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A wrong-headed actor, having challenged him on account of some supposed injustice, Kemble walked to the field as if to rehearsal, took his post, and received the fire as unmoved as if he had been acting the same on the stage ; but refused to return the shot, say, ing, the gentleman who wished satisfaction had, he supposed, got it—he himself desired none. On another occasion, when defending Miss Phillips against a body of military gentlemen, whose drunkenness rendered their gallant attentions doubly disagreeable, one of them struck at him with his drawn sabre; a maid-servant parried the blow, and Kemble only saying,' well done, Euphrasia," drew his sword, and taking the young lady under his arm, conducted her home in safety. * As a moral character, bis integrity was unsullied'; and the whole tenor of his life was equally honourable to himself and useful to his art. At proper times and in gentlemen's society, he could show himself one of the old social school, who loved a cup of wine without a drop of allaying Tiber; but this was only, as Ben Jonson says, to give spirit to literary conversation : and, indeed, when we have heard Kemble pour forth the treasures of his critical knowledge over a bottle, we were irresistibly reminded of the author of Epicene giving law at the Mermaid or the Apollo.

We have already given our general opinion of Mr. Boaden's performance, but have not perhaps done sufficient justice to the accuracy of his narrative, and the liberality and truth of his critical remarks. The style is a little too ambitious,—and sometimes so Gibbonian as rather to indicate, than distinctly to relate what happened. But with these imperfections it is a valuable present to the public, and deserves a place in every dramatie library; not only as a respectable and liberal history of the eminent actor whose name the book bears, but as containing mueh curious information, a little too miscellaneously heaped together, concerning the drama in general,

On one of his incidental topics we must pause for a moment with delighted recollection. We mean the readings of the cele brated Le Texier, who, seated at a desk, and dressed in plain clothes, read French plays with such modulation of voice, and such exquisite point of dialogue, as to form a pleasure different from that of the theatre, but almost as great as we experience in listening to a first rate actor. We have only to add to a very good account given by Mr. Boaden of this extraordinary entertainment, that when it commenced M. Le Texier read over the dramatis persona, with the little analysis of character usually attached to each 'pame, using the voice and manner with which he afterwards

* Kelly's Reminiscences, vol. ii. p. 148. VOL. XXXIV. NO, LXVII.

read

malady had made its most severe attacks. It could not but happen
that he was sometimes less equal to his part than at others, and
such an occasional failure led to a painful dispute, which for some
time created a breach between him and his friend George Colman
the younger. We mention the subject, not with the purpose of
raking up the recollections which both parties had buried, but
because Mr. Boaden is a little mistaken in some of the particulars.
When Mr. Colman brought forward his play of the Iron Chest;
founded on the masterpiece of Godwin's genius, Caleb Williams,
he put into the mouth of one of the characters a description of
the antiquarian humours of Mortimer, the Falkland of the play,
which part was to be performed by Kemble:
Philip is all deep reading, and black letter ;

;
He shows it in his very chin. He speaks
Mere dictionary; and he pores on pages
That give plain men the bead-ache. “ Scarce and curious";
Are baits bis learning nibbles at. His brain
Is crammed with mouldy volumes, cramp and useless,

Like a librarian's lumber-room.' Kemble conceived that these lines were unnecessarily introduced, as throwing ridicule on his antiquarian lore; and Colman, upon his remonstrance, changed the name of Sir Philip to Sir Edward Mortimer, as it now stands. But the smartest wag that ever broke a pun should beware of exercising his wit upon his physician, his lawyer, or the actor who is to perform in his play. Kemble, unwell and out of humour, acted negligently a part which requires violent exertion. The irritated dramatist published the play with an angry preface, and the Actor responded. But a quarrel betwixt the author of Octavian and John Kemble was too unnatural; they became sensible they had both been wrong, and were reconciled, and the preface was so effecţually cancelled, that the price of a copy in which it remains, astounds the novice when it occurs in the sale room. ...Of Mr. Kemble as a manager, we have only further to say, that equally unsparing of his labour, and regardless of the ill-will, which he excited among those who suffered by his economy, he carried retrenchment and good order into every department of the theatre.

The good public in the mean time, though returning ever and anon to Shakspeare and common sense, were guilty of two or three grand absurdities, such as became the worthy descendants of those whose fạthers crowded the Haymarket Theatre, to-see a man get into a quart-bottle,* and these were among the most

* It may be now spoken out, that the contriver of this notable hoax was the Duke of Montagu, eccentric in his humour as well as in his benevolence. The person who appeared was a poor Scotchman, who bad some office abuut the India House.

powerful

powerful causes that tended to obstruct the effect of Mr. Kemble's exertions to restore the reign of good taste in dramatic matters..

Vortigern, a play ascribed to Shakspeare, gave rise to one of these hallucinations of popular absurdity. An impudent youth of eighteen, desirous of imitating Chatterton, it may be supposed; but without possessing any of his powers, told his father a story of having recovered certain extremely curious documents belonging to Shakspeare, presented to him, as he said, by a benevolent old gentleman, who had them by inheritance, but would not permit himself to be referred to or quoted in the affair. The elder Mr. Ireland, believing, or pretending to believe, this improbable fiction; put the tale into circulation, and like a commercial note, it received indorsations as it passed from hand to hand, which strengthened its credit. The pleasure of being cheated was never more completely indulged. Without any minute inquiry after the old gentleman who had been the possessor of these documents; without reflecting with distrust upon the extravagance of the liberality which could confer such literary treasures on a mere boy, and enjoin at the same time that the donor's person should be concealed; without examination of the paper of the manuscript, wbich, torn as it was out of the blank leaves of old account books, bore different and recent water-marks-of itself, the

very miscellaneous nature of the Shakspeare relics ought to have made thinking men pause. · For this was no affair of a few scraps ;-a perfect storehouse of the most curious and interesting articles was announced-letters—locks of hair-rings-portraits - books-billets-doux-and above all, plays. To render the deception more gross, Ireland introduced a namesake of his own as a contemporary and friend of Shakspeare, and, we think, assigned to him the merit of saving the bard from the risk of drowning in the Avon. People visited the manuscript, which was shown with the same guarded precaution that priests úse when they exliibit an idol; and, as they came to be deceived, the visitors took care not to return without their errand.

Kemble, warned perhaps by Mr. Malone, escaped the contagious credulity of the time; and though he brought Vortigern on the stage, and acted as the principal character, he was never duped by the figment of the young forger. The dialogue was not calculated to impose upon the ear as the manuscript had bewildered the eye. The piece was most effectually damned, and its fate excited a strong prejudice against Kemble among the numerous body of literati, who had become ridiculous by their faith in the fiction, as if he had not done the part of Vortigern that justice which was his duty. Every one who had the inost distant con

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malady had made its most severe attacks. It could not but happen that he was sometimes less equal to his part than at others, and such an occasional failure led to a painful dispute, which for some time created a breach between him and his friend George Colman the younger.

We mention the subject, not with the purpose of raking up the recollections which both parties had buried, but because Mr. Boaden is a little mistaken in some of the particulars. When Mr. Colman brought forward his play of the Iron Chest, founded on the masterpiece of Godwin's genius, Caleb Williams, he put into the mouth of one of the characters a description of the antiquarian humours of Mortimer, the Falkland of the play, which part was to be performed by Kemble:

Philip is all deep reading, and black letter ;
He shows it in his very chin. He speaks
Mere dictionary; and he pores on pages
That give plain men the bead-ache. “ Scarce and curious":
Are baits bis learning nibbles at. His brain
Is crammed with mouldy voluines, cramp and useless,

Like a librarian's lumber-room.'
Kemble conceived that these lines were unnecessarily introduced,
as throwing ridicule on his antiquarian lore; and Colman, upon his
remonstrance, changed the name of Sir Philip to Sir Edward
Mortimer, as it now stands. But the smartest wag that ever broke
a pun should beware of exercising his wit upon his physician, his
lawyer, or the actor who is to perform in his play. Keinble, un-
well and out of humour, acted negligently a part which requires
violent exertion. The irritated dramatist published the play with an
angry preface, and the Actor responded. But a quarrel betwixt
the author of Octavian and John Kemble was too unnatural; they
became sensible they had both been wrong, and were reconciled,
and the preface was so effecțually cancelled, that the price of a
copy in which it remains, astounds the novice when it occurs in.
the sale room.

..Of Mr. Kemble as a manager, we have only further to say, that equally unsparing of his labour, and regardless of the ill-will, which he excited among those who suffered by his economy, he carried retrenchment and good order into every department of the theatre.

The good public in the mean time, though returning ever and anon to Shakspeare and common sense, were guilty of two or three grand absurdities, such as became the worthy descendants of those whose fạthers crowded the Haymarket Theatre, to see a man get into a quart-bottle,* and these were among the most

* It may be now spoken out, that the contriver of this notable hoax was the Duke of Montagu, eccentric in his humour as well as in his benevolence." The person who ap. peared was a poor Scotchman, who had some office about the India House.

powerful

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powerful causes that tended to obstruct the effect of Mr. Kemble's exertions to restore the reign of good taste in dramatic matters..

Vortigern, a play ascribed to Shakspeare, gave rise to one of these hallucinations of popular absurdity. An impudent youth of eighteen, desirous of imitating Chatterton, it may be supposed, but without possessing any of his powers, told his father a story of having recovered certain extremely curious documents belonging to Shakspeare, presented to him, as he said, by a benevolent old gentleman, who had them by inheritance, but would not permit himself to be referred to or quoted in the affair. The elder Mr. Ireland, believing, or pretending to believe, this improbable fiction, put the tale into circulation, and like a commercial note, it received indorsations as it passed from hand to hand, which strengthened its credit. The pleasure of being cheated was never more completely indulged. Without any minute inquiry after the old gentleman who had been the possessor of these documents; without reflecting with distrust upon the extravagance of the liberality - which could confer such literary treasures on a mere boy, and

enjoin at the same time that the donor's person should be concealed ; without examination of the paper of the manuscript, which, torn as it was out of the blank leaves of old account books, bore different and recent water-marks--of itself, the very miscellaneous nature of the Shakspeare relics ought to have made thinking men pause.

For this was no affair of a few scraps ;-a perfect storehouse of the most curious and interesting articles was announced-letters—locks of hair-rings-portraits -books-billets-doux-and above all, plays. To render the deception more gross, Ireland introduced a namesake of his own as a contemporary and friend of Shakspeare, and, we think, assigned to him the merit of saving the bard from the risk of drowning in the Avon. People visited the manuscript, which was shown with the same guarded precaution that priests.use when they exlıibit an idol; and, as they came to be deceived, the visitors took care not to return without their errand.

Kemble, warned perhaps by Mr. Malone, escaped the contagious credulity of the time; and though he brought Vortigern on the stage, and acted as the principal character, he was never duped by the figment of the young forger. The dialogue was not calculated to impose upon the ear as the manuscript had bewildered the eye. The piece was most effectually damned, and its fate excited a strong prejudice against Kemble among

the numerous body of literati, who had become ridiculous by their faith in the fiction, as if he had not done the part of Vortigern that justice which was his duty. Every one who had the inost distant con

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