Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/54

This page needs to be proofread.



This play was produced 13 Feb., 1798. Genest says (7: 360-61): "Though at- tributed to Holcroft in his ' Memoirs,' the .authorship of it has been ascribed to Fen- wick." To me this Fenwick ascription seems rather flat before the evidence of the 'Memoirs' (pp. 159, 162-3, 190). The ' Thespian Dictionary ' and the ' Biographia Dramatica ' both give it to Holcroft, and both were published prior to the date of the ' Memoirs.' A copy of this first edition in the New York Society Library is replete with manuscript notes, and bears on its cover the words " Prompt-Book. Wm. Dunlap." I have seen what appear to be respectively a " second edition," a " third edition," and a " fourth edition " all dated 1798, and all paged and printed the same. 'The play was included in 'The London .Stage,' 1824; 'The Acting Drama,' 1834; 'The British Drama, Illustrated,' 1864; .and Dicks's ' Standard Plays,' No. 215, 1883.

Miss Mary Russell Mitford (' Recollections of a Literary Life,' eel. 1852 ; 1: 136) has ^worried me considerably with the follow- ing :

" It is not many years ago that I and another Jover of the drama were disputing as to the author of ' He 's Much to Blame.' Both possessed the play, and both were certain as to the name printed in the title-page. Neither were [sic] wrong. It was the story of the two knights and 'the shield. My friend's copy was the first edition with the feigned name ; mine the seventh, when the ordeal [of party hatred] was past, and the ->true author was restored to his rightful place." Miss Mitford might have been spared the ardent supplication which follows,

" May Heaven avert from us the renewal of -such prejudice and such injustice ! " had her memory only been more trust- worthy. So far as I have searched and I 'have turned many a dusty book there was no " Seventh Edition " distinctly so, as she implies, nor was there any " feigned name " on the first edition.

1798. " The Inquisitor ; a play, in five acts. As performed at the Theatre-Royal in the Hay- Market. London : Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson, Paternoster- Row. 1798." Octavo, 4 + 74 + 1 pp.

The ' Biographia Dramatica ' says with 'hesitancy " ascribed to Mr. Holcroft " ; .and the ' D.N.B.' indicates the cause of the confusion in another play of the same title from the same source, published the same year by Pye & Andrews, but never acted. Holcroft's piece was performed at the Haymarket, 23 June, 1798. See also Genest (10: 209). It is not, as the 'Bio- Dramatica ' says, " a free transla-

tion, in prose, from the German." Hoi- croft's play is derived from the ' Diego und Leonor ' of Johann Christoph Unzer, but traces back through vol. v. of the familiar ' Nouveau Theatre Allemand,' 1783 (pp. 4- 191). Cf. discussion under 'The German Hotel,' 1790. In addition, the evidence of the ' Memoirs ' (p. 163) is not likely to be fallacious, especially when there is an extended record of his sending the piece to the press (p. 172ff.).

1799. ' The Old Clothes Man.' Presented at Covent Garden. Never printed.

This comedy ran but a few nights, and the only printed record is that the second performance was on 3 April, 1799 (' Bio- graphia Dramatica'). From the Covent Garden ledger accounts now in the British Museum (Eg. MS. 2297, ff 101-2) we learn that it was first played on Tuesday, 2 April, 1799, with ' Five Thousand a Year ' arid ' Tobacco,' the receipts amounting to 230Z. 19-5. The next night the programme was ' Five Thousand a Year,' ' Old Gloat hs- meri,' and ' The Mouth of the Nile,' and the receipts dwindled to 1512. 3s. The ' Bio- graphia Dramatica ' says : "It was ascribed to Mr. Holcroft, but not acknowledged by him." Cf. Oulton (ed. 1818, 2: 46). The ' Memoirs ' contain many indisputable allu- sions to it (pp. 163, 170) : one telling of the reading and how the players liked it (p. 222) ; one concerning financial arrange- ments (p. 193); and others speaking of the songs 'Old Clothes to Sell' (p. 177), 'Dan Cupid ' (p. 190), ' Bitter Pangs ' (p. 190), 'When Sharp is the Frost' (p. 195), and ' Joys of Eating,' written 6 Feb., 1799 (p. 225). ELBBIDGE COLBY.

Columbia University, New York City.

(To be continued. )


IN 1826 the London Gymnastic Society established in Pentonville, at the top of Wharton Street, their first open-air gym- nasium, and its immediate success led to the provision of branch gymnasia in the New Koad, Marylebone ; at Goldsmith's Place, Hackney Road ; and near " The Green Man," Kent Road (Cromwell's ' Clerkenwell,' p. 326 ; Pinks's ' Clerkenwell,' p. 572). The inaugural ceremony, on 1 May, is recorded in the unpublished diary of Thomas Reynolds (1792-1868) of Arlington House Academy, one of its founders :

" I was the third man on the ground assisted to dig holes to insert a high scaffold pole on which