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Lady Tott, who, when earnestly fixed on a drive,
Overcame all excuses Sir Til might contrive,

Had her bonnet and parasol brought her:
Says she, “ Dear Sir Til, don't let me ask in vain;
The dots in the pond which you take to be rain
Are nothing

but flies in the water,

The water,
Are nothing but flies in the water."
Sir Tilbury saw that he could not escape;
So he put on his coat, with a three-doubled cape,

And then by the hand gently caught her;
And lifting her up to his high one-horse “shay,"
She settled her "things," and the pair drove away,
And skirted the edge of the water,-

The water,-
And skirted the edge of the water.
Sir Til was quite right; on the top of his crown,
Like small shot in volleys, the rain peppered down,-

Only small shot would do much more slaughter,--
Till the gay Lady Tott, who was getting quite wet,
Said, “ My dear Sir T. T.," in a kind of half pet,
“ Turn baek, for I'm drench'd with rain-water,

Rain-water,
Turn back, for I'm drench'd with rain-water."
««« Oh, dear Lady T.," said Til, winking his eye,
“ You everything know so much better than 1,"
(For, when angry, with kindness he fought her,)
You

may fancy this rain, as I did before;
But you show'd me my folly ;-'tis really no more
Than the skimming of flies in the water,—

The water,
The skimming of flies in the water."
He drove her about for an hour or two,
Till her Ladyship's clothes were completely soak'd through,

Then, home to Tott Cottage he brought her,
And said, “ Now, Lady T., by the joke of to-night,
I'll reign over you; for you'll own that I'm right,
And know rain, Ma'am, from flies in the water,-

The water, Know rain, Ma'am, from flies in the water." This was one of the effusions for the sake of which I abandoned my studies, neglected my parent, and expended two hours; yet I confess, when it was finished, I thought I had “ done it.” But I had another to do; for it had been hinted to me, during the time that my

maiden production was undergoing the process of examination by the manager, that it wanted enlivening; and, moreover, that if Mr. Mathews had a song, Mr. Liston would expect to have one also; that these were little points of professional etiquette which were as rigidly observed as the rules and ceremonies of other services; and that there would be as great an impropriety in offering a secondary part to a first-rate actor, or putting a secondary actor into a first-rate part, as there would be in giving a lieutenant a field-officer's command, or sending a commander to commission a seventy-four. I was somewhat puzzled for a subject, fancying that the songs of a

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drama should have some reference to the plot and dialogue of the piece; but upon this point I was very speedily enlightened. Instead of following the example of Gay, in the “Beggar's Opera," Bickerstaff, in “ Love in a Village,” or Sheridan, in the “ Duenna,” in which operas the music seems but an adjunct to the dialogue, and the songs, the natural sentiments arising out of it, only versified, - I was told that, much after the fashion of the man who introduced his story of a gun, à propos to nothing, a song, no matter what its subject or purport, might be cleverly and properly introduced by three lines of preparatory prose.

This principle established, I had no hesitation in proceeding to my task. At that period it was the rage to parodize tragedies. James Smith wrote a parody on “ George Barnwell," Horace Twiss did another; and Theodore Hook indulged the town with one upon

“ Othello,” and, I believe, a second extremely facetious ridicule of “Hamlet.” The good taste of such proceedings I do not mean to discuss; that these things had been successful was enough for me, and I determined to follow in the wake, and accordingly produced the following travestie of “ Venice Preserved,” which was to receive additional point and piquancy by being sung with an Irish brogue :

Tune- The Sprig of Shillelagh.
Och, tell me the truth now, and did you ne'er hear
Of a pair of big traitors, called Jaffier and Pierre,

Who thought that their country was shockingly served ?
Who met in the dark, and the night, and the fogs,-
Who “ howld at the moon," and call'd themselves “ dogs,"
Till Jaffier to Pierre pledged his honour and life,
And into the bargain his iligant wife, -

By which very means was ould Venice preserved ?
The ringleaders held a snug club in the town,
The object of which was to knock the Doge down,

Because from his duty they thought he had swerved.
They met every evening, and more was their fault,
At the house of a gentleman, Mr. Renault,
Who-och, the spalpeen !-- when they all went away,
Stayed at home, and made love to the sweet Mrs. J.,-

By which, in the end, was ould Venice preserved.
When Jaffier came back, his most delicate belle-
Belvidera they call'd her-determined to tell

How she by old Renault that night had been served.
This blew up a breeze, and made Jaffier repent
Of the plots he had laid: to the Senate he went.
He got safe home by twelve: his wife bade him not fail ;
And by half-after-one he was snug in the gaol,

By which, as we'll see, was ould Venice preserved.
The Doge and the Court, when J.'s story they'd heard,
Thought it good for the country to forfeit their word,

And break the conditions they should have observed;
So they sent the police out to clear every street,
And bring whomsoever by chance they might meet;
And before the bright sun was alost in the sky,
Twenty-two of the party were sentenced to die,-

And that was the way was ould Venice preserved.

Mr. Jaffier, who 'peachd, was let off at the time;
But that wouldn't do, he committed a crime,

Which punishment more than his others deserved;
So when Pierre was condemn'd, to the scaffold he went.
Pierre whisper'd and nodded, and J. said “ Content."
They mounted together, till kind Mr. J.,
Having stabb'd Mr. P., served himself the same way,

And so was their honour in Venice preserved.
But och! what a scene, when the beautiful Bell,
At her father's, found out how her dear husband fell !

The sight would the stoutest of hearts have unnerved.
She did nothing but tumble, and squabble, and rave,
And try to scratch J., with her nails, from the grave.
This lasted three months, when, cured of her pain,
She chuck'd off her weeds, and got married again,

By which very means was this Venus preserved. In this piece of tom-foolery I trace the first fruits of that disposition to treat high and serious subjects farcically which is engendered and fostered in the society of those who, as my poor mother said in her letter, from which I have already made an extract, are habituated to judge of real events histrionically. The effect the thing produced at the time remains to be told.

Having done my task, I inclosed my effusions to my Mecænas, and prepared for my departure on the next morning to Teddington, endeavouring if possible to fix my thoughts upon the proposition contained in my brother's letter, and upon the solicitude which I well knew my excellent parent would feel as to my decision ; but I found this a much more difficult task than the grave and sober-minded may suppose. The moment I had settled myself, some trivial accident would scatter my thoughts; and while I was pondering upon my future destiny, I found myself singing the most important passages of Cuthbert's despatch to the tune of the “Sprig of Shillelagh," to which I had written my ridiculous parody

I was still in the agonies of suspense-eight-and-forty hours had elapsed, and no tidings of my drama. "Every man fancies his own affairs of paramount importance. Dennis the critic came away from the seaside because he fancied the King of France was sending a ship to carry him off, in consequence of his having written a severe squib against him in the shape of a pamphlet; and I once knew a young man who, expressing to me his anxiety that a leave of absence which was about to be granted him should be correct to the letter, told me that he was the more solicitous, as he had only entered the service three days before, and the eyes of the whole army were upon him.

It never occurred to me, while I earnestly watched every knock or ring at the door in expectation of Mr. Colman's fiat, that Mr. Colman had fifty other things to do besides reading my farce-that perhaps he had never even opened it. I did not then know the story of Sheridan and the playwright, which is vouched for, upon good authority. The playwright had sent a comedy to Mr. Sheridan for perusal, and of course approval, and of course heard nothing more of his comedy. He waited six months patiently-the season was then over,

and he therefore resolved to wait on till the next season began : he did so—he then called at Mr. Sheridan's, who at that time lived in George-street, Hanover

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square-not at home, of course—he then despatched a note-no answer -another - ditto-another call-still the same result. At last, however, the author hit upon the expedient of posting himself in the hall, on a day in the evening of which there was to be an important debate in the House of Commons. This was a blockade which even the ingenuity of the wit could not evade; the author was therefore admitted.

His inquiries were respectful, but earnest. “My comedy, Mr. Sheridan-1

“Yes-to be sure-clearly-the-?"

Fashionable Involvements, in five acts,” said the author, helping his great friend to the name, which he hoped might recal the work to his recollection-a hope most vain.

“Upon my word,” said Sheridan, “I-I'm in a great hurry—I really don't remember-I am afraid your play has been somehow mislaid.”

Mislaid !” exclaimed the anxious parent of the lost bantling. My dear Sir, if it is, I am ruined—I have no copy of it.”

“ It is very unfortunate," said Mr. Sheridan,“ very—I'm sure I re“But what can I do, Sir?” said the author.

“I tell you what, my dear friend,” replied Mr. Sheridan, “ I cannot promise you your own play back, because I don't know where any of the last year's pieces are; but if you will open that table-drawer, you will find a great number that have been sent me this year; you may take any three of those in exchange, and do what you like with them.”

Had I at the time when I was so sensitively alive to the fate of my farce known this historiette, I should perhaps have been better able to regulate my expectations.

On the following morning I proceeded to Teddington, and found my mother, and her friend and companion Miss Crab, at home; my reception was everything that ought to have been delightful to a fond and dutiful son; somehow it was unsatisfactory, and Miss Crab was so plain, and the place was so quiet, and they began to talk seriously to me, and when I heard them both expressing themselves sentimentally, I could scarcely hold my tongue to listen to them. “ Gilbert,” said my mother, " after what you

have said with regard to making the law your profession, I think I should not be justified in endeavouring to force your inclinations; but, painful as it would be to me when the time came to part with you, I do think this proposal of Cuthbert's merits your best attention ; you see he is well established, his prospects are bright, and he holds out his hand to lift his brother into the same station.”

“Why, yes,” said I; but, after all, what is the station ? He is only a merchant-now the law leads to the highest honours, and

So it does,” replied my mother; “but as you have yourself decided against striving for those honours, why try back upon what you have rejected, in order to draw a comparison unfavourable to what now presents itself?"

“I should never make a lawyer,” said I; “and—I do not think I should like to be a merchant-there is something in the words shop and counting-house discordant to my ear."

“ I think," said Miss Crab,—and what she said was true enough, "Gilbert prefers being a gentleman to any other occupation."

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“He has not means sufficient to maintain him in that character," said my mother, “and I apprehend, that if he rely upon his talents for dramatic literature to make up the deficiency, he will only reap what alone grow in abundance in that field-regrets and disappointments."

My mother had touched the right chord. “Well

, for my part,” said Miss Crab, “I wish there was not such a thing as a playhouse or a player; they are the ruin of more young people than anything else in the world."

I thought I never saw Crab look so frightful as she did at the moment she uttered that little speech.

“ I do not quite agree with you there,” said my admirable parent: “I believe a well-regulated stage, speaking both morally and politically, might be rendered highly serviceable to the people, not more for amusement than for instruction--for when is instruction so gladly received as through the means of rational amusement ?—it has the same effect upon the mind as indirect taxation has upon the purse—no sudden and abrupt demand is made which at once enforces a claim, and proclaims a superiority; and if morality and virtue were exhibited in their beauties, and vice and dissipation held up in their deformity through the medium of the theatre, great good might ensue.”

“Ay,” said Miss Crab, “but they are not; all the things the people run after, now-a-days, are either gingerbread pantomimes, culled from Mother Bunch, or stupid farces translated from the French."

Miss Crab looked more hideous than she did before; but what could I say? If I defended the stage and farces, it would have led to endless controversies—if I discarded them, I should instantly have been doomed to a pair of canvass sleeves, and perhaps an apron; posted behind a counter, or stuck up on a high stool from nine till five, with a pen behind my ear, in some wretched hole of an office in a dark lane in the City.

The great difficulty I had to contend with in these controversial conversations, as they threatened to be, and which I have before noticed, arose from the fact that, although I certainly had not at that time an income sufficient for the indulgence of my favourite pursuits, and the enjoyment of my natural amusements, as I held them to be, I should be quite rich enough to please myself at the death of my mother. If she had lived to this hour, and I remained poor, I should have been but too happy; and I felt it impossible to explain to her the real grounds of my apparent carelessness of my future prospects. It was clear, too, that she was fast declining; and this very circumstance rendered it utterly out of the question to allude to an event which seemed to me too probably not far distant. I therefore resolved to temporize, and at Jast hit upon an expedient which, before I had turned my mind theatrically, perhaps would not have occurred to me, in order to gain time.

I suggested to my mother what I considered the inexpediency of plunging at once into mercantile life without some more distinct and explicit statement from Cuthbert. All that he said, tempting as I admit it to have been, was said generally, and, for the most part, hypothetically. “I do not think it would be a bad plan for Gilbert to do so and so;" and“ if” he did, he“ might perhaps ;” and“ if he might perhaps," why then, perhaps, “I might be able," and so on. I argued that this was an invitation hardly strong enough to adopt as credentials for

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