Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

ceeding, from first principles, to a detail of the mode of exhibiting the passions, with a specimen of each by way of illustration.

It is impossible to describe, but the reader may, perhaps, imagine the 'ludicrous effect of this scene ;---the power of the whiskey operating in diametrical opposition to the will, on his strong and flexible features, produced contortions and distortions of which he was insensible, while Mathews sat gazing with astonishment, and, at times, in an agony from the effort to restrain his risible faculties. Cooke began to question him, after each horrible face, as to the meaning of it, or the passion expressed; Mathews, totally in the dark as to Cooke's meaning, made every possible mistake, and when set right by Cooke, excused himself by charging his stupidity on the whiskey.

" There, what's that?"

Very fine, Sir!"
" But what is it?"
Oranger anger to be sure ,
“ To be sure, you're a blockbeads"
" Fear! fear, Sir!"

But, when the actor after making a hideous face, compounded of satanic malignity, 'and the

brutal leering of a drunken satyr, told his pupil that was love, Mathews could resist no longer. Cooke was surprised and enraged, at this rudeness in his young guest, but Mathews had address enough to pacify him.

Mrs. Burns, in the mean time, had protested against making any more whiskey punch, and had brought up the last jug, upon Cooke's solemn promise that he would ask for no more.

- The jug is finished, and Mathews, heartily tired, thinks he shall escape from his tormentor, and makes a move to go.

“ Not yet, my dear boy, one jug more.”
“ It is very late, Sir."
“ Only one more.”
“ Mistress Burn will not let you have it.”

“ Won't she! I'll show you that presently." Cooke thunders with his foot and vociferates, repeatedly, “ Mistress Burns!" At length, honest Mistress Burns, who had gone to bed in hopes of rest, in the chamber immediately under them, answers, “ what is it you want, Mister Cooke?"

“ Another jug of whiskey punch, Mistress Burns."

Indeed, but you can have no more, Mister Cooke."

“ Indeed, but I will, Mistress Burns."
“ Remember your promise, Mister Cooke."
“Another jug of punch, Mistress Burns."

“ Indeed, and I will not get out of my own bed any more at all, Mister Cooke, and so there's an end of it.”

“ We'll see that, Mistress Burns.”

When, to Mathews's astonishment, he seized the jug and smashed it on the floor over the head of Mistress Burns, exclaiming, “ Do you hear that, Mistress Burns ?

“ Yes, I do, Mister Cooke.”

He then proceeded to break the chairs one by one; after each, exclaiming,

“ Do you hear that, Mistress Burns ?" and receiving in reply,

“ Yes, I do, Mister Cooke; and you'll be very sorry for it to-morrow, so you will.”

He then opened the window, and very deliberately proceeded to throw the looking glass into the street, and the fragments of broken tables and chairs.: Mathews had made several attempts to go, and had been detained by Cooke: he now ventured on something like expostulation, on which his Mentor ordered him out of his apartment, and threw the candle and candlestick after

him. Mathews having departed, George Frederick sallied out, and was brought home the next day, beaten and deformed with bruises.'

COLLEY CIBBER AND POPE. CIBBER, acting the part of Bayes, in “ The Rehearsal," having occasion to speak of the manner in which he meant to have brought on his two Kings of Brentford, said, “I intended to have introduced them differently, in the shape of a mummy and a crocodile, but some of our wits, hearing of my intention, stole that thought and made use of it before me.

This tame allusion, neither remarkable for point, nor culpable for virulence, was received with considerable applause, but it highly exasperated Pope, who was present at the representation; he rushed, the moment the play was over, behind the scenes, and in a transport of rage, accompanied with coarse language, demanded of Cibber, how he dared to treat a gentleman in so unjustifiable a manner : indeed, so violent was his passion, that interfering friends found it dificult to prevent his attempting to collar Cibber, notwithstanding the disparity of his powers, his mis-shapen frame, and tender constitution. The actor, naturally irritated at such treatment, assured his assailant, “that he would readily have suppressed his own words in question, had he addressed him in the language of pacific remonstrance, but he would not, considering him as a wit out of his senses; and by way of punishment, for this preposterous and unwarrantable conduct, he was resolved, (he said,) to introduce the obnoxious passage, whenever the piece was performed.”

CELEBRATED PERFORMERS OF SIR JOHN

FALSTAFF.

The earliest recorded performer of the fat knight, is supposed to have been John Lowin, whose excellence in numerous comic characters is loudly celebrated by the critics of his times. It has, however, been doubted whether he could, at the age of twenty-one, (for he appears to have been no more in 1597, when the first part of King Henry the Fourth, which contains the richest specimen of Falstaff's humour, was first performed,) have been sufficiently initiated in the business of the stage, to be capable of representing so peculiarly difficult a character. During a space of little less than fifty years, he

« ElőzőTovább »