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“ What players are they?
Even those you were wont to take such delight in.”


A very high authority * has pronounced that to be a laudable curiosity which leads men to seek out the private histories and characters of those persons who have astonished the world by their exploits, or enlightened it by their genius. Their manners, habits, and even their foibles, are admitted to be objects of a natural, justifiable interest and inquiry to the world. Under such liberal admission of the popular right, its influence over dramatic genius must necessarily be included.

Actors are indubitably the legitimate property of

* Dr. Johnson.


the public. Their talents,-nay, their very persons, when labouring in their vocation, are no more their own than are the various characters which they of necessity assume upon the stage, where each man has, in effect, made over to his audience a lease of his personal tenement, which is at once mortgaged for a con-si-de-ra-tion, and unredeemable until the fall of the green curtain. While upon the boards, actors are not only “ her majesty's servants,” but the vassals of all those who, for the time, possess the purchased right not only to a taste of their quality, but to pronounce upon its flavor according to the particular relish imbibed by their various palates, humours, and tastes, from that very gentlemanlike personage without a coat in the oneshilling gallery, whose stentorian lungs from time to time enforce the general "Silence !” and the little ragamuffin boy who comes in at half-price, with a chartered privilege of disturbing the whole house with his shrill penny-trumpet voice, and his vociferous Hencore !” down to the grave gentleman in black who is seated in critical majesty in the front row of the pit. All, from the ceiling to the basement of the building, sit invested in the brief authority of the hour, and exercise it accordingly, to the very extent of their immunity, either to hiss or applaud, approve or condemn to laugh at the actor or weep with him (as the case may be), in full impunity of power, at the small cost of from one shilling to seven per night. At such low price

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