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in the midst of the dance Cinderella listens to the hour striking twelve. In trepidation and despair she hears the last stroke of the bell, but too late ; her fine dress in an instant becomes the homely garb of the kitchen maid, and her poor honest attendant, who had been adorned also, by the magic of the goddess, in elegant attire, re-assumes the garb of the serving-man. Cinderella is now recognized by her sisters, and is hustled out of the ball room, leaving behind her a glass slipper; shewing, in a very moral point of view, the punishment of excess, and the mischief of disobedience. The prince, enamoured with the fair stranger who appeared at the ball, now issues an edict, offering his hand to the lady whom the glass slipper should fit. The ascent of Cupid in the planet Venus, which shoots down to receive him, has a charming effect, and keeps up the classical beauties of the piece. The unhappy Cinderella receives forgiveness for her fault, and her honest attendant very opportunely, as he thinks, brings in another pumpkin and another trap of mice, in hopes of another chariot and horses, but he is deceived ; and the wholesome old maxim, that an opportunity lost is not to be regained, becomes verified; they have new difficulties to overcome. In the next scene the candidates for the slipper appear, and among the rest the sisters of Cinderella, who experience all the mortifications of presumption. Numerous are the claimants who are dismissed, and, at last, through the persuasion of her faithful attendant Cinderella appears in her homely garb a candidate or the prize; but she is only hooted at and pushed aside
by her cruel sisters, until the prince comes forward and nobly asserts the right of even the humblest individual to a trial; when, to the great astonishment of all, the slipper fits, and she produces the other from her bosom. Cinderella, now in the seat of honour, forgives her oppressors, embraces her sisters, and tastes the true gratification and triumph of modest merit over the circumstances of her former wayward fortune. This may justly be called a speaking pantomime, for it does speak most feelingly to the heart. Very many indeed are the instances of mind in the author, besides the natural beauties of the design, taken from my old friend, Mother Goose, whose little gilt folio is, in my opinion, worth all that Mirabeau ever wrote. Genius, truth, and taste are combined in the piece of Cinderella, in a way that can please and delight with real and lasting entertainment.
Much are the proprietors, renters, and managers indebted to Mother Goose, and her getter up, for a production that promises to produce so much to the treasury. It would ill become the Man in the Moon to pass over in silence the just discrimination of character in the acting of Miss De Camp; it is chaste and natural, and the modesty of the depreciated Cinderella is admirably preserved throughout the piece. A change of fortune does not puff up with arrogance the mind impressed with truth and virtue, nor does the elegant manners of this excellent comedian in the last act make us believe that Cinderella is another per
I shall just add a few words that may not be altogether unappropriate to the present subject. I shall speak of that management of theatres which has nearly destroyed the desire of many writers to produce pieces, from the extreme difficulty of notice from, or access to, a manager. It is the habit of those gentlemen to ask authors who have produced pieces, (and perhaps some very flimsy ones,) to give them something for the season; and the consequence is, that the favourite play writer is presently delivered of a lump of improbability, which he licks into a little shape, and carries in his pocket to the stage door, where any thing from Mr. Addle is received : perhaps the thing may be damned, and most likely it ought. The excuse of a manager is, that it is impossible to read all the pieces that are sent to a theatre; however, the fact is, that the indolent abilities of those gentlemen will not allow them to read and judge the work of a stranger. I recollect an anecdote of an author, who, some time ago, wrote a comedy which he thought would be acceptable. It was sent in the usual way to the theatre, and it came back with the usual negative. The author did not despair; he happened to know a lady of high fashion who knew the manager ;
promised to patronize the thing, and, what is somewhat uncommon among those people, kept her promise. The manager read, and approved, and the author received a letter to see him. The manager suggested only a few alterations, and the characters were cast for the performers. Now it happened, in conversation, that the author candidly told the manager, that the
same piece had been sent to him before, and rejected; the answer was—– Why, sir, we cannot read every thing, unless we know the author, or have it recommended to us." I would, however, wish to teach managers to read. It is a duty they owe the public, and a matter of business to judge of every thing sent them. Merit might then find an easier access, and the public better pieces.
It is remarkable that the same analogy of weak judgment pervades in the highest and lowest offices of the kingdom; genius and merit were never more obscured than in the present times; the brilliancy of the nation is lost, and a like poverty may be observed of talent and taste. It is true, that authors live much better than they did; that is, they receive money regularly from booksellers, like law stationers hackney writers, at so much a sheet; and, like them, the more they can write in a day the better; the matter does not so much signify, for one thing can be just as well subscribed off as another in these days: yet they remain poor authors; only their poverty now appears through their works, instead of through the medium of a thread-bare coat. When will the quackery so much practised have its end? When will genius stand no more in need of the assistances of literary fraud to recommend it? This subject, by a very natural chain of ideas, brings to my recollection the real merit of the much neglected Dibd-n, who has entertained us with poetry full of spirit, character, moral, and truth; until spirit, character, moral, and truth have palled upon the public appetite. I attribute this torpidity (I had nearly
said stupidity) of the town to a disease, otherwise it could not triumph so long over the constitution of the British understanding. In a former Number, I hinted at the desertion of the town from the temple of genius and taste, where the above author has so long presided. If it may have inclined some to think of the injustice which may be done to merit by leaving it a l'abandon after good service in the cause of morals, I shall be satisfied; for I do not wish to carp at the public generosity; it is manifested on many occasions. I only take the part of a brother who has deserved well of society; because he has discriminated just and noble sentiments of charity, love, loyalty, and truth, and given to the common mind humane dispositions that will long be found to act upon society.
N. B. A sage and learned student in optimism, having discovered, after a painful investigation of fifty years, that “ the best of all worlds” is no other than the world of the Moon; hereby recommends Mons. Garnerin, and all other experienced aeronauts, to commence a voyage thither with all possible dispatch; assuring them, that when they arrive in the sphere of the moon's attraction, the rich country of El Dorado will lie directly before them, and the Man in the Moon will be ready to be their interpreter.