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tors, and walking noblemen.
“ There is something in the set of that TALES OF A TRAVELLER. hat, and the turn of that physiognomy,
that is extremely familiar to me," said In the additional Number 79 of Buckthorne. He looked a little closer. the PORTFOL10, with the Portrait of the camnot be mistaken;" added he, # continuation of extracts from this truncheon Flimsey, the tragic hero of work, and we are convinced that our the Strolling Company." readers will feel delighted at the perusal
It was he in fact. The poor fellow of the following Tale: indeed, we do not showed evident signs that times went
recollect ever reading any work wherein hard with him, he was su finely and every character was so highly and so shabbily dressed. His coat was somenaturally finished ; and we assure the what threadbare, and of the Lord Townly highly-gifted author of this beautiful cut; single-breasted, and scarcely capapublication, that if the admiration of ble of meeting in front of his body, the Public is half as great us our own, he which, from long intimacy, had acquired must indeed have reason to be proud of the symmetry and robustness of a beer being known as the writer of
barrel. He wore a pair of dingy-white
stockinet pantaloons, which had much THE STROLLING MANAGER. ado to reach his waistcoat; a great
As I was walking one morning with quantity of dirty cravat; and a pair of Buckthorne near one of the principal old russet-coloured tragedy boots. theatres, he directed my attention to a When his companions had dispersed, group of those equivocal beings that Buckthorne drew him aside, and made may often be seen hovering about the himself known to him.
The tragic stage doors of theatres. "They were veteran could scarcely recognize him, or marvellously ill favoured in their attire, believe that he was really his quondam their coats buttoned up to their chins ; associate, * little gentleman Jack." yet they wore their hats smartly on one Buckthorne invited him to a neighbourside, and had a certain knowing, dirty- iag coffee-house, to talk over old times; gentleman like alr, which is common to and in the course of a little while we the subalterns of the drama. Buckthorne were put in possession of his history in knew them well by early experience.
brief. “ These," said he, “ are the ghosts of He had continued to act the heroes in departed kings and heroes; fellows who the strolling company for some time after sway sceptres and trunebeons; command Buckthorne had left it, or rather had kingdoms and armies; and after giving been driven from it so abruptly. At away realms and treasures over night, length the manager died, and the troop have scarce a shilling to pay fora breakfast was thrown into confusion. Every one in the morning. Yet they have the true aspired to the crown, every one was for vagabond abhorrence of all useful and taking the lead; and the manager's industrious employment; and they have widow, although a tragedy queen, and a their pleasures too; one of which is to brimstone to boot, pronounced it utterly lounge in this way in the sunshine, at impossible for a woman to keep any the stage-door, during rehearsals, and controul over such a set of tempestuous make hackneyed theatrical jokes on all rascallions. passers-by. Nothing is more traditional “ Upon this bint, I spake," said and legitimate than the stage. Old Flimsey. “I stepped forward, and scenery, old clothes, old sentiments, old offered my services in the most effectual ranting, and old jokes, are banded down way. They were accepted. In a week's from generation to generation; and will time I married the widow, and succeeded probably continue to be so until time to the throne. • The funeral baked shall be no more. Every hanger-on of meats did coldly furnish forth the mara theatre becomes a wag by inheritance, riage table, as Hamlet says. But the and flourishes about ať tap-rooms and ghost of my predecessor never haunted sixpenny clubs with the property jokes me; and I inherited crowns, sceptres, of the green-room.
bowls, daggers, and all the stage trapWhile amusing ourselves with recon- pings and trumpery, not omitting the noitring this group, we noticed one in widow, without the least molestation. particular, who appeared to be the “I now led a flourishing life of it ;
for oracle. He was a weather-beaten vete our company was pretty strong and ran, a little bronzed by time and beer, attractive, and as my wife and I took the who had no doubt grown grey in the heavy parts of tragedy, it was a great
THE TALES OF A TRAVELLER.
323 saving to the treasury. We carried off making the heavens almost tuo hot the palm from all the rival shows at hold hin. svuntry fairs; and I assure you we have “ At length, as luck would have it, we even drawn full houses, and been ap- were performing at a country fair, when plauded by the critics of Bartlemy Fair I understood the theatre of a neighbour-, itself, though we had Astley's troop, the ing town to be vacant. I had always Irish giant, and the death of Nelson' iu been desirous to be eurolled in a settled waxwork, to contend against.
company, and the height of my desire “ I soon began to experience, however, was to get on á par with a brother-in-law, the cares of command. 1 discovered who was manager of a regular theatre, that there were cabals breaking out in and who had fooked down upon me. the company, headed by the clown, who Here was an opportunity not to be you may recollect was a terribly peevish, neglected. . I coucluded an agreement fractious fellow, and always in ill humour. with the proprietors, and in a few day's I had a great mind to turn him off at opened the theatre with great eclat. once, but I could not do without him, Behold me now at the summit of my for there was not a droller scoundrel on ambition, the high top-gallant of my the stage. His very shape was comic, joy," as Romeo says. No longer a for he had but to turn his back upon the chieftaio of a waimleriug tribe, but a audience, and all the ladies were ready monarch of a legitimate throne, and enw die with laughing. He felt his import- titled even to call the great potentates of ance, and took advantage of it. He Covent-garden and Drury-lane Busins. would keep the audience in a continual You, no doubt, think my happiness comroar, and then come belrind the scenes, plete. Alas, sirs! I was one of the most and fret and fume, and play the very uncomfortable dogs living. No one knows, devil. I excused a great deal in him, who has not tried, the miseries of a manahowever, knowing that comic actors are ger, but above all, of a country manager. a little prone to this infirmity of temper. -No one can conceive the contentions
“I had another trouble of a nearer and quarrels within doors, the oppresand dearer nature to struggle with, which sions and vexations from without. I was was the affection of my wife. As ill pestered with the bloods and loungers of luck would have it, she took it into her a country town, who infested my greenhead to be very fond of me, and became room, and played the mischief among intolerably jealous. I could not keep a my actresses. But there was no shaking pretty girl in the company, and hardly them off It would have been ruin to dared embrace an ugly one, even when affront them; for though troublesome my part required it. I have known her friends, they would have been dangerous reduce a fine lady to tatters, to very enemies. Then there were the village ragg,' as Hamlet says, in an instant, and critics and village amateurs, who were destroy one of the very best dresses in continually tormenting me with advice, the wardrobe, merely because she saw me and getting into a passion if I would not kiss her at the side scenes ; though I give take it; especially the village doctor and you my honour it was done merely by the village attorney, who had both been way of rehearsal.
to London occassionally, and knew what « This was doubly annoying, because I acting should be. have a natural liking to pretty faces, I had also to manage as arrant a crew and wish to have them about me; and of scape-graces as ever were collected because they are indispensable to the together within the walls of a theatre. I success of a company at a fair, where had been obliged to combine my original one has to vie with so many rival theatres. troop with some of the former troop of But' wben once a jealous wife gets a the theatre, who were favourites of the freak in her head, there's no use in public. Here was a mixture that protalking of interest or any thing else. duced perpetual ferment. They were all Egad, sir, I bavemore than once trembled the time either fighting or frolicking when, during a fit of her tantrums, she with each other, and I scarcely know was playing high tragedy, and flourishing which mode was least troublesome. If her tin dagger on the stage, lest she they quarrelled, every thing went wrong; should give
way to her humour, and stab and if they were friends, they were consome fancied rival in good earnest. tinually playing off some prank upon
“I went on better, however, than could each other or upon me; for I had un. be expected, considering the weakness of happily acquired among them the chamy flesh, and the violence of my rib. I racter of an easy, good-natured fellow, had not a much worse time of it than old the worst character that a manager can Jupiter, whose sponse was continually possess. ferretting out some new intrigue, and Their waggery at times drove me
almost crazy; for there is nothing so they swallowed up all the profits by their vexatious 'as the hackneyed tricks and insatiable demands. They were absolute hoaxes and pleasantries of a veteran tape-worms to my little theatre;
the band of theatrical vagabonds. I relished more it took in, the poorer it grew. They them well enough, it is teue, while I were sure to leave me with an exhausted was merely one of the company, but as a public, empty benches, and a score or inanager I found them detestable. They two of affronts to settle among the town's were incessantly bringing some disgrace folk, in consequence of misunderstandings upon the theatre by their tavern frolicki, about the taking of places. and their pranks about the country town. But the worst thing I had to undergo All my lectures about the importance of in my managerial career was patronage. keeping up the dignity of the profession Oh, sir! of all the things deliver me from and the respectability of the company the patronage of the great people of a were in vain. The villains 'could not country town. it was my ruin. You sympathize with the delicate feelings of a must know that this town, though small, man in station. They even trified with was filled with feuds, and parties, and the seriousness of the stage business. I great folks ; being a busy little trading and have had the whole piece interrupted, manufacturing town. The mischief was, and a crowded audience of at least that their greatness was of a kind not to be iwenty-five pounds kept waiting, because settlež by reference to the court calendar, the actors had bid away the breeches of or college of heraldry; it was therefore Rosalind;
and have known Hamlet to, the most quarrelsome kind of greatuess stalk solemnly on to deliver his soliloquy, ju existence. You smile, sir, but let me with a dishclout pinned to his skirts. tell you there are no feuds more furious Such are the baleful consequences of a than the frontier feuds which take place manager's getting a character for good in these “debatable lands” of gentility. liature.
The most violent dispute that I ever I was intolerably annoyed, foo, hy the knew in high life was one which occurred great actors who came down starring, as at a country town, on a question of preit is called, from London. Of all bane. cedence between the ladies of a manuful influences, keep me from that of facturer of pins and a manufacturer of a London star. A first rate actress, needles. gcing the rounds of the country theatres, At the town where I was situated there is as bad as a blazing comet whisking were perpetual altercations of the kind. about the heavens, and shaking fire and The head manufacturer's lady, for inplagues and discords from its tail.
stance, was at daggers-drawings with the The moment one of these “heavenly, head shopkeeper's, and buth were too bodies" appeared in my horizon, I was rich and had two many friends to be sire to be in hot water. My theatre was treated lightly. The doctor's and lawyer's overrun by provincial dandies, copper. Jadlies held their heads still higher; but washed counterfeits of Bond-street loun- they in their turn were kept in check by gers, who are always proud to be in the wife of a country banker, who kept the train of an actress from town, and her own carriage; while a masculine anxious to be thought on good terms with widow of cracked character and secondher. It was really a relief to me when some hand fashion, who lived in a large house, random young nobleman would come and claimed to be in some way related to in pursuit of the bait, and awe all this nobility, looked down upon them all. To small fry at a distance. I have always be sure, her manners felt myself more at ease with a noblevian elegant, nor her fortune over large; but than with the dandy of a country town. then, sir, her blood-oh, her blood carried
And then the injuries I suffered in my it all hoilow; there was no withstanding personal dignity and my managerial au a woman with such blood in ker veins. thority from the visits of these great After all, her claims to high connexion London actors! 'Sblood, sir, I was no were questioned, and she had frequent Jonger master of myself on my thrope. battles for precedence at balls and asI was hectored and lectured in my own semblies with some of the sturdy dames green-room, and made an absolute nin- of the neighbuurhood, who stood upon compoop ou my own stage. There is no their wealth and their virtue; but then Tyrant so absolute and capricious as a she had two dashing daughters, who Loudon star at a country theatre. I diessed as fine as dragons, had as high dreaded the sight of all of them, and blood as their mother, and seconded hier yet if I did not engage them, I was sure in every thing: so they carried their of having the public clamorous against point with high heads, and every body me. They drew full houses, and ap- hated, abused, and stood in awe of the peared to be making my fortune; but Fantadlins.
were not over
THE TALES OF A TRAVELLER.
325 Such was the state of the fashionable plunders a sinking ship. Day after day world in this self-important little town. some of the troop deserted, and like Unluckily, I was not as well acquainted deserting soldiers carried off their arms with its politics as I should have been. and accoutrements with them. In this I had found myself a stranger and in manner my wardrobe took legs and great perplexities during my first season; 'walked away, my finery strolled all over i determined, therefore, to put myself the country, my swords and daggers under the patronage of some powerful glittered in every barn, until, at last, my name, and thus to take the field with the tailor made" one fell swoop," and carried prejudices of the public in my favour. I off three dress coats, half a dozen cast round my thoughts for the purpose, doublets, and nineteen pair of heshand in an evil hour they fell upon Mrs. coloured pantaloons. This was the “be Fantadlin. No one seemed to me to have all and the end all” of my fortune. I a more absolute sway in the world of no longer hesitated what to do. Egad, fsshion. I had always noticed that her thought I, since stealing is the order of party slammed the box door the loudest the day, I'll steal too; so I secretly at the theatre; that her daughters en- gathered together the jewels of my wardtered like a tempest with a flutter of red robe, packed up a hero's dress in a shawls and feathers; had most beaux handkerchief, slung it on the end of a attending on them; talked and laughed tragedy sword, and quietly stole off at during the performance, and used quiz- dead of night, “the bell then beating zing glasses incessantly. The first evening one,” leaving my queen and kingdoin to of my theatre's re-opening, therefore, was the mercy of my rebellious subjects, and announced in staring capitals on the my merciless foes the bum-bailiffs. play-bills, as under the patronage of Such, sir, was the “ end of all my great. the Honourable Mrs. Fantadlin."
." I was heartily cured ofall passion Sir, the whole community flew to arms! for governing, and returned once more Presume to patronize the theatre! In- into the ranks. I had for some time the sufferable! And then for me to dare usual run of an actor's life; I played in to term her "The Honourable!". What various country theatres, at fairs, and in claim had she to the title, forsooth! The barns; sometimes hard pushed, somefashionable world had long groaned under times flash, until, on one occasion, I the tyranny of the Fantadlins, and were came within an ace of making my forglad to make a common cause against tune, and becoming one of the wonders this new instance of assumption. All of the age. minor feuds were forgotten. The doctor's I was playing the part of Richard the lady and the lawyer's lady met together, Third in a country barn, and in my best and the manufacturer's lady and the 'style, for, to tell you the truth, I was a shopkeeper's lady kissed each other; and little in liquor, and the critics of the all, headed by the banker's lady, voted company always observed that I played the theatre a bore, and determined to en with most effect when I had a glass too courage nothing but the Indian Jugglers, much. There was a thunder of applause and Mr. Walker's Eidouranion.
when I came to that part where Richard Such was the rock on which I split. I cries for “ a horse a horse!". My never got over the patronage of the Fan- cracked voice had always a wonderful tadlin family. My house was deserted; effect here ; it was like two voices run 'my actors grew discontented, because into one ; you would have thought two they were ill paid; my door became a men had been calling for a horse, or that hammering place for every bailiff in the Richard had called for two horses. And country; and my wife became more and when I flung the taunt at Richmond, more shrewish and tormenting, the more “ Richard is hoarse with calling thee to I wanted comfort.
arms,” I thought the barn woulil have I tried for a time the usual consolation come down about my ears with the rapof a harrassed and henpecked man; I tures of the audience. took to the bottle, and tried to tipple The very next morning a person wait. away my cares, but in vain.
I don't ed upon me at my lodgings : 1 saw at mean to decry the bottle; it is no doubt once he was a gentleman by his dress, an excellent remedy in many cases, but for he had a large brooch in his busom, it did not answer in mine. It cracked thick rings on his fingers, and sell a my voice, coppered my nose, but neither quizzing-glass. And a gentleman he improved my wife nor my affairs. My proved to be, for I soon ascertained that establishment became a scene of con- he was a kept anthor, or kind of literary 'fusion and peculation. I was considered tailor to one of the great London the a ruined man, and of course fair game atres; one who worked under the mayai for every one to pluck at, as every one ger’s directions, and cut up and cut
down plays, and patched and pieced, Jence, declaring myself unworthy of and new faced, and turned them inside such praise. out; in short, he was one of the readiest “ 'Sblood, man,” cried he,“ no praise aod greatest writess of the day,
at all. You don't imagine I think you He was now on a foraging excursion a wonder; I only want the public to in quest of something that might be gut think so. Nothing is:0 easy as to gull the up for a prodigy. The theatre, it seems, public, if you ooly set up a prodigy. was in desperate condition-nothing but Common talept any body can measure by a miracle could save it. He had seen common rule; but a prodigy sets all me act Richard the night before, and rule and measurement at defiance.". had pitched upon ine for that miracle. These words opened my eyes in an I had a remarkable bluster in my style, instant. we now came to a proper underand swagger' in my yait; I certainly standing ; less flattering, it is true, to my differed from all other heroes of the vavity, but much more satisfactory to barn; so the thought struck the agent to my judgment. bring me out as a theatrical wonder, as It was agreed that I should make my the restorer of natural and legitimate appearance before a London audience, acting, as the only one who could under- as a dramatic sun just bursting from be'stand and act Shakspeare rightly. hind the clouds : one that was to banish
When he opened his plan i surunk all the lesser lights and false fires of the from it with becoming inudesty; for, stage. Every precaution was to be well as I thought of myself, I doubted taken to possess the public mind at every my competency to such an undertaking. avenue. The pit was to be packed with
I binted at my imperfect knowledge sturdy clappers; the newspapers secured of Shakspeare, having played his cha- by vehement puffers; every theatrical racters only after mutilated copies, inter- resort to be haunted by hireling talkers. In klarded with a great deal of my own talk : a word, every engine of theatrical bumbug by way of lielping memory or heighlen. was to be put in action. Wherever I dif ing the effect.
fered from former actors, it was to be “ So much the better,” cried the gen. maintained that I was right and they were tleman with rings on his fingers; « so wrong. If I ranted, it was to be pure much the better. New readings, sir - passion; if I were vulgar, it was to be new readings! Don't study a line-let pronounced a familiar touch of nalure; us have Shakspeare after your own it I made any queer blunder it was to be fashion.”
a new reading. If my voice cracked, or “ But then my voice was cracked; it I got out in my part, I was only to could put fill a London theatre." bouyce, and grin, and suarl at the audi
“So much the better; so much the ence, and make any horrible grimace better! The public is tired of intona- that came into my head, and my adinition--the ore rotundo has had its day. rers were to call it a great point," and No, sit, your cracked voice is the very to fall back and shout and yell with thing-spit ani splutter, and snap and rapture. snarl, and play the very dog' about the « In short,” said the gentleman with stage, and you'll be the inaking of us.” the quizzing glass, “strike out boldly
" But then," I could not help blush- and bravely: no matter how or what you ing to the end of iny ery nose as I saię do, so that it be but odd and strange. it, but I was determineil to he candid ;-- If you do but escape pelting the first “ but then," added 1, " there is one night, your fortune and the fortune of awkward circumstance; I have an un. the theatre is made.”. lucky habit-my misfortunes, and the I set off for London, therefore, in comexposures to which one is subjected in pany with the kept author, full of new country barus, have obliged me now and plans and new hopes. I was to be the then to-lomake a drop of sometbing restorer of Shakspeare and Nature, and comfortable and so-and so
the legitimate drama; my very swagger “What! you drivk?” cried the agent was to be heroic, and my cracked voice eagerly.
the standard of elocution, Alas, sir, my I bowed my head in blushing acknow. usual luck attended me: before I arrived ledgment.
at the metropolis, a rival wonder had ap“ So much the better ! so much the peared, a woman who could dance the better! the irregularities of genius! A slack rope, and ron up a cord from the sober fellow is common-place. The stage to the gallery with fire, works all public like an actor that drinks. Give round her. She was seized on by the me your hand, sir. You're the very man manager with avidity. She was the to make a dash with."
saving of the great national theatre for I still hung back with lingering diffi. the season. Nothing was talked of but