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says, “ He rose and shook himself? ha! ha! ha! [laughing violently] I did not know thou wert so humorous a fellow, Peter. Here is money for thee to drink the brown call's health;”—I cannot help wondering with his old David, “ how he can degrade himself so as to listen to that knave's tales." He stoops too low; lower than the most violently indulged passion of any man of education could stoop; his wickedness is blended with too much weakness, and instead of becoming to us hateful, it sinks into the meanness of becoming disgustful.
The apostrophe of the idle Charles to time, in the beginning of the third act, is a piece of undoubted merit; its severity of satire against many “a score of foplings got 'twixt asleep and awake," who loiter unemployed in gaping wretchedness, is pointedly just; nor can I pass it without giving it an insertion here.
Enter Charles, with a slow sauntering step. CHARLES. Let me see what o'clock it is now-what says my watch to it now? (Looking at his watch.) Pest take it! it is but ten minutes since I looked last; and I could have sworn it was as good three quarters, or at least half an hour, as ever clock tick’d, or ever sand-glass run. (Yawning and stretching himself.] Ah! I find it has been but half an hour of a weary man's reckoning, who sees two long, long periods, yclep'd hours, lying between him and his dinner, like a drear length of desert waste before the promis'd land. [Yawning and stretching again.] My fishing tackle is all broken; and squire Sapling has borrowed my pointer. I have sat shaking my legs upon the corn chest till every horse in the stable is rubbed down, and the groom, happy dog! has gone with his broom to sweep out the yard and the kennel. O dear, O dear, O dear! what shall I do?
The poor fellow is so completely at a loss for employment, that he professes his willingness to do any thing Mrs. Baltimore should point out; but on being referred to a book, that “monster of terrific mien” to the thoughtless and the lazy minded, he is disappointed, and knows not how to extricate himself. There is perhaps not a more diverting part in the piece than his mode of reading, and the ingenious manner the author has planned for him to escape from this dilemma. Take Miss Baillie's own words:
[Charles sits down with his book; reads a little, with one arm dangling over the back of the chair, then changes his position and reads a little while with the other arm over the back of the chair; then changes his position again, and, after rubbing his leg with the book, continues to read a little more; then he stops and brushes some dirt off his breeches with his elbow.] Mrs. Balt. [Observing him and smiling.] How does the reading go on?
Charles. O! pretty well:-I shall finish the page présently. (He reads a little longer, still figetting about, and then starting up from his seat.
it.] By the by, that hound of a shoemaker has forgot to send home my new boots.-I must go and see after them.
Mrs. BALT. What could possibly bring your brots into your mind at this time, I wonder!
Charles. It is no wonder at all; for whenever I begin to read, and that is not often I confess, all the little odd things that have slipped out of my memory for a month are sure to come into it then. I must see after the boots, though.
Mrs. Balt. Not just now?
CHARLES. This very moment. There is no time to be lost. I must have them to-morrow at all events.
This is so just a description of the miseries of idleness, and the subterfuges of folly, that I feel confident every reader of taste will admire it.
I am sorry always to refer to Baltimore with dissatisfaction; but in the scene with Mrs. Baltimore and Charlotte Freeman, in the third act, bis behaviour must be considered as that of a frantic man; and indeed, as far in the piece as his anger is represented, it is wild, groundless, as I have before shown, and absurd. However he supports it in general with considerable regularity, except where he stoops, as in the case with Peter, to listen to foolish insinuations and ridiculous tales, beneath the anger of any man of pride or of spirit. It is far from being the worst part of the play where in the fourth act) Freeman wishes to return Baltimore thanks for the preservation of his life:
Balt. [Aside to his wife ] Will there be no end to this damned gratitude? [About to FreeMAN.] Sir, I am happy—I hope you will have a good sleep after this accident;--and I shall be happy to hear good accounts of you to-morrow morning
The perturbation of Baltimore in all of this dialogue is well discovered and well expressed.—The next thing that strikes us forcibly in our progress is the prison scene, in the last act, where (having been lodged by the villany of an attorney, who persuaded him it was at Freeman's suit) Baltimore and Freeman meet. Freeman comes out of kindness, elevated and noble; but Baltimore, with his accustomed rashness, abuses him unheard, and displays as effectually as in any preceding scene his haughtiness—of temper, not of soul; and here he discovers as inveterate an hatred as at any other period. When Freeman, in his confusion of withdrawing, leaves his hat behind, on his wife's advancing towards it, Baltimore rushes up to her and exclaims, “ Touch not the damned thing, or I will loath thee!”—In this case, indeed, he had some apparent cause to dislike him, as he supposed himself there through the means of Freeman.
It appears to me that the parts, and intentions of Jenkinson and Senet, the two attorneys, are managed rather obscurely. The sarcasms introduced by many dramatic writers, against this class of people, by bringing forward to represent them, characters of the most detestable and miserly kind, is a grievance under which the stage has long laboured, and from which it is time it should be delivered.
There is an abundance of old machinery in the composition of comedies, and indeed of tragedies also, which is almost completely worn out.- Quer. Would it not be advisable for the modern dramatists to set their invention to work, after something of this kind new?
Again, in the scene of the intended duel between Baltimore and Freeman, we have occasion to observe something very meritorious. The various feelings of the former, at the idea of his having been thrown into prison by the latter, and on learning his error, and that the very man whom he suspected for his imprisonment, was the one to whom he owed his release, are all judiciously and forcibly delineated. Now raging wildly, his “bosom swelling with its fraught, for 'twas of aspics tongues,” and now overwhelmed with gratitude, but gratitude of a different nature from those heavenly sensations offered up by the assisted wretch at the shrine of
mcrcy: but that gratitude, at the idea of which he shuddered, and under which he writhed. It was a sensation which he could not command: his pistol fell motionless; but he exclaimed to Truebridge, in the real agony of vice, sooner than acknowledge the nobleness of Freeman, “ If thou hadst lodg'd a bullet in my brain I had thank'd thee for it."
We have at once a lively and interesting picture of man in the different situations of being elevated in mind above a foe, and depressed by obligation beneath him. The transition is instantaneous and accurate; the difficulty with which he reconciles his present state to himself is well managed, and the interest of this Act is great. Here then we lose all sight of De Monfort, he enters not
our thoughts, the shrinking, but late haughty Baltimore, overpowered by his benefits dare not murmur, till at length on learning that Freeman is his brother, having just become acquainted with his worth, all is fine, all is delightful. He abhors himself at once, for his former behaviour, and he loves Freeman with an ardor kindled by his goodness of heart, and fanned with the purest breath of fraternal esteem. Here his situation is truly enviable. Here the reader, or spectator is taught the danger of harbouring such ungoverned and ill founded sentiments of hatred against a fellow man. Here the good hearted Freeman and the amiable Mrs. Baltimore are rewarded for their virtues. Here Truebridge experiences the delightfulness of doing good; and here Baltimore has time to reflect on the glaring impropriety and wickedness of his unfounded dislike, which was near plunging two families in misery, and bathing his hands in the sacred urn of the blood of his brother. But here at length, the long contested election with all its honours disturb not the thoughts of Baltimore their possesser; his mind is engaged in reflections more delightful: all are at ease, all are happy.
Armies, mobs, &c. from their very nature, are extremely ill adapted to representation on the contracted stage of a theatre; I think, however, the voters have no occasion to murmur at the treatment they have received from Miss Baillie.
Of the style of “the Election," I'have not much to say in commendation; it is too much like common place talk, and in some places, where it has no right to be so, it is absolutely vulgar. I however conclude this imperfect survey, with much more favourable impressions than I experienced on its first perusal.
It is bowever in my opinion, rather injudiciously conceived, (even if we say nothing of its semblance to De Monfort), and irregularly executed; and although it possesses many and striking beauties, yet I am much inclined to think, it will be no accession to Miss Baillie's fame.
Having paid the debt due to Lerida's ingenuity, by inserting his piece, we will now let him into a secret into which Miss Baillie has, in her preface, let all her readers, viz. that she wrote a comedy and a tragedy avowedly on the same passion.—[The Editor.
PHILADELPHIA THEATRICAL JOURNAL.
FOR OCTOBER, 1811.
Wednesday 2d, The Pilgrim, or Love's Perils.- -Deaf Lover.
THE PILGRIM—This comedy, the production of BEAUMont and FLETCHER, was some time since, dragged forth from the rich lumber-room of obsolete British dramatic poetry, and reduced to the form in which we now see it, for the purpose of representation. How far the emendator has succeeded in rendering the piece more palatable, and what the merits of it in its original and in its reformed state are, shall be the subject of consideration in a future number.-At present, we can only stop to remark, that though full of wit, and in many parts rich with materials of as truly comic a kind, as ever genius in her most wanton and eccentric moods disported with, it had on the stage so little to interest, and in some scenes so much to disgust, that we were heartily sick of it before it came to an end. In the closet it has its attractions, and those shall be particularized hereafter. Of the performance alone we are now to speak.
What any person could reasonably hope to be done for PEDRO the pilgrim, was done by Mr. Wood.-But there is in the character so little that “the folks of this world” can by possibility find approaching towards their business and bosoms, that it afforded