Imatges de pÓgina



stage quackery as can be conceived; and the other was merely the exposition of it.

The diorama, however, painted by Stanfield on the occasion in question, was really beautiful; and lucky was it for Mr. Macready's individual want of attraction that it took shelter under the wings of this artist's genius; for, by the aid his pencil brought the Covent Garden treasury, tragedy could again venture to peep out.* Until the introduction of his diorama, Covent Garden theatre had been, on tragedy nights, in the situation the Manchester theatre was on the occasion of poor Sowerby's benefit, as related to me by himself. He had, by sundry visitations of inebriation, incurred the severest displeasure of the cotton-spinners, which they marked in a signal manner, by keeping away from the theatre on the sole night their presence could have been useful to him. Just as the curtain was was about to rise, Sowerby went up into the gallery, carrying a lantern at the end of a pitchfork, and stumbling over the only two individuals there seated, viz. the fruit-woman and her boy, he exclaimed, "Don't be alarmed, my worthy people, I am come upon the errand of Diogenes, but with this

* A humorous friend of mine, seeing a parcel lying on the table in the entrance-hall of the theatre, one side of which, from its having travelled to town by the side of some game, was smeared with blood, observed, "That parcel contains a manuscript tragedy." And on being asked why, replied, "Because the fifth act is peeping out at one corner of it."

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difference in our pursuits-that he went about the world looking for an honest man, and I am looking in vain for any man at all!"

The play-bill under discussion incurred the designation of a "whoreson lying knave," from all Shaksperian commentators not then in the interest of Covent Garden Theatre, as setting at nought the declaration, at starting, of avoiding all "outrageous exaggeration." It reminded me forcibly of a dilemma I was witness of, many years since, in the cabinet of the late Mr. Harris. Poor Jemmy Brandon, of box-office memory, seeing a creditor nearing the theatre, went out to the door for the purpose of being accosted by him, and to the man's inquiry, "Pray is Mr. Brandon at home?" Jemmy, well aware his person was not known by him, unhesitatingly replied, "No, sir, he is not." In a few minutes afterwards Mr. Harris sent for Brandon, and saying, “Now, Jem, what would you advise us to say to the public?" Brandon, after a very short reflection, and passing his hand over his face to denote his having come to a conclusion, notwithstanding that his whole life had of necessity been passed in the practice, deliberately said, "SUPPOSE, FOR once, WE TELL 'EM A LIE!"





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