Изображения страниц

child in his arms was a girl of about twelve years of


with delicate features, a pleasing expression, and bright black eyes. He moreover discovered that these eyes were regarding him curiousiy all the while ; but when observed, his fair burden immediately struggled to free herself; which he suffered her to do, when she proceeded to her mother's side, and clung to her garments with an appearance of alarm, whether real or affected, Selborne could not determine. This face, which some people would not have called pretty, and which Selborne had seen but imperfectly and for a very short while, haunted him for some time afterwards ; and as she was borne away by the solicitude of a crowd of matrons, he felt that all interest in this scene for him had departed, and left the place; but shortly after was detained by a catastrophe which unhinged his nerves rather more than the preceding one, aud which by no means could be said to terminate so happily.

He had gained the edge of the crowd, and was proceeding in the direction of the hotel, as indicated by the still bright flames of the fire, when a person walked hurriedly past him with a swaggering gait, and fell down at a short distance across his path. Taking him for some midnight reveller, he would have passed on; but observing that the man lay like a log where he had fallen, without stirring, Selborne went to the spot, and, partially raising him, tried to set him on his feet-an effort which this person appeared to decline, by shaking his head, placing at the same time his hand upon his side. Selborne hastily opened his clothes, and found a wide cut, from which blood was flowing freely. He bound it up with a bandkerchief, and then, looking round for some neighbouring house where he might place the wounded man, perceived a one-storied cottage with the door partially open, and a light burning inside.

Thinking at a venture that this would be a good place for bestowing his charge, he raised him, and with some difficulty placed him on the step of the door, while he entered at once to announce his errand. Much to his surprise, there was no one within. A table, some chairs, two camp bedsteads, and a smouldering fire on the hearth, were all the room appeared to contain. Without hesitation, therefore, he brought in the wounded man, and guided him to one of the bedsteads, whereon he placed him as gently as he possibly could. Notwithstanding he did so with the tenderness of a nurse, the motion extracted one or two groans from the sufferer.

Selborne was glad to hear any sounds which indicated his companion to possess any vitality, and questioned him as to the cause of his wound. The sufferer replied at intervals, and as if the labour of speaking gave him pain, to the effect that he had been stabbed while passing the crowd at the fire; and having given this information, whether from exhaustion or indisposition to be communicative, he closed his eyes, and received all Godfrey's questions in resolute silence.

“ What is to be done now ?" said Godfrey to himself ; “it is absurd to suppose I am going to remain here all night, although it would not be right to leave this man here in his present state. Stay,” said he, half aloud, “I will

go to the nearest house and inform the people, and perhaps may be able to procure help."

“Don't leave me," said the sick man, who would appear to have overheard his soliloquy; “ I shall be well soon, I shall then


with down again, sir, pray.

Godfrey was not a person to resist an appeal of this kind, and he seated himself again, saying at the same time,—" If my remaining here could

you ;-sit

and was soon,

be of service to you, I would stay with pleasure ; but I expect to find
some conveyance to remove you to a more comfortable place.
“Yes, sir ; very true, sir. I will


you presently,” returned the other, grasping Godfrey's arm. He then closed his

eyes, to all appearance, fast asleep.

Godfrey disengaged himself from his grasp, and, after stirring the fire into a blaze, reseated himself with some impatience.

The flame burnt itself out, and his companion still slept. The shadows of the room again resolved themselves into an impenetrable darkness, and no sound but the crackling of the charred embers on the hearth broke the silence of the night. All sounds outside were hushed. There was not even a hum, as if the distant city were subsiding into repose. The silence to Godfrey was insupportable. It was intense, and, like the Egyptian darkness, might be felt. He grew uncomfortable ; and, his fancy being excited, listened so carefully, that his ears rang with disagreeable and painful sounds, and more than once he felt almost assured that the room contained others than themselves.

His nervous system strung to a high and painful pitch, he was unable to bear the suspense longer, and, shaking his companion, said testilyCome, sir, if you do not wake up soon I shall be obliged to leave

you." The person so addressed started up into a sitting posture, and, evidently in alarm, shouted out

“Who are you?-Keep off-mind !--Oh! excuse me, sir," said he, perceiving his error, “ I was only half awake.”

Godfrey repeated his remark.
“ Oh yes,” replied the stranger;


well now, I reckon. Those cursed fellows have left a little more life than they thought to. I shall do very

well, sir.” “Should you know them again ?" inquired Godfrey. “In a thousand, by GM," said his


But why do you ask ?” “I thought we might possibly get them arrested in the morning," said Godfrey ; " that is, if they are not off by this time.”

“ Off?” exclaimed the stranger. “They won't think of making off.” (* No ?” said Godfrey.

“ Not they. I'll swear they think they have killed me ; and yet any one may find them at their usual place to-morrow morning, and no one dare arrest them.”

“ Bless me!” said Godfrey ; “ this is curious law.” 66 Law, sir? it ain't law, it's liberty.”

Liberty and law can flourish together in some countries,” said Godfrey, drily.

“Well,” said the stranger, rather sullenly, “ the law 'll do, any how. I reckon I shall be even with those fellows before

very long." " Then you know who they were?" said Godfrey. “ Perfectly," replied he ; « they were--"

“ Yes, who were they ?” said Godfrey, impatiently, seeing the other paused here.

They were three--" At this moment there was noise of footsteps outside; the door creaked, and some persons entered. The sick man glanced toward them for a moment, then jumped up with a cry of horror.

Selborne turned quickly round, and recognised the three men whom he had seen on the levee.


ALTHOUGH the period that lapses between the shutting of the great Lumleian establishment and the general opening of the theatres is somewhat of the dullest, there are nevertheless two or three points which now present themselves to those who watch the progress of the drama in our metropolis

. The age of the larger houses” is, we believe, past, and to make observations on the real state of theatricals we must direct our glances to nooks and corners at which we should never have dreamed of looking ten years ago. The Haymarket and the Lyceum, which may be called the principal English theatres at the present day, are not yet open; and the Adelphi, which is the most prosperous theatre of any day, has not yet put forth its novelties; but we have the New Strand Theatre, which has kept open during the whole of the summer, Marylebone, and Sadler's Wells. These three establishments seem destined to play an important part in modern dramatic history. The company

at the New Strand Theatre is formed of the principals of the old Olympic, which was burned down at the beginning of the present year, with the important addition of Mr. William Farren, who is not only the chief actor, but the lessee of the house. A more compact company for the performance of domestic drama and light farce can hardly be conceived. Mrs. Stirling is one of the most versatile and accomplished actresses of her time. She has worked her


through a long discipline of inferior characters, and, within the last few years, has come forward as an admirable representative of comic vivacity, or of the agonies of domestic drama. She has also the advantage of being a perfectly “safe" artiste. She is thoroughly devoted to her profession, and you never find her tripping or hobbling with her words; but she takes up every part calmly and collectedly; and she has mirth and grief, to be employed whenever they are required. Mr. Leigh Murray originally came before the London public as an actor of "juvenile tragedy.” He is always careful and studious, and is blessed with a remarkably handsome person and a most gentlemanlike deportment. As a hero of domestic drama, and also as an actor in farce, where good looks are required, and something of earnestness is mingled with the pleasantry, he is probably not to be rivalled by any young performer in London. Mr. Compton is now one of the first low comedians of his time, and though he is somewhat of a dry humourist, he is beginning to infuse more and more unction into his dryness. As for Mr. Farren himself, years of displayed talent testify to his worth ; and he is still unapproachable in his line. Such a set of artistes working well together (as they do) can hardly fail to form the nucleus of a permanent company, when a gentleman of solidity like Mr. Farren's places himself at the head of their undertaking.

At Marylebone Theatre there is a certain spirit of elegance which distinguishes it from all theatres, except the Lyceum. The manager, Mr. Watts, is a gentleman of the most princely liberality, and, whether his audiences be numerous or scanty, they always find the dramas dressed and painted to perfection. The "star" of this establishment is Mrs Mowatt, the American actress-one of the most beautiful women ever seen on

any stage. It is even a fashion to go and “look at her;" and the bouquets which are flung at her on the occasion of benefits and first appearances evince a remarkable devotion on the part of her admirers. When first she came out at the Princess's, there was about her much of the embarrassment of an amateur, and a sort of sing-song in her delivery had monotonous, though not an unpleasing effect. The manner in which she has conquered these early deficiencies-and, be it remembered, she was not trained for the stage—is a great proof of her intelligence. Her vivacity is free and spontaneous—her reading is always well considered ; and though we do not willingly see her delicate nature torn by the more violent tragic emotions, there is none we would rather behold in graceful comedy, and the more tender exhibitions of grief. Her appearance is at once a fascination-a certain indefinable charm of manner giving new lustre to the beauty of the countenance. In private circles, comprising many names illustrious in literature and art, Mrs. Mowatt is a well-known luminary, distinguished by her proficiency in some two or three foreign languages, and the sprightliness and spirit of her conversation. Mr. Davenport, an American actor, who performs with her, is excellent in juvenile tragedy, high comedy, and melodrama. When he has completely subdued his Transatlantic accent, he may, if he likes, take a first-rate position in what may be called the “ Wallack” line of business. His personal appearance is excellent; he is a thorough gentleman in manner, and his acting always displays spirit, intelligence, careful study, and a thorough knowledge of his profession. Miss Fanny Vining, the third star of the company, is a well-trained actress, with all the business qualities of the Vinings, and a certain innate amiability and graceful pensiveness which are her own. She also is a beauty, but of the dark order, and therefore an agreeable contrast to the lily-fairness of Mrs. Mowatt. After Christmas this company, with Mr. Watts at their head, will appear at the Olympic, which will then have been rebuilt, with an entrance in Newcastle Street. Those who recollect the wretched Wych Street entrance will perfectly appreciate the value of this addition.

Sadler's Wells is so completely established, that it needs less remark than the other two new theatrical foci. We would only notice the appearance of a Miss Fitzpatrick, a charming, vivacious girl, who has made her début this season as an actress of dashing comedy, and enters the arena without a particle of fear, and with an ample stock of fire and spirit.

Gentle reader, if your time is not too much occupied, just pay a visit to the three theatres we have named, and test our remarks with your own eyes and ears.



MATERNAL LOVE.* ALTHOUGH little removed from that mediocrity which is seldom deterred from attempting to rival excellence, this second attempt of Mrs. Loudon's in the most popular and profitable field of literary exertion is far from discreditable. Her sketches of society are evidently pictured from life; take the following portraiture of a maiden aunt as example :

“ Do you choose luncheon ?" said Mrs. Sarah Moreland to her niece, in a gruff tone, a few moments after her arrival at Moreland Lodge.

“No, thank you,” replied Louisa, in the sweetest of accents.

Mrs. Moreland put her hands to her ears, declaring that her niece's voice had gone through her head, adding,

“Speaking distinctly is what is necessary, not speaking loud. I am not deaf."

Now the good lady was very deaf ; and as she thought fit to resent it thus, whenever people spoke loud enough to make her hear; conversation with her was impossible. It was altogether no very cheering prospect for Louisa ; for Mrs. Sarah Moreland, though a well-meaning, upright, alms-giving woman, had a harsh temper and forbidding manners. She had been brought up with the greatest strictness; would not have shrunk from martyrdom in support of her principles; was honest in her money dealings, spoke the truth, gave alms to the poor, had good intentions in the main towards her friends—and kept her own and the house-linen in good repair.

She was also capable, on great occasions, of noble sacrifices, to render an essential service to a friend; but she had no notion that it was unjust, and therefore dishonest, to rob people daily by ungracious manners of small portions of their innocent enjoyment-their cheerfulness-in short, of the sunshine of their existence!

There are, in the present novel, two young and pretty orphan heiresses to be disposed of at the onset-Mary Cavendish, who is placed under the guardianship of Lord Wolderland, whose son, Adolphus, is there quite à propos, and Louisa Moreland, who is consigned to the tender solicitude of the deaf and grumbling aunt, and is romantically saved by a lover from a precipitate fall down the far-off rocks of Arran. Bright are those early days when bride and bridegroom sit side by side, all around tinged with the colour of love, all before them lighted up in the same halo! Yet how transient that brightness! How soon do little clouds appear in the horizon, first indications that a diminution of perpetual sunshine is possible! In Louisa's case, a husband's childish dread of being ruled by his wife caused the first clouds to gather, the first tears to be shed. With Mary Cavendish, the arrival of a first-born only sealed the unbroken affections of her husband, Adolphus; with Louisa Wentworth a first child was a real consolation, and the calling forth of maternal love was a spring in the desert, a well of life in the wilderness of her blighted existence. The history of these two first-born, and afterwards united in love, forms the great feature of the work. The old Lord Wentworth’s irascible and violent temper, and his extreme dissatisfaction that a granddaughter had taken the place which should have been occupied by a grandson, and Mr. Wentworth’s gambling and other bad propensities, throwing his son, Adrian, early into a life of self-reliance and dependence, contrast well with the future

prime minister's” (novelists never know where to stop when once on the ascent of the ladder of preferment with their

* Maternal Love. A Novel. By Margratia Loudon, Author of " First Love," “ The Light of Mental Science,” &c. 3 vols. T. C. Newby.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »