Слике страница

poured balm upon my bruises, by and to let my hall too, if he can meet condescending, once or twice in the with a proper tenant. Help me to course of the evening, to talk to me. one, if you can." Colman heard of The great historian was light and this intention, and he finally took the playful, suiting his manner to the Haymarket Theatre, on the terms of capacity of the boy ; but still his paying Foote an annuity of L.1600, mannerism prevailed-still he tapped and L.500 for the copyright of his his snuff box—still he smirked and unpublished plays. • The paradoxi. smiled, and rounded his periods with cal celebrity," says George Colman, the same air of good breeding as if he " which Foote maintained on his were conversing with men.' Then stage, was very singular; his satirical comes a characteristic touch of sketches were scarcely dramas, and George's own pencil :-“ His mouth, he could not be called a good legitimellifluous as Plato's, was a round mate performer.

Yet there is no hole in the centre of his visage !" Shakspeare or Roscius on record,

Bensley the actor, a popular favour who, like Foote, supported a theatre ite, was a rare instance of the change for a series of years by his own actof personal character. In early life ing, in his own writings, and for he had led so dashing a career, that ten years of the time on a wooden Garrick named him “ Roaring Bob' leg.' This prop to his person I once of the Garden." He married by ac saw, standing by his bedside, ready cident, and from that period his tem dressed in a handsome silk stocking, perament seems to have taken a wiser with a polished shoe and gold buckle, turn.

The accident was :--his post. awaiting the owner's getting-up. It chaise having come into collision with had a kind of tragi.comical appeara lady on horseback, the lady was ance; and I leave to inveterate punthrown; and Bensley, on getting out sters the ingenuity of punning upon to offer his assistance, was so much a Foote in bed and a leg out of it.” struck with her beauty, that he fell This is followed by a capital story. in love, and made his proposal. Her The elder Colman, in proposing for fortune was but L.1500 ; but, by fru the purchase of the theatre, had kept gality and his talents, he lived in com himself wholly out of sight, and emfort until he left the stage in 1796. ployed a matter-of-fact man of busi.. His friend, the celebrated Wyndham, to carry on the negotiation, ; who was secretary at war, then gave Foote having no knowledge of the real him a barrack-mastership. But his party until the business was concludgood fortune was not yet at an end. ed. He, however, often met Crilman A relative, Sir William Bensley, an at dinner, and the subject being pubEast India Director, dying, left bim a lic, became a topic of common converlarge property. Bensley enjoyed it sation. On one of those occasions, for a while with the spirit of a gentle Fonte turned to Colman and said:man; but, having no children, said, “ Now, here is Mr Colman, an expe" that he had not wanted it, and that rienced manager, he will tell you that it came too late.”

nobody can conduct so peculiar a There is an acknowledged frenzy in theatrical concern as mine but mythe universal passion for theatrical self. But there is a fat- headed fellow management; and Colman, who had of an agent, who has been boring me escaped so long, and after such vexa every morning at breakfast, with tious experience, now returned to the terms from some block bead who knows turmoil of a theatre of his own. nothing about the stage, but whose Foote, previously to leaving London money burns in his pocket:”. Playfor Calais, had thus written to Gar house mad, I presume," said my fa.. rick :-“

:-" There is more of prudence ther. « Right,” s:uid Foote, “and, than of pleasu

sure in my trip to the if bleeding will bring him to his sen. continent. To tell you the truth, I am ses, he will find me a capital doctor." tired with racking my brain, toiling The scene, when the parties at last like a horse, and crossing seas and met to sign and se il, must have been mountains in the most dreary seasons, amusing ; it would probably have furmerely to pay servants' wages and nished Foote with, another farce, but tradesmen's bills. I have therefore all his pleasantries were now near an directed my friend Jewell to dis end. He died at Isover, October 21st, in charge the lazy vermin of my hall, the same year, having received but



the first half year's payments. His of years with remarkable animation, illness had been long, but the imme but with fluctuating success. diate cause of his death was apoplexy. length difficulties gathered round him,

The Haymarket proved, on the which compelled him to resign the whole, a tolerable speculation. Col- theatre into other hands. His social man's knowledge of the stage kept it qualities, however, had so far renderalive; and, as he had got rid of the ed him pleasing to George IV., that weight of the purchase-money, he he appointed him “ Examiner of made a respectable income. But his Plays," an office worth about 2.400 time, too, was coming fast. In 1789, a-year. In his latter years he behe was struck with paralysis; the dis came liable to some organic infirmiease attacked his brain, and he was ties, of which he died, October 17th, reduced to the most melancholy of all 1836, with the reputation of one of conditions--thatof a bewildered mind. the wittiest men, the most amusing Some lines in one of Churchhill's companion, and perhaps the best copoems, feelingly allude to the especial mic writer since the days of Sheridan. liability of active intellects to this It has not been our purpose to review misfortune:

these volumes, in the usual sense of “ With curious art the brain too finely

the word. They have the fault of wrought,

being too much of a compilation, and Preys on itself, and is destroy'd by thought; making too large a use of authorities Constant attention wears the active mind, already known. But it is only justice Blots out her powers, and leaves a blank be to say, that they contain a great deal hind."

of very curious matter_many recollecWe must now hasten to the close.

tions of the Colmans that have hitherGeorge Colman, taking the manage

to escaped the public—and that they ment of the theatre on his father's re

are written in a spirited and intellitirement, conducted it for a succession gent style.



The small town of Ayllon in Old arranged in alternate lines, varied Castile is picturesquely situated at the the uniformity of the layers of foot of a ridge of mountains of the straw, to which the weather and the same name, and at about half-a-dozen smoke of the wood fires had imparted leagues to the left of the camino real a dingy greyish hue. According to from Burgos to Madrid. Although Spanish custom, every dwelling had a dignified by the name of a villa, or clumsy but solid and spacious balcony town, and containing a population of running round the upper windows. five hundred vecinos, at the period we These balconies were sheltered from are referring to, it bore more resem the rain either by a wooden roof or by blance to an overgrown country vil a projection of ihe tbatch and rafters, lage, both by the character of its and in the summer and autumn were houses and the occupations of their usually strewed with the golden pods inhabitants. The former were rudely of the Indian corn and the juicy scarlet constructed of mis-shapen and irregu- fruit of the tomata, placed ihere to larly sized blocks of stone, hewn from dry and to ripen in the sunbeams. the adjacent mountains, the interstices "The inhabitants of Ayllon were being tilled up with a coarse cement. principally peasants, who gained their They were for the most part covered living by the cultivation of the fields with thatch, although here and there which surrounded the town; and in a roof formed of black and red tiles, time of peace this resource was suffi

The Spaniards have a somewhat loose manner of calculating the population of their towns and villages by vecinos, or heads of families, literally neighbours. They multiply the number of vecinos by four and a half, and that is supposed to give the number of inhabitants.

cient for the ample supply of their scarcely ever abandons him even in scanty wants and unambitious desires; the most difficult and unfavourable but the war, which was so heavy a circumstances. scourge for the Peninsula, did not The horses had been cleaned and spare this quiet corner of Castile. On returned to their stables; the muskets the contrary, the position of the town burnished till they shone again; the rendered it a favourite resort of the rations cooked and eaten. It was past guerillas, who from that point had noon, and the rays of an October sun, the double facility of polincing on which in Castile is often hotter than whatever passed along the high-road, a July sun in our more temperate and of retreating to the mountains climate, had driven the soldiery to when troops were sent against them. seek shade and coolness where best it Thus it not unfrequently happened might be found. Some were sharing that the unfortunate Ayllonese, after the litter of their horses, others were emptying their granaries and wine stretched under trees and hedges in stores for the benefit of the Spanish the outskirts of the town, whilst the troops, were visited, a few hours after most weary or the least difficult lay wards, by a column of French, who wrapped in their cloaks on either side stripped them of what little they had of the street. A deep silence had reserved for their own support, accom succeeded to the previous noise. It panying their extortions by the ample was the hour of the siesta. measure of ill treatment they con Two o'clock had chimed from the sidered themselves justified in bestow- church tower of Ayllon, and had been ing on those who had so recently repeated by the clocks of the neighsheltered their foes. Between friends bouring convents and villages, when and enemies the peasants were im a battalion of infantry entered the poverished, their houses dismantled principalstreet, and advanced at a rapid and pillaged, their fields trampled and pace towards the open square in the laid waste.

centre of the town, where halted It was on an autumn morning of the and formed up. A body of cavalry year 181-, that a large number of which followed separated into small cavalry soldiers were grooming their parties, and dispersed in various direchorses in the streets of Ayllon. Some tions. More infantry arrived, and proill-clothed but hardy-looking infantry ceeded by detachments to occupy the men were grouped about the doors of stables and houses in which the troops the houses, busily engaged in furbish. were quartered, and from which they ing their arms, whilst here and there, ejected the original occupants. On at the corners of the streets, or in the first arrival of the new comers, the open spaces between the houses, a guerillas, who were lying gleeping few greasy-looking individuals were about the streets, bad started up in superintending the preparations of the alarm; but on recognizing the grey rancho,* a strong smelling anomalous uniforms and painted shakoes of the sort of mess, contained in large iron regiment of Arlanza, and the blue kettles suspended over smoky fires of pelisses of the hussars, under the green wood. Cavalry, infantry, and orders of the Cura Merino, they for cooks were laughing, joking, singing, the most part resumed their recumbent and talking with the gayety character- position, with all the nonchalance of istic of the Spanish soldier, and which those Neapolitan lazzaroni for whom

The rancho, or mess of the Spanish soldiery, is generally composed of fat pork, garlic, and rice or dry beans, according as the one or the other may have been issued for rations: the whole being plentifully seasoned with red pepper, and boiled so as to form a sort of thick pottage. The manner in which this is eaten is somewhat original. Each company is divided into messes of twenty or thirty men, and each mess forms a circle round the vessel in which their dinner lias been cooked, every man with bis bread and a large wooden spoon in his hand. They tell off by fours, and a non-commissioned officer calls out “El uno," No. 1. The five or six men who have told off No. 1 take a pace to the front, dip their spoon in the kettle and resume their place in the circle. El dos,” No. 2, is next called, and performs the same manoeuvre. Aster No. 4, the turn of No. I comes again, and so on till the pot is emptied and the bellies of the soldiers more or less filled.

the dolce far niente is the sum and taken for my soldiers, and by this time substance of human happiness. The your men are informed that they are less indolent remained staring at the disbanded and may return to their troops as they marched by; and even homes.” when they saw them entering the Merino had scarcely finished his stables and barracks they manifested sentence when Principe, who literally no surprise, unsuspicious of any hostile foamed at the mouth with rage, made intention on the part of men fighting a dash at the imperturbable priest, and for the same cause as themselves, dealt him a blow which would probably and with whom they were accus have brought the career that celetomed to fraternize. Those who were brated member of the church militant sleeping in the houses and stables, were to a premature termination, had it not scarcely well awaked before they were been intercepted by the swords of some thrust into the street. The whole of the Cura's officers. Several of the proceeding was so rapid on the part escort pressed forward, and the unof the Cura's soldiers, and so unlooked lucky guerilla was overpowered and for by those quartered in the town, deprived of his sabre. The scuffle was that in less than ten minutes fifteen scarcely over when Marquinez, the hundred men found themselves un friend and lieutenant of Principe, aparmed and defenceless, whilst their peared, followed by some officers and horses, weapons, and accoutrements a few men of his corps. He was a were in possession of Merino’s follow. handsome, soldierly-looking man, in ers. So complete was the surprise, the prime of life, with a highly inteland su trifling the resistance offered, ligent countenance; and, instead of that not a life was lost, scarcely a man showing the same excitement and wounded, on either side.

headlong fury as his commandant, he Whilst the astonished guerillas were saluted Merino with urbanity, and adasking one another what could be the dressed him in a somewhat ironical meaning of this extraordinary conduct tone. The Cura repeated what he of Merino, that chief himself appeared, had already said to Principe as to his surrounded by several officers, and reasons for disarming the partida. followed by a strong escort of cavalry. “ I am well aware, Señor Cura,” He galloped through the main street, said Marquinez, " that some of your and, balting in the plaza, received the followers, weary of lurking in mounreports of the officers who had been tain caverns, have preferred leaders entrusted with the execution of the under whom they were sure to meet coup-de-main that had just been ac with opportunities of displaying their complished; then, turning to a group courage in the plain, and of revenging of the disarmed who were standing by, themselves on the invaders of their he enquired for Colonel Principe. Be- country. It is probably to prevent fore he had received a reply, a man

further defection, and to remount your rushed, bareheaded, and with a drawn cavalry, that you have thus treachersabre in his hand, from the door of a ously surprised and disarmed men, neighbouring house. He stopped who, had they been aware of your in-. when he found himself face to face tention, would have given ample occuwith the Cura, and, in a voice almost pation to you and the whole of your inarticulate from passion, demanded forces. You have, for the moment, by what authority the latter had dis- deprived your country of two thousand armed his men and taken possession of defenders, the least worthy of whom their quarters.

is a better man than ever crossed your By my own authority, Tomas saddle. We shall not attempt a rePrincipe,"coolly replied Merino.sistance which now would be absurd, “ Your band is one of those which do but you will have to answer to the more harm to the peasant than the Junta of Cadiz for your treason." enemy. When they march, their pro The Cura smiled scornfully, but gress is marked by rapine and violence; made no reply. Marquinez, after and, if they now and then distinguish gazing steadfastly at him for a mothemselves by their gallantry in the ment, turned upon his heel; and leadfield, they take care to counterbalance ing, or rather dragging along, Principe its merit by daily robberies and unlaw- by the arm, left the plaza. The same ful acts. Your horses and arms I have day Merino marched out of Ayllon,



taking with them nearly a thousand manded. Principe was only modehorses, and a large number of mus- rately successful; the free corps which kets, sabres, and other arms.

he raised never amounted to above Marquinez and Principe had been six or eight hundred men ; but Marsergeants in the Spanish regiment of quinez, putting out all his energy, beBourbon. They were of humble ex fore long found himself at the head of traction, and Marquinez had, in his a strong body of cavalry, well mouutyouth, been a barber at Madrid. Both ed and equipped; and he took the men of great intrepidity, and of some field with renewed confidence, and this military talent, those qualifications time with the sole command. availed them little at a period when In one of the first expeditions which wealth and family interest were the he undertook, after this resurrection of surest, if not the only stepping stones his partida, he encountered three to advancement in the Spanish army, hundred Westphalian cavalry in the and our two sargentos instruidos left French service, whom he totally dethe service with the humble chevrons feated, after fighting for a whole mornwhich their merits had procured them ing, and losing a large number of men soon after their arrival under the and borses. The Westphalians were colours, but which they had no hope returning from a reconnoissance, in of exchanging for the epaulette of a which they had made several prisoncommissioned officer. At the com ers, and amongst others, a lady of a mencement of the Peninsular war, good family of Sahagun, and wife of they joined a party of guerillas, of a captain in the Spanish army. This which they soon became the leaders, woman, during the few days which and Principe, although inferior in ta the insecurity of the roads compelled lent and education to his brother ser her to pass in the society of Marquigeant, was the first in command. At nez, became violently enamoured of the period that Merino disarmed them that officer, and finally abandoned her in the manner we have described, the husband and children to follow him in partida had acquired considerable cele- his adventurous course of life. Enbrity, and although not so well dis- dowed with masculine courage, strong ciplined as the troops of the Cura, had minded, and possessed of greater phycommitted no xcesses to justify the sical strength than is usual in her sex, step taken by the latter. Merino was she did not hesitate to assume the cosjealous of their success, and annoyed tume of a hussar, and to fight by the at the desertion of his men, many of side of the dashing guerilla to whom whom had recently left his standard she had attached herself. She soon to join that of Principe. As Marqui. became well known in the district nez had predicted, however, the Re- which was the scene of operations of gency was excessively angry at the Marquinez's troops, by the appella. unauthorized and unwarrantable con tion of La Collegiala, a name given to duct of the guerilla priest, in which it her from the circumstance of her was evident that he had consulted his youth having been spent in a college, own interest more than that of the which exists at Valladolid, for the eduservice, or of the country. A severe cation of the female children of noble reprimand was addressed to him ; but families. She had already been en. the war was raging in all its fury, the gaged in several skirmishes, and had Junta had its hands full, and Merino displayed a degree of courage which was too valuable a partizan to be dis- had gained for her the rank of an ofpensed with, or even disgusted. More. ficer, and the respect and admiration over, the mischief done was soon re of the bardy soldiers amongst whom paired, in great part, by the activity she lived, when an opportunity occurof Marquinez. After the guerilla red of proving her devotion and atcorps was disbanded by the Cura, the tachment to the man for whom she two adventurers who had headed it had sacrificed her fair fame and her found themselves with a mere handful domestic ties. of followers, the remainder either hav. It was in the early part of the month ing been sent to their villages, or of March. A succession of heavy having joined Merino. Principe and rains had nearly suspended all military Marquinez agreed to separate, and to operations in the plains of Valladolid reorganize two bands, instead of the and Palencia. Marquinez's hussars, at one which they had hitherto com. this time nearly two thousand in num

« ПретходнаНастави »