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Brandon in 1545. Not much is known about those persons, but around their shadowy figures the novelist wove his little web of fiction, and from that was deduced, in a clumsy manner, a series of theatrical scenes.
The novel, as in all such cases, is preferable to the play, and for an obvious reason: a reader sees with the eyes of the mind, a spectator with those of the body. In the one case, if the emotions are once excited, fancy repairs every discrepancy and removes every blemish; in the other, unless perfect dramatic art is made to hallow every act and word with an irresistible glamour, every improbability is conspicuous, every extravagance is emphatic, and every weakness is visible. The play, while devoid of facile art, nevertheless affords a few theatrical opportunities, and those Miss Marlowe adroitly used. Her embodiment of Mary Tudor crystallized into an engaging personality the attributes of authority, impetuosity, intrepidity, force of will, gay caprice alternating with tenderness, and ardent passion tempered by both sweetness and mirth. She presented a woman who loves, and who, amid enemies and perils, has the courage of her love. It seems probable that her impersonation of Mary Tudor exhibited her ideal of womanhood and was little, if at all, removed from a revelation of her actual self: it certainly was a winning image of feminine variety, integrity, fidelity, romantic ardor, and ingenuous charm, and that was the more remarkable because the person
ality was revealed in association with preposterous incidents, impossible persons, a caricature of manners, and a lingual flux of folly and profanity. The triumph of a fine actress trammelled by a halting play was never more conspicuously illustrated.
In the First Act,—which displays a posture of persons and their relations to each other, and so exhibits the dilemma in which the lovers are to be perplexed, and from which, ultimately and surprisingly, they are to be liberated,-Miss Marlowe had a scene of coquetry, wherein the Princess entices her lover by repelling him, and in this her acting was delicious. In the Second Act she again triumphed by a tempestuous exhibition of the Tudor temper. In the Third Act the Princess assumes male attire, and runs away with Brandon, and they are captured, at Bristol, by the King of England
The manners of courts have scarcely ever been delineated in a manner so astonishing as that of Mr. Paul Kester, the author of this play. In the Fourth Act the Princess is attacked by the new King of France, just as the old one has expired, and is rescued by Brandon, who drops in through a wall. About twenty characters are introduced—including King Henry, Queen Katharine, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, and Wolsey,
so that the aristocracy is well represented, and there is not one that is not a palpable caricature. Miss Marlowe's rich beauty and the exquisite sweetness of her voice-never more effective than in her embodiment
of Mary Tudor-her passionate earnestness, and unflagging vitality gained for this play abundant popularity.
THE SOTHERN-MARLOWE COMBINATION.
“ROMEO AND JULIET.”
A good representation of any one of the great tragedies of Shakespeare is beneficial to the public, because such a representation exerts an influence tending, for all persons who see it, to broaden the mental horizon, awaken sympathy, rectify views of the general life, and admonish and aid in the conduct of the individual. The representation of “Romeo and Juliet” that was given with Mr. Sothern as Romeo and Miss Marlowe as Juliet was, in some essential particulars, emphatically good,-a gain to the public and a credit to the Stage.
The rhetorical Romeo is, necessarily, always secondary to the resolute, executive, expeditious, yet romantic Juliet, who has the courage of her love, and who, after the first momentary trepidation, never hesitates. Mr. Sothern's Romeo was, practically, eclipsed by Miss Marlowe's Juliet. The actress, indeed, evinced, in this personation, a purpose somewhat to curb her impetuous spirit, abate her strength, and subdue herself into harmony with a languid artistic method. Her simulation of girlhood was studied and elaborate, and so was her employment of a “natural” manner. Over the earlier scenes, accordingly, a faint air of solicitude diffused
itself, combined with an aspect of self-conscious mechanism. Moderation of tone, since it is contributive to symmetry of ideal, is commendable, but an excess of reserve sometimes results in weakness, but even selfrepression could not reduce Miss Marlowe's Juliet to the level of Mr. Sothern's dapper, laborious Romeo. A strong nature, once aroused, breaks the flimsy fetters of artifice; and, whatever may be thought of her limitations as an actress, there can be no doubt that Miss Marlowe is a woman of commanding personality, emotional fervor, and intellectual force. To such a woman, it is probable that mere girl-life is insipid. Miss Marlowe’s impersonation of Juliet, beautiful at certain points and especially affecting in the tender gravity of the Marriage Scene, did not strike fire till the moment of the agonized parting with Romeo, but in that piteous exigency it displayed the woman's heart accordant with the poet's purpose; and from that point it intermittently grew in volume of feeling and freedom of action, attaining to a climax of frenzied terror, in the Potion Scene, and ending with a pathetic simulation of the ecstasy of despair, in the scene of the suicide.
Remembrance lingers on specific features of its structure, rather than on the rounded and completed whole. The bewilderment and happy consternation of the first meeting with Romeo, and then the vague presentiment of impending evil, a presentiment which vaguely darkens
the thoughts of both the lovers, were indicated with consummate felicity. The transition from piteous weakness to desperate resolve, when Juliet is confronted with the alternative of exposure and abandonment or a criminal, hateful marriage, was deftly and touchingly accomplished. The gradual comprehension of Friar Larrence's proposed stratagem and plan of rescue,—the face showing the action of the mind,—was intensely dramatic. An excited imagination made itself deeply felt in the soliloquy over the sleeping-draught, and there was pathos in the awakening and the subsequent suicide, in the tomb; but an impersonation of Juliet, or of any other character,--should be so moulded, sustained, and expressed that it will endure scrutiny as a whole, and not in parts, and should be made so symmetrical and authoritative, the parts being harmoniously adjusted, and the whole inspirationally illumined, that it will create an absolute illusion, captivate the heart, and subjugate the mind. Miss Marlowe's Juliet combined physical beauty, tender sensibility, fervor, imagination, deep feeling, the capacity of passion, and some tragic force. The voice was rich, sweet, and sympathetic, though occasionally pitched too low. The countenance, --sometimes demure with coy confusion, sometimes sparkling with pleasure, sometimes ardent with emotion, and sometimes woful with grief,—lent itself readily to the expression of varied feeling, and manifested extremes of happiness and misery. The personality, on the other