« AnteriorContinuar »
a-piece'—took outside place-it began to reminiscence of a caprice imputed to rain-in ten miles forced to get in- I made me, reminded us of a ridiculous adventhe eighth! One of the ladies was told ture which occurred about two years ' not, on no account, to expose the child to
after our marriage.” She tells the night air'-five months old, sour milk in a
story at great length, and evidently bottle! One man did howl in his sleep,
con amore ; but we must be content an eccentricity allied, I suspect, to mad
with an outline. She and her husband I awoke once, and found the win- had driven into Kent in a low fourdows close up. Eight inside-horrible,
wheeled chaise, and enjoyed fine weamost horrible!' I was stewed—but it rained ther; but, on their return, as they the whole night, and I was obliged to en
reached Dartford, the weather broke, dure it. I was compelled to have recourse
and they were driven to take shelter to violent rage and ridicule wherever I
in the inn by a sudden storm. This could address the guard, to get any air at all. “ So, after all the pains and trouble to
was peculiarly unlucky, as both hus
band and wife were to play at the myself to avoid travelling at night in the mail, 1 exchanged it for the heuvy Liver. Haymarket on that evening. A stage. pool, (a term I shall never forget.) To coach passed, but it was full; a posttravel all night with eight people, and that chaise was ordered, but “ all the the night before I perform! However, its horses were out.” In this dilemma all over, and I am well."
there was nothing for it but to order
dinner, and, in case the weather should One piece of his ill luck was to suf- not clear up, take their chance in the fer for the rogueries and absurdities of open chaise. However, from this difwould-be rivals, some of whom adopt- ficulty they were relieved at the close ed his style, and others bore, or bor- of dinner, by the landlord's coming in rowed, his name. About this time, to mention that, if the lady would not when he was playing at Gravesend, a object to a return chaise, there was sort of military-looking servant ap- one at the gate. To this the lady did plied to him for “ an admission to the object, on the ground that the man theatre.” Mathews asked, on what might take up other travellers. Finally, ground. The fellow said, that Mrs the matter was settled by calling in Mathews knew him very well, and that the postboy, and paying him a sum she would have given it him, if she were additional, on the express condition there. And, on being asked “where that he should not take up any other he had known the lady,” his answer person by the way. It was necessary was equally prompt and startling. that Mrs Mathews should be early in " Oh, very well, when she lived with town, as she played in the first piece Captain Silcox of the 10th. I lived of the night, and as Mathews played with the Captain then, before she ran in the last, he was enabled to remain, along with you." In fact, there had and bring on the pony. been a stroller, who called himself chaise was instantly on the road. “ Mathews, the celebrated comedian," Immediately after, à hussar officer, and who had roved the country with who had been dining in the inn, and the woman in question.
had seen the departure of the lady Mathews's sensitiveness to his pro- alone, ordered his horse and followed fessional dignity was sometimes amu- her. Mathews perceiving this, and singly touched. He was in the habit indignant at the possibility of an affront of using oranges and eggs for his being offered to his wife, left his unvoice. Copeland (we presume the finished dinner on the table, ordered manager of the Dover Theatre) saw out his chaise, and galloped after her, si four oranges and two eggs in the through the storm. On reaching the list furnished. • What,' said he to parties at last, after a long and despethe property man, does he do tricks rate chase, he found, to his astonishwith them? I never heard that be- ment, and we have no doubt to his fore. Why, I saw no conjuring men- indignation, the officer seated in the tioned in the bills.'
carriage. We give Mrs Mathews's An adventure of the supposed Mrs own words_" He had whipt with such Mathews, rather oddly stimulates the desperate energy, that he had gained biographer's recollection of an adven- ground so rapidly as at length to be ture which promised very nearly to near enough to the party in advance justify the footman's mistake. The for his loud • halt' to arrest the postil. lady's expression is, “ this pleasant ion, and somewhat to startle the occu
pants of the chaise, which was imme- not only the best private theatricals diately stopt. Another stroke of his I have ever seen, but that tlie whole whip brought the pursuer parallel play of Macbeth, in point of decorawith it, and to the surprise of the tion, scenery, choruses, &c. &c., was young lady, and the confusion of the better got up than it would have been young gentleman, appeared the soaked in any theatre out of London. I was and angry husband.' The officer quite astonished, and highly amused immediately got out of the carriage with the farce. Crampton and a Mr and ran away ; the wife was, as she Corry, in the two servants, inimitatells us herself, "ordered to descend ble. The latter is really a very fine from the vehicle, and was pulled up actor.” hastily into the little chaise." Of the But on the main point, his chance officer's conduct, the narrator says, of making any addition to his own " that during his continuance in the finance, all was a blank. He predicts chaise, all was refined politeness, and the results with all the minuteness of as attention was not uncommon to one of vexation. • As to my performance my age, that which he paid me was not here, all will be a total failure. I am calculated to startle or displease.' just in the situation of a benefit at What would startle her delicacy or York on the Monday after the raco displease her vanity, it would perhaps week; and standing at the hotel on not be very easy to define ; but we Tuesday, and seeing all the company should not have been at all surprised pour out of the town! Kilkenny itself if Mr Mathews had instantly sent the does nothing for the private theatrilady home to her mamma, if she had cals. They are supported by fami
lies from the neighbourhood, and even In the autumn of this year he went as far as Dublin. They finished the to Ireland, from which he writes, plays on Saturday night, and on Sun“ I have the pleasure to tell you I day began to move. To-night there am safely landed, after a passage of is a ball and masquerade, given by nineteen hours. I was sick the whole Major Bryan, and every body is goof the way, and driven from my usual ing ; and tomorrow morning all the place, the deck, by rain, which pour- horses in the town are ordered, and ed all night, and my box-coat proved by night the town will be empty to be inadequate. On his landing This was a heap of calamity which he started for Kilkenny. Ireland, might have overwhelmed a less exthough a theatrical country, seems perienced sufferer than Mathews. never to have been a theatrical one However, he consoled himself by the for Mathews. They are a people of reflection, that the people who had jokers, and probably a professional thus deserted the town were of the joker from England was felt to be first fashion in Dublin ! Arguing, de-trop. He made his way into Kil. probably, that as they would not take kenny, then a great place for private the trouble to see him in Kilkenny, theatricals, where, of course, his thea- the consequence was clear, that they tricals came to a bad market. Kil. would in the capital. kenny has long since abandoned this To add to the other discomforts of road to fame, all its theatricals now this man of pleasantry, he was alconsisting in the farce of Papist Elec- most a constant sufferer from bodily tion, and all its heroes reduced to the indisposition.
When he had not a mummery of Joseph Hume's patrio- broken arm, he had a rheumatism ; tism. But, in other days, it exhibited when he had cured a fractured leg, a general conflux of all the neigh- he got a fever to supply its annoybouring gentry, and a compilation ance; when all else was well, he was of amateur abilities, which might regularly visited by some strange torhave done very well for a minor ture of the tongue, which swelled to theatre in London.
an unusual extent, and alternately Mathews, with his usual. Irish ill threatened dumbness and stranguläluck, arrived just in time to find every tion. At last he broke his hip, for spot occupied. 56 I came here," says
a permanent occupation; and it emhis letter to his wife, “ on Saturday ployed him during the rest of his night, time enough to see Macbeth days. At this particular period the and High Life Below Stairs. I have tongue was the tormentor. He no hesitation in saying that they are writes
“ My tongue is in statu quo, relief ap- right, for he has made it rhyme to pears hopeless. Every medical man I pull," (which he also, of course, proconsult, totally disapproves of the mode of nounced like gull.) treatment resorted to by his predecessor. From Waterford he writes again; This is comfortable, and so cheering! I bis Irish ill luck never failed bim :was miserably ill at Kilkenny, and, sus.
“ This is a wretched place for theapecting the cause, discontinued the medi
tricals—the first night very bad. Nocine for a day or two. On my journey I body knew I was to act, till the morncommenced it again ; and it nearly drove
ing of the day I appeared ; and the me mad. I can conceive nothing more
second night the rain prevented the horrible-- the fever, headache, lassitude, sickness . I was afraid to attempt to walk possibility of people going out. The
theatre is only temporary-no boxes; by myself; my legs tottered under me, and I had the sensation of very drunk yes
I don't know a human being; but the terday!' At last I became so miserably manager is a rara avis-a gentleman,
and I board with him in a most comill that a physician was sent for, and I was obliged io • up and tell him about furtable and clean house. The boxes my tongue. Why, sir, the man who are taken for to-night, and the day is gave you laudanum was mad, and you beautiful.” were mad to take it.' However, certain All this promised well, but the spell it is, I got gradually better when I dis- was not to be broken. “I had written continued the laudanum, though it has thus far,” says he, “when the Mayor taken four or five days to drive away the himself rapt at the door, to say, . The effects from my constitution.”
Queen is dead!' This has so sadly Mathews continually reminds us of deranged me and my plans, that Í the story of Carlini, the memorable know not what to do, or what to say, mimic, who, going to a physician to the play is stopped, and the poor complain of desperate dejection, re- manager in despair." ceived for answer, that, if he wanted But England was always his true to recover from it, he ought to go and anchoring ground; and his next prolaugh at Carlini! He seems to have vincial tour made amends for his Hibeen singularly assailed by mental de- bernian disasters. It has been repression, at a time when he was amu
marked of actors, that they come sing the world. In Dublin he writes
nearest to sailors in the labour of their to his wife :-"Your letters are a great gains, and the recklessness of their solace to me, for, in my blue-devil fits, expenditure ; and of sailors, that my fiend is ingenious in tormenting, “whatthey earn like horses, they spend and I am sure to brood on all sorts of
Mathews had no sooner imaginary evils. A few lines of Cur- made a little money, than he took a ran's were very congenial to my own
ninety-nine years' lease of a house and feelings, as I read them two or three grounds near Highgate, a sufficiently days back, when wandering all alone long period at least for his personal on Kilkenny Hill :
tenure; and, as immediately, com
menced that happy expedient for get«« « Whether we're sunder'd by the final ting rid of money,building! He began,
too, a collection of theatrical portraits, Or envious seas disjoining roll between,
and for those be built a gallery. ComAbsence, the dire effect is still the same, And death and distance differ but in name.
mon sagacity might have told him the
inordinate expense which this especial In the midst of his sorrows, how- addition must have involved. А ever, the ancient merriment breaks show-room, attached to a show-house, out, and he gives a happy instance of belonging to a man of mirth and native criticism. At some exhibition countless acquaintanceship, within of private theatricals, a gentleman three miles of all the idlers of London, had corrected one of the amateurs, who
Must have been a perpetual inn, and pronounced the word full like gull. so it happened. The visiters were The amateur complied with the hint not to be shut out, nor sent away; on the night of performance, but when thus time, feasting, Mathews next met him at a public were in perpetual requisition ; and if
hospitality table, he cried out to his corrector- Matthews had been a keeper of lions, “ You were wrong about that word instead of a lion himself, he could not after all ; I have found it in poetry, have been more molested by popular my boy. Hudibras has it ; and I am curiosity ; sometimes civil, sometimes
forward, but always obtrusive, and, in the tail was hid, it was a 'miniature the end, intolerable. The result was, officer." and it is difficult to state it without Undoubtedly gentlemen have a right regret, the ruin of this clever man, to caricature themselves if they please, the abandonment of the villa, on which but Mathews had the additional advanhe had wasted sums fully adequate to tage of picking up a bull. One of the have secured to him a handsome com. company said, “ Colonel Ross brings petency for life; the sale of his pic. him (the monkey) upon the table tures for little more than a third, per- every day, and if you don't immedi. haps a fourth, of what they had cost; ately give him something, he will and the consciousness that a little throw it at you." prudence would have relieved him But he caught a still more characfrom the most painful sacrifices, have teristic speech from the Colonel's serrendered the desperate efforts of his vánt, “a real Dermot," who, seeing latter years unnecessary, and in all the sun shining strongly in his face, probability have prolonged a life, said—“Sir, if you please, does the sun which mere necessity compelled him disoblige you ? If he does, I'll be after to exhaust in the vain attempt to re- putting him out of the room." trieve his broken fortunes.
All the odd people in England came The volumes contain a number of in the way of Mathews from time to letters from his friends. One from time. One of his curiosities in bis viPoole, the author of one of the most sits to the north was the little Polish original dramas of the age, Paul Pry, Count Borolawski. This was the most gives an account of a melancholy diminutive of all dwarfs; a little creaevent which he happened to witness in ture, however, of elegant form, graceParis, (July 1819.)
ful manners, and even of considerable " A dreadful accident has occurred here,
accomplishments. Mathewsthus writes which I saw and heard from my window.
from Newcastle, (1819 :)Madame Blanchard ascended from Tivoli in
“I had £53 at Durham. Mrs Siddons a balloon the night before last. It was illu- was there; and I dined in her company, minated, and she carried fire-works with her. at Dr Haggitt's, prebendary of the Soon after rising, she entered a cloud, and Cathedral; Count Borolawski, dear was lost to the sight during several seconds. fellow, was on the look-out for me On re-appearing she let off some of the with open arms. He begged I would fire-works, and shortly afterwards i per- imitate him ; I did, and he was in the ceived a stream of fire from the lower part theatre. I never heard louder shouts. of the balloon. In an instant it was in I walked about the streets with bini fames, and she fell with a terrible rapidity yesterday morning, with his hand in from a great height, still in her car, struck mine like a child. It is an undoubted with a frightful crash on the roof of a house fact, that the Count has lately grown just opposite my window, and thence rebounded into the street. 'I need scarcely age! I measured him years ago; he
an inch, though eighty-one years of add, that the poor creature was taken up dead. She was buried yesterday. I cannot
was certainly only three feet three
inches; I measured him yesterday, and get rid of the recollection of what I saw and at the moment, knowing, as I did,
he was as certainly three feet four. that it was beyond all human power to
He said, “Oh, I grow; in five hundred savé her.”
years I will be big as you; I will be
grenadier.'" To turn from this frightful topic-as From Newcastle he went to EdinSterne says of the sentimentalist, co- burgh, where he gives the people mical things come in the way of comi- credit for having had the good taste cal men. Mathews dined one day at to like him. Mathews's early feelings the barracks in York, on the invitation bad made him hostile to all the secof one of the officers. A monkey was taries ; for he regarded his father as brought in, after dinner, equipped having been bewildered by them, and by them in the full dress of the re- his own inheritance as having been giment! He was placed upon the plundered in consequence. This made table and drank a glass of wine, bow- him enjoy the triumph of the following all round. " I laughed myself ing little anecdote: “ I have received nearly into fits. You may easily ima- a letter, (which I will preserve,) from gine the odd effect, with the complete a Methodist preacher here, to say that dress, which cost three guineas. When he was the pastor of a congregation
which could not afford to purchase a shook me directly off my seat, and threw Bible, and requesting me to make me upon Daw; and in an instant the carthem a present of one, and I did so. riage broke down. George literally I have made a condition, that the fol- shrieked; and on lifting his head from lowing inscription should be
under an umbrella, where he had crouch• The gift of Charles Mathews, come
ed to protect himself from the storni, felt dian,' It is finished, and will be an- it instantly ascend (not his head but the nounced to the congregation next
umbrella) with the force of the wind; Sunday."
and found himself lying on the road, beMathews had the most extraordinary
fore he could account for the cause of his
sudden removal. ill luck with respect to weather.
As the body of the Every thunder storm of the summer
carriage lay upon the axletree, and the seemed to be directed at his especial
head was up, it was some time before we
could scramble out. My first thought was head ; if a bridge was broken down, he either went down with it, or escaped I sent George after the carts ; there were
to discover the cause of our misery; and only by miracle. If a road was
about seven or eight without drivers! You flooded, he inevitably had to swim for
may imagine our horror. The concussion his life. Winter warred against him
was so forcible, that the front spring was with peculiar malice. He lived in forced quite out of its situation, two snow-storms, was alternately drenched
yards from the carriage, without being by torrents of rain, and dried by whirl. broken. Every bolt that attached it to winds; and if our country had been the axletree was completely broken off
, fertile in avalanches and volcanoes, he and there was apparently no possibility would have been buried in the one and of its being moved from the spot.' blown up in the other; or rather, if
The situation was hopeless enough; there were but one avalanche and one volcano, he would have been sure to
but he had not reached the limit of
his misfortunes. On the carters comhe iced in the one, and been turned into sulphuric acid in the other. And
ing up, who had been drinking at the
toll-bar, and had left their carts to yet we believe him to have been a
take their chance, it was discovered man of veracity ; but it certainly was his chance to meet perpetual scrapes
that the carriage could not be moved of all kinds. This was in some mea
until it was repaired.
This was a
situation ! 66 Seven miles," says he, sure to be accounted for by the rambling life which he led, crossing the empire pouring, blowing, standing up to our
" from any house but the toll-bar ; at all times and seasons; still the proverb is true; Il n'y a que bonheur et
ankles in wet, a frightfully bleak and malheur. Luck is every thing ; and
It was too
dark to ascertain the extent of our the Fates had evidently determined that he should encounter every pos
damage, and for the first time since sible accident, short of being hanged.
we had come out, we had forgot the He writes from Dumfries an account of fortune then happened. The driver,
candles for our lamps.” Another misa November adventure of this order:
finding his horses fidgety, took them “ Did you happen to think of me on off to prevent further mischief; the Tuesday night about seven o'clock ? and horses, probably seeing the foliy of did it happen to blow a hurricane at remaining out in the storm, and reHighgate as it did in Dumfries-shire ?
If membering their stable, instantly took you could, by possibility, have taken a themselves off, on the way to Moffat, peep at me about that moment, you must have screamed at the sight.
with the postilion after them. Even We had
this was not all; the carriage beproceeded from Glasgow to within seven miles of Moffat, where we proposed to
ing dragged to the toll-bar by main
force; and the post-horses being at last stay for the night on our way to this town, There had been a deep snow of
arrested in their flight, it was settled
that Mathews should mount one of three hours' continuance, which was succeeded by a most tremendous storm of them, ride to Moffat, and send back a wind and rain. Daw (his attendant) was
smith with ropes and bolts for the carlulled to sleep, and I was enjoying home riage. This was the worst experiment in perspective, when I was roused from
of all. 66 You may fancy my ride," my reverie by frequent warnings from says the unfortunate equestrian—"up our postilion, as I imagined, to some mountains and down again, alternate drivers of carts to keep on their own sleet, snow, and pouring rain ; and a side. Suddenly a tremendous concussion stumbling old cart-horse, for he was