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Miss Neg. O that all husbands would follow his Lordship's example, and send away their wives-and every lady and gentleman resolve, like me, to pass their days in singlechastity, for the benefit of their posterity.
NOTE ON THE MASQUERADE.
WE do not think that the author of this Comedy has done justice to himself, by giving it the title of the Masquerade: as this title must, almost unavoidably, suggest in the minds of his readers, the apprehension, that the plot will be at once very improbable and unnatural, and very common-place: constructed of incidents, which seldom or never occur in real life, but which abound in the productions of the infinite multitude of playwrights of the present day. Those, however, who begin to read this Comedy, under the influence of this apprehension, will be agreeably disappointed; for, in our opinion, the plot is developed with uncommon skill, and so managed as to whet the interest and curiosity to the very last. We must acknowledge, indeed, that the apprehension, to which we have alluded, will gain strength from the circumstance of Lord Waryford's appearing at the Masquerade in the same dress as that worn by La Cour: hence it will be immediately decided, that the infidelity of Lady Waryford is to be detected by means of this most threadbare stratagembut the author, by the turn which he has given to it, has managed so as to secure a larger share of his reader's approbation than he otherwise would have done, on the same principle, that our satisfaction and pleasure are increased in proportion to the lowness of expectation from which the reality raises us.
The most material and important characters are well sketched; but, in general, they are only sketched: they are evidently the creations of a man, who could, if he had so pleased, have given them all their features in the most marked and distinct manner. In this observation, we allude more particularly to the characters of Lady Waryford and Count La Cour. There are traits in the character of the former, which, though they seldom occur, and then are evanescent, are sufficient to distinguish her from the every-day ladies of fashion, who figure away in our modern comedies. Her overpowering sense of her Lord's generosity to her own unworthiness, as it is depicted in the last scene, as well as her language and conduct in other parts of the play, sufficiently bear us out in our remarks, that the author had imaged to himself, and, if he had so chosen, could have presented to his readers, a much more finished character than he has done in the person of Lady Waryford. The character of Count La Cour is brought more distinctly forth than that of her Ladyship; it is a character, fortunately for this country, and to its honor, not common here; it exhibits that union of cold and calculating villainy with superior talents, and what was dignified or degraded with the name of philoso phy, which contributed more than any other cause to the engendering of those calamities, which for twenty years have desolated the greatest part of Europe.
It may, perhaps, be objected to some of the other characters, as well as to some scenes, of the Masquerade, that they bear a greater resemblance to those of Farce, than to those of pure and legitimate Comedy. So far as this observation is applied to the character and behaviour of Volume, we might perhaps admit its truth; but we must contend, that it is unfounded, if applied to the character of Miss Negative, and to her language and conduct; they
exhibit, no doubt, a caricature of the check-population philosophy; but a caricature of a subject which amply deserved it, and executed with a considerable degree of wit and humor.
With respect to the dialogue, it is, in general, neat and sprightly; and what is no common merit, the language and the sentiments are extremely well appropriated to the different personages by whom they are uttered.
On the whole, our opinion of this Play is, that it is the production of an author, who possesses many of the most rare and essential requisites for writing a much better Comedy, than the present degenerate age has witnessed; and one much better than he has now produced: it is the off-hand effort of a writer, who has only to do justice to himself, in order to obtain the approbation of the public.
THE matter of No. I. so greatly exceeded the limits prescribed by the price of the publication, that the Editor has been obliged to withhold a Farce intended for the present Number.
The Author's wishes, in the Tragedy of " MULEY SIDAN," shall be carefully attended to.
The Editor begs the Author of "THE FORTUNEHUNTER" to afford him an opportunity of consulting him. A small alteration is absolutely necessary, before the piece can go to press.
The Opera of "THE PRISONER OF WAR" will be altered as suggested.
"THE SORCERESS" shall have a place in due course.
"THE PROMISE" may probably appear in the next Number: but personal promises, made before the publication was set on foot, have a prior claim over all the pieces subsequently received.