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of the subject, and was under the necessity of applying to his old friend the prompter for assistance.
Lovers' Vows being then very popular, and having been acted by the company several times, the prompter naturally imagined the manager, above all, must be thoroughly acquainted with the plot, and be aware that neither the Baron nor Frederick are supposed to know they are father and son until late in the play, when the discovery forms one of the most interesting scenes,—the prompter therefore merely said,
'In this scene, sir, you are supposed to be hunting with Count Cassel- you meet your son, who is in great distress, in consequence of the destitute situation of bis mother, and his inability to relieve herhe solicits you to bestow a trife for her assistance-you give bim a piece of money-he asks for more—you refuse-he draws his sword -you call for assistance-your servants enter-hey secure him, and you commit him to prison.'
Oh! very well; I understand it. You may begin the act. Ring up-I am ready.'
Up went the drop-scene, and the act commenced.
· Enter FREDERICK.
To return with this trifle, for which I have stooped to beg !-return to see my mother dying !- What can I buy with this ? Ha! what do I see ?-a nobleman, I suppose, or a man of fortune-yes, I will once more beg for my mother.
[Enter Count Cassel, to whom he appeals in vain; then en
ters Baron WILDENHEIM. Frederick. Have pity, noble sir, and relieve the distress of an unfortunate son, who supplicates for his dying mother.
Baron. I think, young soldier, it would be better if you were with your regiment on duty, instead of begging.
FREDERICK. I would with all my heart; but at this moment my sorrows are too great. [Baron gives him a piece of money.) I entreat your pardon—what you have been so good as to give me is not enough.
Baron. Not enough!
Frederick. No, it is not enough. if you have a charitable heart, give me one dollar.
Baron. This is the first time I was ever dictated to by a beggar what to give him. · FREDERICK. With one dollar you will save a distracted man.
Baron. I do not choose to give any more.
FREDERICK (drawing his sword, and seizing him by the breast). Your purse or your life.
Baron (calling his attendants). Seize and secure him.'
So Mr. Thornton should have said, and · would have said ;' but memory did not hold a seat in his distracted globe;' therefore, when Frederick solicited relief, he replied,
Oh! I see, I see your mother's not well off, eh ?-Ab! no wonder. It has been a severe winter—there is a great deal of distress and sickness in the country-the weather still keeps cold, and the potato crops have not been good. Well, there's something to help her ;
and, on Frederick's asking for more, he complied, saying, “Quite right. I dare say I didn't give you as much as I ought, under existing circumstances; so there's a little more for you.'
Frederick whispered to him, not to be heard by the audience, 'No, no; you must not give me any more, sir;' on which Thornton burst into a passion, and loudly exclaimed, to the horror of Frederick, and the destruction of the plot,
D-n it, sir, what do you mean by no more? How dare you dictate to me? Surely I have lived long enough to know what is right and proper for a father to give. You are my son, and I must not see you starve. How is your poor mother, and how many more children has she? Take that, and be a good boy to her. Good day.' And exit the Baron.
Thornton had his peculiarities off the stage as well as on. Mrs. Thornton would occasionally ask him what the performances were to be for the next evening, when he generally replied in a way so very explicit and clear, as to leave her quite as wise as she was before.
The play, my dear,' (pulling his nose), 'is to be that which we acted last winter.'
Which do you mean, my dear ?? Why, my love, that comedy which we acted.' "Well, but, my dear, as we acted several, I can't tell which you mean.'
* Dear, dear, dear, my dear, I mean that comedy in which our light comedian acts the part, you know, of a dashing young fellow.'
*Bless me, Mr. T., there is generally a dashing young fellow in every comedy. Now, what play do you mean?
'Good heavens! Mrs. T., you surely ought to know, it's that play in wbich the father gives his daughter to the young man, in the last scene.'
Why, goodness-heart-alive! Mr. T., that is what is done in almost every comedy. Do,– pray try and recollect the title.'
Mrs. T., you are becoming stupid. You ought by this time to know the name of every play. It's that five-act comedy, written by the author who wrote the play we acted one night only for a benefit.'
*There, there, that will do; for if you go on for a month I shall be no wiser, I suppose. I shall see what it is to be, when the printer brings the proof-bill.'
“To be sure you will, my dear; though, as he received his orders from me what to print, I can't see how he can possibly tell you more than I can.'
Mr. Thornton, having written a letter, would sometimes ring for a candle to seal it, go to the window to read it with the candle in his hand, though the sun was shining full in his face, fold the letter up, and give it to the servant to post, unsealed and undirected.
On Mr. Thornton's return once from Newbury to Reading, after an absence of two or three days, having been to the former town to obtain a licence for opening the theatre there, Mrs. Thornton, on their retiring to rest, inquired, as she unpacked his portmanteau, where his shirts were, which she herself had packed up for him on his departure, and which now were not forthcoming.
What shirts, my dear ? pulling his nose. "Why, my dear, the three I put up for you, I don't see one of them.'
• Bless me, my dear,' a pull, ‘did I take any with me?—I don't remember it.'
“Yes, yes, yes—you did; three of your new set, making, with the one you had on, four.'
*Bless me, my dear Mrs. T.,' another pull, "how you do go on! it is as plain as the nose on my face that I took none with me whatever; for, if I had, they must have been in the portmanteau, and I never saw them, so don't bother. You'll find them in the morning, when you look over the drawers. Really you are getting very forgetful, Mrs. T., my dear.'
· Well, I'm sure! What next, I wonder! You go away for a few days, lose your shirts as well as your memory, and then accuse me of having lost my memory. Memory, indeed! A nice thing you made of Baron Wildenheim ihe other night, Ruin'd the play! What you would, or could do without me, I can't think-(three new shirts lost, well!)—and what some women would do with you, I can't imagine. I only wonder, (no shirts can I find,) you don't forget to pay your salaries on a Saturday.
No fear of that, my dear,'-a pull-' for the actors take great care to be at the theatre then in excellent time, and always contrive, somehow or other, to remind me of the day of the week.'
"There-there, don't stand talking, pulling your nose, and shivering in the cold, till you get into bed like an animated icicle; but do make haste, do now, I beg. Why, dear me, Mr. T., you are forgetting to put on your night-shirt! What will you forget next? I am obliged, positively, to remind you of everything you have to do.'
Thornton gave first a pull at his nose, and then at his Irish linen. Off it came, and discovered under it another similar garment, to Mrs. T.'s infinite delight; off it came also, and disclosed a third, which, on being removed, to make way in like manner for his 'cotton sleeper,' as he called it, showed a fourth Good, easy man! he was perfectly unconscious of his Irish bearing and possession.
The weather during his few days absence had been exceedingly cold, and daily, either from absence of mind or laziness, he had drawn one shirt on over another, until his travelling stock was exhausted, and his portmanteau emptied.
On the close of the theatre at Reading the company removed to Newbury; and, as the lodgings engaged there for Mr. T. and Mrs. T. could not be ready for their reception on their arrival, they resolved to remain that evening at the inn.
They were very comfortably seated in a snug sitting-room, on the first-floor, enjoying their tea and toast, Mr. T. now and then forgetting where he was, but never forgetting to pull his nose, or remembering that he had done so. Mrs. Thornton was looking over the 'proof-bill? for the first night's performance, in the copy of which she found Mr. Thornton had neglected to insert no less than three of the principal characters, which were to be performed by first appearances upon that stage,' and, on her naming it to him, he exclaimed, pulling his nose,
Dear, dear, dear! Bless me, my dear, I hadn't the cast of the play by me when I made out the copy, and the omission cannot be of much consequence; besides, my dear, the audience will be agreeably surprised in seeing more characters on the stage than are mentioned in
the bills. It may have a good effect, and excite curiosity, my dear.' (A pull.)
Curiosity, my dear! It must be a curiosity, indeed, to leave out of the bill of Othello, Iago, Roderigo, and Desdemona. Why didn't you leave out Othello whilst you were about it ?
Bless me, Mrs. Thornton,' (a pull,) 'don't make a mountain of a mole-hill. We can put in anything you wish. I see no objection to it whatever, and, I dare say it will please the people who are to act the parts to see their names in the bills.'
Before the Thorntons retired for the night, the landlady, who was not in the way on their arrival, 'did herself the pleasure of looking in upon them, to inquire whether everything was to their satisfaction ?' She had scarcely uttered those words, when, on looking attentively at Mrs. Thornton, she appeared struck with amazement, and as suddenly bounced up to Mr. Thornton, who was toasting bis toes by the fire, and pulling his nose, and in a tone of violent anger exclaimed,
Mr. Thornton, this conduct is infamous ! I'm surprised that a person of your years and appearance should think of such a thing. In a house of such known respectability as mine!-I a widow, too! You ought to blush! And, then, to behave so when this is the first time you ever have had our theatre, and everybody has heard so good a character of you. However, the Mayor shall know it; and I insist on your going to some other inn directly.'
• Bless me, ma'am,' (a pull,) what is it you mean ?? “Ay, you may well say mean,—for it is mean indeed. Come, get ready to go, for, snowing as it is, here you don't stay,—if I can help it.'
• Dear, dear, dear! good heavens ! my dear Mrs.-Mrs.--I really forget your name, you astonish me,' pulling his nose, and my poor dear wise looks quite confounded.
• Well she may—the creature! Yes, I mean you, madam. Your wife, indeed! You ought to be ashamed to say so.
Why, dear, dear, dear! I say she is my wife.' (A pull.) 'I surely ought to know by this time, for we have been married—I can't recollect how many years. I am not sure as to three or four; but I have every reason to believe she is my wife, and has been so ever since we were married.
• Wife,-and married indeed! I would not have it known you brought her to this house for any money you could offer me. A pretty thing for a widow to countenance, indeed !
• Bless me, Mrs. — what's your name?' (a pull,) I assure you, upon my honour, she is my wife. I surely ought to know. I will show you our marriage.certificate in the morning. Her maiden name was- (a pull,) 'was — was —' (another pull.) what was your maiden-name, Mrs. Thornton, my dear?'
Oh, I care nothing about her name. All I know is, this is not the Mrs. Thornton you had with you here when you came to obtain your license for the theatre,- for, though I did not see you, sir, then, I did see her. However, you shall show me your certificate at once, or no bed do you have here. You don't sleep in the “King's Arms,” madam, you take my word. You had better move off to “ The Angel," Mr. Thornton,-quite good enough for you,'--and out of the room sbe flounced, loudly calling Waiter !-John-boots !—'Liza, chambermaid !
Mrs. Thornton, until she heard of a supernumerary Mrs. Thornton, was 'in amazement lost ;' but when the dreadful disclosure took place, and the landlady had made her exit, she stood erect before her better half, like a tragedy-queen.
"So, Mr. T. !-pretty doings, Mr. T.-very fine !-you are, indeed, a nice man, Mr. T. !--quite a pattern for husbands and managers, Mr. T. ?pulling your nose, there, like Cinderella in the chimney-corner! -this is your leaving home for a license-great license, indeed !-I did not think you capable of such a thing 1-you might well forget where your shirts were. What have you to say for yourself? What is to become of me, and the theatre, after being so exposed? What could have induced you, sir, to act so? Wasn't I always all you could wish for in a wife ? Come, how was it? I will know the truth. We shall be turned out directly, I suppose. Fortunately I have got our marriage-certificate in my pocket-book. This woman shall see that I am the real Mrs. Thornton, whoever the other was. I insist upon knowing all, Mr. Thornton! Pray, who was the pro tem..?"
Mr. Thornton, pulling his nose, replied, 'Bless me, my dear, how you go on, and bother me about a trifle. I have no recollection of the matter, and I can only say, that in the multiplicity of business I might possibly have mistaken one lady for another; but, as I do not remember anything at all of it, I can't see why you should concern yourself about it. At the same time, my firm belief is the landlady has lost her senses.'
At this moment, just as Mrs. Thornton was about to insist upon a separation, the hostess re-entered, smiling most graciously, and courtesying most gracefully to the two Thorntons, assuring them, with a thousand apologies, she had been labouring under a very sad mistake, and sincerely hoped they would kindly be pleased to look over it.
It appeared, as she had before stated, she had not seen Mr. Thornton at all on his late visit, but only the lady who bore that name; and the waiter, to whom she had now flown in her anger, reininded her that at the time of Mr. Thornton's visit there chanced to be a traveller and his wife in the house, of the same designation, and that she only saw the lady, having, in the absence of the chamber-maid, shown her to her apartment; and this evening, seeing the present Mrs. Thornton in person so very unlike the absent Mrs. Thornton, it would, she hope, excuse her behaviour, especially when they called to mind her anxiety to keep improper characters out of · The King's Arms.'
The apology was accepted, promises were given by our hostess to support the theatre by every means in her power, and a request made that the Thorntons would at their earliest leisure pass a day with her, to be introduced to a few particular friends. She hoped they would now allow her to send up a comfortable cheerer' each, and by all manner of means' suffer the chamber-maid to warm their bed.