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MASK AND FACES ***




Produced by Paul Haxo with special thanks to the Internet
Archive and the University of Toronto.





MASKS AND FACES;

OR,
BEFORE AND BEHIND THE CURTAIN.

A Comedy
IN TWO ACTS.

BY

TOM TAYLOR AND CHARLES READE.

LONDON:
RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.
1854

[_The Authors reserve the right of Translating this work._]



PRINTED BY HARRISON AND SONS,
LONDON GAZETTE OFFICE, ST. MARTIN'S LANE.




"MASKS AND FACES" was produced by Mr. Webster in November, 1852; and
played 103 nights at the Haymarket and Adelphi Theatres.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ. HAYMARKET. ADELPHI.

_Sir Charles Pomander_ Mr. Leigh Murray Mr. Leigh Murray.

_Mr. Ernest Vane_ Mr. Parselle Mr. Parselle.

_Colly Cibber_ Mr. Lambert Mr. G. Honey.

_Quin_ Mr. James Bland Mr. Paul Bedford.

_Triplet_ Mr. Benjamin Webster Mr. Benjamin Webster.

_Lysimachus Triplet_ Master Caulfield Master Caulfield.

_Mr. Snarl_ Mr. Stuart Mr. O. Smith.

_Mr. Soaper_ Mr. Braid Mr. C. J. Smith.

_James Burdock_ Mr. Rogers Mr. R. Romer.

_Colander_ Mr. Clark Mr. Hastings.

_Hundsdon_ Mr. Coe Mr. Lindon.

_Call Boy_ Mr. Edwards Mr. Waye.

_Pompey_ Master C. J. Smith Master C. J. Smith.

_Mrs. Vane_ Miss Rosa Bennett Miss Woolgar.

_Peg Woffington_ Mrs. Stirling Madame Celeste.

_Kitty Clive_ Miss Maskell Miss Maskell.

_Mrs. Triplet_ Mrs. Leigh Murray Mrs. Leigh Murray.

_Roxalana_ Miss Caulfield Miss Caulfield.

_Maid_ Miss E. Woulds Miss Mitchenson.




MASKS AND FACES,

OR,

BEFORE AND BEHIND THE CURTAIN.


ACT I.

SCENE I. - _The Green Room of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. A
Fire-place C., with a Looking-glass over it, on which a call is
wafered. Curtain rises on Mr. Quin and Mrs. Clive, seated each side of
Fire-place._

CLIVE. Who dines with Mr. Vane to-day besides ourselves?

QUIN. His inamorata, Mrs. Woffington, of this theatre.

CLIVE. Of course. But who else?

QUIN. Sir Charles Pomander. The critics, Snarl and Soaper, are
invited, I believe.

CLIVE. Then I shall eat no dinner.

QUIN. Pooh! There is to be a haunch that will counterpoise in one hour
a century of censure. Let them talk! the mouth will revenge the ears
of Falstaff; - besides, Snarl is the only ill-natured one - Soaper praises
people, don't he?

CLIVE. Don't be silly, Quin! Soaper's praise is only a pin for his
brother executioner to hang abuse on: by this means Snarl, who could
not invent even ill-nature, is never at a loss. Snarl is his own
weight in wormwood; but Soaper is - hush! - hold your tongue.

[_Enter Snarl and Soaper L.D. Quin and Clive rise._]

(_Clive, with engaging sweetness_). Ah! Mr. Snarl! Mr. Soaper! we were
talking of you.

SNARL. I am sorry for that, madam.

QUIN. We hear you dine with us at Mr. Vane's.

SOAP. We have been invited, and are here to accept. I was told Mr.
Vane was here.

QUIN. No; but he is on the stage.

SNARL. Come, then, Soaper.

[_They move towards door._

SOAP. (_aside_). Snarl!

SNARL. Yes. (_With a look of secret intelligence_).

SOAP. (_crosses slowly to Clive_). My dear Mrs. Clive, there was I
going away without telling you how charmed I was with your Flippanta;
all that sweetness and womanly grace, with which you invested that
character, was - -

SNARL. Misplaced. Flippanta is a vixen, or she is nothing at all.

SOAP. Your Sir John Brute, sir, was a fine performance: you never
forgot the gentleman even in your cups.

SNARL. Which, as Sir John Brute is the exact opposite of a gentleman,
he ought to have forgotten.

[_Exit L._

SOAP. But you must excuse me now; I will resume your praise at
dinner-time.

[_Exit, with bows, L._

CLIVE (_walks in a rage_). We are the most unfortunate of all artists.
Nobody regards our feelings. (_Quin shakes his head._)

[_Enter Call-Boy L._]

CALL-BOY. Mr. Quin and Mrs. Clive!

[_Exit Call-Boy L._

QUIN. I shall cut my part in this play.

CLIVE (_yawns_). Cut it as deep as you like, there will be enough
left; and so I shall tell the author if he is there.

[_Exeunt Quin and Clive L._

[_Enter Mr. Vane and Sir Charles Pomander L._]

POM. All this eloquence might be compressed into one word - you love
Mrs. Margaret Woffington.

VANE. I glory in it.

POM. Why not, if it amuses you? We all love an actress once in our
lives, and none of us twice.

VANE. You are the slave of a word, Sir Charles Pomander. Would you
confound black and white because both are colours? Actress! Can you
not see that she is a being like her fellows in nothing but a name?
Her voice is truth, told by music: theirs are jingling instruments of
falsehood.

POM. No - they are all instruments; but hers is more skilfully tuned and
played upon.

VANE. She is a fountain of true feeling.

POM. No - a pipe that conveys it, without spilling or retaining a drop.

VANE. She has a heart alive to every emotion.

POM. And influenced by none.

VANE. She is a divinity to worship.

POM. And a woman to fight shy of. No - no - we all know Peg Woffington;
she is a decent actress on the boards, and a great actress off them.
But I will tell you how to add a novel charm to her. Make her
blush - ask her for the list of your predecessors.

VANE (_with a mortified air_). Sir Charles Pomander! But you yourself
profess to admire her.

POM. And so I do, hugely. Notwithstanding the charms of the mysterious
Hebe I told you of, whose antediluvian coach I extricated from the
Slough of Despond, near Barnet, on my way to town yesterday, I gave La
Woffington a proof of my devotion only two hours ago.

VANE. How?

POM. By offering her three hundred a-year - house - coach - pin-money - my
heart - - and the et ceteras.

VANE. You? But she has refused.

POM. My dear Arcadian, I am here to receive her answer. (_Vane crosses
to L. H._) You had better wait for it before making your avowal.

VANE. That avowal is made already; but I will wait, if but to see what
a lesson the calumniated actress can read to the fine gentleman.

[_Exit L. H._

POM. The lesson will be set by me - Woffington will learn it
immediately. It is so simple, only three words, _£. s. d._

[_Exit L. H._

TRIPLET (_speaking outside_). Mr. Rich not in the theatre? Well, my
engagements will allow of my waiting for a few minutes. (_Enter
Triplet and Call-Boy L. Triplet has a picture wrapped in baize and
without a frame._) And if you will just let me know when Mr. Rich
arrives (_winks - touches his pocket_). Heaven forgive me for raising
groundless expectations!

CALL-BOY. What name, sir?

TRIP. Mr. Triplet.

CALL-BOY. Triplet! There is something left for you in the hall, sir.

[_Exit Call-Boy L._

TRIP. I knew it, I sent him three tragedies. They are accepted; and he
has left me a note in the hall, to fix the reading - at last. I felt it
must come, soon or late; and it has come - late. Master of three arts,
painting, writing, and acting, by each of which men grow fat, how was
it possible I should go on perpetually starving. But that is all over
now. My tragedies will be acted, the town will have an intellectual
treat, and my wife and children will stab my heart no more with their
hungry looks.

[_Enter Call-Boy with parcel._]

CALL-BOY. Here is the parcel for you, sir.

[_Exit Call-Boy L._

TRIP. (_weighs it in his hand_). Why, how is this? Oh, I see; he
returns them for some trifling alterations. Well, if they are
judicious, I shall certainly adopt them, for (_opening the parcel_)
managers are practical men. My tragedies! - Eh? here are but two! one is
accepted! - no! they are all here (_sighs_). Well, (_spitefully_) it is
a thousand pounds out of Mr. Rich's pocket, poor man! I pity him; and
my hungry mouths at home! Heaven knows where I am to find bread for
them to-morrow! Everything that will raise a shilling I have sold or
pawned. Even my poor picture here, the portrait of Mrs. Woffington
from memory - I tried to sell that this morning at every dealer's in
Long Acre - and not one would make me an offer.

[_Enter Woffington L. reciting from a part._]

WOFF. "Now by the joys
Which my soul still has uncontroll'd pursued,
I would not turn aside from my least pleasure.
Though all thy force were armed to bar my way."

TRIP. (_aside, R._). Mrs. Woffington, the great original of my
picture!

WOFF. (L.) "But like the birds, great nature's happy commoners
Rifle the sweets" - I beg your pardon, sir!

TRIP. Nay, madam, pray continue; happy the hearer and still happier
the author of verses so spoken.

WOFF. Yes, if you could persuade the authors how much they owe us, and
how hard it is to find good music for indifferent words. Are you an
author, sir?

TRIP. In a small way, madam; I have here three tragedies.

WOFF. (_looking down at them with comical horror_). Fifteen acts,
mercy on us!

TRIP. Which if I could submit to Mrs. Woffington's judgment - -

WOFF. (_recoiling_). I am no judge of such things, sir.

TRIP. No more is the manager of this theatre.

WOFF. What! has he accepted them?

TRIP. No! madam! he has had them six months and returned them without
a word.

WOFF. Patience, my good sir, patience! authors of tragedies should
learn that virtue of their audiences. Do you know I called on Mr. Rich
fifteen times before I could see him?

TRIP. You, madam, impossible!

WOFF. Oh, it was some years ago - and he has had to pay a hundred pounds
for each of those little visits - let me see, - fifteen times - you must
write twelve more tragedies - sixty acts - and then he will read one, and
give you his judgment at last, and when you have got it - it won't be
worth a farthing.

(_turns up reading her part._)

TRIP. (_aside_). One word from this laughing lady, and all my plays
would be read - but I dare not ask her - she is up in the world, I am
down. She is great - I am nobody - besides they say she is all brains and
no heart (_crosses to L. Moves sorrowfully towards L. D., taking his
picture_).

WOFF. He looks like a fifth act of a domestic tragedy. Stop, surely I
know that doleful face - Sir!

TRIP. Madam!

WOFF. (_beckons_). We have met before; - don't speak; yours is a face
that has been kind to me, and I never forget those faces.

TRIP. Me, madam! I know better what is due to you than to be kind to
you.

WOFF. To be sure! it is Mr. Triplet, good Mr. Triplet of
Goodman's-fields Theatre.

TRIP. It is, madam (_opening his eyes with astonishment_); but we
don't call him Mr., nor even good.

WOFF. Yes; it is Mr. Triplet (_shakes both his hands warmly; he
timidly drops a tragedy or two_). Don't you remember a little orange
girl at Goodman's Fields you used sometimes to pat on the head and
give sixpence to, some seven years ago, Mr. Triplet?

TRIP. Ha! ha! I do remember one, with such a merry laugh and bright
eye; and the broadest brogue of the whole sisterhood.

WOFF. Get along with your blarney then, Mr. Triplet, an' is it the
comether ye'd be puttin' on poor little Peggy?

TRIP. Oh! oh! gracious goodness, oh!

WOFF. Yes; that friendless orange girl was Margaret Woffington! Well,
old friend, you see time has treated me well. I hope he has been as
kind to you; tell me, Mr. Triplet.

TRIP. (_aside_). I must put the best face on it with her. Yes, madam,
he has blessed me with an excellent wife and three charming children.
Mrs. Triplet was Mrs. Chatterton, of Goodman's Fields - great in the
juvenile parts - you remember her?

WOFF. (_very drily_). Yes, I remember her; where is she acting?

TRIP. Why, the cares of our family - and then her health (_sighs_). She
has not acted these eight months.

WOFF. Ah! - and are you still painting scenes?

TRIP. With the pen, madam, not the brush! as the wags said, I have
transferred the distemper from my canvas to my imagination, ha! ha!

WOFF. (_aside_). This man is acting gaiety. And have your pieces been
successful?

TRIP. Eminently so - in the closet; the managers have as yet excluded
them from the stage.

WOFF. Ah! now if those things were comedies, I would offer to act in
one of them, and then the stage door would fly open at sight of the
author.

TRIP. I'll go home and write a comedy (_moves_).

WOFF. On second thoughts, perhaps you had better leave the tragedies
with me.

TRIP. My dear madam! - and you will read them?

WOFF. Ahem! I will make poor Rich read them.

TRIP. But he has rejected them.

WOFF. That is the first step - reading comes after, when it comes at
all.

TRIP. (_aside_). I must fly home and tell my wife.

WOFF. (_aside_). In the mean time I can put five guineas into his
pocket. Mr. Triplet, do you write congratulatory verses - odes - and that
sort of thing?

TRIP. Anything, madam, from an acrostic to an epic.

WOFF. Good, then I have a commission for you; I dine to-day at Mr.
Vane's, in Bloomsbury Square. We shall want some verses. Will you
oblige us with a copy?

TRIP. (_aside_). A guinea in my way, at least. Oh, madam, do but give
me a subject.

WOFF. Let's see - myself, if you can write on such a theme.

TRIP. 'Tis the one I would have chosen out of all the heathen
mythology; the praises of Venus and the Graces. I will set about it at
once (_takes up portrait_).

WOFF. (_sees picture_). But what have you there? not another tragedy?

TRIP. (_blushing_). A poor thing, madam, a portrait - my own painting,
from memory.

WOFF. Oh! oh! I'm a judge of painted faces; let me see it.

TRIP. Nay, madam!

WOFF. I insist! (_She takes off the baize._) My own portrait, as I
live! and a good likeness too, or my glass flatters me like the rest
of them. And this you painted from memory?

TRIP. Yes, madam; I have a free admission to every part of the theatre
before the curtain. I have so enjoyed your acting, that I have carried
your face home with me every night, forgive my presumption, and tried
to fix in the studio the impression of the stage.

WOFF. Do you know your portrait has merit? I will give you a sitting
for the last touches.

TRIP. Oh, madam!

WOFF. And bring all the critics - there, no thanks or I'll stay away.
Stay, I must have your address.

TRIP. (_returning to her_). On the fly leaf of each work, madam, you
will find the address of James Triplet, painter, actor, and dramatic
author, and Mrs. Woffington's humble and devoted servant. (_Bows
ridiculously low, moves away, but returns with an attempt at a jaunty
manner._) Madam, you have inspired a son of Thespis with dreams of
eloquence; you have tuned to a higher key a poet's lyre; you have
tinged a painter's existence with brighter colours; and - and - (_gazes on
her and tries in vain to speak_) God in heaven bless you, Mrs.
Woffington!

[_Exit L. hastily._

WOFF. So! I must look into this!

[_Enter Sir Charles Pomander L._]

POM. Ah, Mrs. Woffington, I have just parted with an adorer of yours.

WOFF. I wish I could part with them all.

POM. Nay, this is a most original admirer, Ernest Vane, that pastoral
youth who means to win La Woffington by agricultural courtship, who
wants to take the star from its firmament, and stick it in a cottage.

WOFF. And what does the man think I am to do without this (_imitates
applause_) from my dear public's thousand hands.

POM. You are to have that from a single mouth instead (_mimics a
kiss_).

WOFF. Go on, tell me what more he says.

POM. Why, he - -

WOFF. No, you are not to invent; I should detect your work in a
minute, and you would only spoil this man.

POM. He proposes to be your friend, rather than your lover; to fight
for your reputation instead of adding to your éclat.

WOFF. Oh! and is Mr. Vane your friend?

POM. He is!

WOFF. (_with significance_). Why don't you tell him my real character,
and send him into the country again!

POM. I do; but he snaps his fingers at me and common sense and the
world: - there is no getting rid of him, except in one way. I had this
morning the honour, madam, of laying certain propositions at your
feet.

WOFF. Oh, yes, your letter, Sir Charles (_takes it out of her
pocket_). I ran my eye down it as I came along, let me
see - (_letter_) - "a coach," "a country house," "pin-money." Heigh ho!
And I am _so_ tired of houses, and coaches, and pins. Oh, yes, here
_is_ something. What is this you offer me, up in this corner?

[_They inspect the letter together._]

POM. That, - my "heart!"

WOFF. And you can't even write it; it looks just like "earth." There
is your letter, Sir Charles.

[_Curtseys and returns it; he takes it and bows._]

POM. Favour me with your answer.

WOFF. You have it.

POM. (_laughing_). Tell me, do you really refuse?

WOFF. (_inspecting him_). Acting surprise? no, genuine! My good soul,
are you so ignorant of the stage and the world, as not to know that I
refuse such offers as yours every week of my life? I have refused so
many of them, that I assure you I have begun to forget they are
insults.

POM. Insults, madam! They are the highest compliment you have left it
in our power to pay you.

WOFF. Indeed! Oh, I take your meaning. To be your mistress could be
but a temporary disgrace; to be your wife might be a lasting
discredit. Now sir, having played your rival's game - -

POM. Ah!

WOFF. And exposed your own hand, do something to recover the
reputation of a man of the world. Leave the field before Mr. Vane can
enjoy your discomfiture, for here he comes.

POM. I leave you, madam, but remember, my discomfiture is neither your
triumph, nor your swain's.

[_Exit L._

WOFF. I do enjoy putting down these irresistibles.

[_Enter Vane, L._]

At last! I have been here so long.

VANE. Alone?

WOFF. In company and solitude. What has annoyed you?

VANE. Nothing.

WOFF. Never try to conceal anything from me. I know the map of your
face. These fourteen days you have been subject to some adverse
influence; and to-day I have discovered whose it is.

VANE. No influence can ever shake yours.

WOFF. Dear friend, for your own sake, not mine; trust your own heart,
eyes, and judgment.

VANE. I do. I love you; your face is the shrine of sincerity, truth,
and candour. I alone know you: your flatterers do not - your
detractors - oh! curse them!

WOFF. You see what men are! Have I done ill to hide the riches of my
heart from the heartless, and keep them all for one honest man, who
will be my friend, I hope, as well as my lover?

VANE. Ah, that is my ambition.

WOFF. We actresses make good the old proverb, "Many lovers, but few
friends." And oh! it is we who need a friend. Will you be mine?

VANE. I will. Then tell me the way for me, unequal in wit and address
to many of your admirers, to win your esteem.

WOFF. I will tell you a sure way; never act in my presence, never try
to be very clever or eloquent. Remember! I am the goddess of tricks: I
can only love my superior. Be honest and frank as the day, and you
will be my superior; and I shall love you, and bless the hour you
shone on my artificial life.

VANE. Oh! thanks, thanks, for this, I trust, is in my power!

WOFF. Mind - it is no easy task: to be my friend is to respect me, that
I may respect myself the more; to be my friend is to come between me
and the temptations of an unprotected life - the recklessness of a
vacant heart.

VANE. I will place all that is good about me at your feet. I will
sympathize with you when you are sad; I win rejoice when you are gay.

WOFF. Will you scold me when I do wrong?

VANE. Scold you?

WOFF. Nobody scolds me now - a sure sign nobody loves me. Will you scold
me?

VANE (_tenderly_). I will try! and I will be loyal and frank. You will
not hate me for a confession I make myself? (_agitated._)

WOFF. I shall like you better - oh! so much better.

VANE. Then I will own to you - -

WOFF. Oh! do not tell me you have loved others before me; I could not
bear to hear it.

VANE. No - no - I never _loved_ till now.

WOFF. Let me hear that only. I am jealous even of the past. Say you
never loved but me - never mind whether it is true - say so; - but it is
true, for you do not yet know love. Ernest, shall I make you love me,
as none of your sex ever loved? with heart, and brain, and breath, and
life, and soul?

VANE. Teach me so to love, and I am yours for ever. (_Pause_) And now
you will keep your promise, to make me happy with your presence this
morning at the little festival I had arranged with Cibber and some of
our friends of the theatre.

WOFF. I shall have so much pleasure; but, _àpropos_, you must include
Snarl and Soaper in your list.

VANE. What! the redoubtable Aristarchuses of the pit?

WOFF. Yes. Oh, you don't know the consequences of loving an actress.
You will have to espouse my quarrels, manage my managers, and invite
my critics to dinner.

VANE. They shall be invited, never fear.

WOFF. And I've a trust for you; poor Triplet's three tragedies. If
they are as heavy in the hearing as the carrying - - But here comes your
rival, poor Pomander (_crosses to L._).

[_Enter Sir Charles, L._]

You will join our party at Mr. Vane's, Sir Charles? You promised, you
know (_crosses to L._).

POM. (_coldly_). _Desolé_ to forfeit such felicity; but I have
business.

VANE (_as he passes, crosses to C._). By-the-bye, Pomander, that
answer to your letter to Mrs. Woffington?

WOFF. He has received it. _N'est ce pas_, Sir Charles? You see how
radiant it has made him! Ha! ha!

[_Exeunt Woffington and Vane L. H._

POM. Laughing devil! If you had wit to read beneath men's surface, you
would know it is no jest to make an enemy of Sir Charles Pomander.

[_Enter Hundsdon, R._]

HUNDS. Servant, Sir Charles.

POM. Ah, my yeoman pricker, with news of the mysterious Hebe of my
Barnet rencontre. Well, sirrah, you stayed by the coach as I bade you?

HUNDS. Yes, Sir Charles.

POM. And pumped the servants?

HUNDS. Yes, Sir Charles, till they swore they'd pump on me.

POM. My good fellow, contrive to answer my questions without punning,
will you?

HUNDS. Yes, Sir Charles.

POM. What did you learn from them? Who is the lady, their mistress?

HUNDS. She is on her way to town to join her husband. They have only
been married a twelvemonth; and he has been absent from her half the
time.

POM. Good. Her name?

HUNDS. Vane.

POM. Vane!

HUNDS. Wife of Mr. Ernest Vane, a gentleman of good estate, Willoughby
Manor, Huntingdonshire.

POM. What! - What! - His wife, by heaven! Oh! here is a rare revenge. Ride
back, sirrah, and follow the coach to its destination.

HUNDS. They took master for a highwayman. If they knew him as well as
I do, they wouldn't do the road such an injustice.

[_Exit R._

POM. (_with energy_). I'll after them; and if I can but manage that
Vane shall remain ignorant of her arrival, I may confront Hebe with
Thalia; introduce the wife to the mistress under the husband's roof.
Aha! my Arcadian pair, there may be a guest at your banquet you little
expect, besides Sir Charles Pomander!

[_Exit L._


SCENE II. - _A spacious and elegant Apartment in the House of Mr. Vane,
opening into a Garden formally planted, with Statues, &c. A Table set
for a collation, with Fruits, Flowers, Wine, and Plate. A Door C.
flat, communicating with Entrance Hall, other Doors R. and L. Settees
and high-backed Chairs, a Side Table with Plate, Salvers, &c._

[_Colander discovered arranging table._]

COL. So! malmsey, fruit, tea, coffee, yes! all is ready against their
leaving the dining-room!

[_Enter James Burdock, a salver with letters in his hand._]

BUR. Post letters, Master Colander.

COL. Put 'em on the salver. (_Burdock does so._) You may go, honest
Burdock - (_Burdock fidgets, turning the letters on the salver_) when I
say you _may_ go - that means you _must;_ the stable is your place when
the family is not in Huntingdonshire, and at present the family is in
London.

BUR. And I wish it was in Huntingdonshire, with the best part of it,
and that's mistress. Poor thing! A twelvemonth married, and six months
of it as good as a widow.

COL. We write to her, James, and receive her replies.

BUR. Aye! but we don't read 'em, it seems.

COL. We intend to do so at our leisure - meanwhile we make ourselves
happy among the wits and the players.

BUR. And she do make others happy among the poor and the suffering.

COL. James Burdock, property has its duties, as well as its rights.


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