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THE TABLE BOOK.

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circumstances and persons, except his own,

With spatter'd boots, strapp'd waist, and frozen locks He is unable to allow himself, or others, time

News from all nations lumb'ring at his back. for intimacy, and therefore, unless he had True to his charge, the close pack'd load behind formed friendships before he took to his ser

Yet careless what he brings, his one concern vitude, he has not the chance of cultivating is to conduct it to the destin'd inn; them, save with persons of the same calling. And, having dropp'd th' expected bag, pass on.

He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch, He may be said to have been divorced, and to live" separate and apart” from society Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some ;

Cold and yet cheerful : messenger of grief in general ; for, though he mixes with every

To him indiff'rent whether grief or joy. body, it is only for a few hurried moments, and as strangers do in a crowd.

Methinks, as I have always thought, that Cowper's familiar description of a news• Cowper here missed the expression of a paper, with its multiform intelligence, and kind feeling, and rather tends to raise an the pleasure of reading it in the country, ungenerous sentiment towards this poor never tires, and in this place is to the pur- fellow. As the bearer of intelligence, of pose.

which he is ignorant, why should it be This folio of four pages, happy work!

" To him indiff'rent whether grief or joy ?" Which not er'n critics criticise; that holds Inquisitive Attention, while I read,

If "cold, and yet cheerful,” he has atFast bound in chains of silence, which the fair, tained 10 the " practical philosophy of Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break, bearing ills with patience. He is a frozen What is it, but a map of busy life,

creature that “whistles," and therefore Its Aluctuations, and its vast concerns ?

called “light-hearted wretch." The poet Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks,

refrains to look with a gentle eye upon Births, deaths, and marriages

this wretch," but, having obtained the - The grand debate, newspaper, determines to enjoy himself, The popular harangue, the tart reply,

and cries The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit, And the loud laugh

Now stir the fire, and close the shatters fast, Catracts of declamation thunder here;

Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round, There forests of no meaning spread the page,

And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn In which all comprehension wanders lost;

Throws up a steamy column, and the cups, While fields of pleasantry amuse us there,

That cheer, but not inebriate, wait on each, With merry descants on a nation's woes.

So let us welcome peaceful ev'ning in. The rest appears a wilderness of strange

This done, and the bard surrounded with But gay confusion ; roses for the cheeks, And lilies for the brows of faded age,

means of enjoyment, he directs his sole Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald,

attention to the newspaper, nor spares a Heav’n, earth, and ocean, plunder'd of their sweets, thought in behalf of the wayworn messenNectareous essences, Olympian dews,

ger, nor bids him “God speed !” on his Sermons, and city feasts, and fav'rite airs,

further forlorn journey through the wintry Æthereal journies, submarine exploits,

blast. And Katerfelto, with his hair an end

In London scarcely any one knows the At his own wonders, wand'ring for his bread. newsman but a newsman. His customers

'Tis pleasant, through the loopholes of retreat, know him least of all. Some of them To peep at such a world; to see the stir

seem almost ignorant that he has like Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd;

senses, affections, passions," with themTo hear the roar she sends through all her gates, selves, or is “subject to the same diseases, At a safe distance, where the dying sound healed by the same means, warmed and Falls a soft murmur on th' uninjured ear.

cooled by the same winter and summer.” Thus sitting, and surveying thus, at ease,

They are indifferent to him in exact ratio The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced

to their attachment to what he « serves To some secure and more than mortal height,

them with. Their regard is for the news. That lib'rates and exempts us from them all.

paper, and not the newsman. Should he This is an agreeable and true picture; succeed in his occupation, they do not and, with like felicity, the poet paints the hear of it: if he fail, they do not care for bearer of the newspaper.

it. If he dies, the servant receives the Hark! 'tis the twanging horn o'er yonder bridge, paper from his successor, and says, when That with its wearisome but needful length

she carries it up stairs, “ If you please, the Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon

newsman's dead :" they scarcely ask where Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright;

he lived, or his fall occasions a pun-"We He comes, the herald of a noisy world,

always said he was, and now we have

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proof that he is, the late newsman.” They

They siderably in the compilation of that work, are almost as unconcerned as if he had been as it appeared in 1782, expressly entitles it the postman.

an opera.” Once a year, a printed “copy of verses Reed states his inability to furnish any reminds every newspaper reader that the particulars of Ecclestone, and his continua. hand that bore it is open to a small boon. tor, Mr. Stephen Jones, has not added a “ The Newsman's Address to his Customers, single word. Ecclestone was a comedian, 1826,” deploringly adverts to the general though I cannot immediately cite my audistress, patriotically predicts better times, ority. His opera of “Noah's Flood," and seasonably intimates, that in the height which is excessively scarce, is said, by of annual festivities he, too, has a heart Reed, to be “ of the same nature with Drycapable of joy.

den's - State of Innocence,' but falls infi

nitely short of the merit of that poem." " although the muse complains

This may be readily believed; for we are And sings of woes in melancholy strains,

informed that the unhappy bookseller, to Yet Hope, at last, strikes up her trembling wires,

prevent the whole impression rotting on And bids Despair forsake your glowing fires.

his shelves, again obtruded it for public While, as in olden time, Heaven's gifts you share,

patronage, with a new title, “ The CataAnd Englishmen enjoy their Christmas fare ;

clasm, or General Deluge of the World,” While at the social board friend joins with friend,

1684, 4to.; and again as “The Deluge, or And smiles and jokes and salutations blend ;

Destruction of the World," 1691, 4to., with Your Newsman wishes to be social too, And would enjoy the opening year

with

the addition of sculptures. These attempts Grant him your annual gift, he will not fail

probably exhausted the stock on hand, as, health once more with Christmas ale : some years afterwards, it was reprinted in Long may you live to share your Christmas cheer, 12mo., with the title of “ Noah's Flood, or And he still wish you many a happy year!”

the History of the General Deluge," 1714,

Many plays were reprinted by Meares, The losses and crosses to which news

Feales, and others, at the commencement men are subject, and the minutiæ of their of the last century, 'as stock-plays; and laborious life, would form an instructive Reed's assertion, that this was an imposivolume. As a class of able men of busi- tion, is correct, so far as it came forth as a ness, their importance is established by ex

new production, the preface stating that cellent regulations, adapted to their inter

the author was unknown. ests and well-being; and their numerous The license alluded to is on a square society includes many individuals of high piece of parchment, eleven inches high, by intelligence, integrity, and opulence. thirteen wide. The office seal, red wax,

covered by a piece of white paper, is engraved in one of the volumes of George

Chalmers's “ Apology for the Believers of The Drama.

the Shakspeare Papers." LICENSE FOR ENACTING A PLAY.

The License.
To the Editor.

To all Mayors Sherriffs Justices of the Sir, -As many of your readers may not Peace Bayliffs Constables Headboroughs, have had an opportunity of knowing the and all other his Maties. Officers, true form and manner in which dramatic repre- Leigmen & loueing Subiects, & to euery sentations were permitted, by the Master of them greeting. Know yee that wheras of the Revels, upon the restoration of the George Bayley of London Musitioner deStuarts, I submit a transcript of a licence sires of me a Placard to make Shew of a in my possession. It refers to a drama, call- Play called Noah's flood wth other Seueed « Noah's Flood," apparently not re rall Scenes. These are therfore by vertue corded in any dramatic history. It is of his Maties. Lettrs. Pattents made ouer true, Isaac Reed, in the “Biographia Dra. vnto me vnder the great Seale of England matica,” 1782, vol.ii. p. 255, cites“ Noah's to licence & allow the said George Bayley Flood, or the Destruction of the World, wth eight Servants wch are of his Coman opera, 1679, 4to.," and ascribes it to pany to make shew of the said Play called " Edward Ecclestone,” but it is question. Noah's flood wth other Scenes requireing able whether this was the “play” for you and euery of you in his Maties Name which the license below was obtained, as to pmitt & Suffer the said Persons to shew Reed, or perhaps George Steevens, the the said Play called Noah's flood, and to commentator, who assisted the former con- be aiding & assisting them & euery of them

if any wrong or iniury be offered vnto him a festival, enlivened by a round of innocent or any of them Provided that he and they amusements, which the present enlightened doe not act any thing offensiuę against ye age has pronounced superstitious or trifling. lawes of God or of the Land, and that he Formerly we had a theatre, at this season, & they doe make shew of the said Noah's and perhaps a few particulars relating to it flood at lawfull times wth Exception of the may not be uninteresting; Lords Day or any other Day in the time Gentle reader should you ever visit of Devine Service, or on any other day Skipton-in-Craven, go on the market-day, prohibited by Proclamation or other laws and stand opposite to the vicarage-house in full Authority. And this Licence to con the High-street; there you will see a cart tinue for a year and noe longre from the with this inscription, « Thomas Airay, day of the date hearof and to Serue through- Grassington and 'Skipton carrier.” Keep out the Kingdome of England Scotland & your eye on that cart, and about the hour Ireland & all other his Maties. Territories of three in the afternoon you will behold & Dominions the said Geo. Bayly haueing approach the owner, a little, fat, old man, giuen me security for his good behauiour with reddish whiskers and a jolly face, that that hee doe not intrench vpon the lawes Liston or John Reeve would not be ashamed of the land. Giuen at his Maties. Office of to possess. In that countenance a mere the Revills vnder my hand & Seale of the tyro in physiognomy may discover a roguish said Office the fowerteenth day of Aprill slyness, a latent archness, a hidden mine of one thousand six hundred sixty and two & fun and good humour. Then when Airay in the fowerteenth year of the raigne of o'r walks, mark his stately gait, and tell me if Soueraigne Lord Charles ye Second by the it does not proclaim that he has worn the grace of God of England Scotland ffrance sock and buskin, and trod the Thespian and Ireland King Defender of the faith &c. floor: he was the manager of the Grassing

J. Poentz. ton theatre—the “ Delawang” of Craven. A marginal memorandum, below the seal; cold glance on poor Tom, and saying to

I fancy some rigid moralist bestowing a contains a direction to the persons named in this license, thus :

himself, Ah, old man,

this comes of “ You are to allow him either Town hall

acting ;

had

you, in your youth, followed Guild hall Schoole house or some other con

some industrious pursuit, nor joined an venient place for his use & to continue in being a country carrier, you might have

idle strolling company, instead of now any one place for ye space of fforty been blessed with a comfortable indepen Daies." The above transcript is literal in every though not the manager of a patent theatre,

dence!" Think not so harshly of Airay; respect : and trusting that it may be deem

nor of one“ by royal authority,” he never ed worthy insertion,

was a stroller, nor an associate with vagaI am, Sir, &c. WILL O'THE WHISP.

bonds, nor did he ever, during his theatrical career, quake under the terrors of magis

terial harshness, or fear the vagrant act. The identical seal of the office of the No idle, worthless, wandering man was he, Revels, mentioned in the preceding letter,

But in the dales, of honest parents bred, was engraven on wood, and is now in the Train'd to a life of honest industry, possession of Francis Douce, Esq. F. S. A.

He with the lark in summer left his bed,
Thro' the sweet calm, by morning twilight shed,
Walking to labour by that cheerful song,

Apd, making a pure pleasure of a tread,
THOMAS AIRAY,

When winter came with nights so dark and long, THE GRASSINGTON MANAGER AND

'Twas his, with mimic art, to amuse a village throng! THEATRICAL COMPANY, CRAVEN, YORK. Tom Airay's sole theatre was at Grass,

ington; and that was only

season”-for a few weeks in the depth of For the Table Book,

winter, when the inclemency of the weather,

which in these mountainous parts is very « Nothing like this in London.!"

severe, rendered the agricultural occupaJohn Reeve in Peregrine Proteus.

tions of himself and companions impossiAt this season, every thing appears dull ble to be pursued. They chose rather to and lifeless in the neighbourhood of my

earn a scanty pittance by acting, than to favourite mountain village. In my younger trouble their neighbours for eleemosynary days it was otherwise. Christmas was then support,

HIS

SHIRE.

open for the

The corps dramatique of Tom Airay and gallery, for there were no boxes. Yet consisted chietly of young men, (they had on particular occasions, such as when the no actresses,) who moved in the same line duke of Devonshire or earl of Thanet goodof life as the manager, and whose characters naturedly deigned to patronise the performwere equally respectable with his, which was ances, a “ box” was fitted up, by railing off always unassailable; for, setting aside our a part of the pit, and covering it, by way hero's occasionally getting tipsy at some of of distinction, with brown paper, painted the neighbouring feasts, nothing can be to represent drapery. The prices were, said against him. He is a worthy member pit sixpence, and gallery threepence. I beof society, has brought up a large family lieve they had no half price. The stage respectably, and, if report speak truth, has was lighted by five or six halfpenny canrealized about a thousand pounds.

dles, and the decorations, considering the
Few of Tom Airay's company are living, poverty of the company, were tolerable.
and the names of many have escaped me. The scenery was respectable; and though
There was honest Peter W--, whose face sometimes, by sad mishap, the sun or moon
peeped from behind the green curtain like would take fire, and expose the tallow can-
the full moon. He was accounted a bit of dle behind it, was very well managed-
a wag : ever foremost in mischief, he, more frequently better than at houses of loftier
than once, almost blew up the stage by gun- pretension. The dresses, as far as material
powder, half suffocated the audience by went, were good; though not always in
assafætida, and was wont to put hot cin- character. An outlaw of the forest of
ders in the boots of his associates. He Arden sometimes appeared in the guise of
has “ left the mimic scene to die indeed," à Craven waggoner, and the holy friar,
and sleeps peacefully under the beautiful « whose vesper bell is the bowl, ding dong,"
lime-trees of Kirby Malhamdale church- would wear a bob wig, cocked hat, and the
yard, undisturbed by the murmur of that surplice of a modern church dignitary.
mountain stream, which, rippling over its These slight discrepancies passed unre-
pebbly channel, hymns, as it were, his re garded by the audience; the majority did
quiem. Then there was Isaac G the not observe them, and the few who did
fiddler and comic singer : he exists no longer. were silent; there were no prying editors
There was Waddilove, and Frankland of to criticise and report. The audience was
Hetton, and Bill Cliff, the Skipton poet always numerous, (no empty benches there)
ånd bailiff—all dead! There were, also, and respectable people often formed a por-
the Hetheringtons, and Jack Solomon the tion. I have known the village lawyer, the
besom maker, and Tommy Summersgill the parson of the parish, and the doctor com-
barber and clock maker, and Jack L-fortably seated together, laughing heartily
the politician of Threshfield, who regarded at Tom Airay strutting as Lady Randolph,
John Wilkes as his tutelary saint, and settled his huge Yorkshire clogs peeping from
in the Illinois, from whence he occasionally beneath a gown too short to conceal his
sends a letter to his old friends, informing corduroy breeches, and murdering his words
them what a paltry country England is, in a manner that might have provoked
what a paradise the new world is, and how Fenning and Bailey from their graves, to
superior the American rivers are to those break the manager's head with their weighty

publications. All the actors had a bad
“ That through our vallies run
Singing and dancing in the gleams

pronunciation. Cicero was called Kikkero,
Of summer's cloudless sun."

(which, by the by, is probably the correct

one;) Africa was called Afryka, fatigued Besides these, there were fifteen or six was fattygewed, and pageantry was always teen others from Arncliffe, Litton, Coniston, called paggyantry. Well do I remember Kilnsay, and the other romantic villages Airay exclaiming, “ What pump, what pagthat enliven our heath-clad hills.

gyantry is there here !” and, on another The “ Grassington theatre,” or rather occasion, saying, “ Ye damons o' deeth come playhouse,” for it never received a loftier sattle my swurd!". The company would appellation, where (to borrow the phraseolo- have spoken better, hadthey not, on meeting gy of the Coburg) our worthies received their with a " dictionary word," applied for in

nightly acclamations of applause," has formation to an old schoolmaster, who con. been pulled down, but I will endeavour to stantly misled them, and taught them to describe it. It was an old limestone "lathe," pronounce in the most barbarous mode he the Craven word for barn, with huge folding- could devise; yet such was the awe wheredoors, one containing a smaller one, through with they were accustomed to regard this which the audience was admitted to the pit dogmatical personage, and the profound

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THE TABLE BOOK.'.

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respect they paid to his abilities, that they sence. It was also preferable to printing, received his deceiving tricks with thankful- for that was an expense the proceeds of the

One of them is too good to be house could not afford. omitted : Airay, in some play or farce, While thus hastily sketching the pecuhappened to meet with this stage direction, liarities of Airay and his associates, it they sit down and play a game at piquet;" would be unjust not to state in conclusion, the manager

did not understand the term that their performances were always of a “ piquet," and the whole of the corps dra- moral character; if any indelicate sentimatique were equally ignorant—as a dernier ment or expression occurred in their plays, ressort, application was made to their old it was omitted; nothing was uttered that friend, the knight of the birch, who in- could raise a blush on the female cheek. structed them that “ piquet” was the French Nor were the audiences less moral than the word for pie-cut, and what they had to do manager: not an instance can be recorded was to make a large pie, and sit round a of riot or indecency. In these respects, Tom table and eat it; and this, on the perform- Airay's theatre might serve as a model to the ance of the piece, they actually did, to the patent houses in town, wherein it is to be great amusement of the few who were ac- feared the original intent of the stage, that quainted with the joke. When Tom was of improving the mind by inculcating moraliinformed of the trick, he wittily denomi- ty, is perverted. Whenever Airay takes a renated it a substantial one.

trospective glance at his theatrical manageThe plays usually performed at Grassing- ment, he can do it with pleasure; for never ton were of the regular drama, the produc- did he pander to a depraved appetite, or rentions of Shakspeare, Dryden, Otway, or der his barn a spot wherein the vicious Lillo. George Barnwell has many a time would covet to congregate. caused the Craven maids to forget “ Turpin,” and “ Nevison,” and bloody squires,

T. Q. M. and weep at the shocking catastrophe of the grocer's apprentice. Melodramas were unknown to them, and happy had it been for the dramatic talent of this country if they had remained unknown elsewhere ; Literary Novelty. for since these innovations, mastiff dogs, monkeys, and polichinellos have followed in rapid succession, and what monstrum

« THE SYBIL's Leaves, or a Peep into horrendum will next be introduced, is diffi- Futurity, published by Ackermann, Strand, cult to conceive. We may say,

and Lupton Relfe, Cornhill," consist of sixty

lithographic verses on as many cards,in a case “ Alas, for the drama, its day has gone by.” bearing an engraved representation of a At the time of Airay's glory, had the party in high humour consulting the cards. word melodrama been whispered in his ear, and as many for gentlemen :

Thirty of them are designed for ladies, he would probably have inquired what sort to hold the gentleman's pack, and vice

a lady is of a beast it was, what country it came

From these packs, each lady or from, and whether one was in the tower?Grassington being too poor to support a

gentleman wishing to have “the most imprinter, the play-bills were written, and by portant points infallibly predicted” is to

draw a card. way of making the performances better

The idea of telling fortunes at home is known, the parish bellman was daily employed to cry the play in a couplet com- very pleasant; and the variety of “the Sy.

bil's Leaves" assists to as frequent opporposed by the manager. I only remember tunities of re-consultation as the most

inveterate craver can desire. A lady conGuy in his youth, our play we call,

demned by one of the leaves to “ wither At six to the hay-mow* hie ye all I

on the virgin thorn," on turning over a new
leaf
may

chance to be assured of a delightful This not only apprized the inhabitants of

reverse ; and by a like easy process, ą. the play for the evening, but frequently the disappointed gentleman" become, at novelty of the mode induced a passing last, a happy man.” stranger to honour the house with his pre

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• In Craven, the hay is not stacked as in the south, but housed in barns, which from this custom are called hay-mows.

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