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faw him leap upon the ftage, and act his part with very great applaufe. It has been obferved by feveral, that the lion has changed his manner of acting twice or thrice fince his first appearance; which will not feem ftrange, when I acquaint my reader that the lion has been changed upon the audience three feveral times. The firft lion was a candle-fnuffer, who, being a fellow of a telty choleric temper, overdid his part, and would not fuffer himself to be killed fo eafily as he ought to have done; befides, it was obferved of him, that he grew more furly every time he came out of the lion; and having dropt fome words in ordinary converfarion, as if he had not fought his beft, and that he fuffered himfelf to be thrown upon his back in the fcuffle, and that he would wreftle with Mr. Nicolini for what he

pleated, out of his lion's fkin, it was thought proper to difcard him; and it is verily believed, to this day, that had he been brought upon the ftage another time, he would certainly have done mifchief. Befides, it was objected against the firft lion, that he reared himself fo high upon his hinder paws, and walked in fo erect a pofture, that he looked more like an old man than a lion.

The fecond lion was a tailor by trade, who belonged to the play-houfe, and had the character of a mild and peaceable man in his profe fion. If the former was too furious, this was too fheepish for his part; infomuch that after a fhort modelt walk upon the ftage, he would fall at the first touch of Hydafpes, without grappling with him, and giving him an opportunity of fhewing his variety of Italian trips. It is faid indeed, that he once gave him a rip in his flesh-coloured doublet; but this was only to make work for himself, in his private character of a tailor. I must not omit that it was this fecond lion who treated me with fo much humanity behind the scenes.

The acting lion at present is, as I am informed, a country-gentleman, who does it for his diverfion, but defires his name may be concealed. He fays very handfomely, in his own excufe, that he does not act for gain;

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that he indulges an innocent pleasure in it; and that it is better to pafs away an evening in this manner than in gaming and drinking; but at the fame time fays, with a very agreeable raillery upon himfelf, that if his name fould be known, the ill-natured wo ld might call him The Afs in the Lion's fkin. This gentleman's temper is made of fuch a happy mixture of the mild and the choleric, that he outdoes both his predece:fors, and has diawn together greater audiences than have been known in the memory of man.

I muft not conclude my narrative without taking notice of a groundlefs report that has been raifed to a gentleman's difadvan age, of whom I muft declare myfelf an admirer: namely, that Signior Nicolini and the lion have been feen fitting peaceably by one another, and fmoking a pipe together behind the fcenes; by which their common enemies would infinuate, that it is but a fham combat which they reprefent upon the ftage; but upon enquiry I find, that if any fuch correfpondence has paffed between them, it was not till the combat was over, when the lion was to be looked upon as dead, according to the received rules of the Drama. Befides, this is what is practised every day in Westminfer-Hall, where nothing is more ufual than to fee a couple of lawyers, who have been tearing each other to pieces in the court, embracing one another as foon as they are out of it.

I would not be thought, in any part of this relation, to reflect upon Siguior Nicolini, who in acting this part only complies with the wretched tafte of his audience; he knows very well that the lion has many more admirers than himfelf; as they fav of the famous equeftrian ftatue on the Pont-Neuf at Paris, that more people go to fee the horse, than the King who fits upon it. On the contrary, it gives me a juft indignation to fee a perfon whofe action gives new majefty to kings, refolution to heroes, and foftnefs to lovers, thus finking from the gcatuels of his behaviour, and degraded into the character of the London 'Prentice. I have often wifhed, that our t agedians would copy after this great mafter in


action. Could they make the fame ufe of their arms and legs, and inform their faces with as fignificant looks and pations, how glorious would an English tragedy appear with that action which is capable of giving a dignity 'to the forced thoughts, cold conceits, and unnatural expreffions of an Italian opera. In the mean time, I have related this combat of the lion, to fhew what are at prefent the reigning entertainments of the politer part of Great Britain.

Audiences have often been reproached by writers for the coarfenefs of their tafte; but our prefent grievance does not feem to be the want of a good tafte, but of common fenfe.




-Teque his, infelix, exue monftris.


Wretch that thou art! put off this monstrous fhape.

Was reflecting this morning upon the spirit and humour of the public diverfions five-and-twenty years ago, and those of the prefent time; and lamented to myfelf, that, though in thofe days they neglected their mo rality, they kept up their good fenfe; but that the beau monde, at prefent, is only grown more childish, not more innocent, than the former. While I was in this train of thought, an odd fellow, whofe face I have often feen at the play-houfe, gave me the following letter with thefe words: "Sir, The lion prefents his humble fervice "to you, and defired me to give this into your own "hands."


• From my


Den in the Hay-Market, March 15.

Have read all your papers, and have ftifled my refentment against your reflections upon operas, till that of this day, wherein you plainly infinuate, that


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Signior Grimaldi and myfelf have a correfpondence more friendly than is confiftent with the valour of his 6 character, or the fiercenefs of mine. I defire you would for your own fake forbear fuch intimations for the fuand must fay, it is a great piece of ill-nature in you to fhew fo great an efteem for a foreigner, and to difcourage a lion that is your own countryman.


'I take notice of your fable of the Lion and Man, but am fo equally concerned in that matter, that I fhall not be offended to whichfoever of the animals the fuperiority is given. You have mifreprefented me, in faying 'that I am a country-gentleman who act only for my diverfion; whereas, had I ftill the fame woods to range in which I once had when I was a fox-hunter, I should not refign my manhood for a maintenance; and affure you, as low as my circumftances are at prefent, I am fo much a man of honour, that I would fcorn to be any beaft for bread but a Lion.


'Yours, &c.'

I had no fooner ended this, than one of my landlady's children brought me in feveral others; with fome of which I fhall make up my prefent paper, they all having a tendency to the faine fubject, viz. the elegance of our prefent diverfions.

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• Sir,


Covent-Garden, March 13. Have been for twenty years Under-Sexton of this parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden, and have not miffed tolling in to prayers fix times in all thofe years; which office I have performed to my great fatisfaction 'till this fortnight last past, during which time I find my congregation take the warning of my bell, morning and evening, to go to a puppet-fhow, fet forth by one Powell, under the Piazzas. By this means, I have not only loft my two cuftomers, whom I uled to place for nixpence


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fixpence a-piece over-againft Mrs. Rachel Eye-bright, but Mrs. Rachel herfelf is gone thither alfo. There now appear among us none but a few ordinary people, who come to church only to fay their prayers; fo that I have no work worth fpeaking of but on Sundays. I have placed my fon at the Piazzas, to acquaint the ladies that the bell rings for church, and that it stands on the other fide of the Garden; but they only laugh at the child.

I defire you would lay this before all the world, that I may not be made fuch a tool. for the future, and that Punchinello may choofe hours lefs canonical. As things are now, Mr. Powell has a full congregation, while we have a very thin houfe; which if you can remedy, you will very much oblige,


"Yours, &c.'

The following epiftle, I find is from the Undertaker of the Mafquerade.

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Have obferved the rules of my mafque fo carefully (in not inquiring into perfons) that I cannot tell whether you were one of the company or not last Tuesday; but if you were not, and ftill defign to come, I defire you would, for your own entertainment, please to admonish the town, that all perfons indifferently are not fit for this fort of diverfion. I could with, Sir, you could make them understand that it is a kind of acting to go in masquerade; and a man fhould be able to fay or do things proper for the drefs in which he appears. We have now and then rakes in the habit ⚫ of Roman fenators, and grave politicians in the dress of rakes. The misfortune of the thing is, that people • drefs themselves in what they have a mind to be, and not what they are fit for. There is not a girl in the

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