Зображення сторінки

“Three, by Heaven ! that for managers !" at the same time snapping his fingers. “Three,” said his astonished companion; "what do you mean by three?”—“ What do I mean, you hungry hunter of turnips ! you'll know, before you have strutted in three barns more (three was, no doubt, in this case, an ominous number.) In winter, managers are the most impudent fellows living, because they know we don't like to travel, don't like to leave our nests-fear the cold-and all that:but when I can put my foot upon three daisies, managers may whistle for me.”



Ar Florence, this ingenious dramatist, at the solicitations of Stephen Storace, produced that clever piece, “ No Song, no Supper.” When both parties returned to England, neither the merit of the piece, nor yet the delightful compositions of Storace, were sufficient to recommend it to the managers of “ Old Drury.” It was, consequently, brought out by Kelly, at his benefit, and not acted for the house, till its success was established.

Having thus experienced their liberal treatment

with a farce, he took the liberty of getting his next production, (a tragedy,) performed at Bath. Mrs. Siddons honoured him by an application to him perform it for her benefit at Liverpool.

Notwithstanding his success, the managers of Drury-lare were still inaccessible, and his next production, “The Cave of Trophonius,” was produced for the benefit of Mrs. Crouch, and was universally successful. This influenced him to future efforts; and he wrote his admirable farce, called “ The Prize,"--presented it,it was refused; but Madam Storace brought it forward at her benefit. Its success was highly flattering; and the managers condescended, in the most obliging manner possible, to pour the profits into their treasury;-that the author received any thing, would be absurd to imagine.


This gentleman was, for more than thirty-five years, a performer on the London boards, having made his first

appearance on Covent Garden stage, January the first, 1753, in the character of Theodosius. He retired from Drury-lane at the end of the season, 1788. He was educated at Eton School and St. John's College,

[ocr errors]

pany courted.

Cambridge. His taking to the stage was occasioned by some youthful irregularities ; but he maintained, throughout his theatrical career, the name of “ Gentleman Smith.” His first wife was a sister of the Earl of Sandwich, first lord of the Admiralty ;-—she lived but a short time, and he married again. On Mr. Smith's retiring from the stage, he went to live at Bury St. Edmund's, where he was universally respected, and his com

His manners were those of the polished gentleman : though educated in a certain school of acting, and living to a great age, Mr. S. was no bigot to his own times and manners, but he went up to London, at different periods, to witness the vaunted powers of Betty, and of Kean, and pronounced the latter superior to all former professors of the art. Mr. Smith never published or brought out any piece; but he had altered the “ Two Noble Kinsmen” of Beaumont and Fletcher, and had begun an alteration of Shakspeare's Plays, omitting the exceptionable passages.

He died September, 1819, aged 89.



“The Game of Chess," by Thomas Middleton, has the merit of being one of the first, if not the

very first play, that was suppressed by aathority, for political reasons. The game was played, as we are told by Langbaine, between one of the church of England, and one of the church of Rome, in the presence of Ignatius Loyola. This account of it does not promise much amusement, yet a MS. note, taken by Capell from an old copy of the play, describes it as exceedingly popular. “After nine days," adds the writer, “ wherein I have heard the actors say, they took fifteen hundred pounds, this is an incredible sum,) the Spanish faction got the play suppressed, and the author, Master Thomas Middleton, committed to prison, where he lay some time, and, at last, got out upon this petition to King James :

"A harmless game, coined only for delight,
Was play'd betwixt the black house and the white ;
The white house won, yet still the black doth brag
They had the pow'r to put me in the bag.
Use but your Royal hand, 'twill set me free;
'Tis but removing of a man-

--that's me."


CALDERON de la Barca, in one of his pieces, called “ La Scisma d'Anglaterra,” has taken the divorce of Henry VIII. as a subject, and, accord

ing to Davies, not ill sustained the characters of Henry, Wolsey, and Catherine. He paints the King as conscious of criminality, and Anne Boleyn as proud, insolent, ungrateful, and lascivious. By a fiction of his own, he causes her to intrigue with the French ambassador. The king, too, overheard their discourse, sent her to the Tower in a rage; and she being there beheaded, her dead body is afterwards brought upon the stage.


Quin, the player, who blended with his gluttony, and other sensual appetites, the virtues of generosity and kindness, gave Mrs. Bellamy a singular proof, that he could feel for others, and did not, as was thought by many, live for himself only. During the time that he had the chief management of Covent Garden Theatre, he revived Beaumont and Fletcher's play of “the Maid's Tragedy,” in which he performed the character of Melanthes ; Mrs. Pritchard, that of Evandra; and Mrs. Bellamy, that of Aspasia. One morning, after the rehearsal, he desired to speak with her, in the dressing room; she was not a little surprised at so unexpected an invitation; and was fearful she had offended a man whom

« НазадПродовжити »