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audience, and they heard it uttered for the first time in a croak, fainter than a crow's in a consumption, it would pass unnoticed, or appear vapid to the million.
If I raise a critical clatter about my ears by this assertion, which some may twist into a profanation of Shakspeare, I leave it to Horace, who can fight battles better than I, to defend me.
" Si dicentis erunt fortunis absona dicta,
Romani tollent pedites equitesque cachinnum." That Mr. Kemble did not misconceive the part, is certain; for he told me some time before the play was acted, that he feared the exertions requisite in Sir Edward Mortimer would strain his lungs more than Octavian in the Mountaineers.
That he can strain his lungs to good purpose in Octavian, is well known; and after this, his own intimation, how will he escape the charge of wilful and direct delinquency, when, with such a conception of the part, and with health recovered, he came forward in the true spirit of Bottom, and 6 aggravated his voice so, that he roared you as gently as any sucking dove ?” *
He insulted the town, and injured his employer and the author, sufficiently in the first instance : in the second, he added to the insult and injury an hundred fold; and as often as he mangled the character (three or four times, I am uncertain which, after the first night's performance), he heaped aggravation upon aggravation.
* Mr. Kemble informed me previous to the second representation of the play, that he felt himself capable of exertion.
The most miserable mummer that ever disgraced the walls of a theatre, could not have been a stronger drawback than Mr. Kemble. He was not only dull in himself, but the cause of dullness in others. Like the baleful Upas of Java, his pestiferous influence infected all around him. When two actors come forward to keep up the shuttle-cock of scenic fiction, if one plays slovenly, the other cannot maintain his game. Poor Bannister, junior, would he speak out (but I have never pressed him, and never shall press him to say a word upon the subject), could bear ample testimony to the truth of this remark. He suffered like a man under the cruelty of Mezen. tius. All alive himself, he was tied to a corpse, which he was fated to drag about with him scene after scene, which weighed him down, and depressed his vigour. Miss Farren, too, who might animate any thing but a soul of lead, and a face of iron, experienced the same fate...
I could proceed, and argue, and reason, and discuss, and tire the reader, as I have tired myself (it is now, my good friend, one o'clock in the morning), to prove further, that Mr. Kemble was unsound in my cause, and that he ruined my play :-But I will desist here. I think I have prosed enough to manifest that my arguments are not unfounded.
They who are experienced in dramatics will, I trust, see that I have made a fair extenuation of
myself—they who are impartial will, I hope, be convinced that I have set down nought in malice.
The only question that may arise to shake materially the credit of all I have said is, “ How is it probable that Mr. Kemble should injure you thus without provocation ? Is it in nature ? Is it in man?”. I can merely answer, that I am unconscious of having given him cause for provocation ;, that if I have given him cause, he has taken a bad mode of revenge; that Mr. Kemble's nature has frequently puzzled me in my observation upon it; and that I think him a very extraordinary man.
But let him take this with him, should this crudely written preface ever fall in his way.--I have committed it to paper currente calamo. I mean no allusion, no epithet, to apply to him as a private individual. As a private individual, I give him not that notice which it might here be impertinent to bestow: but I have an undoubted right to discuss his merits or demerits in his public capacities of manager and actor; and my cause of complaint gives me a good reason as well as a right. His want of conduct, his neglect, his injustice, his oppression, his finesse, his person, his face, are in this point of view all open to my animadversion.
“ He is my goods, my chattels ;'
My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing." And I would animadvert still further, did think I had already said sufficient to gain the object of guarding my own reputation. That object has
solely swayed me in dwelling so long upon a “plain tale,” encumbered with so fatiguing a hero as John Kemble.
CHURCH PATRONAGE.- LETTER FROM SIR
HEW DALRYMPLE TO SIR LAURENCE DUN-
Dalzell, May 24, 1975. DEAR SIR,.--Having spent a long life in pursuit of pleasure and health, I am now retired from the world in poverty, and with the gout; so, joining with Solomon, that “all is vanity and vexation of spirit;” I go to church and say my prayers. ".
I assure you that most of us religious people reap some little satisfaction, in hoping, that you wealthy voluptuaries have a fair chance of being damned to all eternity; and that Dives shall call out for a drop of water to Lazarus, one drop of which he seldom tasted when he had the twelve Apostles, (twelve hogsheads of claret) in his cellar.
Now, sir, that doctrine being laid down, I wish to give you, my friend, a loop-hole to creep through. Going to church last Sunday, as usual, I saw an unknown face in the pulpit, and rising up to prayers, as others do upon like occasions, I began to look around the church to find out if there were any pretty girls there, when my attention was attracted by the foreign accent of the parson. I gave him my attention, and had my devotion awakened by the most pathetic prayer I
This made me all attention to the sermon; a finer discourse never came from the lips of
I returned in the afternoon and heard the same preacher exceed his morning work, by the finest chain of reasoning, conveyed by the most eloquent expressions. I immediately thought of what Agrippa said to Paul, “ almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” I sent to ask the man of God to honour my roof, and dine with me. I asked him of his country, and what not: I even asked him if his sermons were his own composition, which he affirmed they were I assured him I believed it, for never man had spoke or wrote so well. • My name is Dishington,” said he. “ I am an assistant to an old minister in the Orkneys, who enjoys a fruitful benefice of L.50 a-year, out of which I am allowed L. 20 for preaching and instructing 1200 people, who live in two separate islands ; out of which I pay L. 1, 5s. to the boatman who transports me from the one to the other. I should be happy could I continue in that terrestrial paradise ; but we have a great Lord, who has many little people soliciting him for many little things that he can do, and that he cannot do ; and if my minister dies, his succession is too grent a prize, not to raise up many powerful rivals to baulk my hopes of preferment.”
I asked him if he possessed any other wealth. “ Yes,” says he, “I married the prettiest girl in the island; she has blessed me with three children, and as we are both young, we may expect more. Besides,