Act I

Scene I.—A Room in Dangle’s House.

Mr. and Mrs. Dangle discovered at breakfast, and reading newspapers.

Dang. [Reading.] Brutus to Lord North.—Letter the second on the State of the Army—Psha! To the first L dash D of the A dash Y.—Genuine extract of a Letter from St. Kitt’s.—Coxheath Intelligence.—It is now confidently asserted that Sir Charles Hardy—Psha! nothing but about the fleet and the nation!—and I hate all politics but theatrical politics.—Where’s the Morning Chronicle?

Mrs. Dang. Yes, that’s your Gazette,

Dang. So, here we have it.—[Reads.] Theatrical intelligence extraordinary.—We hear there is a new tragedy in rehearsal at Drury Lane Theatre, called the Spanish Armada, said to be written by Mr. Puff, a gentleman well known in the theatrical world. If we may allow ourselves to give credit to the report of the performers, who, truth to say, are in general but indifferent judges, this piece abounds with the most striking and received beauties of modern composition.—So! I am very glad my friend Puff’s tragedy is in such forwardness.—Mrs. Dangle, my dear, you will be very glad to hear that Puff’s tragedy—

Mrs. Dang. Lord, Mr. Dangle, why will you plague me about such nonsense?—Now the plays are begun I shall have no peace. —Isn’t it sufficient to make yourself ridiculous by your passion for the theatre, without continually teasing me to join you? Why can’t you ride your hobby-horse without desiring to place me on a pillion behind you, Mr. Dangle?

Dang. Nay, my dear, I was only going to read—

Mrs. Dang. No, no; you will never read anything that’s worth listening to. You hate to hear about your country; there are letters every day with Roman signatures, demonstrating the certainty of an invasion, and proving that the nation is utterly undone. But you never will read anything to entertain one.

Dang. What has a woman to do with politics, Mrs. Dangle?

Mrs. Dang. And what have you to do with the theatre, Mr. Dangle? Why should you affect the character of a critic? I have no patience with you!—haven’t you made yourself the jest of all your acquaintance by your interference in matters where you have no business? Are you not called a theatrical Quidnunc, and a mock Mæcenas to second-hand authors?

Dang. True; my power with the managers is pretty notorious. But is it no credit to have applications from all quarters for my interest—from lords to recommend fiddlers, from ladies to get boxes, from authors to get answers, and from actors to get engagements?

Mrs. Dang. Yes, truly; you have contrived to get a share in all the plague and trouble of theatrical property, without the profit, or even the credit of the abuse that attends it.

Dang. I am sure, Mrs. Dangle, you are no loser by it, however; you have all the advantages of it. Mightn’t you, last winter, have had the reading of the new pantomime a fortnight previous to its performance? And doesn’t Mr. Fosbrook let you take places for a play before it is advertised, and set you down for a box for every new piece through the season? And didn’t my friend, Mr. Smatter, dedicate his last farce to you at my particular request, Mrs. Dangle?

Mrs. Dang. Yes; but wasn’t the farce damned, Mr. Dangle? And to be sure it is extremely pleasant to have one’s house made the motley rendezvous of all the lackeys of literature; the very high ’Change of trading authors and jobbing critics!—Yes, my drawing-room is an absolute register-office for candidate actors, and poets without character.—Then to be continually alarmed with misses and ma’ams piping hysteric changes on Juliets and Dorindas, Pollys and Ophelias; and the very furniture trembling at the probationary starts and unprovoked rants of would-be Richards and Hamlets!—And what is worse than

  By PanEris using Melati.

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