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Sir Fretful. Upon my soul, the women are the best judges after all.
Mrs. Dangle. Or if I made any objection, I am sure it was to nothing in the piece; but that I was afraid it was, on the whole, a little too long.
Sir Fretful. Pray, madam, do you speak as to duration of time; or do you mean that the story is tediously spun out?
Mrs. Dangle. O lud! no. I speak only with reference to the usual length of acting plays.
Sir Fretful. Then I am very happy,-very happy indeed, because the play is a short play, a remarkably short play: I should not venture to differ with a lady on a point of taste; but, on these occasions, the watch, you know, is the critic.
Mrs. Dangle. Then, I suppose, it must have been Mr. Dangle's drawling manner of reading it to me.
Sir Fretful. O! if Mr. Dangle read it! that's quite another affair; but I assure you, Mrs. Dangle, the first evening you can spare me three hours and a half, I'll undertake to read you the whole from beginning to end, with the prologue and epilogue, and allow time for the music between the acts.
Mrs. Dangle. I hope to see it on the stage next. (Exit.) Dangle. Well, Sir Fretful, I wish you may be able to get rid as easily of the newspaper criticisms as you do of
Sir Fretful. The newspapers!-sir, they are the most villainous-licentious-abominable-infernal-not that I ever read them-no; I make it a rule never to look into a newspaper.
Dangle. You are quite right; for it certainly must hurt an author of delicate feelings to see the liberties they take.
Sir Fretful. No; quite the contrary: their abuse is, in fact, the best panegyric; I like it of all things.—An author's reputation is only in danger from their support.
Sneer. Why, that's true; and that attack now on you the other day
Sir Fretful. What? where?
Dangle. Ay! you mean in a paper of Thursday; it was completely ill-natured, to be sure.
Sir Fretful. O! so much the better; ha! ha! ha!-I wouldn't have it otherwise.
Dangle. Certainly it is only to be laughed at; forSir Fretful. You don't happen to recollect what the fellow said, do you?
Sneer. Pray, Dangle; Sir Fretful seems a little anxious
Sir Fretful. O lud, no! anxious,-not I,-not the least, -I-but one may as well hear, you know.
Dangle. Sneer, do you recollect? Make out something. (Aside.) Sneer. I will. (To DANGLE.) Yes, yes, I remember perfectly.
Sir Fretful. Well, and pray now-not that it signifies -what might the gentleman say?
Sneer. Why, he roundly asserts that you have not the slightest invention or original genius whatever; though you are the greatest traducer of all other authors living.
Sir Fretful. Ha, ha, ha! very good!
Sneer. That as to comedy, you have not one idea of your own, he believes, even in your commonplace book, where stray jokes and pilfered witticisms are kept with as much method as the ledger of the lost and stolen office.
Sir Fretful. Ha, ha, ha! very pleasant!
Sneer. Nay, that you are so unlucky as not to have the skill even to steal with taste:-but that you glean from the refuse of obscure volumes, where more judicious plagiarists have been before you; so that the body of your work is a composition of dregs and sediments, like a bad tavern's worst wine.
Sir Fretful. Ha, ha!
Sneer. In your more serious efforts, he says, your bombast would be less intolerable if the thoughts were ever suited to the expression; but the homeliness of the sentiment stares through the fantastic incumbrance of its fine. language, like a clown in one of the new uniforms.
Sir Fretful. Ha, ha!
Sneer. That your occasional tropes and flowers suit the general coarseness of your style, as tambour sprigs would a ground of linsey-woolsey; while your imitations of Shakespeare resemble the mimicry of Falstaff's page, and are about as near the standard of the original.
Sir Fretful. Ha!
Sneer. In short, that even the finest passages you steal are of no service to you; for the poverty of your own language prevents their assimilating, so that they lie on the surface like lumps of marl on a barren moor, encumbering what it is not in their power to fertilize.
Sir Fretful. (After great agitation.) person would be vexed at this.
Sneer. Oh! but I wouldn't have told you, only to divert you.
Sir Fretful. I know it. I am diverted; ha, ha, ha!— not the least invention! ha, ha, ha! very good-very good!
Sneer. Yes, no genius! ha, ha, ha!
Dangle. A severe rogue! ha, ha, ha! but you are quite right, Sir Fretful, never to read such nonsense.
Sir Fretful. To be sure; for if there is anything to one's praise, it is a foolish vanity to be gratified at it, and if it is abuse,-why, one is always sure to hear of it from some d-d good-natured friend or other!
Here's to the maiden of bashful fifteen,
Here's to the flaunting extravagant quean,
And here's to the housewife that 's thrifty:
Drink to the lass,
I'll warrant she 'll prove an excuse for the glass.
Here's to the maid with a bosom of snow,
For let 'em be clumsy, or let 'em be slim,
Young or ancient, I care not a feather; So fill a pint bumper quite up to the brim, And let us e'en toast them together: Let the toast pass, &c.
DRY BE THAT TEAR.
Dry be that tear, my gentlest love,
Cease, boding doubt; cease, anxious fear-
Ask'st thou how long my love shall stay,
And does that thought affect thee, too,
Must yield that faithful breath?
Had I a heart for falsehood framed,
For, tho' your tongue no promise claimed,
Nor fear to suffer wrong,
For friends in all the aged you'll meet,
But when they find that you have blessed
BONS MOTS OF SHERIDAN.
One day meeting two royal dukes walking up St. James' Street, Sheridan was thus addressed by the younger: "I say, Sherry, we have just been discussing whether you are a greater fool or rogue. What is your opinion, my boy?"
Sheridan, having bowed and smiled at the compliment, took each of them by an arm, and instantly replied, "Why, i' faith, I believe I am between both."
A Drury Lane after-piece was chiefly remarkable for the introduction of a wonderful performing dog, and Sheridan and a friend went to see the performance. As they entered the greenroom, Dignum (who played in the piece) said to Sheridan with a woeful countenance
"Sir, there is no guarding against illness: it is truly lamentable to stop the run of a successful piece like this; but really-" "Really what?" cried Sheridan, interrupting him.
"I am so unwell that I cannot go on longer than to-night.” "You!" exclaimed Sheridan, "my good fellow, you terrified me; I thought you were going to say that the dog was taken ill."
Burke in his early life had attended a debating society, which used to meet at a certain baker's. On a memorable occasion in the House of Commons he said, "I quit the camp," and crossing over from the Opposition took his seat on the Ministerial benches, whence he rose and made a brilliant speech against his ci-devant friends.
Sheridan, annoyed at the defection, said: "The honorable gentleman, to quote his own expression, has quitted the camp; he will recollect that he quitted it as a deserter, and I sincerely hope he will never attempt to return as a spy; but I, for one, cannot sympathize in the astonishment with which an act of apostasy so flagrant has electrified the House; for neither I, nor