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fell, the cage opened, and the lioness sprung out I remember to this moment seeing the body of the lioness in the air, and then all as dark as pitch. What a change! not a moment before all of us staring with delight and curiosity, and then to be left in darkness, horror and dismay! There was such screaming and shrieking, such crying, and fighting, and pushing, and fainting, nobody knew where to go, or how to find tlieir way out. The people crowded first on one side, and then on the other, as their fears instigated them. I was very soon jammed up with my back against the bars of one of the cages, and feeling some beast lay hold of me behind, made a desperate effort, and succeeded in climhing up to the cage above, not however without losing the seat of my trowsers, which the laughing hya;na would not let go. I hnrdly knew where I was when I climbed up; but I knew the hirds were mostly stationed above. However, that 1 might not have the front of my trowsers torn as well as the behind, us soon as I gained my footing I turned round, with my back to the bars of the cage, but I had not been there a minute, before I was attacked by something which digged into me like a pickaxe, and as the hyaena had torn my clothes, I had no defence against it. To turn round would have been worse still; so after having received above a dozen stabs, I contrived by degrees to shift my position, until I was opposite to another cage, but not until the pelican, for it was that brute, had drawn as much blood from me as would have fed his young for a week. I was surmising what danger I should next encounter, when to my joy l discovered that I had gained the open door from which the lioness had escaped. I crawled in, and pulled the door too after me, thinking myself very fortunate; and there I sat very quietly in a corner during the remainder of the noise and confusion. Iliad not been there but a few minutes, when the beef-eaters, as they were called, who played the music outside, came in with torches and loaded muskets. The sight which presented itself was truly shocking, twenty or thirty men, women, and children, lay on the ground, and I thought at first the lioness had killed them all, but they were only in fits, or had been trampled down by the crowd. No one was seriously hurt. As for the lioness, she was not to be found; and as soon as it was ascertained that she hail escaped, there was as much terror and scampering away outside, a.* there had been in the menagerie. It appeared afterwards, that the animal had been as much frightened as we had been, and had secreted herself under one of the waggons. It was some time before she could be found. At last O'Brien, who was a very brave fellow, went a-head of the beefeaters, and saw her eyes glaring. They borrowed a net or two from the carts which had brought calves to the fair, and threw them over her. When she was fairly entangled, they dragged her by the tail into the menagerie. All this while I had remained very quietly in the den, but when I perceived that its lawful owner had come back again to retake possession, I thought it was time to come out; so I called to my messmates, who with O'Brien were assisting the beef eaters. They had not discovered me, and laughed very much when they saw where I was. One of the midshipmen shot the bolt of the door, so that I could not jump out, and then stirred me lip with a long pole. At last I contrived to unbolt it again, and got out, when they laughed still more, at the seat of my trowsers being torn oft". It was not exactly a laughing matter to me, although I had to congratulate myself upon a very lucky escape; and so did my messmates think, when I narrated my adveutures. The pelican was the worst part of the business. O'Brien lent mc a dark silk handkerchief, which I tied round my waist, and let drop behind, so that my misfortunes might not attract any notice, and then we quitted the menagerie; but I was so stiff that I could scarcely walk.
We then went to what they called the Ranelagh Gardens to see the fireworks, which were to be let off at ten o'clock. It was exactly ten when we paid for our admission, and we waited very patiently for a quarter of an hour, but there were no signs of the fireworks being let off. The fact was, that the man to whom the gardens belonged, waited until more company should arrive, although the place was already very full of people. Now the first lieutenant had ordered the boat to wait for us until twelve o'clock, and then return on board; and as we were seven miles from Portsmouth, we had not much time to spare. We waited another quarter of an hour, and then it was agreed that as the fireworks were stated in the handhill to commence precisely at ten o'clock, that wo were fully justified in letting them off ourselves. O'Brien went out and returned with a dozen penny rattans, which he notched in the end. The fireworks were on the posts and stages, already, and it was agreed that we should light them all at once, and then mix with the crowd. The oldsters lighted cigars, and fixing them in the notched end of the canes, continued to puff them until they were all well lighted. They handed one to each of us, and at the word we all applied them to the match papers, and soon as the fire communicated, we threw down our canes and ran in among the crowd. In about half a minute, off they all went in the most beautiful confusion; there were silver stars and golden stars, blue lights and Catherine-wheels, mines and bombs, Grecian fires and Roman candles, Chinese trees, rockets and illuminated mottoes, all firing away, cracking, popping, and fizzing, at the same time. It was unanimously agreed that it was a great improvement upon the intended show. The man to whom the gardens belonged ran out of a booth where he had been drinking beer at his ease, while his company were waiting, swearing vengeance against the perpetrators; indeed, the next day he offered fifty pounds reward for the discovery of the offenders, but I think that he was treated very properly. He was, in his situation, a servant of the public, and he had behaved as if he was their master. We all escaped very cleverly, and taking another dilly, arrived at Portsmouth, and were down to the boat in good time. The next day I was so stiff and in such pain that I was obliged to go to the doctor, who put me on the list, where I remained a week before I could return to my duty. So much for Portdown fair.
It was on a Saturday that I returned to my duty, and Sunday being a fine day, we all went on shore to church with Mr. Falcon, the first lieutenant. We liked going to church very much ; not, I am sorry to say, from religions feelings, but for the following reason :—the first lieutenant sat in a pew below, and we were placed in the gallery above, where he could not see us, nor indeed could we sec him. We always remained very quiet, and I may say very devoutly, during the time of the service, but the clergyman who delivered the sermon was so tedious, and had such a bad voice, that we generally slipped out as soon as he went up into the pulpit, and adjourned to a pastry-cook's opposite, to eat cakes and tarts and drink cherry brandy, which we infinitely preferred to hearing a sermon. Some how or other, the first lieutenant had scent of our proceedings; we believed that the marine officer informed against us, and this Sunday he served us a pretty trick. We had been at the pastry-cook's as usual, and as soon as we perceived the people coming out of church, we put all our tarts and sweetmeats into our hats, which we then slipped on our heads, and took our station at the church-door, as if we had just come down from the gallery, and had been waiting for him. Instead, however, of appearing at the churchdoor, he walked up the street, and desired us to follow him to the boat. The fact was, he had been in the back-room at the pastry-cook's, watching our motions through the green blinds. We had no suspicion, but thought that he had come out of church a little sooner than usual. When we arrived on board and followed him up the side, he said to us, a6 we came on deck,—' Walk aft, young gentlemen.' We did; and he desired us to ' toe a line,' which means to 3tand in a row. 'Now, Mr. Dixon,' said he,' what was the text to-day?' As he very often asked us that question, we always left one in the church until the text was given out, who brought it to us in the pastry-cook's shop, when we all marked it in our hibles to be ready if he asked us. Dixon immediately pulled out his hible where he had marked down the leaf, and read it. 'O! that was it,' said Mr. Falcon; 'you must have remarkable good ears, Mr. Dixon, to have heard the clergyman from the pastry-cook's shop. Now, gentlemen, hats off, if you please.' We all slided off our hats, which, as he expected, were full of pastry. 'Really, gentlemen,' said he, feeling the different papers of pastry and sweetmeats, 'I am quite delighted to perceive that you have not been to church for nothing. Few come away with so many good things pressed upon their seat of memory. Master-at-arms, send all the ship's boys aft.'
The boys all came tumbling up the ladders, and the first lieutenant desired each of them to take a seat upon the carronade slides. When they were all stationed, he ordered us to go round with our hats and request their acceptance of a tart, which we were obliged to do, handing first to one and then to another until the hats were all empty. What annoyed me more than all, was the grinning of the boys at their being served by us like footmen, as well as the ridicule and laughter of the whole ship's company, who had assembled at the gangway.
When all the pastry was devoured, the first lieutenant said, 'There, gentlemen, now that you have had your lesson for the day, you may go below.' We could not help laughing ourselves, when we went down into the berth. Mr. Falcon always punished so good-humoredly, and in some way or the other his punishments were connected with the description of the offence. He always had a remedy for everything that he disapproved of, and the ship's company used to call him Remedy Jack. I ought to observe, that some of my messmates were very severe upon the ship's boys after that circumstance, always giving them a kick or a cuff on the head, whenever they could, telling them at the same time—' There's another tart for you, you whelp.' I believe if the boys had known what was in reserve for them, they would much rather have left the pastry alone.
A Green Room, when the performers are assembled, dressed for their respective parts, is a striking scene, and has a singular effect on a stranger. It is a scene in which much character is displayed, as well as assumed. There, very often, feuds are fomented, and the train fired, which, when it explodes, shakes the theatre like an earthquake, and after all expires in smoke. In a theatre, as in a ship, it is impossible to avoid contact; hence, in both cases, are disagreements so frequent, and their effects so painful. The most virulent toes must often go hand in hand on the stage, looking like doves, while they feel like dragons: must meet in the cordial embrace with apparent pleasure, when they would rather start from the uncongenial contact with undisguised disgust. Still worse—how often, when sinking under the pressure of domestic calamity, does the assumption of the scene demand a flow of hilarity from an aching heart; and the hollow mockery of mirth sound upon the lips that only wait the fall of the curtain to quiver again with grief! As nothing destroys scenic illusion more than admission behind the scenes, so would nothing disarm the severity of criticism sooner than insight of the performer's mind. It is the unfortunate penalty attached to all mental pursuits, that the fire essential to their exercise is perpetually exposed to be dimmed or extinguished by the casualties of daily life. But who that sits in judgment on an artist ever takes this into account 1 The circumstances in which humanity is placed continually call for allowance; but when has humanity consideration enough to i-.iake it? We make the most insatiate demands on those that administer most to our enjoyment, forgetting the reaction consequent on strong excitement; forgetting that the over-tasked nerve will at times lose its tension, and that the minds capable of the highest elevation are also accessible to the deepest despondency. Thus it will ever be while all that is noble in our nature is bartered, at a ruinous valuation, for bread. The rich have a right to what they pay for; and as for the considerations and nllovvances just alluded to, why—' they are not in the bond.'
The profession of the stage promises more than it pays. Its trappings 'and tinsel, like the gewgaws of military array, have lured many into its ranks, who discover to their surprise it is a severe service; disappointment is often felt as defeat; partial failure as final overthrow; the discouraged become as unjust to themselves 2sthe sev erest of their judges; they lose the energy of hope and faith in their own powers, and thus doom them to deterioration or destruction. Lowered by the loss of selfesteem and obscured prospects, less legitimate means are sought to sustain life and stimulate vanity, and thus the moral and mental energies become a wreck beyond the hope of revival. Without incurring the charge of partiality, I think I may say, that there is infinitely more jtrofoudeur in the English, than in the French character: especially is this observable in comparing the women of the two countries. Yet have French women an elastic and continued energy that, in all the active pursuits of life, give them the advantage. Where lies the secret of this? Is it beyond our attainment? Among the advantages of the intercourse of nations is the discovery of national peculiarities, both in ourselves and others; for without intercommunion we are as unconscious of our own as of theirs. The means of comparison thus afforded should lead us to search into the causes of existing differences, and, as far as might be, to relinquish defects and adopt improvements. In this manner English and French women might reciprocate advantages. It is one of the brightest points of our moral and intellectual advancement that narrow nationa' prejudices are becoming obsolete—I do not despair of even ' the Celestial Empire' yet sharing its conscious excellence with sister nations.
But I must go back to the Green-room—the motley crowd with which it is peopled turns the contemplative mind to the drama of real life, and it feels how true is the parallel often drawn between the world and the stage. To the eye accustomed only to the sober livery of every day life, how striking is the effect of the Green-room, peopled with the assumptions of' gorgeous tragedy,' grotesque pantomime, and the varieties of costume, from the Eastern magnificence of the solemn Turk, to the picturesque garb of the gallant Highlander. Here I will take an opportunity to remark, that I have found a general impression prevail that stage dresses were made up of shreds and patches, and that what was unworthy to appear elsewhere was quite good enough for the stage. So little is this the case, that a theatrical wardrobe is a valuable property, and the necessity of possessing an exclusive one, forms one of the heavy calls on the funds of the professor. As there is no situation in which a fine form appears to more advantage than on the stage, so nowhere is perfection of dress more requisite; the strong lights from the foot lamps, as well as from the wings, demand this, if the eye of taste would escape being offended. The peasant girl may skip about in a stuff petticoat, with a rose or a ribbon in her hair; but the woman of fashion must move in satin and crape, and her plume, when she wears one, be no less real than that which nods on the brow of beauty at the Opera, or floats above it in the assembly.
Unity, that general concordance and accordance of all the parts of a whole, is as essential as proportion to beauty; of this unity, with a rare exception now and then, the English stage is destitute. Properties are often used, and subordinate characters dressed and filled in a manner that harmonises so ill with the principal parts, that pain and disgust will intrude and spoil the pleasure awakened by the better and more beautiful portions of a performance. In this respect also we might take a hint from our continental neighbors. Good taste and good feeling are in strict alliance—they never offend against each other. In every subject 1 contemplate, whether passing or important, whether low or lofty, all lead me to feel that every good is based on ' reverence for humanity,' that reverence which, even in trifles, renders us incapable of violating its dignity in ourselves, or offending against its dignity in others.