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Tilden left a fortune with which a library was to be bought, confiding to his trustees full discretion as to the manner in which the money was to be employed. When so large a sum is at stake it is natural that legal difficulties should arise. As the result of a lawsuit, accordingly, it has been decided, as I learn from the Honourable John Bigelow, one of the trustees, writing in Scribner's Magazine, that the discretion was too general and that the will is void. Fortunately for New York, however, something in the nature of a compromise has been made with one of the successful heirs, and a sum of money, still considerable, though much less than was anticipated, is left with which the trustees will carry out a portion of the design. The decision of the court has created much dissatisfaction. It will, under existing conditions, be necessary for the Mayor and Corporation of New York to supply a building capable of containing it. Such a condition, if past experience may be trusted, would not easily be fulfilled in this country. I shall watch with some interest to see whether our Transatlantic kinsmen are more public-spirited than ourselves.
TENNYSON'S LATEST VERSES. LOLLOWING closely upon the death of the late Laureate comes
T the appearance of his latest, it may be even his last, volume of poems. With the solitary exception of “Riflemen, Form,” republished by request from the Times of May 9, 1859–“before the Volunteer movement began,” as it is claimed in a note-the whole of the poems are those of latest life. That no falling off in executory power is visible will scarcely be maintained by the most enthusiastic admirer. The lyric experiments, in particular, are not always successful. What a mass of genuine poetry is none the less given, and what a marvellous product of an octogenarian source the whole constitutes ! Here are experiments in all the well-known directions: a new “Northern Farmer" in the shape of “The Churchwarden and the Curate;" a new "Passing of Arthur” in the “ Death of none;" a new introduction to Maud in “The Dawn.” Altogether marvellous are some of the lines :
Anon from out the long ravine below
When driven to Hades.
But when the white fog vanish'd like a ghost
Before the day. 'The Death of Enone, Akbar's Dream, and other Poems. By Alfred Lord Tennyson. Macmillan & Co.
The whole of the poem, “The Death of CEnone,” from which these extracts are taken, seems equal to anything that Tennyson has done. “St. Telemachus" is full of spirit and fire. More than one of the poems, moreover, has tenderness that enforces a homage of tears. “The Death of OEnone" is dedicated to the Master of Balliol. The entire volume is inscribed, in verses that confer immortality, to an elderly and anonymous friend, in whom it is permissible to recognise the poet's close companion and friend, Lady Tennyson.
Country THEATRES AND CIRCUITs.
F the country theatres or circuits that acted as training schools for London, Bath was the most convenient and the most celebrated. During a short period, under the management of Roger Kemble and his wife, whose maiden name was Ward, and from whom the family appears to have inherited its genius, the Western circuit, comprising Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, &c., blazed up into a species of glory, every part in successive performances being taken by a Kemble or a Siddons. The Norwich circuit sent many a good actor to London, including all the Fishers. Tate Wilkinson's management of the York circuit is historic ; and Birmingham, associated as it is with Macready, Manchester, and Liverpool put in claims for consideration. Higher, perhaps, than any of these was the stage of Edinburgh, which reached its apogee under the management of Mr. W. H. Murray in the first half of the present century, and that of Dublin, which stood high in public esteem through successive managements of Elrington, Sheridan, Woodward, and others. Edinburgh and Dublin are, however, capital cities, their theatres are, in a measure, independent, and histories of both, if neither so ample nor so trustworthy as is to be desired, are accessible. Other stages have attained a certain amount of eminence; abundance of anecdotes, many of them likely to be lost, cling to the theatre at Portsmouth. At one or two seaports in England and Scotland stock companies of a sort still linger; and a history of the Dundee Theatre has been written.
THE BATH STAGE.
N England, however, the supremacy of the Bath Stage among country stages will not be disputed. Bath is, in a sense, a circuit, if we can fancy a circuit of two, Bristol having during very many years been under the same management. Alone among
country houses it established a species of contest with London, and there has been more than one epoch when the Bath Theatre could challenge comparison with either Covent Garden or Drury Lane. These were of course the periods when Bath itself was the home of Fashion, and when its season was only less celebrated than that of London. One element of weakness there always was. So soon as a Bath actor attained a certain amount of reputation, he was subject to temptation from London. London has always been the goal of an actor's ambition, and the dream of a success at Drury Lane or Covent Garden buoyed up a Kean and a Kemble, to mention only the highest, through difficulty and all but despair. When a London manager set his eye upon an actor, the Bath management was powerless to retain him. Palmer, or Dimond and Keasebury, could afford no such salaries as the London manager could offer, and it was rarely indeed that an actor of high powers remained in Bath more than a few years. The only man of note who did this, Charles Murray, the father of the famous manager of the Edinburgh Theatre, stayed too long and fronted the risks of a London season at“ too late a week."
A History Of The Bath Stage. THE history of the Bath stage has long been in a sense accessible.
1 Genest, whose “Account of the English Stage” is a work of unparalleled labour and of most creditable accuracy, supplies a record of the performances in Bath during the period of its highest interest. A memoir of the Bristol stage was begun so long ago as 1826, though no great progress was made with it. Now, however, Mr. Penley supplies what is practically the best record of the performances in Bath that we possess.' It is indexless—which I am disposed to regard less as a misfortune than as a literary crime-but supplies a vivacious and fairly ample chronicle of the doings in Bath. At three or four epochs Bath is seen at its best. The first is the period of Henderson, long known as the Bath Roscius. After Garrick had been dubbed Roscius his rivals became the “Insan: Roscius,” the “ Bath Roscius,” the “ York Roscius," and so forth.
Henderson, an actor of highest rank, was recommended by Garrick, who did not at first, and would not in the end, believe in him, to the Bath management. At the time when he was playing to delighted audiences Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Romeo, Lear, Archer, Bobadil, and Sir John Brute, Edwin, a comedian of high genius, was playing Grave
" The Bath Stage : A History of Dramalic Representations in Bath. By Belville S. Penley. Bath Herald Office.
digger and other low comedy parts. These actors were backed up by a good company, and the Bath Theatre had scarcely a superior. A similar state of affairs was reached when, a couple of years or so later, Mrs. Siddons, in 1778, after her unsuccessful experiment in London, came to Bath and played during four seasons over seventy characters, from Lady Macbeth, Hamlet ! Imogen, to Lady Townly and Mrs. Candour: establishing thus a reputation not thenceforth to be disputed. Ten years later Elliston made in Bath his début on the stage, playing during three or four years a great diversity of characters. In recent years stock companies in country theatres have ceased to be, and the stage glories of Bath are over. The very portraits Mr. Penley selects to adorn his volume are in most cases those of artists who have been in Bath, but whom Bath has no right to number among her offspring.
A Nov EL witH A PURPOSE.
HE worst novels, in spite of those who argue in favour of “art for art's sake,” are not those with a purpose. In blending together satire of existing institutions, fierce condemnation of the manner in which companies are promoted, and an interesting and significant story, Mr. Wicks, in “The Veiled Hand,” goes nearer to Dickens than any avowed imitator of that powerful writer. Resemblance does not stop here. Like the early works of Dickens, “The Veiled Hand” is a microcosm embodying representatives of many of the characters that make up the macrocosm. Here are characters good, bad, earnest, shifty, wise, foolish, amusing to the moralist, or depressing—all involved in one great undertaking, which is to bring fortune and happiness to some, ruin and death to others. What, however, is most striking is the relentless light poured upon City speculations, men of highest position and responsibility being shown as involved in one huge fraud, the full extent of which is not easily estimated. The tortuous and underground manner in which this is wrought is shown with remarkable skill and knowledge of the world, and a perusal of Mr. Wicks' work would, were human folly less deep-rooted, do something to stop the evils decried.
\, SYLVANUS URBAN.
| Eden, Remington, & Co.