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or whatever relations or friends you mav Lave; and if they approve of your coming, I will give you a trial.
I am, Madam,
"This young person (Miss Dolly) afterwards married an Actor of the name of Worsdale: they were known on the Weymouth stage for several seasons. For some years afterwards they both resided at Sherborne, and were very respectable characters.
Copy of a Letter from a Mr. Aikin, (Son of the Mr. Aikin, of Covent Garden) who was many years the Manager of the Liverpool Theatre.
To Mr. Lee, Theatre, Salisbury. Sir,
When I was first a member of your Theatres, at Salisbury and other places, I was young, and, at times, very foolish; and because 1 confessed my faults and promised to mend, you told me that if I persevered in that resolution and paid attention to business, yon would again engage me: I remember you added that I must suffer a great deal before I was properly brought to my senses! Now, sir, if suffering be a criterion of sense, I must, by this time, be tolerably sensible, for few people can hare suffered more than I have done, in the same space of time: Bat on cool reflection, I perceive it has been chiefly my own fault, in not paying proper attention to business instead of rambling carelessly about. And, if yon have any kind of vacancy (I don't care of what sort) say the word, and yon shall see me down at Salisbury as sodn as you please.
I am, Sir,
Yonr obedient Servant,
P. S. Direct as before, Russell Street, London.
By way of specimens, here are sufficient proofs of the curious correspondents which country managers are liable to be honored with. I cannot however refrain from giving one more of a most delectable kind.
To Master Henry Lee, Esq. the Manager of the playhouse Theatre, at Taunton Deane.
I and my eldest son Thomas, were at Taunton Assizes last spring; we saw one or two of your plays since which time Tom has done nothing but talk about 'em. He thinks he should like to be a player man himself, so if you choose to hire him, I should wish to know what wages you are willing to give. Tom be a cute chap enough, and very useful in the way of my business, which is that of a carpenter and wheelwright; but, hang the boy, since he took your playing notions into his noddle, he be always staring about, and making believe of stabbing himself and others with chisels and gimlets, which he calls swords and daggers! 1 am afraid he will hurt somebody; so I would thank you to take him: He won't stick out for very high 'wages, the first two or three weeks, till he gets very clever.
Your humble Servant,
Direct to me, to be left at the post-office, WootenUnderidge.
I am told that a good look and noble figure be the best for the Stages in London.
My son be a fine stout young man; his mother says there be not the like of him in all this part of the country! but that you may judge for yourself 1 send you his exact admeasurement: and other sort of matters. He be almost 20 years of age—his height five feet nine inches and a half; across the shoulders one foot and three quarters; his head be large, nearly twenty-four inches round; his arms be long and strong and his hands be huge and heavy; his legs be stout and plenty of the calf; his feet, in his new shoes, be eleven inches in length and five and half in breadth; he be a nice modest young man; a little sheepish at first starting; but when well acquainted, he is as bold as a lion.
Having said thus much you may judge whether he is likely to shine on the Stage; this letter is all his own writing; a good bold hand; only/ and our schoolmaster's son lent him a little help in the way of spelling right the words, and all that sort of business.
For myself, my son, and the school-master's boy,
I remain your's as aforesaid,
Now—however strange it may appear, this application was actually made to me very soon after my first going to Taunton, which as already shown, was more than thirty years ago.
But hold —having travelled somewhat out of my regular track, for the purpose of shewing the preceding correspondence, as well as other matters; I must, without ceremony go back to the subject [ was previously speaking upon, as well as to the different places where my rambling mode of life conducted me.
It may not be amiss, in order to make other matters more clearly understood, that I mention what follows. My first attempt at dramatic composition, was at about the age of seventeen or eighteen. A friend of mine Mr. Strong, already mentioned, perhaps may remember the circumstance that occurred better than I can: a few sketches of characters that I had written in a small memorandum book, fell in his way without my knowing it; and the remarks made by him and his father, encouraged me to proceed. I have the book still in my possession, and a stranger might readily gather from it some of the leading features of Caleb Quetem. He was by me originally called Twist, and since that time he has been twisted into many forms and shapes, and found under various denominations.
The readers of modern plays, and the most frequent attendants of the London Theatres, will allow that since Caleb first made his appearance, the stage has been pretty well quotemized by several different authors. Many have adopted the same style of writing, or rather many authors have taken up particular branches of the said character, and have so very cleverlyhandled those branches that no small quantity of fruit has been gathered from them. "But scarcely any of that fruit has fallen to my share; nay as yet I have scarcely tasted even the peeling. So far however from being angry, I have thought it highly complimentary: for if not witty myself, I have been the cause of wit in others, and that alone to me (as with Falstaff) is sufficient consideration. Besides I may be permitted to say of those who have honored me by their notice as above stated, that if we had Horticultural Societies in the dramatic vineyard, the man who could make one branch produce as much fruit as three, would be most deserving of public reward. So if I have drawn out wit from others, it is the next praise to writing wittily myself.
Since I have fallen by accident into this train of thinking, permission it is hoped will be given me for a few remarks that may possibly lead to something useful.