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LA BELLE ASSEMBLÉE;

For MAY, 1812.

A Pew and Improved Series.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF ILLUSTRIOUS AND

DISTINGUISHED LADIES.

The Thirty-second Number.

MRS. EDWIN.

We may allow (nay we must allow, for || parents also of the histrionic profession, on it is an inherent quality in human nature) || the Dublin Theatre principally, where the aged chroniclers of past tiines to la- || their dramatic abilities procured them that ment their Garricks, their Abingdons, share of public estimation, which their Pritchards, and Popes, and to exclaim that private characters secured to them. the day of dramatic genius is gone by; as | We have seen many instances of youth we ourselves shall do, a few years hence, forced upon public notice, where it was when the names of Kemble Jordan, and Sid. || wot accompanied by genius : this was not, dons are no longer upon the theatric list. || however, the case with Miss Richards, But who will say, even should the frigorific || although at the early age of six years she haud of winter chill the genial current of made her theatrical debut in the character wit and genius, who will say that another of the Romp, for her mother's benefit. This spring shall not put forth its verual blossoms, ll whim of securing a full house by novelty, or who will venture to say that the summer i had the good luck, however, of procuring sun of public favour will not ripen their || further emolument; for the Managers of fruits to maturity? For us, or at least for Crow-street (Ryder and Crawford) not only those of the present generation who are l gave her an engagement, in which she pernow young, to indulge in those carping i formed Prince Arthur, The Virgin Uncriticisms when time shall have silvered masked, and the Fine Lady, in Lethe, but their hoary heads, would be to contradict the facetious O'Keefe was actually induced every lesson of present experience, when ll to write a farce, The Female Club, for the we now see a Smith, a Duncan, and av purpose of introducing a character in Edwin stand forth as rivals of the dramatic || which she might perform. phenomena of the last century, and that

ntury, and that l Throughout the whole of this engage. perhaps with equal claims.

ment she displayed an infantine ability that Of the last mentioned actress, it is now || bespoke future approbation ; but it was, our province to speak, and to attempt all perhaps, fortunate for her that the respect. slight delineation of her professional life able situation of her parents did not render and merits.

it a matter of absolute necessity for them to Her maiden name was Richards, her continue her appearance, as novelty would soon have given way, in such a case, to by the Dublin Manager, who, pressed also satiety, and as continued exertions might by the requests, and influenced by the have been injurious to early genius. I opinions of many of the Irish nobility and

The vext nine years were therefore judici- l gentry who had witnessed her powers, was ously applied to preparation for public ar- || induced to offer her another engagement in plause, and not to the search after it, and at that capital; and there she could not fail to the still early age of fifteen she appeared on charm, particularly as the audiences were the York boards in genteel comedy. Even | already prejudiced in her favour by her forat such a juvenile period, she took the lead | mer exertions to please. amongst the dramatic heroines, but the At this period, whilst flattered by public heroes and heroines of the provincial drama approbation, she became the victim of not having yet put down the Aristophanic | private woe by the loss of a husband, of cart, she quitted York for Richmond in whom she has always spoken with tender. Surrey, and there first paid her devotion to ness, and whose death she attributes in a Thalia interrupted by a troublesome blind

monumental effusion on his grave, to the boy who, with the assistance of Mr. John keenness of his feelings at an anonymous Edwin, son of an old distinguished fa-attack up his professional reputation. vourite of the public, coutrived to lead her 1 After yielding to the first impressions of to the Temple of Hymen. '

sorrow, she resumed her public duties, and At this period the private theatricals at having soon after attracted the notice of Wargrave, under the auspices of the gay, Mr. Sheridan, jun. it is said that his recombut unfortunate, Earl of Barrymore, were | mendation led the way to an engagement now in all their splendour, which was not a

at Drury-Lane, not only at an handsome sa. little increased by the translation of Mrs.

lary, but it is we understand under the very Edwin isto that galaxy of wit and fashion, flattering stipulation, that she should fill where she personated high life on the stage,

the first parts in comedy, with a reserve on and mixed with it when off.

her part of refusing any character which This initiation into the fasbionable world

she felt unsuited to her powers, or coutrary

to her inclinations. was of considerable service to her; for it is

On her arrival in London, the Lyceum, not to be supposed that the greatest genius

in consequence of the unfortunate destrucfor observation and for imitation, will ac

tion of Drury-Lane Theatre, was then the quire a sufficient knowledge of the nice

scene of action; and there she came out in minutiæ of high life, in the circles connected October, 1810, in the character of the l'idou with a provincial theatre, except indeed at Cheerle in the Soldier's Daughter; and Bath, where Mrs. Edwin soon after pro

after pro li was not only received with a degree of apcured an engagement after having spent i naneo which she has fully justified in chiaanother winter on the Dublin boards.

racters of more importance and interest, but From Crow-street, however, she first had also the good fortune of acquiring the emigrated to Cheltenham, where her private

good will of the literary critics of the day, character which had stood unsullied midst

who did her every justice in their various all the seduction, glitter, freedom and temp

diurnal and weekly productions. tations of private theatricals, soon procured

This marked and general applausę, which her not only the patronage, but the personal esteem

on all hands is allowed to have been fully and protection of the first due

due to her merit, ought to be a lessou to circles.

many of our heroes and heroines of the sock Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York li and buskin, that it is possible to improve ; was at that time resident at Cheltenham, l for it ought now to be noticed, though for and with her accustomed goodness and obvious reasons we had omitted it before, liberality, honoured her as a protegee; al that she had already been seen by a Loudon notice which, no doubt, hastened Mrs. Ed- audience not only as Miss Richards, but win's engagement with the Bath Managers, I also as Mrs. Edwin, without exciting any and there she had a fair field for the display of those plaudits which she has since of all her various acquirements. In her received. tben improved state of acting, she was seen | To herself this must be a source of great

satisfaction, because she must feel that the times a want of the minutiæ of acting; her pains she bas taken to excel, have uot failed || bye-play, even her attention to her corre. in their object. .

spouding performer, are sometimes forFrom an early initiation into the trick of || gotten. the stage, aud her subsequent opportunities In some characters Mrs. Edwin labours of acquiring a practical knowledge of to produce an effect, which her elegance. fashionable life, it is not a matter of sur- | simplicity, and beauty already secure, withprize that with her abilities she should now | out any toilsome effort. By endeavouring possess an easy and unembarrassed de to do too much, she impairs the genuine portment. Mademoiselle Clairon was effect of her unstrained powers. Her always called by her friends Queen Dido ; || Charlotte, in the Hypocrite, is a proof that but she jastified the hanghtiness of her de- | she diminishes excellence by over-acted meanour when off the stage, by saying, exertion. How admirable would it be if " how shall I representa Queen four hours ! more simple! every day, if the other twenty are spent as we cannot, however, close this article a domestic slattern ?" But it must be re- || without adding that the marked and varymarked that she has also sufficient powers || ing expression of her countenance, and the of discrimination to enable her to givell grace of her manners, give dignity to a form grace, novelty, and interest to casts of cha. which, though extremely pleasing, may be racter which she could never have perform- | deficient in height for a heroine; and we ed in real life, and which are essentially add with extreme pleasure, that the pro, different in themselves. To illustrate this !! priety of her conduct, and the goodness of position, we need only remind our readers her disposition, cannot be more strongly of her performance of Beatrice, and of Lady proved than by the general good will and Traffic in Massinger's altered comedy, now esteem of the world at large, and the parRiches; or, The Wife and Brother. To ticular praise of her professional cotem. praise only, would even in this slight sketch poraries, amongst whom, we are informed, be a dereliction of part of the critic's duty, Mrs. Jordan has distinguished herself by we must not, therefore, be understood as I giving her great praise in her Bealrice saying th at Mrs. Edwiu has nothiug more

and in several other characters. to learn. With all her skill, there is some

ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS.

HYMENÆA IN SEARCH OF A HUSBAND.

(Continued from Page 179.)

" You shall accompany me to the 1) enrich our language than any other of our Prawing-room to-morrow," said my aunt. ll writers; and it is no small proof of his ex“ You are fond of seeing a great variety of cellence of this kind, that many of his pas. characters, Hymenæa, and you will behold || sages have passed into the proverbs and there flowers of all hues."

colloquial maxims of our language. Your “I am afraid you canuot add · And with quotation is from Milton, where he is deout thorus the rose,' my dear aunt," said I, |scribing the garden of Eden in the most “ the latter part of the beautiful passage beautiful part of his Paradise Lost." from which you are quoting."

Paradise Lost is certainly a very fine “ I did not know," said she, “that I was ll poem, and Milton a very fine poet,” said quoting any passage."

my aunt; “but I am at present thinking “Probably not,” said I; “ for you have || of the Court, and of the Lords and Ladies quoted from a Poet who, in my humble of the Bedchamber, and Drawing-room. opinion, has done more to strengthen and " Her Majesty holds a Drawing-room after

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the levee to-morrow, and if you are dis most certainly we approve whatever is posed to go I think you will be entertain- right and good."

“It is certainly a lamentable pity," said “I certai:ily will do myself the honour I, “ that your hearts are better than your to attend you," said l. “ It is an act of understanding, and that you feel more corhomage which I conceive to be due to the rectly than you act.” present situation of her Majesty.”

“But do you know," repeated my aunt, Accordingly, at the proper hour on the “ who yonder gentleman is?" following day, I accompanied my aunt to '1 " What, he in the window-seat," said I, Court. My aunt was in high spirits, and “who looks as solemn and as vapid as seemed to promise herself much entertain- | Doodle in the play?" ment in the original figures which she ex- !“Ycs," said my aunt; “his character is pected to see.

marked in his looks. You would imagine « There is no Court in Christendom, by his important looks, that he carried the Hymenæa," said my aunt, “ which pre- Inquiry into the State of the Nation in sents a more singular spectacle than that his head, and that he was labouring, and of England. You will see a greater variety perhaps discussing some important propoof characters than perhaps all the European sition. But when he rises to speak in the Courts taken together would equal." || House of Lords (which he does very fre.

My aunt had not promised this variety | quently) he can never get three lines hewithout sufficient reason.--" Do you see i beyond his original hem; and the ivanity that lady?" said my aunt, almost as soon of what he says, as compared with the as the first complimeuts had passed. “That importance of what he seems to mean, lady," continued she, “ is one of the most forms a most ridiculons contrast. He could remarkable persons in his Majesty's domi- | not look more solemnly if the nation were nions. She was married very early in life upon its last legs; and he would not speak to a nobleman, since deceased, of high less to the purpose if he had taken an oath merit and character. During thirty years never to speak at all." they lived such a conjugal life as even in “And who is that fidgety face-making the country you would have termed most restless gentleman who is every now and exemplary. They were scarcely ever se- then pulling his own ears in the attitude of parate either in business or pleasure Her | deep thought, and alternate vexation and husband was in the military profession, and langer?". served throughout the American war, I “Why, that man," said my aunt, “ is believe throughout the French war which an exact contrast and contradiction to the preceded it. His Lady accompanied him character of the other; for as the one looks throughout all bis first campaigus; she re- so solemp, so pregnant, and so important, peatedly crossed the Atlantic with him, and yet so full only of emptiness and wind, and slept in the woods aud marshes of the so the other who looks so iusignificant, so new world. Her husband died some time i trifling, and so fidgety, is in reality an able, since, and there now sits his widow, the honest, and most efficient minister. He is most respected and most respectable wo. || the first nobleman in the Administration. main in the three kingdoms, and whom And what is undoubtedly very greatly to even I love and revere, though, as you well his honour, both his father and himself know, I have 20 very violent partiality for lowe their rise and fortune to their merits. domestic enjoyment."

He has not long succeeded his father in “Sh must be good indeed,” said I, “ to his honours and in his reputation. He is, have made this general impressiou in her or rather was, at the head of a party usually favour."

denominated the Household, or King's “ Yes," said my aunt; “ whatever any men.” one may say of fashionable manners and if « But who is that grave and composed fashionable morals, they must at least do us vobleman near her Majesty's persou? He the justice to acknowledge that we have has the air of a man at once good and no hypocrisy; we may not practise, but ll great."

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