페이지 이미지

Puff. Yes, sir, I flatter myself I do as much business in that way as any six of the fraternity in town-Devilish hard work all the summer-Friend Dangle never work'd harder!-But harkee,--the Winter Managers were a little sore, I believe.

Dan. No! I believe they took it all in good part.

Puff. Aye!—Then that must have been affectation in them; for, egad, there were some of the attacks which there was no laughing at!

Sneer. Aye, the humorous ones. But I should think, Mr. Puff, that authors would in general be able to do this sort of work for themselves.

Puff: Why, yesmbut in a clumsy way. Besides, we look on that as an encroachment, and so take the opposite side. I dare say now you conceive half the very civil paragraphs and advertisements you see, to be written by the parties concerned, or their friends? No such thing. Nine out of ten, manufactured by me in the way of business.

Sneer. Indeed!

Puff. Even the auctioneers now the auctioneers , I say, though the rogues have lately got some credit for their language-not an article of the merit their's! --Take them out of their pulpits, and they are as dull as catalogues!--No, sir; 'twas I first enriched their style—'was I first taught them to crowd their advertisements with panegyrical superlatives, each epithet rising above the other-like the bidders in their own auction-rooms! From me they learn'd to enlay their phraseology with variegated chips of exotic metaphor! by me, too, their inventive faculties were called forth. Yes, sir, by me they were instructed to clothe ideal walls with gratuitous fruit-to insinuate obsequious rivulets into visionary grovesto teach courteous shrubs to nod their approbation of the grateful soil! or, on emergencies, to raise upstart oaks, where there never had been an acorn; to create a delightful vicinage, without the assistance of a neighbour; or fx the temple of Hygeia in the fens of Lincolnshire!

Dan. I am sure you have done them infinite service; for now, when a gentleman is ruined, he parts with his house with some credit.

Sneer. Service! if they had any gratitude, they would erect a statue to him. But pray, Mr. Puff, what first put you on exercising your talents in this way?

Puff. Egad, sir-sheer necessity-the proper parent of an art so nearly allied to invention; you must know, Mr. Sneer, that from the first time I tried my hand at an advertisement, my success was such, that, for some time after, I led a most extraordinary life indeed!

Sneer. How, pray?

Puff. Sir, I supported myself two years entirely by my misfortunes.

Sneer. By your misfortunes ?

Puff. Yes, sir, assisted by long sickness, and other occasional disorders; and a very comfortable living I had of it.

Sneer. From sickness and misfortune!

Puff. Harkee!-By advertisements--'To the charitable and humane!' and 'to those whom Providence hath blessed with affluence!"

Sneer. Oh,-I understand you.

Puff. And, in truth, I deserved what I got, for I suppose never man went through such a series of calamities in the same space of time !-Sir, I was five times made a bankrupt, and reduced from a state of affluence, by a train of unavoidable misfortunes ! Then, sir, though a very industrious tradesman, I was twice burn out, and lost my little all, both times! I lived upon those fires a month. I soon after was confined by a most excruciating disorder, and lost the use of my limbs! That told very well; for I had the case strongly attested, and went about to collect the subscriptions myself.

Dan. Egad, I believe that was when you first called
Puff. What, in November last ?-O no! When I

on me

called on you I was a close prisoner in the Marshalsea, for a debt benevolently contracted to serve a friend ! I was afterwards twice tapped for a dropsy, which declined into a very profitable consumption! I was then reduced to-0 no-then, I became a widow with six helpless children,-after having had eleven husbands pressed, and being left every time eight months gone with child, and without money to get me into an hospital!

Sneer. And you bore all with patience, I make no doubt?

Puff. Why, yes,—though I made some occasional attempts at felo de se; but as I did not find those rash actions answer, I left of killing myself very soon.Well, sir ,—at last, what with bankruptcies, fires, gouls, dropsies, imprisonments, and other valuable calamities, having got together a pretty handsome sum, I determined to quit a business which had always gone rather against my concience, and in a more liberal way still to indulge my talents for fiction and embellishments, through my favourite channels of diurnal communication-and so, sir, you have my history.

Sneer. Most obligingly communicative, indeed. But surely, Mr. Puff, there is no great mystery in your present profession.

Puff. Mystery! Sir, I will take upon me to say the matter was never scientifically treated, nor reduced to rule, before.

Sneer. Reduced to rule ? Puff. O lud, sir! you are very ignorant, I am afraid. - Yes, sir,-Pusling is of various sort :- the principal are—the Puff direct—he Puff preliminary, the Puff collaleral-lhe Puff collusive and the Puff oblique, or Puff by implication. These all asume, as circumstances require, the various forms of-Leller to the Editor- Occasional Anecdole-Impartial CritiqueObservation from Correspondent-or Advertisements from the Party.

Sneer. The Puff direct, I can conceive-
Puff. O yes, that's simple enough, for instance-

[ocr errors]

A new Comedy or Farce is to be produced at one of
the Theatres (though, by-the-bye, they don't bring out
half what they ought to do): the author, suppose Mr.
Smatter, or Mr. Dapper, or any particular friend of
mine-very well : the day before it is to be performed
I write an account of the manner in which it was re-
ceived—I have the plot from the author,-and only add
-Characters strongly drawn-highly coloured-hand
of a master-fund of genuine humour-mine of inven-
tion-neat dialogue-allic salt!—Then for the perfor-
mance-Mr. Baker was astonishingly great in the
character of Sir Harry! That universal and judicious
actor, Mr. Egerton, perhaps never appeared to more
advantage than in the Colonel : but it is not in the
power of language to do justice to Mr. Jones!—Indeed,
he more than merited those repeated bursts of applause
which he drew from a most brilliant and judicious au-
dience! In short, we are at a loss which to admire
most, the unrivalled genius of the author, the great
attention and liberality of the managers, the wonderful
abilities of the painter, or the incredible exertions of
all the performers !

Sneer. That's pretty well, indeed, sir.
Puff. O cool, quite cool, to what I sometimes do.

Sneer. And do you think there are any who are influenced by this !

Puff. 0 lud! yes, sir, the number of those who understand the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed!

Dan. Ha! ha! ha!-'gad I know it is so.

Puff. As to the Puff oblique, or Puff by implication, it is too extensive, and branches into so many varieties, that it is impossible to be illustrated by an instance; -it is the last principal class of the art of Puffingan art which I hope you will now agree with me, of the highest dignity.

Sneer. Sir, I am completely a convert both to the importance and ingenuity of your profession : and now, sir, there is but one thing which can possibly increase my respect for you, and that is, your permitting me


to be present this morning at the rehearsal of your new trage

Puff Hush, for heaven's sake.—My tragedy !Egad, Dangle, I take this very ill; you know how apprehensivel am of being known to be the author.

Dan. 'Efaith, I would not have told; but it's in the papers, and your name at length in the Morning Chronicle.

Puff. Ah! those damn'd editors never can keep a secret! Well, Mr. Sneer-no doubt you will do me great honour-I shall be infinitely happy-highly flattered.

Dan. I believe it must be near the time-shall we go together?

Puff. No; it will not be yet this hour, for they are always late at that theatre: besides, I must meet you there, for I have somme little matters to send to The papers, and a few paragraps to scribble before I go. [Looking at memorandums.) Here is 'a Conscientious Baker, on the Subject of the Army Bread,' and 'a Detester of visible Brick-work, in favour of the newinvented Stucco;' both the style of Junius, and promised for to morrow -Here is an invention for the running our mail coaches by steam, and lighting them by gas.--I have also a very ingenious design for a selfacting air-pump, to be fixed in the confined streets, which is to supersede the necessity of country excarsions for the benefit of the health. Here are likewise many other valuable memorandums, most of which I have no doubt but I shall render equally practicable, and of the greatest importance to the nation. So, egad, I have not a moment to lose.

SCENE I. - The Theatre.

Enter Dangle, Puff, and SNEER. Puff. No, no, sir; what Shakspeare says of actors may be better applied to the purpose of Plays; they ought to be 'the abstract and brief chronicles of the times.' Therefore when history, and particularly the

« 이전계속 »