Imágenes de páginas

hand, and as she did so, stained her hand with blood. She saw Albert's eyes were fixed upon the stain, whilst she unlocked the coffer that gave him, along with herself, golden independence, and yet she felt chilled at their expression. "And now, Albert, let us fly this place for ever, and endeavour to forget the past." Her musical voice trembled, but more with love than with horror. "Fly with thee, woman!" was Albert's stern reply: "ay, I should feel well with the arms of a murderess about my neck. Could no tie bind you—not even the sacred name of father? What, court destruction at your hands when you may please to tire of me? Woman! thou art beautiful, and I loved thee, but now thy beauty seems to me that of a demon—I loathe thee!"

Rebecca heard breathlessly every word distinctly as it was uttered; the overwhelming thought that solely for him, at his bidding, she had aided a deed of blood, played false with her soul's eternal welfare; to be thus by him rewarded, choked the words that swelled her proud bosom for utterance; the beautiful small features became convulsed with feelings she could not express, yet far too powerful to bear suppression. Blood gushed to her mouth, to her nostrils, even her eyes seemed filled with blood, and she fell a corpse at the feet of the murderer.

A new emotion now took hold of this wretched man; he raised the girl in his arms, and tried to call the dead to life by the same weak weapons that had the power to kill. His passionate appeals were fruitless, and he remained stupified, like a drunken man, over his third victim, till he was thus discovered by an accidental visitor, who immediately delivered him over to justice:—with him justice was condemnation.



What strain is this that comes upon the sky
Of moonlight, as if yonder gleaming cloud.

Which seems to wander to the melody,
Were seraph-freighted ?—Now it dies away

In a most far off tremble, and is still,

Leaving a charmed silence on each hill
Flower-cover'd, and the grove's minutest spray.

Hark, one more dip of fingers in the wires—
One scarce-heard murmur, struggling into sound,
And fading like a sunbeam from the ground,

Or gilded vanes of dimly vision'd spires:
But it hath tuned my spirit, which will recall
Its magic tones, in memory treasur'd nil.


[ocr errors]

The antique world in its first flowery youth.—Spenorr.

When untill'd fruitage clothed the ground,

And every man was lord of all
The loveliness around him spread—

When at blue evening's silent fall,
Beneath the shade of incense-trees,

The people of the young earth lay
To sleep, till through the glancing leaves

Smiled in the crystal day;
When the shrill trumpet had not roused Opposing hosts to deadly rage;
But peace her halcyon olive waved— That Was THE GOLDEN AGE.

When chains and captives were unknown-
Unknown the complicated crimes,—
The bitter griefs—the tragic deaths Which darkened upon after times:
When the green world was open wide—
No barrier, save by nature given-
Free to the fearless foot of all,

As to the cloud its depth of heaven:
When he who loved such peaceful vale As beautifies our pictured page,
Might make his home amid its bowers— That Was THE GOLDEN AGE.




: A Trouble, not of clouds, or weeping rain, Nor of the setting sun's pathetic light Engendered, hangs o'er Eildon's triple height:Spirits of power assembled there complain For kindred power departing from their sight;While Tweed, best pleased in chanting a blithe strain, Saddens his voice again and yet again. Lift up your hearts, ye mourners! for the might Of the whole world's good wishes with him goes;Blessings and prayers, in nobler retinue

Than sceptered king or laurelled conqueror knows,

Follow this wondrous potentate. Be true

Ye winds of ocean and the midland sea, Wafting your charge to soft Parthenope!

* From "The Literary Souvenir." J&J3.



He is a strange creature, if one knew him properly, the provincial actor. I defy you to find his fellow in any class of society save his own: he is like no other body. His singularity I cannot account for, unless I set it down to his vanity: no man in the world has a higher opinion of himself than he has. What is an author, a painter, or a poet to him? Be assured he turns up his nose contemptuously at them all.

There is a something about him, you know not what it is, that betrays his profession in a moment. It is not that he wears his hat to the one side or to the other; it is not that his coat is a good, a bad, or an indifferent one, although the coat and the hat could belong to no other person, for they positively smack of the foot-lights: these things do not single out the man; they are helps, no doubt, but you must be convinced that he is an actor, from a glance at his face, before you allow the coat and the hat to intrude themselves upon your notice. His cheeks are tough, and his face altogether seems weatherbeaten; but look a little closer, and you must see that the poor man never smelt salt water in his life; that brazen-face of his was acquired somewhere about the side-wings.

His appearance on the street fills up, to a hair's-breadth, the notion you had formed, from reading the older essayists, of a broken-down rake. You call up in imagination the nights of frolic and madness, of dissipation and debauchery, that have given to his eyes their peculiar, wild, twinkling expression, and that have assisted, along, no doubt, with other causes, in making his dress thread-bare; you think of the rattling company he used to keep, before he fell down in the world; you are not over-well pleased, neither, to see him look as if he had found out, to his cost, that this is but an ungrateful generation. But here you must stop. The actor never was a rake—never was a gentleman—never was a blackguard. True, he has drunk pretty hard in his day, but he never quarrelled about the flavours of champaign or burgundy; he was pretty well content to have a drop good glenlivet. No doubt he has gambled also before this time of day, but the stakes were never very deep, perhaps a penny each game. Then, as to his love affairs, everybody knows, that, off the stage, he cares for no particular woman more than another. If he makes love at all, it is to a cook or a bar-maid; his love is of the pudding order. He is not a rake then, we see; he only looks like one; he is but an ill-drawn caricature of that character.

It is not every one that can enjoy an actor's society, for he talks of nothing but his own business, and the men and things connected with it It is tedious, to a sensible, matter-of-fact man, to hear one talking of what are, after all, mere trifles, as if they were affairs of the first consequence. The theatre is a trifle; its side-wings, its scenery, the dresses and decorations, nay, every thing connected with it, is but a trifle; all is hollow—the mere imitation,—and, be it remarked, an imitation that can deceive no one, even for a moment, of something real; of something that is or has been. But the poor actor forgets this; he does not seem to be aware of the fact. He never for a moment suspects that we see through all his little arts. Were we to tell him, that we would much rather hear him, in his ordinary dress, read an author, and read him coolly, and calmly, and sensibly, than hear him, in his wig, his tunic, his tights, his boots, and all the other little et ceteras, utter the same words after his own fashion, he would laugh at us; he would wonder at our want of taste and sense. He cannot act, for he does not know what acting is, or what it ought to be, just because a sword-belt, a Vandyke, or a touch of red paint, is of more consequence to him than the meaning of his author. He judges of the talent of his brethren by their attention to these matters. To have the words of a part correctly on the memory is a great thing with him; he talks of his tremendous study, and insists that in such and such a piece he was dead perfect. If he should at any time be put out by a brother performer, he fumes and blusters, and tells his friend that he does not know a single line of his part; he never told him in his life, though, that he knew not the meaning of the part.

Your bad actor—your poor actor—your provincial actor, or call him what you will (for the terms are almost synonymous), is very tenacious of his right to his certain line of business. If he be the hightragedy man, he will allow nobody to play the Richards, the Othello;', the Pierres but himself; and should a star take these characters out of his hand, and he be forced to play seconds, he takes the dods at once, and hints, mysteriously a little, that he will "give in his notice." The low-comedy-gentleman would take it as a gross insult, were any other to sing one of his songs; he even carries these notions into private life. The sigAmg-foiier-gentleman is the only one who would willingly give up his line of business to another.

Actors in provincial theatres have a great many slang terms, that, to the uninitiated, seem very amusing. For instance, instead of saying that they were hissed, or goosed, by the galleries on such anight, they say, they brought down the great bird. (They like the goose best about Christmas time.) The unpleasant realities of life they very happily soften down by giving to them some amusing or ridiculous name. There is philosophy in this, but it is rather forced.

He has many good points about him, too, the poor actor; but one must have come in contact with him frequently, and in his moments of enjoyment, before these are to be discovered. He is not a selfish fellow: a poorer brother often shares his last shilling. I daresay he is honest, too, at heart, and would pay his debts—if he could. He sometimes tells fibs, no doubt, but they are harmless, for they are almost all about himself, and they cannot impose upon you. Set him down to a beef steak and a frothing tankard, and there is not a more happy, light-hearted creature in the world. Listen to his stories of the past—hear him descant on the good towns and the bad towns for an actor—one place starves him, and another loads him with kindness and the good things of this life; and when he gets on to talk of the privations he has met with in the profession, you are quite delighted with him. He has lived where you and fifty others would have starved. He has eaten, drunk, and been merry, when you would have seriously thought of committing suicide. For a lover of the stage, of actors and acting, he has some delightful reminiscences of the " great masters." One of his little anecdotes, which no man can tell like him, is worth a whole volume.

One of the worst features in his character is, that he seldom has a good word to say of his manager. Little do these petty monarchs know how they are treated behind their backs. Their conduct is talked of, much in the same way, and with as little mercy, as a knot of violent politicians would discuss the ungracious doings of an unpopular cabinet. But the actor, in such cases, is all talk, and nothing more. He talks big to be sure, but he stands more in awe of his manager than he does of his greater patron—the public.

But if he has this one bad feature about him, he has another good one to place against it: he has a great respect for this same old patron of his—the Public. Painters, and poets, are continually quarrelling with the old gentleman, and throwing something in his face that he does not at all like; but the actor has more sense—he does what he can to chime in with the likings and dislikings of his patron. Is the old fellow induced to be merry? then does the actor do his best to make him so: has the old un any ill-will at his friends, or, say enemies? then comes the actor with something that raises the laugh against them. Is it proper that the Public should show his loyalty to his monarch? then is he speedily furnished with an opportunity of joining the actor in a sentiment suitable to the occasion.

» * * » » . » * *

It is pleasant to.see an actor on the street, no matter how poor or shabby he looks—the shabbier the better. He reminds you of a

« AnteriorContinuar »