But the laws of Pluto’s kingdom know small difference between king, and cobbler; manager, and call-boy; and, if haply your dates of life were conterminant, you are quietly taking your passage, cheek by cheek (O ignoble levelling of Death) with the shade of some recently departed candle-snuffer.
But mercy! what strippings, what tearing off of histrionic robes, and private vanities! what denudations to the bone, before the surly Ferryman will admit you to set a foot within his battered lighter!
Crowns, sceptres; shield, sword, and truncheon; thy own coronation robes (for thou hast brought the whole property man’s wardrobe with thee, enough to sink a navy); the judge’s ermine; the coxcomb’s wig; the snuff-box a la Foppington—all must overboard, he positively swears—and that ancient mariner brooks no denial; for, since the tiresome monodrame of the old Thracian Harper, Charon, it is to be believed, hath shown small taste for theatricals.
Aye, now ’tis done. You are just boat weight; pura et puta anima.
But bless me, how little you look!
So shall we all look—kings, and keysars—stript for the last voyage.
But the murky rogue pushes off. Adieu, pleasant, and thrice pleasant shade! with my parting thanks for many a heavy hour of life lightened by thy harmless extravaganzas, public or domestic.
Rhadamanthus, who tries the lighter causes below, leaving to his two brethren the heavy calendars—honest Rhadamanth, always partial to players, weighing their parti-coloured existence here upon earth,—making account of the few foibles, that may have shaded thy real life as we call it, (though, substantially, scarcely less a vapour than thy idlest vagaries upon the boards of Drury,) as but of so many echoes, natural repercussions, and results to be expected from the assumed extravagancies of thy secondary or mock life, nightly upon a stage—after a lenient castigation, with rods lighter than of those Medusean ringlets, but just enough to “whip the offending Adam out of thee”—shall courteously dismiss thee at the right hand gate—the O.P. side of Hades—that conducts to masques, and merry-makings, in the Theatre Royal of Proserpine.
My acquaintance with the pleasant creature, whose loss we all deplore, was but slight.
My first introduction to E., which afterwards ripened into an acquaintance a little on this side of intimacy, was over a counter of the Leamington Spa Library, then newly entered upon by a branch of his family. E., whom nothing misbecame—to auspicate, I suppose, the filial concern, and set it a going with a lustre—was serving in person two damsels fair, who had come into the shop ostensibly to inquire for some new publication, but in reality to have a sight of the illustrious shopman, hoping