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buffoonery and extravagance; the situations are highly co
while the characters are drawn with no less attention to humour, than to truth and nature.
The moral (a word unknown to the present stage) cannot be too highly praised. We envy not the mind that can rise from the perusal of this piece, without feeling awakened and improved. A lesson of deep importance is held forth to a variety of characters, from the palace to the cot. tage. Mr. Morton is peculiarly happy in his pictures of rustic life and manners. “A Cure for the Heartache" exhibits some of his choicest specimens in this way.
That evil communications corrupt good manners (a sen. timent that Saint Paul himself borrowed from a dramatic poet of antiquity) is very forcibly shewn in this drama. Expensive luxury, and fashionable dissipation, when transplanted from crowded cities, their native soil, to village society, spread their poison with double venom. As healthy bodies imbibe iv fection in a stronger degree, than those that are already diseased and sickly. However erroneous, in a political view, we may pronounce this sentimevt. of the poet,
“Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts though small,
He sees his little lot the lot of all;
To shame the meanness of his humble shed. we desire not, morally speaking, to see this mischievous intrusion of wealth, with all its attendant vices, in the bosom of a virtuous peasantry. To maintain the patriarchal hospitality of our ancestors is one thing; to revel in heartless luxury is another. The former diffuses plenty and cheerfulness around; the latter is sensual and exclusivegross to the sight, and poisou to the touch.
It was not necessary to travel to India for a delinquent. A vulgar notion has prevailed. and Foote joined in the cry, in his farce of the “ Nabob,” that fortunes acquired in that quarter must necessarily be the fruit of oppression. Let us look at some of our overgrown fortunes at home, and then ask whether they have been amassed with a less sacrifice of human happiness. We will venture to affirm, that in no part of the globe, from Indus to the Pole, have greater sums heen acquired, at the expense of life and liberty, than in this land of freedom. The growing evil was contemplated, with a prophetic eye, by the loveliest of all poets, many years since.
• In fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
And he then asked a question, which has never yet receiyed an answer.
• Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey
The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay,
Between a splendid and a happy land.” Vortex is likely to find quite as many prototypes in London * as in India.
Extravagance is always selfish and unfeeling. Amidst the follies of the passing day, we cannot find“ leisure to be good.” Reflexion, whenever it does intrude--and intrude it will is so unwelcome a visitor, that we “push on, keep moving," through the accustomed round, hoping that it may be lost in the maze. The description that Miss Vora tex gives of her brilliant house-warming, though APPARENTLY satirical, is true to the letter. We have seen quite enough of life to recognize the originals. Those “ little creatures, called the great,” however jealous of being eclipsed by lesser stars, scruple not to mingle with them, so long as they can minister to their tastes and extravagances. But wheu a reverse of fortune ensues, mark the contrast !
“Ah! must I tell the sequel of the tale?
Poor Madam Fussock's purse begins to fail:
Returns to breathe the air of Garlic Hill."* The author has not dealt fairly with the character of Frank Oatland. It was too severe a trial, under such peculiar circumstances of distress, to bring him in contact with the purse. As it is, his compunction appears more the result of alarm, than of principle.
"New fears in dire vicissitude invade.
The rustling brake alarms, and quivering shade.” The incident is highly effective on the stage ; but it is producing effect, at the expense of propriety. He comes out of the fire it is true, but not without burning his fingers. The powerful acting of Fawcett, in this scene, made us forget every lapse in the author.
We can hardly persuade ourselves that Jessy is a country lass. She talks sentiment like a boarding-school Miss; and cries, like a Queen in a tragedy. But the mystery is
solved-she has been in “ Lunnun town, to take in her larning !"
It required a delicate and skilful hand to draw the tailors, father and son, without bringing down the wrath of that irascible body. Tailors (eighteen of 'em put together !) are men.
" Their prowess has proclaim'd-let nations learn,
A tailor's bosom, like his goose, will burn."* and actors, and authors, can bring woeful proof that the Sons of the Thimble are not to be quizzed with impunity. In this instance, Mr. Morton has elevated tailors to the dignity of men. What fraternity would not be proud of Old Rapid for an associate, brimful as he is of kind feeling and quaint humour ? Not so with Young Rapid : he is a sad renegade,-a truant to his craft,-ambitious to sink the tailor, that has made him swim. For this apostacy, he can offer but one apology, that of being more under the influence of St. Vitus than tailors are in general. The perpetual motion of Young Rapid, and the deliberate movements of Old ; the fidgetty impatience of the former to bauish every remembrance of " the shop;" and the early prepossessions of the latter, discovering themselves in every word, look, and action, produce a contrast equally novel and ludicrous. The compunction of Young Rapid for his conduct to Jessy, his return to the mirror, and his reflection. The scene before the duel, between the father and son; and the struggle of the former, between filial affection and honest pride. The scene after the duel, when Old Rapid enters capering, and that truly characteristic trait about the “brand new silver-hilted sword.” His interview with Jessy, “PU kill him ; he's my own son, and l’ve a right to do it !”-His triumphant exclamation at the close, “ Damme, there's the son of a tailor for you !" and his accompanying remark, “ Yes, and let me tell you, that one guinea honestly gotten by blood drawn from the finger, is sweeter than a million obtained by blood drawn from the heart !” arc legitimate comedy. Among the drollest scenes, we may instance that where Young Rapid is discovered mending his coat, “ That's a long stitch !" and the speech scene with Vortex, where the son looks out at the window to divert his ennui, and the father falls asleep. The parliamentary allusions, particularly “ Then make me Speaker .” are extremely apposite. Had they to pass the ordeal of modern inquisition, they would, in all probability, be struck out at one fell swoop!
** The Tailors." -An unpublished poem.
Mrs. Inchbald has pronounced the name of this comedy to be most apt. It is so, but not in that lady's sonse of the word. “ A Cure for the Heartache” does not imply that excessive merriment which this comedy never fails to produce. It has a deeper allusion. Rendering justice to those whom we have injured, is a cure for the heartache.
We remember the original Rapids, Lewis and Muuden, in their theatrical meridian. More perfect acting was never beheld at any period of the drama. The energy of Lewis was wonderful. His genius was a brilliant light, that flashed almost intolerable day. His words flew from his lips ; while chairs and tables-in fact, every obstacle that stood in the way of his mercurial body, were either anni. hilated or over-leaped in an instant! We have heard him, arms a-kimbo, go through the various degrees of mirth; from the half-smothered titter to the broad horse-laugh, carrying the audience with him, with irresistible glee, and returning to his charge, with supplementary roars, when he had fairly exhausted every body but himself. No actor, in our time, ever laughed like Lewis. We would advise all whose lungs are touched, to avoid even the recollection of Munden in Old Rapid. If ever the longitude was discovered, it was surely at that moment when, with melancholy physiognomy, he chuckles out “ Ha, he !" after the adventure of the cuat. It is a queer thing to laugh with one side of one's face, and to cry with the other; and Munden does both to a miracle.
Mr. Fawcett, in Frank Oatland, as regards humour, judgment, and feeling, was everything that could be desired. But the country dialect was a considerable drawback on his performance. The same remark may apply to his Sir Francis Wronghead, which would be a capital piece of acting, but for this disadvantage. Mr. Fawcett cannot assume the country dialect, nor could Munden, with any degree of success. Munden's John Moody, though sparkling with genuine humour, was a failure in this respect. Wanting this verisimilitude, these great actors must yield the palm, in Frank Oatland and John Moudy, to the late Mr. Emery.
As it is well known that, in the construction of this comedy, every principal actor sat for his picture ; our friend Quick, among the number, was hit off most admirably. When he bounced upon the stage, as the dapper representative of Indian opulence, he fairly put the audience in a fluster, while his flaming eye and rubicund face almost threw them into a perspiration. He proclaimed it a “ Bengal day," and we fancied ourselves frying between the tropics. It will be many a day before we see another Miss Vortex like Mrs. Mattocks. This lady and Miss Pope were the last of the school of Kitty Clive. The school of pert hoy. dens, starched old maids, amorous widows, and intriguing chambermaids.
We saw Mr. Elliston, many years since, play Young Rapid with great vivacity and whim. We have seen him more recently in the character, and with scarcely any diminutiou of his original spirit. But Lewis had already fixed the town. He had stamped the mercurial tailor so completely with his own image, that every attempt, however excellent, was regarded only as borrowed light, while every falling off (and we have witnessed some lamentable ones indeed !) appeared, in the fullest sense of the word, darkness visible. We remember Mr. Liston playing Frank Oatland, for Mrs. Gibbs's benefit at the Haymarket Theatre. The performance appeared to us cold and spiritless, giving no evidence of that rich comic genius which, at a future period, was to contribute so largely to the stock of fuu and merriment.
“ A Cure for the Heartache” was a favourite on its first appearance, and it has continued in the good graces of the public ever since. We only regret that, at present,
it cannot be played. We have still the comedy ; but, as Colley Cibber once said to Garrick upon a siunilar occasion, "* Where are vour actors ?”