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dow, or, to shorten the catalogue, in his swindling everybody he possibly can; it only remaining to be observed, that the more extensive the swindling is, and the more barefaced the inpudence of the swindler, the greater the rapture and ecstasy of the audience. Now it is a most remarkable fact that precisely this sort of thing occurs in real life day after day, and nobody sees the humour of it. Let us illustrate our position by detailing the plot of this portion of the pantomime--not of the theatre, but of life.
The Honourable Captain Fitz-Whisker Fiercy, attended by his livery-servant Do'em,-a most respectable servant to look at, who has grown grey in the service of the captain's family, views, treats for, and ultimately obtains possession of, the unfurnished house, such a number, such a street. All the trades men in the neighbourhood are in agonies of competition for the captain's custom ; the captain is a good-natured, kind-hearted, easy man, and, to avoid being the cause of disappointment to any, he most handsomely gives orders to all. Hampers of wine, baskets of provisions, cart-loads of furniture, boxes of jewellery, supplies of luxuries of the costliest description, flock to the house of the Honourable Captain Fitz-Whisker Fiercy, where they are received with the utmost readiness by the highly respectable Do`em ; while the captain himself struts and swaggers about with that compound air of conscious superiority, and general blood-thirstiness, which a military captain should al. ways, and does most times wear, to the admiration and terror of plebeian men. But the tradesmen's backs are no sooner turned, than the captain, with all the eccentricity of a mighty mind, and assisted by the faithful Do'em, whose devoted fidelity is not the least touching part of his character, disposes of everything to great advantage ; for, although the articles fetch small sums, still they are sold considerably above cost price, the cost to the captain having been nothing at all. After various manæuvres, the imposture is discovered, Fitz-Fiercy and Do'em are recognised as confederates, and the police-oflice to which they are both taken is thronged with their dupes.
Who can fail to recognise in this, the exact counterpart of the best portion of a theatrical pantomime — Fitz-Whisker Fiercy by the clown ; Do’em by the pantaloon ; and supernumeraries by the tradesmen ? The best of the joke, too, is, that the very coal-merchant who is loudest in his complaints against the person who defrauded him, is the identical man who sat in the centre of the very front row of the pit last night and laughed the most boisterously at this very same thing, and not so well done either. Talk of Grimaldi, we say again! Did Grimaldi, in his best days, ever do anything in this way equal to Da Costa ?
The mention of this latter justly-celebrated clown reminds us of his last piece of humour, the fraudulently obtaining cer,
tain stamped acceptances from a young gentleman in the army. We had scarcely laid down our pen to contemplate for a few moments this admirable actor's performance of that exquisite practical joke, than a new branch of our subject flashed suddenly upon us. So we take it up again at once.
All people who have been behind the scenes, and most people who have been before them, know, that in the representation of a pantomime, a good many men are sent upon the stage for the express purpose of being cheated, or knocked down, or both. Now, down to a moment ago, we had never been able to understand for what possible purpose a great number of odd, lazy, large-headed men, whom one is in the habit of meeting here, and there, and everywhere, could ever have been created. We see it all, now. They are the supernumeraries in the pantomime of life; the men who have been thrust into it, with no other view than to be constantly tumbling over each other, and running their heads against all sorts of strange things. We sat opposite to one of these men at a supper-table, only last week. Now we think of it, he was exactly like the gentlemen with the pasteboard heads and faces, who do the corresponding business in the theatrical pantomimes; there was the same broad stolid simper—the same dull leaden eye—the same unmeaning, vacant stare; and whatever was said, or whatever was done, he always came in at precisely the wrong place, or jostled against something that he had not the slightest business with. We looked at the man across the table, again and again; and could not satisfy ourselves what race of beings to class him with.
odd that this never occurred to us before ! We will frankly own that we have been much troubled with the harlequin. We see harlequins of so many kinds in the real living pantonime, that we hardly know which to select as the proper
fellow of him of the theatres. At one time we were disposed to think that the harlequin was neither more nor less than a young man of family and independent property, who had run away with an opera-dancer, and was fooling his life and his means away in light and trivial amusements. On reflection, however, we remembered that harlequins are occasionally guilty of witty, and even clever acts, and we are rather disposed to acquit our young men of family and independent property, generally speaking, of any such misdemeanours. On a more mature consideration of the subject, we have arrived at the conclusion, that the harlequins of life are just ordinary men, to be found in no particular walk or degree, on whom a certain station, or particular conjunction of circumstances, confers the magic wand ; and this brings us to a few words on the pantomime of public and political life, which we shall say at once, and then conclude; merely premising in this place, that we decline any reference whatever to the columbine: being in no wise satisfied' of the nature of her connexion with her parti-coloured
lover, and not feeling by any means clear that we should be justified in introducing her to the virtuous and respectable ladies who peruse our lucubrations.
We take it that the commencement of a session of parliament is neither more nor less than the drawing up of the curtain for a grand comic pantomime; and that his Majesty's most gracious speech, on the opening thereof, may be not inaptly compared to the clown's opening speech of “Here we are !" “ My lords and gentlemen, here we are !” appears, to our mind at least, to be a very good abstract of the point and meaning of the pitiatory address of the ministry. When we remember how frequently this speech is made, immediately after the change too, the parallel is quite perfect, and still more singular.
Perhaps the cast of our political pantomime never was richer than at this day. We are particularly strong in clowns. At no former time, we should say, have we had such astonishing tumblers, or performers so ready to go through the whole of their feats for the amusement of an admiring throng. Their extreme readiness to exhibit, indeed, has given rise to some illnatured reflections; it having been objected that by exhibiting gratuitously through the country when the theatre is closed, they reduce themselves to the level of mountebanks, and thereby tend to degrade the respectability of the profession. Certainly Grimaldi never did this sort of thing ; and though Brown, King, and Gibson have gone to the Surrey in vacation time, and Mr. C. J. Smith has ruralised at Sadler's Wells, we find no theatrical precedent for a general tumbling through the country, except in the gentleman, name unknown, who threw summersets on behalf of the late Mr. Richardson, and who is no authority either, because he had never been on the regular boards.
But, laying aside this question, which after all is a mere matter of taste, we may reflect with pride and gratification of heart on the proficiency of our clowns as exhibited in the
Night after night will they twist and tumble about, till two, three, and four o'clock in the morning; playing the strangest antics, and giving each other the funniest slaps on the face that can possibly be imagined, without evincing the smallest tokens of fatigue. The strange noises, the confusion, the shouting and roaring, amid which all this is done, too, would put to shame the most turbulent sixpenny gallery that ever yelled through a boxing-night.
It is especially curious to behold one of these clowns compelled to go through the most surprising contortions by the irresistible influence of the wand of office, which his leader or harlequin holds above his head. Acted upon by this wonderful charm he will become perfectly motionless, moving neither hand, foot, nor finger, and will even lose the faculty of speech at an instant's notice; or, on the other hand, he will become all
life and animation if required, pouring forth a torrent of words without sense or meaning, throwing himself into the wildest and most fantastic contortions, and even grovelling on the earth and licking up the dust. These exhibitions are more curious than pleasing ; indeed they are rather disgusting than otherwise, except to the admirers of such things, with whom we confess we have no fellow-feeling.
Strange tricks very strange tricks—are also performed by the harlequin who holds for the time being, the magic wand which we have just mentioned. The mere waving it before a man's eyes will dispossess his brain of all the notions previously stored there, and fill it with an entirely new set of ideas; one gentle tap on the back will alter the colour of a man's coat completely; and there are some expert performers, who, having this wand held first on one side, and then on the other, will change from side to side, turning their coats at every evolution, with so much rapidity and dexterity, that the quickest eye can scarcely detect their motions. Occasionally, the genius who confers the wand, wrests it from the hand of the temporary possessor, and consigns it to some new performer; on which occasions all the characters change sides, and then the race and the hard knocks begin anew.
We might have extended this chapter to a much greater lengthwe might have carried the comparison into the liberal professions--we might have shown, as was in fact our original purpose, that each is in itself a little pantomime with scenes and characters of its own, complete; but, as we fear we have been quite lengthy enough already, we shall leave this chapter just where it is. A gentleman, not altogether unknown as a dramatic poet, wrote thus a year or two ago
“ All the World's a stage, And all the men and women merely players :" and we, tracking out his footsteps at the scarcely-worth-mentioning little distance of a few millions of leagues behind, venture to add, by way of new reading, that he meant a Pantomime, and that we are all actors in The Pantomime of Life.
Who the dickens “ Boz" could be
Puzzled many a learned elf;
And Boz appear'd as Dickens' self !
MEMOIRS OF SAMUEL FOOTE.
Few writers obtained a larger share of notoriety during their lifetime than Samuel Foote. If the interest which he excited was not very profound, it was at any rate very generally diffused throughout the community. His witty sayings were in every one's mouth; his plays were the rage of the day; he was the constant guest of royalty, the Dukes of York and Cumberland being among his staunchest friends and patrons; and the “ Sir Oracle” of all the bons rivants and would-be wits of the metropolis. Take up any light memoir of those days, and you shall scarcely find one that does not bear testimony to the powers of this incomparable humourist. Yet, what is he now ? A name,-perhaps a great one,—but little more. His plays are seldom acted, though the best Major Sturgeon and Jerry Sneak that the stage ever bad-are still - among us; and as seldom perused in the closet, or assuredly they would have been republished oftener than has been the case of late years.
We are induced, therefore, to give a brief memoir of our English Aristophanes, accompanied by as brief a criticism on his genius, such a task falling naturally, indeed almost necessarily, within the scope of our Miscellany. But enough of 'preface; “now to business," as Foote's own Vamp would say.
Samuel Foote was born at Truro in the year 1720. His family was of creditable extraction, his father being a gentleman of some repute in Cornwall'as receiver of fines for the duchy; and his mother, the daughter of Sir Edward Goodere, Bart. M. P. for Herefordshire. From this lady, whom he closely resembled in appearance and manner, he is supposed to have inherited that turn for “merry malice" for which he was famous above all his contemporaries. Mr. Cooke, in his notices of Foote, describes his mother as having been “ the very model of her son Samuel, -short, fat, and Aabby," and nearly equally remarkable for the broad humour of her conversation.
At an early age, young Foote was despatched to a school at Worcester, where he soon became notorious for his practical jokes and inveterate propensity to caricature. He was the leader in all the rebellions of the boys, and perpetrated much small mischief on his own private account. · Among other of his freaks, it is stated that he was in the habit of anointing his master's lips with ink while he slept in the chair of authority, and then bewildering and overwhelming the good man with a host of grave apologies. Yet, with all this, he was attentive to his studies, reading hard by fits and starts; and left Worcester with the reputation of being that very ambiguous character-a
“ lad of parts. At the usual period of life, Foote was entered of Worcester College, Oxford, where, as at school, his favourite amusement consisted in quizzing the authorities,—more especially the provost, who was a grave, pedantic scholar, of a vinegar turn of temperament. The following hoax is recorded as having been played off by him in his Freshman's year. In one of the villages near Oxford there was a church that stood close by a shady lane, through which cattle were in the habit of being driven to and fro from grass. From the steeple or belfry of this church dangled a rope, probably for the convenience of the ringers, which overhung the porch, and descended to