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lespair of relief;—these are the subjects we expect to see pursuing one another in her thoughts: and till these appear, say Calista what she may about her agonies, we are neither disposed to believe nor to pity them.
To show that I take in good part the suggestion of my correspondent at the beginning of his letter, I will add to his observations on the tragedy in question a few lines to inform him that I was one of the audience who attended its representation some evenings ago, and received that very high entertainment which the performance of Mrs. Siddons always affords. Amidst the defects which Theatricus very justly remarks in the character of Calista, there is, however, a variety of high and stormy passion, which gives scope to the astonishing powers of this incomparable actress. These she displayed so forcibly, that some, who had not investigated the character so closely as my correspondent, thought she o'erstepp'd the modesty of nature in the force and whirlwind of her passion. But let it be remembered, that Calista is a woman haughty and impetuous in the highest degree, and that the defence of guilt is always loud in proportion as it is hollow. In this, indeed, lay the admirable art with which she played the scene with Horatio; she rose in violence as the accusation was pressed upon her, and met his reproach and admonition with the fierceness of resentment and of pride, struggling with the anguish of guilt and of shame. Nor did she fail to give the poet (as is usual with her) some merit not his own, by infusing into the latter part of the play that tenderness of which she knows so well how to unlock the springs. In the last interview with her father, particularly, and in her dying speech to Altamont, she conveyed this impression so strongly, that we quite forgot the blame which our justice should have laid upon Calista, and our tears flowed for her misfortunes with all the interest of compassion, and all the consciousness of virtue.
But the language of encomium is so familiar to this lady, that it were trite to continue it. In recalling her performance, I tried a much more difficult task, to remember some defect. One trifling error I imagined I discovered. In marking the sentiments of contempt and insolence, she sometimes used a voice, and assumed a countenance, rather of too familiar .a kind. When she uttered the following lines,
* And blesses her good stars that she is virtuous' –
a tale-bearing officious fellow ?'
- Was the Hope drunk
Like the old cat i' the adage.' Methought in her speaking of such passages, there was a tone and look more allied to the comic than the tragic muse, and hardly dignified enough for the importance of the situation, or the high feeling of the moment in which they were pronounced. It was an observation of some of the great French actors upon Garrick, that he spoke admirably well the language of passion, but not quite as a hero would speak it. Though one might trace something of the costume of Paris in this remark, yet undoubtedly there is a form which passion puts on, different in different situations. Perhaps, too, there is a certain deception in our ideas of what the station or character of the person should impress upon his feelings, which the very truth and genuine colour of nature may sometimes offend. We have all our prejudices, like Partridge, though they may not be altogether so simple. It is very seldom, however, that we have any room for a complaint of this sort. It is only in a Garrick or a Siddons that nature presses so close on us, that she 'galls our kibe.'
No. 26. SATURDAY, JULY 30, 1785.
I have observed, that the authors of former periodical publications have commonly given some account of their life and situation in the world. Hitherto, ‘for certain good causes and considerations, I have been very sparing in these particulars. Stepping the other day into a box in the playhouse, I was very much entertained with overhearing part of a conversation between two young ladies. I found they had been talking about the Lounger; and at the time I chanced to come in they were disputing whether the author was a married or an unmarried man. "I don't trust much,' said one of the young ladies, 'to his own hint in a late
authors I know take liberties that way: but he certainly must be a bachelor; for had he been married, he would before now have told us something about his wife and children.'— No,' says the other, he has certainly a wife, and children too, I believe, otherwise he could not have described
domestic situations so well as he does; he could not_Here she mentioned some of my papers in a style which it would not be proper for me to repeat. The two ladies at last agreed to refer their dispute to an elderly lady, Mrs. B., who sat by them. dear,' said Mrs. B. addressing herself to the young lady next lier, if he is not married, he certainly ought to be.
I am sorry that for the present I must leave this matter in the same uncertainty in which Mrs. B. has left it; possibly at some other time I may
up the point, and amuse my readers with some other incidents of
life. Meanwhile it is to my present purpose to observe, that, whether a married man or a bachelor, there is nothing in either of these situations which can incapacitate me from carrying on my present undertaking, In the course of my observations, I have had occasion to remark, that there are Loungers in all situations; some with a wife and family at home, and others who, when they leave their house, may put the key in their pockets, all their friends and acquaintance being without doors.
I remember a story of two gentlemen who were very fond of the game of backgammon; and being both excellent players, and nearly a match for each other, seldom met but they fell to it with great keen
One evening they encountered at a coffeehouse, and continued playing during the whole course of the night. The saunterers in the coffee-room, who were numerous when they first began, had all dropped off. One man only continued to sit by them, and had his eye fixed the whole time with a steady look on the backgammon table. A nice point in the game having occurred, and the players being unable to settle it, were likely to get into some heat. It was agreed to refer the dispute to the gentleman
looker-on. The appeal, therefore, being made to him, he told them he could not determine it, for he knew nothing at all about the game. - What, sit here all night, and know nothing of the game!-- Yes; I have a wife at home.'
Though from this story, and from a variety of observations of my own, I have no doubt that there are many Loungers among the married
may be accounted for from a variety of reasons; yet, as far as I can discover, the number of Loungers among the bachelors greatly exceeds those among the other class. Whoever walks the streets of this populous city will see a number of bachelor Loungers prowling wherever he goes.
At the very moment in which I write this, I see passing by the window of the parlour where I sit, Captain N., a Lounger of this denomination. Thirty years ago, I am told
the captain was one of the gayest and most fashionable men in town. He entered early into the army; but an indolent disposition, and a little parliamentary interest, which he had by accident acquired, induced him to give up all prospects of rising in his profession, and content himself with the office of deputy-governor of a garrison, with a tolerable, though not large appointment.
The captain's garrison not requiring his residence, he fixed his habitation in this city, where he has since continued. He was then about thirty-five years of age, with a good appearance, good temper, good spirits, attentive to his dress, and circumspect in his conduct. The captain sung a good song; and, when occasion required, could swallow a sufficient quantity of liquor. He had sense enough never to say any thing that was foolish, and understanding enough to make himself pass for having more understanding than he had. He took care never to offend; and, while he was always pleased with holding a second place in any