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world and that discriminating taste which are essential to dramatic composition. Nature lent the power, necessity gave the impulse, and after a long and painful probation she succeeded in establishing herself as a comic writer. At first her efforts were limited to the humble task of adapting French farces to an English theatre. It was the play of " Such . Things are," that introduced her as an original dramatist. Although the success of this piece was brilliant, it is in real merit at an incalculable distance from " Every One has his Fault," a play the most perfect, perhaps, of the mixed kind that is to be found in our dramatic literature, in which the author evinced her versatility by enlisting among her dramatis personse, a Siddons and a Munden, Lewis and Kemble,—a rare assemblage, that was crowned with a splendid triumph! But even this interesting play is scarcely as dramatic as her novel of" The Simple Story," in which, without the aid of theatrical representation, the seenes pasfc-in rapid succession before the reader's eye. Not for a moment is the identity of the respective personages to be mistaken: the lineaments of Sandford are indelibly imprinted on memory; we seem to have known and to have talked or trifled with the charming Miss Milner; the interest with which we pronounce the name Dornforth, is the author's panegyric. In "Nature and Art," there is more versatility of talent, and stronger intensity of feeling; the tale is desultory, the impressions it produces are almost too painful, yet where shall we find its like again? In the zenith of her popularity Mrs. Inchbald was unfortunately constrained to adapt German plays to the English stage. The task was not more unworthy of her talents than repugnant to her taste; but what will not be endured by those, who after a series of heart-sickening disappointments, are at length cheered with the prospect of success, and allured by the hope of realizing independence! Mrs. Inchbald continued therefore to concentrate her powers in the vain effort, to extract -sense and humour from the pages of Kotzebue, and to satisfy the manager and conciliate the opposing claims of rival performers. Appalled by the difficulties incident to such undertakings, she complained that she never began a play without indescribable agonies of fear, nor ever completed it without feeling like a criminal already tried and condemned. Like all people of genius, she descried favourable auspices for the commencement of her work: when these were wanting, she knew it was but lost labour to pursue her progress; whatever she wrote without the presage of success, was consigned to the flames; but no sooner was she warm with her subject, than, abandoning herself to the impulse that took possession of her mind, she wrote with unremitted ardour till its action was suspended; sometimes persisting in her labours till long after midnight, she scarcely allowed herself to take the necessary refreshment. Whatever impressions she had received from real events, she was eager to seize and to transmit in all their vivid freshness. It was after attending a trial at the Old Bailey, that she drew the inimitable scene of Hannah standing at the bar of justice, before the seducer who pronounces the fatal verdict. In the Simple Story, she is believed to have pourtrayed her own most sacred feelings; and if rumour may be credited, she had been taught by a real Dornforth to describe the anguish attendant on slighted love. Mrs. Inchbald often dwelt with pathos on the unremitted toils and difficulties imposed on a dramatic writer. She complained that her anxiety never ceased, and that even, after the great ordeal of public representation, she had to endure the cavils of criticism and repel the insinuations of malice. After frequent repetitions she saw another laurel added to her wreath, and for a short time was hailed in many a circle by friends and even rivals as the envied object of popular admiration; but the moment of triumph quickly passed, and she had to resume her efforts. In company Mrs. Inchbald was always seen to peculiar advantage: she forgot not to lend her charms the aid of dress, and when she had long resigned pretensions to y'^uth, still drew the homage so universally yielded to beauty. Her person was tall and majestic, her dark hazel eyes wore an expression of archness, agreeably softened by a smile that played almost unconsciously on her eloquent lips. There was a gentle hesitation in her speech, which though it originated in defect, she had the grace to improve into a feminine perfection. Nor was her voice without its fascination; its full clear tones were exquisitely modulated, and from her lips the most trifling sentence became impressive. Her conversation was rich in anecdotes, which, whether old or new, were rendered piquant by her admirable talent of narration. In argument she was equally irresistible; even criticism from her was graceful; and a witty barrister once said to her, "1 know not what rare beings may be found above, but sure I am there is nothing like you on earth beneath." But whatever animation she diffused in society, she had to return to her solitary lodging in Leicester-square to resume her toils, to renew her solicitudes, her involuntary regrets, her ever anticipated disappointments. To her relatives she was ever kind and considerate, although it was impossible that any sympathies or aptitudes for companionship could subsist between them. She was therefore left in the world and to the consciousness of her own loneliness ; and in spite of her temperamental gaiety, it was well known to her intimate friends that she had moments of intense melancholy, which commonly preceded her happiest seasons of literary composition. Born with keen sensibilities, it had been the business of her life to control their vehemence, but neither years nor vicissitudes had destroyed her capacities for tenderness, and opportunity only was wanting to revive their force. In the house where she resided, she became passionately attached to a child, for whom, as she herself observed, she originally meant to preserve perfect indifference,—but who, said she, could help noticing a poor helpless infant?
"The maid who cleaned my apartment was accustomed to lay him on the carpet. At first I regarded him as a troublesome intruder; but when he cried I soothed him, and was pleased to find 1 had the power to still his murmurs: this happened again and again. By degrees I wished for the hour when he was to be brought to my room, I observed his growth, I watched his thoughts. Presently he began to articulate, and I was soon struck with the traits of feeling that escaped him.—1 find his little passions already cause him to suffer much that he knows not how to express, and that pride sometimes teaches him to stifle his complaints. I love him for all that he suffers and enjoys; but above all I love him because he delights in me, and seeks me for my own sake even more than he relishes the sweet cakes with which I first offered to bribe his affections. It i3 long, very long since I have been loved or sought for myself."
The above is a trifling specimen of Mrs. Inchbald's familiar conversation, but she often contrived to introduce profound reflections in the disguise of sportive pleasantry. Her criticisms were in general perfectly just, and conveyed with true laconic brevity. It is the work of a
vOL. XI. NO. XLvI. Y
great mind, said she one day, speaking of Belinda, but not a great work; the author is capable of doing better. Of another book she complained it was too learned, and that it sent her to her dictionary, thus obliquely condemning its pedantry. The last fifteen years of her life were spent in seclusion: she still lived near the metropolis, but without mingling in its pleasures, and not only renounced the world, but relinquished her pen, lest, as she observed, she should have the misfortune to outlive her reputation. She even suppressed the publication of an autobiographical work, including the memoirs of fifteen years of her life. If this manuscript should be recoverable, it will perhaps bear away the palm of autobiography, even from Gothe. What could be more attractive than the graceful pen of Inchbald describing herself in all her early trials and subsequent conflicts of passion and duty, of reason and imagination? In suppressing this work the author has probably sacrificed that which would have constituted her most popular production; but, till the fact be positively ascertained, let no unhallowed pen presume to mar her story. There could be but one biographer worthy of Inchbald. In dismissing the autographs I should perhaps be tempted to inquire what encouragements this country offers to female authorship; but, expecting ere long to see many of the lettered belles in Miranda's Boudoir, I reserve my remarks for the present
All Nature breathes of joy, and hails the May;
The very flowers nod dance3 to the wind,
And all is nappy—even the boy confined
Repeating o'er his play-games in his mind,
By some barn-wall or low cot's sunny side,
In his mind's eye the lambs, and in young pride
And calf loud mooing in its colours pied,
SONNET. THE 8HEPHERD BOY.
Pleased with his loneliness he often lies,
Telling glad stories to his dog—and e'en
Of living company; full oft he 'II lean
Upon the fairy pictures spread below,
And happy heavens where the righteous go;
Spending spare leisure which his toils bestow,
Or flower-stuck gardens never meant to grow,
Or figures cut on trees his skill to show,
PENITENTIARIES FOR THE POLITE.
"We pity or laugh at those fatuous extravagants, while yet ourselves have a considerable dose of what makes them so." Glakville.
At a period when every charity instituted for the relief of our fellow creatures is sure of receiving the most munificent support, and when our capitalists eagerly embark their funds in every project, however wild and visionary, which promises to yield an adequate remuneration, it is really astonishing that an establishment combining a certainty of succour to a numerous and most suffering class of human beings, with a prospect of incalculable profit to the contributors, should never have suggested itself to any of our philanthropists. Such are the features of the new Institution which we are about to introduce to public notice; and though we are sufficiently aware that our benevolent countrymen, acting upon the principle that virtue is its own reward, require no sordid stimulus to their humanity, it may not be amiss to state, from the most accurate calculations, that the charity we propose is sure of being "twice bless'd" even in a financial point of view, and of rewardmg him that gives with as much certainty as it will relieve the party to whom its soothing influence will be extended. As we wish it to rest upon its own merits, moral and pecuniary, we shall waste no more time in preliminary recommendations, but proceed at once to an outlme of our plan, leaving its more perfect developement to a committee, for whose appointment a public meeting will shortly be called, and at which we earnestly solicit the attendance of all our readers, both male and female.
Every one who has been in the habit of attending to the proceedings in the Chancery Court upon applications for a commission "de Idiota inquirendo," must have been struck with the difficulty that exists in proving a man to be non compos mentis. In the case of a noble Peer, not long since brought before the public, many acts and habits were imputed to him as evidences of a non-sane mind, which are daily and hourly performed by many of his Majesty's liege subjects, without the smallest imputation upon their rationality. The law holds no man to be an idiot who has understanding enough to measure a yard of cloth, number twenty rightly, and tell the days of the week, &c.; but it is obvious that this limitation is a great deal too circumscribed, and that many who do not come within the letter of this enactment, are fairly included in its spirit. Hardly any two authorities agree as to the minimum of intellect which shall qualify a person for the management of his own affairs, while some men have been accused of madness upon grounds at once ridiculous and contradictory. "Much learning hath made thee mad," cries Festus to Paul; the Emperor Anastasius ordered the gospels to be corrected and amended, "tanquam ab idiotis evangelistis composita;" and the general uncertainty upon this subject could not be better exemplified than by the poor fellow in Bedlam, who, upon being asked the cause of his confinement, replied—" I said the world was mad, they said it was me, and they outnumbered me." Surely such a grave question as this should never be decided by acclamation, or a show of hands We may be legally wrong when we say of any half-crazy mdividual that he is a mad-brained fellow, or a moon-struck simpleton, as under the dementating influence of that planet; just as we may be literally unwarranted in pronouncing another to be dead drunk when the vital functions have not ceased; but there can be no doubt that we are virtually correct in both instances, and it is precisely for that numerous class who are included in the former epithets that our establishment will be founded. We propose, in short, to build Asylums or Penitentiaries for the Polite, all over the kingdom, for the reception and cure of all such unhappy persons as labour under a partial absurdity of conduct or sentiment, although their aberration from right reason be not of so general and marked a character as to bring them legally within the jurisdiction of the Lord Chancellor, and the guardianship of the King.
In thus wishing to provide hospitals for such patients as could not claim admission into any existing charity, however grievously they might be afflicted with the complaint of folly, we mean not, like Swift when he endowed a madhouse,
"To show by one satiric touch
but we are impressed with a deep and serious conviction that our Institution may be the means of bringing many poor creatures to their sober senses, who are now living and acting as if under the wit-shattering spells of
"The queen of night, whose large command
Rules all the sea and half the land,
And over moist and crazy brains
In high spring tides at midnight reigns."
That the reader may form a more accurate notion of the species of mental imbecility which we undertake to treat, and hope to cure, it may be requisite to mention a few of those classes which will more immediately fall within the scope of our plan, confining our notice to those patients whose case is the most urgent and lamentable.
All such ladies and gentlemen as are in the habit of wasting their nights, and even their days, seated behind pasteboard parallelograms, inscribed with barbarous coloured characters, or of throwing small numbered squares of ivory out of a wooden box, sacrificing their own health and time, and the property of themselves and families, upon the combinations which the aforesaid playthings may chance to assume, must be pronounced, by any impartial committee, so far unsound in mind as to qualify them for our hospitals for the mind, where they may be set to some honest and useful employment until a cure be effected. By this regulation our routs and balls will be cleared of sundry dowagers, spinsters, parsons, old bachelors, and other idle characters, who for hours together infest those resorts, labouring for the odd trick, or solemnly ejaculating " Propose !" and " 1 mark one for the king!"
Those mis-called gentlemen who are in the habit of putting " an enemy into their mouths to steal away their brains," or in common parlance, of making beasts of themselves, are respectfully informed that they may be accommodated in our establishments with a tread-mill, as well as comfortable stables, clean straw, and a good pump, from which they will be compelled to quaff bumpers until they have learnt that rational