Imágenes de páginas

The thronging horrors of Juliet's tomb her awakening among the dead, the "bloody Tybalt festering in his shroud," the gliding spirits, Juliet's frenzy of terror, her mad playing with her ancestors' bones -- were so vividly conjured up by Stella's excited imagination, that she suddenly leaped from her seat, with arm uplifted, exclaiming, wildly,

“ With some great kinsman's bone, as with a club,

Dash out my desperate brains ! "

Her mother uttered a feeble shriek, and drew back affrighted. Mattie's quick ears caught the sound, and she ran into the room.

Stella looked confusedly about her. She saw her mother's pale consternation and Mattie's look of alarm, and tried to collect her scattered thoughts. She swept back the long tresses, that had broken their bands and fell in dishevelled clusters around her face, wiped the cold dew from her forehead, and tried to force a smile, as she said, “It's nothing, mother; I was only studying a part."

"Studying a part, my dear, with that fearful outcry? You terrify me! What is coming over you, Stella ? Your eyes look as wild as though you were losing your senses !"

No, no, mother; only losing my identity in Juliet's. Pray, don't be discomposed ; it's nothing."

She laid aside her book, and seated herself by her mother's side. It was some time since Mrs. Rosenvelt had been so completely roused. She even asked her daughter a few questions concerning the character she was studying. Mrs. Rosenvelt had seen Juliet enacted years ago. She spoke of her impressions, but they brought back some painful memory. Her eyes gradually filled, and she relapsed into silence.

Stella looked wistfully at her book, but feared to disturb her mother if she stole back to the sofa where it was lying. The usual hour for retiring was near.

She rejoiced when she found herself alone in her little chamber — alone with the shadowy Juliet, who seemed to exist within her and beside her. They were not parted in dreams. Stella awoke from her fitful slumbers, vehemently crying out

Dash out my desperate brains !

Those words haunted her. Numberless times during the night they broke involuntarily from her lips. And when the sun

“ Peered forth the golden window of the east,"

she found herself repeating them still

While she was making her toilet, she caught sight of her own countenance reflected in the mirror just as she again unconsciously uttered that frantic ejaculation. She gazed in wonder at the haggard, terrified expression, and then laughed to see the look change to one of surprise. It seemed to her as if she were scanning the face of another. She was indeed “losing her own identity.”

At the earliest hour that the mail could possibly arrive, Mattie was hurried to the post-office. Stella awaited her brother's answer with feverish expectation. She stationed herself at the window to watch.

[ocr errors]


The instant her messenger came in sight, before she could reach the porch, the door was thrown open.

“ The letter! the letter! Give me my brother's letter!

- There was no letter, miss.' "No letter? Impossible ! Has the post come in ?"

"I inquired, and the clerk said it was in, and the morning mail distributed."

'0, Mattie ! you have made some mistake; do go back again! The clerks have overlooked the letter! I know there is one ! Make them find it!

Mattie was only too ready to gratify the whims of her beloved young lady. She trudged back to the post-office, and duly tormented the clerk with her positive assurance that he had mislaid the letter, and must look again.

He looked there was no letter.

Stella's impatient temperament did not help her to bear this disappointment; but she had no alternative. She returned to the study of Juliet, and soon even her brother's missing epistle was forgotten.

Stella's second lesson with her tutor differed from the first. In the fine development of her sentient faculties, her reflective powers, Mr. Oakland discovered germs of highest promise. But he found that her enthusiasm fairly ran riot. He devoted himself to the difficult task of curbing its exuberance, toning down her too strong coloring, and illustrating the danger of extravagance, even though it be true to nature. A refined audience invariably feel the disenchanting effect of exaggeration. They unavoidably take that one, fatal step which lies between the sublime and the absurd. But Mr. Oakland's faith in his pupil's success was undiminished. He knew that it was easier to rein in enthusiasm than to inspirit tameness. The one is the hand-maiden of genius; the other, the never failing companion of mediocrity.



Ernest's Letter to his Sister. His Views of the Stage. - Un

perilled Chastity. A Brother's Entreaties. Stella's Unaltered Resolve. Self-Will.- Application to Managers. An Anxious Interval. Mr. Oakland's Disregarded Warning. - A Self-reliant Nature. A Venture. The Stage Door. - First Entrance behind the Scenes. — Sudden Intrusion upon a Lugubrious Manager. ----Mr. Grimshaw's Mysterious Inquiries. -- Stella's Confusion. --- Request to Read.

Recital of Portia's Address to Shylock. - The Unexpected Interruption. -- Insolence of an Actress. Stella and Mattie's Retreat from the Manager's Office. --- Disconcerted, not Conquered. - An Inspiring Paragraph. Obituary of the Young Actress, Lydia Talbot. A Mantle for shoulders yet Unsound. - Mr. Belton's Advertisement for a Leading Lady."

6 Eureka!"

STELLA's first thought, the next morning, was of the anticipated letter. The ever-willing Mattie was despatched to the post-office long before it was possible for the mail to be delivered. During her absence, Stella's restless spirit lengthened the minutes to hours, through its tormenting disquietude. At last her straining eyes caught sight of Mattie in the distance. She carried something white in her hand, and walked at a rapid pace. But that quick tread was slow to the expectant girl. She darted out of the room, and returned in an instant, exultingly holding up the letter.

« AnteriorContinuar »