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ON LOSING A FORAGE CAP ON BOARD SHIP.
To cheer me now, I've lost my cap,
In vain I, ad cap tandum, sing ;
If cap : eandem I could bring !
angry ocean rages,
Head-Quarters, and alas, for ages !
But with my cap, my credit fell;
A total loss of cap-I-tell !
THE AMATEURS-A FARCE.
PREFACE. In the following sketch it is attempted to shadow forth some of the delights! attending the conduct of an amateur theatre ; truly they can only be indicated, for to show them otherwise than “as in a glass darkly» would but serve to alarm amateurs and astound the most gentle and urbane of publics. Our Calcutta critics, though mild as milk of roses, and balmy as the breath of Julia Maria, are occasionally very erudite on the atrocity of our playing farces, when they demand comedies; and tragedies when they hunger and thirst for farces. They also do ever and anon exhibit a “ cruel facetiousness” with respect to those failures in scenic propriety which are, we admit, less common in theatres where the Dram. Pers. are paid certain weekly stipends for rehearsing each play thirty-seven times, or more, if necessary. I would pray of these excellent persons to consider that a dimity napkin will not compose a pair of dress pantaloons, neither is it easy to make a turene of mock turtle from a gross of pewter buttons. In short, that when our whole strength consists of three amateurs, famous in broad farce, it is not the time to get up King Jolm; and at another period, when we have eleven gentlemen who volunteer for nothing short of Hamlet, and six who insist on playing Lear, we should be ill advised to persuade the Hamlets to try Raising the Wind, and the Lears to enact the School for Scandal. In fact our critics, who are a body no less acute than erudite and jocose, may, after the lapse of a few ages, be brought to comprehend that in an amateur theatre, we must, to use a homely proverb, coat according to our cloth.” I trust that hereafter they will keep this stern necessity in mind whenever they contemplate dazzling mankind with their profound and brilliant remarks on our Calcutta Drama, and that each may further be tempted to edulcorate the gall of his ink with one pennyworth of white sugar on rising " a sadder and a wiser man” from the perusal of AMATEURS,
H. M. P.
66 cut our
An Amateur Stage Manager.
SCENE.-The Chouringhee Theatré. SCENE I.-A Drop---supposed to be set for a rehearsal. Pens, Ink, and immense heaps of Paper, Notes, fc. on the Table.
BUSKin behind the Scenes.
Bus. (Entering with Chip.) And pray, wliat made Capt. Rocket put his foot through the Thunder ?
Chip. Oh, Sir ! he said it war'nt no more like Thunder nor his grandmother. He said Sir, as how he'd make you a little proper Thunder.
Bus. Oh! very well—but if he makes any better I'll—but what has become of the roaring of the sea ?
Chip. Oh Sir, Captain Rocket said, it war'nt no more like the roaring of the sea nor his grandmother, and that he can make capital roaring of the sea with a little brickdust and whity brown paper.
Bus. Oh very well, very well; and I suppose Capt. Rocket has been so obliging as to take charge of the rain too?
Chip. Yes, Sir; he said 'twarn't no more like rain nor his grandmother.
Bus. (Aside.) Confound his grandmother and grandfather too.
Chip. What do you think Sir, Capt. Rocket said, our best rain was like, (the second-best rain you know Sir is gone to be mended)? Why Sir, he said it sounded like bubble and squeak in a frying pan, Oh, Sir, he's a very funny gentleman, Captain Rocket.
Bus. Yes, very funny; but come Chip bestir yourself, this is positively our last dress rehearsal, so away to business. (Exit Chip.) That fellow Rocket now, fancies he has a genius for stage mechanics, so he blew off the roof of the house the last time we played the “Secret Mine ;" broke the sun and comet in “ The Mystery of the Deluge,”, and
imitated the wind in the Tempest so admirably, that the audience took the noise for a concert of penny trumpets Mr. Green.
Green. Sir. (Ent r.
Green. Yes, Sir; but I really thought Sir, that two of 'em would have fit just now.
Bus. What about?
Green. Why Sir they both insisted on dressing themselves by the long looking glass. Mr. Stubbs because he play'd the principal character, and Major Mimms because his dress was the finest; so one shoved the other a little Sir, and then the other shoved the other a little, and so SirBus. Bless me, I must go up and keep the peace.
[A crash heard.] Green. Oh, dear Sir! that's the long looking-glass, they've upset it between them, as sure as a gun.
Lus. Oh-very fortunate—that will terminate the dispute, and the parties won't be exposed to any further unpleasant reflections; where's the Ghost?
Green. Putting on his waistcoat Sir, but he swears he won't come on unless he wears his own boots and spurs. Bus.
Why what the deuce is the whim of that? Greon. Why Sir, he says they are just come out from England, and that they're the best pair of boots he ever saw in his life.
Bus. Oh, very, very well; let him put on his cock'd hat and staff uniform if he likes—but it ever I undertake to manage again—they may catch me at it, that's all.-- Any notes for me Mr. Green? Green. Yes Sir, they're all on the table.
(Exit.) Bus. (Goes to the Table.) Trouble, trouble-write, write-read, read-well if ever they catch me managing again! What's this?
(Takes up the Note.) My dear Buskin,
Can't come to-night, pon honour: rather shabby, I confess, not to attend one rehearsal, but I have so little to do, (Confound him! the second character in the play.] That I shall get on very well on the night of performance.
D. DULCET. Chowringhee, 29th December, 1831.
I thought somit's enough to make one go_but if ever they catch me managing again! Now what's here? (Reads.)
When I accepted the part of the second Herald at your particular request, I did hope, that we should have had a sufficient number of rehearsals to enable me to do justice to the character, and to the expectations of my friends ; since however I find that we are not likely to have more than eleven, I beg to decline appearing in the part of the second Herald, which I accepted at your PARTICULAR request. And remain dear Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
CARISTOPHER W. Dumps. Clive Street, 29th December, 1831,
P. s. If you can put off the play, and will have three or four more rehearsals, I shall still be prepared to play the part of the second Herald, which I accepted at your particular request. C. W. D.
Egad, not so bad, Mr. Dumps: a fellow who has only to say, “Your Grace shall be obey'd,” from the beginning of the play to the end of it, wants Fourteen Rehearsals—well, if they ever catch me again-come what more.
(Reads another Note.)
I won't do the Queen unless I am allowed to introduce “ The Bay of Biscay Oh”-I ve been taking lessons from Massoni, and it suits my voice exactly:-[Heaven and Earth! the Queen in Hamlet, singing " The Bay of Biscay Oh,” this is worse and worse ; egad I shouldn't be surprized if Ophelia proposed to dance a Horn-pipe.] (reads. By the way, old boy, if I am to drink in the last scene where
The King Drinks to Hamlet” I must have some bottled porter, for I'll be hanged if I drink any thing else. Park Street, 29th December.
PETER Gordon. P. S. Can't come to night, but that's no matter, you can read my part.
Oh; I really must put a stop to this. The Bay of Biscay! the Bay of Devils ! (sits down and writes in great wrath.)
My Dear Gordon, it is really too bad
No that won't do, if we offend him he won't play the Queen, and we havn't got another man in this company with a small voice and a Roman nose. [begins another not.] My Dear Gordon,
You are a very good fellow for volunteering so capital a song, it will no doubt delight every body, but as it would not perhaps be quite appropriate in the Tragedy, would you very much oblige us by singing it between the second and third acts ?
Confound him, that's the fifth part I have been requested to read this evening; but if ever they catch me managing again-Davenport! .
Daven. Not quite Sir. The Tailors have sewed up Mr. Harrison's skin and he can't get it on any how.
Bus. Well, let him come on without it.
Daven. Yes Sir, but he has got so far in that he can't get out of it again.
[Exit.] Bus. Nothing but vexation- there's a complete suit of skin that cost the theatre fifty Rupees, and those awkward fellows will tear it all to pieces. Egad, I wish it was their own skin, they'd be a little more careful of it. [Opens another Note.] What have we here? To the Stage Manager.
Sir,—The last time I took my little ones to the box door, they ask'd four Rupees a piece for them
Psha! a deuced deal more than they were worth, I'll be bound. (Throws away the note and opens another.) ] To H. Buskin, Esq.
SIR,- Tho' I have not the pleasure of your personal acquaintance, yet permit me to take the liberty of observing, that when Thespis first made the stage a vehicle for the extension of moral benevolence and universal philanthropy–hum, hum, hum,]-Sir, instead of the trash you are now pleased to give the public, I strongly recommend the immediate preparation of that excellent Tragedy, "The Double Revenge, or the Sanguinary Monster of the Western Isles."
Your's, &c. 29th December, 1831.
Philo DRAMATICUS. Psha! pooh! nonsense.[
(Tears up several notes after casting his eyes on them.] But if ever they catch me taking the stage management again! [Enter a GENTLEMAN dressed as Ophelia in the Mad Scene, with a basket
of flowers on the left arm; a wine glass in the left hand, and a decanter of brandy in the right, at which he is smelling with much earnestness : a man's hat on his head.]
Ophelia. I say Buskin, my boy, confound it, this will never do; now only do smell it yourself; they get worse and worse brandy every day.
Bus. My dear Ophelia, what can such a delicate creature possibly have to do with brandy.
Ophelia. Oh it's all very well for you Buskin; but I'm naturally bashful, and if I hav’nt plenty of good brandy I shall never get through the Mad Scene,let me see.
Talking of Nonny, Buskin, I wish you would desire them always to have a little mulligatawny for supper.
“ And in his grave rained many a tear.”
I say Busky, what fun it would be, if it would only rain brandy and water my boy?
"There's rosemary," (looks in the basket,] where's rosemary? I don't see anything like rosemary,
Bus. Why, it's in the basket, isn't it?
Enter Davenport, [bringing in an immense bush on his shoulder.] why, what the deuce is that?
Dav. Rosemary, Sir.
Ophelia. Oh, I'll trouble you to catch me carrying that little tree about.
Dav. Why, Sir, we couldn't get any real rosemary in the bazar, and I thought this might do.