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DANGERS AND DIFFICULTIES
A THEATRICAL LIFE.
COULD great men thunder
WHAT a life is a Theatrical one! how full of horror ! how immersed in difficulty! how replete with danger. Its horrors are, the frequent tyranny and injustice of managers, the inso. lence of those deputed to govern under them, the heavy expence attached to it, the losses its professors are liable to, with various others of sufficient import to torture those who are compelled to meet them, yet not of self-sufficient consea quence to interest those who are not acquainted with them.
Its difficulti's are, to gain the public approbation, which compirses all that may be conceived and more than can be described--its dangers are, to preserve reputation, without which the best Actor would fail to gain esteem, and with which, the worst will ensure respect. Fatigue, anxiety, depri. vation of rest, loss of health, and sometimes loss of life, are the too certain dangers of this chequered occupation.
It is generally entered upon by those, whose youth has not yet awakened reflection, and whose absolute ignorance of what they, have undertaken, prevents timidity from operating to deter them. To sit, and calmly see a play, nothing appears more easy; but to undertake the performance, experi. ence soon proves that nothing is so difficult; it requires every quality of mind and body, strengthened by the strictest perseverance, and the most unlimited industry--it is at best a life of slavery, even attended with all its pleasures. What it must be (without the meed of public approbation, the satis. faction of universal admiration, and the numerous earthly' comforts, which is needful to renew that strength so amply spent for public gratification) I leave to every inquiring mind to calculate upon.
Ah! little do ye think, when as ye careless sit, ready to censure each omission, how often from a fevered bed the weary head is raised, (when languor creeps through every limb,) to fill a promised duty.-How often, when domestic agony distracts the heart, a smile must mantle on the treacher. ous face; when even necessity can scarce suppress the rising tear; yet should the intluence of that rising tear (when na. ture triumphing o'er art, displays itself,) check but a single smile, 'twill discontentment raise in each beholder.
I scarcely should have had temerity to offer a Treatise on a profession, which like itself, requires more talent than mostly falls to human nature's share, had not peculiar circumstances rendered it necessary.
Ere long I quit this kingdom, (perhaps for ever) with a grateful recollection of all the kindness I have received, but with a remembrance too, of all the miseries I have endured; I
would not leave a wounded name bebind, nor let unworthy censures fall on my intentions.
There are some minds, whose meanness will not suffer them to cavil at unjust authority; there are others whose timidity will not give them courage to contend against it-it is not indeed a woman's province to contend, but if she is removed from all protection, she then of necessity becomes her own counsellor.
Men need little to preserve them; the laws of honour (which however derogatory to humanity, however baneful to society, and however inimical to the public good,) is yet the guardian of their rights; when man insults his fellow, he enters on a bold career, and feels assured, that he in the event must answer. But when a female, far, far distant from her country and her friends, without a father, brother, husband to pro. tect her, she has no resource, but either tamely to submit without a murmur to injustice and tyranny, or firmly stepping forward, forget her function, and sacrifice her feelings to preserve her fame.
Thus it is with me two pleas are only left, to rise or fall; to rise must be my own, to fall must be my oppressors will.Lured here, as it should seem, but to be made the sacrifice of prosperous greatness, yet can I not my greatness yield to any claim, holding no claim superior to my owti~nor is my spirit famed for tame submission to tyrannic sway; humble enough, there, where humility is meritorious, yet proud and bold enough to own my pride, where to be proud is needful-rigidly punctual' in the performance of every engagement, but requiring the same punctuality in return.
A private quarrel can have little interest for the publie taste; yet a Novel, filled with fiction, will excite your tears, a Play awaken all your energies of mind, and will a tale of truth lose all its influence, simply because it is a tale of truth? impossible.
There is an allegorical account, in the publication I mean to offer you, of many painful circumstances attached to my