No. 36.

Wednesday, April 11, 1711. [Steele.

-Immania monstra


I SHALL not put my self to any further Pains for this Day's Entertainment, than barely to publish the Letters and Titles of Petitions from the Play-house, with the Minutes I have made upon the Latter for my Conduct in relation to them.

Drury-Lane, April the 9th.

Upon reading the Project which is set forth in one of your late Papers, of making an Alliance between all the Bulls, Bears, Elephants, and Lions, which are separately exposed to publick View in the Cities of London and Westminster; together with the other Wonders, Shows, and Monsters, whereof you made respective Mention in the said Speculation; We, the chief Actors of this Playhouse, met and sat upon the said Design. It is with great Delight that We expect the Execution of this Work; and in order to contribute to it, We have given Warning to all our Ghosts to get their Livelihoods where they can, and not to appear among us after Day-break of the 16th Instant. We are resolved to take this Opportunity to part with every thing which does not contribute to the Representation of humane Life; and shall make a free Gilt of all animated Utensils to your Projector. The Hangings you formerly mentioned are run away; as are likewise a Set of Chairs, each of which was met upon two Legs going through the Rose Tavern at Two this Morning. We hope, Sir, you will give proper Notice to the Town that we are endeavouring at these Regulations; and that we intend for the future to show no Monsters, but Men who are converted into such by their own Industry and Affectation. If you will please to be at the House to-night, you will see me do my Endeavour to show some unnatural Appearances which are in vogue among the Polite and Well-bred. I am to represent, in the Character of a fine Lady Dancing, all the Distortions which are frequently taken for Graces in Mien and Gesture. This, Sir, is a specimen of the Method we shall take to expose the Monsters which come within the Notice of a regular Theatre; and we desire nothing more gross may be admitted by you Spectators for the future. We have cashiered three Companies of Theatrical Guards, and design our Kings shall for the future make Love and sit in Council without an Army; and wait only your Direction, whether you will have them reinforce King Porus or join the Troops of Macedon. Mr. Penkethman resolves to consult his Pantheon of Heathen Gods in Opposition to the Oracle of Delphos, and doubts not but he shall turn the Fortunes of Porus when he personates him. I am desired by the Company to inform you, that they submit to your Censures; and shall have you in greater Veneration than Hercules was in of old, if you can drive Monsters from the Theatre; and think your Merit will be as much greater than his, as to convince is more than to conquer.

I am,


Your most obedient Servant,



'When I acquaint you with the great and unexpected Vicissitudes of my Fortune, I doubt not but I shall obtain your Pity and Favour. I have for many Years last past been Thunderer to the Play-house; and have not only made as much Noise out of the Clouds as any Predecessor of mine in the Theatre that ever bore that Character, but also have descended and spoke on the Stage as the bold Thunder in The Rehearsal. When they got me down thus low, they thought fit to degrade me further, and make me a Ghost. I was contented with this for these two last Winters; but they carry their Tyranny still further, and not satisfied that I am banished from above Ground, they have given me to understand that I am wholly to depart their Dominions, and taken from me even my subterraneous Employment. Now, Sir, what I desire of you is, that if your Undertaker thinks fit to use Fire-Arms (as other Authors have done) in the Time of Alexander, I may be a Cannon against Porus, or else provide for me in the Burning of Persepolis, or what other Method you shall think fit.

Salmoneus of Covent-Garden.'

The Petition of all the Devils of the Play-house in behalf of themselves and Families, setting forth their Expulsion from thence, with Certificates of their good Life and Conversation, and praying Relief.

The Merit of this Petition referred to Mr. Chr. Rich, who made them Devils.

The Petition of the Grave-digger in Hamlet, to command the Pioneers in the Expedition of Alexander.


The Petition of William Bullock, to be Hephestion to Penkethman the Great.



A Widow Gentlewoman, well born both by Father and Mother's Side, being the Daughter of Thomas Prater, once an eminent Practitioner in the Law, and of Letitia Tattle, a Family well known in all Parts of this Kingdom, having been reduc'd by Misfortunes to wait on several great Persons, and for some time to be Teacher at a Boarding-School of young Ladies; giveth Notice to the Publick, That she hath lately taken a House near Bloomsbury-Square, commodiously situated next the Fields in a good Air; where she teaches all sorts of Birds of the loquacious Kinds, as Parrots, Starlings, Magpies, and others, to imitate human Voices in greater Perfection than ever yet was practis'd. They are not only instructed to pronounce Words distinctly, and in a proper Tone and Accent, but to speak the Language with great Purity and Volubility of Tongue, together with all the fashionable Phrases and Compliments now in use either at Tea-Tables or visiting Days. Those that have good Voices may be taught to sing the newest Opera-Airs, and, if requir'd, to speak either Italian or French, paying something extraordinary above the common Rates. They whose Friends are not able to pay the full Prices may be taken as Half-boarders. She teaches such as are design'd for the Diversion of the Publick, and to act in enchanted Woods on the Theatres, by the Great. As she has often observ'd with much Concern how indecent an Education is usually given these innocent Creatures, which in some Measure is owing to their being plac'd in Rooms next the Street, where, to the great Offence of chaste and tender Ears, they learn Ribaldry, obscene Songs, and immodest Expressions from Passengers and idle People, and also to cry Fish and Card-matches, with other useless Parts of Learning to Birds who have rich Friends, she has fitted up proper and neat Apartments for them in the back Part of her said House; where she suffers none to approach them but her self, and a Servant Maid who is deaf and dumb, and whom she provided on purpose to prepare their Food and cleanse their Cages; having found by long Experience how hard a thing it is for those to keep Silence who have the Use of Speech, and the Dangers her Scholars are expos'd to by the strong Impressions that are made by harsh Sounds and vulgar Dialects. In short, if they are Birds of any Parts or Capacity, she will undertake to render them so accomplish'd in the Compass of a Twelve-month, that they shall be fit Conversation for such Ladies as love to chuse their Friends and Companions out of this Species. R.

1.March was written by an oversight left in the first reprint uncorrected.

2. No. 31.

3.Mr.Bayes, the poet, in the Duke of Buckingham's Rehearsal, after showing how he has planned a Thunder and Lightning Prologue for his play, says,

'Come out, Thunder and Lightning.

Enter Thunder and Lightning.

Thun. I am the bold Thunder.

Bayes. Mr. Cartwright, prithee speak that a little louder, and with a hoarse voice. I am the bold Thunder: pshaw! Speak it me in a voice that thunders it out indeed: I am the bold Thunder.

Thun. I am the bold Thunder.

Light. The brisk Lightning, I.'

The caricature here, and in following lines, is of a passage in Sir Robert Stapylton's Slighted Maid: 'I am the Evening, dark as Night,' &c.

In the Spectator's time the Rehearsal was an acted play, in which Penkethman had the part of the gentleman Usher, and Bullock was one of the two Kings of Brentford; Thunder was Johnson, who played also the Grave-digger in Hamlet and other reputable parts.

4. William Bullock was a good and popular comedian, whom some preferred to Penkethman, because he spoke no more than was set down for him, and did not overact his parts. He was now with Penkethman, now with Cibber and others, joint-manager of a theatrical booth at Bartholomew Fair. When this essay was written Bullock and Penkethman were acting together in a play called Injured Love, produced at Drury Lane on the 7th of April, Bullock as 'Sir Bookish Outside,' Penkethman as 'Tipple,' a Servant. Penkethman, Bullock and Dogget were in those days Macbeth's three witches. Bullock had a son on the stage capable of courtly parts, who really had played Hephestion in the Rival Queens, in a theatre opened by Penkethman at Greenwich in the preceding summer.