« AnteriorContinuar »
his return was truly kindling. It made sing a song, is but a poor substitute one almost in love with auld langsyne. for one who can do every thing but We are quite sure that, with all its sing a song ; but a timid, retiring faults, we should at the moment have woman, who seems made only “ within been content to barter it for “ this ig- a gentle bosom to be laid,” is perhaps norant present.”
more attractive than a dashing highAll that part of the novel relating spirited lady, who can leap a five-bar to Sir Hildebrand and his sons is o- gate, and be in at the death.—They mitted, as well as the splendid descrip- both sang delightfully.
We never tion of the escape of Rob Roy; and remember to have heard any thing also every thing that occurs previously so exquisitely delicate and beautiful to the stoppage of the house of Osbal- as a duet to the air of Roy's Wife, distone. In other respects, the story which was given without the accomis pretty closely followed ; and, as we paniment of the orchestra. Besides before mentioned, the very words of this air, we recognised The Lass of the principal scenes; and we are so Patie's Mill, Auld Langsyne, and some unused to any thing of the kind in other favourites. new pieces, that they seemed to come The scenery of this opera is very upon us like meeting a friend in a fo- fine, particularly the bridge at Glasreign country.
gow by moon-light, and the two T'he opera was excellently per- scenes in the Highlands. formed. The character of Rob Roy might have been looked better than THE MARQUIS OF CARABAS, or by Mr Macready, but it could not Puss in Boots. A piece with this have been played better. His first title was produced on the 30th of scenes were extremely easy and spi- March. It is said to have been quite rited ; and some of the last had a worthless, and was completely rejccted power and pathos-a fine homely pa- by the public; but notwithstanding thos--that was delightful. Liston was this, the plebeian managers of this Nicol Jarvie, and a most amusing per- theatre, profiting by the noble examson he made of him. But when he ple of the lords and gentlemen at the talked about “ dangling like the sign other house, seemed to have it in conof the golden fleece over the door of a templation to force it upon the town mercer's shop on Ludgate Hill,” we again. The audience, however, had could not help echoing his “My con- the spirit to take the law into their science!" When an actor presumes
own hands, and threaten destruction to make a joke of his own--for such to all the finery within their reach. this must have been-he should at This was as it should be, supposing least take care not to let it be a bad the condemnation of the piece in quesone.-Blanchard and Tokely played tion to be just; of which, however, Owen and Dugald admirably. There not being present, we do not pretend was a fine resemblance, and at the to judge. This summary way of prosame time a fine contrast, between ceeding is the only resource the public them. Each was devoted to his pa- have against the insolent pretensions tron, but each in his own way: one and overweening power of these ere with the mechanical, counting-house clusive people; and it brought them to devotion of an automaton, and the their senses in a trice. They sent forother with the fiery, headlong devo- ward their mouth-piece to explain how tion of a beast. The one could have much it was “ their inclination, as been manufactured nowhere but in well as their duty, to comply with the “ Crane Alley, London ;” and the sense of the public,” and so forthother could have been bred nowhere after they had had the insolence to but in the Highlands of Scotland.- endeavour to drive them away, by Rashleigh Osbaldistone, though not throwing the theatre into almost total made a prominent character, was well darkness. performed by Abbot.-Mr Sinclair was as little like Frank Osbaldistone as Miss Stephens was like Diana Ver
Drury Lane Theatre. non; but then the one was a change Rob Roy, or The GREGARACH. sadly for the worse, whereas the other On the 25th March a play was prowas perhaps for the better. A young duced, called Rob Roy, or THE GREgentleman who can do nothing but
The name of this piece was
a hoax on the public,-a bait to draw his guide, and has lost himself there; a full house on the first night,- and we do not much care if he never “ springe to catch woodcocks :” and finds his way back again, at least if he it succeeded—no doubt to the infinite is determined to write plays, and cansatisfaction of the committee of “no- not write better ones than this. We blemen and gentlemen” who conde- cannot dismiss it, however, without scend to manage this theatre. If it noticing the performance of Mr Walhad been practised anywhere else, we lack, in Dugald. It was admirable ; should have ventured to call this a and but for this the piece would not paltry trick; but, as it is, we remain have been heard half out. At the close “ With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it was completely damned; but the it as a sword.”
“ noblemen and gentlemen” thought This piece is by Mr Soane, who proper to announce it the next day seems to be the accredited agent for for“ every evening till further notice, supplying this house with the article in consequence of the applause, &c. it of melo-dramas
. We guess that he had received. This in any body else received an order for one on the sub- would have been a great piece of imject of Rob Roy, to be delivered by a pertinence, to say nothing of its falsecertain time; but finding that Mr hood. Pocock had been beforehand with him in the market, he ventured to substi- THE SLEEPING DRAUGHT. A new tute a spurious commodity under the farce, with this title, was produced on same name, relying on the ignorance the 1st of April. It is written by Mr of his customers for the cheat not Penley, of this theatre, and is one of being detected. But he might have the drollest we have seen for a long known, that if “ noblemen and gentle- time past. It makes no pretensions men” can find something better to do to wit or character ; but all the fun than to read Rob Roy, other people depends on the situations and equicannot; and he might have been sure, voques, which are extremely well conthat any one who had read that work trived. We do not recollect any farce would not tolerate such a parody on it that has so striking and complete a as he has given. It is a sort of conclusion ; but the audience lose this, " Hamlet Travestie," only without by a foolish and ill-mannered habit the fun. “ The burthen of the mys- which they have of getting up to go tery,” from beginning to end, is Rob away the moment they perceive that Roy in love! Think of the Macgre- the last scene is arrived. --The whole gor in love ! Sighing away his life at a weight of the piece lay on Mr Harley, lady's feet! Breathing forth soft vows, who played most exquisitely. A Mrs to the sound of his own pibroch, be- Hughes, whom we had not before neath a bower of roses (raised by seen, played the character of a waitmagic, no doubt), among his own ing-maid with becoming pertness and mountains! We wonder it did not vivacity. occur to Mr Soane to bring Rob Roy to London, put on him a pair of tight pantaloons and a stiff neckcloth, and
EFFECT OF FARM OVERSEERS ON THE make him fall in love with an opera dancer.
We shall not waste the reader's I think it was Professor Dugald time, or our own, by saying any thing Stewart who some time ago remarkmore of the plot and characters of this ed, that “ what was known in the piece, than that they differ, in almost last generation to a few philosophers, every respect, from those of the novel. in the present came to be publicly To such as properly appreciate that taught in the schools, and in the work and its companions, this will next would become familiar to the seem almost like falsifying the truth people.” If we take a slight view of of history; like writing an historical ihe last thirty years, we shall most play, in which Alexander should be probably find this observation of the made a coward, or Cicero a fool, or philosopher abundantly verified ; and Brutus accept a place under govern- if it is capable of general application, ment. The truth is, Mr Soane has and we had the power to put our eyes wandered into the Highlands without behind the Professor's spectacles, and
MORALS OF FARM SERVANTS.
to look forward, we would most un- monwealth, like the veering of the ice doubtedly have strange things placed in the Polar Seas, during which some in our view. We really can assign no terrible gratings and jarrings have limits to the human mind; it is evi- been heard, and even once or twice (it dent, that the more we know, our ca- can be nought but the cold weather pacity for acquiring knowledge is en- that puts these frozen similitudes in larged in proportion, and it is proba- one's head) the whole field threatened bly like every thing else that is pro- to be broken up by a ground swell. In gressive, and increases according to my present communication I shall try some determinate ratio, although, like to confine myself, if possible (for í a late great conqueror, carrying along got an early habit of wandering from with it the means of its own future my text), to some unpleasant circumobstruction,-or sometimes it may re- stances in the situation of a numerous semble a winter flood in a rapid river, class of the common people. that
goes on tearing up the ice-boards I have no small hesitation in saying, before it, and adding to its force and and I hope I shall not be thought to velocity, until the accumulation be- derogate ought from the proper dignicomes too vast to move within the old ty of the clerical character when I do banks, and it wastes its strength by say so, that I seldom refuse to partake overflowing and devastating an adjoin- of the good things of this life, with ing plain. But this is wading into those more wealthy farmers in my the strength of the flood, while I only neighbourhood who are still in a submeant to try to examine some things stantial condition. I do this the less that I thought I observed floating down reluctantly, that it belongs to my prothe edge of the current, although I am fession, not only to mix occasionally some little alarmed, not only for what among the people, but to become all is already afloat, but for what is be- things to all men. ginning to move with the stream. But, in good truth, the heritors
To drop any further metaphor, the have almost all left the country. Of fact is, Mr Editor, that truths, which the immediate causes of this emigrain my younger days we durst hardly tion, I shall refrain from saying much mention to one another as we rode at this time. I myself hạve felt some home after the presbytery dinner, are little of the pressure of the times; now discussed boldly in every ale- and having a title, at next Martinhouse (I heartily wish there were mas come a twelve months, to claim fewer of them) in the parish. This an augmentation to my stipend of one has been to me no small cause of con- chalder and a half of victual, I shall sternation, to say the least of it. It is remember the proverb, and “ let sleeptoo evident that there is something ing dogs lie. wrong, Mr Editor, when people grow As I said before, I have frequent wiser than their teachers.
opportunities of associating with the The three learned professions may more wealthy farmers. The whole and ought to be considered, capable of economy of their households is now judging what is good for all ranks of superior to that of their landlords society, for they are generally conver- when I came first to the parish. I sant with each and all of them,- from sometimes venture to tell them that the laird to the cotter, and from the they have got into their lairds' places; bailie to the burgess.
but they reply, that all trades and In a future letter (that is to say, if callings are advanced. This, however, this shall be deemed worthy to be ho- when I recollect that my predecessor noured with a place in your pages), I was enabled to provide himself with may perhaps communicate some ob- the comfort of a snug chaise, does not servations which I have had the op- strike me with the force of an argu portunity of making upon the in- mentum ad hominem. fluence of the higher on the middle My own residence is confined to one classes, and through them upon the of the fertile coast-side districts, where people at large. Upon this subject the people had rather the start in agriI would wish to enter somewhat into cultural improvements. As the old particulars, and try to do some justice race of farmers acquired property (I to its importance, for it appears to me speak of forty years ago), they began that a change has been taking place to educate their sons in proportion. through the whole body of the com- Of these some applied to trade, to the
law, or they went abroad and obtained left almost entirely to the superintendemployment in our different colonies. ence of the overseer. The head of the family, in the mean Some two years ago, I went to visit time, went on and prospered ;-he en- an old acquaintance in the hilly part larged the bounds of his farm by tak- of the country. Among these dales ing leases of those belonging to his less the sheep farmers are wont to keep enterprising neighbours ;-his son, only as much land under tillage as can who had remained at home for the be accomplished by the labour of one purpose of succeeding him in his busi- pair of horses ;--they have more ness, was relieved of his share in the women servants in proportion to this, usual labour, and promoted to assist as they are needed for hoeing the crop his father in the superintendence of of turnips and potatoes,-for assisting his increasing concerns ;-or the son, at the sheep-folds, at the periods of or other relation who succeeded, con- assorting the flocks, -and in making tinued to proceed in the same enter the natural meadow hay, of which there prising way. Thus the tenantry came is usually a considerable quantity along to double and treble the original size the banks of the rivulets. Excepting of their farms, which were commonly when assisting at the folds, where the from 60 to 150 acres when the land master always attends himself, the was good, but were now swelled even servants are very often sent to their to the extent of 1000, in some in- work without any person to oversee stances.
them; they are, of course, told that it All this, besides the contemporaneous is expected they will be diligent, and advance in general wealth, mightily that they are left to the admonition of tended to enlarge the information, al- their own consciences to urge them to ter the manners, and extend the am- their duty. bition of this important class of people. At my friend's house I met with
During the progress of this change, a sheep-farmer of extensive property, a space was opened between the farm- who showed much acuteness of ina er and his labourers that required to tellect and shrewdness in his remarks. be filled up; and a new sort of per- He seemed to have studied closely the son, called a grieve, or overseer, made characters and motives of all with his appearance. One of the steadiest whom he had been led to be connectof the ploughmen was commonly elect- ed, and to have taken wonderfully deep ed to this office,-he attended to the views of the structure of society. He execution of his master's orders while told me, that within these last twenty he rode to markets and sales. The years or so, the system that the arable master then began to find that, even in farmers had betaken themselves to of the intervals between these, the over- keeping overseers for their servants and seer continued to relieve him of his day-labourers, had had the effect of usual attention to much of the detail greatly corrupting their habits. I was of the farm-work ;-he began, in pro- much startled with this remark at first, cess of time, to give himself still more and then began to suspect that the latitude,-he took still more distant gentleman was carrying his knowledge journies,-he visited his neighbours, of mankind to a fanciful extent. and saw their horses, cattle, and feed- “ That appears to me an odd preing-stock; inspected the success of judice,” said I ; " we view the matter their new modes of culture, and the in another sort of light in my part of effect of their improved implements. the country, where grieves are more
Knowing that his work was going generally kept by the farmers, than in on in the mean time, always under the the arable part of the country contieye of a person who was answerable, guous to where we now are.” at the risk of his place, for the per- He said, that the demoralization he fection and extent of the work per- complained of he had ascertained, from formed, he came to have small hesita- several years' experience, to be a certion in staying to dinner and spending tain fact ;-that in my district the the afternoon with his friends, who country he had no doubt that it was were similarly provided with substi- still worse, as it would prevail exactly tutes. His neighbours, in their turn, in proportion as the system of vicavisited him, and in this way the rious management existed ;-and from ploughman and labourers came to be the universal prevalence of the prac
tice we had necessarily remained igno- leads the way to their defrauding their rant of the effects.
masters otherwise, and more directly. I now began to see that this might He said, that formerly, when the be the case; that in fact there could farms were small, there were but two be very few opportunities of the evil or three hands employed, and the masbeing noticed ; and when such did ter working himself occasionally along occur, the coincidence of such an acute with them, they came to have a greatobserver was a thing not to be reckon- er interest in the work; and when he
I recollected too, that it had to be absent from them, every
common enough complaint person could get the credit of his own among the old people, that servants diligence; it was not lost and overlookwere grown worthless in comparison ed among the work of a number, and to what they were since they recol- any remissness, where it did occur, lected. My new friend went on to was more easily detected, and charged declare, that for his part, he now care- upon the identical person in fault. fully avoided hiring a servant if he The whole household also constituted could discover that they had been in one family, which looked to the gudethe service of an arable-farmer who man as their natural and patriarchal kept a grieve; they not only were idle, head, and considered his interest as in he said, whenever they were out of some degree connected with their own. view, but they had generally acquired The words, our har’st and our crops, wrong ideas of the duty of a ser- were commonly used to express those vant, and were very apt to infect the of their master. They heard his ideas others with their idleness and corrupt and plans, communicated their own principles.
remarks, and became interested in the I inquired if he did not think that the success of the whole. All this kindly constant presence of the overseer with communication is cut off by the introthe labourers would rather have the duction of this delegated authority to effect of training them to habits of the grieve, which of course removes diligence and industry. He replied, the person, the views, the interest of that as well might we expect that the the master, so much farther out of the sound of the whip would train the ne- sphere of the labourers' observation groes to such habits. He shewed, that and attachment. That attachment he had fully investigated the subject, was of course diminished, as subjects and made himself well acquainted cannot be supposed to entertain that with the former and present state of loyalty to the person of a viceroy as to the people in the arable districts. that of their native sovereign residing
Two things, he observed, combine in the bosom of his country. ed to render labourers less industrious It was then also well understood, and tractable under the inspection of that eye-service, as they termed it, a grieve ; first, he was one of their was disgraceful and dishonest; and it own order of society, and all men sub- was a common saying among them, mit with unwillingness to the autho- that " if a man did not serve his masrity of an equal ; secondly, he has not ter well for love, he would never do it his own interest to plead for, urging for fear. That an eye-servant was the their diligence, and consequently the devil's servant, but he who wrought workers naturally (though unjustly) when no eye saw him wrought to considered him as less entitled to be God.” strict in his superintendence. Thus On the large farms the labourers are situated, the grieve either endeavour- never left at any time to the impulse ed to diminish the odium attending or control of their own feelings. The his official duty, by conniving at ne- overseer goes out with them in the glect or laziness; or enforcing it with morning; his watch regulates their strictness, it became the general and time rest, and the hour when they common object of the labourers to cease from their labour for the night. elude his vigilance by every possible Diligence is here no virtue ; there is device. In either case, the character really no room for fidelity and the of the labouring class was ruined since pride of an honest mind; and it is the principle was introduced among impossible for them to acquire the apthem of doing as little for their wages probation and esteem of their supeas they possibly can, which perhaps riors, so flattering to, and congenial