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A civil note from Miss Duvernay-
Oct. 27, 1836.
which on "bully" borders,
The examiner of plays unfit for his situation-Lord Chamberlain of a different opinion-Mr. Kemble and Mr. Bunn at issue upon the point-Mr. Knowles and Mademoiselle Duvernay-The Siege of Corinth-The Opera Buffa-Grimaldi's finale, and the manager's fall-Different conduct of Irish and English boys-Sir E. Bulwer a good hand at a bargain-His correspondence with the lessee-Elliston, Winston, and George Colman-A licenser a licentiate-Extract from the new scale of fees, and what they extract from the pocket.
AN event, without precedent, followed the death of Mr. Colman, in the appointment of his successor; that successor being, at the time of his appointment, an actor in the Theatre Royal Covent Garden. Mr. Charles Kemble had been announced to perform the round of his favourite characters, prior to his final retirement from the stage; and during the progress of these performances, he was nominated to the office of "Examiner of all Theatrical Entertainments," vacant by the decease of the aforesaid George Colman. A gentleman more fitted for the situation could not possibly have been selected -a fine scholar, an experienced artist, and one bearing the high and honoured dramatic name of Kemble,
EXAMINER OF PLAYS.
might justly claim, on his retirement from public life, so suitable a reward for long years of hard service. Had this place been conferred upon Mr. Kemble when he had ceased to be a member of the stage he had so long adorned, there could have been no ground for a single remark; but the selection of a performer in any one theatre (especially the rival patent house) to sit in judgment upon the forthcoming novelties of the other, to enable him to be possessed of the titles, plots, ingredients, &c., of those novelties; in fact, to put the whole disposable force of an establishment in the hands of its supposed enemy, was as novel as it was alarming an arrangement; but we will entertain the subject from its commencement. Immediately on the demise of Mr. Colman being made known to me, I applied to the proper quarter to ascertain who was to be his successor, as this document will show:
"MY DEAR SIR,
"Will you do me the favour to inform me to whom, in the absence of any reader being appointed to succeed Mr. Colman, I am to send the "MSS. of the new pieces about to be produced at "this theatre?
"Theatre Royal Drury Lane, "October 28, 1836.
“I am, my dear Sir,
"T. B. Mash, Esq. &c. &c."
And the next day I received the subjoined official reply:
"MY DEAR SIR,
Perhaps, before this reaches you, the Gazette "will have informed you that Charles Kemble, Esq., "is appointed Examiner of Plays, &c., in the room "of the late Mr. Colman.
"Mr. Kemble resides at No. 11, Park-place, "St. James's.
"St. James's, October 29, 1836.
"To A. Bunn, Esq."
On the day I received this reply, I despatched a communication, of which the following is a copy, to the Lord Chamberlain, accompanied with the manuscript of a new entertainment for which I sought the necessary license at his lordship's hands:
"Yours very truly,
"T. B. MASH.
"I take the liberty of transmitting to your lordship an entertainment, entitled The Yankee Pedlar,' for your lordship's license, which has only been awaiting the appointment of a successor "to Mr. Colman. I beg leave to direct your lord
ship's attention to the absolute necessity of the
"Theatre Royal Drury Lane,
concerns of so large an establishment as this being regulated with as much caution as possible-not merely from the rivalry which has always existed. "between the two patent houses, but from the in"jury this theatre has sustained (since the character "of the other was last year so suddenly changed) by many of its productions being forestalled, if only in the title. Without, therefore, meaning the slightest disrespect to the gentleman your lordship has been pleased to appoint the reader of "dramatic entertainments, (than whom no one can "be by attainments more highly qualified,) I can"not view, without a reasonable apprehension, the "selection of a performer and proprietor of the "rival house deputed to sit in judgment upon the productions of this. In this feeling, I have pre"sumed to send this MS. direct to your lordship, "on whose impartiality, discretion, and high cha"racter all must place the utmost reliance.
"I have the honour to be,
THE EXAMINER OF PLAYS.
"To the Marquis Conyngham, &c. &c. &c.
This was despatched on Saturday, October 29th, and on Tuesday, November the 1st, I was favoured with the subjoined first official communication from the new examiner :