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conduct of the abbess and her confederate. Blinded by fury, Venoni shows this letter to the prior, who says to his holy brethren : “ We are all discovered.” In consequence, Venoni is prevented from leaving the monastery, and confined in a subterraneous dungeon, where the preceding victim of Celestino's rage died,* after having been confined twenty years, and which the prior believes to be unknown to all except himself and his accomplices : but father Michael having suspected the existence of such a dungeon, has traced out the way to it, and hastens to apprize the viceroy. In the meanwhile, Venoni, in endeavouring to escape from his prison, knocks down the party-wall, and thus breaks into the adjoining convent, and discovers his mistress, likewise in a dungeon, who had not been put to death, but closely confined ; and the deliverance of both is shortly after produced by the arrival of father Michael, with the viceroy and Josepha's parents.
Dangle-Excellent, i'faith—But won't this appear rather improbable ?
Puf-To be sure it will; but, what the plague! a play is not to show occurrences that happen every day; but things just so strange, that though they never did, they might have happened !-SHERIDAN.
Notwithstanding this authority, we cannot help avowing, that we think the incidents of this play never did, or are ever likely to happen. There is such a mixture of horrour and improbability about them that defies even all credibility; for who can believe that Celestino, the prior of St. Mark, could live on such terms of intimacy and friendship, as he is represented to do, with the marchioness of Caprara, while he is keeping her daughter Josepha, during the period of twelve months, in a tremendously horrid subterraneous cave, lighted only by the melancholy glimmer of a sorry lamp, because she would not consent to his libidinous passion ; at the same time cajoling her mother and all her friends, with the tale that she was dead and buried, in the convent of the Ursulines, in which her relations had placed her !But this burying alive is not all: we have insanity and murder to boot, in somuch that our author again, as Shakspeare says, “waxes desperate with imagination," as he was wont to do in the Monk, and his other gloomy and most extrava. gant productions. His predilection for caverns, ghosts, blacks, and other strange auxiliaries to his muse, had fortified us in the expectation of wit. nessing something not to be met with every day, either in castle, cloister, or prison ; but, notwithstanding this, the denouement of Venoni is so horrid and improbable, and the pantomime atrocity so very glaring, that it excited the universal disgust of the audience ; and, like them, we more than once wished the curtain would fall to relieve us from terrours no one could give credit to.
The noise and confusion was so great at the latter end of the piece, that we could not by any means discover what became of the prior and his holy brotherhood, who were all represented to be villains alike, in compliment, we suppose, to the reigning sentiment lately in vogue in France (that all priests are rogues) whence this piece derives its origin. It is taken from the French drama entitled Les Victimes Cloîtrécs, which was performed at
* On the recital of the fate of this victim to the rage of Celestino, we certainly expected something very terrible to follow, from the author's well known taste for the terrifick and marvellous. In truth, we began to pity the audience, and the lines of the poet, describing a dead man and another audience, immediately came into our recollection.
The dead man gave a groan....
Nor spok’d, nor mov'd their eyes :
To have seen that dead man rise?
Paris with great success. And when it is considered how forcibly it attacks the monks, we cannot in the least be surprised; as that order of people has been, by the fashionable philosophical currency, subjected to the most unmanly attacks of writers who chose to level their sarcasm and illiberality at them when they had not even the privilege of defending themselves from la liberté et l'égalité.
The audience manifested great disapprobation ; and much must be cur. tailed to ensure it even a short run. The third act can never remain on the stage, in its present state. A most ridiculous masquerade scene helped to lengthen the play without producing any other effect, than that of adding weight to what was already too heavy; although, like the comick wit of the piece, it was intended to lighten it. Apropos, of this wit the following is a specimen. The scene, as our readers have already been informed, lies at Messina. Benedetto says : “If I were a senator I would have an act of parliament to prevent fat people from walking out in the dog days.”—In fact the humorous parts of the play produced no laughter ; but it would be doing great injustice to the author not to avow that the language of the serious parts, in general, is highly creditable to him ; eliciting fine senti. ments, finely expressed. When it is published, we shall notice some of those passages which struck us as particularly worthy of attention.
We present our readers with a slight representation of the situation of the hero and heroine in the last scene, by which they will be enabled to judge of its probability. Such of them as have been abroad will be surprised to see a convent and a monastery so nigh each other, and perhaps may exclaim, as a highly distinguished foreigner did to us, on viewing this exhibition : Diantre, nous autres, nous n'avons jamais vu fiareille chose dans le monde-mais, croyez-vous que John Bull l'avalera ?
Mr. Lewis's pair of Dungeons.
EXPLANATION. A. Josepha's dungeon, in the convent of the Ursulines, where she has been confined one year. This unfortunate lady appears only in this last scene.-B. Venoni's dungeon in the monastery of St. Mark.- This pair of dungeons fills the whole front of the stage.
C. The party wall that divides the two dungeons, and which is knocked down by the exertions of Venoni-a feat we believe not to have been equalled since the days of Guy Earl of Warwick, or Jack the Giant-killer. No. 2, represents the dungeons after the exertions of Signor Venoni's
On Wednesday evening, December 7, the author, in consequence of the marked disapprobation of the audience, desired it to be announced that he would withdraw the piece, to write an entire new third act. On the same morning appeared the following paid for puff, in a diurnal print :
“ Indeed, this new drama seems to unfold new beauties every successive representation. It was disputed, however, which had more admirers, Venoni, or Love in a Tub; the latter certainly appeared universally to please."
Thus it appears that a contemptible dance has universal admirers, while
Venoni, notwithstanding its new beauties every night, is left in the minority, and obliged to be written over again ! Surely this is a strange way of puffing, and worthy only of modern managers, modern authors, and modern newspapers.
Monday, December 12, the drama of Venoni, was again brought forward, with alterations, and an entire new third act, much to the credit of the author, and to the improvement of the piece; as some part of the improbability has been done away, although Ludovico, THE DEAD MAN, has really deen brought to life, as our readers will perceive by the following account of the new third act.
It opens with a view of the inside of an awful, subterraneous dungeon, where Celestino and his confederates determine to fix the last abode of Venoni, whom they convey thither. There Venoni meets the monk Lu. dovico (spoken of in the play, as dying, after having been confined 20 years in the vaults of the monastery) and informs him, that he has discovered an outlet that leads to the convent, but that the door to the passage is strongly bolted. This door, Venoni, by, mearis of a bar found in bis dungeon, breaks down, and thereby escapes. The next scene discovers the übbess and Celestino consulting about the future disposal of Josepha, and concludes with his determination to possess her. Josepha is then brought blindfolded into a dungeon, near the hall of the convent, and left, as if to be confined there for ever; when suddenly, after a solemn symphony on the organ, the scene draws and discovers the abbess with her sister companions in the hall, which is finely illuminated and prepared for a banquet; here, while the abbess is persuading Josepha to listen to Celestino's designs, l'enoni breaks in and, recognising Josepha, endeavours to carry her off, but is prevented by the entrance of Celestino and his party ; who, while parung the lovers, is himself surprised by the entrance of Father Michael, with the viceroy and a party of guards at one door, and the father and mother of Josepha through another door of the convent; and the piece concludes.
This alteration was received with much applause, particularly by those who, like ourselves, had witnessed the ridiculous exbibition of a pair of dungeons, the party-wall, and its demolition. But the denouement could have been rendered still more complete if the cidevant dead man, Ludovico, had been introduced in the last scene, and confronted with his infa. mous superiour, Celestino.
HAY-MARKET THEATRE, On Monday, December 5, we descended, by thirteen steep steps, into the cavern of this theatre, yclep'd the pit, not for our own pleasure ; for we have never entered it with that sensation since the death of the smothered victims, to whose sad manes the managers and proprietors have never elevated, by way of monument, any barrier against similar accidents, notwithstanding the catastrophes of Sadler's Wells, and Covent Garden theatre. Our du:y to the Panorama, therefore, led us to report on the new farce entitled The School for Authors.
lable.--The whole of the business of this piece turns on the strange infatuation which possesses Diaper, a wealthy tradesman, of being esteemed a dramatick writer of eminence. To establish this character he has cono structed a tragedy called Gunpowder Treason, or, the Fifth of November, for the success of which, being very anxious, he prevails upon Cleveland, a young man of liberal acquirements, to acknowledge the new piece coming
out to be his.--Cleveland accedes to this, desirous of recommending himself as the professed admirer of his niece, Jane, an accomplished girl, who is also attached to him, but whose hand Diaper is determined to bestow upon no one but a man of genius. Gunpowder Treason is hissed off the stage; but a comedy performed the same night at the other house, and which is completely successful, is declared by Cleveland to be his production. On this. Diaper, glad to hush up the whole business, gives his niece to Cleveland, and the piece concludes. The auxiliary characters of Wormwood, a snarling critick, and Frank, Jeffry, and Susan, confidential servants, &c. give some variety to the picture.
The farce is said to have been written by the late Mr. Tobin; and if it were possible for us to forget the sources from whence he drew this rather improbable piece of pleasantry, it might pass as a very able effort of his genius in the farcical line. It is taken from a tale of Marmontel, anglicised in Foote's Patron, and from a French dramatick proverb entitled l’Amateur ; and, lastly, from the Critick, of which it is so close and flagrant an imitation that la chose saute aux yeux, as the French say. Some of the expressions and characters, are inerely “disfigured, as beggar's do stolen children, to make them pass for their own."- Diaper from the Minories is another sir Fretful; Wormwood is Sneer, and poor Susan an ignorant kind of Mrs. Dangle. Frank, Diaper's footman is certainly not in the Critick,—yet, like Dangle, he is represented to be a judge of dramatick literature--he is, moreover, a writer of criticisms, and a Reviewer. Diaper is performed by Munden, who substituted mummery and oaths for that superiour kind of acting, we have so frequently witnessed in the sir Fretful Plagiary of the inimitable Parsons. Frank, the footman, was ably supported by Jones. This character seems to have been designed by the author as a vehicle to ridicule the writers of criticisms on the drama in the newspapers; and when we reflect on the trash that issues from the press, under this title, we cannot be surprised that it should have excited the author's bile, or been offensive w other persons of common sense.
The intention, the language, and the wit of The School for Authors, are highly creditable to its lamented author, on whose account we had occasion to regret (in noticing his elegant production of The Curfew) his being shatched from the enjoyment of witnessing the success of the efforts of his muse. However, we are happy to do justice to his memory, in affirming that he never meant the character of Diaper to be degraded by such vollies of oaths as his representative emits. They could be expected only from the very resuse of society, lost to all the blandishments of decency and civilisation. The managers should not suffer the genius of any author to be so calumniated and defamed, nor their palent theatres turned into Schools for Swearing!
DONATION OF A LORD MAYOR OF LONDON, IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY.
Reygate, Jan. 1809. SIR-In looking into Fabyan's “Chronicle," a very scarce book, of which I possess a mutilated copy,“ printed at London by William Rastell
, 1533,” I met with the following account of a donation to the city of London ; made by the mayor, in the year 1370, and marked it as deserving of particular attention. I do not know whether the fact is elsewhere, or otherwise, recorded ; but thinking it right that “good and merytoryous dedes should be holden in memory," I send it you, för the information of those whom if
may concern, by means of your widely circulating miscellany.-It occurs in the seventh part, page
cxii verso. “ And to the ende that good and merytoryous dedes should be holden in memorye, here is to be noted that the mayre for thys yere beying John Beryns mercer, gave unto the comynaltye of the cytye of London a chest wyth thre lockes and keyes, and therein a thousande marke of redy money, wyllyng the keyes therof to be yerely in the kepynge of thre sundry persons, that is to mene the mayster of the felysshyp of the mercery to have one, the mayster of the felysshyp of the drapars the second, and thyrde to be in the kepynge of the chamberlayne of thạt cytye. And so therein the sayde thousande marke to be kept, to the entent that at all ty mes when any cytesyne wolde borrowe’any money, that he shulde have it there for the space of a yere, to laye for suche a summe as he wold have plate or other jewellys to a suffycyente gayge, so that he excedyd not the summe of an hundreth marke. And for the occupyenge therof yf he were lerned, to saye at hys pleasure De Profundis for the soul of John Beryns and all christen soules, as often tymes as in hys summe were comprysed x markes. As he that borowed but x marke, shulde saye but over that prayer. And yf he had xx marke, then to saye it twyes, and so after the rate. And yf he were not lerned, then to saye so often hys Paternoster. But how so thys money was lent or gyded, at thys daye the cheste remayneth in the chamber of London, wythout money or pledges for the same.”
This donation amounted to a very considerable sum. A mark of thirteen shillings and four pence, of 1370, was equal in weight of silver to thirty. three shillings and ihrce farthings of our present money, as it appears from Fleetwood's Chronicon Pretiosuin that a pound weight of silver now coined into sixty-two shillings was coined only into twenty-five shillings, from 1353 to 1121. 1000 marks consequently amounted in effective money of 1809 to 1,6581. 68. 8d and taking into consideration the different prices of provisions and of the necessaries of life, according to sir George Shuckburgh, Evelyn's table, commencing in 1050, printed in the Philosophical Transactions for 1798, by which the average price of the various necessaries of lifein 1359 compared with the estimated average price in 1809, is the proportion of 77 to 562, John Beryns’s liberal accommodation to the needy of his fellow-citizens was equal to 12,0671. 58. of the present currency:
I beg leave to observe that this calculation is made from the data afforded in Godwin's life of Chaucer, Vol. II. pp. 61 and 62, not having access to the original authorities. I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
S. H. WILCOCKE.
The following anecdotes of sir Isaac Newton, are related in Turnor's Collections for a
History of Grantham, lately published in England. A NEW wind mill was set up near Grantham, in the way to Gunnerby, which is 1:ow demolished, this country chiefly using water mills. Our lad's imitating spirit was soon excited, and by frequently prying into the fabrick of it, as they were making it, he became master enough to make a very pero fect model thereof, and it was said to be as clean and curious a piece of workmanship, as the original. This sometimes he would set upon the trousetop, where he lodged, and clothing it with sail cloth, the wind would