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mily-their vexations and obstructions their live and dead stock, might furnish a picture for the pencil of an Hogarth. If our modern country gentlemen inherit all the tenacity of their predecessors for place and pension, they lack much of their spirit of hospitality. We have more than once had occasiou to lament the neglect, and, in some instances, the total abolition of ancient customs. We can uo longer say with the old song,
“ 'Tis merry in hall,
When beards wag all." There is a canting puritanical spirit abroad, which, if not timely held up to ridicule and exposure, threatens to banish every recreation that once distinguished merry England. “ Because thou art virtuaus, shall there be no more ale and cakes in the world !"
Count Basset (your count ie a good trarelling name), is a man of fashion, and a black-leg; or, in other words, a pert coxcomb, and a sharper in embroidery.
The errors of fashionable life are forcibly delineated in the charac. ter of Lady Townly. If such a lesson was needed when this comedy was first produced, how much more is it required now, when the vices that it exposes are no longer confined to the circle in which they were wont to move, but are shedding their pernicious influence through every class of society. Piquet and ombre, out of date and obsolete, are succeeded by other names for plunder, at which time, fortune, and reputation are equally sacrificed :
“ See how the world its votaries rewards,
A youth of frolics, an old age of cards !" is a picture that will
as easily be recognized at the east, as at the west side of Temple Bar.
This coinedy cannot be too frequently represented. To those whose withers are unwrung, it will afford much rational and elegant entertainment; to those who are about to enter tbe vortex of fashionable dissipation, it will emphatically point out
" How thonsands are undone; What paths to follow, and what ills to shun.” And even those who are already whirled in the maze, it may arrest in their mad career, and lead them back to virtue.
Cibber tells us, that it was Sir John Vanbrugh's intention, had he survived to finish this comedy, to make Lord Townly turn his lady out of doors. But Cibber, when the rough draft came into his hands, considered that such a catastrophe would prove too serious for comedy, and, at the same time, fail to produce the necessary surprise at the conclusion; he therefore resolved that Lord Townly should pardon, rather than repudiate his lady. And Cibber judged wisely ; their reconciliation offers no violence to dramatic decorum. With a reputation unblemished, the wife renounces her fashionable follies, and the husband is appeased.
Wilks and Mrs. Oldfield were the original representatives of Lord and Lady Townly. Cibber's account of his two celebrated contemporaries, particularly the latter, is truly characteristic and eloquent. In Mrs. Oldfield, the stage possessed what it has not known for many years,—an actress capable of delineating the manners of high life. Her figure and countenance were fornied with exquisite syminciry and beauty; her air was grace itself: for an up: estrained intercourse with women of qnality had taught her to look, to speak, and to move with ease and dignity. These qualifications, joined to an excellent understanding and a lively genius, placed her in the very highest rank in comedy, and made her no less an object of admiration in private life. She was the patroness of the unfortunate Savage; she continued his friend when all others had forsaken him, allowing him an annual pension of fifty poundo,
“Nor quitted his distresses till she died.” We need not exclaim
“ If to her share some venial errors fall,
Look in her face, and you'll forget them all." We have a much stronger plea to urge in her behalf,-a noble and a generous heart.
We remember Mrs. Jordan in Lady Townly. Her delightful spirits and gaiète de cæur were in perfect harmony with certain parts of the character ; particularly in the descriptive scene with Lady Grace, in the third act. Her pathos, too, was the most natural and affecting. The review, that Lady Townly takes of her past life and conduct, her repentance, and tears, were every way worthy of that admired actress. Had she imparted to the character more refinement and dignity, the performance would have been perfect.
The Lady Townly of Mrs. Davison is elegant and accomplished. . It has all the quick repartee and epigrammatic point that belong to her ladyship, without any portion of stiffness or formality. Mrs. Davison looks the woman of quality, and she is too great a mistress of her art, to suffer her acting to belie her looks.
Regarding Miss Chester's pretensions, we may ask, and reply, in the words of that ancient poetical wag, Hugh Crompton, of merry memory:
• But what hast thou prepared for me?
Is she coy, or is she free?
She's coy enough, and free enough ;
She's heavy enough, and light enough.'
A short time previous to Mr. Kemble's retirement from the stage, we were present at his performance of Lord Townly. If, as it has been said, with inore ill nature than truth,
" That Mirabel, by Kemble play'd,
Is but Macbeth in masquerade," his Lord Townly was of a very different character. It was an intellectual impersonation of true nobility. Miss O'Neil played Lady Townly on this occasion, and with a vivacity and spirit not often discovered in so decided a votary of the tragic muse.
Mr. Young is too precise and solemn for the character: Mr. Elliston too affectedly pompous. The peculiarities that really belong to the former, are ill assumed by the latter. Lord Townly, in Mr. Young, is of a nature that cannot unbend : in Mr. Elliston, he only makes up a face for the occasion, and looks grand by constraint. Mr. Charles Kemble, by avoiding all extremes, is by far the best Lord Townly of the present day.
Sir John Vanbragh was not only a popular dramatic author; be had other employments of considerable trust and importance. He was appointed Clarencieux King at Arms-Surveyor of the Works, at Greenwich Hospital-Comptroller-General of his Majesty's Works—and Surveyor of the Gardens and Waters. He built Blenheim, in Oxfordshire; Claremont, in Surrey; and the Opera House, in the Haymarket. He died at his house, in Whitehall, in the year 1726. His profession, as an architect, is whimsically alluded to in the following epitaph on his death :
“ Lie heavy on him, Earth, for he
The Conductors of this work print no Plays but those which they have seen acted. The Stage Directions are given from their own personal observations, during the most recent performances.
EXITS and ENTRANCES. * R. means_Right ; L. Left; D. F. Door in Flat ; R. D. Right Door ; L. D. Left Door; S. E. Second Entrance; U. E. Upper Entrance"; M. Ď. Middle Door.
RELATIVE POSITIONS. R. means Right ; L. Left; C. Centre ; R. C. Right of Centre; L. C. Left of Centre, * The Reader is supposed to be on the Stage facing the Audience. R. RC. C.
LORD TOWNLY-Blue dress coat, lined with white silk, buff waistcoat, blue riband and star, black breeches, black silk stockings, and dress hat.
SIR FRANCIS WRONGHEAD.-Old-fashioned dress country gentleman. Second dress-Tawdry court dress.
MANLY.-Blue dress coat, lined with wbite silk, black silk breeches, black silk stockings, and dress hat.
COUNT BASSET.-Blue dress coat, lined with white silk, white waistcoat, white breeches, white silk stockings, and dress hat.
'SQUIRE RICHARD.-Scarlet jacket, buckskin breeches, an top-boots. Second dress-Buff pantaloons, sky-blne coat, white waistcoat. Third dress— Black Velvet cap, and a curiously striped and spotted masquerade dress.
JOHN MOODY.-Drab great coat, with a leathern belt, brown coat and waistcoat, great boots, much splashed.
LADY TOWNLY.-Fashionable white satin dress, trimmed with pink and silver, white plumes.
LADY GRACE.-White satin dress, trimmed with lace.
LADY WRONGHEAD.-Scarlet travelling-babit, black_bat. Second dress-Pink and white stripe dress, hat and plumes. Third dress, a domino.
MISS JENNY.-White muslin frock, trimmed with pink riband, round white hat, broad band and buckle. Second dress (inasque. rade), a Cupid.
MYRTILLA. A white muslin gown, afterwards a domino.
Cast of Characters as performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent
1927. Lord Townly
Mr. C. Kemble. Mr. C. Kemble. Sir Francis Wronghead Mr. Fawcett. Mr. Fawcett. Mr. Manly
Mr. Serle, 'Squire Richard .
Mr. Meadows. Count Basset ,
Mr. Baker. John Moody
Mr. Blanchard. Mr. Blanchard. Poundage
Mr. Barnes. Constable
Mr. Atkins. Williams
Mr. Turnour. James
This play took birth from principles of truth :
unprun'd, or half contriv'd,
If, then (for hard you'll own the task), his art