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He dashed down the line, 'mid a storm of huzzas,
From Winchester down, to save the day.”
Hurrah! hurrah ! for Sheridan!
From Winchester - twenty miles away!”
READE, CHARLES, an eminent English novelist and dramatist; born at Ipsden House, Oxfordshire, June 8, 1814; died at London, April 11, 1881. He took his degree at Oxford in 1840; became a Fellow of his college in 1842, and in 1843 was called to the bar, as a member of Lincoln's Inn. Between 1850 and 1854 he produced several dramatic pieces. His first novel, “ Peg Wofington,” appeared in 1853. His first play, “ The Ladies' Battle," appeared in 1851; and he subsequently wrote “ Masks and Faces," with Tom Taylor; “ Christie Johnstone" (1853); “Clouds and Sunshine,” and “Art” (1855); “It's Never Too Late to Mend” (1856); “White Lies” (1860); “The Course of True Love” (1857); “Drink” (from Zola's “ L'Assommoir”); “ Love Me Little, Love Me Long” (1859); “ The Cloister and the Hearth” (1861); “Hard Cash” (1863); “ Griffith Gaunt” (1866); “Foul Play” (1869); “Put Yourself in His Place” (1870); “A Terrible Temptation” (1871); “ The Wandering Heir” (1872); “ A Simpleton” (1873); “A Woman Hater" (1877); “The Scuttled Ship” (drainatized, with Dion Boucicault, from “Foul Play") (1879); “ The Perilous Secret” (1884); “The Jilt, and Other Tales” (1884); “Good Stories of Men and Other Animals” (1884).
THE GOOD FAIRY.
(From “Peg Woffington.”). JAMES TRIPLET, water in his eye, but fire in his heart, went home on wings. Arrived there, he anticipated curiosity by informing all hands he should answer no questions. Only in the intervals of a work, which was to take the family out of all its troubles, he should gradually unfold a tale, verging on the mar. vellous, - a tale whose fault was, that fiction, by which alone the family could hope to be great, paled beside it. He then seized some sheets of paper, fished out some old dramatic sketches, and a list of dramatis persona, prepared years ago, and plunged into a comedy. As he wrote, true to his promise, he painted, Triplet-wise, that story which we have coldly related, and made it appear, to all but Mrs. Triplet, that he was under the tutela, or express protection of Mrs. Woffington, who would push his fortunes until the only difficulty would be to keep arrogance out of the family heart.
Mrs. Triplet groaned aloud. “You have brought the picture home, I see,” said she.
“Of course I have. She is going to give me a sitting.”
" At what hour, of what day?” said Mrs. Triplet, with a world of meaning.
“She did not say,” replied Triplet, avoiding his wife's eye.
“I know she did not,” was the answer. “I would rather you had brought me the ten shillings than this fine story,” said she.
“ Wife!” said Triplet, “ don't put me into a frame of mind in which successful comedies are not written.” He scribbled away ; but his wife's despondency told upon the man of disappointments. Then he stuck fast; then he became fidgety.
“Do keep those children quiet!” said the father.
“Hush, my dears," said the mother; “ let your father write. Comedy seems to give you more trouble than tragedy, James," added she, soothingly.
“ Yes," was his answer. “Sorrow comes somehow more natural to me; but for all that I have got a bright thought, Mrs. Triplet. Listen, all of you. You see, Jane, they are all at a sumptuous banquet, all the dramatis persona, except the
Triplet went on writing, and reading his work out: “Music, sparkling wine, massive plate, rose-water in the hand-glasses, soup, fish, — shall I have three sorts of fish? I will; they are cheap in this market. Ah! Fortune, you wretch, here at least I am your master, and I'll make you know it, - venison," wrote Triplet, with a malicious grin, “game, pickles, and provocatives in the centre of the table; then up jumps one of the guests, and says he —”
“ () dear, I am so hungry.”
“That is an absurd remark, Lysimachus,” said Triplet, with a suspicious calmness.
“How can a boy be hungry three hours after breakfast ?” “ But, father, there was no breakfast for breakfast.” “Now I ask you, Mrs. Triplet," appealed the author, “how
I am to write comic scenes if you let Lysimachus and Roxalana here put the heavy business in every five minutes ?”
“Forgive them; the poor things are hungry.”
“ Then let them be hungry in another room,” said the irritated scribe. “They shan't cling round my pen, and paralyze it, just when it is going to make all our fortunes ; but you women,” snapped Triplet the Just,“ have no consideration for people's feelings. Send them to all to bed; every man Jack of them!”
Finding the conversation taking this turn, the brats raised an unanimous howl.
Triplet darted a fierce glance at them. “Hungry, hungry," cried he; “is that a proper expression to use before a father who is sitting down here, all gayety” (scratching wildly with his pen) “ and hilarity” (scratch) “ to write a com — com — " he choked a moment; then in a very different voice, all sadness and tenderness, he said : “ Where's the youngest, — where's Lucy? As if I did n't know you are hungry.”
Lucy came to him directly. He took her on his knee, pressed her gently to his side, and wrote silently. The others were still.
“ Father,” said Lucy, aged five, the germ of a woman, “I am not tho very hungry.”
“And I am not hungry at all,” said bluff Lysimachus, taking his sister's cue; then going upon his own tact he added, “I had a great piece of bread and butter yesterday!”
“ Wife, they will drive me mad!” and he dashed at the paper.
The second boy explained to his mother, sotto voce : “ Mother, he made us hungry out of his book.”
“ It is a beautiful book," said Lucy. "Is it a cookery book ?”
Triplet roared : “Do you hear that?” inquired he, all trace of ill-humor gone. “Wife,” he resumed, after a gallant scribble, “ I took that sermon I wrote.”
“ And beautiful it was, James. I'm sure it quite cheered me up with thinking that we shall all be dead before so very long.”
“ Well, the reverend gentleman would not have it. He said it was too hard upon sin. “You run at the Devil like a mad bull,' said he. “Sell it in Lambeth, sir; here calmness and decency are before everything,' says he. “My congregation
expect to go to heaven down hill. Perhaps the chaplain of Newgate might give you a crown for it,' said he," and Tripiet dashed viciously at the paper. “Ah!" sighed he, “ if my friend Mrs. Woffington would but drop these stupid comedies and take to tragedy, this house would soon be all smiles.”
“O James !” replied Mrs. Triplet, almost peevishly, “how can you expect anything but fine words from that woman? You won't believe what all the world says. You will trust to your own good heart.”
“I have n't a good heart,” said the poor, honest fellow. “I spoke like a brute to you just now.”
“Never mind, James," said the woman : “ I wonder how you put up with me at all, — a sick, useless creature. I often wish to die, for your sake. I know you would do better. I am such a weight round your neck.”
The man made no answer, but he put Lucy gently down, and went to the woman, and took her forehead to his bosom, and held it there; and after a while returned with silent energy to his comedy.
“ Play us a tune on the fiddle, father.”
Lysimachus brought him the fiddle, and Triplet essayed a merry tune; but it came out so doleful, that he shook his head, and laid the instrument down. Music must be in the heart, or it will come out of the fingers — notes, not music.
“No,” said he ; " let us be serious and finish this comedy slap off. Perhaps it hitches because I forgot to invoke the comic muse. She must be a black-hearted jade, if she does n't come with merry notions to a poor devil, starving in the midst of his hungry little ones.”
“ We are past help from heathen goddesses," said the woman. “We must pray to Heaven to look down upon us and our children.”
The man looked up with a very bad expression on his countenance.
“ You forget," said he, sullenly, “our street is very narrow, and the opposite houses are very high.”
“ James !”
“How can Heaven be expected to see what honest folk endure in so dark a hole as this?” cried the man, fiercely.
“James,” said the woman, with fear and sorrow, “what words are these ?”