cutting here, you would have found that Don Whiskerandos has been
tampering for his liberty, and has persuaded Tilburina to make
this proposal to her father. And now, pray observe the
conciseness with which the argument is conducted. Egad, the
_pro_ and _con_ goes as smart as hits in a fencing
match. It is indeed a sort of small-sword-logic, which we have
borrowed from the French.
"_Tilb_. A retreat in Spain!
_Gov_. Outlawry here!
_Tilb_. Your daughter's prayer!
_Gov_. Your father's oath!
_Tilb_. My lover!
_Gov_. My country!
_Tilb_. A title!
_Tilb_. A pension!
_Tilb_. A thousand pounds!
_Gov_. Ha! thou hast touch'd me nearly!"
_Puff_. There you see-she threw in _Tilburina_. Quick,
parry Carte with _England_! Ha! thrust in tierce _a
title_!--parried by _honour_. Ha! _a pension_ over
the arm!--put by by _conscience_. Then flankonade with _a
thousand pounds_--and a palpable hit, egad!
"_Tilb_. Canst thou--Reject the suppliant, and the daughter
_Gov_. No more; I would not hear thee plead in vain: The
father softens--but the governor Is fix'd! [_Exit_.]"
_Dang_. Ay, that antithesis of persons is a most established
"_Tilb_. 'Tis well,--hence then, fond hopes,--fond passion
hence; Duty, behold I am all over thine--
_Whisk_. [_Without_.] Where is my love--my--
_Enter_ DON FEROLO WHISKERANDOS.
_Whisk_. My beauteous enemy!--"
_Puff_. O dear, ma'am, you must start a great deal more than
that! Consider, you had just determined in favour of duty--when,
in a moment, the sound of his voice revives your passion--
overthrows your resolution--destroys your obedience. If you don't
express all that in your start, you do nothing at all.
_Tilb_. Well, we'll try again.
_Dang_. Speaking from within has always a fine effect.
"_Whisk_. My conquering Tilburina! How! is't thus We meet?
why are thy looks averse? what means That falling tear--that
frown of boding woe? Ha! now indeed I am a prisoner! Yes, now I
feel the galling weight of these Disgraceful chains--which, cruel
Tilburina! Thy doting captive gloried in before.--But thou art
false, and Whiskerandos is undone!
_Tilb_. O no! how little dost thou know thy Tilburina!
_Whisk_. Art thou then true?--Begone cares, doubts, and
fears, I make you all a present to the winds; And if the winds
reject you--try the waves."
_Puff_. The wind, you know, is the established receiver of
all stolen sighs, and cast-off griefs and apprehensions.
"_Tilb_. Yet must we part!--stern duty seals our doom Though
here I call yon conscious clouds to witness, Could I pursue the
bias of my soul, All friends, all right of parents, I'd disclaim,
And thou, my Whiskerandos, shouldst be father And mother,
brother, cousin, uncle, aunt, And friend to me!
_Whisk_. Oh, matchless excellence! and must we part? Well,
if--we must--we must--and in that case The less is said the
_Puff_. Heyday! here's a cut!--What, are all the mutual
_Tilb_. Now, pray, sir, don't interrupt us just here: you
ruin our feelings.
_Puff_. Your feelings!--but, zounds, my feelings, ma'am!
_Sneer_. No, pray don't interrupt them.
"_Whisk_. One last embrace.
_Tilb_. Now,--farewell, for ever.
_Whisk_. For ever!
_Tilb_. Ay, for ever! [_Going_.]"
_Puff_. 'Sdeath and fury!--Gad's life!--sir! madam! if you
go out without the parting look, you might as well dance out.
_Con_. But pray, sir, how am I to get off here?
_Puff_. You! pshaw! what the devil signifies how you get
off! edge away at the top, or where you will--[_Pushes the_
CONFIDANT _off_.] Now, ma'am, you see--
_Tilb_. We understand you, sir.
"Ay, for ever.
_Both_. Oh! [_Turning back, and exeunt.--Scene
_Dang_. Oh, charming!
_Puff_. Hey!--'tis pretty well, I believe: you see I don't
attempt to strike out anything new--but I take it I improve on
the established modes.
_Sneer_. You do, indeed! But pray is not Queen Elizabeth to
_Puff_. No, not once--but she is to be talked of for ever;
so that, egad, you'll think a hundred times that she is on the
point of coming in.
_Sneer_. Hang it, I think it's a pity to keep her in the
green-room all the night.
_Puff_. O no, that always has a fine effect--it keeps up
_Dang_. But are we not to have a battle?
_Puff_. Yes, yes, you will have a battle at last: but, egad,
it's not to be by land, but by sea--and that is the only quite
new thing in the piece.
_Dang_. What, Drake at the Armada, hey?
_Puff_. Yes, i'faith--fire-ships and all; then we shall end
with the procession. Hey, that will do, I think?,
_Sneer_. No doubt on't.
_Puff_. Come, we must not lose time; so now for the under-plot.
_Sneer_. What the plague, have you another plot?
_Puff_. O Lord, yes; ever while you live have two plots to
your tragedy. The grand point in managing them is only to let
your under-plot have as little connection with your main-plot as
possible.--I flatter myself nothing can be more distinct than
mine; for as in my chief plot the characters are all great
people, I have laid my under-plot in low life, and as the former
is to end in deep distress, I make the other end as happy as a
farce.--Now, Mr. Hopkins, as soon as you please.
_Enter_ UNDER PROMPTER.
_Under Promp_. Sir, the carpenter says it is impossible you
can go to the park scene yet.
_Puff_. The park scene! no! I mean the description scene
here, in the wood.
_Under Promp_. Sir, the performers have cut it out.
_Puff_. Cut it out!
_Under Promp_. Yes, sir.
_Puff_. What! the whole account of Queen Elizabeth?
_Under Promp_. Yes, sir.
_Puff_. And the description of her horse and side-saddle?
_Under Promp_. Yes, sir.
_Puff_. So, so; this is very fine indeed!--Mr. Hopkins, how
the plague could you suffer this?
_Mr. Hop_. [_Within._] Sir, indeed the pruning-knife--
_Puff_. The pruning-knife--zounds!--the axe! Why, here has
been such lopping and topping, I shan't have the bare trunk of my
play left presently!--Very well, sir--the performers must do as
they please; but, upon my soul, I'll print it every word.
_Sneer_. That I would, indeed.
_Puff_. Very well, sir; then we must go on.--Zounds! I would
not have parted with the description of the horse!--Well, sir,
go on.--Sir, it was one of the finest and most laboured things.--
Very well, sir; let them go on.--There you had him and his
accoutrements, from the bit to the crupper.--Very well, sir; we
must go to the park scene.
_Under Promp_. Sir, there is the point: the carpenters say,
that unless there is some business put in here before the drop,
they sha'n't have time to clear away the fort, or sink Gravesend
and the river.
_Puff_. So! this is a pretty dilemma, truly!--Gentlemen, you
must excuse me--these fellows will never be ready, unless I go
and look after them myself.
_Sneer_. O dear, sir, these little things will happen.
_Puff_. To cut out this scene!--but I'll print it--egad,
I'll print it every word! [_Exeunt_.]
SCENE I.--_The Theatre, before the curtain._
_Enter_ PUFF, SNEER, _and_ DANGLE.
_Puff_. Well, we are ready; now then for the justices.
"JUSTICES, CONSTABLES, &c., _discovered_."
_Sneer_. This, I suppose, is a sort of senate scene.
_Puff_. To be sure; there has not been one yet.
_Dang_. It is the under-plot, isn't it?
_Puff_. Yes.--What, gentlemen, do you mean to go at once to
the discovery scene?
_Just_. If you please, sir.
_Puff_. Oh, very well!--Hark'ee, I don't choose to say
anything more; but, i'faith they have mangled my play in a most
_Dang_. It's a great pity!
_Puff_. Now, then, Mr. justice, if you please.
"_Just_. Are all the volunteers without?
_Const_. They are. Some ten in fetters, and some twenty
_Just_. Attends the youth, whose most opprobrious fame And
clear convicted crimes have stamp'd him soldier?
_Const_. He waits your pleasure; eager to repay The best
reprieve that sends him to the fields Of glory, there to raise
his branded hand In honour's cause.
_Just_. 'Tis well--'tis justice arms him! Oh! may he now
defend his country's laws With half the spirit he has broke them
all! If 'tis your worship's pleasure, bid him enter.
_Const_. I fly, the herald of your will. [_Exit._]"
_Puff_. Quick, sir.
_Sneer_. But, Mr. Puff, I think not only the justice, but
the clown seems to talk in as high a style as the first hero
_Puff_. Heaven forbid they should not in a free country!--
Sir, I am not for making slavish distinctions, and giving all the
fine language to the upper sort of people.
_Dang_. That's very noble in you, indeed.
"_Enter_ JUSTICE'S LADY."
_Puff_. Now, pray mark this scene.
"_Lady_ Forgive this interruption, good my love; But as I
just now pass'd a prisoner youth, Whom rude hands hither lead,
strange bodings seized My fluttering heart, and to myself I said,
An' if our Tom had lived, he'd surely been This stripling's
_Just_. Ha! sure some powerful sympathy directs Us both--
_Enter_ CONSTABLE _with_ Son.
What is thy name?
_Son_. My name is Tom Jenkins--_alias_ have I none--
Though orphan'd, and without a friend!
_Just_. Thy parents?
_Son_. My father dwelt in Rochester--and was, As I have
heard--a fishmonger--no more."
_Puff_. What, sir, do you leave out the account of your
birth, parentage, and education?
_Son_ They have settled it so, sir, here.
_Puff_. Oh! oh!
"_Lady_. How loudly nature whispers to my heart Had he no
_Son_. I've seen a bill Of his sign'd Tomkins, creditor.
_Just_. This does indeed confirm each circumstance The gipsy
_Son_. I do.
_Just_. No orphan, nor without a friend art thou--I am thy
father; here's thy mother; there Thy uncle--this thy first
cousin, and those Are all your near relations!
_Lady_. O ecstasy of bliss!
_Son_. O most unlook'd for happiness!
_Just_. O wonderful event! [_They faint alternately in
each other's arms_.]"
_Puff_. There, you see, relationship, like murder, will out.
"_Just_. Now let's revive--else were this joy too much! But
come--and we'll unfold the rest within; And thou, my boy, must
needs want rest and food. Hence may each orphan hope, as chance
directs, To find a father--where he least expects!
_Puff_. What do you think of that?
_Dang_. One of the finest discovery-scenes I ever saw!--
Why, this under-plot would have made a tragedy itself.
_Sneer_. Ay! or a comedy either.
_Puff_. And keeps quite clear you see of the other.
"_Enter_ SCENEMEN, _taking away the seats_."
_Puff_. The scene remains, does it?
_Sceneman_. Yes, sir.
_Puff_. You are to leave one chair, you know.--But it is
always awkward in a tragedy, to have your fellows coming in in
your play-house liveries to remove things.--I wish that could be
managed better.--So now for my mysterious yeoman.
_Beef_. Perdition catch my soul, but I do love thee."
_Sneer_. Haven't I heard that line before?
_Puff_. No, I fancy not.--Where, pray?
_Dang_. Yes, I think there is something like it in Othello.
_Puff_. Gad! now you put me in mind on't, I believe there
is--but that's of no consequence; all that can be said is, that
two people happened to hit upon the same thought--and Shakspeare
made use of it first, that's all.
_Sneer_. Very true.
_Puff_. Now, sir, your soliloquy--but speak more to the pit,
if you please--the soliloquy always to the pit, that's a rule.
"_Beef_. Though hopeless love finds comfort in despair, It
never can endure a rival's bliss! But soft--I am observed.
_Dang_. That's a very short soliloquy.
_Puff_. Yes--but it would have been a great deal longer if
he had not been observed.
_Sneer_. A most sentimental Beefeater that, Mr. Puff!
_Puff_. Hark'ee--I would not have you be too sure that he is
_Sneer_. What, a hero in disguise?
_Puff_. No matter--I only give you a hint. But now for my
principal character. Here he comes--Lord Burleigh in person!
Pray, gentlemen, step this way--softly--I only hope the Lord High
Treasurer is perfect--if he is but perfect!
"_Enter_ LORD BURLEIGH, _goes slowly to a chair, and
_Sneer_. Mr. Puff!
_Puff_. Hush!--Vastly well, sir! vastly well! a most
_Dang_. What, isn't he to speak at all?
_Puff_. Egad, I thought you'd ask me that!--Yes, it is a
very likely thing--that a minister in his situation, with the
whole affairs of the nation on his head, should have time to
talk!--But hush! or you'll put him out.
_Sneer_. Put him out; how the plague can that be, if he's
not going to say anything?
_Puff_. There's the reason! why, his part is to think; and
how the plague do you imagine he can think if you keep talking?
_Dang_. That's very true, upon my word!
"LORD BURLEIGH _comes forward, shakes his head, and exit_."
_Sneer_. He is very perfect indeed! Now, pray what did he
mean by that?
_Puff_. You don't take it?
_Sneer_. No, I don't, upon my soul.
_Puff_. Why, by that shake of the head, he gave you to
understand that even though they had more justice in their cause,
and wisdom in their measures--yet, if there was not a greater
spirit shown on the part of the people, the country would at last
fall a sacrifice to the hostile ambition of the Spanish monarchy.
_Sneer_. The devil! did he mean all that by shaking his
_Puff_. Every word of it--if he shook his head as I taught
_Dang_. Ah! there certainly is a vast deal to be done on the
stage by dumb show and expressions of face; and a judicious
author knows how much he may trust to it.
_Sneer_. Oh, here are some of our old acquaintance.
"_Enter_ SIR CHRISTOPHER HATTON _and_ SIR WALTER
_Sir Christ_. My niece and your niece too! By Heaven!
there's witchcraft in't.--He could not else Have gain'd their
hearts.--But see where they approach Some horrid purpose lowering
on their brows!
_Sir Walt_. Let us withdraw and mark them. [_They
_Sneer_. What is all this?
_Puff_. Ah! here has been more pruning!--but the fact is,
these two young ladies are also in love with Don Whiskerandos.--
Now, gentlemen, this scene goes entirely for what we call
situation and stage effect, by which the greatest applause may be
obtained, without the assistance of language, sentiment, or
character: pray mark!
"_Enter the two_ NIECES.
_1st Niece_. Ellena here! She is his scorn as much as I--
that is Some comfort still !"
_Puff_. O dear, madam, you are not to say that to her face!
--Aside, ma'am, aside.--The whole scene is to be aside.
"_1st Niece_. She is his scorn as much as I--that is Some
comfort still. [_Aside_.]
_2nd Niece_. I know he prizes not Pollina's love; But
Tilburina lords it o'er his heart. [_Aside_.]
_1st Niece_. But see the proud destroyer of my peace.
Revenge is all the good I've left. [_Aside_.]
_2nd Niece_. He comes, the false disturber of my quiet. Now
vengeance do thy worst. [_Aside_.]
_Enter_ DON FEROLO WHISKERANDOS.
_Whisk_. O hateful liberty--if thus in vain I seek my
_Both Nieces_. And ever shalt!
SIR CHRISTOPHER HATTON _and_ SIR WALTER RALEIGH _come
_Sir Christ. and Sir Walt_. Hold! we will avenge you.
_Whisk_. Hold _you_--or see your nieces bleed! [_The
two_ NIECES _draw their two daggers to strike_
WHISKERANDOS: _the two_ UNCLES _at the instant, with their
two swords drawn, catch their two_ NIECES' _arms, and turn
the points of their swords to_ WHISKERANDOS, _who
immediately draws two daggers, and holds them to the two_
_Puff._ There's situation for you! there's an heroic group!
--You see the ladies can't stab Whiskerandos--he durst not strike
them, for fear of their uncles--the uncles durst not kill him,
because of their nieces.--I have them all at a dead lock!--for
every one of them is afraid to let go first.
_Sneer._ Why, then they must stand there for ever!
_Puff._ So they would, if I hadn't a very fine contrivance
"_Enter_ BEEFEATER, _with his halbert_.
_Beef._ In the queen's name I charge you all to drop Your
swords and daggers!
[_They drop their swords and daggers_."]
_Sneer._ That is a contrivance indeed!
_Puff._ Ay--in the queen's name.
_Sir Christ._ Come, niece!
_Sir Walt._ Come, niece! [_Exeunt with the two_
_Whisk._ What's he, who bids us thus renounce our guard?
_Beef._ Thou must do more--renounce thy love!
_Whisk._ Thou liest--base Beefeater!
_Beef._ Ha! hell! the lie! By Heaven thou'st roused the lion
in my heart! Off, yeoman's habit!--base disguise! off! off!
[_Discovers himself by throwing off his upper dress, and
appearing in a very fine waistcoat._] Am I a Beefeater now? Or
beams my crest as terrible as when In Biscay's Bay I took thy
_Puff._ There, egad! he comes out to be the very captain of
the privateer who had taken Whiskerandos prisoner--and was
himself an old lover of Tilburina's.
_Dang._ Admirably managed, indeed!
_Puff._ Now, stand out of their way.
"_Whisk._ I thank thee, Fortune, that hast thus bestowed A
weapon to chastise this insolent. [_Takes up one of the
_Beef._ I take thy challenge, Spaniard, and I thank thee,
Fortune, too! [_Takes up the other sword_.]"
_Dang._ That's excellently contrived!--It seems as if the
two uncles had left their swords on purpose for them.
_Puff._ No, egad, they could not help leaving them.
"_Whisk_. Vengeance and Tilburina!
_Beef_. Exactly so--
[_They fight--and after the usual number of wounds given_,
_Whisk_. O cursed parry!--that last thrust in tierce Was
fatal.--Captain, thou hast fenced well! And Whiskerandos quits
this bustling scene For all eter--
_Beef_.--nity--he would have added, but stern death Cut
short his being, and the noun at once!"
_Puff_. Oh, my dear sir, you are too slow: now mind me.--
Sir, shall I trouble you to die again?
"_Whisk_. And Whiskerandos quits this bustling scene For all
_Beef_.--nity--he would have added,--"
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