Und. Promp. You know, sir, you gave them leave to cut out or omit whatever they found heavy or unnecessary to the plot, and I must own they have taken very liberal advantage of your indulgence.

Puff. Well, well.—They are in general very good judges, and I know I am Luxuriant.—Now, Mr. Hopkins as soon as you please.

Und. Promp. [To the Orchestra.] Gentlemen, will you play a few bars of something, just to—

Puff. Ay, that’s right; for as we have the scenes and dresses, egad, we’ll go to’t, as if it was the first night’s performance;—but you need not mind stopping between the acts—[Exit Under Prompter.—Orchestra play—then the bell rings.] So! stand clear, gentlemen. Now you know there will be a cry of Down! down!—Hats off!—Silence!—Then up curtain, and let us see what our painters have done for us.

[Curtain rises.

Scene II.—Tilbury Fort.

“Two Sentinels discovered asleep.”

Dang. Tilbury Fort!—very fine indeed!

Puff. Now, what do you think I open with?

Sneer. Faith, I can’t guess—

Puff. A clock.—Hark!—[Clock strikes.] I open with a clock striking, to beget an awful attention in the audience: it also marks the time, which is four o’clock in the morning, and saves a description of the rising sun, and a great deal about gilding the eastern hemisphere.

Dang. But pray, are the sentinels to be asleep?

Puff. Fast as watchmen.

Sneer. Isn’t that odd though at such an alarming crisis?

Puff. To be sure it is,—but smaller things must give way to a striking scene at the opening; that’s a rule. And the case is, that two great men are coming to this very spot to begin the piece: now, it is not to be supposed they would open their lips, if these fellows were watching them; so, egad, I must either have sent them off their posts, or set them asleep.

Sneer. Oh, that accounts for it. But tell us, who are these coming?

Puff. These are they—Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Christopher Hatton. You’ll know Sir Christopher by his turning out his toes— famous, you know, for his dancing. I like to preserve all the little traits of character.—Now attend.

Enter Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Christopher Hatton.

Sir Christ.True, gallant Raleigh!”—

Dang. What, they had been talking before?

Puff. O yes; all the way as they came along.—[To the actors.] I beg pardon, gentlemen, but these are particular friends of mine, whose remarks may be of great service to us.—[To Sneer and Dangle.] Don’t mind interrupting them whenever anything strikes vou.

“Sir Christ.True, gallant Raleigh!
But oh, thou champion of thy country’s fame,
There is a question which I yet must ask:
A question which I never ask’d before—
What means these mighty armaments?
This general muster? and this throng of chiefs?

Sneer. Pray, Mr. Puff, how came Sir Christopher Hatton never to ask that question before?

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