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[291] evening; but the rest of us sat up late to listen to Sir James, who talked under excitement, to Lord John and Sismondi, of the time of Warren Hastings' trial, and of his acquaintance afterward with Burke, including his visit to Beaconsfield, with great interest and animation. Even after I went to bed these great names, with those of Windham and Sheridan, rang in my ears for a long time, and kept me awake till the daylight broke through my windows. The next morning I returned to London, taking in my post-chaise Mr. Sismondi, whom I saw more of in the following days, going with him, among other places, to Lord Holland's, where he enjoyed the society very much. . . . .

One show that I took some pains to see in London was, to be sure, very different from the others, but still very curious. Mr. Washington Irving and I went together to see the damning of a play called ‘The Italians,’1 which had been acted two nights, amidst such an uproar that it was impossible to determine whether the piece were accepted or not; and so it was now brought forward, avowedly for final adjudication. The house was filled; though, as a riot had been foreseen, few ladies were there. Before the curtain rose, Stephen Kemble, the manager,—a very respectable looking old man, with the marks of infirmity strong upon him,—came forward, but was received with such shouting and hooting by the pit, who thought the play ought to have been withdrawn, that he was not heard for a long time. At last his venerable appearance and humble manner seemed to have softened the hard hearts of the mob a little; and, after many bows, he was allowed, though not without several indecent interruptions, to read a short address, promising, if the play was condemned, that it should be immediately withdrawn, though still begging a fair hearing. Of the last there seemed to be some doubt.

The curtain rose and the actors began, but they were received with indignant cries and showers of orange-peels. They persisted, however, and the house grew quieter. The pit, indeed, seemed disposed to come to a compromise, and wait till the conclusion before it should enter into the exercise of its rights of condemnation. Still, it was apparent that the piece was already judged and sentenced, for every time that an actor said anything that could be forced to a bad sense, the audience took advantage of it. If he groaned, they groaned with comical dolorousness; if he complained, they complained most pertinaciously with him; and the words ‘'T is shameful,’ ‘'T is villanous,’

1 ‘The Italians; or, The Fatal Accusation,’ a tragedy by Mr. Bucke.

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