Imágenes de páginas

I do not find it any way so record - Mr. Stubbs's way of doing business, and ed, but I affirm that Jonathan Stubbs I maintain, that if he had been born came into the world with his silver like other children, with nothing but spoon. Everything prospered with his tongue in his mouth, they never bim. His business went on well. could have happened. That, it may be said, was owing to Be that as it may, however, it is his own prudent management. But certain he retired from business long he was burnt out three times in seven before he reached his grand climacteyears, and each time he gained by the ric, to his country house at Newington calamity, thanks to the fair-dealing Butts, with the solid dignity of at and solvency of the office in which he least half a plum. What length of was insured. The last time this mis- years might have been in store for fortune happened to him, there ap- him, if he had regularly taken Dr. peared some injurious comments in James's analeptic pills, it is impossithe newspapers. He brought ac- ble to say; but not doing so, he had tions for a libel against four of the occasion to send the coachman one principal ones ; recovered £500 dam- night for an ounce of Epsom salts. ages from two; compromised with They proved to be oxalic acid ; and the other two for the same sum, by stomach-pumps not being then in exwhich they saved the expenses of go- istence, there was an inevitable termiing to trial, and accepted a hundred nation to the existence of Mr. Stubbs. pounds each from three others, which An “extraordinary sensation,” as the had incautiously copied the comments. newspapers have it, was produced in He was overturned in a Clapham Newington Butts by this dreadful castage, and broke his arm ; but receiv tastrophe; and everybody wondered ed £200 at the hands of an intelli- whether young Mr. Henry Augustus gent jury, as a compensation for the Constantine Stubbs would continue to injury he had sustained. Three live at Cinnamon House. years after his marriage, bis father-in Mr. Henry Augustus Constantine law died, and the bulk of the Gro- Stubbs (or, as he now distinguished gram property, amounting to nearly bimself on his new visiting cards, H. four thousand pounds, became his by A. C. Stubbs) soon put an end to virtue of his wife. Even when his these very natural conjectures ; for, wife's virtue was out of the question, before three months had elapsed, Cinhe still continued to feather his nest; namon House was sold, and he had for Mrs. Angelina Stubbs soon after taken up his abode in one of the coinmitted a faux pas with an emi- demi-fashionable squares, among nent carcass butcher in Leadenhall- judges, physicians, barristers, and market, and Mr. Jonathan Stubbs, in- inerchants, at the north side of the stead of throwing him into the Surrey metropolis. He succeeded, by will, canal, or demanding permission to to three-fourths of the late Mr. Jonamake a target of Mr. Joseph Cleaver's than Stubbs's property, and, by oxalic carcass, (which might have been re- acid, to the remaining fourth ; the affused,) instituted criminal proceedings fair being too sudden to permit of any against the wholesale dealer in horned further testamentary dispositions, or cattle. He wept his last tear over the of any of those benevolent codicils, wreck of his conjugal happiness, as which sometimes have the effect of he invested the fifteen hundred pounds tapering down primary bequests, like which the Lothario of Leadenhall. Prior's Emma, “ fine by degrees and market had to pay, (for it was really beautifully less.” Upon a fair coman aggravated case,) in the three per putation, after a few trifling legacies cents, at the very lowest price they were paid, and all debts satisfied, had touched during the preceding young Mr. Stubbs might calculate his twelve months. Now, take these oc- inheritance, in India Stock, Bank currences as fair average samples of stock, houses, canal shares, and ex

chequer bills, at nearly eighty thou- Henry Augustus Constantine Stubbs sand pounds.

was, in this respect, as well as in maHis education had not been neg- ny others, like the rest of his species. lected ; that is to say, his father sent He had his ruling passion, and, but him, at nine years old, to one of those that his father had made him a GENsuburban seminaries for young gen- TLEMAN, he was sure nature had intlemen,” usually kept by elderly gen- tended bim for the Roscius of his tlemen, who know what it is to have age. From his earliest childhood, been deprived of similar advantages when he used to recite, during the in their own youth. They feel, there- Christmas holidays, Pity the sorrows fore, a laudable gratification in ena- of a poor old man,” and astonish his bling the rising generation to pluck father's porter (who had a turn that some of that fruit from the tree of way himself) with his knowing, all by knowledge which they themselves ne heart, “ My name is Norval, on the ver tasted at all. Here he remained Grampian hills,”-to his more matill he was nearly seventeen ; and tured efforts of, “ Most potent, grave, here he acquired a little French, a lit- and reverend signiors," or, My tle Greek, a little Latin, a little ma- liege, I did deny no prisoners,”—the thematics, a little logic, and a little idea of being an actor had constantly geography, “ with the use of the fascinated his imagination. globes." In short, he brought away Often, when he was at home, durwith hiin a little learning, for the ob- ing this period, he would steal down taining of which his father had not into the kitchen, and, with the jackpaid a little money. He subsequent- towel for a robe, the rolling-pin for a ly enlarged his Lilliputian stock of truncheon, and the dripping-pan for a ideas, by assiduously prosecuting his shield, delight its population by a disstudies at home, three days a-week, play of his histrionic powers. Someand three hours a-day, when he wag times, he would do a bit of Bajazet, attended by masters in elocution, Ita- and rattle the jack-chain for his fetlian, boxing, fencing, and the other ters; at others, the crook’d-back tysciences. This eager cultivation of rant, and brandish a lark-spit for bis his mind he pursued till he was two sword, while he ran round the kitchen, and twenty, and then took his station calling out, “A horse ! a horse ! my in about the third degree of fashiona- kingdom for a horse !” Sometimes ble society, as a scholar and a man of he was the love-sick Romeo; and taste. His father had determined he then the fat cook was made to stand should be a gentleman, and therefore behind the meat screen for Juliet in very properly guarded against the the balcony: while at others, the " anachronism," as he used to call it, coachman had half the contents of the of giving him a profession.

flour-tub rubbed over his face for the It is believed, (at least it has been Ghost in Hamlet, while our hero aposinculcated,) that there exists, in every trophized him as the “ Royal Dane." human mind, a master, or ruling pas- Whenever it chanced that he could sion—a predominating inclination to get all the servants together, he would wards some particular object or pur- seat the whole of them at the large suit. Find out what that ruling pas- table-cook, coachman, house-maid, sion or principle is, says our great footman, errand-boy, and scullion-as ethic bard, and

representatives of the assembled Ve

netian senate, and recount, with such “ Comets are regular, and Wharton plain.”

moving pathos, how he won the lore In other words, get hold of it, and it of Desdemona, that the house-maid is like the key to a cipher, or the se- has been known to sob, and declare, cret of a modern Katterfelto,-all that “any man, eren though he was mystery is at an end, all difficulties a blackamoor, might make love in that vanish, and all wonders cease. Mr. way.” These were his juvenile ex

ploits ; but as he grew up to man's entré, also, of the green-room at both estate, his ambition took a wider theatres, and acquired an intimate range. When he was only sixteen, knowledge of all the feuds, rivalries, he played Hotspur at a private thea- managerial oppressions, intrigues, burtre, and distinguished himself in Ach- lesque dignity, and solemn plausibilimet, in Barbarossa, Prince Hal, Ro- ties, of that mimic world. Living meo, and Young Norval. As he ad- thus in an atmosphere electrical, as it vanced in years, he advanced in fame; were, with excitement, it is no wonand, by the time he was twenty, there der that, by degrees, he became less was at least one person in his Majes- and less sensitive with regard to that ty's dominions who entertained no ambiguous difficulty which had hitherto doubt that all the separate excellen- impeded the gratification nearest his cies which had distinguished Garrick, heart. He was still a GENTLEMAN ; Betterton, Henderson, Quinn, &c. but why should that mere worldly disdown to John Kemble and Mrs. Sid- tinction be insuperable ? It was true, dons, were concentrated in that most the mingled blood of the Grograms and extraordinarily gifted young gentle- the Stubbses flowed in his veins ; but man, Mr. Henry Augustus Constantine it was no less true, that the patrician Stubbs. The same person was also blood of the Stanleys, the Thurlows, of opinion, that it amounted almost to and the Cravens, bad mingled with the a national calamity, that, being a gen- theatrical blood of a Farren, a Boltleman, the display of his unrivalled ton, and a Brunton ; to say nothing of genius was confined to occasional ama- the blood-royal itself, which had minteur exhibitions, instead of delighting gled with that of a Jordan. Besides, assembled thousands every night. At though he, Henry Augustus Constansuch moments, however, he was some- tine Stubbs, was a gentleman," he times wont to derive consolation from could not forget that he had a cousin the reflection, that the actor's fame who was only a pork-butcher in the Miwas preeminently of a perishable nories, and an uncle, whom he had quality, and that it lived after him, heard of, who was a dealer in marine literally, a vox et præterea nihil; while stores in Little Britain. he would often repeat, with a sigh, When a man once begins to reason the melancholy truths contained in the with himself upon the absurdity of following lines :

not following his inclinations, he is very

near the discovery of a good reason “ Think, hapless artist, though thy skill can raise

why he should follow them. So it was The bursting peal of universal praise ;

with Mr. Stubbs. His family scruples Though, at thy beck, applause delighted stands, oozed away, day by day, and hour by And lifts, Briareus-like, her hundred hands;

hour. Yet fame awards thce but a partial breath :

At last, the happy thought Not all thy talents brave the stroke of death! suggested itself one night, as he was The pliant muscles of the various face, extinguishing his candle just before The mien that gave each sentence strength he stepped into bed, that there would The tuneful voice, the eye that spoke the be something like fame and distincmind,

tion in the bare circumstance of a Are gone, nor leave a single trace behind !”

“gentleman” forsaking the elegant It was a natural consequence of this retirement of polished life, to tread theatrical ardor, that Mr. Stubbs ea- the stage. He lay awake nearly half gerly cultivated the acquaintance of an hour, ruminating upon this newtragedians, comedians, inanagers, and born fancy. Other visions of renown dramatic writers. It was his supreme came streaming into his mind. He delight to have them at his table ; and warmed with the idea of receiving no as he kept a good table, gave good salary, at least not for his own benewines, and excelled in his cuisine, it fit, but of appropriating the thousands was a delight he could command he should realise to the Theatrical whenever he chose. He had the Fund, or to the encouragement of less

and grace,


ger of

prosperous talents than his own; and the display of his talents.” Happy he anticipated the honor that would Stubbs! Thrice happy Stubbs! The gather round his name as the grateful incessant cravings of a more than twenreward of such unexampled munifi- ty years' ambition were now to be sa

In the midst of these reflec- tisfied; the circumscribed glories of a tions, he fell asleep. Happy Stubbs! private theatre were now to be exHe dreamed of nothing but overflow- changed for the wide-spread renown ing houses—three rounds of applause of an admiring empire ; the uneclipsevery three minutes-electrified audi- ed dignity of the “gentleman” was ences-intoxicating criticisms—and a now to blend its lustre with the dazStubbs fever, produced by the suffo- zling splendor of another Garrick, riscating heat of crowded theatres in the ing above the theatrical horizon ! dog-days.

One only point remained to be set. It happened the very next morning, tled. In what character should be while Mr. Stubbs was sipping his burst upon the astonished town! chocolate, and reading, in the Morning Should he drown the house in tears Post, a criticism upon a new tragedy with the sorrows of Lear? Or wia which had been most righteously admiration from sparkling eyes in damned the night before, that his in- Romeo ? Or appal the stoutest hearts timate friend Mr. Peaess, the mana- by the maddening passions of Othello?

theatre, dropped in. Af- Or thrill the shrinking mind with the ter the usual salutations were ex- guilty terrors of the Ambitious Thane ? changed, and Mr. Peaess had re- Or “ snarl, and bite, and play the marked that it was a fine morning, dog' in Richard? His perplexity and Mr. Stubbs had added that it arose, not from balancing between was a windy one, Mr. Stubbs fell into doubtful qualifications, but from the a brown study. His mind labored difficulty of choosing where there was with a gigantic purpose.

It was a no preponderating one. He could moment on which hung indescribable play them all. He could play anyconsequences.—Shall I ? Will he ? thing. He could play everything. Yes !--yes !--And he did ! He im- He was like Bottom, in the Midsumparted to his friend, the manager, his mer Night's Dream, who felt himself resolution to make his FIRST APPEAR- equal to Pyramus, Thisbe, and the

Lion, at one and the same time. At Mr. Peaess affected to doubt the length he fixed upon Hamlet, chiefly sincerity of the communication ; but because the character was so admiraMr. Stubbs affirmed, upon his honor bly diversified by Shakspeare, that it “as a gentleman,” that he was seri- presented opportunities for the display ous, and all Mr. Peaess's doubts of an equal diversity of talent in its “ melted into thin air.” It was set- representative. tled he should dine that day with He made no secret of his intention Stubbs, to discuss the matter further among his friends, and one, in partiover a quiet glass of wine. The cular, was privy to his whole course evening came. The dinner, as usual, of preparation. This

Mr. was excellent; the wine, as usual, M-Crab, a pungent little personage, was superb; the manager, as usual, whose occasional petulance and acriwas complaisant; and Mr. Henry mony, however they might rankle and Augustus Constantine Stubbs, as usu- fester in more sensitive natures, were al, was perfectly satisfied with him- never known to curdle the bland conself. At first, Mr. Peaess entered sciousness of self-esteem which dwelt into the project in the sober way of like a perpetual spring, upon the mind business ; but at last, and as he of Mr. Stubbs. Mr. M‘Crab was shook him by the hand at parting, he himself an amateur actor; he had swore “ he was a noble fellow, and also written a tolerably successful his theatre should be thrown open for comedy, as well as an unsuccessful



tragedy; and he was, besides, a for- lors what should be the personation of midable critic, whose scalping stric Hamlet on the stage. It demands, tures, in a weekly journal, were the not a little fellow, five feet five, by terror of all authors and actors who three feet four, as you will be, if you were either unable or unwilling to stuff the character as you call it, but dispense turtle and champagne. rather what Hamlet himself describes

Mr. Stubbs, it should be mentioned, his father to have been, considered himself a profound reader of * A combination, and a form indeed, Shakspeare, and believed he had disco Where every god did seem to set his seal, vered many hitherto concealed beauties

To give the world assurance of a man.'” in the wonderful productions of that “ Never mind my height,” said writer. He prided himself, too, upon Stubbs, elevating his head, and raisthe critical acumen and philosophical ing his chin an inch or two out of his penetration with which he had elicited neckcloth.—“Garrick, you know, was various qualities intended by the poet none so tall; and yet I fancy he was to belong to his characters"; and he considered a tolerably good actor in had often said, if he had been an ac his day. But you remember the lines tor he should have established quite a of Charles Churchill, new method of playing several of

• There are, who think the stature all in all, them. He was now about to become Nor like a hero if he is not tall. an actor, and he resolved, in his very I rate no actor's merit from his size.

The feeling sense all other wants supplies ; first essay, to introduce one of his no

Superior height requires superior grace, velties, or new readings. What this And what's a giant with a vacant face ?" was, will be best explained in the fol

“ Very true," answered M Crab, lowing conversation, which took place " and, to follow up your theory, were between himself and Mr. M‘Crab up- I asked, What is an actor? I should on the subject.

answer, Depend upon it, my dear M

( 'Tis he who gives my breast a thousand pains; Crab,” said Stubbs, taking down a

Can make me feel each passion that he feigns; volume of Shakspeare from his Enrage, compose, with more than magic art,shelves, “depend upon it, I am borne With pity and with horror tear my heart." out in my opinion, novel as it is, by But, come ; let me hear your reasons the text of the immortal author him- for believing that Hamlet ought to be self; and I shall stuff the character a portly gentleman. I see you are when I play it. I maintain that Ham- ready with them.” let ought to be”

“I am,” said Stubbs, “and I'll bet A Falstaff in little, I suppose,” the receipts of the house, on my first interrupted M‘Crab.

appearance, against those of your next rejoined Stubbs, “ he comedy, that I convince you I am should not be exactly corpulent—but right before I have done. Now, mark rather embonpoint, as the saying is— —or, as Horatio says, sleek-plunipish-in good condition as

Season your admiration for awhile, it were."

With an attent ear, till I may deliver, " You talk of the text of Shaks Upon the witness of these same pages,

This marvel to you.' peare as your authority,” replied M‘Crab,—" I will appeal to the text Ha! ha! that is apt,” continued Mr. too-and I will take the description of Stubbs, with a simper. Hamlet by Ophelia, after her inter

“ For God's love, let me hear," view with him. What is her lan- added M-Crab_" I hope that's apt,


“If,” said Mr. Stubbs, looking ex. what a noble mind is here o'erthrown ! The expectancy and rose of the fair siate ; tremely grave, “ if, I say, we take the The glass of fashion, and the mould of form, very first soliloquy of Hamlet--almost The observed of all observers.'

the first words he utters- we shall This eulogium paints in distinct co find a striking allusion to his habit of

42 ATHENEUM, VOL. 2, 3d series.

“ No,

guage ?

« AnteriorContinuar »