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At the top of a hill, one the man which rendered prudence almile long, and equal to the steepest most unnecessary, and which, if it did part of Highgate, a sudden gust blew not carry him through uninjured, yet my horse out of his course; I however made him scarcely think of them when reached Moffat in safety, drenched to they were over, except as matters of the skin, and did not discover till I pleasantry. had arrived, that I had forgotten my In November, being at Whitehaven, hat, and had rode all the way in my the question was, how to get to Livercap, which I put on when the head of pool, where he was to exhibit? His the carriage was up." He finishes, council of war determined, that there however, with a fun which never fail- were peculiar advantages in going ed him,-" I am perfectly well; the by water; “ the land journey a huncarriage is repaired, and all right but a dred and forty miles, the mountains of pair of old boots that were obliged to Cumberland almost impassable in be cut off my legs with a knife, and frosty weather, bad road, post-horses Daw's umbrella, which we suspect to scarce, only eight hours' daylight, two be the one seen on the coast of Aber- long days on the road." The passage deen, going towards the coast of Hol- by sea had every thing in its favour, land.
v about half the distance--safe passage Those who think that the life of -constant traders-do it in twelve an actor must be all sunshine, ought hours-save ten pounds.” It was agreed. to read these volumes as well as the A fishing-smack was hired on purpose; former. In the earlier portion of his the carriage was put on board; the career, disappointments were natural vessel was a wretched-looking one, no to him, as a young and unknown ac- cabin or beds; a deep fog, too, came tor; but he was now popular, confident on; Mathews felt horror, longed to in his own ability, and remarkably say “ he would not go," and recollectclever; yet even now he had many a ed Captain Skinner's (the commander theatrical vexation.
of the Irish packet) saying, “ never “ I played one night,” said he "in However, he at last made up his mind
afraid of any thing at sea but a fog.' this tour for nothing at Montrose, for the
to go; had just got the hand of a use of all the manager's theatres. He had three ; but I was told he had six. In one
friend in his, saying farewell, and was of them he was acting himself, which I descending the pier into the vessel understood I was to play in. Instead of
with a heavy heart, when, crack went that, (good fellow !) he marches me off to
the foremast, and it broke off close to a place where he had no company, leaving the deek. The act of hauling up the these at one of the three, by which he left
foresail had finished the rickety mast, me one theatre, Aberdeen.—' I thought and, Mathews observes, “ if this had I was to have Arbroath ?' " Yes, Sir, but not providentially happened in the my company is there ; happy to give you harbour, it must have happened at half the house.'-' Perth ?' Why, Sir, sea ;' and the probability was, that all that is repairing.' - Then Mr Mason his tours would have been finished would not let me have Glasgow under within the next five minutes. L.30 per night ! A friend could have Still he was evidently overjoyed at told me, had he known how to send to
the fortunate compulsion which saved me, that I must be mortified if I came to
him from the voyage ; yet the land Glasgow! failures to the greatest amount journey at that season of the year was ever known in one year ; twenty thousand scarcely a happier alternative. Unpoor out of employment; radical meet
shipping the carriage, they set off to ings. When Kean was there a fortnight
cross the Cumberland hills. His debefore, not a name in the box-book all
scription is, “ deep fog, roads like the time; 'a few took places, but with ini. tials. He played to L.30 and L.40; and glass, horses slipping one foot forleft it at the end of his sixth night, though ward, the other back, and a hundred engaged for twelve."
and forty miles before us; still we
were as merry as grigs. I did not The accidents of the year were not know how to contain my joy. Please over yet, though it must be acknow. to remember the boat,' was our watchledged that his habits of travelling in word, when any little misery occurred. the winter threw him in the way of We made, spite of all impediments, such chances by flood and field ; but fifty-six miles that night, but almost there was a buoyancy of spirit about starved to death." Next day, his
horses and driver came down together, boots" to the end of his days. Pas descending a hill. “ The first effect tents, from surgeons' instruments to was territic;" however, they escaped, mangles, called for his recommendaand Mathews charmed the hearts out tion. Lozenges came to be tasted, of the bosoms, and the money out of to be used, razor-strops to the pockets, of the men and maidens be tried, wines and waistcoats, of Liverpool.
boots and boot-hooks, new ventilatIn one of his letters, he mentions his ing hats, and even patent filters, having “ dined at Wilton's yesterday. came, to make the owners' fortunes by Very pleasant, but too many strangers being introduced to fame in his diafor me; the house absolutely princely; logues. An advertising dentist once I think I am correct in saying, that in presented himself, offering to supply point of taste and elegance I have the whole family with teeth, on connever seen it equalled." This old dition of a panegyric ; and Mrs Johngentleman was one of the remarkables son, the proprietor of the “ American of London, and was called Beau Wil. Soothing Syrup,” one night held forth ton, from his peculiar attention to dress, the tempting bribe, that she and a and “the East Indian Chesterfield," party of friends would appear in the from the laborious finish of his manners. boxes! in the fond hope of hearing His passion was dress ; but dress not this “ real blessing to mothers” point
; for the sake of its extravagance, but ed out to the materual portion of the for the sake of his personal attractions. audience. He was at this time upwards of seventy;
Mathews occasionally indulged in but having been handsome in his the vulgar custom of hoaxes ; but he youth, having taken remarkable care often met with individuals whose conof his person, and possessing the opu- duct was a practical hoax, without lence which enabled him to consult his even the doubtful palliative of ingeown inclinations on the subject, he con- nuity. One of these is described in trived to look (at the proper distance) the instance of a military man, whose little more than half his age. He lived name, however, the biographer does the easy, idle, and trifling life of a not venture to mention. We tell it “ man about town." His associates as it is told. were men of the clubs, actors, and The Captain having accidentally old East Indians, like himself. But met Mathews in some of his ramhe never seems to have gone beyond blings, and having discovered that he this circle ; he was never a man of fa- kept an excellent table, contrived inshion, and, as age came on, he made stantly to “ idolize him ;' found his himself more ridiculous than respect way into his house, ate as many dinable, by his dressy affectation of an ners there as he could, and repaid his appearance inconsistent with his time pudding by his praise. At length, of life. Mrs Mathews says, that her however, the Captain's sense of oblihusband considered him as the beau gation made it necessary to propose idéal of Lord Ogleby, and a perfect some return, and he implored Mamodel for any performer of that char- thews and his wife to visit him at acter. We thought that Mathews Woolwich, where he resided ; for the had better taste. Lord Ogleby is an purpose of introducing the lady to his old nobleman, Wilton was nothing sister, and receiving them with a hosmore than an old beau.
pitality in some measure resembling The life of an actor is a chapter of their own. Mathews had no wish to eccentricities, and often contains as go so far for an entertainment; but many oddities of other men, as of his the more he resisted the more the
It also often lets us a good Captain made it a matter of neces. deal into the under-working of popu- sity: At length, an amateur play larity. Mathews was perpetually as- having been got up by the officers of sailed by the application of traders to the garrison, the Captain entreated give celebrity to their goods. One that his dear friends would accept his snuff-dealer offered to supply him with hospitality on the occasion. Accordsnuff for himself, and even for his ingly, Mathews gave way, and, somefriends, if he would only introduce his thing loth, he and his wife left their name and shop into one of his exhibi- own very satisfactory menage, to take tions. On the same terms another their chances of a bachelor's dinner in offered to supply
polish for his the suburbs of a very dirty town of a
66 I see
very gallant corps. On referring to the dined. I hope you found every thing Captain's letter, they, too late, obser- here to your satisfaction.” But, as ved that no particular address was to be the speaker was to dress for a part, found on it. This was the first symp- he instantly fled. Tea, handsomely tom. However, Woolwich was deem- provided, was now brought in by the ed enough ; and they drove up to the landlord. Equally vexed and surfirst inn to learn the Captain's ad- prised, they next set off for the Theatre. dress. On mentioning the name, a After walking a distance, which Mawaiter ran out, told them “the genile- thews's lameness rendered painful, it man” had been there, had settled every occurred to them that they had heard thing, and that they were to go into nothing of the seats provided by their the inn. On enquiring for the Cap- amateur friend. Mathews, who of tain's house, the waiter “ knew no. course took it for granted that his ad. thing more on the subject."
mission was settled, mentioned his how it is," said Mathews, rather vex- name to the box-keeper. The man ed, “ that thoughtless fellow has for- “knew nothing of it.” " Was it not gotten my lameness, and expects me in the box-plan?” “ Oh yes," on ento walk, perhaps a mile, which he quiry, "in a back row; all the other thinks nothing, to his house." Then, places are taken.”
He proceeded to after a pause, and a look round, he take possession of his seats, bad as added, " What a melancholy, wretch- they were, but was stopt by “ Beg ed room this is. Well, we have not pardon, sir; you haven't paid.” This to remain long; it would drive me was another omission of the worthy mad to sit here." However, after Captain! They paid; were stuffed some sitting there, the door opened, into miserable seats, and Mathews, and, not the Captain, but the land- whose nature was simple in spite of lord appeared, followed by a waiter, all his knowledge of the world, still who laid the cloth, and placed dinner chiefly grieved over the vexation wliich on the table, to the astonishment the Captain must feel when he should of the spectators. « Pray, do you recollect that he had not paid for their know at what hour Captain admission. At last, as everything dines ?” at length, asked Mathews. has an end, the play, She would, or She • Can't say I do, sir,” replied the land- would not, was over, and Mathews's lord, and left the room. " · Strange, that next embarrassment was the sight of he does not come?" “ When was he the Captain in the stage-box, whom here, waiter ?,” 6. Last night, sir; he he concluded to be coming to receive came to tell us be expected you and compliments on his performance, the your lady here, and desired us to have Captain's part of the play being one dinner provided, to the exact time, as which his auditor could not complihe said you were very particular." ment by any possible stretch of con• What, here! then we are to dine science. However, after waiting till here, are we?" «« The fact is,” said the Theatre was empty, no Captain Mathews, turning to his wife, “ I see;
Now constrained to leave the his means, I suppose, are not so com- house, he proceeded to the inn, where petent to give us as good a dinner at he supposed the Captain and his sister his house as he wishes to give us, and would, at last, have arrived. His the foolish fellow has therefore ar- first question was, whether his friends ranged it here. It's a great bore, but were not up stairs ?
“ No, sir," was we must make the best of it.” Ma the answer; "but your supper is quite thews and his wife, tired of waiting ready.” They found a supper large for the Captain and his sister, now enough for a hungry family. Of this went to dress for the evening. Still they could eat nothing ; but, irritated the inviter did not come. At last, and surprised, their only resource was on the waiter's suggestion that the to go to sleep in the meagre accomdinner would be spoiled, they sat modations of a shabby inn. The down, malgré; dined; and, as the cloth morning rose in clouds and threatened was about to be removed, in rushed to be wet; still they felt an awkward. the Captain! welcomed them to Wool- ness in going away without giving the wich, - but could not stay a minute.” Captain and his sister at least time to “ But wont you dine?” said Mathews, apologize; but as Mathews was to pertrying to detain him.
“ Dine! my form that night, they at length mountdear sir," said the Captain ; " I have ed their tilbury and prepared to move.
But there was another unexpected In a letter from Lichfield, Ma. preliminary still. The landlord came thews gives a curious instance of local to the door, with the bill in his hand, pride. At the inn, he had been and its amount absorbed nearly every drinking some fine Lichfield ale, shilling they had between them! The which reminded him of the Beaux' return was a fit finale to the visit. Stratagem, and he exclaimed, “ I eat The clouds kept their promise: the rain my ale, and I drink my ale." • Sir," soon fell in torrents, and, both utterly said the waiter, much to his surprise, drenched, they had to drive, with the and evidently familiar with the quotalaily's gauze hat melted over her face, tion, “ there are two rooms in this and her summer dress dissolved into house, exactly in the state they were, a dew, through the crowded streets, when that there play was written where they were known by half the Mr Boniface lived here, sir.” “ This world, to their home.
is a curious town altogether,” replied “ When we met again over our com- Mathews; “Mr Garrick ought to have fortable quiet dinner," says the bio. been born here.” - To be sure he grapher,“my husband asked me calmly, ought, sir," exclaimed the waiter; “I what I thought of the trick that had am glad to hear you say that; it was been played us, and whether I could too bad of his father to go to Hererecollect what injury we had ever done ford, when his wife was so near her to the Captain, that could suggest such time—but we claims him for all that, barbarous revenge? He then placed sir.” the bill before me, which was not only At Oswestry, his performances were for the horse, but for the lavish enter. visited by an extraordinary pair of tainment with which we had been pro- originals, Lady Eleanor Butler and vided. • Oh,' I exclaimed, you Miss Ponsonby, who came from onght not to have discharged the Llangollen, twelve miles, to see him, whole; Captain will be quite and returned that night; making vexed at your doing so, and perhaps it a rule never to sleep from home. offi·nded.' But Mathews was at last Whatever amusement Mathews might wide awake. He only asked drily, have given to the “ dear inseparable • Do you think so ?'”
inimitables," they seem to have furWe have given this little odd ad. nished him with quite as much in their ventareas it has pleased the biographer turn. « Oh, such curiosities! I was to give it to us. But we must ob- nearly convulsed. I could scarcely serve, that there is another version of get on, for the first ten minutes after the story ; that the ~ Captain" has my eye caught them. Though I taken up the matter gravely in the had never seen them before, I instannewspapers, and that he has certainly taneously knew them. As they are thrown its authority into considerable seated, there is not one point to disdisrepute. However, we have neither tinguish them from men. The dress time nor space to pursue the topic, ing and powdering of their hair, their and as no name has been given, we well starched neckcloths; the upper are under no kind of obligation to part of their habits, which they always right his fair fame. The story-as Sir wear, even at a dinner party, made Lucius O'Trigger says—“the quarrel precisely like men's coats, and regular is a very pretty quarrel as it stands.” black beaver men's hats, they looked The story was an excellent one for exactly like two respectable superanMathews's own style ; and nothing nuated old clergymen-one the picture could be more amusing than to have of Borolawski ! I was highly flatheard him tell it, with all its growing tered, as they were never seen in the discomforts, its half-humorous, half- theatre before.” annoying offences, and the appropriate An anecdote is told during his resifinish of the whole-his paying the un- dence in Dublin, of his happy power expected reckoning ! It reminds us of of imitation, in the instance of the some of the adventures of Gil Blas, celebrated Curran_a task peculiarly when he was laughed out of supper difficult, among a people to whom and money by his more knowing com. Mathews was nationally a stranger, patriots, and found that compliments and who were accurately acquainted cost him at once his time and his with the peculiarities of that memorable purse. It has the substance of a leash individual. One day after dinner, of French farces,
at Seapoint, a boarding house on the
borders of the bay of Dublin, at a time the batred of affectation, which conwhen Queen Caroline formed so fre. stitute the better and more unadulquent a subject of discussion, the con- terated specimens of John Bull, were versation growing rather warm, one caught by him with the happiest tact, of the company, in order to divert it, and transmitted to his performance proposed the health of John Philpot with living vividness. Curran. “ Pooh," said another, " the One of the inconveniences which man is dead ; what do you mean by beset all public persons in London, is proposing his health ?" The former that of being called on to make speeches still insisted on proposing his toast. at public dinners. Nothing more “ I'll bet you five guineas," said the deserves the name of a bore ; and matter-of-fact man, “ that Curran is Mathews, having an especial abhor. dead." The bet was accepted, the rence of those feats, never appeared at toast was drunk ; Mathews rose, and, any but those of the “ Theatrical in the style of Curran, made a ha. Fund," and 66 Merchant Tailors' rangue on the trial of Queen Caro- School," where he was educated. The line. The imitation was so happy in manner in which he acquitted himself both manner and language, that the on one of those occasions, when he better immediately handed over the was called on to return thanks for the money, exclaiming, “I have lost, fairly toast of “the Stewards of the Theatri. lost, Curran is not dead, and can never cal Fund,” exhibits his usual pleasant die, while Mathews lives !"
dexterity. After some customary Yet it is certain, that, amusing as all flourishes as to the lateness of the pehis imitations were, he failed most in riod at which he was appointed to this his attempts at Irish character. In duty, which he called a too serious the first place, he never could catch one to be imposed upon a comic perthe true Irish tone, whether of high former, he touched upon the excuses life or low life; his accent was a cari, which had been made by other actors : cature, his humorous illustrations were .“ One of the principal tragedians," palpably taken from jest-books and said he, “thought that he was too tours, and his Irish pathos was espe. Young for such
Young for such an undertaking. cially a failure.
Surely I have a better right to this While the Scotch seem to have ac- excuse, for every one knows I am but knowledged his close conception of a Minor proprietor of the Adelphi. their character ; and his burlesques of Mr Keeley, though so often seen to adthe English were true to the life, no vantage, thought that he should not Irishman could ever endure to see be seen here. He was too short, he Mathews in his Irish imitations. His said I hope I shant be thought too Frenchmen were almost equally bad, long-and Mr Blanchard thought his --the mere caricatures of the stage, voice too weak for the room, he not the common and vulgar exaggerations having been used to speak in a larger which our English novelists had been space than Covent Garden for the last in the habit of imagining, during the twenty-five years; and I feared that I last century, for Frenchmen. The rea- should not be heard at all, having lately son in both instances was the same. contracted my voice for the Adelphi ; The Irish are genuine humorists; and and, having also set up to be my own the manners of Frenchmen palpably master, I had some fear that it would approach extravagance. The imitator, be infra dignitatem to speak among to strike, must be more humorous than his Majesty's servants." the one, and more extravagant than the conceive with what good-humour à other. Yet thus to exceed fact in both, speech of this order, delivered in without violating taste in either, is the Mathews's happy and imitative style, difficulty-a difficulty which Mathews, must have been received at a dinner clever as he was, never overcame. His festivity. outlines of the Irishman and the French- One source of that ill health which man were equally distorted; and his wore out his latter days, was an excolours commonplace, glaring, and the traordinary and unwise disregard of atrical. It was in the English character weather. We have seen how much that he showed his skill. The mingled he occasionally suffered from this sullenness and humour, the spleen and species of heroism during his earlier good-nature, the strong sense, yet sim- life. But at length, one day returning plicity, and the habitual oddity, with from town on his pony, in an unusually