Men's Wives HTML version

Chapter 8
In Which Mr. Walker Shows Great Prudence And Forbearance.
The describing of all these persons does not advance Morgiana's story much.
But, perhaps, some country readers are not acquainted with the class of persons
by whose printed opinions they are guided, and are simple enough to imagine
that mere merit will make a reputation on the stage or elsewhere. The making of
a theatrical success is a much more complicated and curious thing than such
persons fancy it to be. Immense are the pains taken to get a good word from Mr.
This of the Star, or Mr. That of the Courier, to propitiate the favour of the critic of
the day, and get the editors of the metropolis into a good humour,--above all, to
have the name of the person to be puffed perpetually before the public. Artists
cannot be advertised like Macassar oil or blacking, and they want it to the full as
much; hence endless ingenuity must be practised in order to keep the popular
attention awake. Suppose a great actor moves from London to Windsor, the
Brentford Champion must state that "Yesterday Mr. Blazes and suite passed
rapidly through our city; the celebrated comedian is engaged, we hear, at
Windsor, to give some of his inimitable readings of our great national bard to the
MOST ILLUSTRIOUS AUDIENCE in the realm." This piece of intelligence the
Hammersmith Observer will question the next week, as thus:--"A contemporary,
the Brentford Champion, says that Blazes is engaged to give Shakspearian
readings at Windsor to "the most illustrious audience in the realm." We question
this fact very much. We would, indeed, that it were true; but the MOST
ILLUSTRIOUS AUDIENCE in the realm prefer FOREIGN melodies to THE
NATIVE WOOD-NOTES WILD of the sweet song-bird of Avon. Mr. Blazes is
simply gone to Eton, where his son, Master Massinger Blazes, is suffering, we
regret to hear, under a severe attack of the chicken-pox. This complaint (incident
to youth) has raged, we understand, with frightful virulence in Eton School."
And if, after the above paragraphs, some London paper chooses to attack the
folly of the provincial press, which talks of Mr. Blazes, and chronicles his
movements, as if he were a crowned head, what harm is done? Blazes can write
in his own name to the London journal, and say that it is not HIS fault if provincial
journals choose to chronicle his movements, and that he was far from wishing
that the afflictions of those who are dear to him should form the subject of public
comment, and be held up to public ridicule. "We had no intention of hurting the
feelings of an estimable public servant," writes the editor; "and our remarks on
the chicken-pox were general, not personal. We sincerely trust that Master
Massinger Blazes has recovered from that complaint, and that he may pass
through the measles, the whooping-cough, the fourth form, and all other diseases
to which youth is subject, with comfort to himself, and credit to his parents and
teachers." At his next appearance on the stage after this controversy, a British
public calls for Blazes three times after the play; and somehow there is sure to be