« PreviousContinue »
• At last we left the town, in order to be at à horse-race at some distance from thence. I shall never think of Tenterden without tears of gratitude and respect. The ladies and gentlemen there, take my word for it, are very good judges of plays and actors. Come let us drink their healths, if you please, Sir. We quitted the town, I say; and there was a wide difference between my coming in and going out: I entered the town a candle-snuffer, and I quitted it an hero! Such is the world! little to-day, and great to-morrow. I could say a great deal more upon that subject; something truly sublime upon the ups and downs of fortune; but it would give us both the spleen, and so I shall pass it over.
“ The races were ended before we arrived at the next town, which was no small disappointment to our company; however, we were resolved to take all we could get. I played capital characters there too, and came off with my usual brilliancy. I sincerely believe I should have been the first actor in Europe, had my growing merit been properly cultivated, but there came an unkindly frost which nipped me in the bud, and levelled me once more down to the common standard of humanity. I played Sir Harry Wildair ; all the country ladies were charmed : 'if I but drew out my snuff-box, the whole house was in a roar of rapture; when I exercised my cudgel, I thougbt they would have fallen into convulsions.
“ There was here a lady who had received an education of nine months in London; and this gave her pretensions to taste, which rendered her the indisputable mistress of the ceremonies wherever she came. She was informed of my merits; every body praised me; yet she refused at first going to see me perform : she could not conceive, she said, any thing but stuff from a stroller; talked something in praise of Garrick, and amazed the ladies with her skill in enunciations, tones, and cadences.' She was at last, however, prevailed
upon to go: and it was privately intimated to me what a judge was to be present at my next exhibition : however, no way intimidated, I came on in Sir Harry, one hand stuck in my breeches, and the other in my bosom, as usual at Drury-Lane; but, instead of looking at me, I perceived the whole audience had their eyes turned upon the lady who had been nine months in London ; from her they expected the decision which was to secure the general's truncheon in my hand, or sink me down into a theatrical letter-carrier. I opened my snuff-box, took snuff—the lady was solemn, and so were the rest. I broke the cudgel on alderman Smuggler's back-still gloomy, melancholy all; the lady groaned and shrugged her shoulders. I attempted, by laughing myself, to excite at least a smile ;--but the devil a cheek could I perceive wrinkled into sympathy: I found it would not do; all my good humour now. became forced; my laughter was converted into hysteric grinning; and, while I pretended spirits, my eye shewed the agony of my heart. In short, the lady came with the intention to be displeased, and displeased she was; my fame expired; I am here, and the tankard is no more !")
FEELING AND FORTITUDE.
THE man blessed with a feeling heart, yet deprive
ed of a firm mind, like the precious, but pliant, full-eared corn, bends at every pressure, is the sport of every breath : the callous-hearted man, whatever be his mental powers, resembles the colossal, marble column; we admire its strength and shape ; but from its cold touch and shelterless capital, we turn to the leafy
bower and to the warm cottage. He, alone, is perfect in his nature, whose energies of mind are tempered by the softer feelings; he then receives, uncorrupted, the sun of prosperity; and though often exposed to, is never borne down by, the blast of adverse fortune : he bears about him, for himself, and for others, every flower that sweetens the path of life every fruit that invigorates him cheerfully.
VALK not to him of better days. Can all the drops
of heaven restore to vegetation a withered tree? Can the shrouded corpse feel pride in the gay trappings of the living? The hollow moanings of the wind; the thickest glooms of night are more congenial to the miserable. Rejoice, ye light-hearted; because innocent, rejoice! The flowery way, the sunny path, the smilingly - inviting perspective are yours. But the remorse-struck, broken-hearted criminal can only view about him the pall, the winding-sheet, the coffin, and
Miss St. Leger.
ERENA GRANVILLE, with a figure lovely as if
formed by the fingers of Love, possessed a mind fraught with every accomplishment, of the most refined and delicate taste. To these beauties she added
the fascinating charms of a faultless temper, and a height of spirits, sometimes arising almost to an ex
Whenever she moved, she attracted and fixed the wandering eyes of the beholders; whenever she spoke, she enchanted the senses, and won the hearts of her hearers. Among the train of her numerous admirers, none shone so greatly pre-eminent, for the graces of his figure, and the beauties of his mind, as the youthful Frederick Cavendish. The soul of Serena was above affectation. She despised the cruel despotism of tyrannizing over a generous heart; and she hesitated not to confess the power which he possessed in her bosom. For family-reasons, two months were to elapse before the day could be appointed for their -union. During the intermediate time, a party was formed for the theatre: Cavendish held a commission in the guards; and, some unexpected military business occurring, it prevented him from attending his fair Amante to Drury-Lane. But Lady Granville wished not to be disappointed; and therefore, with her daughter, and niece Julia Cecil, she went alone. During the play, Miss Cecil observed an elegant young man, in naval uniform, enter the next box: she pointed him out to Serena, whose eyes encountered his as she gazed on his lovely countenance. The accident embarrassed her, and she hastily looked down. At the finale of the after-piece, a gentleman entered their box; who, suddenly springing from his seat, and stretching over, shook the young officer cordially by the hand, exclaiming—“ Ha, Richard Wade! what brought you here? Where are you?"_" At St. James's Hotel, where I hope you will sup with me.” His friend consented, and they both sprung out of the box. “A young puppy!” exclaimed Serena, “not to give us one parting glance!"-"Never mind," interrupted her cousin ;
they are not worth wishing for." When the two girls arrived at home, and had entered their own chamber, from a critique on the merits of
the actors, their discourse fell, insensibly, on the charms of the graceful sailor. They admired his uncommon beauty; and laughed at each other, for the little notice which he appeared to have taken of either. “ I would venture my life,” cried Serena, “ that he is a conceited fellow; a creature who can admire none but himself. I have a strong inclination to play him a trick.” " How do you mean? You do not know him.' -" That is of no consequence. I will write to him, that I am violently in love with him, &c. &c. subscribe a false name; and desire him to direct to the Salopian Coffee-house, where my servant shall call for his reply."-"Good heavens, Serena! what an instantaneous arrangement! You are surely not serious ?"
“Yes, serious as when I shall give my hand to Frederick, and vow to be his for ever. I will write the letter this moment.” She seized a pen, and immediately began to scribble. Julia was thunder-struck. “What is your intention? The young man will certainly answer your letter."-" That is what I want. I will reply again; and so on, till I have worked him up almost to madness with curiosity! and then I throw away my quill, and leave him, like an amazed knight, dropped by the furies in a wilderness. Discovery is impossible."
When she had finished her epistle, she read it to her friend. It contained an eloquent avowal of a fervent attachment, which she could no longer conceal; that her heart, hand, and fortune, waited his acceptance; and that she should anticipate, with trembling anxiety, his reply, addressed to Miss Lucretia Manners, to be left at the Salopian Coffee-house. In vain were all the remonstrances of Miss Cecil against the impru. dence and danger of this scheme. Her cousin persisted in her design ; declaring, that it was only a frolic; and there could no evil consequences ensue,
as he could never find them out; and they would surely not be such fools as to betray their own secret. Accordingly,