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more, his sufferings under his unfortunate match must have the downright pungency of life--must (or should) make you. not mirthful, but uncomfortable, just as the same predicament would move you in a neighbour or old friend. The delicious scenes which give the play its name and zest must affect you in the same serious manner as if you heard the reputation of a dear female friend attacked in your real presence. Crab. tree and Sir Benjamin—those poor snakes that live but iv the sunshine of your mirth-must be ripened by this hot-bed process of realization into asps or amphisbænas, and Mrs. Candour-oh! frightful !--become a hooded serpent. Oh, who that remembers Parsons and Dodd—the wasp and butterfly of the School for Scandal—in those two characters ; and charming, natural Miss Pope, the perfect gentlewoman as dis tinguished from the fine lady of comedy, in this latter partwould forego the true scenic delight—the escape from lifethe oblivion of consequences—the holyday barring out of the pedant reflection—those saturnalia of two or three brief hours, well won from the world—to sit instead at one of our modern plays—to have his coward conscience (that forsooth must not be left for a moment) stimulated with perpetual appealsdulled rather, and blunted, as a faculty without repose must be—and his moral vanity pampered with images of notional justice, notional beneficence, lives saved without the spectator's risk, and fortunes given away that cost the author nothing ?
No piece was, perhaps, ever so completely cast in all its parts as this manager's comedy. Miss Farren had succeeded to Mrs. Abington in Lady Teazle ; and Smith, the original Charles, had retired when I first saw it. The rest of the characters, with very slight exceptions, remained. I remember it was then the fashion to cry down John Kemble, who took the part of Charles after Smith ; but, I thought, very unjustly. Smith, I fancy, was more airy, and took the eye with a certain gayety of person. He brought with him no sombre recollections of tragedy. He had not to expiate the fault of having pleased beforehand in lofty declamation. He had no sins of Hamlet or of Richard to atone for. His failure in these parts was a passport to success in one of so opposite a tendency. But, as far as I could judge, the weighty sense of Kemble made up for more personal incapacity than he had to answer for. His harshest tones in this part came steeped and dulcified in good-humour. He made his defects a grace. His exact declamatory manner, as he managed it, only served to convey the points of his dialogue with more precision. It seemed to head the shafts to carry them deeper. Not one of his sparkling sentences was lost. I remember minutely how
he delivered each in succession, and cannot by any effort imagine how any of them could be altered for the better. No man could deliver brilliant dialogue—the dialogue of Congreve or of Wycherley—because none understood it-half so well as John Kemble. His Valentine, in Love for Love, was, to my recollection, faultless. He flagged sometimes in the intervals of tragic passion. He would slumber over the level parts of an heroic character. His Macbeth has been known to nod. But he always seemed to me to be particularly alive to pointed and witty dialogue. The relaxing levities of tragedy have not been touched by any since him—the playful, court-bred spirit in which he condescended to the players in Hamlet—the sportive relief which he threw into the darker shades of Richard-disappeared with him. He had his sluggish moods, his torpors—but they were the halting-stones and resting-places of his tragedy-politic savings, and fetches of the breath-husbandry of the lungs, where nature pointed him to be an economist-rather, I think, than errors of the judgment. They were, at worst, less painful than the eternal, tormenting, unappeasable vigilance, the “lidless dragon eyes," of present fashionable tragedy
ON THE ACTING OF MUNDEN.
Not many nights ago I had come home from seeing this extraordinary performer in Cockletop; and when I retired to my pillow, his whimsical image still stuck by me, in a manner as to threaten sleep. In vain I tried to divest myself of it, by conjuring up the most opposite associations. I resolved to be serious. I raised up the gravest topics of life; private misery, public calamity. 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 I was not to escape so easily. No sooner did I fall into slumbers, than the same image, only more perplexing, assailed me in the shape of dreams. Not one Munden, but five hundred, were dancing before me, 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. Oh for the power of the pencil to have fixed them when I awoke! A season or two since there was exhibited a Hogarth gallery. I do not see why there should not be a Mun. den 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 (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. I should not be surprised to see him some day put out the head of a river-horse; or come forth a pewet, or lapwing, some feathered metamorphosis.
I 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. I have seen some faint approaches to this sort of excellence in other players. But in the grand grotesque of farce, Munden stands out as single and unaccompanied as Hogarth. Hogarth, strange to tell, had no follow
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 Cobbler of Prestonwhere his alternations from the Cobbler to the Magnifico, and from the Magnifico to the Cobbler, keep the brain of the spectator in as wild a ferment, as if some Arabian Night were being acted before him? Who like him can throw, or ever at
tempted to throw, a preternatural interest over the commonest daily-life 'objects? A table, or a joint-stool, in his conception, rises into a dignity 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 Mun. den antiquates and ennobles what it touches. His pots and his ladles are as grand and primal as the seething-pots and hooks seen in an 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 commonplace materials of life, like primeval man with the sun and stars about him.
BLAKESMOOR IN H-SHIRE.
I do not know a pleasure more affecting than to range at will over the deserted apartments of some fine old family mansion The traces of extinct grandeur admit of a better passion than envy; and contemplations on the great and good, whom we fancy in succession to have been its inhabitants, weave for us illusions incompatible with the bustle of modern occupancy, and vanities of foolish present aristocracy. The same difference of feeling, I think, attends us between entering an empty and a crowded church. In the latter it is chance but some present human trailty—an act of inattention on the part of some of the auditory—or a trait of affectation, or, worse, vainglory, on that of the preacher--puts us by our best thoughts, disharmonizing the place and the occasion. But wouldst thou know the beauty of holiness ?-go alone on some weekday, borrowing the keys of good Master Sexton, traverse the cool aisles of some country church; think of the piety that has kneeled there—the congregations, old and young,
that have found consolation there—the meek pastor—the docile parishioner With no disturbing emotions, no cross conflicting comparisons, drink in the tranquillity of the place, till thou thyself become as fixed and motionless as the marble effigies that kneel and weep around thee.
Journeying northward lately, I could not resist going some few miles out of my road to look upon the remains of an old great house with which I had been impressed in this way in infancy. I was apprized that the owner of it had lately pulled it down; still I had a vague notion that it could not all have perished, that so much solldity with magnificence could not have been crushed all at once into the mere dust and rubbishi which I found it.
The work of ruin had proceeded with a swift hand indeed, and the demolition of a few weeks had reduced it to—an antiquity.
I was astonished at the indistinction of everything. Where had stood the great gates? What bounded the courtyard ? Whereabout did the outhouses commence ? a few bricks only lay as representatives of that which was so stately and so spacious.
Death does not shrink up his human victim at this rate. The burnt ashes of a man weigh more in their proportion.
Had I seen these brick-and-mortar knaves at their process of destruction, at the plucking of every panel I should have felt the varlets at my heart. I should have cried out to them to spare a plank at least out of the cheerful storeroom, in whose hot window-seat I used to sit and read Cowley, with the grdssplot before, and the hum and flappings of that one solitary wasp
that ever haunted it about me, it is in mine ears now, as oft as summer returns ; or a panel of the yellow
Why, every plank and panel of that house for me had magic in it The tapestried bedrooms—tapestry so much better than painting—not adorning merely, but peopling the wainscots-at which childhood ever and anon would steal a look, shifting its coverlet (replaced as quickly) to exercise its tender courage in a momentary eye-encounter with those stern bright visages, staring reciprocally—all Ovid on the walls, in colours vivider than his descriptions. Actæon in mid sprout, with the unappeasable prudery of Diana; and the still more provoking and almost culinary coolness of Dan Phæbus, eelfashion, deliberately divesting of Marsyas.
Then, that haunted room-in which old Mrs. Battle died whereinto I have crept, but always in the daytime, with a passion of fear, and a sneaking curiosity, terror-tainted, to hold communication with the past. How shall they build it up again?
It was an old deserted place, yet not so long deserted but that traces of the splendour of past inmates were every. where apparent.
Its furniture was still standing--even to the tarnished gilt leather battledoors, and crumbling feathers of shuttlecocks in the nursery, which told that children had once played there But I was a lonely child, and had the range at