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procuring the opening of the Spanish ports, if the one grand
bugbear of Castilian statesmen can be in any way safely disposed of. The smugglers ! is the ready answer to all suggestions upon this important project; the smugglers ! is the bugbear of governors and governed. We know something of smuggling in this country; but in this knowledge, if in no other, we are fortunately exceeded by the Spaniards, and it is difficult for an Englishman to credit the extent to which it is carried in Spain. The absurd severity of their commercial restrictions has produced its inevitable result; the coast of Spain and the frontiers of France and Portugal are occupied (we use a military phrase) by immense armies of smugglers; and the Government of Madrid, admitting the evil, is not ashamed to confess that it is afraid to throw open the ports, on account of the numbers of men whose occupation would be gone if such a measure were adopted ;-it would be dangerous to the tranquillity of the country to throw these men out of employment. What an extraordinary specimen of the lamentable weakness of a government, when that is an argument against, which would, with a strong government, be the strongest of all arguments in favour of, the measure !
An anecdote, which we believe may be depended upon as authentic, was lately current at Madrid; and as it bears somewhat
upon of our subject, and exhibits the inefficiency of commercial prohibitions, we will briefly relate it in this place. Foreign paper is a contraband article in Spain, and yet it is pretty regularly imported from England. The lady of a Cabinet Minister had formerly visited Madrid, and being particularly pleased with the writing-paper which she purchased there, imagined there was none other in the world so good-none other upon which it was possible to write. Upon her return to the neighbourhood of London, she made arrangements for receiving regular and periodical supplies of her favourite paper from Madrid. It happened, however, in the course of time, that she was disappointed of her usual package, and after her patience was exhausted by waiting, she wrote to the British Minister at Madrid, and requested him to call upon the dilatory paper-man. Mr. Addington did so, and what was the answer? “I am very sorry that the delay has occurred; I have none of that paper at present, but I will forward it as soon as I receive my next consignment from England." The peculiarly-pleasant-for-writing Spanish-letterpaper was manufactured in England, and smuggled into Spain.
To return, however, to the danger which the Spanish Government apprehends from the throwing out of employment of her armies of smug. glers,—it is probable that it might be diminished by a partial, bit-by-bit reform of the ancient system, and by the commencement of some of the numerous national undertakings which might give occupation to all who were willing to obtain it.
The physical, as well as the moral state of the Peninsula, must be revolutionized. Roads must be made, bridges built, rivers' rendered navigable, lands irrigated, woods planted. Once launched upon the stream of improvement, Spain has that within her which will carry
her onward; her resources for a long run are inexhaustible, she wants but a slight assistance at starting. Among the public works which should earliest be undertaken, the most prominent in grandeur and advantages is a water communication between Lisbon and Madrid. What a vision of wealth and power is created by the mere idea! and yet it is one which
will most certainly be realized. Few persons in this country are aware that the Tagus has been three times surveyed by Spanish and Portuguese
engineers, and that they have each time reported in favour of its being i rendered navigable to Toledo; and that a canal was long ago planned,
and the half of it executed, to connect that town with Madrid, from which it is about forty miles distant. There appears to be but one difficulty of any importance in the execution of this most devoutly to be desired undertaking, and that is the very important one of expense—the mill-dams on the Tagus are highly valued by their owners.
There can be no doubt, however, that sooner or later this great work will be undertaken and completed. We will venture to predict that it will be commenced under Senhor Carvalho's auspices, if he should remain three years a Minister at Lisbon. It may be doubted whether Portugal or Spain will be the greater gainer by the enterprise. “He made Lisbon the Port of Madrid,” will be a noble inscription for the monument of a Portuguese statesman; we recommend M. Carvalho to earn and adopt it.
That singular tract of land which forms the centre of Spain is, perhaps, of all countries in the world, the best fitted for the production of wine. Hot in summer, cold in winter, always dry, with a light soil, the district which surrounds Madrid appears intended by nature for the vine; and, according to the accounts of travellers, produces wines of a richness, flavour, and delicacy, with which no other country can compete. They are untasted beyond the vineyards upon which they are grown, because there are no means of transporting them; but if the project of effecting a water-communication between the two capitals of the Peninsula were carried into execution, these wines might easily be conveyed to every part of the commercial world; and, as a large proportion of them would undoubtedly find their way to the cellars and dinner-tables of England, we are inclined to believe that we have no small interest in the completion of the undertaking. Who says are not interested in the speedy regeneration of Spain ?
We had written thus far, when the termination of the Melbourne ministry was announced, with the return of the Duke of Wellington to power. What will be the effect which these two events will produce upon the fortunes of Spain and Portugal ? We have no hesitation in predicting that the result will be a favourable influence exercised upon the fortunes of the Constitutionalists. So long as the Duke remained in opposition, the Carlists of Spain and the Miguelites of Portugal might expect, or pretend to expect, that his return to power would be accompanied by acts of patronage and assistance to their party; but his actual appointment to office will show such expectations to be unfounded.
It may be very much doubted whether, in the present position of affairs in Spain, the Duke of Wellington would be inclined to favour the Carlists: it is certain that he would not be inclined to favour the Miguelites in Portugal. But whatever might be his inclinations, whatever his opinions of the foreign policy of his predecessors, and of the justice or expediency of the Quadripartite Treaty, there can be no shadow of doubt upon the mind of any one who has observed the conduct of the Duke of Wellington, that he will act with good faith upon a treaty to which his Sovereign's name has been affixed.
WHY DO MAIDS LOOK SHY ?
Why do the maids look shy? alas !
Why do the maids look shy,
Or in the peerage high?
Or youth his hopes disclose;
How dared the brute' propose ?" One night to Lady Fêteall's ball
There came a wealthy“ bore;
And tittered when he swore:
Uprose these wailing sounds
He'as fifty thousand pounds!” An annual thousand meets a smile,
But two command a laugh; Three make a very charming man,
And four beat two by half; Albums fly open wide to five;
On six mammas look kind; Seven is the “ sweetest man alive,"
(Save eight,) though halt and blind. Why do the maids look shy? alas !
Why do the maids look shy,
They're left alone to sigh?
In vain they sit in rows-
Why don't the men propose ?"
Maids flutter in the glare
And learn to waltz, and stare.
And worlds enslaved suppose:
Admits no second hope;
Bring pride with pride to cope.
And when we meet with noes, We heed not that deceitful cry
" Why won't the men propose ? "
RECORDS OF A STAGE VETERAN. NO. II.
Johannot and the Comic Singers.—Johannot (the father of Mrs. Vining) was a great comic singer, and about thirty or forty years ago, when the license under which Astley's and the Surrey are open was more literally rendered, singing and dancing were in fact the principal entertainments. A comic singer was the great feature of either of these establishments, and Johannot and Jew Davis could command 81. or 91. per week for singing a couple of songs nightly between the pieces. Mr. Wallack, sen., the father of the Wallacks of the present day, was at that time a first-rate singer of forecastle ditties, and during the enthusiasm that our tars excited in Nelson's time, Mr. Wallack's “ Bound ’Prentice to a Waterman," “ Ben Bobstay," &c., almost eclipsed the comic warblers in public favour. The last time I saw Johannot was in 1813; he was lamenting the decadence of the drama (that is to say, the St. George's-in-the Fields drama), and after enumerating many worthies who were gathered to their fathers, he wound up the deficiencies of the minor theatres thus,—“ And added to all that, they've now got no one to sing a comic song between !" The last actor of the present day who was expressly engaged as a comic singer, to entertain the audience between play and farce, was Mr. Sloman, late of the English Opera House. The custom is still preserved in some of our provincial towns.
The environs of London then (1797) abounded with tea-gardens and summer resorts*, and Johannot, and singers of his estimation, were engaged as stars at these places; nay, of such importance at one period was the possession of a good comic singer, that Covent Garden Theatre actually imported a person called O'Rourke to sing extravaganzas in the Christmas pantomimes; and the necessity of lyric attempts of this kind being made, first induced Grimaldi to commence the series of drolleries known by his name. Grimaldi's song was, to use a dramatic technicality,“ safe to draw 501. at half-price.” On one occasion (and I relate it as shewing the assumed or known value of his vocal efforts) he played Clown, with a song, at Sadler's Wells, then posted to the Surrey, and sang " Tippitywitchet, to a double encore, and from thence to Covent Garden Theatre, where he played Clown in “Mother Goose," and sung " Tippitywitchet" three times more. He is now in premature old age at 56, living in seclusion at Woolwich
So fades the mirth of former years ! Jew Davis and Hamlet.- Mr. Davis, celebrated as a singer, had not an equal reputation as an actor ; however, he engaged at a certain theatre as low comedian, and the character he made his debut in was the Gravedigger in “ Hamlet." Mr. Davis's style was not peculiarly Shakspearian, and one or two hints from the stage-manager at rehearsal were not taken with the spirit of suavity in which they were offered. The whisper went round that this would be an “ oyster part," i.e., the actor open and close the same night; and Davis, it appears, determined to turn the laugh, at least, against his manager. He had been told, when the fineral procession was about to enter, “to open the church-yard gate with his spade, and remain during the scene in the background," the stage-manager enforcing his direction with that's the stock-business, Mr. Davis.” The scene was over, the procession entering, but no Davis at the gate: the
* The Apollo Gardens, Ranelagh, and the Royal Grove, then disputed the precedence with Vauxhall in public favour. Messrs. Wrighten and Hook's ballads were the attractions at the latter place, whilst Jobannot's comicalities carried all before them at the Grove,
grave-digger had very quietly laid himself down in the grave: to all remonstrances, he coolly replied, “ This is my business, Mr. ," and the scene was at last concluded by clapping the coffin of the dead Ophelia on the carcase of the quick grave-digger.
Transatlantic Thespians. The first English actors who ventured into the provinces of America had the pleasure of not only trudging, but actually hewing their road occasionally; and it was said to be as common, if an actor was going to New Orleans, to recommend him as a good woodman, as to bepraise him as a talented actor. Cooke, who did not go to America until 1812, when every town had a theatre, asked some of his countrymen how they managed to journey through the wilds and forests they must have traversed, “Oh, Sir,” said Cooper, very pertinently wielding his hatchet, we axed our way.
Readings at Random.-Sowerby, whose mind was always in a ferment, made frequently most ludicrous mistakes, and as they were done during moments of abstraction, he remained wholly unconscious of the cause that had probably convulsed his auditors. In the “ Iron Chest,” Sir Edward says, (Act 3, scene last) Sir Edw. You may have noticed in my library a chest ?
[At which Wilford starts, when Sir Edward proceeds]— You see he changes at the word.
Wilford. And well I may ! Sowerby, whose thoughts were far away, transposed the prominent words in the first line thus
You may have noticed in my chest a library! At which Wilford was seized with an irrepressible fit of laughter ; Mr Sowerby, however, either did not, or would not, notice it; but went on
You see he changes at the word. But when Wilford exclaimed
And well I may! the auditors appeared so perfectly to agree with him, that their laughter awakened Mr. Sowerby to " a sense of his situation.”
This actor once saw a performance of “Othello,” at the Bath Theatre, ran out of the boxes, and Aung himself into the river, declaring“ he would not continue to live amid people who could applaud such an Othello as the one he had just witnessed."
He came to London in 1813, and was the first Othello to whom Kean played lago at Drury-lane Theatre.
Munden, in the plenitude of his ignorance, boasted that he never read any book but a play, no play but one in which he himself acted, and no part of that but his own scenes. I think it was Mr. Lamb, who, when told This, said justly, yet severely, “I knew Munden well, and I believe him."
Longevity of Actors and Dramatists. It is so commonly believed that a theatrical life, being incompatible with early hours, and almost necessarily involving some sort of dissipation, tends to shorten existence, that it may be worth while to sum up at random a few of the living Artists, male and female, and to put opposite the number of years since they first sought favour in the metropolis. Be it remembered that several of the persons undernamed were thirty years old and upwards when they so appeared, and that whenever the débit occurred in early age we have so specified it :Living Actors and Actresses.
No. of years since debet. John Bannister, junior
57 and upwards. Grimaldi, the Grimaldi (then only two years old) 53 Mrs. Gibbs (as a child at the Haymarket) 51