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history of our own country, furnishes any thing like a case in point, to the time in which an author writes, if he knows his own interest, he will take advantage of it; so, sir, I call my tragedy, "The Spanish Armada;' and have laid the scene before Tilbury Fort.
Snier. A most happy thought, certainly!
Dangle. Egad, it was; I told you so. But pray, now, I don't understand how you have contrived to introduce
any love into it. Puff. Love!-Oh nothing so easy : for it is a received point among poets, that where history gives you a good heroic outline for a play, you may fill up with a little love at your own discretion : in doing which, nine times out of ten, you only make up a deficiency in the private history of the times. Now I rather think I have done this with some success.
Sneer. No scandal about Queen Elizabeth, I hope ?
Puff. O lud, no, no. I only suppose the Governor of Tilbury Fort's daughter to be in love with the son of the Spanish Admiral.
Sneer. Oh, is that all ?
Dan. Excellent, 'efaith ! I see it at once. But won't this appear rather inprobable ?
Puff. To be sure it will—but what the plague! a play is not to shew occurrenses that happen every day, but things just so strange, that though they never did, they might happen.
Sneer. Certainly, nothing is unnatural, that is not physically impossible.
Puff. Very true—and for that matter, Don Ferolo Whiskerandos—for that's the lover's name-might have been over here in the train of the Spanish Ambassador; or Tilburina, for that is the lady's name might have been in love with him, from having heard his character, or seen his picture; or from knowing that he was the last man in the world she ought to be in love with, or for any other good female reason. However, sir, the fact is, that though she is but a knight's daughter, egad! she is in love like any princess !
Dan. Poor young lady! I feel for her already!
Puff. O amazing!-her poor susceptible heart is swayed to and fro, by contending passions, lik
Enter UNDER PROMPTER. Under P. Sir, the scene is set, and every thing is ready to begin, if you please.
Puff ’Egad, then we'll lose no time.
Under P. Though I believe, sir, you will find it very short, for all the performers have profited by the kind permission you granted them.
Puff. Hey! what!
Under P. You know, sir, you gave them leave to cut out or omit whatever they found heavy or unnecessary to the plot, and I must own they have taken very liberal advantage of your indulgence. [Exit.
Puff: Well, well. They are in general very good judges; and I know I am luxuriant. Gentlemen, be seated. (Sneek and DANGLE sit.] Now, Mr. Wodarch [To Leader of the Band] please to play a few bars of something soft, just to prepare the audience for the curtain's rising.
[The Band strike 'Bobbing Joan,' very forte. Puff. [Having stopped them with much difficulty.] Now, really, gentlemen, this is unkind. I ask you to play a soothing air, and you strike up Bobbing Joan! [To Speer, &c.] These gentlemen will have their joke at rehearsal, you see. [To Orchestra.] Come, gentlemen, oblige me. [The Band play a few bars of soft music.] Aye, that's right,-for we have the scenes, and dresses; egad, we'll go to it, as if it was the first night's performance; but you need not mind stopping between the acts. Soh! stand clear, gentlemen. Now, you know there will be a cry of down-down!-hats off!-silence !Then up curtain ,--and let us see what our painters have done for us. SCENE II.- The Curtain rises, and discovers Tilbury
Fort. Two Centinels asleep on the ground. Dan. Tilbury Fort!-very fine, indeed!
Puff. Now, what do you think I open with ?
Puff. Hark!—[Clock strikes four.] I open with a clock striking, to beget an awful altention in the audience-it also marks the time, which is four o'clock in the morning, and saves a description of the rising sun, and a great deal about gildirg the eastern hemisphere:
Dan. But, pray, are the centinels to be asleep? Puff. Fast as watchmen.
Sneer. Isn't that odd though, at such an alarming crisis?
Puff. To be sure it is;-but smaller things must give way to a striking scene at the opening; that's a rule.-And the case is, that two great men are coming to this very spot to begin the piece; now, it is not to be supposed they would open their lips, if these fellows were watching them; 80, egad, I must either have sent them off their posts, or set them asleep.
Sneer. O, that accounts for it!—But tell us, who are these coming?
Puff. These? They are-Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Cristopher Hatton. You'll know Sir Christopher, by his turning out his toes,-famous, you know, for his dancing. I like to preserve all the little traits of character. Now atlend.
Enter SIR CHRISTOPHER HATTON and SIR
Sir C. True, gallant Raleigh!'
Puff. O yes; all the way as they came along. I beg pardon, gentlemen. [To the Actors.] but these are particular friends of mine. Mr. Sneer and Mr. Dangle, Mr. Keeley and Mr. Meadows, both very promising gentlemen in their profession, I assure you. [T'he Actors take off their hats, and bow very low.
I know it's against the rule to introduce strangers at a rehearsal, but as they are particular friends of mine, I thought you would excuse. Don't mind interrupting these fellows whenever any thing strikes you.
[To Sneer and DANGLE. • Šir C. True, gallant Raleigh! • But O, thou champion of thy country's fame, ' There is a question which I yet must ask;
A question, which I never ask'd before. What mean these mighty armaments ? * This general muster? and this throng of chiefs ?'
Sneer. Pray, Mr. Puff, how came Sir Christopher Hatton never to ask that question before?
Puff. What, before the Play began? How the plague could he?
Dan. That's true, 'efaith!
Puff. But you will hear what he thinks of the matter.
. Sir C. Alas, my noble friend, when I behold
Puff. [Interrupts him.] My good friend, you entirely forget what I told you the last rehearsal, -that there was a particular trait in Sir Christopher's characterthat he was famous, in Queen Elizabeth's time, for his dancing-pray, turn your toes out. [With his foot, he pushes Sir C.'s feet out, until they are nearly square.] That will do--now, sir, proceed.
• Sir C. Alas, my noble friend, when I behold • Yon tented plains in martial symmetry
Array'd-when I count o'er yon glittering lines ' or crested warriors • When briefly all I hear or see bears stamp • Of martial preparation, and stern defence,
I cannot but surmise. Forgive, my friend, • If the conjecture's rash?
Puff [İnterrupting.] A little more freedom,-if you please. Remember that Sir Christopher and Sir Walter were on the most familiar footing. Now, as thus
[Quotes the line flippantly. Sir C. (Imitates his manner.] I cannot but surmise
Forgive, my friend,
If the conjecture's rash-I cannot but "Surmise—the state some danger apprehends!'
Sneer. A very cautious conjecture that.
Puff. Yes, that's his character; not to give an opinion, but on secure grounds.--Now then.
• Sir W.0, most accomplished Christopher.'
Puff. Keep up the Christopher! O most accomplished Christopher. He calls him by his Christian name, to shew that they are on the most familiar terms.
* Sir W. 0, most accomplish'd Christopher, I find Thy fears are just.
[whose, Sir C. But where, whence, when, what, which and • The danger is-methinks, I fain would learn. • Sir W. You know, my friend, scarce two revolving
suns Puff. [Stopping him.] Suit the word to the action, and the action to the word. * You know, my friend, scarce two revolving suns.' [Passes his hands one over theother, with a
circular motion. • Sir W. (Using the same action.] You know, my
friend, scarce two revolving suns, And three revolving moons,'
Puff. No, no : send your moons the olher way, or you'll bring about an eclipse !
[Repeats the same lines again the second time,
turning his hands the contrary war. Sir W. [Using Puff'saction.] You know, my friend
scarce two revolving suns, • And three revolving moons, have closed their course, “Since haughty Philip, in despite of peace, • With hostile hand hath struck at England's trade.
• Sir C. I know it well. • Sir W. Philip, you know, is proud Iberia's king! • Sir C. He is.
• Sir W. You know, beside, his boasted armament, · The fam'd Armada, by the Pope baptized , With purpose to invade these realms
• Sir C. Is sail'd : Our last advices so report.