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VOLUME THE THIRD.
LIONEL AND CLARISSA.
'o what is said respecting Bickerstaff and his Operas in the Editor's Preface to Lionel and Clarissa, the following anecdote, from the Memoirs of Richard Cumberland, Written by Himself, (8vo. Edn. Vol. I. p. 250.) appears to be a proper addition. In the year 1765, the same year in which The Maid of the Mill was brought out, Cumberland's Summer's Tale, which he called A Músical Comedy of Three Acts, was performed at Covent Garden, though not with much success. Speaking of this play, he says: « Bickerstaff, who had established “ himself in the public favour by the success of his
operas above-mentioned, seemed to consider me as an “intruder upon his province, with whom he was to keep
no terms, and he set all engines of abuse to work
upon me and my poor drama, whilst it was yet in re“ hearsal, not repressing his acrimony till it had been be“ fore the public; when to have discussed it in the spirit " of fair criticism might have afforded him full matter of
triumph, without convicting him of any previous “ malice or personality against an unoffending author. I
was no sooner put in possession of the proofs, against
him, which were exceedingly gross, than I remonstra. “ ted by letter to him against his uncandid proceeding ; " I have no copy of that letter; I wish I had preserved “it, as it would be in proof to show that my disposition
“ to live in harmony with my contemporaries was, at my
very outset as a writer for the stage, what it has uni. 6 formly been to the present hour, and that, although " this attack was one of the most virulent and unfair
ever made upon me, yet I no otherwise appealed 66 against it, than by telling him, " That if his contempt " of my performance was really what he professed it to
be, he had no need to fear me as a rival, and might 6 relax from his intemperance; on the contrary, if alarm " for his own interest had any share in the motives for “his animosity, I was perfectly ready to purchase his
peace of mind and good will by the sacrifice of those
emoluments, which might eventually accrue from my " nights, in any such way as might relieve his anxiety, 66 and convince him of my entire disinterestedness in “ commencing author; adding in conclusion, that he
might assure himself he would never hear of me again as a writer of operas.' This I can perfectly recollect
the purport of my letter, which I dictated in the « belief of what was reported to me as an apology for “ his conduct, and entirely ascribed his hostility to his " alarm on the score of interest, and not to the evil tema
per of his mind. This was the interpretation I put upon
what Mr. Bickerstaff had written of me, and my 66 real motive for what I wrote to him: I understood he
was wholly dependant on the stage, and that the necessity of his circumstances made him bitter against any
one, who stept forward to divide the favour of the " public with him. To insult his poverty, or presume “ on my advantage over him in respect of circumstances,
was a thought, that never found admission to my « heart, nor did Bickerstaff himself so construe my letter,
or suspect me of such baseness; for Mr. Garrick af. « terwards informed me that Bickerstaff shewed this letter " to him as an appeal to his feelings of such a nature, as
ought to put him to silence; and when Mr. Garrick
represented to him, that he also saw it in that light, he “ did not scruple to confess that his attack had been un« fair, and that he should never repeat it against me or émy productions. I led him into no further tempta
“ tions, for whilst he continued to supply the stage with
musical pieces, I turned my thoughts to dramas of “ another cast, and we interfered no longer with each « other's labours."
See also Mr. Mudford's Life of Cumberland, just published, p. 156–161.
Since writing that Preface, I have read The Absent Man: A Farce, written by Bickerstaff, and performed at Drury-Lane in 1768. It is certainly highly farcical; but the subject is proper for Farce, and with some alterations might maintain a place upon the stage as a very amusing piece.
To the Dramatis Persona, p. 14, add SERVANT.
AT p. 104, Note, I have stated that the first edition of Randolph's Poems was printed in 1638. This I had done on the authority of The Biogr. Dram, and of Eger. ton's Theatrical Remembrancer: but, since writing that, I have seen in a Catalogue of Books, just published by Mr. Combe, bookseller, at Leicester, amongst the 8vo. books,“ 823 Randolph's Poems, with the Muses' Looking-glass, &c. 2s. 6d. 1618." This I sent for, but it was gone. I can, therefore, do nothing more than state the circumstance.
At p. 100. I have mentioned that The Toy-Shop has been sometimes performed as a Mono-Drama. As it may be useful to theatrical persons, and also to others, to point out particularly how this may be done, I will here refer to such parts as may be introduced, together with the alterations and additions which
be necessary for the purpose.
The Master would be discovered in his Toy-shop, as at p. 113; and, after the Soliloquy, as there given, might add,
“But, methinks, I am preaching rather than attend
ing to my shop. But why not do both at once? There " is nothing which will not, if rightly considered, afford
us a moral lesson. The contemplative mind, as our great dramatic bard expresses it,
“ Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
As you like it. A. II. S. 1. Thus, my Shop is my Chapel, and every piece of “ Goods a different Text, from which I can expose the
« Vices and Follies of Mankind in an allegorical Ser
I may be called a Preacher, indeed,” &c. See p. 117, to the end of the speech. Then
“ Here is a LOOKING-GLASS, the finest,” &c. See p. 114, and the Master's second speech upon it. Then
“ Here is a very diminutive piece of goods. This Box is a very great curiosity, being the least Box that ever
was seen in England. Yet, would you think it !” &c. See p. 115, to “hoard his money.” Then
very fine PERSPECTIVE Glass, is a most useful 6 and diverting thing. The nature of the glass is this ;" &c. See p. 115, to the end of the speech. Then
66 Here is A DARK LANTERN. In this Lantern, in“ deed, there is light; but so shut up," &c. See p. 125. Note, first two paragraphs of the quotation from Bp. Hall. Then
6 Here is A MEMORANDUM Book, in the use of " which there are some general Rules,” &c. See p. 119, to the end of the speech. Then
“ This Plain Gold Ring, is the most awful piece 66 of goods in my shop.
With this Man and Woman are join'd together, become Husband and Wife, and
are made happy or miserable for the rest of their days. “ It is a desperate venture, to be sure," &c. See p. 123, to the end of the speech. Then
" But a good Wife is the greatest blessing,” &c. See p. 122, to the end of the speech. Then may be added,
" In contemplating this blessed state, no wonder the Poet should break out in the following strain:
“ Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
Though few now taste thee unimpair'd and pure;
sheds into the chrystal cup. 6 Thou art the nurse of virtue-in thine arms “She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is, “ Heav'n-born, and destin’d to the skies agais,