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favouring me with the perusal requested, which it will be no breach of confidence or decorum to include in my narration, I have much pleasure in repeating verbatim.
“ All, then, I can say of your Tragedy, that it would be of any “ use to say, is, that I read it with more interest, felt myself “ carried on with the plot with a keener sympathy, than I felt in “ the perusal of any one of the Tragedies that have been brought “ out in my recollection-and that I find nothing, in the style, “ sentiment, or imagery, that seems to me likely, or calculated, to
contravene its theatrical merit.
“ Sincerely wishing you the success, to which I believe your “ Drama entitles
16 I am,
“ dear Sir,
“ Very sincerely yours,
I will not disguise that I felt flattered by the expression of these sentiments, coming as they did from one, who justly ranks with the most eminent of our living authors, and who could not be biassed by partiality to a writer, with whom he never had (nor yet has) any personal acquaintance. I really did imagine that such sentiments, coupled with the name of the gentleman from whom they emanated, (and which he very handsomely permitted me to use with the Manager of either Theatre,) would procure favour for my Tragedy: but it proved otherwise: the piece was rejected by both Managements.
From the House not under the government of Mr. Elliston, it was returned in two days from the time of my putting it into the hands of a friend—who confided it with a friend of the Manager-who deposited it with the Manager himself. So that my friend having given it to his friend on the evening of the day on which I parteil with it, and the latter having left it with the Manager on the afternoon of the next day, the Manager paid such singular attention to the Piece, and was so industrious in perusing it before he slept, as to be enabled to return it at an early hour next morning!
But the reign of H. H., Esq. (the Manager alluded to) was then shortly to terminate; and that of his successor, Mr. Charles Kemble, had not long commenced, ere, having sought and obtained an interview with him at his own residence, I submitted my Tragedy to his judge ment. He received me with that politeness, which uniformly marks his deportment; and engaged that the Piece should be read, if not by himself, by a gentleman to whose opinion he very frequently referred on such occasions: his practice in that respect, as he assured me, being rendered absolutely necessary by the vast number of manuscript Dramas that were continually pouring in upon him. The result I was unacquainted with until about two months
afterwards: but I then received back my Tragedy, with a note, in which the cause of its rejection was not stated. However, on examining the Piece itself, the following words-written, I presume, by the theatrical critic to whom Mr. Kemble had committed it appeared in pencil on the title-page.
“This Tragedy possesses considerable merit, but its religious “ character would, in my opinion, prevent its success in repre“sentation."
Spite of rejection's pangs, I could not fora bear a smile on reading this laconic sentence. Twice, then, as it should seem, had I innocently provided a bar to the acceptance of my own dramas: in politics had I offended the notions of the one house, and in religion those of the other. “ 'Twas strange, 'twas passing strange," considering that I had neither religion nor politics in my head, when I composed either of the dramas in question: and may not the melancholy results privilege me to add, “ 'twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful?” But “ the very head and front of my offending," in the Tragedy at least, shall appear:--and thus it was, reader. The subject of this piece is the destruction, in the ancient days, and in a neighbouring kingdom, of an imperious, unbending, almost Satanic spirit, embodied in a High Priest of Paganism, through the success of a great national revolution, which; though accomplished in the name; and by the agents, of the true faith, is worked throughout by machinery purely political. There are no religious dogmas contended for by the opposed parties: the dispute is, prima facie, for power, and the royal succession, and the continued supremacy, or fall, of an arch-minister to his own ambitious ends, who riots in human blood, and forges superstition's chains for the equal slavery of the monarch and the people. There are even fewer religious sentiments, than I have myself heard, and witnessed applauded, in an abundance of theatrical representations. There is love, and there is war, and the dethronement, setting-up, and deaths, of kings : and there are processions, and chorusses, and a banquet, and as full scope as modern Manager could desire for martial pageants and for magnificent scenery. So that, be the faults of my Tragedy monstrous as they will—and I contend not for a feature just particularised as constituting the shadow of a beauty-assuredly it was no “Sacred Drama of Miss Hannah More” which I presented to the Houses, nor one from whose production their managements could with justice tremble for the orthodoxy of their nightly visitants. But the star of rejection, if such star there be, was in the ascendant at my nativity: and, bowing to its resistless influences, I here close
my ower-true tale:" trusting that, THIRTEEN REJECTIons sufficing me, no possible temptation will prove of strength hence-forward to make me a party in adding another to the list.
I had nearly forgotten to enumerate among my dramatic misfortunes, the long absence from its rightful owner of a Farce, formerly spoken of, which I entrusted some five years since to a member of the late Sub-Committee of the Theatre-Royal, Drury Lane, who has not yet found it convenient to return it. As, from not knowing this gentleman's present residence, I am unable to renew those solicitations for the re-possession of the Piece, with which for the space of two years I was occasionally wont to trouble him, I avail myself of the opportunity now afforded me-since I think it more than possible that these Confessions may meet his eye-to request him, if he has by this time quite perused the two acts of the Farce spoken of, to deposit the manuscript with my Publisher. And lest it should be necessary, from the length of the period elapsed since I held converse with the same gentleman, to refresh his memory of myself, and production committed to him, by the mention of such circumstances as may tend to restore his recollections of both-I beg leave to remind him,