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Yet we have good reason to believe that the eleven thousand pounds, which he charitably bequeathed towards building an hospital for lunatics, were honestly come by. Equally illustrious examples might be adduced in favour of punding ; let us hope then, that a man may sit in company, and hear his neighbour discharge a pun, without instinctively clapping his hands to his pockets, to discover whether he has lost any thing.
The characters in this farce are, a military captain, an intriguing corporal, a retired city knight, and a college beau ; a young lady who prefers a lover in a red coat, to one in a brown one ; an old lady who prefers a lover in any coat, to no lover at all; and, what, from time immemorial, has been considered an indispensable appendage to a love-plot-a pert abigail. Then we have a talkative inn-keeper and wife, Paul and Penelope Prig, who are continually ringing the changes of matrimonial felicity: a learned Theban, one Davy Dumpling
“ Whose wit would hardly serve at most,
To guard his nose against a post ;" and a batch of strolling players, Peregrine Truncheon, Jack Spangle, and Billy Bombast, who, in the words of Hamlet to Horatio,
“ No revenue have, but their good spirits,
To feed and clothe them!" Such a Dramatis Persone, when fairly put in motion, cannot fail to excite merriment; and the plot, without laying any particular claim to novelty, is wound up by an incident which, we believe, iş new to the Stage, and which is, certainly, both ludicrous and originalAs, in the moral world, good is said to arise out of evil; so, in the dramatic, tragic circumstances are made to produce comic results.
The character of Billy Bombast belongs to Farce, and consequently to Mr. Harley. His performance was the very perfection of the “ vis comica:" it would be impossible to imagine, either in dress, or manner, a more whimsical figure. The peculiarity of his chapeau bras, the exquisite tie of his cravat, the amplitude of his ruffles, and the “most admired disorder" of his wig, are characteristically represented in the speaking portrait that illustrates this Farce—" I became acquainted with Mr. Peregrine Truncheon !” exclaims Billy Bombast, as he recounts his adventures to Captain Wing'em. " And what came out of this nero acquaintance * jnquires the Captain ; when Billy, extending his arms, rising upon his toes, and with that ludicrous bobbing buoyancy, which distinguishes Mr. Harley, replies, as if he were just discharged from a pop-gun-"I came out, Sir !!!. Corporal Jeremy and Paul Prig (Knight and Oxberry,) are no more; a loss, which the stage, in it's most prosperous days, could not but severely feel, but which, in its present decline, seems almost irreparable. Mrs. Edwin as Maria, and Miss Kelly as Flora, were excellent. The air in the 2nd Act, “ The knight when he a wooing cane," was sung by Miss Kelly with such enchanting effect, that it was twice encored. It would be unjust to omit Mrs. Harlowe, who did ample justice to Mrs. Dorothy Dunstable: her deaf scene, with Mr. Harley, was ludicrous in the extreme.
MR. J. P. HARLEY.
MR. JOHN PRITT HARLEY is the son of the late Mr. John Harley, who, fo many years, was a respectable silk-mercer inSt. Martin in the Fields. He was born in the month of February, 1790. Having received a liberal education, he was destined by his father for business; but an early aud (fortunately for the drama) an unconquerable predilection for the stage determined him to make it his profession, and, in the year 1807, he renounced the drudgery of trade, and joined the company of the late Mr. Jerrold, at Cranbrook, in Kent, and successively appeared, with great applause, at the Theatres at Southend, Rochester, Stamford, York, Worthing, Brighton, &c. After a few years of provincial probation, he was recommended by Mr. Michael Kelly to Mr. Arnold, the Manager of the English Opera House, by whom he was immediately engaged ; and, on the 15th July, 1815, he made his first appearance in London, in the character of Marcelli, in the “ Devil's Bridge," and of Peter Fidget, in the “ Boarding House.” His success was complete : aud so popular did his subsequent performances render him, particularly his Mingle, Leatherhead, and Pedrillo, that the committee of Drury Lane Theatre lost no time in securing, on very liberal terms, the advantage of his talents, and, on the 16th September following, he appeared, for the first time, on the boards of Old Drury, in the character of Lissardo, in the Wonder.” Mr. Bannister was at that time one of the chief ornaments of the Theatre; it was, therefore, no inconsiderable achievement for Mr. Harley to establish himself as a first-rate actor, in the very characters, which, in the hands of Banvister, had delighted the public for so many years. The veteran has retired, and Mr. Harley is the only performer that reminds us of the peculiar manner of that inimitable comedian.
Mr. Harlcy is one of the most general comic actors that ever trod the stage : Comedy, Farce, Opera, and (Silvester Daggerwood, to wit,) Pantomime; nothing comes
amiss to him. His animal spirits are inexhaustible, and the great Lewis himself was not more mercurial. He is a very Proteus : an Olla Podrida of Mathews, Liston, Fawcett, and Bannister, seizing their most whimsical points, and blending them so comically with his own eccentricity, as to afford a rich treat of fun and drollery. His comic singing and recitation are admirable ; his voice is a counter tenor, which, from his knowledge of music, and by the help of a very correct ear, he modulates with considerable taste and effect. Among his best performances we rank his Whimsiculo, Phantom, and Peeping Tom.
The very high praise that belongs to Mr. Harley, in his professional character, still falls short of that which is due to him in his domestic relations. As a son and a brother, he is most exemplary; and a large circle of friends can bear testimony to his honour and integrity as a man. It is the grossest ignorance, to suppose that moral conduct and decency are incompatible with the profession of an actor. To select particular instances for the purpose of casting a stigma on a whole body, is unjust and ridiculous. It would be inpossible to name a profession that has not been disgraced by some of its members Who, then, shall attach that disgrace to the profession which belongs exclusively to the individual ?
“ Honour and Shame from no condition rise;
SIR MARMADUKE METAPHOR.-Antique dress suit of plumcoloured cloth, stock, lace frill and ruffles, white silk stockings, buckles, tie wig, small three-cornered silk hat, and sword.
SIR TIMOTHY TESTY.Dress coat of blue cloth, embroidered waistcoat, black silk breeches, white silk stockings, buckles, and brown wig.
CAPTAIN WING’EM.-Dress suit of regimentals.
CORPORAL JEREMY.--Corporal's suit of regimentals, cap orna. mented with ribbons as if in the recruiting service.
BILLY BOMBAST.-Orange-coloured coat, faded, with black buttons, very tight, and buttoned up close to the throat, the skirts lined with white silk, ruffles, blue embroidered waistcoat flowered at the bottom, light yellow breeches, blue ribbed cotton stockings, buckles, hair bushy and powdered, chapeau-bras, somewhat battered
PAUL PRIG.-Light coloured suit, buckles, brown wig, white apron.
DAVY DUMPLING.-Buff jerkin, brown waistcoat and breeches. PEREGRINE TRUNCHEON. Faded dresses, ad libitum, shabJACK SPANGLE.
by genteel. MARIA.-Full dress of white muslin, and head ornamented with white flowers.
MRS. DOROTHY DUNSTABLE --Antique dress of lavender coloured silk, flowered, head cross high, high-heeled shoes, with rosettes.
FLORA.--Plain white dress.
Cast of the Characters, as performed at the Theatre Royal,
Drury Lane. Sir Marmaduke Metaphor.
. Mr. Russell. Sir Timothy Testy
. Mr. Hughes. Captain Wing'em
Mr. Pearman. Corporal Jeremy
..Mr. Knight. Billy Bombast
...Mr. Harley. Paul Prig
Mr. Oxberry. Peregrine Truncheon
· Mr. Coveney. Jack Spangle ·
Mr. Elliott. Davy Dumpling.
Mr. Butler. Maria
Mrs. Edwin. Mrs. Dorothy Dunstable
.Mrs. Harlowe. Flora
Miss Kelly. Mrs. Prig
Servants, fc. SCENE,--Bath, and its Vicinity. TIME,--Within 12 Hours