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in “Household Words," which was edited of the day, in a manner very grateful to the by the late Charles Dickens. He also con- feelings of the readers of the paper to which tributed to the Illustrated London News, he is attached. “Cornhill Magazine," and other papers and His literary style, though it possesses very periodicals, until, in 1863, he went out to the great vigour and dash, is anything but good. United States as Special Correspondent for His short essays and sketches, particularly the Daily Telegraph. On his return, he pub- the earlier ones, have much interest and orilished his observations under the title of ginality. His novels were never very suc“America in the midst of War."
cessful; and he seems to have hit his mark He also wrote a series of very graphic as the special correspondent of the Daily letters for the Daily Telegraph from Al- Telegraph. geria, during the Emperor's visit to that colony.
THE TWO CIBBERS. The following is a list of Mr. Sala's bestknown works: “How I tamed Mrs. Cruiser," ALPH WALDO EMERSON once 1858; “Twice the Clock," 1859; wrote a book, which most of us have “A Journey due North: a Residence in Rus- read, entitled “Representative Men," and sia," 1856; “Accepted Addresses," 1862; very graphic were the illustrations given, in “After Breakfast;"" "The Baddington Peer- his fine Roman hand, of the characters age," 1860; “Breakfast in Bed," 1863; whom the world has chosen to reckon as “Dutch Pictures," 1861; "From Waterloo leading spirits among the nations. But to the Peninsula," 1866; "Gaslight and being no blind hero-worshippers, after the Daylight," 1859; “Lady Chesterfield's Let-faith of Mr. Carlyle, we have often thought ters to her Daughter," 1860; “The Strange that there are many men-well known by Adventures of Captain Dangerous," 1869; name, at least, in the varied histories of their "A Trip to Barbary by a Roundabout times—to whom a certain popular prejudice Route," 1866; "The Two Prima Donnas," has attached without much accurate know1869; “William Hogarth," 1860; "Looking ledge of the real causes of their often undeat Life," 1860; "Make your Game; or, the served unpopularity, whom a more candid Adventures of a Stout Gentleman," 1860; and impartial study would put in a better “My Diary in America in the Midst of light than they hitherto seem to have enWar," 1865; "Quite Alone" (finished by joyed. On this principle, following by a another writer), 1864; "The Perfidy of Cap- certain apt verbal similarity of title, might not tain Slyboots," 1863; “Robson:" á Sketch, a curious book have been written before 1864; "Rome and Venice," 1869; “Seven this on “Misrepresented Men”? Sons of Mammon," 1864.
Fame, to a certain extent, even when Tinsley Brothers have just published a allied to genuine merit, is often a matter of cheap edition-at 2s. in boards, and 2s. 6d. chance. And in the past, much more than in handsome cloth covers-of some of Mr. at the present time, the predominance of Sala's most celebrated sketches.
party friendships in the scale of the State “Gaslight and Daylight” is composed of had much more to do with the popular reshort papers of very great humour and cognition of a man of power than we merit. "Papers Humorous and Pathetic" are well able to understand at the present contains "The Key of the Street," "Colonel day. Quagg's Conversion," and other sketches, It would be a Quixotic task indeed to take arranged by the author in a form suitable up the cudgels in defence of every reputafor public reading. Better papers for plat- tion which has been handed down to us form reading it would be difficult to find; with more or less of a sneer attached to it. and both the volumes are very neatly got But there is a familiar old saying, that even up, and deserve a large sale, for they are full a certain personage is not of so sable a hue of very amusing matter. Mr. Sala has been as he is generally depicted. Give a dog a bad for years the life of the daily paper which he name, and the rest follows as a matter of has filled with columns of his correspondence course—at least, as far as the world at large from all quarters of the globe. He is quite is concerned. To come to the immediate in his element when in commission as “Our subject of our paper, there is no character Special Correspondent," and excels in his of what we may call the Popeian period power of gushing on any touch-and-go topic / who has come down to posterity with more unmerited scorn and ridicule than Colley real Colley Cibber in the flesh than any Cibber.
haphazard prejudices of mere traditional Cibber was no poet, as the world knows bias. With this view, without entering into -or, at least, one in the humblest degree. any professed biography of the despised Pope, unfortunately for “the Laureate,” Laureate, we will glance in a cursory manner flourished at the same time; and conde- at the leading facts of Cibber's career. scended, through political spite, to launch Though born in London himself, in Souththe arrows of his virulence against a man ampton-street, Westminster, in the Novemwhom he might at least have passed by with ber of 1671, he was of foreign extraction. the calm air of dignified superiority. Cib. His father, Caius Gabriel Cibber, was a ber's great fault was setting himself up as a native of Holstein, and came into England poet. That he was not, his warmest apolo- some time before the Restoration, to follow gist will admit. But while Cibber has been his profession, that of a statuary. The two passed down to posterity as, perhaps, the figures of the lunatics—the raving and the most unworthy holder of the Laureateship melancholy – formerly over the gates of ever promoted to the post, successive gene- Bethlehem Hospital, were the work of the rations have forgotten—or, what is the same elder Cibber. It is to them that Pope, in the thing, have not cared to allow him—the “Dunciad,” refers in those two bitter linescredit that was really due to him. Colley Cibber's real claim to notice lies
“Where o'er the gates, by his fam'd father's hand,
Great Cibber's brazen, brainless brothers stand.” in his twofold capacity as an actor and a dramatist. As either he was not great. As
Caius Gabriel took good care to give his an actor he was not a Betterton, as a dra- son a decent education. At ten years of matist he was not a Congreve; and both age Colley was sent to the free school at these men were his contemporaries.
Grantham, “where,” says Cibber himself, “I But all men are not born geniuses, though stayed till I got through it—from the lowest they may be very clever men for all imme-form to the uppermost.” Adding, with a diate purposes. They may fill a certain posi- modesty for which he got little credit in his tion in public estimation for the natural term lifetime," and such learning as that school of their career, and, unless worried into noto- could give is the most I pretend to, which, riety by some chance conflict with the lion though I have not utterly forgotten, I canof the day, retire to the enjoyment of their not say I have much improved by study; humble laurels, well satisfied with them but even there I remember I was the same selves, and leaving posthumous fame to take inconsistent creature I have been ever since care of itself.
-always in full spirits in some small capaThis, after all, was really Cibber's case. city to do right, but in a more frequent But for Pope and the “Dunciad,” he would alacrity to do wrong; and consequently often never have been mentioned after his own under a worse character than I wholly detime; or, it at all, as a respectable writer of served.” plays which had a good run in their own That the young Cibber, with all his vanity day, and as a by no means unworthy actor and carelessness, had talents of a superior on the stage.
order was proved even in these his schoolThat the man was vain and pretentious is days. On the death of Charles the Second, only to say that he lived in an age when the boys of his class were required to comvanity and pretensions were, as they often pose a funeral oration on that monarch; but are now, and, we suppose, always will be, an none were equal to the task save Cibber, important part of a man's stock-in-trade to- who was subsequently placed at their head. wards ephemeral reputation. But that he Again, when James the Second was crowned, had merit of a certain sort cannot be denied his schoolfellows petitioned for a holiday, by any calm student of Cibber's personal which the master consented to grant on the history
condition that one of them should write an His“Apology for his Life," written by him- ode upon the occasion. The ode was proself, though full of the vanity of which we have duced by the laureate of the school within spoken, is one of the most pleasantly read half an hour; but, unfortunately for the poor ing autobiographies in the English language; bard who had thus won the school a holiday, and, subject to certain modifications from his companions, annoyed by his vain-boastother sources, gives us a better idea of the | ing of the performance, declined his com
pany on an excursion which they had pre- found his usual stipend was restored to its viously organized.
plenary amount. At sixteen, he left school. According to To Cibber's passive valour Lord Chesterhis own account, he was a descendant of field ironically alludes in a weekly paper William of Wykeham, by his mother's side. called Common Sense: His father—thinking, in his ignorance, that “Of all the comedians who have appeared this was quite sufficient to obtain for his son on the stage in my memory, no one has an immediate entrée into the famous school taken a kicking with such humour as our of Winchester-sent him down to the town excellent Laureate." “without the least favourable recommenda- And it is said that Gay gave Cibber some tion or interest, save that of my naked merit striking proofs of the resentment he felt and a pompous pedigree in my pocket. Had against him for the manner in which, when he tacked a direction to my back, and sent acting Bays, he alluded to his comedy of me by the carrier to the mayor of the town “Three Hours after Marriage." to be chosen member of Parliament, I might It is curious to notice in how low an estihave had just as much chance of succeeding mation the profession of an actor was held in the one as in the other."
in that day among the better classes, comAs might have been expected, however, pared with the more liberal opinions of the a candidate with such weak credentials was present time. rejected.
Cibber was sent to London under promise In a fit of disgust, Cibber now entered the of the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire; army, serving under the Duke of Devonshire but he had not been long in the metropolis in the revolution which placed the Prince of before new views burst upon his mind, and Orange on the throne. From this point must he thus apologizes for the course which he be reckoned the first exhibition of his poli- chose for himself:tical proclivities, which afterwards made him “To London I came, when I entered the object of virulent abuse from literary men into my first state of attendance and de. of the opposite party.
pendence for about five months, till the But Cibber's military career soon came to February following. But, alas! in my inan end-luckily perhaps for himself, for his tervals of leisure, by frequently seeing plays, personal bravery was not of the highest order. my wise head was turned to higher views. I On the contrary, his natural temperament saw no joy in any other life than that of an was one of notorious timidity. It is said actor. 'Twas on the stage alone I had that, in his subsequent dramatic career, the formed a happiness preferable to all that actors under him were often accustomed to camps or courts could offer me; and there I work upon this weakness of their superior, was determined, let father and mother take in order to maintain what they considered it as they pleased, to fix my non ultra; so that their just rights. The following story will if my life did not then take a more laudable suffice as a good example:
tune, I have no one but myself to reproach Bickerstaff
, a comedian whose benefit for it." play Sir Richard Steele, in No. 3 of the But the stage-struck youth's prospects were "Tatler,” good-naturedly recommended to hardly, in the beginning, cheering to his the public as his relation, had acquired an ambition. But he was content to be patient; income of four pounds per week. Cibber, and we dare say not a few more famous in an economical moment, retrenched one actors of later times could tell very much half of his salary, and was immediately waited the same story of their early struggles on the upon by the impoverished actor, who knew boards. from what quarter this diminution had "I waited," he says, "full three-quarters arisen. He represented the largeness of his of a year before I was taken into a salary of family, and concluded by flatly informing ten shillings a-week, which, with the assistthe cowardly manager that, as he could not ance of food and raiment at my father's subsist upon the narrow allowance to which house, I then thought a most plentiful ache had reduced him, he must call the author cession, and myself the happiest of morof his distress to account, for that he would tals." rather perish by the sword than die from star- Cibber does not tell the immediate incivation. The affrighted Cibber referred him dents of this incipient good luck; but in the to the next Saturday for answer, when he / “Dramatic Miscellanies” the story of Colley