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DR. PAUL HIFFERMAN Paul was fond of laying, or rather offering, wagers. One day in the heat of argument he cried out, “I'll lay my head you are wrong upon that point.”
«Well,” said Foote, “I accept the wager. Any trifle, among friends, has a value.”
FOOTE AND MACKLIN One night, when Macklin was formally preparing to begin a lecture, hearing Foote rattling away at the lower end of the room, and thinking to silence him at once, he called out in his sarcastic manner, “Pray, young gentleman, do you know what I am going to say ?”
“No, sir,” said Foote quickly: "do you?”
BARON NEWMAN This celebrated gambler (well known about town thirty years ago by the title of the left-handed Baron), being detected in the rooms at Bath in the act of secreting a card, the company in the warmth of their resentment threw him out of the window of a one-pair-of-stairs room, where they were playing. The Baron, meeting Foote some time afterward, loudly complained of this usage, and asked him what he should do to repair his injured honor.
“Do ?” said the wit; “why, 'tis a plain case: never play so high again as long as you live.”
When Mrs. Abington returned from her very first successful trip to Ireland, Foote wished to engage her for his summer theatre; but in the mean time Garrick secured her for Drury Lane. Foote, on hearing this, asked her why she gave Garrick the preference.
"I don't know how it was,” said she: “he talked me over by telling me that he would make me immortal, so that I did not know how to refuse him."
“Oh! did he so ? Then I'll soon outbid him that way; for come to me and I will give you two pounds a week more, and charge you nothing for immortality.”
GARLIC-EATERS LAUGHING at the imbecilities of a common friend one day, somebody observed, “It was very surprising; and Tom Dknew him very well, and thought him far from being a fool.”
“Ah, poor Tom !” said Foote, “he is like one of those people who eat garlic themselves, and therefore can't smell it in a companion.”
MODE OF BURYING ATTORNEYS IN LONDON A GENTLEMAN in the country, who had just buried a rich relation who was an attorney, was complaining to Foote, who happened to be on a visit with him, of the very great expense of a country funeral in respect to carriages, hat-bands, scarves, etc.
“Why, do you bury your attorneys here ?” asked Foote gravely.
« Yes, to be sure we do; how else ? » «Oh, we never do that in London.”
“No ?” said the other much surprised, “how do you manage ? »
"Why, when the patient happens to die, we lay him out in a room over night by himself, lock the door, throw open the sash, and in the morning he is entirely off.”
Indeed!said the other in amazement; «what becomes of him ? »
«Why, that we cannot exactly tell, not being acquainted with supernatural causes. All that we know of the matter is, that there's a strong smell of brimstone in the room the next morn
DINING BADLY Foote, returning from dinner with a lord of the admiralty, was met by a friend, who asked him what sort of a day he had had. «Very indifferent indeed; bad company and a worse dinner.”
"I wonder at that,” said the other, “as I thought the admiral a good jolly fellow.”
“Why, as to that, he may be a good sea lord, but take it from me, he is a very bad landlord.”
Dibble DAVIS Dibble Davis, one of Foote's butts-in-ordinary, dining with him one day at North-end, observed that “well as he loved porter, he could never drink it without a head.”
«That must be a mistake, Dibble,” returned his host, « as you have done so to my knowledge alone these twenty years.”
AN EXTRAORDINARY CASE Being at the levee of Lord Townsend, when that nobleman was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, he thought he saw a person in his Excellency's suite whom he had known to have lived many years a life of expediency in London. To convince himself of the fact, he asked his Excellency who it was.
«That is Mr. T , one of my gentlemen at large,” was the answer. “Do you know him ?”
« Oh, yes! perfectly well,” said Foote, “and what your Excel. lency tells me is doubly extraordinary: first, that he is a gentleman; and next, that he is at large.”
MUTABILITY OF THE WORLD Being at dinner in a mixed company soon after the bankruptcy of one friend and the death of another, the conversation naturally turned on the mutability of the world. “Can you account for this ?” said S— , a master builder, who happened to sit next to Foote. «Why, not very clearly,” said the other; “except we could suppose the world was built by contract.”
AN APPROPRIATE MOTTO During one of Foote's trips to Dublin, he was much solicited by a silly young man of fashion to assist him in a miscellany of poems and essays which he was about to publish; but when he asked to see the manuscript, the other told him “that at present he had only conceived the different subjects, but had put none of them to paper.”
“Oh! if that be the state of the case,” replied Foote, “I will give you a motto from Milton for the work in its present state:
“Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.) »
A YOUNG gentleman, making an apology to his father for coming late to dinner, said “that he had been visiting a poor friend of his in St. George's Fields.” “Ah! a pretty kind of friend indeed,” says the father, «to keep us waiting for dinner in this manner.”
"Aye, and for the best kind, too,” said Foote: “as you know, my dear sir, a friend in need is a friend indeed.”
ANECDOTE OF AN AUTHOR
AN AUTHOR was boasting that as a reviewer he had the power of distributing literary reputations as he liked. “Take care,” said Foote, “you are not too prodigal of that, or you may leave none for yourself.”
DR. BLAIR WHEN Foote first heard of Dr. Blair's writing Notes on Ossian' (a work the reality of which has always been much doubted), he observed, “The publishers ought to allow a great discount to the purchaser, as the notes required such a stretch of credit.”
ADVICE TO A DRAMATIC WRITER
A DULL dramatic writer, who had often felt the severity of the public, was complaining one day to Foote of the injustice done him by the critics; but added, “I have, however, one way of being even with them, by constantly laughing at all they say.”
“You do perfectly right, my friend,” said Foote; «for by this method you will not only disappoint your enemies, but lead the merriest life of any man in England.”
THE GRAFTON MinisTRY
A GENTLEMAN coming into the Cocoa-Tree one morning during the Duke of Grafton's administration, was observing «that he was afraid the poor ministry were at their wits' end.”
“Well, if it should be so,” said Foote, “what reason have they to complain of so short a journey?”
C H E dramatic genius of the English Renaissance had well-nigh
spent itself when the sombre creations of John Ford apGrö peared upon a stage over which the clouds of the Civil War were fast gathering. Little is known of this dramatist, who represents the decadent period which followed the age of Shakespeare. He was born in 1586; entered the Middle Temple in 1602; after 1641 he is swallowed up in the turmoil of the time. The few scattered records of his life add nothing to, nor do they take anything from, the John Ford of The Broken Heart' and Perkin Warbeck.'
His plays are infected with a spirit alien to the poise and beauty of the best Elizabethan drama. His creations teil of oblique vision; of a disillusioned genius, predisposed to abnormal or exaggerated forms of human experience. He breaks through the moral order, in his love for the eccentricities of passion. He weaves the spell of his genius around strange sins.
The problems of despair which Ford propounds but never solves, form the plot of The Broken Heart”; Calantha, Ithocles, Penthea, Orgilus, are wan types of the passive suffering which numbs the soul to death. Charles Lamb has eulogized the final scene of this drama. To many critics, the self-possession of Calantha savors of the theatrical. The scene between Penthea and her brother Ithocles, who had forced her to marry Bassanes though she loved Orgilus, is replete with the tenderness, the sense of subdued anguish, of which Ford was a master. He is the dramatist of broken hearts, whose waste places are unrelieved by a touch of sunlight. His love of “passion at war with circumstance” again finds expression in Love's Sacrifice,' a drama of moral confusions. In 'The Lover's Melancholy' sorrow has grown pensive. A quiet beauty rests upon the famous scene in which Parthenophil strives with the nightingale for the prize of music.
"The Lady's Trial,' 'The Fancies Chaste and Noble,' (The Sun's Darling' (written in conjunction with Dekker), are worthy only of passing notice. They leave but a pale impression upon the mind. In Perkin Warbeck,' the one historical play of Ford, he exhibits his mastery over straightforward, sinewy verse. (The Witch of Edmonton,' of which he wrote the first act, gives a signal example of his modern style and spirit.