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A TRAGEDY REHEARSED.
BY RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN,
Author of " The School for Scandal,” &c.
abounds with the most striking and received beauties DAXGLE.
of modern composition."-So! I am very glad my
friend Puff's tragedy is in such forwardness.--Mrs. SNEER. Sir FRETFUL PLACIARY,
Dangle, my dear, you will be very glad to hear that
Mrs. D. Lord, Mr. Dangle, why will you plague
me about such noosense ?-Now the plays are be. Mrs. DAXGLE.
gun I shall have no peace.-Isn't it sufficient to
make yourself ridiculous by your passion for the Characters of the Tragedy.
theatre, without continually teazing me to join
you? Why can't you ride your hobbyhorse withLord BURLEIGU.
out desiring to place me on a pillion behind you Governor of Tilbury Fort.
Dan. Nay, my dear, I was only going to read--
Mrs. D. No, no, you will never read anything Sir CHRISTOPHER HATTON.
that's worth listening to :-bavn't you made yourMaster of the Horse.
self the jest of all your acquaintance by your inBeefeater.
terference in matters wbere you have no business? Don FEROLO WHISKERANDOS.
Are you not call’d a theatrical quidnunc, and u Sentinels.
mock Mæcenas to second-hand authors ? First Niece.
Dan. True; my power with the managers is Second Niece.
pretty notorious; but is it no credit to have apConfidant.
plications from all quarters for my interest ?- From TILBURINA.
lords to recommend fiddlers, from ladies to get boxes, from authors to get answers, and from actors to get engagements.
Mrs. D. Yes, truly; you have contrived to get
a share in all the plague and trouble of theatrical ACT 1.
property, without the profit, or even the credit of
the abuse that attends it. SCENE 1.- Breakfast-table, with coffee-equipage,
Dan. I am sure, Mrs. Dangle, you are no loser two chairs, Mr. and Mrs. Dancle discovered at by it, howerer: you have all
the advantages of it: breakfast, reading newspapers.
-mightn't you, last winter, have had the reading
of the new pantomime a fortnight previous to its Dan. [Reading:) Pshaw !--Nothing but poli performance? And doesn't Mr. Notter let you take tics---and I hate all politics but theatrical politics. places for a play before it is advertis'd, and set you: - Where's the Morning Chronicle?
down for a box for every new piece through the Llrs. D. Yes, that's your Gazette.
season? And didn't my friend, Mr. Smatter, dediDan. So, here we have it.
cate bis last farce to you at my particular request, « Theatrical intelligence extraordinary.”_" We Mrs. Dangle? kear there is a new tragedy in rehearsal at Drury- Mrs. D. [Rising.) Yes, but wasn't the farce lane Theatre, called the Spanish Armada,' said to damn'd, Mr. Dangle? And to be sure it is exbe uritten by Mr. Puff, a gentleman well known in tremely pleasant to have one's house made the the theatrical world : if we may allow ourselves to give motley rendezvous of all the lackeys of literacredil to the report of the performers, who, truth to ture. wy, are in general but indifferent jrdges, this piece Dan Mrs. Dangle, Mrs. Dangle, you will not
easily persuade me that there is no credit or im- his idea is to dramatize the penal laws, and mako portance in being at the head of a band of critics, the stage a court of ease to the Old Bailey. who take upon them to decide for the whole town, Dan. That is to unite poetry and justice in. whose opinion and patronage all writers solicit, deed! and whose recommendation no manager dares refuse?
Enter Serrant. Mrs. D. Ridiculous !-Both managers and authors Serv. Sir Fretful Plagiary, sir. of the least merit laugh at your pretensions.-The Dan. Beg him to walk up:—[Exit Servant.] Public is their Critic--without wbose fair appro. Now, Mrs. Dangle, Sir Fretful Plagiary is an author bation they kuow no play can rest on the stage, and to your own taste. with whose applause they welcome such attacks as
Mrs. D. I confess be is a favourite of mine, beyours, and laugh at the malice of them, where they cause everybody else abuses bim. can't at the wit.
Sneer. Very much to the credit of your charity, Dan. Very well, madam-very well.
madam, is not of your judgmen.
Dan. But, egad, be allows no merit to any Enter Servant.
author but himself; that's the truth on't, though Serv. Mr. Sneer, sir, to wait on you.
he's my friend. Dan. O, show Mr. Sneer up. [Erit Servant.) Sneer. Never.--He's as envious as an old maid Plague on't, now we must appear loving and af- verging on the desperation of six-and-thirty. fectionate, or Sneer will hitch us into a story. Dun. Very true, egad—though he's my friend.
Mrs. D. With all my heart ; you can't be more Sneer. Then his affected contempt of all news. ridiculous than you are.
paper strictures; though, at the same time, he is Dan. You are enough to provoke
the sorest man alive, and shrinks like scorch'd
parchnient from the fiery ordeal of true criticism. Enter Mr. SNEER.
Dan. There's no denying it—though he is my -Ha! my dear Sneer, I am vastly glad to see you.
friend. My dear, here's Mr. Sneer; Mr. Sneer, my dear;
Sneer. You have read the tragedy he has just my dear, Mr. Sneer.
finished, haven't you? Mrs. D. Good morning to you, sir.
Dan. O, yes; he sent it to me yesterday. Dan. Mrs. Dangle and I have been diverting
Sneer. Well, and you think it' execrable, don't ourselves with the papers.- Pray, Sneer, won't you? you go to Drury-lane Theatre the first night of Puft's Dan. Wby, between ourselves, egad I must own tragedy?
—though he's my friend-that it is one of the most Sneer. Yes; but I suppose one shan't be able to - He's here [Aside]—finished and admirable perget in, for on the first night of a new piece they
formalways fill the house with orders to support it. But
[Sir Fretful without.] Mr. Sneer with him, did here, Dangle, I have brought you two pieces, one you say? of which you must exert yourself to make the ma
Enter Sir FRETFUL. nagers accept; I can tell you that, for 'tis written by a person of consequence.
Dan. Ah, my dear friend !- Egad, we were just [Gives Dangle two manuscripts. speaking of your tragedy.--Admirable, Sir Fretful, Dan. [Reading ] Bursts into tears, and exit.” admirable! What, is this a tragedy?
Sneer. You never did anything beyond it, Sir Sneer. No; that's genteel comedy, not a trans. Fretful-never in your life. lation-only taken from the French ; it is written in Sir F. You make me extremely happy ; for, a style which they have lately tried to run down; without a compliment, my dear Sneer, there isn't the true sentimental, and nothing ridiculous in it a man in the world whose judgment I value as I do from the beginning to the end.
yours—and Mr. Dangle's. Mrs. D. Well, it they had kept to that, I should Mrs. D. They are only laughing at you, Sir not have been such an enemy to the stage; there Frotful, for it was but just now that was some edification to be got from those pieces, Dan. Mrs. Dangle! Ah, Sir Fretful, you know Mr. Sneer.
Mrs. Dangle.—My friend Sneer was rallying just Sneer. I am quite of your opinion, Mrs. Dangle. now—He knows how she admires you, and
Dan. (Looking at the other MS.] But what have Sir F. O Lord, I am sure Mr. Sneer has more we here ?—This seems a very odd
taste and sincerity than to-[Aside.] A damn'd Sneer. O, that's a comedy, cn a very new plan ; double-faced fellow! replete with wit and mirth, yet of a most serious Dan. Yes, yes,-Sneer will jest—but a better moral! You see it is cali d « The Reformed humour'dHousebreaker;” where, by the mere force of hu- Sir F. 0, I knowmour, housebreaking is put into so ridiculous a ligbt, Dan. He has a ready turn for ridicule-bis wit that if the piece has its proper run, I have no doubt costs bim nothing.but that bolts and bars will be entirely useless by Sir F. No, egad,-or I should wonder how he the end of the season.
came by it.
[Aside. Dan. Egad, this is new, indeed !
Dan. But, Sir Fretful, have you sent your play Sneer. Yes ; it is written by a particular friend to the managers yet ?-or can I be of any service of mine, who has discovered that the follies and to you? foibles of society are subjects unworthy of the notice Šir F. No, no, I thank you ; I sent it to the of the Comic Muse, who should be taught to stoop manager of Covent-garden Theatre this morning. only at the greater vices and blacker crimes of hu- Sneer. I should bave thought now, that it might manity-gibbeting capital offences in five acts, have been cast (as the actors call it) botter at and pillorying petty larcenies in two.-In short, Drury-lane.
Sir F. O lud! no-never send a play there while Dan. Really, I can't agree with my friend Sneer. I live-harkee!
[Whispers SNEER. -I think the plot quite sufficient; and the four Sneer. “ Writes himself !” I know he does- first acts by many degrees the best I ever read or
Sir F. I say nothing - I take away from no saw in my life. If I might venture to suggest any. man's merit-ain hurt at no man's good fortune--I thing, it is that the interest rather falls off in the say nothing But this I will say-through all my fiftb. knowledge of life, I have observed that there is Sir F. Rises, I believe you mean, sirnot a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart Dan. No; I don't, upon my word. as envy!
Sir F. Yes, yes, you do, upon my soul-it cerSneer. I believe you have reason for what you tainly don't fall off, I assure you—No, no, it don't say, indeed.
fall off. Sir F. Besides-I can tell you it is not always Dan. Now, Mrs. Dangie, didn't you say it struck 80 safe to leave a play in the hands of those who you in the same light? write themselves.
Mrs. D. No, indeed, I did not I did not see a Sneer. What, they may steal from them, hey, fault in any part of the play from the beginning to my dear Plagiary?
the end. Sir F. Steal!--to be sure they may; and, egad, Sir F. Upon my soul, the women are the best serve your best thoughts as gypsies do stolen chile judges after all! dren, disfigure them to make 'em pass for their own. Mrs. D. Or, if I made any objection, I am sure
Sneer. But your present work is a sacrifice to it was to nothing in the piece! but that I was afraid Melpomene, and be you know never
it was, on the whole, a little too long. Sir F. That's no security.-A dext'rous plagia- Sir F. Pray, madam, do you speak as to duration rist may do anything.- Why, sir, for aught I know, of time; or do you mean that the story is tediously be might take out some of the best things in my spun out ? tragedy, and put them into his own comedy.
Mrs. D. O lud! no.- - I speak only with reference Sneer. That might be done, I dare be sworn. to the usual length of acting plays.
Sir F. And then, if such a person gives you the Sir F. Then I am very happy--very happy inleast hint or assistance, be is devilish apt to take deed— because the play is a short play, a remarkably the merit of the whole
short play: I should not venture to differ with a Dan. If it succeeds.
lady on a point of taste ; but, on these occasions, Sir F. Aye,--but with regard to this piece, 1 the watch, you know, is the critic. think I can bit that gentleman, for I can safely Mrs. D. Then, I suppose, it must have been Mr. swear he never read it.
Dangle's drawling manner of reading it to me. Sneer. I'll tell you how you may hurt him more- Sir F. O, if Mr. Dangle read it! that's quito Sir F. How?
another affair !--But I assure you, Mrs. Dangle, Sncer. Swear he wrote it.
the first evening you can spare me three hours and Sir F. Plague on't gow, Sneer, I shall take it a half, I'll undertake to read you the whole from ill.-I believe you want to take away my character beginning to end, with the Prologue and Epilogue, as an author!
and allow time for the music between the acts. Sncer. Then I am sure you ought to be very Mrs. D. I hope to see it on the stage next. [Eait. much oblig'd to me.
Dan. Well, Sir Fretful, I wish you may be able Sir F. Hey !-Sir!
to get rid as easily of the newspaper criticisms as Dan. O you know he never means what he says. you do of ours. Sir F. Sincerely, then-you do like the piece ? Sir F. The newspapers !—Sir, they are the most Sneer. Wonderfully!
villanous - licentious abominable infernal Sir F. But come now, there must be something Not that I ever read them! No! I make it a rule that you think might be mended, hey?–Mr. Dan. never to look into a newspaper. gle, has nothing struck you?
Dan. You are quite right-for it certainly must Dan, Why, faith, it is but an ungracious thing, burt an author of delicate feelings to see the liberfor the most part, to
ties they take. Sir F. With most authors it is just so indeed; Sir F. No!-quite the contrary :-their abuse they are in general strangely tenacious !-But, for is, in fact, the best panegyric-I like it of all my part, I am never so well pleased as when a things. An author's reputation is only in danger judicious critic points out any defect to me; for from their support. what is the purpose of showing a work to a friend, Sneer. Why, that's true—and that attack now on if you don't mean to profit by his opinion ? you the other day
Sneer. Very true. Why then, though I seriously Sir F. What? where? admire the piece upon the whole, yet there is one Dan. Aye, you mean in a paper of Thursday; small objection; which, if you'll give me leave, it was completely ill-natur'd, to be sure. I'll menti n.
Sir F. 0, so much the better-Ha! ha! ha!-I Sir F. Sir, you can't oblige me more.
wouldn't have it otherwise. Sreer. I think it wants incident.
Dan. Certainly, it is only to be laugh'd at; forSir F. Good God !-you surprise me!-wants Sir F. You don't happen to recollect what the incident!
fellow said, do you? Sneer. Yes; I own I think the incidents are too Sneer. Pray, Danglo-Sir Fretful seems a little few.
anxious! Sir F. Good God !- Believe me, Mr. Sneer, Sir F. O lud, no!-anxious,-not 1,—not the tbere is no person for whose judgment I have a least. I--But one may as well hear, you know. more implicit deference. But I protest to you, Dan. Sneer, do you recollect?—Make out someMr. Sneer, I am only apprehensive that the inci-thing.
[Aside. dents are 100 crowded. - My dear Dangle, how Sneer. I will. (To DanGLE.] Yes, yes, I redoes it strike you?
Sir F. Well, and pray now-not that it signifies Dan. Nay, I only though -what might the gentleman say !
Sir F. And let me tell you, Mr. Dangle, 'tis Sneer. Wby, be roundly asserts that you have damn'd affronting in you to suppose tbat I am hurt, not the slightest invention or original genius what. when I tell you I am not. ever: though you are the greatest traducer of all Sneer. But why so warm, Sir Fretful ! otber authors living.
Sir F. Gadslife! Mr. Sncer, you are as absurd Sir F. Ha! La! ha! Very good!
as Dangle: Low often must I repeat it to you, that Sneer. That, as to coinedy, you have not one nothing can vex me but your supposing it possibie idea of your own, he believes, even in your com- for me to mind the damn'd nonsense you have been mon.place-book, where stray jokes and pilfered repeating to me! And let me tell you, if you witticisms are kept with as much method as the continue to believe this, you must mean to insult ledger of the Lost and Stolen Office.
me, gentlemen - and then your disrespect will Sir F. Ha! ha! ha! Very pleasant!
affect me no more than the newspaper criticismsSneer. Nay, that you are so unlucky as not to and I shall treat it with exacily ihe same calm in. have the skill even to steal with taste: but that difference and philosophic contempt—and so your you glean from the refuse of obscure volumes, servart.
[Erit. where more judicious plagiarists have been before Sneer. Ha! ha! ha! Poor Sir Fretful! Now you; so that the body of your work is a composi- will he go and sent his philosophy in anonym .us tion of dregs and sediments, like a bad tavern's abuse of all modern critics and authors. But, worst wine.
Dangle, you must get your friend Puff to tako me Sir F. Ha! ha!
to the rehearsal of his tragedy. Sneer. In your more serious efforts, be says, Dan. I'll answer for't, he'll thank you for desiryour bombast would be less intolerable, if the ing it. thoughts were ever suited to the expression; but
Re-enter Serrant. the homeliness of the sentiment stares through the Serv. Mr. Puff, sir. fantastic encumbrance of it's fine language, like a Dan. My dear Puff! clown in one of the new uniforins ! Sir F. Ha! ha!
Enter Puff. Sneer. That your occasional tropes and flowers Puff. My dear Dangle, bow is it with you? suit the general coarseness of your style, as tambour Dan. Mr. Sneer, give me leave to introduce Mr. sprigs would a ground of linsey-wolsey; while Puff to you. your imitations of Shakspeare resemble the mimicry Puff. Mr. Sneer is this? Sir, he is a gerileman of Falstaff's page, and about as near the standard whom I have long panted for the honour of knowing of the original.
-a gentleman, whose critical talents and tranSir F. Ha!
scendent judgmentSneer. In short, that even the finest passages you Sreer. Dear sirsteal are of no service to you; for i he poverty of Dan. Nay, don't be modest, Sneer; my friend your own language prevents their assimilating; so Puff only talks to you in the style of his profession. ihat they lie on the surface like lumps of marl on a Sneer. His profession! barren moor, encumbering what it is not in their Puff. Yes, sir; I make no secret of the trade I power to fertilize !
follow-among friends and brother authors, Dangle: Sir F. [After great agitation.] Now, another per- knows I love to be frank on the subject, and to adson would be vex'd at this.
vertise myself viva voce. I am, sir, a Practitioner Sncer. Oh! but I wouldn't have told you, only in Panegyric, or, to speak more plainly-a Proto divert you.
fessor of the Art of Puffing, at your service-or Sir F. I know it_I am diverted,-Ha! ha! ha! anybody else's. --not the least invention !-Ha! ha! ba! very Sneer. Sir, you are very obliging !-I believe, good! very good!
Nr. Puff, I have often admired your talents in the Sneer. es--no genius! Ha! ha! ha!
daily prints. Dan. A severe rogue! ha! ha! But you are Puf. Yes, sir, I fatter myself I do as much quite right, Sir Fretful, never to read such non business in that way as any six of the fraternity in
town_Devilish hard work all the summer-Friend Sir F. To be sure-for, if there is anything to Dangle never work'd harder!--But harkee,-the one's praise, it is a foolish vanity to be gratified at winter managers were a little sore, I believe. it; and if it is abuse,—why, one is always sure to Dan. No! I believe they took it all in good hear of it from one damn'd good-natur'd friend or part. another!
Puff. Aye!--Then that must have been affectaEnter Servant.
tion in them; for, egad, there were some of the
attacks which there was no laughing at ! Serv. Mr. Puff, sir, bas sent word that the last Sneer. Aye, the humorous ones. But I should rehearsal is to be this morning, and that he'll call think, Mr. Puff, that authors would in general be on you presently.
able to do this sort of work for themselves. Dan. That's true I shall certainly be at home. Puff. Why, yes—but in a clumsy way. Besides, [Erit Servant.] Now, Sir Fretful, it
you have a
we look on that as an encroachment, and so take mind to have justice done you in the way of answer the opposite side. I dare say now you conceive --Egad, Mr. Puff's your man.
half the very civil paragraphs and advertisements Sir F. Pshaw! sir, why should I wish to bave you see, to be written by the parties concerned, or it answered, when I tell you I am pleased at it? iheir friends? No such thing. Nine out of ter,
Dan. True, I had forgot that.—But I hope you manufactured by me in the way of business. are not fretted at what Mr. Shrer
Sneer. Indeed! Sir F. Zounds! no. Mr. Dangle, dou't I tell you Puff. Even the auctioneers now—the auctioneers, these things never fret me in the least.
I say, though the rogues hare lately got some
credit for their language-not an article of the Puff. Why, yes,-though I made some occamerit theirs !—Take them out of their pulpits, and sional attempts at felo de se; Fut as I did not find they are as dull as catalogues !-No, sir; 'twas those rash actions answer, I left off killing myself I first enriched their style—'twas I firet taught very soon.-Well, sir,--at last, what with bankthem to crowd their advertisements with panegy- ruptcies, fires, gouts, dropsies, imprisonments, rical superlatives, each epithet rising above the and other valuable calamities, having got together other-like the bidders in their own auction-rooms! a pretty handsome sum, I determined to quit a buFrom me they learn'd to enlay their phraseology siness which bad always gone rather against my with variegated chips of exotic metaphor; by me, conscience, and in a more liberal way suill to intoo, their inventive faculties were called forth. Yes, dulge my talents for fiction and embellishments, sir, by me they were instructed to clothe ideal walls through my favourite channels of diurnal commuwith gratuitous fruit—to insinuate obsequious ri- nication-and so, sir, you have my bistory, vulets into visionary groves-to teach courteous Sneer. Most obligingly communicative, indeed. shrubs to nod their approbation of the grateful But surely, Mr. Puff
, there is no great mystery in soil! or, on emergencies, to raise upstart oaks, your present profession? where there had never been an acorn; to create a Puff.'Mystery! Sir, I will take upon me to say delightful vicinage, without the assistance of a the matter was never scientifically treated, nor reneighbour; or fix the temple of Hygeia in the fensduceıl to rule, before. of Lincolnshire !
Sneer. Reduced to rule ? Dan. I am sure you have done them infinite ser- Puff. O lud, sir! you are very ignorant, I am vice; for now, when a gentleman is ruined, he afraid. — Yes, sir, Puffing is of various sorts :parts with his house with some credit.
the principal are-the Puff direct-the Puff preli. Sneer. Service! if they had any gratitude, they minary-the Puff collateral—the Puff collusivewould erect a statue to him. But pray, Mr. Puff
, and the Puff oblique, or Puff by implication. These what first put you on exercising your talents in all assume, as circumstances require, the various this way?
forms of-Letter to the Editor-Occasional AnecPuff Egad, sir-sheer necessity-the proper dote- Impartial Critique-Observation from Corparent of an art so nearly allied to invention; you respondent--or Advertisements from the Party. must know, Mr. Sneer, that from the first time I Sneer. The Puff direct, I can conceivetried my hand at an advertisement, my success Puff. O yes, that's simple enough,--for instance was such, that, for some time after, I led a most -A new Comedy or Farce is to be produced at one of extraordinary life indeed!
the Theatres (though, by the by, they don't bring Sneer. How, pray?
out half what they ought to do) the author, suppose Puff. Sir, I sapported myself two years entirely Mr. Smatter, or Mr. Dapper, or any particular by my misfortunes.
friend of mine--very well; the day before it is Sneer. By your misfortunes ?
to be performed, I write an account of the manner Puff. Yes, sir, assisted by long sickness, and in which it was received- I have the plot from other occasional disorders; and a very comfortable the author,--and only add - Characters strongly living I had of it.
drawn -- highly coloured - hand of a master Sneer. Froin sickness and misfortune!
fund of genuine humour--mine of invention--neat Puff. Harkee !--By advertisements--"To the dialogue-attic salt!-- Then for the performancecharitable and humane!” and “ To those whom Mr. Baker was astonishingly great in the character Providence bath blessed with affluence!” of Sir Harry! That universal and judicious actor, Sreer. Oh, I understand you.
Mr. Egerton, perhaps never appeared to more adPuff. And, in truth, I deserved what I got; for vantage than in the Colonel : but it is not in the I suppose never man went through such a series of power of language to do justice to Mr. Jones ! calamities in the same space of time !-Sir, I was Indeed, be more than merited those repeated bursts five times made a bankrupt, and reduced from a of applause which he drew from a most brilliant state of affluence, by a train of unavoidable mis- and judicious audience! In short, we are at a fortunes! Then, sír, though a very industrious loss which to admire most,—the unrivalled genius tradesman, I was twice burnt out, and lost my lit. of the author, the great attention and liberality of tle all, both times! I lived upon those fires a month. the managers, the wonderful abilities of the painter, I soon after was confined by a most excruciating or the incredible exertions of all the performers ! disorder, and lost the use of my limbs! That told Sreer. That's pretty well, indeed, sir. very well; for I bad the case strongly attested, Puff. O cool, quite cool, to what I sometimes and went about to collect the subscriptions my do. sell.
Sneer. And do you think there are any who are Dan. Egad, I believe that was when you first iofuenced by this? called on me
Puff". O, lud! yes, sir; the number of those who Puff. Wbat, in November last?-O no! Wien undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is I called on you I was a close prisoner in the Mar. very small indeed! shalsea, for a debt benevolently contracted to serve Dan. Ha! ba! ha!-'gad, I know it is so. a friend! I was afterwards twice tapped for a Puff. As to the Puff oblique, or Puff hy impli. dropsy, which declined into a very profitable con- cation, it is too extensive, and branches into so sumption! I was then reduced to -O no--then, many varieties, that it is impossible to be illustrated I became a widow with six helpless children,- by an instance;-it is the last principal class of the after baring bad eleven husbands pressed, and Art of Fuffing-an art which I hope you will now being left every time eight months gone with agree with me, is of the bighest dignity. child, and without money to get me iuto an hos- Sneer. Sir, I am completely a convert both to pítal!
the importance and ingenuity of your profession; Sneer. And you bore all with patience, I make and now, sir, there is but one thing which can no doubt!
possibly increase my respect for you, and that is,