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were exhibited, which is a comfort to me. depress him. At first they could not make him
'Weymouth was a poor business; but there out, till he explained himself by blurting out were excellent reasons for it. The manager the truth, 'It is all very well, and very kind had a crammed, packed, forced house on Mon- of you, who wish me success, to tell me the day, and kept my performance on Wednesday piece is going well : I know better. It ain't a profound secret. An amateur performance for " "going well ” and it can't be "going well"Saturday, for charity, was also hanging over it must be hanging fire, or that man with the my head. Dorchester, the same receipts as bald head, in the pit, in the front row, could Salisbury. Here £60, the first night. Good not have been asleep the whole time I have box plan for to-night.
been trying to amuse him !' 'Oh,' said the 'I have now said my say, and more than you Speaker, 'perhaps he is drunk.' 'No, no! deserve. I hope you will be sensible of my he ain't ; I've tried hard to "lay that flattering benignity.
unction to my soul,” but it won't do. I've ‘The mutton I have sent because they rave watched the fellow, and when he opens his eyes, about it here. Some call it Oakhampton, some which he does now and then, he looks as sober Dartmoor. What's in a name? Kindest re- as a judge, and as severe as one; and then he gards to dear Mrs. Young and to dear Wynny; deliberately closes them, as if he disliked the and, with a true sincere appreciation of your very sight of me. I tell you all the laughter affectionate attentions to me in calamity, be- and applause of the whole house-boxes, pit, lieve me, ever gratefully and sincerely yours,
and gallery put together-weigh not a feather
C. MATHEWS.' with me while that "pump” remains dead to Eleven o'clock p.m.—I've kept this open to my efforts to arouse him.' The call bell rang; say I had here, second night, £61 185 ; and I all his friends returned to their seats in front, suppose, with a presentiment that I might have and he to the stage. The second part opened some addition to my most extraordinary and with one of the rapid songs, in the composition adventurous life, I had to-night another mira- of which James Smith, the author, excelled so culous escape—the second of the same nature.
much, and in the delivery of which no one ever The drop that was taken up to discover my bed, equalled Mathews, except his son, who, in that was half raised, when the windlass broke, and
respect, surpasses him. All the time he was the roller came down with a tremendous impe
singing it, as he paced from the right wing to tus, and must have killed me, had not the fall the left, one saw his head jerking from side to been broken by the top of the bed. It still side, as he moved either way, his eyes always struck me with such force as to stun me, and the
directed to one spot, till, at the end of one of fright made me so faint and sick that there was
the stanzas, forgetful of the audience, and tranno expectation of my going through another
sported out of himself by the obstinate insensiact. Again have I been providentially pre
bility of the bald-pate, he fixed his eyes on him served and again am I grateful to God. For
as if he were mesmerizing him, and, leaning what am I reserved ? Oh, let me not think !'
over the lamps, in the very loudest key, shoutOn the first night of one of his ' At Homes,' ed at him ' Bo ! The man, startled, woke up, when the theatre was packed to the very ceil- and observing that the singer looked at him, ng, and all his best friends and adherents were sang to him, and never took his eyes off him, here to support him, I witnessed a singular in- he became flattered by the personal notice, betance of his sensibility to the opinion of others. gan to listen, and then to laugh—and laugh, at At the end of the first part of the entertainment, last
, most heartily. From that instant, the lanners Sutton, the Speaker (afterwards Lord actor's spirits rose, for he felt he had converted Canterbury), Theodore Hook, Gen. Phipps, and a stolid country bumpkin into an appreciative thers, went behind the scenes to congratulate listener. After such a triumph, he went home im and assure him that, as far as the satisfied that his entertainment had been a iece had proceeded, it was
an indubita- complete success. le success. He accepted their compli
This excessive sensibility to public opinion ents rather ungraciously. All they said is not uncommon. The late Sir William
buoy him up only seemed the more to Knighton told my uncle, George Young, that if
George the Fourth went to the play, which he bours, that I shall have to get rid of him. He rarely did, and heard one hiss, though it were worried Mrs. 's dog, I hear, the other day, drowned in general and tumultuous applause, and frightened two little children nearly to he went home miserable, and would lie awake death. all night, thinking only of that one note of dis- "Well, I don't know aboot that; but if you wants approbation.
to get rid on't, I know one as 'ud like to have Curran, again, was so notoriously susceptible un ; for t’other day, as I was a-going by Musto inattention or weariness on the part of his ter Morris' labyratoury (laboratory), Duke St. hearers, that, on more than one occasion, ad- Aubon's cam louping over edge, and he says, vocates engaged against him, perceiving his says he, “Who's dog be that?" So I says, powerful invectives were damaging their client's says I, “ 'tis master's, Muster Mathews." cause, would pay some man in the court to go “Would you sell un?” says he. "No," says 1; into a conspicuous part of it and yawn visibly “but I dussay master would let you have a and audibly. The prescription always suc- poop.” “Oh, no," says he ; “ Doochess has ceeded. The eloquent spirit would droop its poops enough of her own !” wing and forsake him ; he would falter, forget “How,' asked Mathews, 'did you know it to the thread of his argument, and bring his pero be the Duke of St. Alban's?' ration to an abrupt and unsatisfactory conclu- How did I know it? How did I know it? sion.
Lor bless ye; any one might ha' knowed it was Mathews was one day riding down High- the duke. He had gotten a great gowd chain, gate Hill from his cottage, to rehearsal, when wi' lots o' thingumbobs hanging to it, round he met a post-chariot crawling up, with my
his neck, and it run all the way into his waistfather and another gentleman in it, who hap
coat pocket.' pened to be the late Lord Dacre. Mathews,
At one time he had a footman, whose boundnot knowing him by sight, or even by name, less credulity principally recommended him to asked my father, as he saw he was going into his notice. A title inspired him with awe, and the country, if he was going down to Cas- having seen a nobleman, now and then, at his siobury, to Lord Essex's (where, at that time, master's table, he took it for granted that he he was a constant visitor). “No,' replied my
was familiar with half the peerage. The Duke father, “I am on my way to “The Hoo."' of Sussex called one day to see the picture • Who ?' asked Mathews. 'I am going to stay gallery. On announcing His Royal Highness. a few days at Lord Dacre's,' was the answer.
Mathews fully expected that he would have Mathews, imagining Young to be poking fun at gone off by spontaneous combustion ; for he him, by ennobling Bob Acres,* laughingly ex
retreated backwards, puffed out his cheeks to claimed, “I have half a mind to go with
their fullest powers of expansion, and then
you. Mind you give my kind regards to Sir Lucius poised himself on one leg, like a bird, awaiting O’Trigger, who is sure to be staying with him.' to see the effect produced on his master by the No man could have enjoyed the mistake more appearance of such a visitor. Knowing his than the noble lord himself.
weakness, Mathews used to tell all his intiMathews had such an inordinate love of droll-mates, whenever they called, to be sure to preery in every form that he would often engage sent themselves under some assumed title. very indifferent servants, if they had but origin. Thus Charles Kemble always announced himality to recommend them. I remember a
self as the Persian ambassador; Fawcett call. gardener he had, a Lancashire man, who was
ed himself Sir Francis Burdett; my father was a never failing fund of amusement. I was on
the Duke of Wellington. the lawn at the cottage at Milfield Lane one This habit of jocular imposition once involvcay, when I overheard the following dialogue :
ed Mathews in an awkward scrape. He had 'I say,' said the master, patting a huge New- no idea that there existed such a title as that of foundland by his side, "we shall have to put a 'Ranelagh.' So that, when the veritable noblemuzzle on this brute. I am having so many man of that name called one day on horseback complaints made about him from the neigh- at the door, and sent up a message by the manVide Sheridan's play of the The Rivale,
servant to say that " Lord Ranelagh would be much obliged if Mr. Mathews would step down heaven's sake, Sir, come ; your poor horse has to him, as he could not dismount,' Mathews, cut his throat !' convinced it was one of his chums under a From that time Kemble, the Persian ambasfeigned title, sent down word to say that Lord sador, admitted fully that if his friend's servant Banelagh must be kind enough to put up his was not funny himself, he could be the fruitful horse in the stables, and walk up, as he could cause of fun to others. not go out of doors, having a cold, and being After Mathews' death, and long after his Life particularly engaged at the time with Lord had been published by his widow, she wrote to Vauxhall.
me to say that she was writing an article for Lord Ranelagh could hardly believe his ears one the magazines ;
that she was sure I must when he received this familiar, flippant and im- recollect anecdotes of her husband which, in pertinent message. He rode off in a state of the lapse of many years, had escaped her meboiling indignation, and forthwith despatched mory, and she should be grateful to me if I a note to the offender, commenting severely on
would put on paper anything I could recollect his impudence in daring to play upon his name. not contained in the Life. I complied with her Of course, as soon as Mathews discovered his
wish ; and she afterwards wrote and thanked mistake, he wrote and explained it, and apolo- me for what I had sent her, telling me it was gized for it amply.
printed and published. But, as I have never Mathews had often told Charles Kemble of
seen the periodical which contains it, I have no the great amusement his man-servant's peculi- scruple in repeating the substance of my
contriarities afforded him, but Kemble said he had bution, as, in so doing, I am plagiarizing from never been able to discover anything in him no one but myself. but crass stupidity. 'Ah,' said Mathews, ' you Whenever Mathews brought out a new 'At can't conceive what a luxury it is to have a man
Home,' he was sure to receive a summons to under the same roof with you who will believe Windsor to produce it before George the Fourth. anything you will tell him, however impossible on one such occasion, after giving imitations it may be.
of Lords Thurlow, Loughborough, Mansfield, One warm summer's day, when Mathews had and Sheridan, he concluded with the most a dinner party at Highgate, and there were pre- celebrated one of all, that of John Philpot Cursent, among others, Broderip, Theodore Hook, ran.
The felicity of his portraiture of the first General Phipps, Manners Sutton (then Speaker four, the King readily admitted, nodding his of the House of Commons), and Charles Kem- head in recognition of their resemblance to ble, and dessert was laid out on the lawn, Math- their originals, and now and then laughing so ews, without hinting his intention, rang the bell heartily as to cause the actor to pronounce him in the dining-room, and on its being answered, the most intelligent auditor he had ever had. told the man to follow him to the stables whilst | He was, therefore, the more mortified after givhe gave the coachman certain directions in his ing his chef d'euvre, to notice the King throw presence. The instant Mathews reached the himself back in his chair, and overhear him say stable-door, he called out for the coachman
to Lady Coningham' “Very odd, I can't trace (who he knew was not there) looked in, and, any resemblance to Curran at all.' He had before the man-servant could overtake him, scarcely uttered the words before he regretted started back, and, in a voice of horror, cried it; for he perceived by the heightened comout, 'Good heavens !' go back, go back-and plexion and depressed manner of the performer tell Mr. Kemble that his horse has cut his that his unfavourable stricture had been heard. throat !'
As soon, therefore, as the entertainment was The simple goose, infected by his master's concluded, the King, with generous sympathy, well-feigned panic, and never pausing to reflect went up to Mathews, shook him warmly by the on the absurdity of the thing, burst on to the lawn, hand, and, after presenting him with a watch, and, with cheeks blanched with terror, roared with his own portrait set in brilliants on the out, Mr. Kemble, Sir, you're wanted directly.' case, took him familiarly by the button, and Seeing Kemble in no hurry to move, he repeat- thus addressed him :-My dear Mathews, I ed his appeal with increased emphasis, ‘For fear you overheard a hasty remark I made to
Lady Coningham. I say, advisedly, “a hasty He wound it up with some such words as these : remark,” because the version you give of Cur- -“In concluding, he could only say that, deran, all those who know him best declare to be scended as he was from a long and illustrious quite perfect ; and I ought, in justice to you, line of ancestry, he felt himself additionally ento confess that I never saw him but once, and nobled on the day he was admitted to the rank therefore am hardly a fair judge of the merits of of Barrister.” I was not going to be thwarted your impersonation. You see, I think it very in my purpose ; and, therefore, the next toast possible that, never having been in my pre- I proposed was “Success to the Irish Bar." sence before, his manner under the circum- Then up sprang our little sallow-faced friend, and stances may have been unnaturally constrained. by his wit and humour, and graceful elocution, You will, perhaps, think it odd that I, who in made me laugh one minute and cry the next. my earlier days lived much and intimately with He annihilated Erskine by the humility of his the Whigs, should never have seen him but bearing ; and closed his speech, I recollect, once. Yet so it was.
as follows :-“The noble Lord who has just * I always had had a great curiosity to know a sat down, distinguished as he is by his own man so renommé for his wit and other social personal merits, has told you, Sir, that though qualities; and, therefore, I asked my brother ennobled by his birth, he feels additionally so Frederick, “How I could best see Curran ?” by his profession. Judge then, Sir, what must He smiled and said, “Not much difficulty, be my pride in a profession which has raised about it. Your Royal Highness has but to me, the son of a peasant, to the table of my send him a summons to dinner through your Prince.”' Chamberlain, and the thing is done.” This hint was acted on, and he came; but on the Mathews was once on a visit in Shropshire whole he was taciturn, and mal a son aise.' to Mr. Ormsby Gore. On the first morning
“Oh, Sir,' replied Mathews, “the imitation I after his arrival, when at breakfast, his entergave you of Curran was of Curran in his foren- tainer expressed his regret at having to leave sic manner, and not in his private capacity. him to his own devices till dinner-time, as the Would your Majesty permit me to give you an- assizes had begun, and he was summoned on other imitation of him as he would appear at a the grand jury. "If' he added, 'you like to dinner-table?' On receiving the King's sanc- beat the home-covers, my gamekeeper and the tion to do so, he threw himself with such aban- dogs shall attend you ; or, if you prefer it, as don into the mind, manner, wit, and waggery, you are not much of a walker, you can accomof his original, that the King was in ecstasies. pany the ladies in their afternoon's drive.
He then went up to Mathews, and resumed Oh,' replied Mathews, 'if you wish to afford his chat. 'I was about to tell you, that after me a real treat, you will allow me to accompany my brother's suggestion, I said to him, “You you to Shrewsbury; for there is no place I am shall make up the party for me ; only let the so fond of attending as a court of justice ; and ingredients mix well together." I don't think, no place which affords a richer field for the between ourselves, that he executed his com- study of character.' Mr. Gore declared he mission very well ; for he asked too many men should be delighted to have his company, and of the same profession-each more or less jea- would take care he should get well placed in lous of the other. The consequence was, that the court, and have, moreover, a chair to sit the dinner was heavy. However, after the down on. Mathews declined these considerate cloth was removed, I was determined to draw offers, saying that he much preferred mixing out the little ugly silent man I saw at the bot- with the crowd, listening to their talk, jotting tom of the table ; and, with that object in view, down in his commonplace-book anything he I proposed the health of “The Bar.” To my might see or overhear worth remembering, and unspeakable annoyance, up sprang, in reply, watching the faces of the criminals and witCounsellor Ego.* He certainly made a very nesses. When he had mingled for some time ablespeech, though onerather too redolent of self. with the herd of idlers directly or indirectly in
terested in the proceedings of the court, he * Viz., Lord Erskine, a brilliant advocate in the Law Courts, but a dead failure in the House of Commons. elbowed his way into the very centre of the hall,
just as the judge was taking his seat. He had joyment of his day, and grew wanton in comnot been there two minutes before the judge mendation of the urbanity and condescension was seen making courteous signs to some one of Parke. Before dressing for dinner, he wrote in the thick of the crowd-beckoning to him to to his wife an enthusiastic description of the come up, and occupy the vacant seat by his honours conferred on him, telling her henceside. Mathews, though he perceived that the forth to mark the day in her almanack with a judge's eye looked, and his finger pointed, in red letter. his direction, felt assured that the summons Two or three years after this memorable vicould not be meant for him, as he had not the sit to Shropshire, he went into Monmouthshire, honour of knowing the great functionary ; to stay with his friend, Mr. Rolls. While he and therefore he looked behind him, to notify to his host were over their wine and walnuts, the any more probable person that he might see latter, looking up at the ceiling, and trying to rethat he was signalled to. The Judge (the ex- call some incident which had escaped his mecellent James Allen Parke), hopeless of making mory, said, as if speaking to himself, 'Who was himself understood, scribbled on a small piece it? Who on earth was it that was here someof paper these words, ‘Judge Parke hopes Mr. time ago, and was talking of you? I cannot Mathews will come and sit by him.' He then think who it could have been. Oh, yes, I refolded it up, put it into the notch of the long rod member now. It was Judge Parke. Did not of one of the ushers, and ordered it to be de- you and he meet somewhere or other ? 'Ah,' livered to its address. On opening it, Mathews said Mathews, 'I am proud to say we did ! told me he felt himself blush like a maiden at the What a fascinating person he is. I think I compliment thus unexpectedly paid him. That never saw a man of such sterling benevohe, a poor player, should be singled out for such lence and such captivating manners.' By this distinction by one of the judges of the land, and time Mr. Rolls had recalled the circumstances one known to be of strict pietyand blameless life, that had slipped his recollection : so that, when gave him more intense gratification than the Mathews began to indulge in a glowing eulonotice of his sovereign. It was evident that he gium on Parke, he could not repress a smile. had been recognized under the most flattering This his thin-skinned guest was not slow to conditions, not as Mathews the comedian, but perceive ; and his withers began to wince. as Mathews the man, and that, too, by an emi- 'Pray,' said he, 'did the good Judge say anynent legal dignitary who probably had never thing about me, then, eh?' 'Well, returned entered the walls of a theatre. Threading his Rolls, 'if you will not be offended, I will tell way through an obsequious multitude, who you the truth. When he was here, he said to were duly impressed with his importance by me, “I think, Rolls, you are a friend of the notice taken of him, and then passing Mathews the actor-a man, I hear, with a through a chamber full of country squires and dreadful propensity for taking people off. Conneighbouring magnates, he mounted the judg- ceive, then, my consternation, two years ago, ment-seat, and humbly, yet proudly, took the at Shrewsbury, on seeing him directly in front place awarded to him. The Judge shook him of me, evidently with the intention of studying cordially by the hand, as if he had been an old me, and showing me up! Well; what do you friend, put a list of the cases for trial before think I did? Knowing that I should not be him, directed his special attention to one which, able to attend to my notes while the fellow was he said, would prove of painful and pathetic there, I sent a civil message to him, and invited interest, and completed his civilities by placing him to come and sit by me: and thus, I trust,
I a packet of sandwiches at his side. After the propitiated him, so that he will now have too business of the day had terminated, Mathews, much good feeling, I should think, ever to inon his drive home, dilated at length on his en- troduce me into his gallery of Legal Portraits."