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and a new and still wider field opens with a coarse extravagance. Poor in the contemporary essays, diaries, Nelly! Good nature, gaiety, beauty, letters, and even newspapers and and intelligence, are always so engagmagazines. Such a work, then, as ing; a certain sentimentaï tenderness Doctor Doran's, grasping this scat- still lingers about her memory- the tered and voluminous literature, ex- shadow of her living popularity. There tracting and fixing its essence with a is a very pretty engraving of Nell discriminating and vigorous chemis- Gwyn in the collection of prologues try, and so bringing all that is most and epilogues. From what portrait instructive, diverting, and curious in is it taken ? An original, full-length his charming theme, within reason- picture, fair, animated, and so pretty, able compass, and in the form of con- is in the possession of the Earl of nected and highly agreeable narrative, Dunraven. No doubt Nelly was a under the eye of the careless reader, frequent sitter; and many scattered is no mean monument of zeal, dili- portraits remain as yet unsuspected gence, and judgment.
by the public. Pepys, that delightful He has given us here a work which, gossip and indefatigable frequenter possessing all the charm of lively and of the playhouses, is full of her. Nell, romantic fiction, is still, in the most as we all know, was the maternal rigorous sense, a history; comprehen- origin of the ducal house of St. Albans, sive, complete, and pregnant with a second time infused with theatric valuable social'illustration, as well as blood in its matrimonial alliance with with matter for profound and sad Mrs. Coutts—the famous and beautimeditation.
ful Miss Mellon-whose amusing meDoctor Doran's plan is strictly and moirs many of our readers are, no simply chronological. And the book doubt, well acquainted with. expands and warms into actual life Dr. Doran is severe upon poor with the stage of the Restoration, of Nelly. Notwithstanding his rigorous which we have so many lively and impeachment, however, we still cling in vale contemporary pictures. to the old tradition of her kindness
Of course we have a good deal of and popularity. There are abundant pretty Nell Gwyn; not so detailed evidences in her short career, so sad as Mr. Cunningham's pleasant mono- and brilliant, of that charity which gram, but written with appropriate covereth a multitude of sins. Instanspirit, grace and lightness. We can ces of her good-natured munificence hardly bring ourselves to believe al- are not wanting, and her contempotogether in the story of her very rary reputation for benevolence is unlow origin. Though Mistress Nelly doubted. “For such a person,” says could be a little coarse at times, Doctor Doran, indignantly, “the there seems to have been an essential and pious Bishop Kenn was elegance and a bright and delicate called upon to yield up an apartment wit which bespeak early and habitual in which he lodged.” “In the cause of intimacy with gentle manners. The historic truth, however, and as throwselling of herrings in her case, as in ing, we think, a side-light upon the that of beautiful Peg Woftington in character of poor Nelly, we must comaftertimes, is, we suspect, wholly a plete the story. Kenn was no bishop, myth. There has always been a ten- but a poor Churchman, at the time. dency to exaggeration of this kind He owed his bishoprick, however, to in the early and conjectural biography his refusal. “ Where is the little man of actresses. Mistress Nelly was, we who refused to let Nelly lie in his all know, a good-natured and fasci- lodgings ?” as nearly as we rememnating scamp. The circumstances of ber, were the words in which Charles her departure from the parental roof sought out Kenn for the vacant mitre. were probably not very creditable. Charles was not a man to enrage his Her London life commenced as that mistress for a caprice of conscience. of an outcast, and she was forced to Nelly and he must often have talked live by her wits, which luckily were over the incident together; and we bright and shifty. Such people do think it must rest upon the mind of not care to describe early days and ad- any person tolerably acquainted with ventures too minutely. And conjec- human nature, and that phase of it ture and satire fill in the vacant canvas which is termed “the world," as an irresistible, though indirect, evidence “At length the audience are all safely of the sweet and forgiving nature of housed, and eager. Indifferent enough, howwayward and pleasant Nelly, that his ever, they are, during the opening scenes. scruple was remembered to his honour, The fine gentlemen laugh loudly, and comb and the man who refused to open his their periwigs in the best rooms.” The door to her, with a sad reverence folly looks in clean linen ; and the orange
fops stand erect in the boxes, to show how sought out for the vacant dignity.
nymphs, with their costly entertainment of of the stage from the Restoration fruit from Seville, giggle and chatter, as to the Revolution, our principal autho- they stand on the benches below, with old rities are the invaluable Pepys, and and young admirers, proud of being recogthe retrospective and graphic por- nised in the boxes. The whole Court of traits preserved to us in old Colley Denmark is before them; but not till the Cibber's masterly “Apology”—one of words, “ 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good the pleasantest and finest combina- mother,' fall from the lips of Betterton, is tions of biography and criticism ex
the general ear charmed, or the general
tongue arrested. Then, indeed, the vainest tant in English literature. Betterton's long reign of fifty years, listen too. The voice is so low, and sad and
fops and pertest orange-girls look round and connecting the seventeenth with the sweet; the modulation so tender, the dignity eighteenth century, furnishes some so natural, the grace so consummate, that all of the finest and most interesting yield themselves silently to the delicious pages in Dr. Doran's work. We are enchantment. • It's beyond imagination,' acquainted with no biography of that whispers Mr. Pepys to his neighbour, who great actor and gentleman, except the only answers with a long and low-drawn miserable sham published shortly after
. Hush"" his death, in 1710. This book-the merest catch-penny-contains, when
The picture of the old days of the
illustrious and faithful couple is too sifted, scarcely more than the registry of his birth and death, the name of pretty to be passed by :his wife, and a list of his principal
"Fifty years after these early triumphs, an characters. Here, then, our author aged couple resided in one of that hcrises has been thrown altogether upon the in Russell-street, Covent Gardent, une walls resources of his devious and exten- of which were covered with pictures, prints, sive reading; and to make up the and drawings, selected with taste and judgsum of his biography in minute and ment. They were still a handsome pair. desultory contributions, collected with The venerable lady, indeed, looks pale and laudable industry and judgment from somewhat saddened. The gleam of April
sunshine which penetrates the apartment the wide range of scattered contem
cannot win her from the fire. She is Mrs. porary records. He has given us a
Betterton; and ever and anon she looks portrait distinct in outline, clear in with a sort of proud sorrow on her aged colour, and altogether so noble and husband. His fortune, nobly earned, has life-like, that, considering alike his been diminished by "speculation,” but the difficulties and the result, we are dis- means whereby he achieved it are his still ; posed to accept it as, perhaps, his and Thomas Betterton, in the latter years of finest sketch. He first presents
Queen Anne, is the chief glory of the stage, young Betterton on the boards of Lin- even as he was in the last year of King
Charles. The lofty column, however, is a coln's Inn Fields, in 1661.
little shaken. It is not a ruin, but is beau“On a December night, 1661, there is a tiful in its decay. Yet, that it should decay crowded house at the theatre in Lincoln's at all is a source of so much tender anxiety Inn Fields. The play is “Hamlet, with to the actor's wife, that her senses suffer young Mr. Betterton, who has been two disturbance, and there may be seen in her years on the stage, in the part of the Dane. features something of the distraught Ophelia The Ophelia is the real object of the young of half a century ago.” fellow's love, charming Mistress Saunder
old ladies and gentlemen, repairing We come now to his last meeting in capacious coaches to this representation, with that judicious and affectionate remind one another of the lumbering and audience, who, to the close, were so crushing of carriages about the old play- proud of their Roscius :house in the Blackfriars, causing noisy tumults which drew indignant appeals from " It is the 13th of April, 1710_his benefit the Puritan housekeepers, whose privacy night; and the tears are in the lady's eyes, was sadly disturbed.
and a painful sort of smile on her trembling lips, for Betterton misses her as he goes
forth that afternoon to take leave, as it the famous passage, “My heart will never proved, of the stage for ever. He is in fail me,' there was a very tempest of excitesuch pain from gout that he can scarcely ment, which was carried to its utmost walk to his carriage; and how is he to enact height, in thundering peal on peal of unthe noble and fiery Melantius in that ill- bridled approbation, as the great Rhodian named drama of horror, The Maid's Tra- gazed full on the house, exclaiming :gedy'? Hoping for the best, the old player is conveyed to the theatre, built by Sir Jolin
“My heart Vanbrugh, in the Haymarket, the site of And limbs are still the same: my will as great which is now occupied by the Opera- To do you service!' house.' Through the stage-door he is carried in loving arms to his dressing-room, of this assertion ; and Betterton, acting to
No one doubted more than a fractional part At the end of an hour Wilkes is there, and
the end under a continued fire of Bravoes!' Pinkethman, and Mrs. Barry, all dressed for their parts; and agreeably disappointed to find may have thrown more than the original the Melantius of the night robed, armoured,
meaning into the phrase and besworded, with one foot in a buskin "That little word was worth all sounds and the other in a slipper. To enable him That ever I shall hear again!' even to wear the latter, he had first thrust his inflamed foot into water; but stout as "Few were the words he was destined ever he seemed, trying his strength to-and-fro in to hear again ; and the subsequent prophecy the room, the hand of Death was at that of his own certain and proximate death, on moment descending on the grandest of Eng- which the curtain slowly descended, was lish actors.”
fulfilled eight-and-forty hours after they
were uttered.” The annals of the theatre abound in many instances of such histrionic We have a great deal of pleasant heroism. Having gone so far let us gossip about the poets, their works, see him on the stage, and wait till the fortunes, and quarrels. The field of curtain descends for the last time dramatic, even more than of histrionic upon that famous actor.
criticism, has been travelled over so
often and in such good company, that " The house rose to receive him who had little remains for new discovery or delighted themselves, their sires, and their remark. Doctor Doran, however, gives grandsires. The audience were packed like Norfolk biffins. The edifice itself was only amusing criticism and analysis, pointed
us a great deal of just as well as five years old, and when it was a-building, people laughed at the folly which reared a
by anecdote, and illustrated with new theatre in the country, instead of in parallels and side-lights supplied by London ; for in 1705, all beyond the rural his own large reading. As an average Haymarket was open field, straight away sample of his manner, we quote the westward and northward. That such a
sentence in which he takes leave of house could ever be filled, was set down as half-a-dozen of our old-world dramatic an impossibility ; but the achievement was celebrities. accomplished on this eventful benefit night; when the popular favourite was about to
“Davenant achieved a good estate, and utter his last words, and to belong thenceforward only to the history of the stage he gentleman. Dryden, with less to bequeath,
was buried in Westminster Abbey, like a had adorned. " There was a shout which shook him, as
was interred in the same place, without Lysippus uttered the words, “Noble Me
organ or ceremony, two choristers walking lantius !' which heralded his coming. Every
before the body, candle in hand, and singing
ode of Horace-like a poet. His word which could be applied to himself was marked by a storm of applause, and when
victim, Tom Shadwell, acquired wealth Melantius said of Amintor
fairly; he lies in Chelsea Church, but his
son raised a monument to his memory in "His youth did promise much, and his ripe
the Abbey, that he might be in thus much years
as great a man as his satirist. Congreve, too, Will see it all performed,'
is there, after enjoying a greater fortune
than the others together had ever built up, a murmuring comment ran round the house, and leaving £10,000 of it to Henrietta, that this had been effected by Betterton Duchess of Marlborough, who so valued the himself. Again, when he bids Amintor, “honour and pleasure of his company' Hear thy friend, who has more years than when living, that, as the next best thing, thou,' there were probably few who did not she sat of an evening with his wax figure,' wish that Betterton were asyoung as Wilkes; after he was dead. Among the dead there, but when he subsequently thundered forth also, rest Cibber, Vanbrugh, and Bowe, of
whom the first, too careless of his money falls down in the snow, near Duke-street, affairs, died the poorest man.”
Lincoln's Inn Fields, and is dead when he is
picked up. Lee is shuffled away to St. CleThe young Duchess, however, had ment's Danes. If Lee died tipsy outside written " the honour and happiness a public-house, Otway died half-starved of his company.” It was wicked old within one, at the Bull, on Tower-hill
. The Sarah who misread the sentence for merits of Lee and Otway might have carried the sake of a sneer; and said she could them to Westminster, but their misfortunes
barred the way thither. Almost as unfornot perceive the honour, whatever tunate, Settle died, after hissing in a dragon pleasure there might have been in it.
at Bartholomew Fair, a recipient of the Doctor Doran, no doubt, remembered charity of the Charter-house. Crowne died the true reading ; but concurring in in distress, just as he hoped his “Sir Courtly the justice of the old lady's sarcasm, Nice,' would have placed him at his ease. he has suffered her sly interpretation Wicherley, with less excuse, died more emto stand unchallenged in his pages.
barrassed than Crowne, or would have done In his usual agreeable and rapid so, had he not robbed his young wife of her way he describes the mystification portion, made it over with his creditors, and practised on the theatrical world of left her little wherewith to bury him in the
churchyard in Covent Garden. Two other Paris, respecting Vanbrugh’s “Re
poets, who passed away unencumbered by a lapse."
single splendid shilling, rest in St. James's,
Westminster-Tom Durfey and Bankes. " Of Vanbrugh's ten or eleven plays, that Careless, easy, free, and fuddling Tate died which has longest kept the stage is the in the sanctuary of the Mint, and St. * Relapse,' still acted, in its altered form, George's, Southwark, gave him a few feet by Sheridan, as the “Trip to Scarborough.'
of earth; while Brady pushed his way at This piece was produced at the Theatre de
court to preferment, and died a comfortable l'Odeon, in Paris, in the Spring of 1862, as pluralist and chaplain to Caroline, Princess a posthumous comedy of Voltaire's! It
of Wales. Farquhar, with all his wit, died was called the Comte de Boursoufle,' and
a broken-hearted beggar, at the age of had a “run.' The story ran with it that thirty-seven ; and Dennis, who struggled Voltaire had composed it in his younger forty years longer with fortune, came to the days for private representation; that he had
same end, utterly destitute of all but the then touched it up, and that the manuscript contemptuous pity of his foes, and the inhad only recently been discovered by the sulting charity of Pope.” lucky individual who persuaded the manager of the Odeon to produce it on his
A word or two of lively sketchingstage! The bait took. All the French theatrical world in the capital flocked to the the tailor and valet, as cultivated by
a note of the expressive province of Faubourg St Germain to witness a new play by Voltaire. Critics examined the
some of the notables should we say piut, philosophized on its humour, applauded “immortals”-of the drama of the its absurdities, enjoyed its wit, and congra- seventeenth century, will amuse our tulated themselves on the circumstance that readersthe Voltairean wit especially was as enjoyable then as in the preceding century! Of
“In his bag-wig, his black velvet dress, the authorship they had no doubt whatever;
his sword, powder, brilliant buckles, and for, said they, if Voltaire did not write this self-possession, Southerne charmed his compiece, who could have written it? The reply pany, wherever he visited, even at fourwas given at once from this country; but
He kept the even tenor of his way, when the mystification was exposed, the owing no man anything; never allowing his French critics gave no sign of awarding nights to be the marrer of his mornings ; honour where honour was due; and probably and at six-and-eighty carrying a bright eye, this translation of the Relapse,' may heart, wherewith to calmly meet and make
a steady hand, a clear head and a warm figure in future French editions as an undoubted work by Voltaire."
surrender of all to the Inevitable Angel.
We have here a collection of obi- « Southerne was not more famous for the tuary notes very striking in their col- nicety of his costume than 'little starched lective moral.
Johnny Crowne' was for his stiff, long cra
vat; or Dryden for his Norwich drugget “ Better men than either of the last sleep suit, or his gayer dress in later days, when, in humbler graves. Poor Nat Lee, totter- with sword and Chadrieux wig, he paraded ing homeward from the Bull and Harrow, the Mulberry Garden with his mistress, on a winter's night, and with more punch Reeves,-one of that marvellous company under his belt than his brain could bear, of 1672, which writers with long memories
used to subsequently say could never be got ably superior. The theatric crititogether again. Otway's thoughtful eye cism of each generation owes that redeemed his slovenly dress and his fatness, legacy to posterity. Without such a and seemed to warrant the story of his re- record, how much of the individuality penting after his carousing. Lee dressed as ill as Otway, but lacked his contemplative of the actor's impersonation is lost. If eye, yet excelled him in fair looks, and in it had not been for Davies, what a a peculiar luxuriance of hair.”
portrait of Colley Cibber, in Shallow,
for instance, would have been wantWe have long wished for such a ing; and how, merely a reputation work as Dr. Doran has just produced. and a name some of those who now So lively in style; so sparkling with stand out in such minute handling and anecdote; so sound in ethics; and so bright tints, even in the imperfect scholarlike in criticism. Here, indeed, pages of the actor-bibliopole. Doctor we have a more perfect history than Doran has a kindred field of immense we believed practicable, of so vast and variety and fertility. He has shown varied a progress, and so multitudin- himself, both in apprehension and in ous a community, within two volumes, art, well qualified for the production even of so imposing a compass as of such portraits as must ultimately his. He has made a very delightful become the authorities on which füand masterly contribution to that ture times will form their estimate store of literature which combines of our Glovers, Vestrises, C. Keans, biography and history; and he treats W. Farrens, Mathewses, Southernes, it with that lively sympathy with the and the rest. The criticisms of the romantic and humorous, and that newspaper press are, as a general rule, quick and true appreciation of cha- too hurried, and consciously too much racter, which will fascinate the idle addressed to the impression of the no less than the thoughtful. It would hour; and too multitudinous, beside, be injustice to omit mentioning in and desultory, to stand in lieu of such passing, how very striking and bril- a work, conceived in a historic spirit, liant is the sketch of Edmund Kean, after the subsidence of stage faction, with which the work closes. In this and of public enthusiasm, with the Doctor Doran has given, occasionally, advantages alike of personal recollechis own impressions of the great ac- tion and of calm judgment; with, tor, as he declaimed “before the moreover, a feeling of judicial responfloats." The few analytic sentences sibility, and a proper reverence for which he thus gives us, are detailed, the marvellous art of which it must new, and vivid, and tantalize, more- become a text-book. over, by their infrequency. Doctor Such a work we should see, with Doran's work closes just where his . confidence, committed to the diligence, personal recollections as a playgoer sympathy, and taste of the writer of begin. We are glad to learn, from a these charming annals of “Their Mapassing allusion, that he has kept a jesty's Servants.” diary of his impressions. Doctor Doctor Doran's is in every sense a Doran has, therefore, material in good and adequate book. More voluthe stores of his own memory, as minous works may hereafter be writwell as in the living recollections ten upon the same theme, but none, which surround him, which qualify we venture to predict, which, within him to give to his own and future similar limits, will supersede, or even times a work upon the same plan as disturb it. “Davies' Miscellanies," but illimit