• Sadler's Wells opened on Saturday ; and, after what
we may call a few preliminary nights, gave its characteristic stamp to the season, by the production of that long-shelved play, All's Well that Ends Well. Nothing could be more strongly indicative of the true nature of the Is- lington temple of "legitimacy," or more clearly show its title to the name of a "dramatic curiosity-shop," which Mr. Charles Mathews, in his English-French pamphlet, so wittily and so wickedly bestowed upon it. The position of Sadler's Wells among other theatres, and the peculiar temperament of its public, are completely fixed by the two plays of All's Well that Ends Well and the _Duchess of Nay. Elsewhere, the former would have been .found insuffer- ably dull, supposing the plot to have been tolerated ; the latter would have made the audience cry out " Murder !" as they did at the strangulation of Dr. Johnson's Irene. No snch, thing at Sadler's Wells. There we have a public soundly educated in the faith that the Elizabethan fountain is all of pure if not medicinal -water, and that the manager's judg- ment is infallible. A piece that is odd or dull beyond the ordinary level no more startles the genuine Islingtonian, than an extraordinary miracle in the Romish Church disturbs the devotion of the faithful. Protestants without open their eyes and shake their heads, less at the miracle than at those who believe in it ; but those within the pale find no more than a new rivet to their adherence.
Sadler's Wells is quite right to maintain this position. The ground which it occupies is untouched by any other establishment; and as its curiosities are all of value in the history of English literature, it not only secures the Islington body of believers, but it draws from all parts of the town a certain class of "reading men," who know that they will see the visions of their closet realized with taste and care, like that other class of readers who constantly attended the German performances at the St. James's. Sadler's Wells is not a goal to stimulate the exertions of living dramatists; for there is an enormous Elirabethan repertoire, unavailable elsewhere, which will prove more attractive than any mo- dern material : nor is it a school for acting, for its main audience is too believing to be pritical. But it offers a wholesome example to other theatres, inasmuch as it always preserves its individual character ; whereas too many of the rest—though we are glad to see this number is fast diminishing— shift from one class of entertainment to another, so as to be wholly without a determining predicate.
With respect especially to AI?* Well that Ends Well, we would remark that Mr. Phelps has made of Faro/Les a picture of character worthy to be placed by the side of his Sir Tertinaz and his King Tames.