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What I have written has been written in a loving and reverent spirit, with the wish to express in simplest language what I feel deeply about these exquisite creations of Shakespeare's genius. That fuller justice might well be done to them I do not doubt. Still I have had the great advantage of throwing my own nature into theirs, of becoming moved by their emotions: I have, as it were, thought their thoughts and spoken their words straight from my own living heart and mind. I know that this has been an exceptional privilege; and to those not so fortunate I have striven to communicate something of what I have learned in the exercise of my "so potent art."

My best reward would be, that my sister-women should give me, in return, the happiness of thinking that I have helped them, if ever so little, to appreciate more deeply, and to love with a love akin to my own, these sweet and noble representatives of our sex, and have led them to acknowledge with myself the infinite debt we owe to the poet who could portray, as no other poet has so fully done, under the most varied forms, all that gives to woman her brightest charm, her most beneficent influence.

H. F. M.

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In letters to the late Mrs S. C. Hall.



In a letter to Miss Anna Swanwick.

In a letter to Robert Browning, Esq.

In a letter to John Ruskin, Esq.

In a letter to Lord Tennyson.

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Faint and delicate, however, as these shadowings are, they are yet so true to nature, and at the same time so full of suggestion, that I look on Ophelia as one of the strongest proofs our great master has left us of his belief in the actor's art (his own), and of his trust in the power possessed, at least by sympathetic natures, of filling up his outlines, and giving full and vivid life to the creatures of his brain. Without this belief could he have written as he did, when boys and beardless youths were the only representatives of his women on the stage? Yes, he must have looked beyond "the ignorant present," and known that a time would come when women, true and worthy, should find it a glory to throw the best part of their natures into these ideal types which he has left to testify to his faith in womanhood, and to make them living realities for thousands to whom they would else have been unknown. Think of a boy as Juliet! as "heavenly Rosalind!" as "divine Imogen!" or the gracious lady of Belmont, "richly left," but still more richly endowed by nature-"The poor rude world," says Jessica, "hath not her fellow." Think of a boy as Miranda, Cordelia, Hermione, Desdemona-who "was heavenly true"-as the bright Beatrice, and so on, through all the wondrous gallery! How could any youth, however gifted and specially trained, even faintly suggest these fair and noble women to an audience? Woman's words, wonran's thoughts, coming from a man's lips, a man's heart-it is monstrous to think of! One quite pities Shakespeare, who had to put up with seeing his brightest creations thus marred, misrepresented, L spoiled.

r Ophelia was one of the pet dreams of my girlhood—partly, perhaps, from the mystery of her madness. In my childhood I was much alone-taken early away from school because of delicate health; often sent to spend months at the seaside, in the charge of kind but busy people, who, finding me happy with my books on the beach, left me there long hours by myself. I had begged from home the Shakespeare I had been used to read there an acting edition by John Kemble. This and the Arabian Nights-how dear these books were to me! Then I had the Pilgrim's Progress and Milton's Paradise Lost. Satan was my great hero. I think I knew him by heart. His

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