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of that scene come too late, though I should defer them even till another Saturday.
Blest be the heroes who give politicians time to stir their coffee, and weigh their exploits at leisure, without heaping battle on battle and siege on siege; they are forced to fight and make a shift to escape-a comfortable subsistance for a politician's whole summer. They do not lump half-a-dozen victories, as that hasty fellow the Duke of Marlborough did; before a grave citizen had traced out Schellenberg in the map, he was confounded with the victory of Blenheim.
I shall not enter into the present dispute between the managers of the play-houses, and their actors; but shall oblige my readers, who may have been searching the records of the theatres, with some anecdotes of a famous Schism which I have never read in any history of the Stage; but which are not at all the less true, for not being till now to be found in print.
When Sir Richard Steele was master of the
playhouse here, I have been told, there happened a division among the actors of the Theatre at Dublin, which occasioned a separation of that company. One of the principal performers with a few under-strappers, as guards, messengers, attendants, and candle-snuffers, came over to list under Sir Richard, but as their demands were so high, and their qualifications so low, it is worth while to give an account of both. Their demands were comprehended in a few terms; namely, a dismission of the then principal actors of Sir Richard's troop, and an admission of these gentry into their parts. This demand was made in form to Sir Richard, by Mr. W. Poney, the captain of their band. Sir Richard was a man of infinite humour, but little temper; and when Will Poney* proposed his turning off his old Comedians, he fell into a violent rage, and kick'd his hat about with all
* Wm. Pultney.
the huffing Majesty of a theatrical Monarch: when he grew a little calmer, he desired a review of those notable gentlemen who were to be employed in his service. Mr. Poney immediately produced them, in order to shew their qualifications; the first he called was one John Limekiln, who, having no very promising aspect,
'Pray Mr. Poney," said Sir Richard, “what parts may this gentleman have been used to act. I cannot say that he is what you call a good figure for the stage-I dare swear you never let him appear in Comedy." No, Sir; no," said Mr. Poney, "we always used him for the murderer, he shone particularly in the whisper, where the fellow tells Macbeth he hath dispatched Banquo. We once tried him for a Chairman in the Committee, or the Faithful Irishman, but I must own he made a sorry figure there, and could not go through with the part; but what I would recommend him to
* James Hamilton, Lord Limerick, was created Earl of Clanbrasil.
your honour for, is, Prompter, or what in Iréland we call Remembrancer. Here is the next, Simon Shadow.* "Pray, Master Shadow," said Sir Richard, "what is your province ?" "Alack, Sir," replied he, "I was by trade a linen-draper; but thinking I had talents for the stage, I entered into the company and was employed as woman's Taylor.-I could not act, indeed, myself, but I used to swear Mr. Poney spoke like an angel; for which, Sir, he got me a regular salary."-" Pho," said Sir Richard peevishly, "must I take a fellow for an actor because he said another acted well? Come, Sir, your next.""Here, Mr. Bottle," said Mr. Poney, "come forth-This gentleman, Sir," said he, presenting him to Sir Richard, “has seldom play'd any thing but the lawyer; but he is equally fit for any thing else. Mr. Jefferey Hill come forth". "And what can he act," said Sir Richard," Any part," said Mr. Poney,
Henry Furnese. + Mr. Bootle, Solicitor to the Prince.
"that does not require speaking.
Here Peter Bullcalf, where are you?" Peter stepped forth with his tongue out of his mouth; but without speaking a syllable. "Well, Mr. Bullcalf," said Sir Richard, "are you as complete an actor as the last gentleman? What can you do." Bullcalf rolled his tongue about; spatterred out a plentiful quantity of dew, and then roar'd. "Zounds," said Sir Richard, "what part do you call this, Mr. Poney?"-" Sir," replied he, "he is a young beginner, and never performed any thing but the monster in Perseus and Andromeda."" An excellent troop of comedians truly," said Sir Richard, here are, two who never acted but short parts; one that only said you could act; and two who never could speak at all. But, pray Sir, are your women all as silent as the rest of your company: let us see them." Mr. Poney stepped out and return'd with four old fellows, drest with blue
Henry Vane, afterwards Lord Darlington.