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for, under all the vicissitudes of his fate, and the bitterest disappointment of his hopes, Port wine never failed to administer a balm to his feelings. But what was Ralph's astonishment at observing the waiter give an involuntary start as he put it on the table? Our hero in his turn started also; and, looking the waiter more observantly in the face, every trait of which had been long familiar to him, exclaimed with the greatest emotion· Eh-Eh - it cannot be-yes, it must be—it is Rumbsby.'
“Yes, Reybridge, it is Rumbsby,' returned the waiter, and threw himself into our hero's arms. It is your own Rumbsby!”
This most singular recognition excited considerable mirth. Whether it was a bona fide reading from the book, or a malicious interpretation to raise a laugh against the novel-writer, I cannot exactly determine; but that a scene of this kind actually occurs in the work, is, I think, evident from an oil-painting in the exhibition of that year, marked in the catalogue thus.—" Ralph Reybridge recognizing his friend Rumbsby in the disguise of a waiter, at the Falcon Inn. From the novel of Ralph Reybridge.” So that it appears to have been a favourite scene of the author's.
Yet, when we recollect the snares that vanity is for ever throwing about our paths to entangle us, who could be so cold-blooded as to deride or sneer at this worthy creature, for a slight miscal. culation of his powers? The thing itself is common, and the failing a venial one; it is a misallied branch of that noble spirit, that spurs us on to the great enterprizes of the intellect and the imagination; and it would be a dangerous, as well as ungenerous policy, to frown down the innocent, though mistaken predilections, we sometimes entertain for the very productions, to which our powers are the most incompetent. It is, however, justice fairly due to Linley, and to the Sublime Society itself, to remark, that on these occasions, he never betrayed the irritable sulkiness of a roasted author, but took the pleasantries that played around him with the most imperturbable good humour; nay, I am quite convinced, that the platitudes of his novel were placed before him in so ridiculous a light, that he himself most heartily concurred in the laugh they excited. Such is the spirit of this admirable Club—the very martyr of the joke becomes its auxiliary.
I cannot find that Linley furnished Moore, for his Life of Sheridan, with any materials but the common-place books, in which his brother-inlaw was occasionally wont to deposit his dramatic sketches, or to bottle-up the jokes he had collected for future use, and which he had either imagined himself, or heard from any one else. But Linley, I think, might have scraped up many facetious pleasantries of Sheridan, many of which were deeply engraved in his recollection, because they had been practised upon himself, or upon his brother Hozy (as Sheridan called him), who was an unfailing butt when he was disposed to amuse himself with a practical jest. On one occasion, the jest was much too practical, if, as Sheridan afterwards gave out, it was intended for a jest, which I am much disposed to doubt. Poor Linley, many years ago, had written a musical farce, in two acts, called the Pavilion, which was acted at Drury Lane, and had set the songs to some exquisite music of his own com. position, which was highly and justly admired. But not being much experienced in dramatic writing, and naturally solicitous for the success of his first attempt in that department, he placed it in Sheridan's hands, that the dialogue might receive a few touches from so great a master. Sheridan undertook the task with his usual good-nature, which, as every one knows, was inexhaustible in all kinds of promise. The piece was cast—the performers were satisfied with their parts—and the night fixed for its representation ; but the manuscript still slumbered upon Sheridan's table, and it was only by incessant importunities that the author could recover it in time for a rehearsal. But it was returned with no correction or alteration whatever, save the slight addition of a very middling joke upon the lover's valet, who, it seems, was subject to perpetual fits of absence, did every thing in a violent hurry, and united the incompatible offices of writing love-verses for his master, and getting every thing ready that appertained to his toilette. This addition Linley could not very well reject, though it was “none of the newest," for the idea, such as it was, had
been worn threadbare by Congreve and Cibber. In answer to his master's reproof of his negligence, the fellow makes a remonstrance upon the irksome and incongruous duties that were cast
There,” says he, had I not fifty verses to write for you upon your finding Miss Louisa Dangle's garter? Had I not at the same time your coat to brush, your boots to polish, your hair to dress, and to carry the poetry, with the garter enclosed, to Miss Dangle's maid—and was not all this to be done in a single hour?"
His master replies : “ Yes, you blockhead, and you marred the whole by your cursed confusion of head, and precipitancy of action ; for you ran in a violent bustle to Miss Dangle, burglariously entered her dressing-room, and brushed her riding-habit vi et armis—then curled her hair by sheer force with cold curling-irons ;-and, after all, inscribed the verses to me, and enclosed the garter in the envelope.”
This, which is certainly not in the best antithetic style of Sheridan's comedy, was, by the Critics of the pit, who never dreamed that She.