Obrázky stránek

originally his own, but that he had taken the hint of it from several performances which he had seen upon our stage; in one of which there was a raree-show; in another a ladder-dance; and in others a postureman, a moving picture, with many curiosities of the like nature.

This Expedition of Alexander opens with his consulting the oracle'at Delphos, in which the dumb conjurer who has been visited by so many persons of quality of late years, is to be introduced as telling his fortune. At the same time Clinch of Barnet is represented in another corner of the temple, as ringing the bells of Delphos, for joy of his arrival. The tent of Darius is to be peopled by the ingenious Mrs. Salmon, where Alexander is to fall in love with a piece of wax-work, that represents the beautiful Statira. When Alexander comes into that country, in which Quintus Curtius tells us the dogs were so exceeding fierce, that they would not lose their hold, though

they were cut to pieces limb by limb, and that they would hang upon their prey by their teeth when they had nothing but a mouth left, there is to be a scene of Hockley in the Hole, in which is to be represented all the diversions of that place, the bullbaiting only excepted, which cannot possibly be exhibited in the theatre, by reason of the lowness of the roof. The several woods in Asia, which Alexander must be supposed to pass through, will give the audience a sight of monkeys dancing upon ropes, with many other pleasantries of that ludicrous species. At the same time, if there chance to be any strange animals in town, whether birds or beasts, they may be either let loose among the woods, or driven across the stage by some of the country people of Asia. In the last great battle, Pinkethman is to personate King Porus upon an elephant, and is to be encountered by Powell, representing Alexander the Great, upon a dromedary, which nevertheless Mr. Powell is desired to call by the name of Bucephalus. Upon the close of this great decisive battle, when the two kings are thoroughly reconciled, to shew the mutual friendship and good correspondence that reigns between them, they both of them go together to a puppet-show, in which the ingenious Mr. Powell, junior, may have an opportunity of displaying his whole art of machinery, for the diversion of the two monarchs. Some at the table urged, that a puppet-show was not a suitable entertainment for Alexander the Great; and that it might be introduced more properly, if we suppose the conqueror touched upon that part of India which is said to be inhabited by the pygmies. But this objection was looked upon as frivolous, and the proposal immediately overruled. Our projector farther added, that after the reconciliation of these two kings, they might invite one another to dinner, and either of them entertain his guest with the German artist, Mr. Pinkethman's heathen gods, or any of the like diversions, which shall then chance to be in vogue.

This project was received with very great applause by the whole table. Upon which the undertaker told us, that he had not yet communicated to us above half his design; for that Alexander being a Greek, it was his intention that the whole opera should be acted in that language, which was a tongue he was sure would wonderfully please the ladies, especially when it was a little raised and rounded by the dialect; and could not but be acceptable to the whole audience, because there are fewer of them who understand Greek than Italian. The only difficulty that remained, was how to get performers, unless we could persuade some gentlemen of the universities to learn to sing, in order to qualify themselves for the stage; but this objection soon vanished, when the projector informed us that the Greeks were at present the only

musicians in the Turkish empire, and that it would be very easy for our factory at Smyrna to furnish us every year with a colony of musicians, by the opportunity of the Turkey feet; besides, says he, if we want any single voice for any lower part in the opera, Lawrence can learn to speak Greek, as well as he does Italian, in a fortnight's time.

The projector having thus settled matters, to the good-liking of all that heard him, he left his seat at the table, and planted himself before the fire, where I had unluckily taken my stand for the convenience of overhearing what he said. Whether he had observed me to be more attentive than ordinary, I cannot tell, but he had not stood by me above a quarter of a minute, but he turned short upon me on a sudden, and catching me by a button of my coat, attacked me very abruptly after the following manner. • Besides, Sir, I have heard of a very extraordinary genius for music that lives in Switzerland, who has so strong a spring in his fingers, that he can make the board of an organ sound like a drum, and if I could but procure a subscription of about ten thousand pounds every winter, I would undertake to fetch him over, and oblige him by articles to set every thing that should be sung upon the English stage.' After this he looked full in my face, expecting I would make an answer, when, by good luck, a gentleman that had entered the coffee-house since the projector applied himself to me, hearing him talk of his Swiss compositions cried out in a kind of laugh, - Is our music then to receive farther improvements from Switzerland ?' This alarmed the projector, who immediately let go my button, and turned about to answer him.

I took the opportunity of the diversion which seemed to be made in favour of me, and laying down my penny upon the bar, retired with some precipitation.-C

[ocr errors]

N° 32. FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 1711.

Nil illi larva aut trag:cis opus esse cothurnis.

HOR. 1 Sat. v. 64. He wants no tragic vizor to increase

His natural deformity of face. The late discourse concerning the statutes of the Ugly club, having been so well received at Oxford, that, contrary to the strict rules of the society, they have been so partial as to take my own testimonial, and admit me into that select body; I could not restrain the vanity of publishing to the world the hopour which is done me. It is no small satisfaction that I have given occasion for the President's shewing both his invention and reading to such advantage as my correspondent reports he did: but it is not to be doubted there were many very proper hums and pauses in his harangue, which lose their ugliness in the narration, and which my correspondent (begging his pardon) has no very good talent at representing. I very much approve of the contempt the society has of beauty. Nothing ought to be laudable in a man, in which his will is not concerned; therefore our society can follow nature, and where she has thought fit, as it were, to mock herself, we can do so too, and be merry upon the occasion.


Your making public the late trouble I gave you, you will find to have been the occasion of this. Who should I meet at the coffee-house door the other night, but my old friend Mr. President? I saw somewhat had pleased him; and as soon as he had cast his eye upon me.

Oho, doctor, rare news from London," says he; "the Spectator has made

[ocr errors]

honourable mention of the club (man), and published to the world his sincere desire to be a member, with a recommendatory description of his phiz; and though our constitution has made no particular provision for short faces, yet his being an extraordinary case, I believe we shall find a hole for him to creep in at; for I assure you he is not against the canon; and if his sides are as compact as his joles, he need not disguise himself to make one of us. sently called for the paper, to see how you looked in print: and after we had regaled ourselves a while upon the pleasant image of our proselyte, Mr. President told me I should be his stranger at the next night's club; where we were no sooner come, and pipes brought, but Mr. President began a harangue upon your introduction to my epistle, setting forth with no less volubility of speech, than strength of reason, “ That a speculation of this nature was what had been long and much wanted; and that he doubted not but it would be of inestimable value to the public, in reconciling even of bodies and souls; in composing and quieting the minds of men under all corporal redundancies, deficiencies, and irregularities whatsoever; and making every one sit down content in his own carcass, though it were not perhaps so mathematically put together as he could wish.” And again, “ How that for want of a due consideration of what you first advance, viz. That our faces are not of our own choosing, people had been transported beyond all good breeding, and hurried themselves into unaccountable and fatal extravagances; as, how many impartial looking-glasses had been censured and calumniated, nay, and sometimes shivered into ten thousand splinters, only for a fair representation of the truth ? How many head-strings and garters had been made accessary, forfeited, only because folks must needs quarrel


I pre.

and actually

« PředchozíPokračovat »