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i CHATTY REVIEW OF THE WEEJE…

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i CHATTY REVIEW OF THE WEEJE S LITERATURE. Mr. John Hollingshead is the latent victim Af the mania for writing reminiscences, but, at ho has the excuse that his life has been a Jnore than ordinarily busy and varied one, and tnp.t he has met more interesting people than tnost. Mr. Holunssiiead, whose father held a post in the Irish Cliamber, or office for the management of the Irish estates of the Corpora- tion of London at Guildhall. waf born in Sep- tember, 1827. He describes himself as a half pipsy boy." wandering about the mangy tielda of Hoxrori and Islington—a sftreet- ara-b—a re- spectable street arab with a clean collar, it Anay tie, but, still. a street ara.b. Yet he had iIome very early literary association*: — [ was very young when Charies Lamb lied, Hid have a haxy rec.-ollectdon of a little Boh Crat-chitt kind of man. who might have been a tutor at a school, with a neat, frail body oarrying f large head that looked somewhat top-heaw. Much that I know about this I man it.. of course, only family hearsay. Ilia habitF were eccentric and peculiar. A sfi'cat- f aunt of mine, named Sarah James, who helped in taking charge of his sister, was his friend and companion. Slw went to Paris with him soon after the Napoleonic peace, the party consisting tf Charles and Mary Lamb. old Charles Kenney, I "the dramatist, and his wife (a French lady). Howard Payne. the playwright., who vroU Clnri, the Maid of Milan,' and. consequenMy, the English words of Home. Sweet Home iMise Kelly, the actress, and herself. The <wantfit occupied several day, and was made by s1:age-coa..h 'to Dover, packet to Calais, :md diligence from town to town. In Paris Lamb led his own independent life. di-appearing sotn"- tL,i all day. having lived mostly on the rive: iit, qissys on the Odeon "ide of Hie Seine, rum- *i*2-ing the bookstall- and print-shops for old ioo!:s ami old prints, returning late at night to 6e hotel, and skating up tin- waxed <tairs to fe«l thoroughly satisfied with hi. day's A'o: <. My father had the same taste-, and thought ought not to hunger after supper if we could look upon Sliver's mezzotints, just bought, of ]>r. Johnson when he was a young man strug- gling with blindness, and Goldsmith as the com- panion engraving. Once Charles Lamb joined his party in Paris to go to the theatre on a fete id'-h't, and Talma icied to pass them in to avoid the crowd. The English at that time were nafttrally not popular, and the action ot the great comedian ,1 imo"t produced u jjot. Mr. HoJlin^head had ;;lso some very early opportunities of .'tudying the drama, as will bsseen in the following extract: — "My pocket-money being very limited, it 's not wonderful that, with my gipsy tastes and perfect liberty of action. I became a patron of ->?nny gaffs' v, herevtT I could find them. A K.?aad' much-limited bowman named Saunders -or 'Old Si'iT'.deis.' a* we u.-ed to call him— t< ok a booth thea-ere aboui, much as a Punch- H-nd-J udy mart may take a Punch-and-Judy s-km" and pitched it on any ground that he saw imd fancied which happened to be vacant. This oourse oi action naturally provoked constant conflicts with the police, and old Saunders lived -t life of moving-on under pain of being deprived of his liberty. H-.s dramas were models of brevity, and he could pi ay Cinw Bleeding Nun' and "Pi;e Miller and his Men' in five minutes i time than the great 'Rfkhardson' took to represent the same works of genius. In those days, in the New Cut, Lambeth—so-calied. like the New River, ijeeause it is very ancient— •here was a 'g-a.W kept by two maiden hdies of most reapec-tehce appearance, who might have been anybody's aunt. who passed their tame .hieth" in taking money and checks and knittiny stocking* One-cold tiny, in a very cold winter, they gave me a pair of these stocking- and I iook thm). I was mver a proud boy. Another friend of mine wa«s Mr?. Harwcod. a stout, bene- volent lady, who used to keep a 'gaff' at Sfhoie- diteii, 'in the- Ditch.' She used to pass me in. I was very young, and did not take up much room. One eventful night the inevitable 'raid" came. There were no lialfr.enny evening newsTwpiTs then, 3o very little public fuss was made of it. But, for all that, the "raid"' wa.s a business- like affair, a.nd w.'s quite seriou-ly intended: — "TIle 'gaff' was committing the awful crime of performing Shakepeare without a licence. Dog-fights, rav fights, badger-drawing, skittIo. sharping. even 'shove-halfpenny' were more or less winked at; but Shakspeire—Shakspeare without a licence—S'hakspeare in defiance of the patent houses. Drury Lane and Covent Gar- den-horrible! d. grading! Everybody was very properly Liken into custody. The actors in their paint, the fiddlers with their instru- ments of torture, the audience ir, their rags, the servants, the proprietor—some 80 people in all —were marched off to Worship-street—all ex- cept one. A small boy. who ought to have been in bed. was selected from the crowd, his ears were boxed, and he was told to go home to lis mother. I was that boy. and I went home to my mother; but two or three ye.:rs after wards, with another boy. I was turned out of Evans's, but found refuge in the Cyder Cellars, my only disqualification being my youth. This I soon, got over. What became of the crowd at the gaff I never learnt till many ye.-rs after- wards. Harry Webb, one of the well-known Brothers Dromio, and the lessee of the old Queen's Theatre in Dublin, where Robson and Toole passed so much of their early time. was one of the crowd. They v/ere kept up. sitting on benches, all night. as the cclls were not large enough to contain them, and were let off with a small fine and a severe warning in the morn ing." After a brief commercial life, Hollin-g-head took to literature, and his articles were a regular feature of "Household Words," ihe ."Train" (Edmund Yates's magazine), many of j.'ie dailies, a.nd the "Cürnhill." His dramatic J.OCeil, too. were many, perhaps the most famous being "The Birthplace of Podgtrs," which turned out to Ii(' one of -Afr. Toole's greatest successes. After an experience at the Alhanihra, Mr. Hollingsrhead took the first lease of the Gaiety, and it was he who made the house famous. The memorable engagement of the •'Oomedie Francaise! in 1879 deserves special mention. The contract wa- that M. Got and his aaaociates were to take no risk of any kind. but were to receive £9.600 for six weeks7 per- formajw^as or £1.600 a week, paid in advance. What was the opinion of practical managers of this arrangement, Mr. Hollingshead tells us: — "Ail soon as the terms were known many of my friends thought I had made a foolish bar- pain. My total expenses were calculated at £ 340 a night, and this in a small theatre looked enormous- I had been warned off the contract by experts of various kinds. The Bond-street Jlouses-the i,,ie i)ot to touch it: my landlord thought I was mad, and many lirother-managers held, the same opinion. Mr. John Hare, to whom I mentioned the scheme and cost, evidently agreed with m" landlord, and Mr. Henry Irving, to whom I offered a chare in the undertaking, as a well-deserved compliment, did not hesitate to say that, if the. 'first company in Europe' would not come to England on more moderate, terms they ought to remain at home. I had no single word of en- couragement from man. woman, or child until I ajppealed to the public by inviting subscrip- tions. In 24 hours I knew I was right, and I had my joke for nothing." The f. ;;a.l receipts of this remarkable season of six weeks, performances in a foreign toiimieI wfire, in round numbers. £ '20,000- As a fact, howe ver, the public paid much more, because ticket were bought and then sold at a pre- tni/um by speculators. "But- of this (says Mr. Hollingshead) I have no authentic record, as received none of the extra money, although some of the French journals accused me of this Ineannese." A manager's correspondence is often very remarkable, and Mr. Hollingshead furnishes some curious samples — "No. 2 was from a young lady of some little education, determined to go on the stage — 'Mr. Hollingshead, Sir.. » 'twice I have tried to come. and see you £ nt have been stopt My mother says do you I Know if you go on the stage you will be ruined it is a wicked life Then I asked her why is it I can learn poetry so fast and why have I got such a voice if I am not to use them and there a.re good people on the stage they talk of ta-king my Byron and Shakspeare from me and they say f should only be Ballet girl and they know I should not. like that. I dare say I shall be a long time befor I can post this. I am all on thorns while writing. I shall oome as soon as I get a chance for the more they talk the worst it seems to make me. (Initial-.) [This was the first and la.st communication from my unknown correspondent.! "From a gentleman of limited education whe wishes to go on the stage :— 'Mr. Hollingshead, 'Dear Sir. 'I wrote to you la.st year to ask you if you Could Find Me. an Inexperiance Part in Youi Berlesque. 'but I wrote rather late and vou had Corn pleated all Your Arrangements I have EttsN hours From 10 till 5.30 and I should like Very much to see how I should like the Stage as ] am sure I am gifted with it. I also thought a Xmas Piece Would be the means of Brining my Tallent out. Any part* I would Take as i should not be able to be at the Afternoon Per. formance. I leave all to Your Superior Know ledge & I feel isure you will find me a part it ever so simple for the First.' YTv Lifetime." By John Holling-head, Two vols. (Sampson Low and Co.)

A SAD STORY.

SHABBY ROYALTIES.

CLERGYNIANIS VIEWS ON EAT…

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----'---A GLANCE AT OLD CARDIFF.

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BATHING AT LLANDUDNO.

A BRAVE LADY. ^

AN IDEAL POST-OFFICE- l0.

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