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CROAKING OF COLHAN.

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of Covent Garden was effective. “ Colman,” he says, was prevailed on at last, by much solicita. tion, nay, a kind of force,” to bring forward the comedy. Still the manager was ungenerous, or at least indiscreet enough to express his opinion that it would not reach a second representation. The plot, he said, was bad, and the interest not sustained ; “it dwindled, and dwindled, and at last went out like the snuff of a candle.” The effect of his croaking was soon apparent within the walls of the theatre. Two of the most popular actors, Woodward and Gentleman Smith, to whom the parts of Tony Lumpkin and Young Marlow were assigned, refused to act them; one of them alleging, in excuse, the evil predictions of the manager. Goldsmith was advised to postpone the performance of his play until he could get these important parts well supplied. “ No,” said he, “ I would sooner that my play were damned by bad players than merely saved by good acting."

Quick was substituted for Woodward in Tony Lumpkin, and Lee Lewis, the harlequin of the theatre, for Gentleman Smith in Young Marlow; and both did justice to their parts.

Great interest was taken by Goldsmith's friends in the success of his piece. The rehearsals were attended by Johnson, Cradock, Murphy, Reynolds and his sister, and the whole Horneck connection, including, of cource, the Jessamy Bride, whose presence may have contributed to flutter the anxious heart of the author. The rehearsals went off with great applause; but that Colman attributed to the partiality of friends. He continued to croak, and refused to risk any expense in new scenery or dresses on a play which he was sure would prove a failure.

The time was at hand for the first representation, and as yet the comedy was without a title. “ We are all in labor for a name for Goldy's play,” said Johnson, who, as usual, took a kind of fatherly protecting interest in poor Goldsmith's affairs. “ The Old House a New Inn ” was thought of for a time, but still did not please. Sir Joshua Reynolds proposed “ The Belle's Stratagem,” an elegant title, but not considered applicable, the perplexities of the comedy being produced by the mistake of the hero, not the stratagem of the heroine. The name was afterwards adopted by Mrs. Cowley for one of her comedies. “ The Mistakes of a Night” was the title at length fixed upon, to which Goldsmith prefixed the words,“ She Stoops to Conquer.”

The evil bodings of Colman still continued : they were even communicated in the box-office to the servant of the Duke of Gloucester, who was sent to engage a box. Never did the play of a popular writer struggle into existence through more difficulties.

In the mean time Foote's “ Primitive PuppetShow," entitled the “ Handsome Housemaid, or Piety on Pattens," had been brought out at the Haymarket on the 15th of February. All the world, fashionable and unfashionable, had crowded to the theatre. The street was thronged with equipages, - the doors were stormed by the mob. The burlesque was completely successful, and sen.

" SHE STOOPS TO CON QUER.

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timental comedy received its quietus. Even Garrick, who had recently befriended it, now gave it a kick, as he saw it going down-hill, and sent Goldsmith a humorous prologue to help his comedy of the opposite school. Garrick and Goldsmith, however, were now on very cordial terms, to which the social meetings in the circle of the Hornecks and Bunburys may have contributed.

On the 15th of March the new comedy was to be performed. Those who had stood up for its merits, and been irritated and disgusted by the treatment it had received from the manager, determined to muster their forces, and aid in giving it a good launch upon the town. The particulars of this confederation, and of its triumphant success, are amusingly told by Cumberland in his memoirs.

“ We were not over-sanguine of success, but perfectly determined to struggle hard for our author. We accordingly assembled our strength at the Shakspeare Tavern, in a considerable body, for an early dinner, where Samuel Johnson took the chair at the head of a long table, and was the life and soul of the corps; the poet took post silently by his side, with the Burkes, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Fitzherbert, Caleb Whitefoord, and a phalanx of North British, predetermined applauders, under the banner of Major Mills, — all good men and true. Our illustrious president was in inimitable glee; and poor Goldsmith that day took all his raillery as patiently and complacently as my friend Boswell would have done any day

or every day of his life. In the mean time we did not forget our duty ; and though we had a better comedy going, in which Johnson was chief actor, we betook ourselves in good time to our separate and allotted posts, and waited the awful drawing up of the curtain. As our stations were preconcerted, so were our signals for plaudits arranged and determined upon in a manner that gave every one his cue where to look for them, and how to follow them up.

“ We had among us a very worthy and efficient member, long since lost to his friends and the world at large, Adam Drummond, of amiable memory, who was gifted by nature with the most sonorous, and at the same time the most contagious laugh that ever echoed from the human lungs. The neighing of the horse of the son of Hystaspes was a whisper to it; the whole thunder of the theatre could not drown it. This kind and ingenious friend fairly forewarned us that he knew no more when to give his fire than the cannon did that was planted on a battery. He desired, therefore, to have a flapper at his elbow, and I had the honor to be deputed to that office. I planted him in an upper box, pretty nearly over the stage, in full view of the pit and galleries, and perfectly well situated to give the echo all its play through the hollows and recesses of the theatre. The success of our maneuvre was complete. All eyes were upon Johnson, who sat in a front row of a side-box; and when he laughed, everybody thought themselves warranted to roar. In the mean time, my friend followed signals with

A LAUGHING FUGLEMAN.

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a rattle so irresistibly comic, that, when he had repeated it several times, the attention of the spectators was so engrossed by his person and performances, that the progress of the play seemed likely to become a secondary object, and I found it prudent to insinuate to him that he might halt his music without any prejudice to the author ; but alas ! it was now too late to rein him in ; he had laughed upon my signal where he found no joke, and now, unluckily, he fancied that he found a joke in almost everything that was said ; so that nothing in nature could be more mal-apropos than some of his bursts every now and then were. These were dangerous moments, for the pit began to take umbrage ; but we carried our point through, and triumphed not only over Colman's judgment, but our own."

Much of this statement has been condemned as exaggerated or discolored. Cumberland's memoirs have generally been characterized as partaking of romance, and in the present instance he had particular motives for tampering with the truth. He was a dramatic writer himself, jealous of the success of a rival, and anxious to have it attributed to the private management of friends. According to various accounts, public and private, such management was unnecessary, for the piece was received throughout with the greatest acclamations."

Goldsmith, in the present instance, had not dared, as on a former occasion, to be present at the first performance. He had been so overcome by his apprehensions that, at the preparatory din

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