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Paris with great success. And when it is considered how forcibly it attacks the monks, we cannot in the least be surprised; as that order of people has been, by the fashionable philosophical currency, subjected to the most unmanly attacks of writers who chose to level their sarcasm and illiberality at them when they had not even the privilege of defending themselves from la liberté et l'égalité.
The audience manifested great disapprobation; and much must be curtailed to ensure it even a short run. The third act can never remain on the stage, in its present state. A most ridiculous masquerade scene helped to lengthen the play without producing any other effect, than that of adding weight to what was already too heavy; although, like the comick wit of the piece, it was intended to lighten it. Apropos, of this wit the following is a specimen. The scene, as our readers have already been informed, lies at Messina. Benedetto says: "If I were a senator I would have an act of parliament to prevent fat people from walking out in the dog days."—In fact the humorous parts of the play produced no laughter; but it would be doing great injustice to the author not to avow that the language of the serious parts, in general, is highly creditable to him; eliciting fine sentiments, finely expressed. When it is published, we shall notice some of those passages which struck us as particularly worthy of attention.
We present our readers with a slight representation of the situation of the hero and heroine in the last scene, by which they will be enabled to judge of its probability. Such of them as have been abroad will be surprised to see a convent and a monastery so nigh each other, and perhaps may exclaim, as a highly distinguished foreigner did to us, on viewing this exhibition: Diantre, nous autres, nous n'avons jamais vu pareille chose dans le monde mais, croyez-vous que John Bull l'avalera ?
Mr. Lewis's pair of Dungeons.
A. Josepha's dungeon, in the convent of the Ursulines, where she has been confined one year. This unfortunate lady appears only in this last scene.-B. Venoni's dungeon in the monastery of St. Mark.-This pair of dungeons fills the whole front of the stage.
C. The party wall that divides the two dungeons, and which is knocked down by the exertions of Venoni-a feat we believe not to have been equalled since the days of Guy Earl of Warwick, or Jack the Giant-killer.
No. 2, represents the dungeons after the exertions of Signor Venoni's athletick powers.
On Wednesday evening, December 7, the author, in consequence of the marked disapprobation of the audience, desired it to be announced that he would withdraw the piece, to write an entire new third act-On the same morning appeared the following paid for puff, in a diurnal print:
Indeed, this new drama seems to unfold new beauties every successive representation. It was disputed, however, which had more admirers, Venoni, or Love in a Tub; the latter certainly appeared universally to please." Thus it appears that a contemptible dance has universal admirers, while
Venoni, notwithstanding its new beauties every night, is left in the minority, and obliged to be written over again! Surely this is a strange way of puf fing, and worthy only of modern managers, modern authors, and modern newspapers.
Monday, December 12, the drama of Venoni, was again brought forward, with alterations, and an entire new third act, much to the credit of the author, and to the improvement of the piece; as some part of the improbability has been done away, although Ludovico, THE DEAD MAN, has really been brought to life, as our readers will perceive by the following account of the new third act.
It opens with a view of the inside of an awful, subterraneous dungeon, where Celestino and his confederates determine to fix the last abode of Venoni, whom they convey thither. There Venoni meets the monk Lu. dovico (spoken of in the play, as dying, after having been confined 20 years in the vaults of the monastery) and informs him, that he has discovered an outlet that leads to the convent, but that the door to the passage is strongly bolted. This door, Venoni, by means of a bar found in his dungeon, breaks down, and thereby escapes. The next scene discovers the abbess and Celestino consulting about the future disposal of Josepha, and concludes with his determination to possess her. Josepha is then brought blindfolded into a dungeon, near the hall of the convent, and left, as if to be confined there for ever; when suddenly, after a solemn symphony on the organ, the scene draws and discovers the abbess with her sister companions. in the hall, which is finely illuminated and prepared for a banquet; here, while the abbess is persuading Josepha to listen to Celestino's designs, Venoni breaks in and, recognising Josepha, endeavours to carry her off, but is prevented by the entrance of Celestino and his party; who, while parting the lovers, is himself surprised by the entrance of Father Michael, with the viceroy and a party of guards at one door, and the father and mother of Josepha through another door of the convent; and the piece concludes.
This alteration was received with much applause, particularly by those who, like ourselves, had witnessed the ridiculous exhibition of a pair of dungeons, the party-wall, and its demolition. But the denouement could have been rendered still more complete if the cidevant dead man, Ludovico, had been introduced in the last scene, and confronted with his infamous superiour, Celestino.
On Monday, December 5, we descended, by thirteen steep steps, into the cavern of this theatre, yclep'd the pit, not for our own pleasure; for we have never entered it with that sensation since the death of the smothered victims, to whose sad manes the managers and proprietors have never elevated, by way of monument, any barrier against similar accidents, notwithstanding the catastrophes of Sadler's Wells, and Covent Garden theatre. Our duty to the Panorama, therefore, led us to report on the new farce entitled The School for Authors.
Fable. The whole of the business of this piece turns on the strange infatuation which possesses Diaper, a wealthy tradesman, of being esteemed a dramatick writer of eminence. To establish this character he has constructed a tragedy called Gunpowder Treason, or, the Fifth of November, for the success of which, being very anxious, he prevails upon Cleveland, a young man of liberal acquirements, to acknowledge the new piece coming
out to be his.-Cleveland accedes to this, desirous of recommending himself as the professed admirer of his niece, Jane, an accomplished girl, who is also attached to him, but whose hand Diaper is determined to bestow upon no one but a man of genius. Gunpowder Treason is hissed off the stage; but a comedy performed the same night at the other house, and which is completely successful, is declared by Cleveland to be his production. On this. Diaper, glad to hush up the whole business, gives his niece to Cleveland, and the piece concludes. The auxiliary characters of Wormwood, a snarling critick, and Frank, Jeffry, and Susan, confidential servants, &c. give some variety to the picture.
The farce is said to have been written by the late Mr. Tobin; and if it were possible for us to forget the sources from whence he drew this rather improbable piece of pleasantry, it might pass as a very able effort of his genius in the farcical line. It is taken from a tale of Marmontel, anglicised in Foote's Patron, and from a French dramatick proverb entitled l'Amateur ; and, lastly, from the Critick, of which it is so close and flagrant an imitation that la chose saute aux yeux, as the French say. Some of the expressions and characters, are merely "disfigured, as beggars do stolen children, to make them pass for their own."-Diaper from the Minories is another sir Fretful; Wormwood is Sneer, and poor Susan an ignorant kind of Mrs. Dangle. Frank, Diaper's footman is certainly not in the Critick,—yet, like Dangle, he is represented to be a judge of dramatick literature--he is, moreover, a writer of criticisms, and a Reviewer. Diaper is performed by Munden, who substituted mummery and oaths for that superiour kind of acting, we have so frequently witnessed in the sir Fretful Plagiary of the inimitable Parsons. Frank, the footman, was ably supported by Jones. This character seems to have been designed by the author as a vehicle to ridicule the writers of criticisms on the drama in the newspapers; and when we reflect on the trash that issues from the press, under this title, we cannot be surprised that it should have excited the author's bile, or been offensive to other persons of common sense.
The intention, the language, and the wit of The School for Authors, are highly creditable to its lamented author, on whose account we had occa sion to regret (in noticing his elegant production of The Curfew) his being snatched from the enjoyment of witnessing the success of the efforts of his muse. However, we are happy to do justice to his memory, in affirming that he never meant the character of Diaper to be degraded by such vollies of oaths as his representative emits. They could be expected only from the very refuse of society, lost to all the blandishments of decency and civilisation. The managers should not suffer the genius of any author to be so calumniated and defamed, nor their patent theatres turned into Schools for Swearing!
DONATION OF A LORD MAYOR OF LONDON, IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Reygate, Jan. 1809.
SIR,-In looking into Fabyan's "Chronicle," a very scarce book, of which I possess a mutilated copy, "printed at London by William Rastell, 1533," I met with the following account of a donation to the city of London; made by the mayor, in the year 1370, and marked it as deserving of particular attention. I do not know whether the fact is elsewhere, or otherwise, recorded; but thinking it right that "good and merytoryous dedes should be holden in memory," I send it you, for the information of those whom it
may concern, by means of your widely circulating miscellany.—It occurs in the seventh part, page cxii verso.
"And to the ende that good and merytoryous dedes should be holden in memorye, here is to be noted that the mayre for thys yere beying John Beryns mercer, gave unto the comynaltye of the cytye of London a chest wyth thre lockes and keyes, and therein a thousande marke of redy money, wyllyng the keyes therof to be yerely in the kepynge of thre sundry persons, that is to mene the mayster of the felysshyp of the mercery to have one, the mayster of the felysshyp of the drapars the second, and thyrde to be in the kepynge of the chamberlayne of that cytye. And so therein the sayde thousande marke to be kept, to the entent that at all tymes when any cytesyne wolde borrowe any money, that he shulde have it there for the space of a yere, to laye for suche a summe as he wold have plate or other iewellys to a suffycyente gayge, so that he excedyd not the summe of an hundreth marke. And for the occupyenge therof yf he were lerned, to saye at hys pleasure De Profundis for the soul of John Beryns and all christen soules, as often tymes as in hys summe were comprysed x markes. As he that borowed but x marke, shulde saye but over that prayer. And yf he had xx marke, then to saye it twyes, and so after the rate. And yf he were not lerned, then to saye so often hys Paternoster. But how so thys money was lent or gyded, at thys daye the cheste remayneth in the chamber of London, wythout money or pledges for the same."
This donation amounted to a very considerable sum. A mark of thirteen shillings and four pence, of 1370, was equal in weight of silver to thirtythree shillings and three farthings of our present money, as it appears from Fleetwood's Chronicon Pretiosuin that a pound weight of silver now coined into sixty-two shillings was coined only into twenty-five shillings, from 1353 to 1421. 1000 marks consequently amounted in effective money of 1809 to 1,6581. 68. 8d. and taking into consideration the different prices of provisions and of the necessaries of life, according to sir George Shuckburgh, Evelyn's table, commencing in 1950, printed in the Philosophical Transactions for 1798, by which the average price of the various necessaries of life in 1359 compared with the estimated average price in 1809, is the propor tion of 77 to 562, John Beryns's liberal accommodation to the needy of his fellow-citizens was equal to 12,0677. 58. of the present currency.
I beg leave to observe that this calculation is made from the data afforded in Godwin's life of Chaucer, Vol. II. pp. 61 and 62, not having access to the original authorities.
I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
S. H. WILCOCKE.
The following anecdotes of sir Isaac Newton, are related in Turnor's Collections for a History of Grantham, lately published in England.
A NEW wind mill was set up near Grantham, in the way to Gunnerby, which is now demolished, this country chiefly using water mills. Our lad's imitating spirit was soon excited, and by frequently prying into the fabrick of it, as they were making it, he became master enough to make a very perfect model thereof, and it was said to be as clean and curious a piece of workmanship, as the original. This sometimes he would set upon the housetop, where he lodged, and clothing it with sail cloth, the wind would
readily turn it; but what was most extraordinary in its composition was, that he put a mouse into it, which he called the miller, and that the mouse made the mill turn round when he pleased; and he would joke too upon the miller eating the corn that was put in. Some say that he tied a string to the mouse's tail, which was put into a wheel, like that of turnspit dogs, so that pulling the string made the mouse go forward by way of resistance, and this turned the mill. Others suppose there was some corn placed above the wheel, this the mouse endeavouring to get to, made it turn. Moreover, sir Isaac's water clock is much talked of. This he made out of a box he begged of Mr. Clarke's (his landlord) wife's brother. As described to me, it resembled pretty much our common clocks and clock-cases, but less; for it was not above four feet in height, and of a proportionable breadth. There was a dial-plate at top with figures of the hours. The index was turned by a piece of wood, which either fell or rose by water dropping. This stood in the room where he lay, and he took care every morning to supply it with its proper quantity of water; and the family, upon occasion, would go to see what was the hour by it. It was left in the house long after he went away to the university.
These fancies sometimes engrossed so much of his thoughts, that he was apt to neglect his book, and dull boys were now and then put over him in form. But this made him redouble his pains to overtake them, and such was his capacity that he could soon do it, and outstrip them when he pleased; and it was taken notice of by his master. Still nothing could induce him to lay by his mechanical experiments: but all holydays, and what time the boys had allowed to play, he spent entirely in knocking and hammering in his lodging room, pursuing that strong bent of his inclination not only in things serious, but ludicrous too, and what would please his school fellows, as well as himself; yet it was in order to bring them off from trifling sports, and teach them, as we may call it, to play philosophically, and in which he might willingly bear a part, and he was particularly ingenious at inventing diversions for them, above the vulgar kind. As for instance, in making paper kites, which he first introduced here. He took pains, they say, in finding out their proportions and figures, and whereabouts the string should be fastened to the greatest advantage, and in how many places. Likewise he first made lanterns of paper crimpled, which he used to go to school by, in winter mornings, with a candle, and tied them to the tails of the kites in a dark night, which at first affrighted the country people exceedingly, thinking they were comets. It is thought that he first invented this method; I can't tell how true. They tell us too how diligent he was in observing the motion of the sun, especially in the yard of the house where he lived, against the walls and roofs, wherein he would drive pegs, to mark the hours and half hours made by the shade,* which, by degrees, from some years observations, he had made very exact, and any body knew what o'clock it was by Isaac's dial, as they ordinarily called it; thus in his youngest years did that immense genius discover his sublime imagination, that since has filled, or rather comprehended the world.
The lad was not only very expert with his mechanical tools, but he was equally so with his pen. For he busied himself very much in drawing, which I suppose he learnt from his own inclination, and observation of nature. By inquiry, I was informed that one old Barley (as he was called) was his writing master, who lived where now is the Millstone alehouse, in
Several of these dials are to be seen on the wall of the manor house at Wolsthorp.