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SHERIDAN'S BOOTS. SHERIDAN made his appearance one day in a new pair of boots. These attracting the notice of some of his friends—“Now guess,” said he,“ how I came by these boots ?”—Many probable guesses then took place.—"No," said Sheridan, “ you have not hit it, and never will : I bought them, and paid for them."
TOM'S ALLOWANCE. In a large party one evening the conversation turned upon a young man's allowance at college. Tom Sheridan lamented the ill-judged parsimony of many parents in that respect.--"I am sure, Tom," said his father, "you need not complain; I always allowed you eight hundred a year.” -“ Yes, father, I must confess you allowed it; but then you never paid it.”
SHERIDAN'S NEW HOUSE. Just after Sheridan had taken a new house, he met Lord Guildford, to whom he said, Well, all will go on now like clockwork."--"Ay," replied his lordship, "tick, tick."
GENERAL TARLETON. SHERIDAN always said that the Duke of Wellington would succeed in Portugal; General Tarleton held the reverse opinion. Tarleton, who had been wrong, grew obstinate. So on the news of the retreat of the French at Torres Vedras, Sheridan, by way of taunt, said, “Well, Tarleton, are you on your high horse still ?"-" Oh, higher than ever ; if I was on a horse before, I am on an elephant now.”—"No, no, my dear fellow; you were on an ass before, and you are on a mule now."
ROGUE OR FOOL? One day Sheridan met two royal dukes in St. James's Street, and the younger flippantly remarked, “I say, Sherry, we have just been discussing whether you are a greater fool or rogue: what is your opinion, old boy ?"-Sheridan bowed, smiled, and, as he took each of them by the arm, replied, "Why, faith, I believe I am between both.”
TAX ON MILE-STONES, SOME mention having been made in his presence of a tax upon mile-stones, he said, “Such a tax would be unconstitutional, as they were a race that could not meet to remonstrate.”
THE OLD MAID. An elderly maiden lady, the inmate of a country house at which he was staying, having set her heart on being his companion in a walk, he excused himself on account of the badness of the weather. Soon afterwards, however, the lady intercepted him in an attempt to escape without her.—“So, Mr. Sheridan," she said, “ it has cleared up, I see.”- "Why, yes,” he answered, “it has cleared up enough for one, but not enough for two."
LORD LAUDERDALE'S WIT. LORD LAUDERDALE, happening to say that he would repeat some good thing of Sheridan's, he replied, “Pray don't, my dear Lauderdale ; a joke in your mouth is no laughing matter."
HIS EXTRAVAGANCE. A FRIEND remonstrating with Sheridan, when he was living in Orchard Street, on the extravagance of his establishment, and the smallness of his means to support it, he said, “My dear friend, it is my means.”
SHERIDAN AND MONK LEWIS. SHERIDAN was disputing one day with Monk Lewis, the author of “The Castle Spectre,” which had filled the exhausted treasury of Drury Lane, when the latter, in support of his argument, offered to bet Mr. Sheridan all the money “ The Castle Spectre" had brought that he was right. "No," answered the manager; “I cannot afford to bet so much as that; but I will tell you what I will do—I'll bet you all it is worth."
SHERIDAN AND LORD ERSKINE. LORD ERSKINE one evening declared that “a wife was only a tin canister tied to one's tail." This seemed to annoy Lady
Erskine, and Sheridan seized the opportunity to dash off the following impromptu :
Lord Erskine, at woman presuming to rail,
SHERIDAN'S COOLNESS. HAYDON, the painter, says that once, when Sheridan was dining at Somerset House, and they were all in fine feather, the servant rushed in, exclaiming, “Sir, the house is on fire !”.
Bring another bottle of claret,” said Sheridan; “it is not my house."
HIS WINES. APROPOS of claret, on being asked what wine he liked best, he replied, “Other people's.”
LADY DERBY'S SALARY. When Lord Derby applied in the green-room for the arrears of Lady Derby's salary, and said that he would not stir from the room till it was paid, Mr. Sheridan put his anger to flight with the following elegant compliment : “My dear lord, this is too bad; you have taken from us the brightest jewel in the world, and you now quarrel with us for a little of the dust she has left behind her.”
WILBERFORCE. ONE night, after finishing a good many bottles of wine with some boon companions, he was found by a watch man in the street, utterly helpless and almost insensible.—“Who are you?" asked the guardian of the night.-No reply.—“What's your name ?"-A hiccup.-—“What's your name ?"-Slowly and deliberately the answer came, “Wilberforce !"
Byron, in his journal, says, “Is not that Sherry all over? and,
Lo my mind, excellent. Poor fellow ! his very dregs are better than the first sprightly runnings of others.”
WHO WILL TAKE THE CHAIR? ONCE, being on a parliamentary committee, he arrived when all the members were assembled and seated and about to commence business. He looked round in vain for a seat, and then, with a bow and a quaint twinkle in his eyes, said, “Will any gentleman move, that I might take the chair?”
SHERIDAN AND GIFFORD. HEARING that Gifford, the editor of the Quarterly Review, had boasted of his power of conferring and distributing literary reputation, he muttered, “Very true; and in the present instance he has done it so thoroughly that he has none left for himself."
QUITTING THE CAMP. AFTER a very violent speech from an Opposition member, Mr. Burke started suddenly from his seat, and rushed to the Ministerial side of the House, exclaiming, with much vehemence, "I quit the camp! I quit the camp !"-"I hope," said Mr. Sheridan, “as the honourable gentleman has quitted the camp as a deserter, he will not return to it as a spy."
SHERIDAN AND CUMBERLAND. CUMBERLAND's children induced their father to take them to
“ The School for Scandal.” Every time the delighted youngsters laughed at what was going on on the stage, he pinched them, and said, “What are you laughing at, my dear little folks? you should not laugh, iny angels; there is nothing to laugh at;" and then, in an under-tone, "Keep still, you little dunces."-Sheridan, having been told this, said, "It was very ungrateful in Cumberland to have been displeased with his poor children for laughing at my comedy, for I went the other night to see his tragedy, * and laughed at it from beginning to end."
* “ The Carmelite,” it is presumed, is the tragedy here referred to.
TAX ON FEMALE SERVANTS. WHEN Pitt proposed the tax on female servants, Sheridan declared that it could be considered in no other light than a bounty to bachelors, and a penalty upon propagation."
KELLY'S BULLS. SHERIDAN was fond of inventing bulls, and fathering them on Michael Kelly. Once, when Mrs. Crouch and Kelly were nearly killed by the falling of a tower on the stage, he told the Duchess of Devonshire that Kelly had put the following puzzling question to him : "Suppose, Mr. Sheridan, I had been killed by the fall, who would have maintained me for the rest of my life?"
SHERIDAN AND DUNDAS. SHERIDAN, in attacking the ministers, observed, “ If, as had been stated, that gentlemen would serve their country, without at the same time serving themselves, we certainly had at present a most gentlemanly administration, and one gentleman, Mr. Secretary Dundas, is three times as much a gentleman as any of them, for he has three places." Upon this attack Mr. Dundas, then very recently married, very gravely assured the House that his situation was not to be envied--that every morning when he got up, and every night when he went to rest, he had a task to perform almost too great for human powers. Sheridan instantly retorted, that he himself would be very happy to relieve Dundas from the fatigues of the Home Department!
SHERIDAN AND HIS AUTHOR. DURING Sheridan's management, Sir Lumley Skeffington had produced a play which he offered to Covent Garden, saying that it would make Drury Lane a splendid desert. His play failed; but, soon after, he prevailed on a friend to present a new one to Sheridan, then the manager of Old Drury,—"No, no !" exclaimed the latter; I can't agree to connive at putting his former threat into effect."
THE MALT-TAX. MR. WHITBREAD was talking loudly one evening, at Brookes's,