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THE TURNPIKE GATE:
A MUSICAL FARCE,
In Two Acts.
BY T. KNIGHT.
PRINTED FROM THE ACTING COPY, WITH REMARKS
To which are added,
A DESCRIPTION OF THE COSTUME,-CAST OF THE CHARACTERS ENTRANCES AND EXITS, RELATIVE POSITIONS OF THE PERFORMERS ON THE STAGE, AND THE WHOLE OF THE STAGE BUSINESS.
As now performed at the
THEATRES ROYAL, LONDON.
EMBELLISHED WITH A FINE WOOD-ENGRAVING,
By MR. BONNER, from a drawing taken in the Theatre by
JOHN CUMBERLAND, 19, LUDGATE HILL.
The Turnpike Gate.
THE Turnpike Gate is one of those pictures of rural life and manners that were highly popular in the days of O'Keeffe, and to which that eccentric genius imparted so much life and character. It brings together a variety of personages, that may be supposed to figure away in a village:-a rustic coquet, a jealous swain, a lovelorn beauty, and a drunken cobbler. To bring these fairly into play, an intriguing man of fashion and his lackey are introduced; and, to crown all, we have a character in which every British heart delights-an open, brave, and generous sailor.
The good and evil passions of mankind-their follies and peculiarities, are no where seen with such distinctness as in a village. Crowded cities, teeming with incongruities, leave but an imperfect impression of individual character. We lose all personal identity in the infinity of objects that succeed each other, in such rapid succession-that
"Come like shadows, so depart;" and whoever imagines that vice and folly are aliens to a village, may, with equal reason, suppose that its inhabitants have nothing else to do but to tend their flocks, and tune their pipes, as in those pastoral ages (not of paper), but of gold.
The plot of The Turnpike Gate is moral and pleasing. We rise from it with feelings of grateful emotion, that the insidious arts of the seducer have been baffled, and that virtue is triumphant. The jealousy of Robert Maythorn adds greatly to the comic effect; and the interview between the lovers, in the first scene of the second
act, is ingeniously, and even powerfully, contrived. Sir Edward is perfectly heartless and contemptible; and Smart is one of those villanous appendages to fashionable life, who are only outdone in infamy by their employers.
Joe Standfast is a fellow after our own heart.-We long to be with him "off the Lizard!" We see the smoke, we hear the grape-shot rattle about our ears, and listen to the bluff old admiral thundering forth his mandates, e'en in the cannon's mouth! We reverence these pictures of old English bravery: they have mainly contributed to keep alive the ancient spirit that animated the breasts of our jack-tars, and rendered them invincible. Such pictures cannot be too often contemplated. In the bosom of peace, let us not forget those who so gloriousy contributed to our security.
But of Crack, the facetious, quizzing, tippling cobbler, in what mood or tense shall we speak ?-He is a truly rich conception! his comic seriousness, his solemn humbug, are in the drollest style of farce. "When I'm puzzled, I always hum folk!" a plan that has been successfully adopted by Mr. Crack's betters. We remember no character, in the same line, at all comparable with it, except Nipperkin, in O'Keeffe's farce of The Rival Soldiers.
The dialogue, in many parts, is characteristic and well written; the songs are particularly so. "With a merry tale," runs off trippingly; "Tom Starboard,” is of a higher mood; it is pathetic and beautiful.
Munden, in Crack (but for Mr. Fawcett), would have engrossed the whole stage to himself. In low comedy, this character was undoubtedly his masterpiece. Some actors are drunk only in certain parts of the body; they reel and stagger, but their voice and countenance contra. dict their legs. Munden was drunk to the very kneeshe looked as if the better part of his life had been spent in reeling from alehouse to alehouse, drinking Resolution's alth! It has been said that Liston has only one face