Page:Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day.djvu/180

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A very interesting and amusing book, entitled 'The Recollections and Reflections of J. R. Planché (Somerset Herald),' has recently been given to the world.

Mr. Planche's grandfather was a French refugee, but his parents, both of French stock, were born in London. The author of the 'Recollections' made his first appearance on life's stage in Old Burlington-street, on the 27th of February 1796. He is therefore seventy-six years of age, and is as active in the prosecution of his literary pursuits as ever he was. Besides publishing this year the book above mentioned, he has furnished the stage with the lyrical parts of 'Babil and Bijou,' Mr. Boucicault's great show at Covent-garden. Mr. Planché's father was an eminent watchmaker, and attracted the notice of George III., who often chatted with him in the most familiar manner. He tells this characteristic anecdote of that monarch:

One day, going to St. James's with the king's watch, which had been mended, he told the page that the ribbon was rather dirty.

The king overheard this, and coming to the door, said:

'What is that, Planché? what is that?'

Mr. Planché repeated his remark about the state of the royal ribbon, and suggested a new one.

'New ribbon, Planché!' said the king. 'What for? Can't it be washed?'

This excellent gentleman, having known what it was to be very poor, determined that his son should learn some useful profession or trade. At first, the subject of our notice tried artistic pursuits, but having a very strong development of the cacoëthes scribendi, he chose to be articled to a bookseller. Soon after, he turned his attention to play writing, and became distinguished as an amateur actor of his own characters. His early recollections date back to the destruction by fire of both the great national theatres; the Old-Prices row at new Covent-garden; the Young-Roscius mania; the