網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

recommendations, under the best of systems, for places of honour and emolument. Augustus Stanhope won money of Lord Beauchamp some ten years ago at Paris. Lord Beauchamp's papa, then Lord Yarmouth, contended that the money was not fairly won. Augustus Stanhope, who was in the 12th Light Dragoons, was consequently brought to a Courtmartial and broke. Being thus thrown out of his profession, and having nothing else to do, Augustus Stanhope pokes sticks at the Marquis of Hertford, and thereupon Sir Richard Birnie interferes, and becomes a mediator between the parties. Mr. Stanhope proposes as the terms of peace, that the Marquis shall effect his restoration to his rank in the army; the Marquis, according to Sir Richard Birnie, declares that this is impossible, but mentions a consulship as an eligible appointment, and the consulship not being relished by Mr. Stanhope, Sir Richard Birnie (whether authorised or not to do so does not appear) afterwards suggests a place in the Stamp-office of 8001. a year. Assuming that Mr. Stanhope was justly dismissed his Majesty's service for the offence imputed to him, it is somewhat curious that it should have been proposed to give him a consulship or to put him into a place in the Stamp-office. He got nothing eventually, it is true, but the negociation shows how light is made of the public service by those who, by virtue of influence, have the command of appointments. Assuming the statement to be, as I think it is, correct, the Marquis certainly appears in a dilemma! His charge against Mr. Stanhope in 1815 was, in his belief, at the period of this treaty through Sir R. B., either founded or unfounded; if founded, Mr. Stanhope could not, in his opinion, be a fit person for any public office ; if unfounded, he ought to have felt that he owed Mr. Stanhope not only compensation for what he had lost, but a public exculpation. If he was right in proposing to use his influence to procure for Mr. Stanhope an appointment, he must have been wrong in not avowing his persuasion that he was innocent of the charge which he formerly urged against him.

5th.-Miss Kelly has been prevailed upon to play Lady Teazle; a part for which, clever as she is, she is not particularly well qualified either by nature or art. The newspaper-critics, who, for some reason best known to themselves, have all conspired to puff Mrs. Davison, were outrageous at her being supplanted in this character by Miss Kelly, and talk, God help them! of her superior elegance and fashion! It appears, however, from two letters from Miss Kelly to the stagemanager of Drury-lane, published to-day, that Mrs. Davison had given up the part, as well she might, seeing that she was even less fit for it than Miss Kelly, and it also appears that Miss Kelly undertook it with reluctance. The way in which Mrs. Davison's pretensions are spoken of in the tasty newspapers is perfectly ridiculous-Moll Flagon is much more in her style of elegance and fashion than Lady Teazle.

There is to-day a letter from Sir Richard Birnie to the editor of the Chronicle, stating that his overtures to Mr. Stanhope were not authorised by Lord Hertford! It would seem, from Sir Richard's representation, that he voluntarily, and of his own motion, entered on the negociation with Mr. Stanhope solely from an amiable desire to restore to society a young man of rank who has been suffering for nine years. How very obliging! If Sir Richard Birnie is addicted to this sort of benevolence I can point out to him plenty of subjects for it. The truth is, that this worthy Magistrate is by far too fond of recommending himself to persons of quality. He is a very good magistrate, chargeable only with too busy a zeal for rank.

It is true, that when applied to as a magistrate to afford Lord Hertford protection against insults likely to lead to a breach of the peace, I was desirous, for the sake of Nr. Stanhope himself, and out of respect to his venerable father, to find some mode of arranging the differences, without having recourse to legal proceedings. But I beg to state, that this was my own idea, not in any way authorized by Lord H. When I took upon myself to submit Mr. Stanhope's propositions to the Marquis, bis Lordship positively declined acceding to them. At length, on my repeated endeavours to do Mr. Stanhope some service, Lord Hertford said, that if he was satisfactorily secured from future outrage, he would interpose no difficulty to any efforts which Mr. Stauhope's own family might make in his behalf.

*

That I voluntarily undertook to mediate between the two persons of rank is true ; that the mediation did not succeed, I lament. I could have no motive, beyond the preservation of the peace, and a desire to restore to society a young man of rank, who had been suffering for nine years.

In conclusion, allow me to say, that as my public duty occupies the whole of my time, I bare no leisure to devote to newspaper discussion ; I shall not, therefore, notice any thing that may hereafter appear on this unpleasant subject, but shall leave the public to decide on the facts already before them.

When Sir Richard says, that his public duties occupy the whole of his time, I suppose he means the whole of his time excepting that portion of it occupied in mediating between persons of rank, and restoring young men of good families to society.

6th.-A Mr. Leyne has called upon O'Connel for satisfaction, which being refused, Mr. Leyne has called O'Connel some disagreeable names. The Irish papers having detailed the affair, say:

" It is stated that Mr. Maurice and Mr. Morgan O'Connel were waiting at the corner of Nassau-street, to meet Mr. Leyne, in order to inflict chastisement on him.” It is somewhat singular, that men who pique themselves immeasurably on their gallantry, as Irishmen do, should resort to waylaying and attacking their enemy with superior numbers. An Irishman, it is remarked by one of themselves, never meets his foe singlehanded, and on equal terms, if he can possibly avoid it; he raises a mob to assault him, or if he cannot do that he resorts to some weapon and ambush, which give him a decided and secure advantage. I thought, however, that this sort of practice had been confined to the low Irish. The story of the young O'Connels may be true or false, but, true or false, it is obviously given by the Irish papers without any perception of any thing exceptionable in the imputed proceeding.

7th.-Bull, from “ The Ballina Impartial-Saturday night week, a party of Rockites attacked the house of a man named Clark, in the parish of Screan, and after gaining admittance, laid hold of the unfortunate man, and did not leave a single hair on his head that they did not pluck out.

8th-Went to the Adelphi, the only theatre to which any body now goes. Saw the Pilot, which is extremely well played. Reeves makes an amusing caricature of an American Brave; Terry is a picture of a Pilot; Cook, the beau ideal of a hornpipe-dancing, pig-tailed tar, (Tom, not Sir Isaac, Coffin); and Yates looks quite at home in the uniform of a post-captain. The piece is taken from the American novel of the name, with this slight alteration, that the dramatiser has turned the tables on the American author, by laying the scene on the

coast of America instead of on the coast of England, by changing the gallant American frigate into an infinitely more gallant English one, and by reversing all the characters, so that the Britishers are the heroes, and the Yankees the Pékins. In the novel, the English officer, Captain Borroughcliff, is absurd but bold; his counterpart in the drama is an American officer, who is not only as ridiculous as Reeves and Yankee Lingo can make him, but also a consummate coward. This is rather too bad. We laugh at the fanfaronade of the French, but never in my life did I see fanfaronade approaching in extravagance to the fanfaronade of this piece, and every burst of vapour was received by the audience with shouts of applause. In one scene, the English captain, who has been taken prisoner and condemned as a spy, is on the point of being shot on board an American frigate, when the pigtailed British tar, Tom Coffin, jumps suddenly on deck and swaggers about, alternately bullying and begging for the captain's life; just as the Americans are plucking up resolution to put Coffin out of the way, and so to have a clear shot at the British captain, the alarm is given that the English are alongside, and in the twinkling of an eye the British boarders are swarming over the bulwarks; in the midst of the fire and smoke, the two heroines, in elegant morning dresses, appear among the boarders, (they were parlour-boarders, I guess,) are gallantly handed up the side, and arrive on deck just in time to see the victory of the English. All this shows what a miserable look-out is kept on board of American frigates, and how easily a man may take them if he does but come alongside them, like a thief in the night, or a friendly bum-boat in the day, without making a row. In the novel there is a very fine nautical description of a frigate caught in a gale on a lee-shore. In the drama they have attempted this scene, and have made a better sea, a better vessel, and a better storm, than I ever before saw at a theatre, but still it is a bungling business. The stage is very judiciously darkened, and when the curtain draws you see a. schooner (not a frigate) lying, rocking like a rocking-horse, in the trough of a poppling sea, such as you would comfortably ride out in a cockle-shell. However, the schooner's people are in a desperate taking, never before having seen a sea running mole-hills high, and being on a lee-shore, and they bawl and halloo like new ones. You are to understand that this schooner is clawing off the shore, and consequently she should be close hauled under as inuch canvass as she can carry with safety to her masts, but will you believe that she has not a bit of sail of any sort on her mainmast? nothing but headsail set! And then they wonder that she pitches her head away, and does not carry a weather-helm! At last the brilliant thought strikes them, that it would be a devilish clever thing to set the main-sail, and after a deal of hallooing, up it goes, the whole sail, and out it blows, loose, like a flag; for, observe, that though the word is passed to haul aft the main-sheet, they never do haul aft the main-sheet, but on the contrary, they claw off the shore with a main-sail set for going right before the wind. But no matter, all's well that ends well. Suddenly they fall a cheering and bawling like mad because the danger 's all over, and the point weathered. They must have had a deuced good weather-tide setting under their lee-bow, or they never would have got to windward the way they set about it. But Terry is a young

pilot, and Yates has only been a few weeks made ; after a few voyages they will learn to sheet home and get their vessel into tidier trim for weathering a lee shore.

The theatre was crammed, and in the private boxes I observed more people of fashion than I have seen at Covent-garden in a whole season. The Adelphi is now the National Theatre, vice Coventgarden the Show.

9th.—Newspaper notion of wit." At the contest for Westminster, between Lord Trentham and Sir George Vandeput, in 1749, a gentleman being beset on both sides his coach, by the opposite mobs, crying out for the opposite candidate, called out G-dd-n them both.” Where the deuce is the joke?

10th.-It is perfectly astonishing how much I have read during the last month about the forthcoming novel called Granby. Certainly Colburn spares no expense to let the public know when he is about to be delivered of “ a work of real importance" at his house, No. 8, Old Burlington Street. As the period of publication draws near, the paragraphs grow terser, and simply describe the public curiosity as wound up to an agonizing pitch. To day I read, for the fiftieth time, that “ Public curiosity is much excited in regard to the author of the forthcoming novel called . Granby, which is to make its appearance on Tuesday next." Colburn, in the daily and weekly prints, passim.

- There is this day an account of Kean's reception in New York. The event has been just what was expected by every body that knew any thing about the Americans; they have proved themselves even more moral and polite than we are. As became natives of a land of liberty, they refused to hear any thing the offender had to say, and like a gallant people they pelted him bravely with oranges and apples. Mobs are every where pretty much alike; whether at London, Paris, or New York, the monster is much the same. At Paris, the self-declared most gallant men in the world, shyed souspieces at actresses, only because they were English. In Kean's case, The mob at New York have gone beyond the canters of London; they would not be behind the Britishers in virtue and civilization. The poor man published, it seems, a pitiably submissive letter in a newspaper, but it would not avail him.

ilth.–The papers are now teeming with anecdotes (most of them very stale) of the great men of Sheridan's day. I have heard one of Burke, which I have never seen in print. The irritability of Burke is well known, and was strongly exemplified on many occasions in the course of Hastings's impeachment, in his conduct, not only towards his opponents, but also towards his colleagues. On one occasion, Mr. Michael Angelo Taylor had nearly fallen a victim to this infirmity. Burke had put a question, the only one, it is said, which he had ever put that was unexceptionable, both in substance and in form; Mr. Law, (the late Lord Ellenborough,) one of Hastings's Counsel, objected to it, and was stating the grounds of his objection, when, perceiving Mr. M. A. Taylor entering the manager's box, he congratulated the House that the candour and legal experience of the learned Manager, (meaning Mr. M. A. Taylor,) would at once induce bim to admit that such a question could not be put consistently with those rules of evidence with which his learned friend was so eminently conJan. 1826.

G

versant. Upon which, M. A. Taylor, (who had never before been so respectfully referred to as an authority, and who was worked upon like the crow in the fable complimented on her singing,) coming forward, requested the learned Counsel to restate the question, which Mr. Law having done, Mr. T. instantly observed, that it was impossible to contend that it was admissible. "On this, Mr. Burke, forgetting everything but his question, seized M. A. Taylor by the collar, exclaiming : “You little villain! Put him in irons, put him in irons," dragged him down, and had almost succeeded in throttling him, when Mr. Fox came in to his rescue. The scene is by no one more pleasantly described than by Mr. Michael Angelo Taylor himself.

There is a fine image of Sheridan's, which I have heard but never seen in print: it should not be lost. Describing the effect produced by the march of Hastings from Oude to Bonazes, he said: * Terror in his front, rebellion in his rear; for wherever the heel of oppression was raised, trodden misery sprung up and looked about for vengeance." This has escaped the reporter of the speech.

12th.-It must cost Mrs. Coutts an immense sum of money to give the world an idea of her motions. One cannot take up a newspaper without seeing where Mrs. Coutts is; it is the only point on which all the journals are always perfectly well informed. I wish the Duke of St. Albans, or the Duke of Somebody, would marry her, if only to give us newspaper readers the relief of a change of name; it will be something gained to be no longer wearied with the eternal word Coutts, which haunts the columns of all the prints. To-day I have the happiness to see that—“Mrs. Coutts is expected to arrive at Byam House this day, Saturday."-Brighton Herald. To-morrow I shall see that “Mrs. Coutts has arrived at Byam House, Brighton.” Next day, I shall be blessed with the news that “Mrs. Coutts is enlivening the social circles of Brighton with her presence.” And the day after, my happiness will be carried a step further, by the glad tidings that, “ Yesterday Mrs. Coutts took an airing on the Patcham Road.”. Certainly it cannot be said of the rich widow, as of Dame Quickly, that “No one knows where to have her.”

13th.-It is a melancholy thing for the readers of newspapers, that the writers of them will insist on showing their acquirements on all occasions. In an account of a little piece at the Adelphi, called Succe88, (a quiz on the press, the New Times represents “The Observer and Thespian Sentinel, as trying a close bout of manual espionage." "A close bout of manual espionage!" What in the name of refinement does the accomplished critic mean? Lady Morgan, in her happiest moments of French, never surpassed this malapropism.

14th.—“It was expected that Mrs. Coutts would have been at Byam House on Saturday, but a notification [how Royal!] was received that she had postponed her journey till Monday.”—New Times.

There is no subject so melancholy that the newspapers cannot relieve it with a touch of the ridiculous ; that is to say, if they set seriously about the matter. I observe to-day, in a morning paper, this paragraph:

The late illustrious Duchess of Rutland, whose premature decease so many are yet deploring, took, as is well known, great delight in the superintendence of a considerable farm at her Lord's fine seat of Belvoir Castle, and in the selecting and feeding

« 上一頁繼續 »