I could not resist the temptation, nor the eloquence of Tom
Dribble, who was a truant to the very heart's core. We hired seats, and
set off full of boyish expectation. I promised myself that I would but
take a peep at the land of promise, and hasten back again before my
absence should be noticed.
Heavens! how happy I was on arriving at the fair! How I was enchanted
with the world of fun and pageantry around me! The humors of Punch; the
feats of the equestrians; the magical tricks of the conjurors! But what
principally caught my attention was - an itinerant theatre; where a
tragedy, pantomime, and farce were all acted in the course of half an
hour, and more of the dramatis personae murdered, than at either Drury
Lane or Covent Garden in a whole evening. I have since seen many a play
performed by the best actors in the world, but never have I derived
half the delight from any that I did from this first representation.
There was a ferocious tyrant in a skull cap like an inverted porringer,
and a dress of red baize, magnificently embroidered with gilt leather;
with his face so be-whiskered and his eyebrows so knit and expanded
with burnt cork, that he made my heart quake within me as he stamped
about the little stage.