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bits from which you would induce others never to swerve? if the blessing be worth preserving, is it not worth recovering.
Recovering !—O if a wish could transport me back to those days of youth, when a draught from the next clear spring could slake any heats which summer suns and youthful exercise had power to stir up in the blood, how gladly would I return to thee, pure element, the drink of children, and of child-like holy hermit. In my dreams I can sometimes fancy thy cool refreshment purling over my burning tongue. But my waking stomach rejects it. That which refreshes innocence, only makes me sick and faint.
But is there no middle way betwixt total abstinence and the excess which kills you ?-For your sake, reader, and that you may never attain to my experience, with pain I must utter the dreadful truth, that there is none, none that I can find. In my stage of habit, (I speak not of habits less confirmed-for some of them I believe the advice to be most prudential,) in the stage which I have reached, to stop short of that measure which is sufficient to draw on torpor and sleep, the benumbing apoplectic sleep of the drunkard, is to have taken none at all. The pain of the selfdenial is all one. And what that is, I had rather the reader should believe on my credit, than know from his own trial. He will come to know it, whenever he shall arrive at that state, in which, paradoxical as it may appear, reason shall only visit him through intoxication: for it is a fearful truth, that the intellectual faculties by repeated acts of intemperance may be driven from their orderly sphere of action, their clear day-light ministeries, until they shall be brought at last to depend, for the faint manifestation of their de parting energies, upon the returning periods of the fatal madness to which they owe their devastation. The drinking man is never less himself than during his sober intervals. Evil is so far his good.*
Behold me then, in the robust period of life, reduced to imbecility and decay. Hear me count my gains, and the profits which I have derived from the midnight cup.
Twelve years ago I was possessed of a healthy frame of mind and body. I was never strong, but I think my constitution, (for a weak one,) was as happily exempt from the tendency to any malady as it was possible to be. I scarce knew what it was to ail any thing. Now, except when I am losing myself in a sea of drink, I am never free from those uneasy sensations in head and sto
*When poor M-painted his last picture, with a pencil in one trembling hand, and a glass of brandy and water in the other, his fingers owed the comparative steadiness with which they were enabled to go through their task in an imperfect manner, to a temporary firmness derived from a repetition of practices, the general effect of which had shaken both them and him so terribly
mach, which are so much worse to bear than any definite pains or aches.
At that time I was seldom in bed after six in the morning, summer and winter. I awoke refreshed, and seldom without some merry thoughts in my head, or some piece of a song to welcome the new-bo day. Now, the first feeling which besets me, after stretching out the hours of recumbence to their last possible extent, is a forecast of the wearisome day that lies before me, with a secret wish that I could have lain on still, or never awaked.
Life itself, my waking life, has much of the confusion, the trouble, and obscure perplexity of an ill dream. In the day-time I stumble upon dark mountains.
Business, which, though never particularly adapted to my nature, yet as something of necessity to be gone through, and therefore best undertaken with cheerfulness, I used to enter upon with some degree of alacrity, now wearies, affrights, perplexes me. I fancy all sorts of discouragements, and am ready to give up an occupation which gives me bread, from a harassing conceit of incapacity. The slightest commission given me by a friend, or any small duty which I have to perform for myself, as giving orders to a tradesman, &c. haunts me as a labour impossible to be got through. So much the springs of action are broken.
The same cowardice attends me in all my intercourse with mankind. I dare not promise that a friend's honour, or his cause would be safe in my keeping, if I were put to the expense of any manly resolution in defending it. So much the springs of moral action are deadened within me.
My favourite occupations in times past, now cease to entertain. I can do nothing readily. Application for ever so short a time kills me, This poor abstract of my condition was penned at long intervals, with scarcely any attempt at connexion of thought, which is now difficult to
way touched. I have told him what I am come to. Let him stop in time.
THE OLD ACTORS.
I Do not know a more mortifying thing than to be conscious of a foregone delight, with a total oblivion of the person and manner which conveyed it. In dreams I often stretch and strain after the countenance of Edwin, whom I once saw in Peeping Tom. I cannot catch a feature of him. He is no more to me than Nokes or Pinkethman. Parsons, and still more Dodd, were near being lost to me, till I was refreshed with their portraits, (fine treat,) the other day at Mr. Mathews's gallery at Highgate; which, with the exception of the Hogarth pictures, a few years since exhibited in Pall Mall, was the most delightful collection I ever gained admission to. There hang the players, in their single persons, and in grouped scenes, from the Restoration-Bettertons, Booths, Garricks, justifying the prejudices which we entertain for them-the Bracegirdles, the Mountforts, and the Oldfields, fresh as Cibber has described them the Woffington, (a true Hogarth,) upon a couch, dallying and dangerous-the Screen Scene in Brinsley's famous comedy, with Smith and Mrs. Abingdon, whom I have not seen, and the rest, whom having seen, I see still there. There is Henderson, unrivalled in Comus, whom I saw at second hand in the elder Harley-Harley, the rival of Holman, in Horatio-Holman, with the bright glittering teeth in Lothario, and the deep paviour's sighs in Romeo-the jolliest person, ("our son is fat,") of any Hamlet I have yet seen, with the most laudable attempts, (for a personable man,) at looking melancholy-and Pope, the abdicated monarch of tragedy and comedy, in Harry the Eighth and Lord Townley. There hang the two Aickins, brethren in mediocrity-Wroughton, who in Kitely, seemed to have forgotten that in prouder days he had personated Alexander--the specious form of John Palmer, with the special effrontery of Bobby-Bensley with the trumpettongue, and little Quick, (the retired Dioclesian of Islington,) with his squeak like a Bart'lemew fiddle. There are fixed, cold as in life, the immoveable features of Moody, who, afraid of o'erstepping nature, sometimes stopped short of herand the restless fidgetiness of Lewis, who, with no such fears, not seldom leaped o' the other side. There hang Farren and Whitfield, and Burton and Phillimore, names of small account in those times, but which, remembered now, or casually recalled by the sight of an old play bill, with their associated recordations, can "drown an eye unused to flow." There too hangs, (not far removed from them in death,) the graceful plainness of the first Mrs. Pope, with a voice unstrung by age,
but which, in her better days, must have competed with the silver tones of Barry himself, so enchanting in decay do I remember it-of all her lady parts exceeding herself in the Lady Quakeress, (there earth touched heaven,) of O'Keefe, when she played it to the "merry cousin" of Lewis-and Mrs. Mattocks, the sensiblest of viragos -and Miss Pope, a gentlewoman ever, to the verge of ungentility, with Churchill's compliment still burnishing upon her gay honeycomb lips. There are the two Bannisters, and Sedgwick, and Kelly, and Dignum, (Diggy,) and the by-gone features of Mrs. Ward, matchless in Lady Loverule; and the collective majesty of the whole Kemble family, and (Shakspeare's woman,) Dora Jordan; and, by her, two Antics, who, in former and in latter days have chiefly beguiled us of our griefs; whose portraits we shall strive to recall, for the sympathy of those who may not have had the benefit of viewing the matchless Highgate collection.
O for a "slip-shod muse," to celebrate in numbers, loose and shambling as himself, the merits and the person of Mr. Richard Suett, comedian!
Richard, or rather Dicky Suett-for so in his lifetime he was best pleased to be called, and time hath ratified the appellation-lieth buried on the north side of the cemetry of Holy Paul, to whose service his nonage and tender years were set apart and dedicated. There are who do yet remember him at that period-his pipe clear and harmoniHe would often speak of his chorister days, when he was "Cherub Dicky."
What clipped his wings, or made it expedient that he should exchange the holy for the profane state; whether he had lost his good voice, (his best recommendation to that office,) like Sir John, "with hallooing and singing of anthems;" or whether he was adjudged to lack something, even in those early years, of the gravity indispensable to an occupation which professeth to "commerce with the skies"-I could never rightly learn; but we find him, after the probation of a twelvemonth or so, reverting to a secular condition, and become one of us.
I think he was not altogether of that timber, out of which cathedral seats and sounding boards are hewed. But if a glad heart-kind and therefore glad-be any part of sanctity, then might the robe of Motley, with which he invested himself with so much humility after his deprivation, and which he wore so long with so much blameless satisfaction to himself and to the public, be accepted for a surplice-his white stole, and albe.
The first fruits of his secularization was an engagement upon the boards of Old Drury, at which theatre he commenced, as I have been told, with adopting the manner of Parsons in old men's characters. At the period in which most of us knew him, he was no more an imitator than ho was in any true sense himself imitable.
He was the Robin Good-Fellow of the stage. He came in to trouble all things with a welcome perplexity, himself no whit troubled for the matter. He was known, like Puck, by his noteHa! Ha! Ha! sometimes deepening to Ho! Ho! Ho! with an irresistible accession, derived perhaps remotely from his ecclesiastical education, foreign to his prototype, of-O La! Thousands of hearts yet respond to the chuckling O La! of Dicky Suett, brought back to their remembrance by the faithful transcript of his friend Mathews's mimicry. The "force of nature could no further go." He drolled upon the stock of these two syllables richer than the cuckoo.
Care, that troubles all the world, was forgotten in his composition. Had he had but two grains, (nay, half a grain,) of it, he could never have supported himself upon those two spiders' strings, which served him, (in the latter part of his unmixed existence,) as legs. A doubt or a scruple must have made him totter, a sigh have puffed him down; the weight of a frown had staggered him, a wrinkle made him lose his balance. But on he went, scrambling upon those airy stilts of his, with Robin Good-Fellow, "through brake, through briar," reckless of a scratched face or a torn double.
Shakspeare foresaw him, when he framed his fools and jesters. They have all the true Suett stamp, a loose gait, a slippery tongue, this last the ready midwife to a without-pain-delivered jest; in words light as air, venting truths deep as the centre; with idlest rhymes tagging conceit when busiest, singing with Lear in the tempest, or Sir Toby at the buttery hatch.
Jack Bannister, and he had the fortune to be more of personal favourites with the town than any actors before or after. The difference, I take it, was this --Jack was more beloved for his sweet, good-natured, moral, pretensions. Dicky was more liked for his sweet, good-natured, no pretensions at all. Your whole conscience stirred with Bannister's performance of Walter in the Children in the Wood--how dearly beautiful it was!-but Dicky seemed like a thing, as Shakspeare says of Love, too young to know what conscience is. He put us into Vesta's days. Evil fled before him-not as from Jack, as from an antagonist-but because it could not touch him, any more than a cannon-ball a fly. He was delivered from the burthen of that death; and, when death came himself, not in metaphor, to fetch Dicky, it is recorded of him by Robert Palmer, who kindly watched his exit, that he received the last stroke, neither varying his accustomed tranquillity, nor tune, with the simple exclamation, worthy to have been recorded in his epitaph-0 La!-O La! Bobby!
Not many nights ago we had come home from seeing this extraordinary performer in Cockletop;
and when we retired to our pillow, his whimsical image still stuck by us, in a manner as to threaten sleep. In vain we tried to divest ourselves of it by conjuring up the most opposite associations. We resolved to be serious. We raised up the gravest topics of life; private misery, public ca lamity. All would not do.
-There the antic sate Mocking our state
his queer visnomy--his bewildering costume— all the strange things which he had raked together-his serpentine rod swagging about in his pocket-Cleopatra's tear, and the rest of his relics--O'Keefe's wild farce, and his wilder commentary-till the passion of laughter, like grief in excess, relieved itself by its own weight, inviting the sleep which in the first instance it had driven away.
But we were not to escape so easily. No sooner did we fall into slumbers, than the same image, only more perplexing, assailed us in the shape of dreams. Not one Munden, but five hundred, were dancing before us, like the faces which, whether you will or no, come when you have been taking opium-all the strange combinations, which this strangest of all strange mortals ever shot his proper countenance into, from the day he came commissioned to dry up the tears of the town for the loss of the now almost forgotten Edwin. O for the power of the pencil to have fixed them when we awoke! A season or twe since there was exhibited a Hogarth gallery. We do not see why there should not be a Munden gallery. In richness and variety the latter would not fall far short of the former.
There is one face of Farley, one face of Knight, one face, (but what a one it is!) of Liston; but Munden has none that you can properly pin down, and call his. When you think he has exhausted his battery of looks in unaccountable warfare with your gravity, suddenly he sprouts out an entirely new set of features, like Hydra. He is not one, but legion. Not so much a comedian, as a company. If his name could be multiplied like his countenance, it might fill a play-bill. He, and he alone, literally makes faces: applied to any other person, the phrase is a mere figure, denoting certain modifications of the human countenance. Out of some invisible wardrobe he dips for faces, as his friend Suett used for wigs, and fetches them out as easily. We should not be surprised to see him some day put out the head of a river horse; or come forth a pewit, or lapwing, some feathered metamorphosis.
We have seen this gifted actor in Sir Christopher Curry-in Old Dornton-diffuse a glow of sentiment which has made the pulse of a crowded theatre beat like that of one man; when he has come in aid of the pulpit, doing good to the moral heart of a people. We have seen some faint approaches to this sort of excellence in other players. But in what has been truly denominated the
"sublime of farce," Munden stands out as single and unaccompanied as Hogarth. Hogarth, strange to tell, had no followers. The school of Munden began, and must end, with himself.
Can any man wonder, like him? can any man see ghosts, like him? or fight with his own shadow
sessa as he does in that strangely-neglected thing, the Cobler of Preston-where his alternations from the Cobler to the Magnifico, and from the Magnifico to the Cobler, keep the brain of the spectator in as wild a ferment, as if some Arabian Night were being acted before him, or as if Thalaba were no tale! Who like him can throw, or ever attempted to throw, a supernatural interest over the commonest daily-life objects? A table, or a joint stool, in his conception, rises into a dig. nity equivalent to Cassiopeia's chair. It is invested with constellatory importance. You could not speak of it with more deference, if it were mounted into the firmament. A beggar in the hands of Michael Angelo, says Fuseli, rose the Patriarch of Poverty. So the gusto of Munden antiquates and ennobles what it touches. His pots and his ladles are as grand and primal as the seething. pots and hooks seen in old prophetic vision. A tub of butter, contemplated by him, amounts to a Platonic idea. He understands a leg of mutton in its quiddity. He stands wondering, amid the common-place materials of life, like primæval man, with the sun and stars about him.
THE GENTLE GIANTESS.
THE widow Blacket, of Oxford, is the largest female I ever had the pleasure of beholding. There may be her parallel upon the earth, but surely I never saw it. I take her to be lineally descended from the maid's aunt of Brainford, who caused Master Ford such uneasiness. She hath Atlantean shoulders; and, as she stoopeth in her gait-with as few offences to answer for in her own particular as any of Eve's daughters-her back seems broad enough to bear the blame of all the peccadillos that have been committed since Adam. She girdeth her waist-or what she is pleased to esteem as such-nearly up to her shoulders, from beneath which, that huge dorsal expanse, in mountainous declivity, emergeth. Respect for her alone preventeth the idle boys, who follow her about in shoals, whenever she cometh abroad, from getting up and riding.—But her presence infallibly commands a reverence. She is indeed, as the Americans would express it, something awful. Her person is a burthen to herself, no less than to the ground which bears her. To her mighty bone, she hath a pinguitude withal, which makes the depth of winter to her the most desirable season. Her distress in the warmer solstice is pitiable. During the months of July and Angust, she usually renteth a cool cellar, where
ices are kept, whereinto she descendeth when Sirius rageth. She dates from a hot Thursdaysome twenty-five years ago. Her apartment in summer is pervious to the four winds. Two doors, in north and south direction, and two windows, fronting the rising and the setting sun, never closed, from every cardinal point, catch the contributory breezes. She loves to enjoy what she calls a quadruple draught. That must be a shrewd zephyr, that can escape her. I owe a painful faceache, which oppresses me at this moment, to a cold caught, sitting by her, one day in last July, at this receipt of coolness. Her fan, in ordinary resembleth a banner spread, which she keepeth continually on the alert to detect the least breeze. She possesseth an active and gadding mind, totally incommensurate with her person. No one delighteth more than herself in country exercises and pastimes. I have passed many an agreeable holyday with her in her favourite park at Woodstock. She performs her part in these delightful ambulatory excursions by the aid of a portable garden chair. She setteth out with you at a fair foot gallop, which she keepeth up till you are both well breathed, and then she reposeth for a few seconds. Then she is up again for a hundred paces or so, and again resteth-her movement, on these sprightly occasions, being something between walking and flying. Her great weight seemeth to propel her forward, ostrich-fashion. In this kind of relieved marching I have traversed with her many scores of acres on those well-wooded and well-watered domains. Her delight at Oxford is in the public walks and gardens, where, when the weather is not too oppressive, she passeth much of her valuable time. There is a bench at Maudlin, or rather, situated between the frontiers of that and ******'s college-some litigation, latterly, about repairs, has vested the property of it finally in ******'s—where at the hour of noon she is ordinarily to be found sitting-so she calls it by courtesy-but in fact, pressing and breaking of it down with her enormous settlement; as both those foundations, who, however, are good natured enough to wink at it, have found, I believe, to their cost. Here she taketh the fresh air, principally at vacation times, when the walks are freest from interruption of the younger fry of students. Here she passeth her idle hours, not idly, but generally accompanied with a book-blest if she can but intercept some resident Fellow, (as usually there are some of that brood left behind at these periods ;) or stray Master of Arts, (to most of whom she is better known than their dinner bell ;) with whom she may confer upon any curious topic of literature. I have seen these shy gownsmen, who truly set but a very slight value upon female conversation, cast a hawk's eye upon her from the length of Maudlin grove, and warily glide off into another walk-true monks as they are, and ungently neglecting the delicacies of her polished converse, for their own perverse and uncommunicating solitari
ness! Within doors her principal diversion is music, vocal and instrumental, in both which she is no mean professor. Her voice is wonderfully fine; but till I got used to it, I confess it staggered me. It is for all the world like that of a piping bulfinch; while from her size and stature you would expect notes to drown the deep organ. The shake, which most fine singers reserve for the close or cadence, by some unaccountable flexibility, or tremulousness of pipe, she carrieth quite through the composition; so that her time, to a common air or ballad, keeps double motion, like the earth -running the primary circuit of the tune, and still revolving upon its own axis. The effect, as I said before, when you are used to it, is as agreeable as it is altogether new and surprising. The spacious apartment of her outward frame lodgeth a soul in all respects disproportionate. Of more than mortal make, she evinceth withal a trembling sensibility, a yielding infirmity of purpose, a quick susceptibility to reproach, and all the train of diffident and blushing virtues, which for their habitation usually seek out a feeble frame, an attenuated and meagre constitution. With more than man's bulk, her humours and occupations are eminently feminine. She sighs--being six foot high. She languisheth-being two feet wide. She worketh slender sprigs upon the delicate muslin-her fingers being capable of moulding a Colossus. She rippeth her wine out of her glass daintily-- her capacity being that of a tun of Heidelburg. She goeth mincingly with those feet of hers-whose solidity need not fear the black ox's pressure. Softest, and largest of thy sex, adieu! by what parting attribute may I salute thee--last and best of the Titanesses--Ogress, fed with milk instead of blood--not least, or least handsome, among Oxford's stately structures-Oxford, who, in its deadest time of vacation, can never properly be said to be empty, having thee to fill it.
A CHARACTER OF
THE LATE ELIA.
BY A FRIEND.
THIS gentleman, who for some months past had been in a declining way, hath at length paid his final tribute to nature. He just lived long enough, (it was what he wished,) to see his papers collected into a volume. The pages of the LONDON MAGAZINE will henceforth know him no more.
Exactly at twelve last night his queer spirit departed, and the bells of Saint Bride's rang him out with the old year. The mournful vibrations were caught in the dining room of his friends T. and H.; and the company, assembled there to welcome in another First of January, checked their carousals in mid-mirth, and were silent. Janus wept.
The gentle P―r, in a whisper, signified his intention of devoting an Elegy; and Allan C nobly forgetful of his countrymen's wrongs, vowed a memoir to his manes full and friendly as a Tale of Lyddalcross.
To say truth, it is time he were gone. The hu mour of the thing, if there was ever much in it, was pretty well exhausted; and a two year's and a half existence has been a tolerable duration for a phantom.
I am now at liberty to confess, that much which I have heard objected to my late friend's writings was well-founded. Crude they are, I grant youa sort of unlicked, incondite things-villanously pranked in an affected array of antique modes and phrases. They had not been his, if they had been other than such; and better it is, that a writer should be natural in a self-pleasing quaintness, than to affect a naturalness, (so called,) that should be strange to him. Egotistical they have been pronounced by some who did not know, that what he tells us, as of himself, was often true, only, (historically,) of another; as in his Fourth Essay, (to save many instances,)--where under the first person, (his favourite figure,) he shadows forth the forlorn estate of a country-boy placed at a London school, far from his friends and connections-in direct opposition to his own early history. If it be egotism to imply and twine with his own identity the griefs and affections of another --making himself many, or reducing many unto himself then is the skilful novelist, who all along brings in his hero, or heroine, speaking of themselves, the greatest egotist of all; who yet has never, therefore, been accused of that narrowness. And how shall the intenser dramatist escape being faulty, who doubtless, under cover of passion uttered by another, oftentimes gives blameless vent to his most inward feelings, and expresses his own story modestly?
My late friend was in many respects a singular character. Those who did not like him, hated him; and some, who once liked him, afterwards became his bitterest haters. The truth is, he gave himself too little concern what he uttered, and in whose presence. He observed neither time nor place, and would e'en out with what came uppermost. With the severe religionist he would pass for a free-thinker; while the other faction set him down for a bigot, or persuaded themselves that he belied his sentiments. Few understood him; and I am not certain that at all times he quite understood himself. He too much affected that dangerous figure-irony. He sowed doubtful speeches, and reaped plain, unequivocal hatred.He would interrupt the gravest discussion with some light jest; and yet, perhaps, not quite irrelevant in ears that could understand it. Your long and much talkers hated him. The informal habit of his mind, joined to an inveterate impediment of speech, forbade him to be an orator; and he seemed determined that no one else should play