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of women. " Happy is the man that hath his quiver
full of them : " So say I ; but then don't let him
discharge his quiver upon us that are weaponless ;
let them be arrows, but not to gall and stick us. I
have generally observed that these arrows are double-
headed : they have two forks, to be sure to hit with
one or the other. As for instance, where you come
into a house which is full of children, if you happen
to take no notice of them (you are thinking of some-
thing else, perhaps, and turn a deaf ear to their in-
nocent caresses), you are set down as untractable,
morose, a hater of children. On the other hand, if
you find them more than usually engaging, if you
are taken with their pretty manners and set about in
earnest to romp and play with them, some pretext or
other is sure to be found for sending them out of the

room : they are too noisy or boisterous, or Mr.

does not like children. With one or other of these
forks the arrow is sure to hit you.



BEHAVIOUR OF MARRIED PEOPLE. 265

I could forgive their jealousy, and dispense with
toying with their brats, if it gives them any pain ;
but I think it unreasonable to be called upon to love
them, where I see no occasion, to love a whole
family, perhaps, eight, nine, or ten, indiscriminately,
to love all the pretty dears, because children are
so engaging.

I know there is a proverb, " Love me, love my
dog : " that is not always so very practicable, par-
ticularly if the dog be set upon you to tease you or
snap at you in sport. But a dog, or a lesser thing,
any inanimate substance, as a keep-sake, a watch or
a ring, a tree, or the place where we last parted when
my friend went away upon a long absence, I can
make shift to love, because I love him, and any thing
that reminds me of him ; provided it be in its na-
ture indifferent, and apt to receive whatever hue
fancy can give it. But children have a real char-
acter and an essential being of themselves : they are
amiable or unamiable per se ; I must love or hate
them as I see cause for either in their qualities. A
child's nature is too serious a thing to admit of its
being regarded as a mere appendage to another
being, and to be loved or hated accordingly : they
stand with me upon their own stock, as much as
men and women do. O ! but you will say, sure it
is an attractive age, there is something in the
tender years of infancy that of itself charms us.



266 A BACHELOR'S COMPLAINT OF THE

That is the very reason why I am more nice about
them. I know that a sweet child is the sweetest
thing in nature, not even excepting the delicate
creatures which bear them ; but the prettier the kind
of a thing is, the more desirable it is that it should
be pretty of its kind. One daisy differs not much
from another in glory : but a violet should look and
smell the daintiest. I was always rather squeamish
in my women and children.

But this is not the worst : one must be admitted
into their familiarity at least, before they can com-
plain of inattention. It implies visits, and some
kind of intercourse. But if the husband be a man
with whom you have lived on a friendly footing be-
fore marriage, if you did not come in on the
wife's side, if you did not sneak into the house in
her train, but were an old friend in fast habits of
intimacy before their courtship was so much as
thought on, look about you your tenure is pre-
carious before a twelvemonth shall roll over your
head, you shall find your old friend gradually grow
cool and altered towards you, and at last seek op-
portunities of breaking with you. I have scarce a
married friend of my acquaintance, upon whose firm
faith I can rely, whose friendship did not commence
after the period of his marriage. With some limi-
tations they can endure that : but that the good man
should have dared to enter into a solemn league of



BEHAVIOUR OF MARRIED PEOPLE. 267

friendship in which they were not consulted, though
it happened before they knew him, before they
that are now man and wife ever met, this is in-
tolerable to them. Every long friendship, every old
authentic intimacy, must be brought into their office
to be new stamped with their currency, as a sovereign
Prince calls in the good old money that was coined
in some reign before he was born or thought of, to
be new marked and minted with the stamp of his
authority, before he will let it pass current in the
world. You may guess what luck generally befalls
such a rusty piece of metal as I am in these new
min tings.

Innumerable are the ways which they take to in-
sult and worm you out of their husband's confidence.
Laughing at all you say with a kind of wonder, as if
you were a queer kind of fellow that said good things,
but an oddity, is one of the ways; they have a
particular kind of stare for the purpose : till at last
the husband, who used to refer to your judgment,
and would pass over some excrescences of under-
standing and manner for the sake of a general vein
of observation (not quite vulgar) which he perceived
in you, begins to suspect whether you are not alto-
gether a humorist, a fellow well enough to have
consorted with in his bachelor days, but not quite so
proper to be introduced to ladies. This may be
called the staring way ; and is that which has oftenest
been put in practice against me.



268 A BACHELOR'S COMPLAINT OF THE

Then there is the exaggerating way, or the way
of irony : that is, where they find you an object of
especial regard with their husband, who is not so
easily to be shaken from the lasting attachment
founded on esteem which he has conceived towards
you; by never-qualified exaggerations to cry up all
that you say or do, till the good man, who under-
stands well enough that it is all done in compliment
to him, grows weary of the debt of gratitude which
is due to so much candour, and by relaxing a little
on his part, and taking down a peg or two in his
enthusiasm, sinks at length to that kindly level of
moderate esteem, that " decent affection and com-
placent kindness " towards you, where she herself
can join in sympathy with him without much stretch
and violence to her sincerity.

Another way (for the ways they have to accomplish
so desirable a purpose are infinite) is, with a kind of
innocent simplicity, continually to mistake what it
was which first made their husband fond of you. If
an esteem for something excellent in your moral
character was that which riveted the chain which she
is to break, upon any imaginary discovery of a want
of poignancy in your conversation, she will cry, "I
thought, my dear, you described your friend, Mr.

as a great wit." If, on the other hand, it

was for some supposed charm in your conversation
that he first grew to like you, and was content for



BEHAVIOUR OF MARRIED PEOPLE. 269

this to overlook some trifling irregularities in your
moral deportment, upon the first notice of any of
these she as readily exclaims, " This, my dear, is
your good Mr. - ." One good lady whom I
took the liberty of expostulating with for not showing
me quite so much respect as I thought due to her
husband's old friend, had the candour to confess to

me that she had often heard Mr. speak of

me before marriage, and that she had conceived a
great desire to be acquainted with me, but that the
sight of me had very much disappointed her expec-
tations; for from her husband's representations of
me, she had formed a notion that she was to see a
fine, tall, officer-like looking man (I use her very
words) ; the very reverse of which proved to be the
truth. This was candid ; and I had the civility not
to ask her in return, how she came to pitch upon
a standard of personal accomplishments for her hus-
band's friends which differed so much from his own ;
for my friend's dimensions as near as possible ap-
proximate to mine ; he standing five feet five in his
shoes, in which I have the advantage of him by
about half an inch ; and he no more than myself
exhibiting any indications of a martial character in
his air or countenance.

These are some of the mortifications which I have
encountered in the absurd attempt to visit at their
houses. To enumerate them all would be a vain



2/0 A BACHELOR'S COMPLAINT OF THE

endeavour : I shall therefore just glance at the very
common impropriety of which married ladies are
guilty, of treating us as if we were their husbands,
and vice versa. I mean, when they use us with
familiarity, and their husbands with ceremony. Tes-
tacea, for instance, kept me the other night two or
three hours beyond my usual time of supping, while

she was fretting because Mr. did not come

home, till the oysters were all spoiled, rather than
she would be guilty of the impoliteness of touching
one in his absence. This was reversing the point of
good manners : for ceremony is an invention to take
off the uneasy feeling which we derive from knowing
ourselves to be less the object of love and esteem
with a fellow-creature than some other person is.
It endeavours to make up, by superior attentions in
little points, for that invidious preference which it is
forced to deny in the greater. Had Testacea kept
the oysters back for me, and withstood her husband's
importunities to go to supper, she would have acted
according to the strict rules of propriety. I know
no ceremony that ladies are bound to observe to
their husbands, beyond the point of a modest be-
haviour and decorum : therefore I must protest
against the vicarious gluttony of Cerasia, who at
her own table sent away a dish of Morellas, which I
was applying to with great good will, to her husband
at the other end of the table, and recommended a



BEHAVIOUR OF MARRIED PEOPLE.



plate of less extraordinary gooseberries to my un-
wedded palate in their stead. Neither can I excuse
the wanton affront of - .

But I am weary of stringing up all my married
acquaintance by Roman denominations. Let them
amend and change their manners, or I promise to
record the full-length English of their names, to the
terror of all such desperate offenders in future.



ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS.



THE casual sight of an old Play Bill, which I picked
up the other day I know not by what chance it
was preserved so long tempts me to call to mind
a few of the Players, who make the principal figure
in it. It presents the cast of parts in the Twelfth
Night, at the old Drury-lane Theatre two-and-thirty
years ago. There is something very touching in
these old remembrances. They make us think how
we once used to read a Play Bill not, as now per-
adventure, singling out a favourite performer, and
casting a negligent eye over the rest ; but spelling
out every name, down to the very mutes and ser-
vants of the scene ; when it was a matter of no
small moment to us whether Whitfield, or Packer,
took the part of Fabian ; when Benson, and Burton,
and Phillimore names of small account had an
importance, beyond what we can be content to at-
tribute now to the time's best actors. " Orsino, by
Mr. Barrymore." What a full Shakspearian sound



ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS. 2/3

it carries ! how fresh to memory arise the image,
and the manner, of the gentle actor !

Those who have only seen Mrs. Jordan within
the last ten or fifteen years, can have no adequate
notion of her performance of such parts as Ophelia ;
Helena, in All 's Well that Ends Well ; and Viola in
this play. Her voice had latterly acquired a coarse-
ness, which suited well enough with her Nells and
Hoydens, but in those days it sank, with her steady
melting eye, into the heart. Her joyous parts in
which her memory now chiefly lives in her youth
were outdone by her plaintive ones. There is no
giving an account how she delivered the disguised
story of her love for Orsino. It was no set speech,
that she had foreseen, so as to weave it into an har-
monious period, line necessarily following line, to
make up the music yet I have heard it so spoken,
or rather read, not without its grace and beauty
but, when she had declared her sister's history to
be a " blank," and that she " never told her love,"
there was a pause, as if the story had ended and
then the image of the "worm in the bud" came up
as a new suggestion and the heightened image of
" Patience " still followed after that, as by some
growing (and not mechanical) process, thought
springing up after thought, I would almost say, as
they were watered by her tears. So in those fine
lines

18



2/4 ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS.

Write loyal cantos of contemned love
Hollow your name to the reverberate hills

there was no preparation made in the foregoing
image for that which was to follow. She used no
rhetoric in her passion ; or it was nature's own rhe-
toric, most legitimate then, when it seemed alto-
gether without rule or law.

Mrs. Powel (now Mrs. Renard), then in the pride
of her beauty, made an admirable Olivia. She was
particularly excellent in her unbending scenes in
conversation with the Clown. I have seen some
Olivias and those very sensible actresses too
who in these interlocutions have seemed to set their
wits at the jester, and to vie conceits with him in
downright emulation. But she used him for her
sport, like what he was, to trifle a leisure sentence
or two with, and then to be dismissed, and she to
be the Great Lady still. She touched the imperious
fantastic humour of the character with nicety. Her
fine spacious person filled the scene.

The part of Malvolio has in my judgment been so
often misunderstood, and the general merits of the
actor, who then played it, so unduly appreciated, that
I shall hope for pardon, if I am a little prolix upon
these points.

Of all the actors who flourished in my time a
melancholy phrase if taken aright, reader Bensley
had most of the swell of soul, was greatest in the de-



ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS 2/5

livery of heroic conceptions, the emotions consequent
upon the presentment of a great idea to the fancy.
He had the true poetical enthusiasm the rarest
faculty among players. None that I remember pos-
sessed even a portion of that fine madness which he
threw out in Hotspur's famous rant about glory, or
the transports of the Venetian incendiary at the vision
of the fired city. His voice had the dissonance, and
at times the inspiriting effect of the trumpet. His gait
was uncouth and stiff, but no way embarrassed by
affectation ; and the thorough-bred gentleman was
uppermost in every movement. He seized the moment
of passion with the greatest truth ; like a faithful
clock, never striking before the time ; never antici-
pating or leading you to anticipate. He was totally
destitute of trick and artifice. He seemed come upon
the stage to do the poet's message simply, and he did
it with as genuine fidelity as the nuncios in Homer
deliver the errands of the gods. He let the passion
or the sentiment do its own work without prop or
bolstering. He would have scorned to mountebank
it ; and betrayed none of that cleverness which is the
bane of serious acting. For this reason, his lago was
the only endurable one which I remember to have
seen. No spectator from his action could divine more
of his artifice than Othello was supposed to do. His
confessions in soliloquy alone put you in possession of
the mystery. There were no by- intimations to make



2^6 ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS.

the audience fancy their own discernment so much
greater than that of the Moor who commonly stands
like a great helpless mark set up for mine Ancient,
and a quantity of barren spectators, to shoot their
bolts at. The lago of Bensley did not go to work so
grossly. There was a triumphant tone about the
character, natural to a general consciousness of
power ; but none of that petty vanity which chuckles
and cannot contain itself upon any little successful
stroke of its knavery as is common with your small
villains, and green probationers in mischief. It did
not clap or crow before its time. It was not a man
setting his wits at a child, and winking all the while
at other children who are mightily pleased at being
let into the secret ; but a consummate villain en-
trapping a noble nature into toils, against which no
discernment was available, where the manner was as
fathomless as the purpose seemed dark, and without
motive. The part of Malvolio, in the Twelfth Night,
was performed by Bensley, with a richness and a
dignity, of which (to judge from some recent castings
of that character) the very tradition must be worn
out from the stage. No manager in those days would
have dreamed of giving it to Mr. Baddeley, or Mr.
Parsons : when Bensley was occasionally absent from
the theatre, John Kemble thought it no derogation to
succeed to the part. Malvolio is not essentially ludi-
crous. He becomes comic but by accident. He is



ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS- 277

cold, austere, repelling ; but dignified, consistent, and,
for what appears, rather of an over- stretched morality.
Maria describes him as a sort of Puritan ; and he
might have worn his gold chain with honour in one
of our old round-head families, in the service of a
Lambert, or a Lady Fairfax. But his morality and his
manners are misplaced in Illyria. He is opposed to
the proper levities of the piece, and falls in the un-
equal contest. Still his pride, or his gravity, (call it
which you will) is inherent, and native to the man,
not mock or affected, which latter only are the fit
objects to excite laughter. His quality is at the best
unlovely, but neither buffoon nor contemptible. His
bearing is lofty, a little above his station, but probably
not much above his deserts. We see no reason why
he should not have been brave, honourable, accom-
plished. His careless committal of the ring to the
ground (which he was commissioned to restore to
Cesario), bespeaks a generosity of birth and feeling.
His dialect on all occasions is that of a gentleman*
and a man of education. We must not confound him
with the eternal old, low steward of comedy. He is
master of the household to a great Princess ; a dignity
probably conferred upon him for other respects than
age or length of service. Olivia, at the first indication
of his supposed madness, declares that she "would
not have him miscarry for half of her dowry." Does
this look as if the character was meant to appear little



2/8 ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS.

or insignificant? Once, indeed, she accuses him to
his face of what ? of being " sick of self-love,"
but with a gentleness and considerateness which could
not have been, if she had not thought that this partic-
ular infirmity shaded some virtues. His rebuke to
the knight, and his sottish revellers, is sensible and
spirited ; and when we take into consideration the un-
protected condition of his mistress, and the strict
regard with which her state of real or dissembled
mourning would draw the eyes of the world upon her
house-affairs, Malvolio might feel the honour of the
family in some sort in his keeping ; as it appears not
that Olivia had any more brothers, or kinsmen, to
look to it for Sir Toby had dropped all such nice
respects at the buttery hatch. That Malvolio was
meant to be represented as possessing estimable
qualities, the expression of the Duke in his anxiety
to have him reconciled, almost infers. " Pursue him,
and entreat him to a peace." Even in his abused
state of chains and darkness, a sort of greatness seems
never to desert him. He argues highly and well with
the supposed Sir Topas, and philosophises gallantly
upon his straw*. There must have been some shadow

* Clown. What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning
wild fowl ?

Mai. That the soul of our grandam might haply inhabit a
bird.

Clown. What thinkest thou of his opinion ?

Mai. I think nobly of the soul, and no way approve of his



ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS. 279

of worth about the man ; he must have been some-
thing more than a mere vapour a thing of straw, or
Jack in office before Fabian and Maria could have
ventured sending him upon a courting- errand to
Olivia. There was some consonancy (as he would
say) in the undertaking, or the jest would have been
too bold even for that house of misrule.

Bensley, accordingly, threw over the part an air of
Spanish loftiness. He looked, spake, and moved like
an old Castilian. He was starch, spruce, opinionated,
but his superstructure of pride seemed bottomed upon
a sense of worth. There was something in it beyond
the coxcomb. It was big and swelling, but you could
not be sure that it was hollow. You might wish to
see it taken down, but you felt that it was upon an
elevation. He was magnificent from the outset ; but
when the decent sobrieties of the character began to
give way, and the poison of self-love, in his conceit of
the Countess's affection, gradually to work, you would
have thought that the hero of La Mancha in person
stood before you. How he went smiling to himself !
with what ineffable carelessness would he twirl his
gold chain ! what a dream it was ! you were infected
with the illusion, and did not wish that it should be
removed ! you had no room for laughter ! if an un-
seasonable reflection of morality obtruded itself, it
was a deep sense of the pitiable infirmity of man's
nature, that can lay him open to such frenzies but



28O ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS.

in truth you rather admired than pitied the lunacy
while it lasted you felt that an hour of such mis-
take was worth an age with the eyes open. Who
would not wish to live but for a day in the conceit of
such a lady's love as Olivia? Why, the Duke would
have given his principality but for a quarter of a
minute, sleeping or waking, to have been so deluded.
The man seemed to tread upon air, to taste manna,
to walk with his head in the clouds, to mate Hyperion.
O ! shake not the castles of his pride endure yet
for a season bright moments of confidence " stand
still ye watches of the element," that Malvolio may
be still in fancy fair Olivia's lord but fate and retri-
bution say no I hear the mischievous titter of
Maria the witty taunts of Sir Toby the still more
insupportable triumph of the foolish knight the
counterfeit Sir Topas is unmasked and " thus the
whirligig of time," as the true clown hath it, " brings
in his revenges." I confess that I never saw the
catastrophe of this character, while Bensley played it,
without a kind of tragic interest. There was good
foolery too. Few now remember Dodd. What an
Aguecheek the stage lost in him ! Lovegrove, who
came nearest to the old actors, revived the character
some few seasons ago, and made it sufficiently gro-
tesque ; but Dodd was *'/, as it came out of nature's
hands. It might be said to remain in puris natu-
ralibus. In expressing slowness of apprehension this



ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS. 281

actor surpassed all others. You could see the first dawn
of an idea stealing slowly over his countenance, climb-
ing up by little and little, with a painful process, till it
cleared up at last to the fulness of a twilight con-
ception its highest meridian. He seemed to keep
back his intellect, as some have had the power to re-
tard their pulsation. The balloon takes less time in
filling, than it took to cover the expansion of his broad
moony face over all its quarters with expression. A
glimmer of understanding would appear in a corner
of his eye, and for lack of fuel go out again. A part
of his forehead would catch a little intelligence, and
be a long time in communicating it to the remainder.
I am ill at dates, but I think it is now better than
five and twenty years ago that walking in the gardens
of Gray's Inn they were then far finer than they
are now the accursed Verulam Buildings had not
encroached upon all the east side of them, cutting out
delicate green crankles, and shouldering away one of
two of the stately alcoves of the terrace the sur-
vivor stands gaping and relationless as if it remem-
bered its brother they are still the best gardens of
any of the Inns of Court, my beloved Temple not
forgotten have the gravest character, their aspect
being altogether reverend and law- breathing Bacon
has left the impress of his foot upon their gravel

walks taking my afternoon solace on a summer

day upon the aforesaid terrace, a comely sad per-



282 ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS.

sonage came towards me, whom, from his grave air
and deportment, I judged to be one of the old Benchers
of the Inn. He had a serious thoughtful forehead,
and seemed to be in meditations of mortality. As I
have an instinctive awe of old Benchers, I was passing
him with that sort of subindicative token of respect
which one is apt to demonstrate towards a venerable



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