Abbildungen der Seite

increased applause.

insignificant pieces, the Slave was re-peared in Evadne, and was greeted with vived and re adapted to the stage, and the part of Gambia was entrusted to Mr. Macready. It was well suited to his powers, and so completely did he conceive and embody the character, that it became entirely his own, and, like Kemble in Hamlet, Kean in Richard III., and Mrs. Siddons in Queen Katherine, so Macready in Gambia reigned supreme.

On Charles Kemble's benefit he appeared as Glenalvon to Young's Old Norval, Kemble's Norval, and Mrs. Siddons's Lady Randolph; this being Mrs. Siddons's last impersonation, it was the only time Macready had the honour of acting with her.

Soon after this Sheridan Knowles produced his celebrated tragedy of "Virginius," and the character was entrusted to Macready. The success of both actor and play were immense; and it has ever since been universally admitted that Macready only can fully delineate the pride, sorrow, and passion of Virginia's noble father. During the run of this

To be in anything unequalled is an indication of genius that with culture and application might extend its dominion, so thought the rising tragedian, and when the managers, pleased with his splendid triumph, cast him as Othello to Young's Iago, he drew such a vivid and powerful picture of Shak-piece, Covent Garden was nightly crowded spere's jealous Moor, that he shook the to the ceiling, and Drury-lane so deposition of the inimitable trio, and, with serted, that Kean was obliged to bring Kean, Kemble, and Young, stood an out an extravaganza, in which he was adequal competitor for fame. vertised to dance, sing, and harlequinade, in order to entice a full house to his benefit.

He followed this success with Iago to Young's Othello, Beverley in the Curfew, and Pescura in the Apostate, in quick succession. Jealousies which had been gathering for some time began now to display their venom, and the career of Macready was checked for a short time. One of those disgraceful acts, which in theatrical history have too often clouded the reputation of great men was committed, and Mr. Macready was shelved, that is, paid to do nothing, lest his nightly applause should injure the fame of the Covent Garden favourites, Kemble and Young. It is a poor spirit that fears to compete with its equal.

Mr. Macready, who had hitherto been generally seen in minor parts, now determined to attempt the high Shaksperian walk, and he appeared for his benefit in Macbeth; and on the departure of Edmund Kean for America, in 1820, he was bold enough to impersonate Richard III. This had long been considered Kean's unapproachable study; and although Macready gave to it many beauties, and a fine intellectual reading, yet it still remains Edmund Kean's own unequalled. After running through the line of Shaksperian heroes, Macready took a trip to America, and his fame having travelled before him, his reception was brilliant. On his return, he made a tour through the provinces, and in 1832 appeared as Iago to Kean's Othello, at Drury-lane. This was the only time these great rivals ever performed together, and strangely enough the very piece compelled them to be rivals still.

In 1835, he joined the Drury-lane company under Bunn's management; and, after enduring a series of insults from Mr. Bunn, he at length took the law in his own hand, and thrashed the insolent manager. For this Lynch justice he had to pay £150; but on his next appearance in Ion, at Covent Garden, the public, with tremendous applause, testified their approval of his conduct.

This ruinous system had long been very common, and there is great reason to believe that the present dramatic depression is attributable to its influence. To the lasting degradation of the managers thus guilty, it is recorded that real talent has frequently been either completely smothered, or allowed only a partial display, in order that certain dominant stars might shine without fear of being eclipsed by greater luminaries. Mrs. Siddons was thus ill used, by one who perhaps atoned for his fault by the benefits he afterwards conferred, but it was a great wrong, and might have cost our country the example of that noble


The Covent Garden jealousy having partially subsided, Macready again ap

In October, 1836, Mr. Macready became manager of Covent Garden, and at once made one of the grandest attempts for the restoration of the national drama upon record. The saloons were cleared from the vicious hordes which had so long infested them; a company embracing the chief talent of the time, viz., Vandenhoff, Phelps, Elton, Anderson, Warde, Mrs. Warner, Mrs. Nisbett, and Miss Faucit, were engaged; and the pencil of the famous Stanfield, R.A., employed upon the scenery. With this powerful support the Lady of Lyons was produced, and followed by Macbeth, Hamlet, Coriolanus, Richelieu, Werner, Tell, and other grand pieces. For two seasons the drama thus flourished, when the sudden retirement of Macready from management again threw a cloud over its history. This effort of the tragedian was not allowed to pass without a public mark of approbation, and a banquet was given to him at Freemasons' Hall, the Duke of Sussex presiding.

For a short time Macready appeared only at the Haymarket, but soon determined upon trying another dramatic revival. Drury Lane was engaged. The house was in a dilapidated state, and a considerable sum had to be laid out to fit it for the reception of the public. The company, pieces, and style of management were nearly the same as the Covent Garden campaign. Clara Novello, Phil-sided in the Regent's Park, but has lately lips, and Braham, were attached to the purchased an estate at Sherbourn, in staff, and the mask of Comus produced Dorsetshire, where he intends to close with great splendour. his days with his wife and family in social enjoyment.

Macready now determined to retire from public life, and his farewell performances were announced, but iliness prevented his concluding them until 1850, when in November he commenced, at the Haymarket, his final delineations, which, it is expected, will conclude in February of the present year.

Mr. Macready has for many years re

At length, in 1843, in consequence, we believe, of the rent of the theatre being exorbitantly raised, Mr. Macready resigned his office; and, with one or two trifling exceptions, Drury Lane remained valueless property until taken by Mr. Anderson in 1849.

For his unparalleled services in dramatic reform, the Duke of Cambridge, as chairman of a large meeting held at Almack's, presented Macready with a valuable piece of plate, representing the restoration of Shakspere and the stage.

The ex-manager of Drury Lane now crossed the Atlantic for the second time, and, after gathering fresh laurels from the western world, visited Paris, where he was received as a second Roscius.

He reappeared a short time in London, at the Princess's, and in 1849 took another trip to show brother Jonathan his stage studies; but, in consequence of a foolish jealousy on the part of the friends of Mr. Forrest, a riot ensued, in which lives were lost, much to the disgrace of an American mob, and especially Mr. Forrest's choleric patrons. Mr. Macready, having issued a public address, judiciously withdrew, and on his arrival home, was received on the Haymarket stage with torrents of applause which are beyond description.

The managerial efforts of Macready will ever stand forth as the brightest portions of his career; and he who expended £20,000 to elevate our people by an acquaintance with the beautiful and sublime, and boldly braved the calumny of the press, and the opposition of the profligate, by scouting from the temples of our national poet ignorance and abo-appointed by the Society to wait upon mination, will rank not only as a nob.e Mr. Macready, who was also attached to actor, but as a philanthropist of no com- the company, to solicit him to take the mon order. part. They were introduced into his

A few days ago we were told an anecdote of this great tragedian, which, never having appeared in print before, we give to the reader. The Philanthropic Society, in the days of Charles Kemble, took Covent Garden theatre for one night, to have a benefit, and agreed to pay £250 for the house and company. Hamlet was the piece chosen for representation, with Kemble as the Prince of Denmark: the day drew near, when the sudden death of John Philip Kemble rendered it impossible for his brother Charles to appear. In this dilemma, a deputation of gentlemen was

library, where he sat in his dressing-beautiful, that he is quite unable to repregown reading the Times, and taking no sent entirely vicious characters. Iago, notice of the strangers present. in his hands, reveals sparks of goodness The spokesman explained the object smouldering beneath his foulest deeds; of their visit. Macready, looking at them and even the consummate demon, Rifor a moment, exclaimed, "Gentlemen, chard the Third, displays points redeemyou first apply to the Colonel, and then able. come to the General. No, Sir, I shall have nothing to do with it." Annoyed at this proud reply, the deputation reminded Mr. Macready that "as they had purchased the company for the night, they could, if they pleased, command his services, but did not wish to act so uncourteously." The tragedian, now seeing the position of affairs, replied, "Ah! al! I see you can; so, if you will allow me to choose my own piece, I will perform." This was of course done, and the Society had a rich benefit, to which Macready added a handsome subscription, which he has since continued annually.

There are many anecdotes recorded of this great actor, but their truth is so doubtful, that we prefer omitting them. One, in which he is said to have rescued a child from the flames in Birmingham, we have excellent authority for stating to be quite a romance.

The genius of Macready is peculiarly intellectual and refined; indeed, so closely is his mind associated with the good and

This we consider a true reading of human character; for man, while he can "ever be supremely good, can never become instinctively bad; the soul, God has breathed into us, can never lose its divine intensity.

Macready is not an actor only, but also a scholar and a man of letters. He has lately edited an edition of Pope's poems for the use of schools, and by its extensive sale we anticipate it will become a standard school-book.

In these days of dramatic decline, when the opera, ballet, and farce, threaten to drive the legitimate drama entirely from the stage, when Drury is falling into ruins, and the monuments of Garrick and Kean, which guard the lofty portals, seem spectres of days gone by, we look upon Macready's retirement with melancholy forebodings, and close this tribute to his memory in the earnest hope that his mantle will descend, not upon one, but upon the whole army of Thespian heroes.

ONE OF THE WORLD'S "AND what is that?" we think we hear our readers say. Well, without any circumlocution, we at once reply" a universal language," and we confidently anticipate a universal assent to our designation of the desideratum. Before entering upon this interesting question we are desirous of avowing our belief in the Mosaic account of the confusion of tongues, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures; while, at the same time, we confess we see nothing inconsistent with this belief, in expecting there will be a period in the future history of our race, when the whole world shall again be of one language and of one speech," there being no warranty in the pages of inspiration which, we consider, can fairly be construed to indicate that the curse of a diversity of tongues was to be perpetual.

When the impediment which the manifold difference of language has proved, and still proves to the free inter


course of mankind, and consequently to the amelioration of the condition of the human family, is duly considered in all its various bearings, and the numerous and vast advantages which would result from a uniformity of speech, it cannot fail to be a matter of surprise and regret that an adequate effort has not long since been made to realize among civilized nations a consummation so devoutly to be wished. That such an effort has not been made must, we apprehend, be set down in a great measure to the account of the insane international antipathies, and international wars, and warlike preparations upon which professedly civilized nations have hitherto so wantonly lavished their best energies. When nations wake up to the obvious common-sense fact that their interests are identical with peace and amity-and thank God there is a gleam of hope that the process of this awakening is row going on-then ther

will be some chance of concerted action for promoting mutual international advantages, and among others this of a universal language, when many shall run to and fro without let or hindrance, and when knowledge shall be universally increased.

more and more felt, from the increased
intercourse of nations.
The coming
Great Industrial International Exhibi-
tion, which must be ranked among the
wonders of the world, and as one of the
blessed fruits of international peace, will
prove an occasion when the want of a
common language will be more intensely
felt than it ever has been since the
time of the abortive attempt to build
Babel; and it occurs to us that this
golden opportunity ought by no means
to be allowed to slip without making an
energetic effort to give a world-wide cur-
rency to the project, as might then be
done-setting forth its practicability, the
vast attendant moral and social advan-
tages, and soliciting the co-operation of
the many individuals who will then be
assembled in London, and who will be so
well qualified by their position in society,
mental grasp, and literary and scientific
attainments to give it effect. With this
view we conceive that a concise but com-
prehensive paper should be published in
different languages-say three, English.
French, and German, and distributed in
properly selected circles of those who
may visit the metropolis at the approach-
ing event; such paper bearing the names
and addresses of reputable parties.

Look, now, only at the civilized portion of the human race, in what an abnormal, unnatural position they stand in with regard to each other; all springing from the same origin and inheriting a common nature, possessing the same affections, aspirations and wants, physical and spiritual-fellow-travellers on the same mysterious journey, and all alike bound to an interminable hereafter, and each needing the friendship and cooperation of others. Notwithstanding this identity of nature and interests, yet are they divided into innumerable sections, separated from each other by difference of language, as it were by immense walls-Chinese fashion-which not more than one here and there can scale, and then only after having consumed no small portion of the best of his life in perplexing his mind, and risking the damaging of his health by poring over the declensions of nouns; conjugations of verbs; ascertaining whether the names of things are male or female, and which things have really no gender at all; variations of adjectives; idiomatic peculiarities, &c., &c., and when all this is done, which, by-the-by, is comparatively but rarely done perfectly, he then manages to stammer out, probably in a crippled manner, and through much ridiculous blundering, one of the scores of foreign languages, and to read its literature. Looking at this great question in all its aspects the incalculable advantages which would result to the civilized world, and then to the whole world, from" Pasilogia,"* an able essay, in which an openness of speech, and among other he has, in our opinion, successfully combenefits the large amount of additional bated every opponent, and brought the time which studious men could then give scheme, both for a vocal and written to the advancement of physical and language near, if not quite, to working moral science, upon which human pro- order. We cordially recommend this gress and happiness so intimately depend work to our readers. Our hope and -we say, when all these things are duly desire is, that this great project, perhaps considered, we cannot bring ourselves to the greatest yet propounded, may find a believe that this world of ours will always place in the goodly list of reforms so ably be the Babel it is at present. If we can advocated in the "PUBLIC GOOD." but continue to ward off the voluntary H. M. curse of international war, the inconvenience of the confusion of tongues will be

We are happy to know that this project, the thoughts of which has warmed us many a time since it first presented itself to our mind, is by no means new, it having engaged the serious attention of persons eminent for learning and science at various intervals, and in different countries since the year 1653, among whom may be mentioned Wilkins, bishop__of Chester; Leibnitz and Descartes. The latest author on the subject we are aware of is the Rev. Edward Groves, whose treatise appeared in 1846, entitled

* Orr and Co., Paternoster-row.

[blocks in formation]

PAUL VAUBAN was born in the Rue des "And where was he born?" GrandBornes, Faubourg St. Martin. It is mere Vauban would exclaim, pointing to truly a miserable enough Rue, and Fau- the little stucco image of Napoleon on bourg, too, to be born in, or brought up the chimney-piece; "was it not a barn either; and the fate of Paul seemed as more coldly furnished than even this miserable as that of any of his compeers; chamber is? and where did he sit before yet he, and his mother and grandmother his sun went down? was it not on the had for many years looked at the future proudest throne in the world? He is a through the medium of a prediction, and man and a Frenchman," the old dame sunbeams and gladness glorified the horo- would add with pride, as she patted the scope of the poor blouse-clad youth. curly-haired boy on the head, and smoothed back his locks from his brow, "and nothing is impossible for him and fortune"

Philosophers smile at the credulity of ignorance, and deplore the illusions of superstition; but if philosophers generally were condemned to live in Faubourg St. Martin, and to eat brown bread and melon broth from day to day, even they might be fain to exchange their wisdom for superstitions, and might rejoice in the possession of dreams that could sometimes dispel the too real coldness and darkness of poverty's estate. Whether it was to his advantage or not, Paul and his grandmother lived and breathed in a world of dramatic illusions.

Paul Vauban, albeit he was born and reared in one of the darkest purlieus of Paris, was, in truth, as sunny-faced a gamin as ever pushed his feet into wooden shoes, reckoned a long blue blouse as the whole stock of his wardrobe, or sailed corks in the Canal St. Martin. His slight handsome form would not have disgraced a royal robe; his fair curling locks would not have dishonoured a velvet cap and plume; and more stupid boys than he have sat upon

fate never seemed to have chosen a more unlikely subject to make a king of than poor Paul Vauban.

When Paul Vauban was born, the most approved sibyls of St. Maur sur-thrones before this time: nevertheless, rounded his couch; and Madame Rouette, the wisest of them, declared that he would be a lucky boy. He was not born with a golden spoon in his mouth, like some favoured infants, it is true; neither did silver form any of the paraphernalia of his nursing service; but he was born under a lucky star, nevertheless, Madame Rouette said, and was destined yet to sit upon a throne. He was born on the day, and at the hour that Napoleon was born, and was not that a sign of something?

If Paul Vauban's father had not died when Paul was a little child, he might have been an honest and skilful workman as his father had been, and then there would have been no romance in his life; but his mother being constrained to fill his father's place as provider for the family, he was transferred to the care of his grandmother, to be tended according to the most approved modes known to

In nations where events are subject to that most excellent woman, and to be the restrictions of prescription, this pro-taught the antiquated notions of the phecy would have been smiled at as soon same.

as expressed, and when it would have Grandmere Vauban had two great been forgotten; but in France, where ideas filling her mind, and they seemed to events occur as if in mockery of all sys- exclude all other ideas; one had refertem, the prophecy was remembered and ence to the capacity of Paul, the other to believed, and its fulfilment ardently her own ability. With that confiding hoped for. spirit so common to woman, she be

« ZurückWeiter »