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SCENE I.--Breakfast table, with coffee-equipage, two chairs,
MR. (L.) and Mrs. DANGLE, (R.) discovered at breakfast, reading newspaper.
Dan. [Reading.] PsHaw!—Nothing but politics—an? I hate all politics but theatrical politics. Where's the Morning Chronicle ? Mrs. D. Yes, that's your
Gazette. Dan. So, here we have it.
“ Theatrical intelligence extraordinary.”— We hear there is a new tragedy in rehearsal at Drury Lane Theatre, called the Spanish Armada,' said to be written by Mr. Puff, a gentleman well known in the theatrical world : if we may allow ourselves to give credit to the report of the performers, who, truth to say, are in general but indifferent judges, this piece abounds with the most striking and received beauties of modern composition.”—So! I am very glad my friend Puff's tragedy is in such forwardness. Mrs. Dangle, my dear, you will be very glad to hear that Puff's tragedy
Mrs. D. Lord, Mr. Dangle, why will you plague me about such nonsense ?—Now the plays are begun, I shall have no peace.—Isn't it sufficient to make yourself ridiculous by your passion for the theatre, without continually teazing me to join you? Why can't you ride your hobby-horse without desiring to place me on a pillion behind you, Mr. Dangle ?
Dan. Nay, my dear, I was only going to read-
worth listening to haven't you made yourself the jest of all your acquaintance by your interference in matters where
you have no business? Are you not called a theatrical Quidnunc, and a mock Mæcenas to second-hand authors ?
Dan. True; my power with the Managers is pretty notorious ; but is it no credit to have applications from all quarters for my interest ?–From lords to recommend fiddlers, from ladies to get boxes, from authors to get an swers, 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 property, without the profit, or even the credit of the abuse that attends it.
Dan. I am sure, Mrs. Dangle, you are no loser by it, however; you have all the advantages of it: mightn't you, last winter, have had the reading of the new pantomime a fortnight previous to its performance ? And doesn't Mr. Notter let you take places for a play before it is advertised, and set you down for a box for every new piece through the season? And didn't my friend, Mr. Smatter, dedicate his last farce to you, at my particular request, Mrs. Dangle ?
Mrs. D. [Rising.] Yes, but wasn't the farce damned, Mr. Dangle? And to be sure it is extremely pleasant to have one's house made the motley rendezvous of all the lackeys of literature.
Lan. Mrs. Dangle, Mrs. Dangle, you will not easily persuade me that there is no credit or importance in being at the head of a band of critics, who take upon
them to decide for the whole town, whose opinion and patronage all writers solicit, and whose recommendation no manager dares refuse !
Mrs. D. Ridiculous !-Both managers and authors of the least merit laugh at your pretensions. The Public is their Critic—without whose fair approbation they know no play can rest on the stage, and with whose applause they welcome such attacks as yours, and laugh at the malice of them, where they can't at the wit. Dan. Very well, madam, very well.
Enter SERVANT, L. Serv. Mr. Sneer, sir, to wait on you.
Dan. Oh, show Mr. Sneer up. [Exit Servant, L.) Plague on't, now we must appear loving and affectionate, or Sneer will hitch us into a story.
Mrs. D. With all my heart; you can't be more ridiculous than you are. Dan. You are enough to provoke
Enter Mr. SNEER, L. Ha, my dear Sneer, I am vastly glad to see you. My dear, here's Mr. Sneer; Mr. Sneer, my dear; my dear, Mr. Sneer.
Mrs. D. Good morning to you, sir. Dan. Mrs. Dangle and I have been diverting ourselves with the papers. Pray, Sneer, won't you go to Drury Lane theatre the first night of Puff's tragedy ?
Sneer. Yes; but I suppose one shan't be able to get in, for on the first night of a new piece they always fill the house with orders to support it.
But here, Dangle, I have brought you two pieces, one of which you must exert yourself to make the managers accept, I can tell you that, for 'tis written by a person of consequence.
[Gives Dangle two manuscripts. Dan. [Reading.] “Bursts into tears, and exit.” What, is this a tragedy ?
Sneer. No, that's a genteel comedy, not a translationonly taken from the French ; it is written in a style which they have lately tried to run down; the true sentimental, and nothing ridiculous in it from the beginning to the end.
Mrs. D. Well, if they had kept to that, I should not have been such an enemy to the stage; there was some edification to be got from those pieces, Mr. Sneer.
Sneer. (Crossing, c.] I am quite of your opinion, Mrs. Dangle.
Dan. [Looking at the other MS.] But what have we here ?- This seems a very odd
Sneer. Oh, that's a comedy, on a very new plan; replete with wit and mirth, yet of a most serious moral! You see it is called “ The Reformed Housebreaker;' where, by the mere force of humour, housebreaking is put into so ridiculous a light, that if the piece has its proper run, I have no doubt but that bolts and bars will be entirely useless by the end of the season.
no one was equal to him in replying, on the spur of the moment, to pompous absurdity, and unravelling the web of flimsy sophistry. He was the last accomplished debater of the House of Commons."
In person, Sheridan was above the middle size, and of a make robust and well-proportioned. In his youth, his family said he had been handsome ; but, in his latter years, he had nothing left to show for it but his eyes. " It was, indeed, in the upper part of his face,” says Mr. Moore, “ that the spirit of the man chiefly reigned; the dominion of the world and the senses being rather strongly marked out in the lower.” Sheridan had by his first wife a son, Thomas, who died in the prime of life, and is said to have inherited his mother's sweetness of nature, as well as his father's wit.
We have been indebted principally to Mr. Leigh Hunt's critical and biographical sketch of Sheridan for this brief memoir.