Зображення сторінки

ed, and all was on the eve of commencement, when a letter, addressed to the landlord of the hotel in which the assembly-room was situated, came from Ebenezer Huntingdon, stating, that if Mr. and Mrs. Bartley proceeded in their unlawful practices, he would prosecute them under the existing laws of the state. The contents of this letter were concealed from Mr. and Mrs. Bartley, and the performances went off with great eclat.

Shortly after Mr. and Mrs. Bartley had retired to rest, that night, the myrmidons of Ebenezer came with a writ, to serve it on the unconscious offenders. The singularity of the proceedings, together with the indelicacy of selecting the hour of midnight, as the proper period for the execution of such a process, roused the indignation of several gentlemen, who were still in the hotel, and they gave their personal securities to produce Mr. Bartley the next day, or to answer the consequence; at the same time depositing 500 dollars, to meet the expenses of the suit.

A tremendous fall of snow rendered the roads impassable on the following day, and Mr. and Mrs. Bartley were, consequently, detained. Still, the whole transaction was carefully kept from their knowledge; but some legal persons, who inter

[ocr errors]

ested themselves greatly in the matter; and, differing as to the construction of the law from the Attorney-General, put the question in a train of judicial hearing, and were adventurous enough to invite Mr. and Mrs. Bartley to repeat the entertainments that evening, as the weather was so unfavourable to the prosecution of their journey to Boston. They were still unconscious of what had happened ; and it was not until after much grave argument in the court of justice, and a decision favourable to the accused, that Mrs. Bartley was made acquainted with all that had occurred, by the gentlemen who had so spiritedly defended the prosecution at their own risk.


M. HARDY was

an author who Aourished in the seventeenth century, shedding upon France (his native country) the glories of a Muse prolific and copious almost beyond the powers of belief. It has been said, that he was often heard to declare, with a great deal of pompous self-sufficiency, that he was author of seven hundred pieces. On one occasion, when he was making this foolish and unbecoming boast, a critic, to whom his productions were but too well known, replied, “Sir,


those who see your plays, do not wonder that you write so fast ; and those who read them, heartily wish you

had never written at all." It is not impossible that such attacks as the above, which were not unfrequent, might, at length, have restrained or checked the propensity to write,which influenced our hero; but, unfortunately, his circumstances would not allow of his giving up the only means he possessed, of subsistence for himself and family. He continued, for several years, writing two thousand lines

day, for a salary little better than that of a journeyman tailor, in consequence of an agreement with a dramatic company, whom he undertook to furnish with all they wanted.

Fortunately for the libraries of those who possess the works of Hardy, as well as luckily for his own fame, only forty or fifty of all bis dramatic host remain ; nor can it be said, that a perusal of these occasions any regret for the loss of their departed companions.

He would frequently reply to those who censured his Plays, “ What faults soever my dramas may possess, it cannot be denied they are just pictures of human life.” Grossly violating manners and decorum, he fairly put his characters to

bed. The Death of Achilles, or a Tradesman's wife caught by her husband with another man, afforded, alike, to Hardy, subjects for tragedy.

In one of his pieces, the curtain draws up and discovers a fille de joie sleeping in her bed. The plot turns on the entrance of two of her admirers, who quarrel for the prize ; they retire to settle the point, as such matters generally are settled ; and a third, more happy, creeping from beneath the bed, carries off this second Helen. In one particular, the plays of Hardy may be said to bear a near resemblance to life; they turn on quarrelling and kissing, as Butler observes, in his Hudibras.

[ocr errors]

He swore the world, as he could prove,

Is made of fighting, and of love." In one of his performances, a princess is married. In the first act her son, the hero, is born ; in the second, educated; in the third, a conqueror; an outrageous lover in the fourth ; and, finally, married, in the fifth act. This, it may be said, is real life; for do we not every day see weddings where the lady is a bride and a mother within the space of eight and forty hours !

A gentleman of Paris, who fancied, that, with

[ocr errors]

all the absurd improprieties of Hardy, he could perceive occasional sparks of genius, on a certain occasion, visited this dramatic writer, with the intention of advising him not to write so much. Inquiring, of his theatrical friends, where Hardy lived, this friendly critic was directed to a mean lodging, in the obscurest part of the city. Almost breathless with climbing, he at last found the dramatist in the attic story, busily engaged in his occupation, before a fire, on which a morsel of bouillé was preparing; he was rocking the cradle with his foot, and writing on a box, set on its end; dressed only in a loose coat; and the shirt, which he ought to have had on, his wife was washing in a corner of the room.

The critic, disarmed by a sight, very different from that which disarmed the angry lover of our poet (Prior*), forgot every word that he intended to have said ; excused himself, by pretending that he had mistaken the name; and, dropping a purse of Louis d'ors on the floor, he hurried down stairs. Had he entered on the subject, and given the intended advice, it would, inall probability, have been useless. It was the misfortune of Hardy, (as it al

* A r092 bud in a lady's neck.

« НазадПродовжити »