Newspaper Commentaries, Poems, Puffs, and Reviews of Nobody

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Contemporary Newspaper Commentaries, Poems, Puffs, and Reviews of Nobody (October-December 1794)

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*** Indicates an Editor’s Note
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The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Saturday, October 4, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

Mrs. Jordan’s œconomy, and benevolence towards the unfortunate, disarm even the malice of her enemies! Her very eminent theatrical talents are the least of her claims to admiration, when it is remembered that those talents are always cheerfully exerted to serve the distressed, or amuse the Public.

We are glad to find that the report of Mrs. Robinson’s retiring to Italy is doubtful; we have had too many instances of emigration already, and trust she will not quit a country so highly flattered by her distinguished talents.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Monday, October 6, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

A Turban, and single White Feather, is the simple head dress worn by our Belles. Equality seems the motto of the most dashing Fair, as they still appear as Nobody.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Thursday, October 9, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

Lord and Lady Malden are returned to town from Warley Camp. . . .

Whatever impropriety there might have been in introducing Miss Wallis into the Stage-Box after her performance of Imogen, certainly that young actress is to be excused, and it would be cruel should she suffer in the public estimation.

Our Cavalry Associators of the present day, are as much encumbered as the heroes of Antiquity who wore armour. It is not unusual to see them on duty in the Playhouse Lobbies, with helmet, broad-sword, long spurs, whips, umbrellas, cross-belts, and cartouch-box!!

Lady L. is quite astonished that the swinish multitude should dare object to any thing that she may please to countenance. Caligula made a Consul of his horse; and our upstart Nobility will soon have the presumption to take front rows in the boxes for their lap-dogs.—Their puppies are already sufficiently troublesome! . . .

The engagement of Mrs. Wallis is for three years, at eighteen pounds a week. Her father is alive; and she is not, as reported, a Ward in Chancery.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Friday, October 10, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

Miss Wallis was invited into Lady Loughborough’s box, the first night of her performance; if the audience were displeased, they should attribute the cause to her Ladyship, and not to this favourite actress, whose object it must be to please and conciliate, and not give offence to the audience. . . .

The Lady Gamblers exclaim loudly against the war, but are yet preparing decoys for the country, of whom they expect to have a tolerable plucking. Rouge et noir is to take the lead during the winter.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Monday, October 13, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

Much idle nonsense has been uttered against Miss Wallis appearing in the front Boxes. But we are of opinion, that actors of respectability and eminence have a right to sit where they please in the Theatre. The only objection we have is, that to see them mingle with the Audience after they perform, removes the impression previously made by the delusion of the Scene.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Saturday, October 18, 1794) 4.

POETS CORNER.
for the
MORNING POST and FASHIONABLE WORLD.

SO, Mr. Editor, in troth,
The titl’d dames are fill’d with wrath!
And why? forsooth, a gentle Maid,
Dar’d mingle in their vain parade!
Was it because her talents shone,
With brighter lustre than their own?
Or did the Dians proudly scorn
A Polish Girl, Plebian born?
Was it so new, to see some talents,
Assemble with the bold assailants?
Why do they not exert their fury,
To check the Comic Queen of Drury,
Who every night, sweet harmless Girl,
Sits, tête-a-tête, with D-----y’s Earl;
Or nods to M—ln—r’s gaudy spouse,
To Lady Charlotte, smiles and bows;
Or (who but savages can blame her?)
Blows a kind kiss to Mistress D-----r.
Sure, if a Veteran of the Stage
Has pow’r to quell their mighty rage—
A Novice may at least pretend
To hope the sanction of a friend!—
But Fashion is a jade capricious,
Her vot’ries giddy, vain, and vicious;
They love on humble worth to trample—
I’ll give you now a striking sample.

A few nights since, at Covent-Garden—
With heart unfeeling as Churchwarden—
A titled Lady twirl’d her fan,
Then bridled thrice, and thus began—
“Tis vastly odd, though I’m a Duchess,
(But now the vulgar manner such is)
That women, lowly born, pretend
With clay of finer mould to blend!
I swear ’tis arrogant and rude,
To shock our eyes with such a brood;
In every Theatre, the Boxes
Are fill’d with Cits, and low-bred Doxies!
They have no Titles! ’tis a shame;
The Managers are much to blame!
And I shall speak to Sheridan,
To alter this indecent plan.”

“Indeed, your Grace, you’re right, and I
Will second you,” says Lady Di
“No wonder here the Base presume—
They crowd us in the Drawing-room!!
All powder’d, jewel’d, patch’d and painted;
Last Birth-Day I had nearly fainted!
There’s Mrs. H-----gs! Lady -------!
With diamonds deck’d;—obtain’d most oddly!
At Ranelagh, last Spring, my eyes
Were shock’d at improprieties;—
When Lady T-----r, whom I knew,
A milliner, du premier gout!
Close by my side, presum’d to please,
With simple mien, and white chemise!
While bold Sir Greg, at home would sit,
Composing eulogies on P—t!
There’s Ladies M—ld—n, M—yn—d, L—de,
And many more;—’tis much too bad!
All, all presume to take a seat,
Where Duchesses, and Princes meet!
And think, since fortune is their lot.
Their origin, is quite forgot!
“Hold,” said Her Grace,—“Dear Lady Di,
I blush at such absurdity!
Would you believe, when I complain,
One night last week, at Drury-lane—
That M—gh,—and I,—and L—n,
And P—g—t, beings highly born!
Were forc’d to take the second rows,
Midst wretches, whom no Creature knows!
To have our ears, divinely chaste,
By vulgar ribaldry disgrac’d!
These common People, come to stare,
Like boobies at a Country Fair;
They gape, and wonder,—stupid things!
And cry encore when Johnstone sings;
Pour souls, unlike the dilletanti,
They never heard, the notes of Banti!
They cry, when Siddons calls their tears!
And laugh, ’till they have crack’d their ears,
(When Parsons plays, or Comic Suett;)
I wonder how the Brutes can do it!
But they, their own low manners spread,
Their feeling shews they’re under-bred!”
Now, if the Managers would claim
The patronage of higher fame,
We soon will banish pigmy elves,
Not born to Titles like ourselves;
No Lady-writers here should sit,
To draw attention from the Pit;
Shew but a scribbler of Romance,
We cannot get a single glance!
No Painter, Poet, or Musician,
Or Being of such low condition—
All, all should be Delight and Fashion,
Sans Sentiment, sans Taste, sans Passion!”

This suits not either Me or You,
So, Mr. Editor—Adieu!

BRIDGET.

Primrose-hill, oct. 1794.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Tuesday, October 21, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

The last New Gambling House set up in St. James’s-street, is now the great Vortex that swallows all the loose cash of the Ignorant and Unwary. The Proprietors threaten those with Prosecutions that dare insinuate anything against their honour!!

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Wednesday, October 22, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

There is a novel species of Crimping at present practised in this Town. A number of fellows of insinuating address, are employed by the Keeper of the last new Gambling–house set up in St. James’s-street, to kidnap young Men of Fashion, and take them to the Pharo Table, where they are sure, if possessed of thousands, to lose every stiver.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Thursday, October 23, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

There is one fashionable vice particularly, which will receive no encouragement from the Princess of Wales, and that is Gambling. The Prince has already declared, that not one of the Lady gamblers shall, after his marriage, be suffered within the walls of Carlton House.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Tuesday, October 28, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

The new Gambling-house in St. James’s street, in defiance of order and morality, displayed all its lights on Sunday Evening, to attract the holiday apprentices. The Magistrates were for months apprized of the atrocious deeds practised in Crimping-houses; but they were deaf to the public solicitations. The result of that business should point out the necessity of removing instantly notorious nuisances.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Wednesday, November 5, 1794) 3.

pg. 3:

TO THE EDITOR
of the
MORNING POST and FASHIONABLE WORLD.

Letter II.

Dear Mister Editor, again
To you I dedicate my pen,
To tell your constant Friends—the Town,
How certain Ladies pout and frown,
Since Reynolds, with his wicked wit,
Their manly ways so well has hit:
But not to keep you longer waiting,
Thus did I hear the Dames debating:

To Drury’s Box that joins the Stage,
Came Lady Tippy—in a rage;
Her cheeks was flush’d with fateful ire—
Her eyes emitting vengeful fire—
Her voice was loud as peals of thunder—
The gaping Pit was lost in wonder!
“Silence!” cried one, who came to hear;
My Lady answered with a sneer—
Too proud to mind the vulgar rabble—
She thus began her senseless gabble:

Iv’e been at Covent-Garden Play—
But could not, on my conscience, stay;
I wonder how the Mob’s amus’d,
To see their betters so abus’d,
To hear a saucy low Plebian—
For vulgar Virtue, raise the Pean!
And with his Gothic maxims teach
Such stuff as Grandmothers would preach!
Scarce had she spoke, when Lady Jane
Re-echoed back the polish’d strain:—
I’m glad, dear Lady Tip, to find
That you and I are of one mind.
It is a scandal to Bon-Ton—
That such a Knave his rig shou’d run!
But Education now-a-days
Is up to all his dirty ways.
Women, who know the world, defy
The dullness of Morality;
O! never say that I’m the thing,
If I dont see the Monster swing;
And may I never win a stake—
But if I find the wily snake,
I’ll of dear Vengeance take my fill—
I’ll horse-whip him—by Jove I will!

“That’s right,” says Tippy, “and I’ll be
Your second in the victory!
Oh! may I never win a bet,
Or beat Old Quizzy at Piquet;
Oh! may I never name the Horse
That wins the Plate on Beacon Course;
Oh! may I never hunt the Fox,
Or shake, with winning grace, the Box;
With Jockey ride a race again,
Or know the trick of Seven’s the Main;
May I ne’er cock a Card, or waste
The winter months with Souls of Taste;
Ne’er deal at Faro—or Vignt Un
From midnight hour till rise of Sun!
May I ne’er drive my four blood Nags,
O’er gaping Cits, or vulgar hags!
Till I have found this saucy Wight,
And dragg’d him—by the nose—to light!”

In the front row, a Duchess rose—
“What!” cried she, “pull the creature’s nose!
Not for the world,” exclaim’d her Grace,
“Would I descend to touch his face!
I’m told the fellow is no coward,
His blood’s more pure than blood of Howard!
His character as free from stain
(To own it fills my breast with pain,
Yet so I heard, or I mistook)
As any in the Herald’s Book.
Those men who write Lampoons and Plays,
Are but the Mentors of the days:—
They laugh at us, who live in stile,
And envy those they most revile.
There was a time, when Nobles bow’d,
To mingle with the scribbling croud!
When what the world calls Men of Letters,
Were seen in converse with their betters!
When Poets, monstrous to relate!
Were worship’d by the high-born Great!
And I’ve been told such stupid things
Were once the monitors of Kings!
There’s Rochester—whom I must own
Possess’d some traces of Bon Ton
On am’rous Charles his wit would try—
But he could boast Nobility!
And whose descent is prov’d—We find
A thousand charms of face and mind!
For, after all, there’s nothing good,
That is not sprung, from Noble Blood.”

“Now, Men of Genius hope to gain
A place, amongst the great; in vain!
No; thanks to fate, their day is o’er,
And fashion votes their works—a bore.
Nay not a single learned Quiz,
In well-bred circles, shews his phiz—
He would not understand our ways,
He neither shuffles, deals, or plays,
By Heavens! I swear, the curtain falls!
The Box-keeper,—my carriage calls!
What was the Farce? did Farren play?
You’ll come to St-----ts—I cannot stay.
What will the piece to-morrow be?
If not a stupid Tragedy—
I’ll come;—but not to make wry faces:
So Box-keeper, you’ll keep my places.”

Away, the noisy Trio flew!—
Again, Dear Editor-----Adieu.

BRIDGET.

Primrose-hill.

pg.3:

The Fashionable World.

Mrs. Jordan from her appearance we should imagine, should receive a double Salary from the Managers.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
Saturday, November 8, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

The Lady Gamblers proposed having Pharo, and Rouge et Noir, at the London Coffee House, during the State Trials; the proposal was properly rejected, as it would be dangerous to trust to the multitude of spies and informers that frequent the House during that busy season.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Monday, November 10, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

Play is so adored by our fashionable dames, that even their faces bear the stamp of their pursuits, and present a tablet of rouge and noir.

The scarcity of Ladies in the lower Side Boxes, may be attributed to the rage from Plays amongst our Dames of haut ton. Faro, and rouge et noir, have wholly banished a gout for rational amusements. This is indeed a serious, disgraceful evil; that “has encreased, is encreasing, and ought to be diminished.”

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Tuesday, November 11, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

Mrs. Jordan, in the course of a few weeks, is likely to make another addition to the Royal Nursery. . . .

Mrs. Robinson has the merit of having made her lovely Daughter one of the most Accomplished young Women in this Country. . . .

Certain titled Ladies say, that the short waist, and flowing drapery is Grecian: we wish they had a taste for elegant literature, for which the Grecian women were also celebrated.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Wednesday, November 12, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

Mrs. Concannon’s routes commence immediately. Lady Buckinghamshire’s, after Christmas, and Lady Archer’s, at the meeting of Parliament.

A great number of New Carriages are to be sported next birth day, and the Courtiers have all received a hint, that it will be necessary to impress on the mind of the princess of Wales, a favourable opinion of our Courtly Splendour.

The proud excesses of the Gay World this Winter will occasion no inconsiderable number of Bankrupts the next. Since the War, the Tradesmen’s Books are over-loaded with Debts, and if one of them should press a Nobleman for his money, he is immediately denounced, “a Jaçobine!

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Thursday, November 13, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

In Congreve’s days, the Stage was the mirror of the times, where folly and vice beheld their own deformity; and the preposterous manners of high life, were checked by the pen of fair and unoffending satire.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Saturday, November 15, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

A Farce should be laughable, and neatly written; not too intricate in Plot; its Satire should be keen, but not gross, and the moral tendency beneficial to Society. Such productions are much wanted in this Age of Fashionable Folly.

Mr. Sheridan is so well pleased with the account of Mrs. Robinson’s Comedy, (for he was requested by the author not to read it) that he has given directions for every possible expedition to be exerted in bringing it forward. It was only presented to Mr. Kemble last Friday, and advertised the day following.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Tuesday, November 25, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

The late John Hunter’s House in Leicester Fields, is now appositely enough devoted to the Fashionable Arts and Sciences. It is literally a Gaming House.

Two Ci-devant Noblesse Emigrants, for whom a Subscription was made a few days ago at Bath, amounting to near a hundred pounds, very generously lost the whole sum in the Rooms at the Card Table the night after.

Mrs. Robinson’s Comedy of Nobody has no allusion whatever to the Crest-fallen Premier.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Friday, November 28, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

The Countess of Buckinghamshire’s route on Wednesday night was thinly attended. The amusements did not begin till after the play. There were a few Coronets present, but the Cannaille were in the majority.

Gambling seems to have carried the system of leveling much further than Tom Paine. At the fashionable Gambling Tables, it is usual to see the Peer and the Pickpocket, the Peeress and the Prostitute, and all orders and distinctions trying which can with more dexterity defraud the other.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Saturday, November 29, 1794) 1, 3.

THEATRE ROYAL, DRURY-LANE.
THIS PRESENT EVENING, His MA-
JESTY’s SERVANTS will act the Tragedy of
THE MOURNING BRIDE.
Manuel, Mr. Aickin; Gonzalez, Mr. Packer; Garcia, Mr. Barrymore; Perez, Mr. Bland; Alonzo, Mr. Phillimore; Osmyn, Mr. Kemble; Heli, Mr. Benson; Selim, Mr. Caulfield; Almeria, Mrs. Powell; Zara, Mrs. Siddons; Leonora, Miss Tidswell.
To which will be added, for the First Time, a New Comedy in Two Acts, called
NOBODY.
With New Dresses, &c.
The Characters by
Mr. Barrymore, Mr. Bensley, Mr. Bannister, jun. Mr. Evans, Mr. Trueman, Mr. Maddocks.—Mrs. Goodall, Miss Pope, Miss Collins, Miss Heard, Miss De Camp, Mrs. Booth, Mrs. Jordan.
The PROLOGUE to be spoken by Mr. BARRYMORE,
And the EPILOGUE by Mrs. JORDAN.
On Monday, the Siege of Belgrade.

pg.3:

The Fashionable World.

Some of the poverty-stricken Men of Fashion actually eke out a miserable existence, in distributing among proper objects, Cards of Invitation from the Lady Gamblers!

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Monday, December 1, 1794) 2.

DRURY LANE THEATRE.

A New Farce, entitled, Nobody, written by Mrs. Robinson, was performed at this Theatre on Saturday night. The scene is taken from high life, and is intended as a laudable exposure of those dames of Fashion, who in departing from the delicacy of their sex, commence Gamesters, involving by such conduct, not only their own characters in ruin, but that of others in this Vortex of fashionable depravity. The story of the piece is simple. Lady Languid, the heroine of the scene, is beset by a croud of flutterers, but her admirers diminish in proportion to her ill success at Play. Sir Harry Rightly, a respectable citizen, is rewarded by her hand, in consequence of his generosity and constancy: a reformation takes place in the lady, and the parties are happily united.

With such slender Materials, it cannot be expected that this Farce abounds in Incident or Interest. Bannister represents one of those nauseous and senseless Fops, that infest every place of public resort, and though the character is well conceived, it is not as well drawn as we could have wished.

There are certain objectionable things in the double entendre, that the good sense of the Lady will induce her to expunge, and we “cry her mercy,” if we should, in defiance of her superior judgment, disagree with her in observing, that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. The House was full of Fashion, and to this we attribute the sentiments of disapprobation manifested at the conclusion, as Gambling is become a vice so general that there were few in the Boxes that were not displeased at the exposure of their dissipation and depravities.

The Prologue was delivered by Mr. Barrymore, and the Epilogue by Mrs. Jordan. They were both well received, and do honour to Mrs. Robinson, from whose pen they come. The Farce was given out for a second representation for this evening.

The Morning Chronicle
(Monday, December 1, 1794) 3.

THEATRE,
DRURY-LANE.

A new Afterpiece, whimsically called “Nobody,” was brought out before a numerous assembly on Saturday.—It is the production of Mrs. Robinson, whose poetical talents have so justly raised her to literary distinction. The plan of this little Comedy (for its structure is correctly within the rules of regular Drama) is, to exhibit in gay satire the frivolous manners, and degrading dissipation of high life. Though there is no novelty in the idea, there is pleasurable ease in the dialogue, and severe truth in the pictures which she draws. If the characters, though all theatrically familiar to the Audience, had been actively engaged in business, and their conversations had been animated by incident, of which the subject was fruitful, it would have been a most agreeable Afterpiece; but unfortunately they have so little to do, that the heart is fatigued with scenes which lead to no purpose, and which do not connect and carry on an interest. A pair of jack-boots, left by an arch simpleton in the dressing-room of Lady Languid is neatly and dramatically improved into a tale of scandal by her friends; and the wisdom of such friendships is still further exemplified by their refusing to lend her a rouleau, when pigeoned at the Faro-table. If something more of this kind of incident had been sprinkled over the light surface of the fable, it would have been a favourite performance. The writing is easy, and in parts epigrammatic; but we cannot flatter Mrs. Robinson with saying that her muse is likely, in this instance, to shine with the graceful eclat that u[s]ed to accompany her personal appearance on the Boards.

Mrs. Jordan performed the part of the arch simpleton, which she did with that force and energy which characterise her humour.—She sang a little Scots madrigal with the most touching melody, and in which she was rapturously encored. Miss Pope, who never appears without giving pleasure to every heart, had, in her first scene, a good female caricature of masculine manners to exhibit, which she did with true comedy.—She had afterwards to undergo the trouble of dressing for nothing. Mr. Bannister had literally nothing to do worthy of himself. The wit of the part was exhausted in the dress. Mr. Barrymore wore, what no gentleman ever appears in, black silk breeches with a frock coat.—We mention it only because we see the gallants at this Theatre too often drest in this shabby style.

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For the MORNING CHRONICLE,
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THEATRE.

MR. EDITOR,

I was one of the many at Drury-lane House, on Saturday evening, to attend the performance of the new Comedy, entitled, Nobody, and saw the first act with pleasure, although mixt with expectation and hopes of something better. The second act unfortunately fell off, rather than rose, in degree of attraction, point, and merit, and ultimately provoked the displeasure of that important Somebody, the Audience, the generality of whom seemed disgusted with the manners, and disappointed by the use and disposal of the characters and their escape of justice. I have often witnessed a more unwarrantable sentence of judgment passed in the Theatre, from caprice, accidental ill-temper, or want of due attention to the grounds and aim of the satire exhibited. In Nobody’s case nobody was to blame; and I may be bold to say this, because the author of the petite Comedie of Saturday has taught me, that, as nobody was meant to be personified, Nobody can claim a right to complain: but, all play upon words apart, I should forget what is due to Mrs. Robinson’s merit as a poet and general writer, if, as one of her literary admirers, I did not step forward, and admit that her object was a fair one, her way of treating it entitled to credit, her colouring correct, and her picture strikingly just; but unfortunately her subject was ill-chosen, her characters were too faint for general intelligibility and relish, and her tout ensemble wanted interest, and consequently was deficient in impression and effect. The truth is, the topics have already been touched on by Mrs. Inchbald, in her Comedy of Next-door Neighbours, and the satire brought to a point by the author of a short piece, called, A Quarter of an Hour before Dinner, frequently performed at Mr. Colman’s Theatre. The dissipation of high life is itself a mere matter of censurable affectation; for I defy a human being possessed of a tolerable understanding, to say conscientiously, that he or she derives any rational gratification from it: hence it is too unsubstantial for satire, and too feeble for ridicule. It will not bear the light, but, upon exposure, appears to be a system of folly so flimsy, so false, and so unnatural, that Nobody will believe any such system every had existence, or that two individuals possessed of a grain of sense could possibly agree to persist in so absurd a system of life.

In the Comedy called Nobody, all the characters promise much in the first act, but, excepting Nelly Primrose, like true West-end-of-the-town folks, they promise much and perform nothing. Sharpley is the dullest nobody that ever belied his name with utterance. Lady Rouleau also comes on with a bustle, and ends with shewing that her dress, forward manners, and forward tongue only serve to prove that she is nobody. In short, the manners of the dissipated Great may be chosen for a tableau by the artist who lives on their favours, but they will never furnish a good subject for a tableau parlant: like the visionary presentment of future Kings to Macbeth, they may be said to “come like shadows, so depart.” W.

The Oracle, Public Advertiser
(Monday, December 1, 1794) 3.

Report ascribes this production to Mrs. Robinson, and indeed the second act bears evidence of its truth, in the delicacy and neatness of the sentiments from the character of a philanthropist.

Nobody, we conceive to be so named, inasmuch as the Author wishes to exhibit fashion without individuality. Whether any faux pas has arisen from the aukward introduction of jackboots, instead of those belonging to any of our female equestrians, we neither know, nor is it material to enquire. Such an incident constitutes the embarras of the present trifle.

Mrs. Robinson has always lived in fashionable life; and Nobody need take the trouble to tell her how evanescent are the essences of which it is composed.

This being premised, we must acknowledge that the copies are correctly drawn. The slandering coxcomb, at once a fool and a fortune-hunter, is every day to be seen sauntering up St. James’s-street. You cannot turn the corner of the promenade without receiving a whiff of his unintelligible jargon, addressed to a creature, who associates without hearing, and who is welcomed in his turn with the same polished inattention.

The Faro party might have more to say, and Lady Languid would be the better for some act of virtue, which might make her merit her good fortune. We can suppose her only complexionally vicious, and fashionable complexion will easily change; but in the drama every thing should be clearly made out.

Nelly Primrose and her innocent blunders are pleasing, though not quite broad enough for an after piece, where to laugh, and laugh heartily, is always expected.

The Prologue intimated that all assistance had been declined: and the audience were conjured to kindness, lest the contrary should bring the writer to her last night. Certainly the many had a struggle against the illnature which a few were forward in displaying.

The Epilogue, from the agitation of the Speaker, we could not judge of.

THESPIS.

The Times
(Monday, December 1, 1794) 3

After Congreve’s pantomimical Tragedy of the Mourning Bride, in which Mrs. Siddons appeared to greater advantage than we can recollect to have seen her, a new Comedy, under the whimsical appellation of Nobody, was presented on Saturday evening.

This piece is the avowed production of Mrs. Robinson, whom the Prologue stated to have formerly trod the boards of Old Drury, and who is better known to the world at large by the title of The Perdita.

It was rather unfortunate, notwithstanding the strong cast of Nobody, that hardly any body was disposed to give it a parting plaudit. The fact is, that in a very humble attempt to give a large portion of smart dialogue, the necessary requisites of an interesting plot, novelty of character, and probability of situation, have been totally placed on the dramatic shelf.

Mrs. Jordan is brought forward as an aukward country servant, merely to misunderstand the manners and expressions of a fine Lady; and, to use the language of Bayes, all the wit of the piece lies in the boots of the Butler, which she introduces by mistake into her Mistress’s dressing room. This, and a trifling attempt at the drawling non chalance of a Modern Beau, and the forward excentricity of a Female Martinet, completely anticipated by Reynolds’s Lady Sarah Savage, make up the sum total of Nobody’s merits.

The dialogue is replete with puns of the coarsest kind; some of them too forced and far fetched even for Farce. The tedious scene of cross purposes and cross readings in the first act, is wholly taken from Barnaby Brit[tle], and the Deaf Lover; but unfortunately the situations only have been borrowed.—The wit and humor are left untouched. Though the sense of the House was completely against a repetition of such nonsense, it was given out with much flippancy by Barrymore. It is to be hoped, therefore, that the interval between Saturday and Monday has been employed in a judicious compressment by the Manager. Mrs. Goodall should be instructed not to call for her carriage so often, and it would be as well not to let the Lady’s Maid so grossly disturb the propriety and etiquette of a drawing room, as to break in abruptly, in order to tell the company she was quitting her place because the Butler had called her an ORIGINAL.

We had almost forgot to add, that Mrs. Jordan sung a Scotch ballad, unaccompanied, in a very charming stile, which gained a deserved encore.

The Prologue and Epilogue turned on the title of the Comedy. In the latter, Mrs. Jordan proved much at fault; and of course the little effect intended, was entirely destroyed.

The Whitehall Evening Post (Saturday, November 29 to Tuesday, December 2, 1794) 3.

*** The following reproduces a substantial portion of the report found in the 1 December 1794 edition of The Times; however, at the conclusion, text is omitted in favor of its own report.

After Congreve’s pantomimical Tragedy of the Mourning Bride, a new Comedy, under the whimsical appellation of Nobody, was presented on Saturday evening.

This piece is the avowed production of Mrs. Robinson, whom the Prologue stated to have formerly trod the boards of Old Drury, and who is better known to the world at large by the title of The Perdita.

It was rather unfortunate, notwithstanding the strong cast of Nobody, that hardly any body was disposed to give it a parting plaudit. The fact is, that in a very humble attempt to give a large portion of smart dialogue, the necessary requisites of an interesting plot, novelty of character, and probability of situation, have been totally placed on the dramatic shelf.

Mrs. Jordan is brought forward as an aukward country servant, merely to misunderstand the manners and expressions of a fine Lady; and, to use the language of Bayes, all the wit of the piece lies in the boots of the Butler, which she introduces by mistake into her Mistress’s dressing-room. This, and a trifling attempt at the drawling nonchalance of a Modern Beau, and the forward eccentricity of a Female Martinet, completely anticipated by Reynolds’s Lady Sarah Savage, make up the sum total of Nobody’s merits.

The dialogue is replete with puns of the coarsest kind; some of them too forced and far fetched even for Farce. The tedious scene of cross purposes and cross readings in the first act, is wholly taken from Barnaby Brittle and the Deaf Lover; but unfortunately the situations only have been borrowed—the wit and humor are left untouched.

The opposition which it experienced throughout was considerable, and a part of the audience carried their disapprobation to the length of not suffering the performers to go through the whole of the piece, which terminating thus abruptly, Mrs. Jordan came forward, and delivered the Epilogue in a tremulous and agitated tone of voice, evidently much embarrassed. The Prologue was spoken by Barrymore.

When announced for a second representation, the noes appeared to have the majority. It cannot be said, however, that No-Body supported it, for the plaudits, although in the minority, were very numerous.

The Sun (Monday, December 1, 1794) 3.

*** The same report also appears on page 3 of the Monday, December 1, 1794 edition of The True Briton.

After the representation of the Mourning Bride on Saturday, in which Mrs. Siddons supported the character of Zara with true force of expression, dignity, and feeling, maugre a very severe cold; and, in which Kemble gave Osmyn with as much ability as the character will admit; a new farce was brought forward, under the title of Nobody.

The object of this piece was to place in proper ridicule the follies and vices of fashionable life; and the piece, though evidently intended as a mere dramatic sketch, was really a pleasant portrait of the manners of the higher ranks. There was also another purpose in this drama, of more value in point of morals: for it was also intended to show how easily a reputation may be lost by the use to which mere appearances may be converted by the aid of malice.

The story is simply as follows:—Lady Languid, a widow with a considerable fortune, is seduced into the gay world, and precipitated into most of its follies, and particularly into the vice of gaming, by which she is nearly ruined. She is beset with fortune-hunters of Ton, who, without delicacy, leave her the moment her fortune is supposed to be lost.

Sir Henry Rightly, a wealthy and amiable city merchant, is in love with her; and though his worth makes little impression upon her amidst the seduction of fashion, he determines to make a final effort to save her from ruin, to reform her morals, and to make her the partner of his life. For this laudable purpose he accompanies her to a fashionable rout, and at length succeeds in reclaiming her, after she has proved the insincerity of all her gay connexions.

There is much pleasantry arising from the awkward mistakes of a Somersetshire wench, who attends Lady Languid in her dressing-room, and who commits numerous blunders in attempting to obey the orders of her mistress. One of her mistakes, when her mistress calls for her boots, (an article of attire with modern fine Ladies) is, to bring in a dirty pair of jack-boots belonging to the Butler; and, upon the circumstance of finding these boots in the dressing-room of Lady Languid, does malevolence ground its attempts to destroy her reputation.

The first Act of this Piece was very favourably received; but an Air, by Mrs. Jordan, somewhat too long, being encored, the Audience were thrown into ill-humour, and the performers disconcerted. The piece then met with some opposition, but however was heard amidst applause and murmurs to the end, when it was announced for Monday evening, without any decisive objection or concurrence.

If the Performers have spirits enough to do justice to their characters on the repetition, we have no doubt of seeing the Piece received as a lively and whimsical sketch of passing manners.

This Piece is attributed to Mrs. Robinson, to whom the literary world is indebted for so many beautiful effusions of poetry. The Prologue and Epilogue, which seemed to be spirited compositions, were both written by the fair Author; but the agitated state of Mrs. Jordan, on account of the opposition, obliged her, as we understand, to omit many lines. It is even said Mrs. Jordan was apprized of the intended presence of a party to damn the Piece, early on Saturday morning, and the apprehension of such an event was a constant bar to her exertions throughout the representation.

The London Chronicle (Saturday, November 29, to Tuesday, December 2, 1794) 529-536.

Drury-lane Theatre.

*** The following reproduces a substantial portion of the report found in both the 1 December 1794 edition of The Sun and The True Briton, but it omits some of the text.

p. 531: After the representation of the Mourning Bride on Saturday, in which Mrs. Siddons supported the character of Zara with true force of expression, dignity, and feeling, maugre a very severe cold; and, in which Kemble gave Osmyn with as much ability as the character will admit; a new farce was brought forward, under the title of Nobody.

The object of this piece was to place in proper ridicule the follies and vices of fashionable life; and the piece, though evidently intended as a mere dramatic sketch, was really a pleasant portrait of the manners of the higher ranks.—There was also another purpose in this drama, of more value in point of morals: for it was also intended to show how easily a reputation may be lost by the use to which mere appearances may be converted by the aid of malice.

The story is simply as follows:--Lady Languid, a widow with a considerable fortune, is seduced into the gay world, and precipitated into most of its follies, and particularly into the vice of gaming, by which she is nearly ruined. She is beset with fortune-hunters of Ton, who, without delicacy, leave her the moment her fortune is supposed to be lost.

Sir Henry Rightly, a wealthy and amiable city merchant, is in love with her; and though his worth makes little impression upon her amidst the seduction of fashion, he determines to make a final effort to save her from ruin, to reform her morals, and to make her the partner of his life. For this laudable purpose he accompanies her to a fashionable rout, and at length succeeds in reclaiming her, after she has proved the insincerity of all her gay connexions.

There is much pleasantry arising from the awkward mistakes of a Somersetshire wench, who attends Lady Languid in her dressing-room, and who commits numerous blunders in attempting to obey the orders of her mistress. One of her mistakes, when her mistress calls for her boots, (an article of attire with modern fine Ladies), is, to bring in a dirty pair of jack-boots belonging to the butler; and, upon the circumstance of finding these boots in the dressing-room of Lady Languid, does malevolence ground its attempts to destroy her reputation.

The first act of this piece was very favourably received; but an air, by Mrs. Jordan, somewhat too long, being encored, the audience were thrown into ill humour, and the performers disconcerted. The piece then met with some opposition, but however was heard amidst applause and murmurs to the end, when it was announced for Monday evening, without any decisive objection or concurrence.

This piece is attributed to Mrs. Robinson, to whom the literary world is indebted for so many beautiful effusions of poetry. The Prologue and Epilogue, which seemed to be spirited compositions, were both written by the fair author; but the agitated state of Mrs. Jordan, on account of the opposition, obliged her, as we understand, to omit many lines.

p. 536: DRURY-LANE.—Last night NOBODY was brought forward for the second time, and Somebody was found to applaud it, although Nobody appeared to be entertained.—Mrs. Jordan’s song, which, on the first night, was the only recommendation of the piece, was last night omitted.

The Sun (Tuesday, December 2, 1794) 2.

*** The same report also appears on page 2 of the Tuesday, December 2, 1794 edition of The True Briton.

Drury-Lane Theatre.—Last night, after The Siege of Belgrade, the new two Act Comedy of Nobody was repeated. Though the alterations that the fair Authoress herself wished to make had not been admitted, and Mrs. Jordan evidently labored under a very severe indisposition, yet the applause was such as to be sufficiently satisfactory. A few Drunken Bucks in the Front Boxes made a noise, amounting to almost an outrage against the audience, of which some perverse Spirits attempted to profit, but the plaudits of the sober part of the House overpowered the noisy interruptions of the Box Lobby Loungers.

Mrs. Jordan was so ill as to be obliged to omit both her charming Ballad and the Epilogue, a loss to the Piece which was irreparable. We must candidly say, we think that many Pieces, to which greater objections have been made, have by repetition gained upon, and made good their establishment in the favour of, the Town.

Mrs. Robinson, whose high fame as a Poet cannot suffer thro’ any dramatic failure, should recollect that Sheridan’s Rivals was originally damned, but afterwards altered and produced with eclat. Mr. Murphy, whose works are so celebrated, met with a complete defeat in his Three Weeks after Marriage, now so favourite a Piece with the Public. Nobody was evidently opposed by a malevolent and determined party on the first night.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Tuesday, December 2, 1794) 4.

The Fashionable World.

It is a known FACT, that the Lady Gamblers made a party to oppose Mrs. ROBINSON’S Comedy; their vices are of so black a cast, that fine colouring could not make them pleasing; the depravity of Fashionable Life will not bear the Pencil of so delicate an Artist.

A Servant in Livery was heard to say in the Gallery, on Saturday night, that he was come to DO UP NOBODY.

The Sun (Wednesday, December 3, 1794) 2.

*** This publication of the Prologue to Nobody also appears, without the commentary that follows, on page 4 of the Wednesday, December 3, 1794 edition of The True Briton.

PROLOGUE TO NOBODY.
By the Author.
----------
[The Lines marked with inverted Commas, were omitted on the second night’s representation, the Epilogue being too long on the first.]
----------

The storm that sweeps the tow’ring mountain’s head,
Spares the low tenant of the clay-built shed;
While his meek offspring, hid from ev’ry eye,
Shrinks, as the howling tempest passes by!
Creeps to his Parent’s fost’ring arms, and steals
The only warmth the little trembler feels;
Warmth, that can more than mortal bliss impart,
The glow of kindness, in the feeling heart!

So, in these busy, these disastrous times,
When fateful thunders roll o’er distant climes;
To you, for shelter flies, o’er whelm’d with fear,
An humble Fugitive, once favour’d here;
With fond remembrance charm’d, again she tries
To paint the living manners as they rise;
To deprecate, by zeal, the frown severe—
Whatever reigns abroad—all peace be here!
“At Nobody we level Satire’s thorn,
“We trust, such characters, are yet unborn!
“No pencil’d traits,—we mark the broader line;
Hogarth may please, tho’ Reynolds is divine!
“Alone, our author comes; no master’s aid
“Has touch’d the light, or harmoniz’d the shade;
“Authors are poor; few gentle friends have they;
“No golden stores, to gild their toilsome day;
“They live unheeded, yet, when sunk in dust,
“Envy will die—and Memory be just!
“And Hope while living, cheers the favor’d few,
“Warms their sad hearts, and bids them turn to you!
Where should a timid female trust to find
A Judge so lenient, as a gen’rous mind?
Here Justice sits, by native Freedom drest,
Thron’d on the bulwark of each Briton’s breast!

And you, ye lovely, polish’d, gentle race,
Whose charms are rival’d by your mental grace!
Ye, whose bright eyes, with tears of pity glow,
To bathe the Widow’s and the Orphan’s woe!
Who, weeping, decorate the Soldier’s grave,
And bind, with deathless wreathes, the godlike brave!
When Satire shews the Portraits Fancy drew,
Sure Nobody will say, they’re meant foryou!

Nobody frowns; there’s Nobody severe,
None but our Author, now has cause to fear;
I am her pleader;—let her not be cast,
For if she’s damn’d, this Night must be her last!
----------

It is not true that Mrs. Robinson has withdrawn her Dramatic Sketch from the Stage.—The opposition to it on the second night was trifling, and evidently the frolic of drunken gaiety, not the result of public disapprobation.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Wednesday, December 3, 1794) 3, 4.

The Fashionable World.

pg. 3: Mrs. ROBINSON is making several alterations and additions to her Comedy, against its Third Representation. Instead of Nobody, we advise her to call it, “St. James’s square in an uproar.” . . .

The Farce of Nobody has admitted, what few will confess, that among the Daughters of Pharaoh, there is even one woman of character and principle.

pg. 4:

*** This publication of the Prologue and Epilogue to Nobody also appears on page 3 of the Tuesday, December 2, to Thursday, December 4, 1794 edition of The Whitehall Evening Post, with slight alterations.

POETS CORNER.
------
PROLOGUE
T O N O B O D Y*.
by the author.

The storm that sweeps the tow’ring mountain’s head,
Spares the low Tenant of the clay-built shed;
While his meek offspring, hid from ev’ry eye,
Shrinks, as the howling tempest passes by!
Creeps to his parent’s fostring arms, and steals
The only warmth, the little trembler feels;
Warmth, that can more than mortal bliss impart,
The glow of kindness,-----in the feeling heart!

So, in these busy, these disastrous times,
When fateful thunders roll o’er distant climes;
To you for shelter flies, o’erwhelm’d with fear,
An humble fugitive,-----once favour’d here;
With fond remembrance charm’d, again she tries,
To paint the “living manners as they rise;”
To deprecate, by zeal, the frown severe-----
Whatever reigns abroad—let Peace be here!

“At Nobody we level satire’s thorn,
“We trust, such characters, are yet unborn!
“No pencil’d traits,------we mark the broader line.
“Hogarth may please,-----tho’ Reynolds is divine!

“Alone our author comes; no Master’s aid
“Has touch’d the light, or harmoniz’d the shade;
“Authors are poor; few gentle friends have they!
“No golden stores, to gild their toilsome day!
“They live unheeded, yet when sunk in dust,
“Envy will die; and memory be just;
“And Hope, while living, chears the favour’d few,
“Warms their sad hearts, and bids them turn toYou!”

Where should a timid Female hope to find,
A judge so lenient, as a gen’rous mind!
Here justice sits, by native freedom drest,
Thron’d, on the bulwark, of each Briton’s breast!

And you, ye lovely polish’d, gentle race;
Whose charms are rival’d by your mental grace!
Ye, whose bright eyes, with tears of pity glow,
To bathe the Widow’s and the Orphan’s woe!
Who, weeping, decorate the Soldier’s grave,
And bind, with deathless wreathes, the godlike brave!
When Satire shews the Portraits Fancy drew,
Sure Nobody will say, they’re meant foryou!

Nobody frowns! there’s Nobody severe;
None but our Author now has cause to fear!
I am her Pleader; let her not be cast,
For if she’s damn’d------this Night must be her last.
* The Lines marked with inverted Commas were omitted on the second night’s representation, the Prologue being too long on the first.

-------------------------

EPILOGUE
T O T H E S A M E.
by the author.*

Half dead and scarce recovered from my fright,
Once more I come, to bid you all good night.
For e’er I quit, this vast and splendid place,
Where kindness gives to beauty, ev’ry grace!
To make you smile again, shall be my aim,
My zeal to please you,Nobodywill blame;
For when keen malice strikes the grateful heart,
Sure-----Nobodywill say, I shot the dart!

A truce to sadness; is it not a shame,
Whatever’s wrong, That Nobody’s to blame?
When Scandal bids a reputation die,
Who gave the wound?--“’Twas Nobody they cry!
When modest Merit, at the Miser’s door,
Tells his sad tale of anguish, o’er and o’er!
“Your Lord is bountiful,” the mourner cries,
“Bear to his ear, my sorrows, and my sighs!
“He never lets the Child of Mis’ry roam;”
The Porter answers, “Nobody’s at home!
When Mistress Button, from her Spouse is gone,
To see the Play, with honest Neighbour John:
“This,” says her Lord and Master, “is not well;”
“Where is she gadding?” Nobody can tell!
Home sneaks the Lady!—Spouse begins to rave,
“I wish the foolish wretch, were in her grave!
“Do not say so, my Button, if you died,
“Indeed I’d marry Nobody beside!”
“Where have you been? confess and I’ll forgive,”
“With Nobody; or may I cease to live;”
“So then, I find, when I am dead and gone,
“You’ll play the fool, my duck, with Neighbour John;
“For you confess’d, when I am in my grave,
“In spite of fate, you Nobody will have;
“And, if I may believe my eyes are true,
“That Nobody, has been this night with you.
[changing sides]
“Well, do not look so fierce, and rave and curse,
“For, lovey—Nobody will be the worse!
“For I am fond, as any Wife can be,
“And Nobody prefer, my dove, to thee!
[changing sides]
“Yes, I dare swear you do;” she cries, he pouts,
A kiss dispels his rage, a smile his doubts;
Then Spousy promises to cure his sorrow,
She’ll do the like with Nobody to-morrow.

When I behold a lovely British Maid,
Depend on Nobody, for Fashion’s aid;
I think she’s right, for Nature shrinks, to gaze
On shapes, like Dolls, cas’d up in whalebone stays!
Let Beauty banish Art, and all will say,
This is the charm to hold eternal sway!
And may theVirtues, still to Britons dear,
Snatch their bright model from thehighest sphere!
But soft, one smile, to bid our Author live,
AndNobodyshall share the wreathyou give!
* Mrs. Jordan was so much alarmed on the first night’s representation, owing to previous intimation that a party was made to oppose the Comedy, that she had not power to repeat more than sixteen lines of the Epilogue, which were those printed in Italicks; thus mutilated, the Epilogue was wholly destroyed, and was not spoken on the second night at all—why, the Author does not know.

The London Chronicle (Saturday, December 6, to Tuesday, December 9, 1794) 553-560.

Drury-Lane.

p. 556: After the play of Saturday, Nobody was again brought forward; but although several of the parts which had been objected to on its former representation were altered, and an entire new character was introduced, the audience still expressed so much dissatisfaction as to induce the author to withdraw it.

The Sun (Monday, 8 December, 1794) 3.

Drury-Lane.

The Farce of Nobody was performed for the third time on Saturday evening. Some alterations had taken place:—a new character is introduced, a Captain in the Navy, whose sword being left upon Lady Languid’s Sofa, gives ground for scandal against her in place of the Boots, and she marries the Officer, instead of Rightly, the Moralist.

Considerable disapprobation was expressed through the whole of the last act; and towards the conclusion, a disposition to riot began to manifest itself. That there were persons in the House who came predetermined to condemn, was very obvious; and a Gentleman in the upper Boxes, pointing to one of these Ruffians in the front of the Gallery, he, actuated doubtless by that spirit of Equality which certain persons do sedulously inculcate, leapt from the Gallery into the Boxes, whither he was followed by several more. As it is the system of some Magistrates that the Mob shall be uncontrouled—in deference, we presume, to that comfortable system, not a Peace-officer was to be found; and had not a body of Gentlemen taken these Rioters into custody, very serious consequences might have ensued.

If such proceedings are to be tolerated, we must not be surprised that not only fashion but even decency should be banished from our Theatres; for who will go thither to be liable to insult and outrage of the grossest kind? A few such nights as Saturday would, we presume, render this a National Theatre upon the true French principles of Equality; for we should see but one kind of Spectators in every part of the House.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Tuesday, December 9, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

Drury Lane Theatre, on Saturday night, presented the first instance in which fashionable vice triumphed over public opinion. The purchased wretches, who opposed the fair satire of “Nobody,” merited the indignation of the audience, and they had it. The were hissed and shouted out of the galleries by a candid and unbiased public. . . .

If certain persons, in high life, are allowed to damn every piece that aims to correct their follies, the Stage will cease to be the mirror of the times, and vice will triumph over public opinion.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Wednesday, December 10, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

Why don’t the Caricaturists make a subject from a Faro Table, where an assemblage of Furies nightly afford ample scope for the pencil? Such an instance of just ridicule would be very acceptable to the world.

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Tuesday, December 16, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

The Lady Gamblers carry the principle of Equality to a much great extent than even Tom Paine. At their Routes, there is no difference made between the Pickpocket and the Peer, or the Black-leg and the Bishop!

The Morning Post and Fashionable World
(Wednesday, December 17, 1794) 3.

The Fashionable World.

How can some of our female Nobility expect that the public will forbear to treat them with contempt, when they suffer their houses to be hired, at fifty pounds a night, for the purpose of Gaming and Depravity? Such is the case in no less than five of our Fashionable Mansions.

Original publication date

1794

Published @ RC

March 2013