the scene-shifter ingeniously introduceth a forest
a bed-chamber, or committeth the like incongruity, marvellous
pleasant and mirthful to behold, but in no way conducive to
pistols or other fire-arms do miss fire; when red fire
igniteth not, or igniteth the scenes; when a trap-door
refuseth to open, a rope to draw, and the like.
the author intrusteth his principal part to a new actor,
and it falleth out that the same doth grievously offend the
audience, who straight insist that he do quit the stage,
whereby the ruin of the piece is consummated.
there be misfortunes that arise from the audience;
as, when at a momentous point of the plot there entereth one
heated with liquor, and causeth a disturbance, or a woman
with a huge bonnet becometh the subject of a discussion as to
her right to wear the same, and impede the view of them that
be behind; also when there cometh in a ruffian, or more, in a
pea-coat, who having been charged by an enemy to work the
ruin of the piece, endeavoureth to do the same, by dint of
hisses or other unseemly noises, all of which be highly
Secondly, of those unfortunate authors who have been successful, there be—
1.—He whose piece,
albeit successful, is withdrawn to make room
for the Christmas pantomine, Easter piece, or other
entertainment equally cherished by the manager, who thereupon
groundeth a plea of non-payment.
2.—He who being
a creditor of the manager, and the same being
unable to meet his obligations, by an ingenious contrivance of
the law becometh cleansed thereof, an operation which hath been
conceitedly termed “whitewashing.”
3.—He that writeth
a piece with a friend, and the same claimeth
the entire authorship thereof and emolument therefrom.
And there be divers other calamities which we have neither space nor time to enumerate, but which be all incentives to abstain from dramatic writing.
* * * * *
JACK KETCH; OR, A LEAF FROM TYBURN TREE.
Modern legislation is chiefly remarkable for its oppressive interference with the elegant amusements of the mob. Bartholomew-fair is abolished; bull-baiting, cock-pits, and duck-hunts are put down by act of Parliament; prize-fighting, by the New Police—even those morally healthful exhibitions, formerly afforded opposite the Debtors’ Door of Newgate, for the sake of example—that were attended by idlers in hundreds, and thieves in thousands—are fast growing into disuse. The “masses” see no pleasure now: even the hanging-matches are cut off.