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Anglo-Indian ‘Nabob,' of the orientalised, in this case the somewhat sultanised, Englishman. Through what changes, while he lingered in the East, had his country passed ! The East India Company had lived through them all; through them all his friend and patron, Sir Josiah, had flourished; but how could the man who had come out to Bengal under the Commonwealth picture to himself the court of Charles II, the cabinet of James II, the sentiment which placed the Prince of Orange on the throne ? He may have planned to christen the stronghold of his own Calcutta Fort St James; it was to be named Fort William. Once and again Charnock chose the spot; only at the third attempt did he succeed in settling the English at Sutanati. There he and his lie buried. It is not an easy character to decipher: fable and myth have overgrown it all along. Possibly we have here nature's and circumstance's rough draft for the figure of Clive. An agent far up country, at Patna, managing the saltpetre trade, with nothing but wars in the local and universal air, the wars of Aurangzeb, the wars of Louis Quatorze, the Rebellions, Restorations, Revolutions of England;
a clerk at the desk, always reckoning to have to play ! the soldier and the engineer, never certain of his posi
tion, he may be bidden to obey a Hedges in council or to follow a Heath on campaign.
He had a vakeel at Delhi : once at least there was a project for him to visit Delhi in person. We have a vague impression of a man with a strong, self-contained, self-asserting will, a man who makes himself felt and feared, a man who toils long to attain success, and whom successes do not after all satisfy. Legends there were in the factory of his having turned in the end capricious, indolent, something of a tyrant. Native legend paints him as a wizard who with a burning glass set the Hugli banks on fire, and who, when the Mogul general barred the river with chains, shattered them with one blow of his sword. Some dim notion that the man's fame would endure, that his warfare and wayfaring on earth would have more than ordinary claim on the memory of posterity, might seem to haunt, and even to hallow, the words on his tomb : Qui, postquam in solo non suo peregrinatus esset diu, reversus est domum suae æternitatis.'
Thus have we followed, through evil and good report,
in adverse fortunes and at prosperous turns, the policy of these merchant-committees and of their factors in the East, all through the seventeenth century—a notable expression and expansion of civic and metropolitan thought and life, full of chance and change, yet animated with unity of purpose and persistence of endeavour, from the days of Sir Thomas Smith and Aldworthe, the settler of an English trade at Surat, to the days of Sir Josiah Child and Charnock, the founder of what was to be the Imperial capital at Calcutta.
Is it mere fancy that would trace a faint resemblance between Charnock and the industrious and indomitable civilian and publicist whose last volume, whose almost last words, celebrated Charnock once more?
The one determined the site for a chief city of Bengal and India, the centre whence the conquest of Bengal and India was to proceed; the other mapped out Bengal and India for new studies, sociological, political, linguistic, historical. Three times he essayed, as it were, to clear the jungle: in his Imperial Gazetteer'; in his series of Rulers of India'; finally, in the volumes before us. He opened the quarries, he laid the foundations, he began to build. He left the conditions most favourable and the moment most apt for the erection of a splendid edifice. To write carefully a history of the East India Company during the seventeenth century and the earlier years of the eighteenth; then to describe accurately the policy of the Governors-General down to the end of the nineteenth century; then to discuss the Anglo-Indian problems which rush so thickly upon us, world-problems, as they threaten to become-here is a work which some young scholar of the finest gifts might well undertake, as we turn from the nineteenth into the twentieth century, and, if he gave himself fully to his task, he would find it test all his powers and employ all his leisure during the next fifty years. He would thus pursue in their natural order, though in the contrary order to that adopted by his predecessor, Sir W. Hunter's researches. Here is a labour which could never be better undertaken than now, and which would have in a rare degree the prospect of remaining, through the ages, classical and monumental.
1. The Drama of Yesterday and To-day. By Clement
Scott. Two vols. London: Macmillan, 1899. 2. Dramatic Criticism. By J. T. Grein. London: John
Long, 1899. 3. Nights at the Play. By Dutton Cook. Two vols.
London : Chatto and Windus, 1883. 4. Some Notable Hamlets of the Present Time. By Clement
Scott. London: Greening, 1900. 5. Helena Faucit (Lady Martin). By Sir Theodore Martin. Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1900.
A RETROSPECT of the English drama from the accession of Queen Victoria to the present time, aiming at a complete record of the various changes in taste and manners which society has undergone during so long an interval, and gauging the fidelity with which they have been reflected on the stage, would, it is needless to say, require a volume to itself, and one very different from any of those which stand at the head of this article. Even a much less ambitious attempt, confined to a criticism of all the bestknown plays and most popular actors of the Victorian era, would be entirely beyond the scope of a Quarterly Review article. All that we propose on the present occasion is to note some of the salient points which the retrospect presents, some of the leading contrasts which it affords between the middle and the close of the Victorian era, and some of the comparisons which it suggests between the comedy of the nineteenth and the comedy of the eighteenth century.
The Victorian period of the drama divides itself into two parts, which, though they run into each other, have sufficiently distinct characteristics. Sixty years ago we find the legitimate drama' struggling to hold its own against opera, burlesque, and melodrama. Some good pieces were produced, but they did not represent the real life of the period, or “take' with society as the new drama has taken. London Assurance' is a conspicuous example of this defect, and betrays a total absence of that social knowledge which the author, when it was written, had enjoyed few opportunities of acquiring. The talk of the servants is even more absurd than it is in Sheridan's plays,
of which indeed London Assurance' is an obvious imitation. But it may be doubted whether the dramatists of that day aimed at producing anything like real life, like what they themselves saw either in private life or at their clubs and taverns. Now there was a reason at that time why this did not affect their popularity. During the twenty years that passed from about 1830 to 1850 the stage was gradually losing its hold upon the fashionable world ; and the majority of play-goers neither knew nor cared whether the scenes set before them professing to represent that world were true to nature or not. It was sufficient that they were thoroughly amusing. Those who were satisfied with Sir Mulberry Hawk, Lord Frederick Verisopht, and Old Wardle, as types of the Kentish squire or the London rake, men whom you might meet at any . time in a country manor house or a West End club, would not enquire very particularly whether such men as Sir Charles Coldstream, Alfred Evelyn, or Sir Harcourt Courtley, really lived and moved in English society. They paid for a good laugh, and they got their money's worth.
Now in most of the comedies of the eighteenth century, certainly in the best, the author does intend to hold the mirror up to nature, and to reproduce the society of his own day. It must be allowed that that society was easier to reproduce than our own. It was easier then for the actor who was not to the manner born to put on the outward semblance of a gentleman than it has been since. Dress and demeanour went much further, and there was less room for observing the little niceties of behaviour which now distinguish a gentleman or a lady from one who is neither. In Bulwer's · Paul Clifford,' the highwaymen passed muster very well in the Assembly Room at Bath, save that one of the party talked and laughed a little too loudly. To be properly dressed, to know how to wear a sword and carry a cane, how to make a bow to a lady, and swear a round oath at a lackey, was all that was necessary to constitute a stage gentleman in the reign of George II. As the other sex are naturally more imitative, more gentle, and more graceful than the men, the task was still easier for them, so that there was no difficulty in finding actors and actresses quite equal to keeping up the illusion in society dramas.
If we turn to the comedies of Murphy, Bickerstaff
Cibber, and others of that era, we shall see at once they are meant for pictures of real life, and as long as they continued to be so society went to look at itself through the dramatic mirror. If we can trust the novels of that day, if we can trust the modern imitations of them, such as · Esmond’and the Virginians,' if we can trust the evidence of the Essayists, from Steele and Addison down to Mackenzie and Cumberland, the stage in their day really was a reflection of living manners, of what one might see or hear in the 'gilded saloons,' in the clubs, and in all places of public amusement frequented by the best society. It was easy, says Mackenzie in “The Lounger' (1786), for a clever actor so to play the hero of a comedy as to make young people confound the copy with the original, and suppose that a real gentleman was the same kind of man as the fictitious one: and therefore the immoral hero had a bad effect. But he could not do this equally with the hero of tragedy. It is clear, therefore, that the eighteenth-century comedies were meant to reproduce upon the stage the life of the boudoir and the ball-room, and that they did to a great extent succeed. As it became more difficult to do this, as there were fewer salient points on which the actor could depend, as the gap between life on the stage and life off it became wider and more apparent, English comedy began to decline, with the result which we have already noticed.
Webster's offer of five hundred pounds in 1843 for the best comedy of high life' shows that he felt, at least, the want of something different from London Assurance, which came out in 1841. The prize was awarded to Mrs Gore, for a comedy entitled . Quid pro Quo,' which was acted at the Haymarket in 1844. Mrs Nisbet, Mrs Glover, and Buckstone were all in the cast, and they all did their best. But .Quid pro Quo 'was not likely to succeed where 'London Assurance' failed. The champion destined to awaken the sleeping beauty was not yet found. Something very much better was required to bring back the world of fashion to the stalls and boxes. On this point we have the testimony of Mrs Gore herself. In her preface to Quid pro Quo' she says :
Were the boxes often filled, as I had the gratification of seeing them for the first representation of “Quid pro Quo," with those aristocratic and literary classes of the community