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say, 'I have only just heard that you are in our neighbourhood, and I beg to convey my father's hope and request that you will not leave it without giving us the honour of your company here.' You can throw in as many of your personal sentiments as may serve, like wool in a packing-case, to keep the whole tight and compact; but I think something like that would suffice." "Perhaps so," said he, musingly, as he once more returned to his When he reappeared, after some minutes, it was with the air and look of a man who had just thrown off some weighty burden. "Thank heaven, it's done and despatched," said he. "I have been looking over the F. O. Guide, to see whether I addressed him aright. I fancied he was a Privy Councillor, and I find he is not; he is a G.C., however, and a Guelph, with leave to wear the star.”


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Very gratifying to us-I mean if he should come here," said she, with a mocking smile.

"Don't pretend you do not value all these things fully as much as myself, Marion. You know well what the world thinks of them. These distinctions were no more made by us than the money of the realm; but we use one of them like the other, well aware that it represents a certain value, and is never disputed."

"How old is your friend?"

"Well, he is certainly not young. Here's what F. O. contributes to his biography. Entered the army as cornet in the 2nd Life Guards, 1816.' A precious long time ago that. 'First groom of the bedchamber -promoted-placed on half-pay-entered diplomatic service-in-19; special mission to Hanover-made G.C.H.-contested Essex, and returned on a petition-went back to diplomacy, and named special envoy to Tehran.' Ah! now we are coming to his real career."

"Oh, dear. I'd rather hear about him somewhat earlier," said she, taking the Look out of his hand, and throwing it on the table. "It is a great penalty to pay for greatness to be gibbeted in this fashion. Don't you think so, Temple?"

"I wish I could see myself gibbeted, as you call it."

"If the will makes the way, we ought to be very great people," said she, with a smile, half derisive, half real. "Jack, perhaps not; nor Ellen. They have booked themselves in second-class carriages."

"I'll go and look up Harding; he is a secret sort of a fellow. I believe all agents assume that manner to every one but the head of the house and the heir. But perhaps I could manage to find out why these people have not called upon us; there must be something in it.”

"I protest I think we ought to feel grateful to them; an exchange of hospitalities with them would be awful."

"Very likely; but I think we ought to have had the choice, and this they have not given us."

"And even for that I am grateful," said she, as with a haughty look she rose and left the room.

Slips on and off the Stage.

UNREHEARSED stage-effects have, from the very earliest times, produced consequences of a varied character, yet all of more or less importance. They have excited laughter, surprise, indignation, and they have occasionally conferred immortality on actors who would not otherwise have belonged, at least permanently, to fame.

Now, one player's name has lived upwards of two thousand years, for no other reason than that, four hundred and eight years before Christ, by a slip of the tongue, caused by a little breathlessness, itself a consequence of much emotion and passionate acting, he mispronounced a word, and nearly brought the Orestes of Euripides to grief before three hundred lines of it had been fairly declaimed. A trifle served at all times to disturb the equanimity of an Athenian audience. They loved well enough to be made to laugh by any impromptu in a comedy; but if the dignity of tragedy was tripped up by a slip on the part of the actor, although they might laugh quite as loudly, they were angry with themselves that they could be thus moved, and were still more irritated against the offender who had made them merry in spite of themselves.

This was what happened on the day Orestes was first acted at Athens. The public sat in silent but eager expectation before the tragedy began; a few, here and there, discussed the qualities of the author, who was a painter before he was a poet. Some of the orthodox shook their heads at a man who advocated free inquiry in religion, and who went with the Greek Colenso, Anaxagoras, rather than with the believers in the inspiration which they found in the mythological revelations. One or two, unwilling to let scandal die, wondered that a man whose mother had sold (or was untruly said to have sold) watercress, should have been gifted to move the pulses of the heart so powerfully. Altogether, however, eager, silent expectation prevailed, and great was the relief when Electra at length appeared, and opened the long-waited-for tragedy with the well-known comforting assurance, that there is no speech so sharp, no pain so acute, no calamity so heavy, but that human nature could be brought to the bearing it, by compulsion, if not voluntarily. The pretty scene between Electra and Helen had followed, and the intelligent Chorus had enunciated noisy recommendations that the sleeping but passion-tossed Orestes should not be disturbed in his slumbers, and then followed the great scene in which the madness of Orestes takes fresh possession of him, masters him for awhile, but, thanks to his sister Electra's tending and woman's cunning, passes slowly off, leaving the victim exhausted but alive.

VOL. XV.-No. 90.


The actor of this great part was Hegelochus, a handsome and accomplished tragedian, very popular with the Athenians, and much patronized by the richer sort, who carried him home in their chariots, and gave him honourable position at their festivals. Orestes had held the house in thrill by his terrific power. He had battled with the imaginary Furies, and turned in anguish to his visionary mother, and fought in unutterade agony against menacing calamities, and, at last, had bent his head upon that tender sisterly bosom, crushed, yet at peace. Gazing back, as if in distrust, he murmured, still breathless with agitation, "I look for the waves; but now I see the calm "—yaλýva ópŵ-—he should have said; bat in his emotion and breathlessness, Hegelochus elided the final a, and said, with a musical sort of melancholy, yuλŋı' öpü—“ I see the cat." It must have sounded very absurd in Greek, or the theatre would not have exploded, first into such mirth, and next into such wrath as did shake the walls, and would have shaken the roof, if there had been one to the edifice. As it was, the unrehearsed effect was near bringing the piece at once to an end, especially as, when Orestes proceeded to stammer forth the inquiry," Sister, wherefore do you weep, hiding your face berezih your vest?" every one saw that the poor lady was shaking with inextinguishable but silent laughter. With difficulty the piece proceeded ; little explosions of mirth and of anger, because of the merry interruptions, would now and then break forth to mar the progress of the play; and we can fancy the additional ferocity with which Orestes, on one of those occasions, made direct application of the famous line, addressed to Pylades, but shot by the player into the very face of the audience, “The man who is not silent, we ought to kill!" Such is the history of the first unrehearsed stage-effect that has been put upon record.

On the Roman stage, some few unrehearsed effects have been recorded, but they are not of very great mark. Indeed, they have chiefly consisted in applications of speeches made by the actors,—the application being made by the audience,-to politics and political persons present. These speeches, if well delivered, were "encored" many times (in the Roman stage slang, "thousands of times"), till the actor was weary of repeating them. One actor, Paris, unwittingly obtained more applause than Nero, who was playing as an amateur, and the Emperor, forthwith, tossed the "glory and the grief of the Roman stage" to the executioner! The intercourse of English actors with English sovereigns has been of a mach more pleasant quality.

The legends that so pleasantly connect Shakspeare with Queen Elizabeth are not all perhaps to be taken to the letter; but there can be no doubt that they are founded on a broad basis of truth. There is one which narrates how the Queen, when Shakspeare was once acting in her presence, endeavoured to put him at pleasant perplexity between his sense of stage discipline and that of his loyal gallantry. After many a vain attempt, we are told that Elizabeth crossing the stage whereon the poet-actor was enacting the counterfeit presentment of a king, and engaged

in royal work, she dropped her glove. Shakspeare, without departing from the character he was illustrating, interpolated the original text with words to suit the action of his homage. He paused in a processional movement of which he made a part, exclaiming

And though now bent on this high embassy,

Yet stoop we to pick up our cousin's glove—

and rendering it to her, with a profound bow, proudly strode off the stage. We do not guarantee the authenticity of this anecdote, which (by the way) proves that Elizabeth did succeed in detaching the actor from the part which he was representing. This story, however, indicates how intimate the connection was then between the stage and the court.

Some slips on the old stage brought the offenders to great grief. For example, Pepys makes record of having gone to see All's Lost by Lust, in which the musical effects had been so ill rehearsed that singers and orchestra were all at odds, and universal discord reigned. One vocal lad was so out of tune and memory that his "master"-which may imply either the stage manager or the leader of the band-" fell about his ears, and beat him so that it put the whole house into an uproar." The circumstance must, therefore, have been unusual, even then: but at that time the discipline of the stage was rigorously enforced, and even tragedians of the first-class, who should allow themselves to smile at an involuntary slip, were visited by gravest censure.

Now and then instances have occurred in which the mispronunciation of a word has given it a meaning so incongruous as to cover the actor, who had been involuntarily guilty of it, with confusion. Audiences, or rather portions of audiences, not overburdened with refinement, have generally hailed these awkward slips with uproarious hilarity; the other portion has remained discreetly silent, as if it had lacked ears whereby to receive offence, or tongues to resent it. Downes, the old prompter of Charles II.'s days, has recorded one of these misfortunes. It occurred to a lady, Mistress Holden, a kinswoman of the great Betterton. She was playing in Romeo and Juliet, when a fatal word fell unintentionally from her lips; and as she happened at the moment to give it "vehement action," says Downes, "it put the house into such a laughter that London Bridge at low water was silence to it." Charles Kemble once slipped in a like direction; but the most amusing instance of an error committed by him against text and author was when he was once playing Shylock, and instead of asking, "Shall I lay perjury upon my soul ?" overturned the text by exclaiming, "Shall I lay surgery upon my poll?" This is said to bewhat Miss Edgeworth used to emphatically affirm of incidents in her stories" Fact!" Less faith, we think, can be assigned to almost a better and better-known story, which made the soldier, who levels his halberd to prevent Richard from impeding the progress of Henry's funeral, with the remark, "My lord, stand back, and let the coffin pass!" exclaim, in his hurry and confusion, "My lord, stand back, and let the parson cough!"

Such a mistake, however, has many a parallel. On the French stage a young actor having to shout, "Sonnez, trompettes!" knocked all the majesty out of the command by his shout of, "Trompez, sonnettes!" And, indeed, the French stage can furnish a parallel to the story of the error of Mrs. Holden which made a full house so hilarious. The story is told in the correspondence of the Princess Palatine, under the date of 1719. She was then at Dunkirk, where the players acted in the presence of the court. One of them, performing Mithridates, happened, by unlucky change of a letter, to address to Monime a word that conveyed great offence in the utterance. The unlucky actor, in his confusion, made matters worse by turning to the royal box, in which the Dauphiness was the most conspicuous personage, and saying with great contrition, "Madam, I most humbly ask your pardon; my tongue unwittingly tripped me up!" The Dauphin was so tickled by this incident that he not only fell into an uncontrollable fit of laughter, but fell backwards from his seat. To save himself he grasped at the cord which kept the curtain up, and the curtain coming down by the run, struck against the lamps, and caught fire. The flames were immediately extinguished, but the curtain could not be raised, and the play was acted out, the audience looking at the performers through the gap caused by the fire.

One of the pleasantest incidents of the French court stage, however, occurred when the Emperor Napoleon jokingly hissed the Empress Josephine, who was acting a little operatic part in the theatre in the palace at St. Cloud. She demurely stepped forward and remarked, that any one of the audience who was dissatisfied with the performance might retire, and have his money returned to him at the doors. The consequent laughter was uproarious.

There are other slips on the stage than those made by words. At the beginning of the last century, on the French stage, the slipping of Baron's garter led to a traditional action observed in the part by every succeeding player; and the other night only, at the Variétés, the slipping of Malle. Chaumont's petticoat produced an amusing unrehearsed effect. In the first case the great French actor was performing the Earl of Essex, and his garter slipped from below his knee, in the scene where only he and the traitor Cecil were on the stage. Such a personage Essex might treat with indifference or contempt; and accordingly he replaced the dropped band round his leg, while he continued to address Cecil in a disdainful tone. The effect was so successful that succeeding actors adopted the incident of affecting to tighten the garter as a good "bit of business," and the tradition continued to be observed as long as Le Comte d'Essex continued to be acted. Malle. Chaumont's slip was of another character. It taxed her readiness in an emergency, and did not find her wanting. She was playing a soubrette in Nos Gens, and was engaged running to and fro to collect and burn the presents of various old lovers. In the very middle of her action she was impeded by her petticoat suddenly falling about her legs. Of course it was a very pretty article of its sort, and she got out of it, and

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