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self furnished, from the stores of his own unassisted observation, nearlyall the materials of which his illustrative entertainments have been composed.
The considerate reader will pardon us for having detained him so long from those objects which are to form the staple of these papers, both in substance and in attraction. But the truth is, we have foreseen the small chance there is of our being attended to in the presence of "metal more attractive;" and have determined "to have our say" beforehand on this most enticing subject. We have now done, except in so far as regards the few words with which we shall venture to preface each letter as we present it.
We cannot do better than begin with the Theatrical letters, if it be but in compliment to the friend whose kindness permits us thus to skim the cream of his collection.
The following letter, in addition to its other merits, of style, composition, &c. proves the singular effect which theatrical representations produce on spectators of a certain class, in regard to the persons who embody the different characters represented. To a country bumpkin the abstract notion of "a play-actor" is a something which inspires a mysterious respect amounting to awe, and at the same time a sense of familiarity which almost "breeds contempt." These two opposite feelings are delightfully blended and confused together in the epistle which follows:
Mr. Wrench, Sir,—Please to excuse my freedom as streanger to you, but I have had the pleasure of seeing you many times at the theatre in Oxford.
Mr. Wrench, J. W*** presents most respectful compliments to Mr. W. begs the favor of his company at dinner to day at 2 o'clock to meet a few friends—And in the evenmg we intend to visit your theatre. Sir, I hope you will excuse this short notis.
Monday Morning, J. W***,
4th Sept. 1815. Porter of College.
An answer is requested.
Our next specimens shall be from two aspirants after theatrical fame. The infmite summariness of the first, and the cool manner in which the writer desires to be waited upon at his own residence, are remarkable. He evidently thinks that, now his mind is made up on the matter, nothing remains but to arrange the preliminaries of his engagement.
To Mr. Mathews, Aug. 13, 1815.
Sir,—I write these few lines to you, hoping that i shall succeed in what I am trying for—i am very unhappy, now my mind is all on being a stage-actor, and if you would have the goodness to stepp down to 35, Devonshire-street, Portland-place, to-day, i shall be very much a bloiged to you, as 1 have not time to come to the Haymarket. I remain yours,
R. R»*»*». The other is from a very different person—
"Some clerk foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
His mingled confidence and modesty are amusing. He feels no difficulty in offering himself as " a tragic performer of the first characters;'' and yet the utmost scope of his expectations in the affair of salary is fifteen shillings per week!
Sir,—I now wait upon you in order to offer myself to your acceptance as a tragic performer of the first characters—having studied Shakespear and other celebrated authors for several years—but I bring with me no other recommendation to your notice but my own abilities—not having appeared on any stage yet—still if you should nave the goodness to grant my suit, I think I may justly say with Norval, something makes me bold to say I will not shame thy favor. The salary I should expect would not be more than lis. per week. Pardon me, iff through ignorance have erred in addressing you—not knowing the way in which the theatrical affairs are generally transacted. Your humble Servant,
W. K"». N. B. If you think it worth your trouble, as I am now in waiting, I would give you a specimen or two of my abilities—knowing, from report, your innate worth and love of justice. To Mr. T. Dibdin, Manager, Surry Theatre." We will now take a step to higher and tenderer ground. The following is from an author—and what is more, a poet—and what is most of all, a patriot! There is something dramatic even in his epistolary style. Interrogatories issue from him in a stream. And then what novelty in the conception of introducing the overture as soon as the play is over! He thinks that the dramatists of the day have hitherto put the cart before the horse, and that an ouer-ture of course means a something which shall be given after the play is over! And what an overture is his to be!" patriotic," as he says, with a vengeance—embodying nothing less than all the national songs we possess! He may well desire to have his name concealed, lest, on the performance of his play, be should be overwhelmed with addresses from all parts of his grateful country! Of all the paradises extant in the realms of the imagination, commend us to "the Fool's Paradise." The poet's is a purgatory in comparison. But to our Letter:
"Scarboro', Dec. 9, 1804. Dear Sir,—I have written a play *, and 1 am confident h possesses merit. One (a facetious, whimsical, hypocritical, satirical, avaricious) character, 1 purposely contrived for you. Quere, can I have it introduced in London? In what time? How must 1 proceed? What obstacles will oppose me?. How shall I oppose them? What terms? Is Mr. Kelly accessible? fori want a "patriotic overture" composing, and a "patriotic song" setting to music—viz.
England, arise! see, where the gathering foe, i Like a fierce tyger, ere he takes his leap— .? \ Rise, o arise! uplift a mighty blow— X f Headlong destruction! Ruin! on them heap!! Overtdre, (which immediately strikes up at the conclusion of 5th Act,) to have for its various movements, "God Save the King"—" Rule Britannia" —" Hearts of Oak"—" Britons Strike Home."
Hope you will not be offended at my having taken this liberty with you, nor at my urging you to favor me with as early an answer as possible. And
let me entreat you to keep my name ( ) secret, for I mean to be
kuown only as, Dear Sir, Yours, &c.
Wm. Rumbert. N.B. Best respects to Mrs. . Perhaps I may err in my superscription—fori only heard per chance you were at Drury-lane. If you are not, permit me to say you deserve to be there.
* "Patriotic Incidents, or the Nightly Watch i in five acts. Altogether pro tem pore—the title will convince—it will readily be licensed."
We will now return to the humbler walks of professional life. The following effusion is the joint production of two brothers, who seem, in this instance, to have been sick of too much health. The " bons," (as they call them) with which the worthy proprietor of Vauxhall had favoured them, were any thing but bons to them! Their consternation at the unremitting attacks that are made upon them—their tender solicitude lest Mr. Barrett should suspect them of disaffection to his interests, in not helping to fill his gardens with orders—and their innocent despair at the "distressing necessity" to which they are reduced of being compelled to solicit the favour of being allowed to forego the favour he had conferred upon them—all this is the perfection of naivete.
"London, Aug. 1, 1820.
Much Respected Sir,—Your kind generosity was so great that you bestowed on us, your horn-players at Wauxhall, two Bons, which we with the most grateful sensibility accepted; but in the course of time we find hout that this intended favor was for us an severe punishment. We are every day besieged; they say, two bons make a little party, and for this reason, in the course of the season, more than 300 person ask, and constantly plag us for the bons—so that we are at last under the distressing necessity to solicit your kind permission and consent to rennounce and give up the bons. But if we lose the bons, we wish never and never to lose your kmd protection. Consequently, we most humbly solicit the favor to "be always at your service, at least as long as we can decently do our duty, as we prefer the engagement at Wauxhall to any other at London.
We remain, with the greatest respect, much respected Sir, Your most grateful and humble Servants, To G. N. Barrett, Esq. Joseph & Peter .
Strokwell. Horns at Wauxhall.
Perhaps after all this prose the reader may like to see n little verse. He may be assured that what follows is written in as sober seriousness as any of the preceding. It will explain itself.
"Impromptu. To Mt Dear Mary, Sunday Night, 31 Oct. 13.
Conway, the object my Mary wished to view—
We shall conclude our extracts for the present, with an epistle sent from a clown at the Dublin Theatre to his wife in London. The following, like the specimen which precedes it, is certainly neither prose nor verse; but we will venture to say that it is poetry, if the simple outburstings of a sincere and deep-seated affection are such. In the midst of its infinite confusion of times, persons, and things, there are touches of passion which nothing purely fictitious ever possessed. The benediction that intervenes between the two postscripts is the sublime of simple nature. The reader must not be content with a single perusal of this letter. On the first reading, its somewhat recondite orthography may perhaps interfere with its effect. But when it can be read over without pausing to puzzle out the meaning of the words, he who can so read it, and not be touched by it, even to the very verge of tears, may be assured that he is either not made of " penetrable stuff," or that his heart and affections are not in a healthful state. We should shrewdly suspect such a person of being secretly addicted to melo-drams!
My Dear Aingbl,—I reaseaved your Leater, and 1 am a stonisht that you did not start off the moment the theatre closed, after what I have role to you and leting you know what a situation I am in. I am a stonisht that you did not pay more a tencion—was you in a straing country I wold not serve you so —you are braking my hart by eanchis—I have ben bad a nuf before I reseved this Leter—but this has cut me to the senior of my hart. I am walking the streets from morning to night and till morning again—if you are not started before you reaseve this Leter, I shal expect you will start of on the recpt of this Leater, wich you will reaseve on Monday, 12 of November, wich 1 shall expect you will come of by the male at night; and if you arc not over in Dublin on the thursday (blowing, 1 shal start on the fryday folowing, if I am abel to start—for it is no youse for you to come over heare then—for you lose your engadgment—for Mr. Joneston says he must engadg sum one Elce in your situation—so you know my sentiments.
Dam the election and the theatre—if you wish to make me hapy you will mind what I have rote to you, So no more from
your ever loving and obedient husband.
If it mines me I will start on fryday if you are not over on thursday. If you start on raonday night you will be in Dublin on thursday.
God bless your eyes.
The theatre is shut up, and I have just money a nofe left to bring me to holey head—and if you are not over on thursday the 15, or friday the 16, by God 1 will come of if 1 walk all the way from the head to London—thearfor do not come if you do not come of in time.
O fany—1 did not think you wold treat me so—to lca\e me in a straing country—I could not treat poor Lobskey so—much more your loving husband."
If the critics do not pronounce this to be the perfection of the natural, in point of style as well as matter, we would beg them to explain what is.
LINES ON ACCIDENTALLY POSSESSING AND RETURNING
I Know not, Lady, which commandment
To make us chiefly break;
Turn thief and risk my neck.
So, if I stole this treasure
Repent it at my leisure.
Would merit Wisdom's stricture.
I send you back the picture. C
THE BAR AND ITS LOGIC.
Thb Bar in England is a profession of considerable honour and great emolument. There are some of its members, though few in comparison to the whole body, who give place to none in liberality of mind, strength of intellect, and the possession of useful knowledge. Many individuals who have studied the law, and some who have been Called to the Bar, having gained that knowledge of the institutes of their country which every English gentleman should possess, and acquired those habits of attention and diligence necessary in studying for the profession, have gone no further; but, leaving it before they were imbued with its exclusive character, have ascended to eminence in pursuits, for which, had they become lawyers in practice, they could never have been qualified. It is of the practised lawyer only that I would at present speak, or of the class so considered by the bulk of the profession. It is curious, that though an individual may obtain great success at the Bar, he may be denominated a bad lawyer by the fraternity; and that those who are considered 'good lawyers' by their brethren, are often but little known in society. The gentlemen at the Bar allow, that the great object of a counsel is to obtain a verdict for his client, be he right or wrong, in any mode that the Court will allow; but they will deny the most successful advocates to be lawyers, if they be deficient in a knowledge of certain technicalities and black-letter reading. Yet are the Judges commonly chosen from the most successful advocates; and when we find, that upon abstruse points of law no two lawyers will agree, (except they be Crown-lawyers giving an opinion for the Crown,) it may easily be believed that a 'good lawyer' in the view of the profession, is both a less clever and less useful man than a successful counsel. On the latter all the reputation of the Bar with society must rest. A good counsel may not make so good a Judge as he did a counsel; but if he who has been most successful in his profession is to be deemed inferior to one who has neither genius nor eloquence, but simply a good memory to treasure up his readings, the qualifications required in lawyers must be in an inverse ratio to the impression which they produce in the world. To narrow and render more dry a study sufficiently so already in the eyes of all who are not of the initiated, is to inflict an injury upon the pursuit itself. There is obscurity enough hanging round it out of its own limits. Except such men as Lord Erskine and a few others, whose names and talents have been connected with some extraneous incident or political event; or, like Brougham in the Senate, owing their force to a union of political and legal talent; the mere lawyer runs his career with little notice from the world, and his name mostly dies with him, except among his brethren of the Bar. Like Dives, he has all his good things in this life, lie is not ambitious of fame, but as a means of lucre. Gold is his stimulant, and fortune the reward of his exertions. Lord Mansfield, I think, it was, who kept a guinea in his hand when pleading a cause, at a time he did not expect to receive a fee. Without the habitual prompter of his eloquence, he feared he might not be successful. The artist, the poet, or the soldier, pursue the "bubble reputation"—they can suffer and labour for a reward in reversion; but the spirit of the lawyer Hags if the glittering metal be not