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ised world had but the day before ingen system to do justice to the been bowed in homage.
finer poetical elements of the The Cassius of Herr Teller was a Shakespearian drama. The play performance of great merit. He affords scope in Leontes and in had," the lean and hungry look” Hermione for the subtlest histriof the ascetic republican, who onic power; while the episode of " thought too much,” and filled · Florizel and Perdita, sweetest of Cæsar with distrust. An actor idyls, demands the most delicate of large experience, trained in the handling, not only in their reprelight of good traditions, he threw sentatives, but also in the portrayal himself into the part with the sin- of the ideal pastoral life in which cerity of a true artist. His Cassius their story is set. The Drury Lane was therefore a figure to remember; andience were better able to form a and this all the more that in sub- comparative judgment in this case, sequent performances, the same for the play has been seen, and at no actor proved himself as much at very distant date, on both the Lonhome in comedy, as in the higher don and provincial stages. In expoetical drama. The Brutus was quisite beanty of costumes and of not so satisfactory,-lacking the grouping, the Meiningen perfordignity of an ardent nature, dis- mance left nothing to be desired. ciplined to self-command, which At every turn it seeined as if some Shakespeare has so wonderfully of the great pictures of the Venetian drawn. In the beautiful scene school had come to life. The scenwith Portia, the absence of this ery, too, with one exception, was characteristic became most promin- all that could be wished ; and everyent; and its absence had an evil where was apparent the same fine effect upon the Portia who, beside a sense of colour, of picturesque arBrutus of the highest stamp, would rangement, of the value of little innot, as she did, address her re- cidents of detail, as in the "Julius monstrances to him with a noisy Cæsar,” carried in some respects to vehemence, strangely discordant even an higher pitch of excellence. with the mingled dignity and ten- As a mere piece of scenic splendour derness which breathes through and stage effect, it would be difficult every word that Shakespeare has to imagine anything superior to the placed in her mouth. And yet scene of Hermione's trial, and the the actress, Fräulein Haverland, effect upon the awestruck crowd of showed herself a mistress of her the thunderbolt that sweeps from art in the only other scene where heaven, in answer to Leontes' sacPortia appears (Act II. sc. 5), where rilegious wordsshe is hurried into the street by her
** There is no truth at all i' the oracle" anxiety to learn the news of the attempt she knows is about to be that has just proclaimed Hermione's made on Cæsar's life. Into this innocence. But how dearly was scene she threw an intensity which the triumph of such a scene purcarried the audience by storm, and chased by the violation of truth to to which they delighted to give a Shakespeare, and to all probability! hearty recognition.
Shakespeare places the scene in "a In®“ The Winter's Tale," which court of justice.” Here it was in almost rivalled “Julius Cæsar" in a public street. No doubt Herpopularity, a severer test was ap- mione complains of having been plied to the powers of the Mein- hurried
“Here to this place, i' the open air, what, by its intrusive prominence,
before I have got strength of limb”—
actually impedes the performers
from giving due effest to the conbut this merely means that she, inception of the poet. her yet delicate state, has been hur- The same absence of sympathy ried through the open air" to the with Shakespeare's purpose was not place of trial. The temptation to less conspicuous in the last scene strain the words of the poet had, of the play, where, after sixteen however, been obviously too great, years spent by Leontes in mourning for it gave the stage-director the for the wrong he has done to the opportunity of bringing in his well- wife whom he believes to be dead, drilled crowds to express, by looks she is restored to him by Paulina. and exclamation, their sympathy The situation is one of the finest in with the unhappy queen, and to Shakespeare; he has been at pecukeep up a running commentary of liar pains to invest it with every byplay upon the words of the lead- circumstance of solemnity. Hering actors. But the mischief did not mione, sanctified by long years of stop here.. From the desire to com- seclusion and grief, through which pose bis groups well, he subjected she has been sustained only by the Hermione to an act of unmanly promise of the oracle that her lost rigour, of which not even Leontes daughter shall be restored to her, would have been guilty; for in place is to be given back to the husband, of being conducted to a seat, as be- all whose remorse could not, until fitted a woman fresh from child- that child was found, win her again bed, and that woman an Emperor's to his arms, so wide was the gulf daughter, and herself a queen, she which had been placed between was made to stand a raised them by the outrage done to her as platform, almost jostled by a mob wife, as mother, and as
as queen. of bystanders, throughout a scene Like a strain of sad sweet music,
than ordinary length. the scene brings all the pain Placed in such circumstances, it and misunderstanding of the earwas perhaps not strange that the lier acts to a harmonious close. So speeches of Hermione were given anxious has Shakespeare been to by Fräulein Haverland with indicate the way he wished it to be almost masculine energy of tone treated, that he places it in “a and gesture, little suited to ex- chapel in Paulina's house." How press that touching combination of great, then, was the surprise of those wounded dignity and tenderness who knew this, when the curtain with martyr - like sweetness and rose upon one of those impossible heart-searching pathos which Shake- fairy groves of rainbow lines which speare has infused into every line precede the transformation scene of of this scene.
a pantomime; and this, although In this mode of treating a scene the text in as many words indicates of 'exceptional poetic value, we that the curtained recess to which must decline to adopt the teaching Paulina leads Leontes stands at the of the Meiningen school, for it is, end of a picture-gallery along which in the worst sense, a “shouldering she has just brought him! If the aside of the dramatic interest” for stage-director had not felt the situthe sake of what is of no momentation, as little did the actors seem whatever to the right understand- to do so. Hermione, not robed to ing of the play—nay, more, for resemble a statue, but wearing
the royal apparel in which she had tomed to such disappointments to appeared in the first act, inspired complain. But the scenes where no reverence, for she wore no trace they are the central figures were on her looks of the “woman, bright overlaid by the introduction of a with something of an angel light," great deal too many figures, by too with which long years of holy many garish dresses, and dames of meditation bad suffused them. the ballet type, which merely deHere, too, Herr Barnay as Leontes layed the action, and distracted proved quite unequal to the situa- attention from what was of more imtion. Where were the amazement, portance. All praise, however, was the awe, the pang of remembrance, due bere, as in “ Julius Cæsar," to the welling-up of the old passion- the care taken with the minor parts ate love at the sight of his much- throughout the play. This exempwronged queen, which finds vent lary quality, indeed, distinguished in the words,
all the performances; and set be
fore those who take upon them“Oh, thus she stood, selves the responsibility of conductEven with such life of majesty, warm life, As now it coldly stands, when first *ing a theatre an example which, if woo'd her ?"
followed, may do much to raise the
character of the English stage. Where, too, was all the trembling We must not close our remarks on ecstasy of mingled hope and fear, the play without a word of warm comas, while he gazed, the figure before mendation for the Paulina of Fräuhim seemed to stir with life? Re- lein von Moser-Sperner, into which membering what this scene was, as the actress threw all that intensity last it was seen in London, with of feeling which the part requires, Macready as Leontes, and what its and with the skill of emphasis and effect upon the audience was, we action which only an accomplished felt that our German visitors have artist can command. Results of yet much to learn before they can an average excellence so marked as interpret worthily what is best and in the case of the Meiningen Comhighest in the Shakespearian drama. pany, speak volumes for the inWhat waste of power, too,—what dustry and modestly artistic spirit disregard of the sense of proportion with which they must have worked -to expend so much labour and through many years to produce so wealth of illustration on all the pre- prevailing a completeness of enceding portions of the play, and semble. For it is only by years of then to let it come to a close so flat work pursued in this spirit that and unimpressive!
such results are to be obtained. Space fails us, otherwise we There is no royal road to excellence might further illustrate this blind- on the stage, any more than in any ness to the finer poetic aspects of the other art. Yet when we see how play by the manner in which the far short of what could be wished episode of Florizel and Perdita was is what even these patient, intelligtreated. Hard indeed, we own, ent, and practised artists can achieve, must it always be to find a young we may well wonder at the courage actor and actress equal to parts of of those young gentlemen from such ideal beauty; and if their Oxford who seem to have deemed Meiningen representatives were it to be their vocation to show little like what the imagination London, at the Imperial Theatre, a pictures, one is too much accus- few weeks ago, how “ Romeo and
Juliet” ought to be acted. In the ish praise of personal friends has no “ Agamemnon" of Æschylus, with doubt not been wanting to gratify which they entertained their the vanity which prompted an atfriends last year, they were safe tempt, the audacity of which amounts from criticism. Nine-tenths of their to mere impertinence. But it would audience did not understand a word be idle to waste criticism upon the of spoken Greek, and the other tenth outcome of what had no doubt abwere very tolerant of an attempt sorbed an infinite quantity of time, which had at least the merit of unwisely taken from more fitting being novel, if not amusing. A pursuits. Of all arts, as Voltaire little common-sense—which, how- long ago said, the art of acting is ever, does not always accompany a the most difficult. When will knowledge of Greek-might have amateurs learn to realise this truth? taught these young gentlemen to If act they must, let them do so by distrust the praises of such lenient all means; but let them first qualify critics, and to return, with laurels themselves by all the hard study, all untarnished, to “strictly medi- and still harder practice, which the tate the thankless Muse," or to pro- art demands. If the young Oxford secute those other pursuits which amateurs wish to find out whether their Alma Mater is supposed to nature meant them for the stage, foster. Instead of this, they have let them take to it as a profession. rushed before the town in the play Judged by what was seen of them which perhaps of all others in at the Imperial Theatre, they will Shakespeare imposes the very high- scarcely provoke very eager compeest demands upon those who wonld tition at present amongst managers embody it on the stage. The fool- for their services.
BESIEGED IN THE TRANSVAAL.
THE DEFENCE OF STANDERTON.- - Concluded.
A word about our position will now this work closed up the third, explain much of that which fol- besides commanding our line of lows.
road with the town, where our The Vaal river is a considerable water lay; and the perplexity thus stream, running, roughly speaking, caused us may be imagined. The east and west. On approaching earthwork was large enough to hold Standerton from Newcastle the tra- fifty men, lay on the top of a ridge veller sees in front of him the Vaal, against which our advance would and beyond it the town stretching be up a bare slope, perfectly adapted out towards the north for half a to defensive fire, and was commandmile. Immediately before him ised by the stony koppie to the left, the deep cutting which leads to which the Boers held. We had the “drift;" on the left, a mile been warned against traps, and this away, on rising ground, is the camp looked a veritable one.
So we and fort. The town itself lies in a set to work to put up traverses basin, about a mile square, the rim against it, changing round the of which, to begin on the right of openings in our defended houses, the “drift,” runs away north, when intending to wait and see what was it turns toward a high, flat-topped to come. hill on the left-Stander's Kop. That afternoon two natives volBetween this hill and the camp the unteered to cross the river and ground appears tolerably level. burn a house near the “ drift” which,
This rim is dotted with koppies, if occupied by the Boers, would tiny hills of boulders here and there. have caused no great mischief; and The first, on the right of the town, this done, finding no notice taken is called Graveyard Koppie, because of them by the new work, which of the graveyard below it; a mile was just above, the pair ran on to further on is another, Hotel Kop- it, crouching much, and with their pie; a little beyond is North Kop- guns ready, reached it, only to find pie; thence the ridge, cut by the it empty. We watched them pullline of the Heidelberg road, trends ing it down, throwing the sods west to a koppie, a spur of Stan- right and left; in ten minutes it der's Kop, called by us Froom's was level, and they turned back, Koppie; then a mile of flat and the Dutch on the koppie walking the fort. Outside this line of kop- up just too late, and firing at them pies the open veldt stretches to the as they came down, which they did horizon.
in safety, bringing with them two A curious incident of the siege spades left to finish the work that occurred on the 7th January. At night,--and got a good subscription day break we saw that an earthwork from the townspeople for their had been put up in the night on the daring. high ground across the river, 900 I expected that they would try to yards distant from, and threatening build it up again during the night, the town, as well as all the ground and fixed two rifles on a rest, laybetween it and the fort. Already ing them on the spot, having first two sides were exposed to fire, and got the range with half-a-dozen