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Puff. Oh, that, sir, does well in the form of a caution. In a matter of gallantry now-Sir Flimsy Gossamer wishes to be well with Lady Fanny Fete-he applies to me-I open trenches for him with a paragraph in the Morning Post. It is recommended to the beautiful and accomplished Lady F four stars F dash E to be on her guard against that dangerous character, Sir F dash G; who, however pleasing and insinuating his manners may be, is certainly not remarkable for the constancy of his attachments !"-in italics. Here, you see, Sir Flimsy Gossamer is introduced to the particular notice of Lady Fanny, who perhaps never thought of him before-she finds herself publicly cautioned to avoid him, which 'naturally makes her desirous of seeing him ; the observation of their acquaintance causes a pretty kind of mutual embarrassment ; this produces a sort of sympathy of interest, which, if Sir Flimsy is unable to improve effectually, he at least gains the credit of having their names mentioned together, by a particular set, and in a particular way_which nine times out of ten is the full accomplishment of modern gallantry.

Dang. Egad, Sneer, you will be quite an adept in the business!

Puff. Now, sir, the puff collateral is much used as an appendage to advertisements, and may take the form of anecdote.-“ Yesterday, as the celebrated George Bonmot was sauntering down St. James's Street, he met the lively Lady Mary Myrtle coming out of the park :- Good God, Lady Mary, I'm surprised to meet you in a white jacket,for I expected never to have seen you but in a full-trimmed uniform and a light horseman's cap !'-'Heavens, George, where could you have learned that ??- Why,' replied the wit, “I just saw a print of you, in a new publication called the Camp Magazine; which, by the by, is a devilish clever thing, and is sold at No. 3, on the right hand of the way, two doors from the printing-office, the corner of Ivy Lane, Paternoster Row, price only one shilling.'

Sneer. Very ingenious indeed I

Puff. But the puff collusive is the newest of any; for it acts in the disguise of determined hostility. It is much used by' bold booksellers and enterprising poets." An indignant correspondent observes, that the new poem called Beelzebub's Cotillon, or Proserpine's Fêté Champêtre, is one of the most unjustifiable performances he ever read. The severity with which certain characters are handled is quite shocking; and as there are many descriptions in it too warmly coloured for female delicacy, the shameful avidity with which this piece is bought by all people of fashion is a reproach on the taste of the times, and a disgrace to the delicacy of the age.” Here you see the two strongest inducements are held forth: first, that nobody ought to read it; and secondly, that everybody buys it : on the strength of which the publisher boldly prints the tenth edition before he had sold ten of the first; and then establishes it by threatening himself with the pillory, or absolutely indicting himself for scan. mag.

Dang. Hal ha! ha! —-'gad, I know it is so.

Puff. As to the puff oblique, or puff by implication, it is too various and extensive to be illustrated by an instance : it attracts in titles and presumes in patents; it lurks in the limitation of a subscription, and invites in the assurance of crowd and incommodation at public places; it delights to draw forth concealed merit, with a most disinterested assiduity; and sometimes wears a countenance of smiling censure and tender reproach. It has a wonderful memory for parliamentary debates, and will often give the whole speech of a favoured member with the most flattering accuracy. But, above all, it is a great dealer in reports and suppositions. It has the earliest intelligence of intended preferments that will reflect honour on the patrons, and embryo promotions of modest gentlemen, who know nothing of the matter themselves. It can hint a ribbon for implied services in the air of a common report; and with the carelessness of a casual paragraph, suggest officers into commands, to which they have no pretension but their wishes. This, sir, is the last principal class of the art of puffing—an art which I hope you will now agree with me is of the highest dignity, yielding a tablature of benevolence and public spirit; befriending equally trade, gallantry, criticism, and politics : the applause of genius—the register of charity—the triumph of heroism—the self-defence of contractors—the fame of orators—and the gazette of ministers.

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 I-Egad,

me

Dangle, I take this very ill : you know how apprehensive I am of being known to be the author

Dang. I' faith I would not have told—but it's in the papers, and your name at length in the Morning Chronicle.

Puff. Ah! those damned editors never can keep a secret 1-Well, Mr. Sneer, no doubt you will do great honour-I shall be infinitely happy-highly flattered

Dang. 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 some little matters here to send to the papers, and a few paragraphs 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 Brickwork, in favour of the new-invented Stucco ;, both in the style of Junius, and promised for to-morrow. The Thames navigation too is at a stand. Misomud or Anti shoal must go to work again directly.—Here too are some political memorandums—I see ; ay—To take Paul Jones, and get the Indiamen out of the Shannon-reinforce Byron -compel the Dutch to-Oh-I must do that in the evening papers, or reserve it for the Morning Herald ; for I know that I have undertaken to-morrow, besides, to establish the unanimity of the fleet in the Public Advertiser, and to shoot Charles Fox in the Morning Post.-So, egad, I ha'n't a moment to lose ! Dang. Well, we 'll meet in the Green Room.

[Exeunt severally

ACT TWO

SCENE I.-The Theatre, before the Curtain

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 time. Therefore when history, and particularly the history of our own country, furnishes anything 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.

Sneer. A most happy thought, certainly !

Dang. 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. Lovel 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 ?

Dang. Excellent, i' faith; I see at once. But won't this appear rather improbable ?

Puff. To be sure it will-but what the plague I a play is not to show occurrences 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 l she is in love like any princess !

Dang. Poor young lady! I feel for her already! for I can conceive how great the conflict must be between her passion and her duty: her love for her country, and her love for Don Feriolo Whiskerandos !... 'n

Puff. Oh, amazing her poor susceptible heart is swayed to and fro by contending passions like

Enter. UNDER PROMPTER

1

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Und. Promp. Sir, the scene is set, and everything is ready to begin, if you please.

Puff. Egad, then we 'll lose no time,

Und. Promp. 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 ?

Und. Promp. 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.

Puff. Well, well. They are in general very good judges, and I know I am luxuriant.—Now, Mr. Hopkins, as soon as you please.

Und. Promp. (To the Orchestra.] Gentlemen, will you play a few bars of something, just to

Puff. Ay, that's right ; for as we have the scenes and dresses, egad, we 'll go to ’t as if it was the first night's performance ;-but you need not mind stopping between the acts.—[Exit UNDER PROMPTER.-Orchestra playthen the bell rings.] Sol stand clear, gentlemen. Now you know there will be a cry of Down ! down !-Hats off Silence 1-Then up curtain, and let us see what our painters have done for us.

[Curtain rises

SCENE II.Tilbury Fort

Two SENTINELS discovered asleep"

Dang. Tilbury Fort very fine indeed !
Puff. Now, what do you think I open with ?
Sneer. Faith, I can't guess-

Puff. A clock.—Hark 1-{Clock strikes.] I open with a clock striking, to beget an awful attention 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 gilding the eastern hemisphere.

Dang. But pray, are the sentinels 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

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