[C7] "Our Talisman, No. 7," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 31, 1842: Scene at the Rehearsal

Our Talisman, No. 7


            The members of the histrionic profession, when they fail to make the public laugh on the stage, seem to turn their hands to making them laugh in their private capacity.  Last week there was a considerable whispering in our town, about a regular knock-down-and-drag-out which it is said took place between two actors at a certain theatre.

            Our Flib got wind of the matter, and investigated it with his usual diligence and alacrity.  Hear what he says.


            The other morning being somewhat tired of the bank excitement and all that kind of serious fun, says I to myself, says I, I believe I'll convulse myself with something else.  Where do they grow the regular built fun?  The best is to be had at the theatre, I answered to myself, I did.  And so, rubbing the ring, I uttered a word, and presently found myself behind the scenes of a theatre.  Two actors were disputing in the centre of the stage, and making quite a convulsion among themselves, while the stage manager and the other actors were forming the audience of the scene.

            "Look here"—cried one of the disputants, generally known by the name of the Great Failure, from an awful murder which he committed at one of our city theatres last winter.  "Look here, fellow—you are a thief, and I can prove it."

            "A thief?" exclaimed the other. "I'm a thief, am I?  You knocked me down two days since—you licked me yesterday—spit in my face—you kicked me, you did—and now I'll tell you what I did, I will—look here!"

            He pulled a paper out of his pocket, and held it before the eyes of Great Failure.

            "Now sir, this is an apology to me, an apology from you, declaring I'm no thief, but an honest man—and you must sign it."

            "Fellow! You get impudent.  Sign an apology to you?  I'll see you to the d—l first, and knock you down afterwards."

            "Now sir—I've been to my lawyer—there's a writ out against you for slanderin' me—can you get bail for $1000? Eh—my buffer?"

"You can't come it—I'm not so green as that—a writ out against me for $1000—pooh!"

            As he said this, a small square piece of paper was thrust before his eyes.  Great Failure started and beheld a—Sheriff's officer.

            "Now will you sign the apology?"

            "Y-e-s,—yes.  I'll sign any apology.  Give me the paper.  What does it say?  'I believe Mr. — to be an honest man.'  No, I'll be d—d if I'll sign that.  I'll make you any apology you like, but I won't put my name to such a thundering lie!"

            "Take him away, sheriff's officer."

            "Come off my Great Failure.  Down to Moyamensing, old boy."  Exit Great Failure, in custody of Sheriff's officer.  Grand Tableau.

            The person "wot was slandered," took Great Failure's part that evening at the theatre and was most awfully hissed.