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Adventures of an Unfortunate Player.
H—, which had been fixed on as the place of our destination-(you are, of course, aware that England is the scene of these my adventures.) Previous to our arrival, however, we were met by a rival company who were just departing from the town, and as the road happened to be narrow, it became necessary that one of our cumbrous vehicles should turn aside to let the other pass ;-but opposition is the life of our profession-neither would give way, and an altercation immediately ensued, which was followed by a general engagement, each company ranging under its respective leader, and using such weapons as the properties afforded. What might have been the result of our contest, or which side would have been victorious it is impossible to say; for the report of our skirmish having reached the Mayor, he hastened to the scene of action, and the voice of his authority at once restored peace and order. Our manager claiming the honor of his acquaintance, submitted the hardship of his case, and his worship was pleased to direct our adversaries to fall back, and we moved on in the pride of conquest, with banners flying, and kettle drums beating;-in this manner we reached the vacated theatre, from whence we announced our arrival, stating that we were decidedly the first company at present in England, whether for Tragedy, Comedy, Opera, Interlude or Farce, which we would have the honor of proving on the next evening, when a young gentleman, whose talents were the admiration of his friends, would make his first appearance in public in the character of Douglas-this was the part which our manager had chosen for my debut, and I had studied it on my journey. My heart beat with rapture when I saw myself announced iu a flaming bill, and I counted the moments with impatience until I entered on my career of fame-I viewed success crowning my efforts; the town would be in raptures; the papers filled with my praises; and I foresaw that a brilliant engagement from the London managers would be the natural consequence. Fired with these thoughts I panted to appear; I advanced with confidence, and was indulged with some applause, but the audience evidently waited for my opening speech before they would decide upon my merits. Accordingly I proceeded to recite, "My name is Norval"-but the timid mountain shepherd was too suddenly changed to the lofty and aspiring heir of the house of Douglas, and I "o'er-stepped the modesty of nature," when I should have cautiously kept within her limits;-in short, I ranted with my voice, and threat
Adventures of an Unfortunate Player.
ened with my arms; a few hisses from the pit were the first symptoms of disapprobation, but those I totally disregarded; in vain our manager, who stood beside me as Lord Randolph, endeavoured, by a few significant hems, to check my rising ardour-I roared and ranted on-vivida vis animi was not to be controuled-an unlucky movement of my sword, however, which deprived the fierce Glenalvon of his black wig, was too much for the risibility of the audience, and a general shout of laughter was the consequence; I had borne groans and hisses unmoved, but to be the subject of ignorant merriment was too much for me; I suddenly stopped, and, advancing to the foot lights, called silence!-this only added fuel to the flame, and "off! off! off!" resounded from every quarter, with shouting, hisses, groans, and laughter; 'twas then, as I stood in a tragedy posture with a smile of contempt for the vulgar crowd, that I received a blow-"a blow! Essex, a blow!"-it was an orange peel that struck me on the face; but 1 marked the base hand that dealt the insult, and, assuming an attitude of defiance, I called loudly on the aggressor to afford me satisfaction. He was a youth of my own size and years, and as pugilism is the accomplishment of every fashionable young Englishman, he was too honorable not to accept my challenge; in vain the manager interposed his authority ;-in vain my brother actors endeavoured to detain me, "the blood of Douglas should defend itself." I kept them at bay with my sword, till, watching my opportunity, I flung it on the stage, and springing into the pit, I grappled with my foe; a ring was quickly made, and in a short time I was soundly beaten.
I had no recollection of what followed, nor did I know where I was until I awoke the next morning from a heavy sleep, and found myself in a large room and on a strange bed; I rang a bell and enquired of a servant who answered my summons, you are in the Griffin Hotel, Sir," said he, "and you were brought here last night a little out of sorts!" "I understand you," said 1, "shut the door." The accidents of the night were now returning fresh to my memory, while the pain which I felt about my head and face reminded me too well of my folly and imprudence; I found that my clothes had been left beside the bed, and dressing myself as quickly as I could, I hurried down stairs, intending to quit for ever the company of those whom I had joined in a luckless hour, as soon as I had obtained the money which I had brought with me, and which I had lodged for security in the keeping
Adventures of an Unfortunate Player.
of the manager. On passing through the hall in my way to the street, I was met by the waiter to whom I had already spoken-"I am going to the theatre," said I, " and will return presently to discharge your bill." "To the theatre, Sir?" said he, it has been closed up last night by order of the Mayor in consequence of the riots"-" and the company?" I exclaimed, in breathless agitation,-" they have all decamped, I am told, at three o'clock this morning, he replied, "and I found this note under the door-I guess it is for you."-1 hastily glanced at the direction-it was in the writing of the manager, and contained these words, "Your folly last night has been the cause of our abrupt departure; you have done me irreparable injury-return, young man, to your disconsolate family, and let no consideration ever tempt you on the stage again-as to the sum which you confided to my care, I consider it a very inadequate compensation indeed, for all the trouble and expence of which you were the cause. Farewell."" Cold hearted villain! you have betrayed and deserted me," I exclaimed, and dashing the letter on the ground, I rushed from the house, and ran with the fury of a distracted man, until I cleared the town, and found myself on the banks of a river, where flinging down my wearied frame, I gave full vent to my agonized feelings. I was for some time absorbed in a train of gloomy thoughts, when I perceived a gentleman advancing with a fishing rod in his hand, with which he was slowly following the course of the stream; not thinking that he would perceive me, as he seemed intent on pursuing his diversion, I did not withdraw myself from his notice; but, what were my feelings, when I perceived in him, the identical young man whom I had encountered in the pit! I suppose I made some involuntary motion, for he turned quickly round and discovered me also-we continued to gaze on each other for some moments in silence; I scowled on him, for the memory of my defeat, and the unfortunate consequences which had followed, were swelling in my bosom; but the young man's countenance betrayed no other feeling than that of compassion at my destitute appearance. He advanced, and stretching out his hand, "I have been to blame," said he, "in what has happened between us; can you forgive, and receive me as a friend?" Conflicting feelings struggled hard within me, and in spite of my proud efforts to repress them, I seized his proffered hand, and burst
X. Y. Z.
(To be continued.)
A Chapter of Accidents.
A CHAPTER OF ACCIDENTS.
I left my lodgings at half-past six with the intention of pro-
A Chapter of Accidents.
decision of a happier moment, they roared with pain, and were turning to avenge themselves, when James, whose arm was already stretched out to chastise the breaker of the laws of the lists, seeing his master in the punisher and recalled by his fright to an instant sense of duty, held up his hands for mercy-" master, if you'll not be caning me this way, I'll tell you all about it, and what for I be here." The assembly, who seemed inclined to join their exertions to those of the combatants in repelling my insolent intrusion, seeing how matters were likely to end, remained quiet spectators, while the fellow by my direction proceeded to clothe himself again; but what was my vexation when I saw the livery, with which I had hoped to dazzle the country folks, all bedaubed with the black mire of one of the dirtiest parts of the city: his gold-laced hat was not to be found, and when I demanded where were my trunks, with marks of the greatest confusion he stammered out that he had left them in the porter-house where he and his friend (alluding to his competitor for pugilistic fame) had just gone in for a minute to get their morning. I vowed vengeance, and swore that the instant in which he should put me in possession of my trunks would be the last of his wearing my livery, and my rage was still farther increased when on enquiring at the house of entertainment, I was told that no such articles were left there, and that James had left the house in such a drunken plight, that he could not possibly know whether he had left them or not.— I perceived, however, some hesitation in the midst of the landlord's effrontery, and therefore desired James to wait in the house till I should go for a police officer; but when old Boniface perceived the earnestness of my manner, he called one of his tapsters, and in a significant tone asked him whether a trunk had been left there, "O yes, sir, I brought it into the kitchen to keep it safe for the gentleman,"-" Bring it here this instant," &c.
On the following morning I commenced my journeyat the twelfth lock I got out on the bank, with the intention of walking to the next, and prided myself on my celerity, when, looking back in about ten minutes, I found I had completely outstripped the boat. I continued my walk and in about ten minutes more was overtaken by a countryman who lived within a few miles of my house. He doffed his hat to me, and we walked on chatting together-after some desultory conversation, I asked him whither he was going: "to Dublin your honor" was the reply" to Dublin! you
VOL. I.-NO. VI.