Imatges de pÓgina



"short or long-a system which, in its operation, presses unduly and heavily upon the managers of "those theatres at which new pieces of one and two "acts are frequently produced under the sanction "of the Lord Chancellor's license. In this view of "the subject we are fully borne out by the opinion "of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on dramatic literature, whose report to that House, "in the month of July 1832, upon the subject of "the fees on licenses, was as follows: Your Com"mittee would recommend some revision in the




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present system of fees to the censor, so (for in""stance) that the license of a song, and the license "of a play, may not be indiscriminately subject to "the same charge.'


Having fully considered this subject, we are in“duced to recommend to your Majesty's considera❝tion, that the following would be a fair and proper "scale of fees, to be in future payable to the ex"aminer upon licensing all theatrical entertain"ments, namely

"For a License for every Dramatic piece of three or more "acts

"For a License for every Dramatic piece of one or two "acts, or for a Pantomime containing prose or poetry 1 0 "For a License for a Song, Address, Prologue, or




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"The death of Mr. Colman having caused a va"cancy in the appointment of examiner, the Lord "Chamberlain has stated that his successor has been



appointed, with a distinct understanding that the "scale of fees would be subject to revision. We "consider that the scale proposed by us will afford "a fair and adequate remuneration for the office, provided the salary now payable to the examiner "of plays under your Majesty's warrant is increased "to the extent of about 50l. per annum.'


These extracts will serve as a guide for any distressed manager to know how to steer in cases of doubt or difficulty; they will show what has been paid, and what is, at least for the present, expected to be paid: the most important part of the business after all, because he can then easily ascertain what "extracts will be made from his own unfortunate pocket.

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Seven shillings and four shillings versus cleanliness and dirt;scale of both-Reform dinner-Interpretation of initials-Mr. C. Kemble and Washington Irving-Mr. Mathews and the tooth-pick-Contrast between the American and British stage-Dollars and pounds-Fair Rosamond and unfair treatment-Wide distinction between a good pleader and a bad judge-Petition to Parliament-Mr. Duncombe and the Chancellor of the Exchequer-An execution, and if possible a worse case of suspense-A den of thieves and a house of prayer— French actresses-How to engage them-A Clarendon dinner, and a jewel of a desert-The result of all dealings with women.

My humble opinion upon the question of lowering the prices of the two patent theatres has been slightly disposed of in a preceding part of this work: but as we are now arrived at that particular juncture when the reduction, previously carried into effect at Covent Garden, compelled its adoption at Drury Lane, it is necessary to enter into it more minutely. Notwithstanding the attractions previously enumerated, and nightly exhibiting at the latter house, we were literally beaten clean out of the field in receipt-for although to a very successful pantomime were superadded the new ballet (Du







vernay deemed a host in herself) and other popular
amusements, yet the grand consideration to a family
at this time of the year (because they MUST take
their children) lay between seven shillings and four
shillings admission to the boxes. When it was be-
yond dispute that Two children might go to that
house for nearly the same sum as was asked for ONE
at this house, and when it was taken into calculation
that which all the said children wanted to see was the
pantomime, it was obvious that parents would select
the cheaper establishment, without reference to any
other of the peculiar comforts to be enjoyed at the
dearer one. It was evident, by the difference of
attendance at the two theatres at this period, that
although a clean and beautifully decorated house
was pleasant to look at, and delightful to sit in,
yet if nearly double the price was to be paid for the
advantage, people preferred accommodation in one
dirty and with doubtful decorations. The actors
seeing this, and foreseeing that a continuance in
the struggle to support legitimacy, or even de-
to cency, would probably end in a premature clos-
ing of the theatre, or a suspension of the pay list,
besieged me with petitions to pocket my dignity,
for the sake of pocketing something more sub-
stantial. Had I been a man of fortune, I would
have seen them regularly
paid, first; but that
not being the case, there appeared to be no alter-
native. The old prices were, therefore, only con-
tinued up to Saturday, December 31, 1836, on






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which evening, with a sigh for departed glory, I left the theatre with the feelings I presume a person to have who has done an action of which he is ashamed. The veriest cur who sneaks away with his tail between his legs, from the lash of the whip that has just clung round his loins, never cut a more contemptible figure in his own eyes. I never troubled myself about what others thought. My own mortification was quite enough to contend with. "The light of other days" was "faded" indeed, and I cursed the song, and myself for having written it. True it is, that the theatre which, until the said 31st, had been a comparative desert, was now crowded to the roof, and the wiseacres who urged me on, malgré moi, to this desecration, imagined that a splendid fortune would be speedily realised. The result was precisely what I anticipated—many more people came to the theatre, but its treasury was not the gainer. The lowering the prices did not make one proselyte. It only induced some who at the former price came but once, now to come twicę; and the property was therefore minus in respectability and income. On the principle, however, laid down by that high authority in figures, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, let us submit to the examination of the reader a return of the first week of this innovation, (by some degrees the best week,) and compare it with the corresponding week of the year before at the old prices, and with the same week of the year after, at the present prices :

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