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Clerkenwell (being built on the Monastery grounds); Covent Garden's monastic origin is well known; the City theatre was—and, I believe, is again-a chapel; the Curtain theatre in Shakspeare's time was built on the ruins of the Priory of St. John the Baptist; that of Blackfriars on the site of part of the monastery of that name. The little chapel in Gatestreet, Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, was a private theatre thirty years since.
Bensley.-Old Bensley was an egotist of the first water; speaking of one of his own performances, he said, “ My acting in that play will never be forgotten in Liverpool until time runs into eternity.”
Weber and Lablache.- Lablache was originally a double bass player, and by the accident of a celebrated singer's sudden indisposition, was induced to attempt a character. Of course his success rendered his return to the orchestra unadvisable. When Weber first heard him sing, he said, alluding to his immense power,
“ Mein God! he is a double bass still." Ellistoniana.- After Kean's attempt at the Duke Aranza, (“Honeymoon,”) in which his failure was undeniable, Elliston was requested by his friends to have the play put up for himself. Not now, nor ever again," exclaimed Pomposo ; " the part has been defiled."
Robert William had the mania of bargain-making, he never would give for anything the price asked ; this fact once known, of course all who dealt with him made a proportionately exorbitant demand, and the abatement Elliston's haggling effected only reduced the amount to what they would otherwise have originally required. But Elliston had the gratification of chuckling over the fact, that “ he gave but two-thirds of the sum first demanded.” Though notoriously a schemer and covenant-breaker, he was himself “a victim making victims." No man had more frequently to lament the deceptions practised on him.
When the allied_sovereigns with the Prince Regent intimated their intention to visit Drury, Elliston asked what play they had chosen.
Othello," was the reply. “ Aha!" exclaimed Robert William, " I thought they wouldn't go until they had seen me in that." We need not add that Kean, as a matter of course, played the Moor.
When he was applying to Parliament respecting his right to act the legitimate drama at the Olympic or Surrey, he put off any unpleasant business by this phrase—“Wait till this Session has concluded, for at present my Parliamentary duties press so heavily that I cannot spare a moment to my private affairs."
In bidding farewell one night at Birmingham, he exclaimed—" I would remain another evening, but I must attend at my place in Parliament the day after to-morrow."
Some one complimented the great lessee on his assumption of regality in the pageant of the Coronation, saying his imitation of the manner and bearing of George the Fourth was admirable. “Sir,” exclaimed Elliston, with a patronizing air of better knowledge,“ he imitates me.”
When Elliston took the Surrey the last time, a furious play-bill warfare raged between him and his theatre and Mr. Davidge and the Cobourg; in the course of it Mr. Davidge had occasion to send a message to Elliston respecting some private transaction. “I come from Mr. Davidge of the Cobourg theatre,” exclaimed the Mercury Elliston heard him most imperturbably; the words were repeated," Davidge-Cobourg theatreCobourg ;—I don't remember Sir," said the messenger, Davidge here, of the Cobourg close by. “Aye, aye,” replied Robert William, “very likely, it may be all as you say ; I'll take your word, young man; I suppose there is such a theatre as the Cobourg, and such a man as the Davidge, but this is the first time I ever heard the names of either." And striding off, left the astonished message-bearer to recover his amazement as he might. Not knowing the site of Russell-square was nothing to this.
At a homely party of four or five, including Hazlitt, Elliston, the host, and his lady (the only one present), and two literary men, the conversation turned on the relative importance of the sexes in the working of this every-day world. Hazlitt spoke admirably: suddenly the lady burst into tears, and when begged to explain the cause, said, “ It shocked her so much to hear five married men assent to the assertion of the unimportance of woman in the business of life.” When she left the room, Hazlitt was making up his face for a penitential apology to the husband, but Elliston anticipated him, exclaiming, “ My dear, what the deuce was it I said that affected your wife so ?”
Once returning to town, he could not get fresh horses; he called for the landlord, who explained and apologised. Sir," asked the lessee,“ do you know me ?-me Take any man's horses : I am on his Majesty's service." The banter had the effect, horses were procured, and he proceeded.
Elliston fancied that, in the energy of his mind and the rapidity with which he executed his projects, he resembled Buonaparte, though even there he might have deemed himself wronged by the
comparison. When a public writer, in slavish flattery, called him the “ Garrick of his time." “ 'Garrick !" exclaimed Elliston, contemptuously,
“ Garrick couldn't sing."
Until the last year or two of his existence his activity was wonderful : he slept little, and though devoted to the joys of the table, recovered the effects of his irregularities miraculously. If he was carried to bed insensible at four, he would be up and taking his morning ramble at eight.
When Drury was burnt down, and a knot of his brethren had been expressing their grief, he exclaimed, “ After all, it must have come down sooner or later, for I could never act in it with comfort to myself."
Persons wholly unacquainted with Elliston might imagine, from the foregoing “ sayings and doings" of his, that he was an egotistical bore. He was the reverse; his self-appreciation gushed from him unconsciously. It was the most amusing thing in the world to hear him talk of Robert William Elliston, as if the speaker was a thing divisible from the great lessee. The conversation rolled on as though his hypothesis was an acknowledged truth; i. e., that all that pertained to genius and greatness emanated from him.
Diet of certain Actors generally, and during performance.-Kean took beef-tea for breakfast, and preferred a rump-steak to any other dinner. Macready used to eat the lean of mutton-chops only when he acted, and has now adopted almost exclusively vegetable diet. Braham sustains his energies with bottled porter. Mrs. Wood sings upon good draught ditto. Incledon patronized Madeira. Wrench and Harley act through a long night's performance without any refreshment. Oxberry took large quantities of tea. Henderson took gum arabic and sherry. Kean, Emery, and Reeve, cold brandy and water. Lewis would take oysters and mulled wine in the course of his performances; and Gentleman Smith, coffee. All pantomime actors take barley water; some with the addition of rum, others of sherry. Mrs. Jordan dissolved call's foot jelly in warm sherry. The great Miss Catley used to take linseed tea, and Madeira afterwards. G. F. Cooke sometimes took all sorts of liquors; at others, abstained wholly during the evening. John Kemble took opium as a sedative during one part of his career; and many of our heroines have excited their lachrymal propensities by ether. The reader will remember that where a performer acts in play and farce, upwards of six consecutive hours are passed in the theatre, and the absolute necessity of some sustenance to repair the waste occasioned by loud speaking, &c., will be apparent.
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE LATE ISABELLA PRINCESS
In the month of June, of the present year, died in the 94th year
of her age, one of the most extraordinary persons of our time-Princess Isabella Czartoryski. Her life was so closely interwoven with the events which have preceded and followed the dissolution of Poland, and the Czartoryskis having played so prominent a part in the history of their country, that we think a short account of the family, and particularly of the lately deceased princess, and her distinguished son, Prince Adam, so well known in the higher circles of this country, will be acceptable to our readers. But as we have said, the destinies of this illustrious house are so intimately connected with those of their country, that it is impossible to relate the adventures of the family without briefly mentioning the public events.
The family Czartoryski is a junior branch of the Jagellonian dynasty, which sat on the throne of Poland during two centuries, and whose reign is the most glorious era of the Polish annals. Descended from John, Prince of Czartoryski, brother to Jagellon, Grand Duke of Lithuania, who ascended the throne of Poland by his marriage with Queen Hedoige of Anjou, in the year 1382, the Czartoryskis continued, during three centuries, to maintain their high station in the country, although no remarkable events during that period appear to have been immediately linked with their family. However, from the beginning of the 18th century, the Czartoryskis occupy a conspicuous place in the history of Poland, and since that time we see their immense wealth and influence constantly employed in promoting every kind of national improvement.
The lately deceased Princess Isabella was the only daughter of Count Flemming, a Saxon nobleman, naturalised in Poland, and of a Princess Czartoryski. Her father was invested with the high office of the grand treasurer of the crown, and possessed an immense fortune, of which his daughter was the sole heiress. She was born in the year 1741, and married very young, her cousin, Prince Adam Czartoryski, one of the most accomplished noblemen of his time. The circumstances under which she started in life were certainly of the most auspicious character; she was beautiful, young, accomplished, and rich; married to a young nobleman celebrated for his wealth and talents, and belonging to the most influential family in his country. Her first appearance in the world was at the brilliant court of Augustus the Third, King of Poland, and Elector of Saxony, who died in the year 1783. Afterwards, she visited the courts of Versailles, St. James, and almost all in Europe. But although the gayest of the gay, and constantly living in the midst of the greatest dissipation, shenever lost an opportunity of improving her mind by an intercourse with the eminent men who lived at that time in different parts of Europe, and with many of whom she continued a frequent correspondent.
It was about this time that the necessity of a political regeneration began to be strongly felt in Poland. The Czartoryskis became the per
sonification of this idea, and all their efforts were directed to give more stability to the government, by rendering the throne hereditary, and by increasing the royal authority, which, from the repeated encroachments of the nobility, had dwindled into a mere shadow. The intrigues of Russia, which had already begun to entrap Poland into her snares, baffled these salutary intentions, and the first open blow was inflicted upon that unfortunate country by the partition of 1772.
By this iniquitous act, unprecedented in the annals of civilised nations, Poland lost the third part of its dominions. But although many rich and populous provinces were torn from her, the remaining part still formed an extensive country, peopled by about twelve millions of inhabitants. Abandoned by all European powers, who, with the sole exception of the Ottoman Porte, connived by their guilty indifference at the perpetration of that political crime, Poland had no chance of resisting three powerful neighbours, who assailed her in the midst of a long peace. Nothing therefore remained to the patriot but to preserve what was left, and to strengthen it by internal improvements, so as to render it capable of recovering its losses, whenever a favourable opportunity would present itself: many patriots felt this truth; but the most prominent amongst them were, doubtless, Count Andreas Zamayski, Chancellor of Poland, and Prince Adam Czartoryski, General of Podolia, husband to Princess Isabella. The first of them struggled hard to reform the laws of the country, and to improve the condition of the inferior; classes. Death prevented his carrying into effect his intended reforms, but he set a noble example to his countrymen, by emancipating the serfs of his princely domains, equal in extent and population to one of the largest counties in England. Czartoryski's efforts were directed towards the education of the rising generation, and he promoted his patriotic schemes, not only by unceasing personal exertion, but even by a great sacrifice of his own property.
It was under the immediate care and superintendence of Prince Czartoryski, that the celebrated School of Cadets, or college of noble youths, was founded. This establishment united a classical education with a military one; and the pupils were instructed not only in every branch of elegant and useful knowledge, but also in all the accomplishments requisite for a gentleman and a soldier. It produced Kosciusko, Niemcewich, and many other eminent men, who, if they were unable to prevent the fall of their country, surrounded with a halo of glory its closing scenes, and powerfully contributed to sow the seeds of that undying love of their country, which, like the sepulchral lamp in the Roman grave, burns in the heart of every true Pole.
Besides this celebrated institution, over whose minutest details the prince constantly watched with a paternal solicitude, he took a leading part in the general reform of the public education, by the introduction of which the last king of Poland in some degree atoned for the general weakness of his conduct. But Czartoryski's efforts were not confined to the discharge of his public duties; he converted his residence, Pulamy, into a seat of learning, by attracting thither many learned men, not only from Poland, but also from abroad, and by educating there, at his own expense, a great number of young men. He was ably and zealously seconded by his noble partner, who adorned Pulamy with every kind of embellishment, and whose taste and personal attractions
rendered it the abode of arts, refinement, and graces. A great number of young girls, daughters of less fortunate gentlemen, were constantly educated at Pulamy, at her expense, and under her immediate superintendence. They enjoyed not only the advantages of an excellent tuition, but each of them received on her marriage a present of 1000 ducats (5001. English money) from their princely benefactress.
The double advantage of a superior education and of a refined society soon rendered Pulamy so celebrated in all Poland, that many persons of rank and fortune sought, as a particular favour, to place their children in a house which united such advantages. Czartoryski received them with an unbounded hospitality, and his residence was constantly crowded with the high and the low, the rich and the poor; all were received with that true kindness and cordiality which made every visiter happy and satisfied with the reception he met with at the princely mansion. But it was neither ostentation nor love of pleasure which prompted the princely couple to maintain that splendid establishment. A nobler object was the motive of such a magnificence. The great idea of a social regeneration of Poland was the moving principle of all this pomp and grandeur; and soon Pulamy became the focus whence that salutary idea was spreading fast over all Poland. It daily gained ground in public opinion; and its result was the constitution of the 3rd May, 1791, an event of which the Poles are justly proud. But as the English public is generally little acquainted with the history of Poland, we must give our readers some particulars of that memorable transaction.
The public opinion, in respect to a constitutional improvement, had made such progress in Poland, that the Diet which assembled in the year 1787 was deeply impressed with the indispensability of such a measure. However, although the necessity of a reform was generally felt, it was not an easy task to determine the extent of that reform, and to carry it into effect. The legislative body was exclusively composed of privileged orders; and it was necessary to curtail their privileges in order to give rights to the inferior classes, and an extension of power to the royalty. Prince Czartoryski put himself at the head of the reforming party, the leading members of which were mostly educated under his immediate superintendence. He never accepted a seat in the senate, and contented himself with the station of a nuncio, or member of the lower house, that he might be more active in promoting the desired reform. Whilst the prince was engaged in the arduous task of his legislative avocations, the princess was not less active in promoting the same cause through the influence of rank and fashion. Her constant occupation was to counteract in the drawing-rooms, as her husband did in the halls of the Diet, the intrigues of Russian diplomacy, which were directed against the intended reform.
At last, after a session of four years, the patriots saw their efforts crowned by complete success.
The constitution of the 3rd May, 1791, is the most glorious event in the annals of Poland, and perhaps unparalleled in the history of any other country. By this constitution the hitherto elective throne was declared hereditary ; the executive power of the monarch, which, by successive encroachments, had been reduced to a mere shadow, was increased so as to convert the royal authority from a nominal into a real one; and the inferior classes of society, who had no rights at all, were restored to the rights of men, and endowed