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When I return to town, which I expect will be about the middle of the week, I shall hope to see you in Tavistock Place.

Believe me to be, my dear Dick,
Most sincerely yours,

B. O.



Tavistock Place, June 9, 1818.

Your correspondent, W. T. D., in the tenth number of your Journal, being troubled with “ thickcoming fancies,” in consequence, as he says, of “ the generally understood intention of the proprietors of the two winter theatres, at the commencement of the next season, to lower the price of admission to the boxes from seven shillings to six shillings ;” and as he is desirous of ushering in a protege of his own into the genteel society among whom your valuable paper circulates, I profess a readiness to discuss the subject with him, in the hope that out of discussion something may arise to profit the managers, and amuse the public.

Your correspondent agrees in the necessity of some alteration, but expresses his doubts as to the object in view being effected; yet, notwithstanding, has the temerity to suggest a scale of prices being adopted, although he believes that, in the reduction, nothing would be gained. Now, I have no objection to his scale of prices, (except that it is not brought low enough), but in the difficulty of a new arrangement in the mode of taking the admission-money at the door.

The access to the boxes is general, and one staircase leads to the whole: any deviation therefrom, in the present disposition of the avenues, I fear, is impracticable; or, if rendered otherwise, would lead to great expense, not only in the alteration that would be required, but also in the appointment of new receivers to the approach of every circle.

My opinion and wish is, that the managers of theatres should return to the good and wholesome time of Garrick's administration : and although I am a warm admirer of the Roscius of the present day, and, individually, think seven shillings is cheaply given, at any time, to see him; yet, for the million, it is too much. I am, sir, a family-man : I like the intellectual treat of the drama; and do not hesitate to say, that the school of Shakespeare is better fitted to form and furnish the minds of the rising generation, than half the academies in the united kingdom. Let us then be allowed to purchase this instruction at a reasonable rate : let the father of a family indulge, with his children, in mental delights; and, my life for it, they would return from a well-acted play more impressed with the salutary examples of virtue, and the detestation of vice, than can be infused into them by the dull lectures of scholastic preceptors.

I have been speaking of theatres, but will now confine myself to one; and, as a proprietor of Drury Lane, take the liberty of recommending, at once, a reduction from the present extravagant price of seven shillings to the old one of five. The theatre, which is capacious, would then fill, and the treasury would be sufficiently productive to the proprietors to make it worth their while to keep it open, (even with an advance among themselves of £6000, which they state will be necessary to be raised), in order to enable them to take the field in the next campaign.

I am aware that much opposition will arise to this plan from performers who look to benefits; but their ultimate benefit will be found in a disposition to make some sacrifice on their part. They should also keep in mind, that unless the proprietors benefit as well as themselves, it were better the corps should be disbanded, and the property sold for what it may realize.

Your correspondent speaks of distinctions being preserved among the company. I take it for granted the well-dressed auditors would resort to the lower boxes; and that those who do not take the trouble to alter their morning dress, would prefer the upper circles, which are not so conspicuous, and where a preference is given by those who wish to see and hear.

Yours, &c.


To Colonel BERKELEY, &c. &c.


Tavistock Place, July 2, 1818. I SEND you my prompt book of the play of Othello, which, if you will take the trouble to scan, you will perceive that very little is taken from the original text; and perhaps you will say, the interest of the story is not lessened by the liberty I have taken in the abridgment, which is rendered necessary for its adaptation in my little theatre.


“ The virtuous Desdemona,” (little Booth), is about to leave town; and, as I believe, going to Cheltenham : without her aid I do not see how I can get the play up before the autumn. I will endeavour to see her, and “ will know more:" till when,“ fear not my government." Farewell.

B. O.

To Colonel BERKELEY, &c. &c.


Tavistock Place, July 8, 1818.

When shall we meet to have another chat about theatricals? Will you do me the favour to say what day you will honour me with your company at dinner ? and also present my compliments to the Noble Marquess “ to meet me at the citadel:" he is “a good one, and his worthiness does challenge much respect.' If we dine at seven or eight, whichever hour is most agreeable to you, cannot you contrive to come about five, when we may walk through the prompt-book, (which I will thank you to bring with you), and determine about the plot and cast? “ I'll have a brace of Cyprus gallants” to meet you — “ lads of approved mettle," who can stand “ the whips and scorns ” of an audience. The Duke will also be of the party.


B. 0.



Tavistock Place, August 9, 1818. I am just come from church with the ladies, and being alone, and out of the noise of bulls and bears, take the opportunity of thanking you for your letter.

Although deprived of your company, I am glad to find you talk of remaining ten days longer in the country, as I think you will derive benefit from your excursion; the belief of which will compensate me for your absence. I am chained by the leg till the 27th; but being of the genus of quadrupeds above named, you will say it is proper I should be so, as it affords you some security that I cannot make my escape to Holland before the time I fixed your attention to; so that when you return it will be for yourself to judge how far you may, with safety, trust to my liberation and to my word.

I almost envy you your nautical delights, and the intellectual pleasure you enjoy in the conversation of the noble Lord. I begin to think them better than the plot and cast of ill-conceived representations. I should not like to be “a fixed figure for the hand of scorn to point his slow unmoving finger at;” nor do I feel inclined “ to unlace my reputation for the name of a night-brawler.” Something too much of this. better as it is.”

I am going to undo all I have said, by wishing you here, as I expect Mr. Perry and three friends to dine with me on Wednesday, whom I should be glad you could meet, and with whom I fancy you would like to sit down.

“ 'Tis

Ever yours,

B. O,

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