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bling those of former days, to afford much variety of interest; partly because our materials begin to get scanty, and our authorities dubious; and partly because, were they ever so copious and correct, the modern vicissi. tudes of theatrical affairs, like most other occurrences of our own tines, þeing fresh in the recollection of all observant persons, are as yet, too common-place to be read with much attention, unless they were handled by some skilful writer.
The old theatre of Drury-lane was pulled down in 1791, rebuilt in 1794, and destroyed by fire, on Friday evening, Feb. 24, 1809. The present structure was designed by Mr. Benjamin Wyatt, in a style which combined, in a rare degree, classical şimplicity with splendor and magnificence. The new theatre was opened on the 10th of October, 1812. Experience having proved, that the audience part of the house was too large, it was, soon after the demise of the property to Mr. Elliston, pulled down to the outer walls; and through the unremitting exertions of Mr. Beazley, the Architect, and the several artists under his direction, it was, in the course of sixty days, again in a state fit to receive an audience. On Thursday, the 16th of October, 1822, it was re-opened; when a witty address, by the the witty George Colman, was delivered by Mr. Terry, with that chaste humour, and pointed emphasis, which are peculiarly his own. These es tensive alterations are both described, and justified, in the following lines of the Address :
“ Thus then our Manager, who scouts the fears
of pulling an old house about his ears,
THE LOVER'S LEAP.*
-BEHOLD you beetling rock, whose brow
Ahout ten miles to the south of Dublin, and just on the borders, of the County of Wicklow, is situated a very beautiful and romantic glen, called the Dargle,' the joint property of Lord Monk, and the Hon. James Grattan, son, of the late celebrated orator. To this chosen spot many a gay and happy party re. pair from the noise and bustle of the City, to enjoy its delightful scenery, a cold dinner in “ Grattan's cottage,” and a dance at evening on the grass. A rock, which is called “the Lover's Leap,” rises to a considerable height above the glen. The circomstance which gave it that name, is detailed in the following little poem, which is supposed to be recited near the spot.
Came hither to enjoy the scene,
They langh'd and revel'd, till the sun
They spoke no word of rage or hate,
in each fearful pause of fate,
-no hand was nigh,
The Victor's eye no longer flash'a,
And then he silently withdrew.-
I can as well be hung as tell the
TAANKS to my persevering inactivity, by which I intend to express something more than forbearance, and to the progress of time; I have escaped from that babel of discourse--the board of festive nonsense, and human foolery. Do I again breathe the air of retirement, and can ] once more think in quiet ? Happy relief from the toil of fashionable enjoyment! How preferable to me the narrow limits of my elevated study, to the noisy mansions of boisterous hilarity! Here I can, at least, taste my attic enjoyments with tranquility, and still prefer my scanty meal, with the spirits of the dead,—not in the resurrection of their earthly forms, but the forms of their earthly productions—to a life's communion in luxurious abundance, with the spirits of a modern Party,' made up of party spirit, and heightened into intemperance by spirituous libations. However, here I am, returned from the scene, and once more musing o'er the past, for the improvement of the future; and thus easing my shoulders from the burthen of the present. The búrthen of the present!-happy achievement ! O man! thou most strange apomaly! alive to the conviction, that assuredly,
A moment we shall want,
Yet, dead to the lesson which that assurance reads, we are still ready to give away empires to contract the path of existence at the one end, and would yet give worlds to lengthen it, but one short pace, at the other! And that—but hold ;-I find I am exemplifying my truism, and shortening my moments by untimely lengthening my story, and that too at the wrong end; for the moral should at all events, if at all, come in at the conclusion, -'tis the rule of fable as well as of life.
To return to the Party—in thought only I mean, or in remembrance' keep me, I pray, from the reality! How shall I perform my task? Shall I paint, as far as the hue of words and other tints of expression can (by the aid of such a pen as mine) give to it, the full description of the motley scene; leading you from the first step over the threshold of the drawing room,the formal introduction,-“ Mr. Brownstudy, Mr. Simpson-Mr. Simpson, Mr. Brownstudy ?" And so on through the whole of the first scene of this living farce--the responsive nod, which politeness in her necessity consents to pass for a bow—for what bowing could keep pace with the rapidity of this calling over of the company ?-which, by the bye, reminded me of the mustering of the school-boys, when the time was, that I have often had to repeat the sulky“ here,” or answer with my body the default. Leading you through the routine of tea, cards, supper, songs, and departure-last and best! Shall I do this, or shall I rather pick up, here and tħere, along the track of memory, a souvenir or two of past incidents and
reflections, and write them down for amusement or for wisdom? The latter be the course; for while that will give scope for far more abilities than I can bring to the task, the other would demand the talents of an unknown, and the known talents of a Cruickshanks, to give a fair idea of the thing it would describe.
The object of the evening being the celebration of the coming of age of the son and heir of the host and hostess, it should be observed, that the party, therefore, consisted chiefly of young persons, selected from the circle of their acquaintance, and mostly merchants', and some, perhaps, lawyers' clerks.-Let not my readers smile at the latter, for they might have been articled, and then they are gentlemen, “according to the statute in that case made and provided;"- and most fortunately provided too, for them. Magic effects of £120, which often make a gentleman of one, who otherwise might want every requisite of education, honour, or honesty ! For the ladies--I know not of what rank they might be; from the dress, b might have concluded they had been ladies of title; but as the company they mixed with denied that to be the case, I supposed that some foolishly fond parents, not believing the poet, that
“ Beauty needs not the foreign aid of ornament;
had thus decked out their youthful offspring, partly from pride, and partly from speculative interest, according to the homely maxim of, “there's nothing like appearance." But this custom of fashionable waste of silks and satins has, I fear, too frequently both for cause and effect, only pride pride! Their conversation, too, often belied their appearance. The dis cord of a verb with its nominative case was smoothed down by the rustling of satins, or the simper of fashionable discourse ;'or the jarring of two negatives, by the eloquence lurking beneath auburn ringlets hanging over ivory shoulders, or peeping through summer blossoms on a wintry night. Indeed, from the contrast of appearances and discourse, we might at times be almost induced to draw “conclusions most forbidden.”
Having stumbled throngh the ordeal of the introductory foolery, with a sufficiency of awkwardness in my haste to get over it, I found myself at last seated by the side of a young blooming damsel, who, casting her looks obliquely past me, would ever and anon," let her eyes go off at an angle of 45° to steal a glance at her singular neighbour; but I soon managed, by gradually backing my chair out of the circle, to bury myself behind her, shoulders, and there escape her kind regards. Now, why this lady should thus bestow her attention upon me, is a question which naturally arises in my mind; and in order to avoid the imputation of vanity, which might give strong inference, I must disclose a few of my real defects.
You must know, then, that I remain little indebted to nature for any preference shewn to me in the mould in which it pleased her that I should be cast. Tall and lanky, and of a countenance which, though it would not perhaps entitle me to dispute the palm of uglinesss with Liston himself, yet possesses in no inferior degree all that vacuity of expression, and total want of regularity, Deficient of the least resemblance to a line of beauty, , but fertile in lines bearing a much closer similitude to Sterne's line of life, all obtuse and acute angles--complexion pale as Hamlet's ghost, but heightening into crimson upon any thing like confusion in my nerves. This