Page images
PDF
EPUB

THEATRICS,

Containing the Quintescence of Modern Criticism.

BY WILLIAM WIZARD, ESQ.

MACBETH was performed to a very crowded house, and much to our satisfaction. As, however, our neighbour Town has been very voluminous already in his criticisms on this play, we shall make but few remarks. Having never seen Kemble in this character, we are absolutely at a loss to say whether Mr. Cooper performed it well or not. We think, how

ever, there was an error in his costume, as the learned Link. Fid. is of opinion that, in the time of Macbeth, the Scots did not wear sandals, but wooden shoes Macbeth also was noted for wearing his jacket open, that he might play the Scotch fiddle more conveniently; that being an hereditary accomplishment in the Glamis family.

We have seen this character performed in China by the celebrated Chow-Chow, the Roscius of that great empire, who in the dagger scene always electrified the audience by blowing his nose like a trumpet. Chow-Chow, in compliance with the opinion of the sage Linkum, performed Macbeth in wooden shoes; this gave him an opportunity of producing great effect for on first seeing the "air-drawn dagger," he always cut a prodigious high caper, and kicked his shoes into the pit at the heads of the critics; whereupon the audience were marvellously delighted, flourished their hands, and stroked their whiskers three times; and the matter was carefully reported in the next number of a paper called the Flim Flam; (English—Town.)

We were much pleased with Mrs. Villiers in Lady Macbeth; but we think she would have given a greater effect to the night-scene, if, instead of holding the candle in her hand, or setting it down on the table, which is sagaciously censured by neighbour Town, she had stuck it in her night-cap. This would have been extremely picturesque, and would have marked more strongly the derangement of her mind.

Mrs. Villiers, however, is not by any means large enough for the character-Lady Macbeth having been, in our opinion, a woman of extraordinary size, and of the race of the giants, notwithstanding what she says of her "little hand;" which being said in her sleep passes for nothing. We should be happy to see this character in the hands of the lady who played Glumdalca, queen of the giants, in Tom Thumb:

exactly of imperial dimensions; and, provided she is well shaved, of a most interesting physiognomy as she appears also to be a lady of some nerve, I dare engage she will read a letter about witches vanishing in air, and such common occurrences, without being unnaturally surprised, to the annoyance of honest "Town."

We are happy to observe that Mr. Cooper profits by the instructions of friend Town, and does not dip the dagger in blood so deep as formerly, by the matter of an inch or two. This was a violent outrage upon our immortal bard. We differ with Mr. Town in his reading of the words "this is a sorry sight." We are of opinion the force of the sentence should be thrown on the word sight-because Macbeth having been, a short time before, most confoundedly humbugged with an aërial dagger, was in doubt whether the daggers actually in his hands were real, or whether, they were not mere shadows; or, as the old

English may have termed it, syghtes: (this, at any rate, will establish our skill in new readings.) Though we differ in this respect from our neighbour Town, yet we heartily agree with him in censuring Mr. Cooper for omitting that passage so remarkable for "beauty of imagery," &c., beginning with "and pity, like a naked new-born babe," &c. It is one of those passages of Shakspeare which should always be retained, for the purpose of showing how sometimes that great poet could talk like a buzzard; or, to speak more plainly, like the famous mad poet, Nat Lee.

As it is the first duty of a friend to advise, and as we profess and do actually feel a friendship for honest "Town," we warn him, never in his criticisms to meddle with a lady's "petticoats," or to quote Nic Bottom. In the first instance he may "catch a tartar;" and in the second, the ass's head may rise in judgment against him—and when it is once afloat there is no knowing where some unlucky hand may place it. We would not, for all the money in our pockets, see Town flourishing his critical quill under the auspices of an ass's head, like the great Franklin in his Montero Cap.

NEW YORK ASSEMBLY.

BY ANTHONY EVERGREEN, gent,

THE assemblies this year have gained a great accession of beauty. Several brilliant stars have arisen from the east and from the north, to brighten the firmament of fashion: among the number I have discovered another planet, which rivals even Venus in lustre, and I claim equal honour with Herschell for

my discovery. I shall take some future opportunity to describe this planet, and the numerous satellites which revolve around it.

At the last assembly the company began to make some show about eight, but the most fashionable delayed their appearance until about nine-nine being the number of the Muses, and therefore the best possible hour for beginning to exhibit the Graces. (This is meant for a pretty play upon words, and I assure my readers that I think it very tolerable.)

The

Poor Will Honeycomb, whose memory I hold in special consideration, even with his half century of experience, would have been puzzled to point out the humours of a lady by her prevailing colours; for the "rival queens" of fashion, Mrs. Toole and Madame Bouchard,* appeared to have exhausted their wonderful inventions in the different disposition, variation, and combination of tints and shades. philosopher who maintained that black was white, and that, of course, there was no such colour as white, might have given some colour to his theory on this occasion, by the absence of poor forsaken white muslin. I was, however, much pleased to see that red maintains its ground against all other co-. lours, because red is the colour of Mr. Jefferson's *****, Tom Paine's nose, and my slippers.†

Let the grumbling smellfungi of this world, who cultivate taste among books, cobwebs, and spiders, rail at the extravagance of the age; for my part, I

* Two fashionable milliners of rival celebrity in the city of New York.-EDIT.

In this instance, as well as on several other occasions, a little innocent pleasantry is indulged at Mr. Jefferson's expense. The allusion made here is to the red velvet smallclothes with which the President, in defiance of good taste, used to attire himself on levee-days and other public occasions.-EDIT.

was delighted with the magic of the scene, and as the ladies tripped through the mazes of the dance, sparkling and glowing and dazzling, I, like the honest Chinese, thanked them heartily for the jewels and finery with which they loaded themselves, merely for the entertainment of bystanders, and blessed my stars that I was a bachelor.

The gentlemen were considerably numerous, and, being as usual equipped in their appropriate black uniforms, constituted a sable regiment, which contributed not a little to the brilliant gaiety of the ballroom. I must confess I am indebted for this remark to our friend, the Cockney, Mr. 'SBIDLIKENSFLASH, or 'Sbidlikens, as he is called for shortness. He is a fellow of infinite verbosity-stands in high favour —with himself—and, like Caleb Quotem, is " up to every thing." I remember when a comfortable plump-looking citizen led into the room a fair damsel, who looked for all the world like the personification of a rainbow, 'Sbidlikens observed, that it reminded him of a fable, which he had read somewhere, of the marriage of an honest pains-taking snail-who had once walked six feet in an hour, for a wager, to a butterfly whom he used to gallant by the elbow, with the aid of much puffing and exertion. On being called upon to tell where he had come across this story, 'Sbidlikens absolutely refused to answer.

It would but be repeating an old story to say, that the ladies of New York dance well; and well may they, since they learn it scientifically, and begin their lessons before they have quitted their swaddlingclothes. The immortal Duport has usurped despotic sway over all the female heads and heels in this city; hornbooks, primers, and pianos, are neglected to attend to his positions; and poor Chilton, with his pots and kettles and chemical crockery, finds him a more

« PreviousContinue »