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But stand unmarked by movement fit,
O dial! art thou raised on high
To speak reproach for life's abuse?
The future? Thou hast nought to do
Fit grave-stone of hours gone!
The future?—Yes! At least to me,
EXERCISE XXXIII.-AN UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO RAISE THE
Dialogue adapted from Martin Chuzzlewit.-Speakers,-Tigg, Pecksniff, and Slyme.* Scene,—the bar-room of the Blue Dragon.
[Humorous dialogue demands attention to the full expression of free, playful feeling, in voice and action. The motto of elocution in such pieces is, as in youthful sports, Keep up the spirit of the scene.' The object of practice, in this form, is to impart ease and animation to the speaker's general manner.]
Tigg, [dragging in Pecksniff by the collar.] You were eavesdropping at that door, you vagabond!
Peck. [shaking himself free.] Where is Mrs. Lupin, I wonder? Can the good woman possibly be aware that there is a person here, who
Tigg. Stay! Wait a bit! She does know. What then? Peck. What then, sir?-What then?-Do you know that I am the friend and relative of the sick gentleman above stairs? That I am his protector, his guardian, his
Tigg. Wait a bit! perhaps you are a cousin,—the cousin who lives in this place.
* In appearance, Tigg represents the shabby genteel, in its last stage; Pecksniff, a smooth, well-dressed man, with a prodigious collar; Slyme, a miserable looking wretch, worn out with low dissipation.-Tigg's manner is dashing, independent, and highly affected; Pecksniff's grave and cold, very much constrained; Slyme's is dull and stupid, indicating partial inebriety.
Peck. I am the cousin who lives in this place.
Peck. It is.
Tigg, [touching his hat.] I am proud to know you; and I ask your pardon.-You behold in me one who has also an interest in that gentleman up stairs.—Wait a bit. [Pulling off his hat, and dropping from it a handful of dirty letters, and broken cigars; and selecting one of the former, which he hands to Pecksniff.] Read that!
Peck. This is addressed to Chevy Slyme, Esq.
Tigg. You know Chevy Slyme, Esq., I believe?—Very good: that is my interest and business here.
Peck. [withdrawing from T.] Now, this is very distressing, my friend. It is very distressing to me to be compelled to say, that you are not the person you claim to be. I know Mr. Slyme, my friend: this will not do: honesty is the best policy: you had better not: you had, indeed.
Tigg. Stop! Wait a bit!-I understand your mistake; and I am not offended. Why? Because it is complimentary. You suppose I would set myself up for Chevy Slyme. Sir, if there is a man on earth, whom a gentleman would feel proud and honoured to be mistaken for, that man is Chevy Slyme. For he is, without an exception, the highestminded, the most independent-spirited; most original, spiritual, classical, talented; and most thoroughly Shaksperian, if not Miltonic; and, at the same time, most-disgustinglyunappreciated dog I know. But, sir, I have not the vanity to attempt to pass for Slyme. Any other man in the wide world I am equal to. But Slyme is, I frankly confess, a great many cuts above me. Therefore you are wrong.
Peck, holding out the letter.] I judged from this.
Tigg. No doubt you did. But, Mr. Pecksniff, the whole thing resolves itself into an instance of the peculiarities of genius. Every man of true genius has his peculiarity. Sir, the peculiarity of my friend Slyme, is, that he is always waiting round the corner. He is perpetually round the corner, sir. He is round the corner, at this instant. That is a remarkably curious and interesting trait in Slyme's character; and whenever Slyme's life comes to be written, that trait must be thoroughly worked out by his biographer; or society will not be satisfied,-observe me,-society will not be satisfied.
Peck, [coughing nervously.] Hem!
Tigg. Slyme's biographer, sir, whoever he may be, must apply to me; or, if I am gone to that what's-his-name from
which no thingumbob comes back, he must apply to my executors for leave to search among my papers. I have taken a few notes, in my poor way, of some of that man's proceedings, my adopted brother, sir,-which would amaze you. He made use of an expression, sir, only on the fifteenth of last month, when he could not meet a little bill, and the other party would not renew,-which would have done honour to Napoleon Bonaparte, in addressing the French army.
Peck. And pray what may be Mr. Slyme's business here, -if I may be permitted to inquire?
Tigg. You will give me leave, sir, first to introduce myself. My name, sir, is Tigg. The name of Montague Tigg will perhaps be familiar to you, in connexion with the most remarkable events of the peninsular war?
Peck, [shakes his head.]
Tigg. No matter,-that man was my father, and I bear his name. I am consequently proud,-proud as Lucifer. Excuse me, one moment. I desire my friend Slyme to be present at the remainder of this conference. [Withdraws, and returns, followed by Slyme, who looks stupidly at Pecksniff, and Pecksniff looks coldly at him.]
Tigg, [pretending to address Slyme,-who has been whispering in his ear, touching his elbow, and making other signs to him to ask money of Pecksniff. T. speaks loud enough for Mr. P. to hear.] Chiv, I shall come to that presently. I act upon my own responsibility, or not at all. To the extent of such a trifling loan as a crown-piece, to a man of your talents, I look upon Mr. Pecksniff as certain.-O Chiv, Chiv! You are, upon my life, a strange instance of the little frailties that beset a mighty mind! If there had never been a telescope in this world, I should have been quite certain, from my observation of you, that there were spots on the sun! Well, never mind! Moralize as we will, the world goes on. As Hamlet says, Hercules may lay about him with his club, in every possible direction; but he can't prevent the cats from making a most intolerable row on the roofs of the houses, or the dogs from being shot, in the hot weather, if they go about the streets unmuzzled.—Life's a riddle, a most confoundedly hard riddle to guess, Mr. Pecksniff. Like that celebrated conundrum, Why's a man in jail like a man out of jail? '—there's no answer to it.-Chiv, my dear fellow, go out and see what sort of a night it is. [S. goes out. T. turns to P.] We must not be too hard upon the little ec
centricities of our friend Slyme.-You saw him whisper me?
Peck. I did.
Tigg. You heard my answer, I think.
Peck. I did.
Tigg. Five shillings, eh? Ah! what an extraordinary fellow-very moderate, too. Five shillings, to be punctually paid, next week: that's the best of it.-You heard that.
Peck. I did not.
Tigg. No! That's the cream of the thing, sir, I never knew that man fail to redeem a promise in my life. You're not in want of change, are you?
Peck. No, thank you, not at all!
Tigg. Just so if you had been, I'd have got it for you. [Whistles, and walks about with an air of unconcern.] Perhaps you'd rather not lend Slyme five shillings?
Peck. I would much rather not.
Tigg. It's very possible you may be right. Would you entertain the same sort of objection to lending me five shillings, now?
Peck. Yes: I couldn't do it, indeed.
Tigg. Not even half-a-crown, perhaps?
Tigg. Why, then we come to the ridiculously small sum of eighteen-pence! ha! ha!
Peck. And that would be equally objectionable.
Tigg, [shaking P. by both hands.] Sir, I protest you are one of the most consistent and remarkable men I have ever met. I desire the honour of your better acquaintance. There are many little characteristics about my friend Slyme, of which, as a man of strict honour, I can by no means approve. But I am prepared to forgive him all these slight drawbacks and many more, in consideration of the great pleasure I have this day enjoyed in my social intercourse with you, sir. It has given me a far higher and more enduring delight, than the successful negotiation of any small loan, on the part of my friend, could possibly have imparted. I beg leave sir, to wish you a very good evening. [They go off different ways.]
EXERCISE XXXIV.—NIAGARA FALLS.—Anonymous.
[The following vivid but chaste description of the great cataract, furnishes a good example of descriptive expression. The tone deepens and strengthens, as the picture heightens, till the narrative of personal adventure is introduced, when it becomes more familiar and lively. In the closing paragraph, the tone of sublimity and awe,-low, but strong, and slow,-returns, with increased effect, and reaches its maximum in the concluding lines.]
While yet at a distance of several miles, looking and listening, with intense eagerness, for some visible, or audible indication of the local presence of this greatest natural wonder of our land, I first saw two neighbouring cones of dense, rolling mist, of a peculiar hue, that appeared to undulate, to swell and diminish, or to loom up and fall occasionally, as the wind buoyed it up, or pressed it down. It looked like a broad ascending rain shower, or inverted jet d'eau, as in effect it is.
I could not withdraw my eyes from this lofty coronal of rolling vapour. As I approached nearer to the spot, which had led me to deviate so many hundred miles from the direct course to my home, I beheld a strange agitation in the waters of the broad and hitherto smooth current of the river, which began to move with an increased rapidity. For a considerable space, they spread out into a wider sheet, as if seeking, on either shore, a way to escape from the slippery descent, which grew every moment more steep. Unable to arrest their onward progress, they are seized with trembling, and break into foam. Like a man, who feels that he is sliding towards a fearful and inevitable precipice, that is to plunge him into a fathomless abyss, they utter a voice, as of terror, that waxes louder and louder, as their descent quickens, and they approximate to their fall.
Again the width of the river narrows; and they seem, like the crew of a ship about to perish, to huddle together, as is usual with a ship's company, when at the moment of going down. The tumult and noise grow more violent and loud, as they near the brink of the precipice, and the waters are divided by Goat Island; and they hurry on, the one part to the right, and the other to the left, as if impatient to pass the awful bourne, whence there is no return. Yet there is a little space towards the edge, where they become smooth, then, in a moment, are invested in a winding sheet of foam of the purest white, and are precipitated down a perpendicular descent of one hundred and forty-eight feet, on the Can