« AnteriorContinuar »
THE HIGHLAND REEL:
A MUSICAL FARCE,
In Two Acts,
BY JOHN O'KEEFFE, ESQ.
Author of Modern Antiques, The Poor Soldier, The Prisoner at Large, ge.
PRINTED FROM THE ACTING COPY, WITH REMARKS,
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL, BY D.-G.
To which are added,
A DESCRIPTION OF THE COSTUME,-CAST OF THE CHARACTERS, ENTRANCES AND EXITS, -RELATIVE POSITIONS OF THE PERFORMERS ON THE STAGE, AND THE WHOLE
OF THE STAGE BUSINESS,
As performed at the
EMBELLISHED WITH PORTRAIT OF MISS FOOTE,
IN THE CHARACTER OF MOGGY M'GILPIN.
Engraved on Steel by MR. WOOLNOTA, from an original Drawing
by MR. WAGEMAN.
LONDON: JOHN CUMBERLAND, 2, CUMBERLAND TERRACE,
CAMDEN NEW TOWN.
The Highland Reel.
O’KEEPE is almost the only dramatist (with the exception of Bickerstaff, the author of Love in a Village) who has transplanted humour from town to country, who has enlivened rural scenes with ludicrous sketches, and sent a merry fellow among village lads and lasses, to laugh at others, and to get laughed at in turn. Scarcely any of his pieces are without a Darby, a Jemmy Jumps, a Shelty, or some such comical wag: and, though he wrote many of his cha. racters purposely to exhibit the drollery of Edwin, yet, as he did not entirely depart from nature, they have been successfully represented by succeeding actors, who, if they failed to excite the extra. vagant mirth peculiar to that child of glee, were nevertheless highly entertaining.
The empire of Capid is universal. Unlike other potentates, he does every thing in his own proper person, and nothing by deputy. In this farce, Mr. O'Keefe has sent him to Scotland. But “what should he do in the north, when he should be in the south ?" Ex. perience, however, proves his omnipresence-he is seen only in his effects, and is as much an enigma as the wind, that puts us to our wit's end to discover whence it cometh, and whither it goeth. The Highland Reel is an instance of his pranks in the Western Isles of Scotland. Charley and Moggy, two young lovers, have made up their minds to elope together; and, as it is usual in these matters to keep folks as much in the dark as possible, they rise before day. light to take their trip. Now Mr. M'Gilpin, the father of Moggy, is a believer in witches, wizards, and warlocks, and, having been grievously disturbed by certain strange noises during the night, rises just in time to discover that bis daughter is about to elope ; and to receive a box-not on his ear, but his head, containing finery, which Moggy tbrows ont at window for Charley to catch, previous to her taking the lover's leap herself. Charley has all this time contrived to keep out of sight; the old gentleman is therefore
puzzled to learn who can be his daughter's gallant. The opportune entry of Shelly, who comes betimes to rouse the boys and girls to make merry at a wedding, solves his doubts; he accuses him of a design to seduce the innocence of Moggy, and the latter is ingenious enough to favour the idea. M'Gilpin, therefore, for ber safer custody, confides his daughter to the care of Charley. Some odd mistakes occur in the progress of the piece one of the most whimsical is, the superstitious fears of M'Gilpin for a certain crab-stick, the pro. perty of Shelty, that Charley makes the old man believe has the magic power of imposing silence, and was cut from a yew-tree in the church-yard, and made a present of to Shelty by his old grandmo. ther, who was a witch !
The dialogue, songs, characters, and incidents, are quite in the style of O'Keefe--quibbling, comic, and sometimes extravagant. There is a chirruping tone about this lively writer, that no succeeding dramatist has caught. He seems in perfect good humour with himself, and all the world : and in the midst of his fun and frolic he throws in a sound moral, a dash of feeling, as delightful as they are unexpected. Shelty is the chief character in the piece. He may say
"Naught from my birth or ancestors I claim ;
All is my own, my honour and my shame,"
for his father, Mr. Croudy, is a smuggler and a poacher and he is descended, like Caliban, though one remove further, from a witchhis grandmother, Goody Commins, having been banished from the island, like Sycorax, for her sorceries. Shelty is a jovial fellow, and the only one in the island renowned for his harınunious jollifications. He moreover keeps a whiskey-shop, wliich may in a great measure account for that second sight which has been attributed to his family-for second sight we shrewdly suspect is nothing more than the faculty of seeing double--and who that has swallowed frequent potations of mountain dew will deny the possession of this marvellous gift? But, however descended, Shelty is a whimsical fellow. We can readily believe that he reversed nature's rule, and was born laughing, instead of crying; and that the jocose singularity produced that universal relaxation of muscle throughout the whole family, down to the parson that christened him, and the clerk that cried, Amen!
Munden's Shelty was quite in his own way. His shining face, leering eye, and ludicrous gestures, gave a perfect exhibition of this son of a-necromancer and grandson of a witch. It was a character in which ne might be said to revel. When shall we again bear