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furiously in love with the Natural Son, at the same time that the honour of her hand is courted by Jack Hustings, a neighbouring country gentleman, In the conclusion of the piece, The, of course, is obliged to surrender her more darling preterfions to the stronger attractions of Lady Paragon; and The consents to reward the fidelity of her ruftic admirer, These two stories are certainly very intimately connected. And though we shall always ascribe a more elevated degree of praise to the writer, whose drama can subsift upon a fingle plot, yet it must be confessed in the present instance, that each story is so little complicated, and has so little agitation and suspence, that, if the plot be double, it however by no means presents us with the huddled and indistinct train of events, which too generally results from that circumstance.

But manners and character are the strong hold of the comic mufe. Mr. Blushenly, the leading personage of the drama, has little accuracy of discrimination and peculiarity of feature, to distinguish him from the mob of heroes that went before him. But the want of outline in this character is in fome measure compensated in that of Lady Paragon. The combination of the most perfect goodvets of heart with the urmoft gaiety of humour, though in our opinion extremely natural, has been seldom attempted in theatrical character. Mr. Cumberland has been too long conversant in the scenes of elevated life, to have failed in the indolent but at the fame time vivacious naiveté he intended to bestow upon his heroine. And, though we do not confess in the character many of those finihed touches, that befpeak the master of the comic scene, yet is there fomething in the generofity of her heart and the liberality of her sentiments, that is unboundedly attractive and interesting.

We have in former instances had occafion to deliver our sentiments upon the propriety of making an amorous old woman the principal figure in a comic canvas *. We must however in justice to our author acknowledge, that Mrs. Phæbe Latimer is a more agreeable companion, than we ceived could have been made of a woman of her defcription. There is something so irresistibly and exuberantly ludicrous in the whole of her manners and conduct, as to amount to a pretty ample atonement for the extensive share the has engrossed of the play. In the part of her brother the baronet there is little room for cenfure, and as little for applause.

But the choiceft flower that Mr. Cumberland's garden can boaft in the prefent feafon is the character of Mrs. Phoebe's lover, Jack Huftings. This appears to us qualified to add

Vide Vol. III: p. 188.

lustre

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luftre to the richest garland that ever graced a poet's brow. It is indeed little more than a sketch; but it contains all the fimplicity of humour, and all the truth of manners, that could have filled the largest draught. The idea is apparently taken from the Will Wimble of Addison.

-Hunc veniam petimusque, damusque vicilim. When the hint thus fuggested is sustained in a manner equal, or, as in the present initance, superior to the style of the original, we willingly admit the writer's claim to a mansion in Parnassus; and in a republic to great and generous in blood, a community of goods must furely be a natural con. stitution. Will Wimble in love, is a rich and interesting exhibition, upon which, if fpirits departed have any commerce with this mortal scene, Addison himself might look down with complacency,

Between Mrs. Phæbe and her lover, to borrow the style of a celebrated writer, · The firit act of this play is the best I • ever saw in my life. The progress too of the drama bids fair to answer to the commencement.

Four different personages, Mr. Huftings, Major O'Flaliarty, Mr. Ruefuband his fervant, are introduced one after another upon the scene, in a manner that is certainly calculated to interest the attention and keep awake curiosity. But to the success of this ex pedient it seems neceffary that the characters should rise up upon one another. They certainly should not fall off. But we cannot congratulare our author upon this feature of his performance. The second part of Major O'Flaherty is what a second part is always expected to be.-Thougla the idea of Mr. Rueful, a generous free-hearted misanthropist, be not new, it will bear to be exhibited a second time. But in the present instance it seems completely abortive. By endeavouring to make it comic, it is laboured into farce. The general idea of the character is undoubtedly that of a person of humour, but the humour ought to be of a composed and serious caft, smiling through its tears, like the compassion of Yorick to the dog of Maria.--For Dumps, as he never did fourish, but in dulness and infipidity, we are not at all disposed to meet him with his own falutation, Floreat!

Having thus far discussed the general merits of the performance, we present the reader with the following pallages for his entertainment.

* JACK HUSTINGS AND SIR JEFFERY LATIMER. Ah Jack! how runs the world with thee?

Fack. Rubs as it runs, How is it, Knight?--give me thy forefinger; I am come to rumple a napkin with thee. Sir Jeff

. And thou shalt be as welcome, my good friend as to-day and to-morrow into the bargain,

Jack. Sir Jeff.

Jack. I know it, I know it well, else I would not come. I have brought thee a brace of trout, Knight; they are the first I've taken this season, and I'll warrant them as pink as a petticoat ;-hewed noble play, up the stream and down the stream :- cloud in the sky, a ripple on the water ;-here stood I ; you know my old watch; snap's the word-never miss my throw.-Haft got a good breed of birds on thy manor this sealan?

Sir Jeff Tolerable, tolerable, a pretty fairish parcel.

Fack." So much the better; l'll come and brush the stubbles for thee in a week or two's time. I have been putting your fowling pieces in order, for your armoury was in fad trin.--How does my dainty little widow and fair Phce be ? I have a little matter of business for thee, if I can bring it out. Sir Jeff

What's the matter now Jack? jack. Burst it! I don't know what to say to it, tho' I came partly o' purpose to open a bit of my mind to thee, only things put it out of my head.-By the way, don't let me forget to remind thee of Tom Trueby's election for verdurer-it comes on next Tuesday-Sir Roger's folks will be there. Tom's an honest fellow, and of the right kidney; we shall want your voice at the poll,

Here's my hand; never flinch from my friends; I am staunch for Trueby.Now go on with your

business, Fack. Why, I don't know how it is ; fometimes I think I am rather lonesome of an evening, when the days are fhort, and the roads bad, so that my neighbours can't visit me; then the parson's dead, and there l'am out of backgammon ;--books, you know, books are but dull company; a body is foon tir'd of reading.

Sir Jeff Certainly; any resource is better than that; it gives me the hip at once.

Fack. Besides, I have had a great loss amongst my greyhounds, and lo, do you feel sometimes think, by way of killing time, to take a wife; that's all.

Sir Jeff Well said, Jack; and you have a mind to take fair Phæbe, as you call her; foregad you will have wife enough, and to {pare.

Jack. Yes, yes, I am aware of all that; she's a bouncer, I confels : but then it is mostly in winter evenings I have occasion for such a companion; when fishing and fhooting seasons set in, I am generally from home.

Sir Hoff. She has the vengeance of a temper.
Jack. Never mind that, mine will serve for both,
Sir Jef. Have you broke your mind to her ?

Jack. No, no, that's to come yet; I shall be a little awkward and ungain at courting, I've a recipe for that.

Sir Jeff How fo, Jack?

Jack. Why I've got a little somewhat by heart out of a book, and can say it pretty smoothly; if I can bring her to that, I thall crme tolerably well off-but I hope I shall have your good word, Knight; if it is not with your liking, do you see, I am off, and no harm done.

Sir Feff: 'Tis a small compliment to say, I had rather pay her fortune to you than to a stranger, for marry the will; but as for my

good

good word with her, I wou'd not do you the injury to offer it. There the is in her caitle ; if thou hast the heart to attack it, march up boldly, the coast is clear; but if thou thinkeft it better to fortify with a good dinner, and a flaik of wine, friend David shall give thee a bottle of his beft, and we'll have a crash, my dear boy, to set thee on thy mettle.

Jack. With all my heart, I like your counsel well; it is an old faying, “ Women and wine ;” but I fay, Wine and women.

Sir Fif. Come thy ways with me, then, and we will have a batch at backgammon, to while away the time till David gives the fignal on the buttery-door.

The following scene is built upon the deception, not very confiftent by the way with the character of the hero, that is put upon Mrs. Phæbe, when she is told of the expected arrival of Mr. Latimer, as a diftinct person from Blushenly, and led to believe, that, when he is married to Lady Paragon,

The

may meet with a more suitable return to her ada yances from the latter,

Enter Mrs. Phæbe and O'Flaherty, Phæbe. There, there, there ! did you fee that, Sir ? O'Fl. Oh! yes; mighty close truly, mighty close.

Phæbe. As Mr. Latimer's friend, methinks you can't be very well pleas'd with this discovery

O'Fl. No indeed, and I am surpriz'd to see you bear it fo patiently; but you are of a sweet gentle nature, I perceive : and, as a reward for your patience, I can safely promise you thall hear no more of Bluthenly after this night.

Phæbe. How fo, how so? make me understand what you mean O'Fl. Never ask about it : never vex your lovely self-we have of

our own in Ireland. Phabe. Explain yourself, I conjure you.

O'Fl. Why, you know then there is such a thing in the world as a post-chaise-Well and here you live upon the coait, hard by the fea, do you mind me ?-Very well - Mighty convenient, you'll allow, for shipping off contraband, commodities, alias liveStock; for the continent.--Now if you can catch this young ram by the horns, and smuggle him into Dunkirk, we shall stop his breed at home, and nobody the wiser.

Phæbe. Horrible! wou'd you take the young man out of the kingdom wou'd you murder him ?

ÖFl. Why that shall be just as you like; it would make his voyage the shorter.

Phehe. Barbarian! I'll not suffer it : my blood chills with the idea.

O'Fl, Oh then take another recipe to warm it: Elope with him yourself.

Ph. Myself!

O'Fl. 'Tis done every day ; the most effectual mode in nature to pique the jealousy of the young lady at home ; fhe'll marry Lati

mer,

to do.

a way

you were of

mer, out of revenge, in a week: the only thing is, to put a small force upon your moderty; if you have friendship enough for your niece to do this, all dificulties are over.

Ph. Do you propose this in ridicule, or in insult to me ?

O’Fl. Nay, it it shocks the delicacy of your nature, away with it at once; and, to say the truth, I was afraid your modely could not put up with it.

What will become of her reputation says I to Mr. Latimer. Wou'd you put a fair innocent creature fide by fide with a tempting young rogue in a close carriage? I'm asham'd of you, fayz 1.-Oh! I rattled him off roundly, for dreaming of it: for I was of your way of thinking, that it wou'd be beft to knock hiin on the head at once, and save mischief.

Fb. Murder to save mischief !-Murder my reputation rather! inclose me in the odious post-chailc ! let my innocence be your facrifice, sooner than mcditate an act so horrible: if no means else can be devised to separate him from Lady Paragon, bchold me ready to devote myself a voluntary victim to preserve the honour and the interests of my family!

OʻFl. Why then, as I'm a finner, there is not a martyr in the calendar, can go beyond you.-Oh, fweet Phæbe; if. the right persuasion, you wou'd be the first saint of your name!Make up your inind, dear creature, for the journey : pack up a few trifles for your occations by the way ; put a good bosk in your poco ket, to keep the foul fiend at a distance; for mind what I tell you, there's no trusting to these close carriages : as for holding him in talk about the weather, and the prospects, and all that, don't depend upon it, for the night will be as dark as a hedge; then there's such a cracking and rattling with your iron work, screaming goes for nothing in an English poft-chaife.

Ph. Talk no more of such idle prospects ; I have other resources than

you know of; and shall take care to prevent mischief, both to him, and to her, or myself.

[Exit. O'Fl. Mercy on me! what a fermentation does a little learning raise in a female scull! No wonder that out fortune-hunters poach amongst these petticoated pedants; they fall into the snare like a pheafant from his perch.

Exit. Upon the whole, the present performance seems evidently calculated to reflect considerable credit upon its author, and is not to be regarded as inferior to any of Mr. Cumberland's former productions. And, though we cannot but consider Mr. Sheridan, as ouftripping his brethren of the fock,

Quantum lonta folent inter viburna cupreffi; yet assuredly, as long as brilliancy of repartee, fidelity of delineation, and chafteness of humour, are held in any esteem, fo long will the Comedy of the Natural Son be seen with pleasure and remembered with commendation.

ART.

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