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Bellarses, and other great ladies,) eating of bread and butter, and drinking ale.
Here we drop the curtain upon the times of Charles II. This exquisite piece of high life we cannot hope to transcend. We leave off whilst we are well. Only we recommend to the gentlemen of CoventGarden, when they next get up a piece from the merry days of King Charles, to take their costume and manners from the Diary of Mr. Pepys. The reality will be found much more taking than fiction.
The two great theatres have been leading very expensive lives during the past month; and Drury-Lane has, in particular, been pursuing that well-known thrifty economy of the poor soldier ; viz. sperding half-a-crown out of sixpence a day, until we only wonder that it has not taken a hint from the Poles, the Everetts, the Stirlings, and the Sykes's of the day, and shut up the house on the strength of its stripped and persecuted coffers.
Miss Kelly lately tried Lady Teazle, for the benefit of the establishment; but the public were not to be won by even so excellent a wooer—and the consequence was, that she rallied old Sir Peter, (as husbands should be rallied,) at a time when no one was hy to be a witness to matrimonial bickerings. Miss Kelly wrote two sensible letters to the manager, and for the public, explanatory of her view of the character, and of her reasons for appearing in it: she is, we think, quite right in her idea, that Lady Teazle is not a fine lady ; but she did not act the character up to her own conceptions—from a very natural apprehension, we imagine, of the difficulties she had to encounter in the long-nourished prejudices of the public. We thought, indeed, Miss Kelly never played with less nature ; her action was constrained, her voice was untuned, and she evidently carried on an undecided struggle between town and country.
An unintelligible play, from the pen of the late Harriet Lee, called the Three Strangers, has puzzled the British public for a few nights at Covent-Garden. Charles Kemble plays well, but he, and all his sisters and brothers of the piece, labour away at a dramatic riddle, which we will defy the clearest headed critic on earth to interpret. The plot is so extremely thick, that with all the aid of stage lamps, it is impossible to see one's way in it.
A young gentleman of some promise, named Serle, has appeared in Hamlet ; a character which, it is evident, he had studied with considerable attention. We cannot speak decidedly of his qualifications as a tragedian, from this first appearance; but we incline to think he will rather sink than rise in his repute. It is very possible for a man of fair person and moderate attainments, so to copy his predecessors, as to pass himself off as a good Hamlet : decent Hamlets are by no means scarce commodities. Mr. Serle, we fear, will not sustain the various leading characters of the drama, with the ability and success which have marked his first appearance ; but as an actor of Mr. Cooper's rate, (and a very useful and desirable rate too,) Mr. Serle is
not unlikely to take a comfortable weekly salary for some years, and to give the managers their money's worth.
The Adelphi Theatre, a little place about as big as a mouse-trap, is well baited nightly, and catches the Strand pedestrians in remarkable clusters. Wrench, Terry, Yates, and Reeve, on the boards at convenient intervals, keep up a merry, profitable, careless gameand snap their free-and-easy fingers in the face of the legitimate drama. There is a little too much of imitation at this narrow shop of broad farce; but the company so thoroughly determines to amuse, and the audience are so piglieaded in being amused, that objection is quite idle. There is a piece called the Pilot, extremely well acted; and we think we never saw four yards of more active and intelligent sea-or a small violent storm more busy, than Messrs. Yates and Terry's. It is the most complete tempest, on a small scale, we ever witnessed. Reeve, who first attracted notice as a mere imitator, is discovering a fund of great, coarse, banging humour, which he did not know he possessed, and which will set him up in business at one of the wholesale houses, or we are mistaken.
Miss Hammersley of Covent-Garden, is married, we hear :-Miss Tree, of the same house, was the last. There is rather a run upon the ladies of this establishment.
The Americans have been “ doing a little bit of second-hand moral” on poor Kean, in laudible imitation of the foolish people on this side of the Atlantic. The ladies (ladies !) stayed away from the boxes ; the gentlemen took their pipes, and raised a tolerable riot in favour of decency, over their tabacco. The newspapers took opposite sides, as they did, and invariably do, in England; and the manager shook in his shoes, before his own lamps, trembling for his box-doors, panels, and chandeliers. It appears that the contest, at first, was stiff; but immorality triumphed, and then the ladies renewed their appearances at the theatre. Kean wrote a letter to the people of New York or Boston, in a style so abject, as really to raise our pity. We would rather, if we were Kean, take to gardening or farming, or even country-bank keeping, than cast ourselves at the feet of the many-headed beast, in whom there is no heart, and with whom the tyranny of power is pleasure.
The Wager. The Adopted Child. The Innkeeper's Daughter.
The Wager. The Sleep Walker.
Brutus: Brutus, Wallack; Tullia,Mrs.Bann; Tarquinia, Mrs. W. West. Amoroso, King of Little Britain.
De la Perouse.
The School for Scandal: Sir Peter Teazle, Dowton; Joseph Surface, Archer ; Charles Surface, Wallack; Lady Teazle, Miss Kelly,
The lonkeeper's Daughter.'
Faustus. The Wager.
December 3. The School for Scandal, The Spectre Bridegroom.
Brutus. Amoroso King of Little Britain,
De la Perouse.
December 6. Der Freischutz The Sleep Walker. The Devil to Pay.
December 7. The Riyals. 'The Wager.
December 8. The School for Scandal
Faustus. The Camp The Panel
December 10. Guy Mannering.
The Merchant of Venice: Bassanio, Wallack; Shylock, Preist; Launcelot, Harley; Portin, Mrs. w. West.
The Road to Ruin: Dornton, W. Farren ; Harry Dornton, Cooper ; Goldtinch, Jones; Widow Warren, Mrs. Glover.
The Shipwreck of Policinello.
The Scape Goat.
Hamlet: Hamlet, Serle; Laertes, Cooper; Ophelia, Miss Hammersley.
The Scape Goat.
The Scape Goat.
"Twas I. Delorme, Duruset; Marcel, Kecley; Georgette Clairville, Madame Ve
The Scare Goat.
The Birth Day.
The Three Strangers.
The Scape Goat.
[We have stated elsewhere the reasons which have induced us to offer
an impartial judgment in each number of our Magazine upon the books published in the course of the month. We regret that we are obliged to commence with so scanty a harvest of new books. Very few works of importance have appeared during the month of December. The booksellers seem to have been too actively engaged during the late commercial panie in the mercantile part of their affairs, to attend to the delivery of the poor authors, who are still compelled to wait for their literary accouchement, With the exception of Greece in 1825, and Finlayson's Mission to Siam and Cochin China, no works have come to light this month, which contribute to the general stock of information, unless it be Hansard's History of Printing, which, as a description of all the details of a mechanical art, appears unrivalled in its accuracy and fullness. The end or aim of Mr. Butler's Life of Erasmus we are totally at a loss to conceive. It gives neither the spirit of his time, the particulars of his life, nor a critical commentary upon his works. Mr. Colburn's admirable system of puffing has raised into notice a novel called “Granby," which, with any other publisher, would have silently gone the rounds of the circulating library, and have never been heard of. The most active friend of the poor author at the present day is undoubtedly the bookseller of the work in question. He seems, however, to negleci his best books. We can strongly recommend his Recollections of Count Segar, the father, whose work we have not seen pushed in the publisher's usual systematic manner. His Memoirs of Madame Genlis is also a charming work, and we regret to see such vile trash as Granby, and Kelly's Reminicences take the place of Mr. Colburn's much more important works.” We hope to render this department much more complete in the succeeding month.-Ed.]
The Mission to Siam and Huè, the Capital of Cochin China, in the
years 1821–2. From the Journal of the late George Finlayson, Esq. Assistant Surgeon of his Majesty's 8th Light Dragoons, Surgeon and Naturalist to the Mission. With a Memoir of the Author, by Sir Thomas Stamford Rafies, F.R.S. London: Murray, Albemarle-street, 1826.
This is a very unpretending volume full of amusement and instruction. The author had a lucky opportunity of seeing human nature in new points of view; and all his descriptions are plain and unaffected, and bear the marks of fidelity. His contributions to natural history appear likewise to have been considerable, though in this popular narrative little more than general views, and the more striking and remarkable observations are registered. Indeed, the judgment with which this part of the work is managed may serve as a model to writers of travels; for the details we are referred to catalogues and scientific descriptions, while enough is given to amuse the general reader, and to stimulate the curiosity of the scientific inquirer. Though several publications have appeared in England, and more in France, respecting Siam and Cochin China, more, we think, is to be learned from this volume than any we have hitherto met with concerning these interesting countries. The mission was a mercantile one, and may be said to have failed simply because it was dispatched not from the King of Great Britain, nor from any King, but from the Governor General of India. In the eyes of the formal and ceremonious people of the East, this circumstance seriously invalidated Mr. Craufurd, the agent's, title to favour and consideration. “It is just,” said the Mandarin of elephants," as if the Governor of Saigong, (a province of Cochin China,) were to send an embassy to a King of the East.” As a specimen of the work we will quote the audience which the mission obtained of the King of Siam, at Bankok. We may at the same time assure our readers that the book contains a vast deal of matter, even more interesting than this to our tastes.
Facing the gate at which we last entered, there was drawn up a double line of musicians, one on each side of the road through which we advanced. A shrill pipe and numerous tomtoms were the only instruments whose sounds we heard, though we observed a number of men furnished with horns, trumpets, chanks, &c. The music, though rude, was not inbarmonious or displeasing to the ear, and the interrupted beat, uniform regularity, and softness of the tomtoms, was even agreeable. On our right a numerous body of men armed with stout, black, glazed shields and battle-axes, were disposed in several close lines within a railing, resting on their knees, and almost concealed by their shields ; behind these were placed a few elephants, furnished with scanty but rather elegant housings. Still preceded by the Moormen, we advanced slowly through the musicians to the distance of nearly thirty yards from the last gate, when making a short turn to the right, we entered a plain-looking building, at one end, and soon found that this was the hall of audience. Fronting the door, and con