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ened his pace.

I replied; you seemed brooding over some sorrowful sub. ject. I thought to divert your attention. Forgive my intrusion, for many, many injuries are fanciful and unworthy the name, compared with that which drags a happy idealist from his ærie in the heavens, down to life's common and desert shore.'

•Say you so, my friend ?' returned Graham, then you will not laugh at an incident in the life of an enthusiast. Come, come,' and he drew my arm within his, and quick

The window of my room at the Albergo, reached to the floor, and overlooked a small garden ; as we entered, I placed the lamps in a distant corner, threw open the curtains and admitted the full light of the moon. • Now, Heaven grant,' said I, as Frank Graham escon. ced himself in a corner of the sofa, and filled his glass from a flask of red wine— Heaven grant that your’s is a tale of love and chivalry, for such a scene ill befits an unromantic legend.'— It is, indeed, a glorious night; but who ever heard, in these days, of a poor Scotch student essaying at tournament or holy war, except in the field of fiction, as here,'—and he lifted Ivanhoe' from the table- yet remember that this lovely orb smiles equally upon the love-vigils of the Highland chief, as upon those of the knights of old, and her beams must seem as roman. tic to you, while I improvise a chapter of my autobio. graphy, as they did to Rebecca the Jewess, daughter of Isaac of York, when the wounded knight related, at the same witching season, his adventures in Palestine.'

II. The vivid impression which our first play' leaves upon the mind might teach us something, if we were introspec. tive moralists, as to that greatly mooted point-the true influence of the drama. Perchance from the deep and splendid visions thus awakened to the fancy, the clear and romantic aspect which humanity thus portrayed assumes, we might discover no questionable affinity between our own unsophisticated natures and the dramatic art, we might appreciate the importance of such an institution as the theatre to civilized man, to the dawning mind, to the human being as such ; we might with perfect consistency, learn to rank the legitimate drama in the poetry of life. But however this may be, there are many incidental experiences where an universal end is pursued. About every general object, personal associations abundantly cling. There is deep truth in the great German writer's remark- every individual spirit wakes in the great stream of multitude.' Lamb's first visit to the theatre was powerfully associated with a plate prefixed to Rowe's Shakspeare. This event with me, is linked with a deeper reminiscence, for it occurred at an age of deeper sus. ceptibility.

“I was educated at the University of St. Andrews, and from a three years' residence there, divided between study, solitary walks along the sea-shore, and attendance upon prudential lectures daily delivered by the maiden aunt with whom I resided, I was, all at once, removed to the metropolis and entered as a law student. At Edinburgh, I boarded with a distant relation who was a great musical amateur. In his house there also resided a very eccentric man, a dramatist by profession. He had an interest in

some score of plays, more or less popular, having either composed or adapted them to the stage. The manager of one of the principal theatres was his intimate friend, and had exerted himself to bring out Mr. Conuington's dramas so successfully, that they were then yielding him a very handsome income. At every meal, dramatic literature was discussed, and the merits of various actors canvassed. Not infrequently my kinsman, who was quite an adept in such matters, gave imitations of the best trage. dians, by way of an evening's pastime. As you may suppose, I soon became much interested in the subject of these conversations. To me a new field of thought was opened. And yet evening after evening, I declined invitations to attend the theatre. This was thought quite sur. prising, particularly as I manifested so much interest in every thing that was going on there, and after a while took no inconsiderable part in the dramatic conversations. The truth was, my imagination was wrought up to the highest pitch. My • first play' assumed an importance in my mind, which it is difficult to describe. I came to regard it as one of the great epochs of existence. ticipated its effects as nervous people sometimes fancy the operation of some powerful nostrum, or as I can imagine Sir Humphrey Davy looked forward to the effect of a new gas.


consequence of this feeling, I made great preparations for the event. I read Shakspeare with greater attention than ever before, informed myself of the history of the drama, read innumerable criticisms, biographies and lectures illustrative of the whole subject, and finally determined to be governed by circumstances as to

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the occasion I should choose to make my debut as a play. goer.

• I entered our little parlor one cold, drizzly evening, five years ago this very night, my head throbbing with six long hours' delving into the mysteries of the law. In no very good humor, I seated myself before the grate to await the dinner hour. I was gazing rather moodily at the fire, when something intercepted its rays; I looked up, Mr. Connington was at my elbow holding a printed bill before me. I could distinguish but one word, “Virginius.' "Mr. Graham,' said my friend, you must go to-night. I will,' said I, and we sat down to dinner.

During the meal I was unusually silent. I was quite oppressed with the thought that I was so near an end so long anticipated. I fancied I had been too precipitate. I felt like one standing at the entrance of a splendid Gothic cathedral; it seemed to me that a single step would bring me into an overpowering scene.

III. • How little, my friend, can a man of acute, lively sensibilities calculate upon the experience that awaits him! A skilful devotee of science can predict, with a good de. gree of certainty, the approach of celestial phenomena, the existence of unseen fountains, and even the direction of the unborn breeze ; but who has the foresight to prophecy the destiny of feeling--to indicate the next new influence which shall arouse it, to trace its untravelled course, or point confidently to its issue? A man conscious of a fathomless tide of feeling within him, who throws himself into a world of moral excitements, knows but this, that he is doomed to feel deeply, variously, often to suffer agony-often to enjoy delight. But the very means he thought would prove most magnetic, may absolutely fail to attract, and some unexpected agency, of which he dreamed not, may approach the unguarded portal of his soul, and take it by surprise. Such was my experience when I trusted myself to dramatic influences. I had thought to be subject to them as a philosopher ; but while seeking this end I was taught most emphatically to realize my own humanity.

• The leading actress on the Edinburgh boards at the period to which I refer, was Helen Trevor. This was not, indeed, the name by which she was known to the public; for being the daughter of a distinguished performer, it was deemed expedient for her to appear under her mother's family name, which was one of the highest in the annals of the British stage. I first saw her in Vira ginia, and never, no, never can I forget that memorable evening. In the first act, when Virginius says to Servia, "Go fetch her to me,' I observed all around me silent and intent from expectation. It was not till the deafening greetings had subsided, that I raised my eyes, and then my cherished ideal of female beauty was realized. The chaste dress of white muslin--the thick dark ringlets about the neck—the simple girdle—the little satin band around the beautiful brow—the quiet, gentle and touching simplicity of the air and accents—all, all are before me. How deeply I sympathised in the indignation of Virginius—how I wept when he recited his daughter's praises ! Unfortunately, the part of Icilius was played by a novice.

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