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concealed in a corner, was considering this novel sight with astonishment, while Tommaso was amusing himself by examining the swords and brilliant uniforms, and the white hen was running screaming and scared about the horses' feet.
Mattea's eyes gradually became familiarised with what she saw, and a dragoon, having remarked the young girl, approached and commenced a conversation with her. He was young, handsome, and gallant; Mattea was a little coquette, and not at all in love with the man whom her godfather had destined for her. What the young dragoon said, we know not; but it is certain that when Tommaso went to speak to Mattea, she sent him away, reminding him that it was twelve o'clock, and time for him to go and ring the Angelus. Tommaso, whose jealousy was already roused by his dashing rival in his brilliant uniform, flew into a passion, and would not stir from the spot; on which the dragoon took him by the ear, twirled him round and round, and sent him flying amid a group of his comrades.
And is it you, you great booby," said one of the soldiers," who ring the Angelus here, and respond to the curate's paternosters, instead of being a man and serving the emperor? You will be in a good position, sapristi, when you are promoted to be beadle of this wretched village! Believe us, my lad. Leave your belfry and come with us. We will give you a handsome uniform, a long sword, and a fine horse." "Is it that girl who keeps you here?" said another of the troop, pointing to Mattea, who was in a corner of the court-yard, in earnest conversation with her new admirer. "Is it that girl who keeps you here? Look at her well, she doesn't care for you, she likes the soldier. Look at her!"
During this time, a fat dragoon, whose rations no doubt did not suffice him, was chasing the curate's fowls about, and the white hen was vainly endeavouring to escape from her tormentor.
"Mattea! Go home to your mother directly," cried the curé from the upper window. 66 'Dragoon! Please to let that fowl alone! "
hands to Mattea, he placed her on the saddle behind him, and without any respect for the curé or his house, set spurs to the animal and disappeared with the Italian girl. At the same moment the other dragoon caught the white hen!
Mattea! Mattea! Oh! my poor Bianca! Dragoon! put down that fowl!" cried the poor curé with a trembling voice.
Tommaso, hearing his master's agitated exclamations, ran to the rescue of the hen; the poor fellow, not being able to save his sweetheart, did all he could to save Bianca.
Buonaparte left his room and came down to rejoin the general. The poor man was pale and trembling.
"What is the matter, monsignor?" said the general. "What can have agitated you thus ? "
My lord," replied the curé, in a melancholy tone; my god-daughter, my dear Mattea, is taken off by one of your men."
"What! A young girl taken away from the house of the emperor's uncle! The fellow shall be punished; he shall be shot this very hour! Hollo! Brigadier! which of your men has been guilty of this crime ?"
"Let no blood be spilled, I beseech you, general; let no blood be spilled; but if he be a good man, let him marry Mattea."
There had been no violence or crime. The Florentine Helen had suddenly become fascinated, and had gone off of her own accord with her Paris, who was a good soldier, and had been selected to have the cross of the legion of honour.
"He shall marry her. I will answer for that," said the general.
The curé was looking about him in a timid kind of way, seeking his favourite hen, but the severity of the general, who had spoken of shooting Mattea's lover, checked him. He would not compromise a man's life for the love of a fowl. Suddenly Tommaso came running back, holding the cherished Bianca in his arms; the poor thing was half dead with fright; her blue eyelids hid her round eyes; and her stiffened claws could not support her. The curé took her, opened her beak, and poured a few drops of wine down her throat; the fowl gradually recovered, (like a fine lady from hysterics) and began to flutter her wings. Tommaso seized the welcome opportunity of speaking to the curate.
The feeble voice of the curé had not the power of Napoleon's. The soldier continued to talk to the girl, and the fat dragoon "Sir," said he, "I have lost Mattea; the continued to chase the white hen. Tom- soldiers have promised me that I shall one maso was stroking the croup of a saddle day be a captain, a colonel, a marshal of with one hand whilst the other was playing France, and I don't know what besides. I with a sword-handle. At last the assiduous-I-have enlisted for a dragoon!" dragoon went to fetch his horse, and sprang Buonaparte gave the general a sad look, on it with one bound; then giving both as he smoothed his fowl's white feathers,
and said to him: "General, I thank my Alas! he was, after all,
I hope (and believe firmly) she is still as good and conscientious as she was when a little girl. .. Kiss my nephew, the little Napoleon, for me; may God keep them all on their thrones ! They are good children for taking thought of their old uncle, but I desire neither a bishopric nor a cardinal's cloak.... Go, general, if you respect the wishes of your emperor's uncle, do not come here again."
When an officer received an order from the emperor, he was obliged to execute the imperial wish. If Napoleon said, You are to take that town," it was necessary to take it; it was written that it was to be taken; his prophetic word was one of the thousand causes of his great success. Now, he had said to the general: "You will take my uncle, the curé, from his living, and make him come to Paris, or take him to Rome; he must be near me, or near the Pope; it matters not which; he will do well whichever he chooses, but it must not be otherwise; he must at least become a bishop."
says the French little narrative is the happiest of his
From The Spectator.
SIR JOHN FALSTAFF.
PERHAPS the most that can now be done towards representing Shakespeare truly on the stage is done where actors or actresses, with a special genius for individual parts, give such representations of them as Mr. Mark Lemon is now giving of Sir John Falstaff, in the selected scenes from Henry IV., at St. George's Hall, Langham Place. Where whole plays of Shakespeare are revived, we are almost sure to be tortured by a crowd of failures so irritating that the one or two successes lose all their charm. Even in Mr. Mark Lemon's selected scenes no spectator can help being aggrieved by the pert and under-bred manner of the actor who represents the Prince of Wales, afterwards Henry V.,-one of the most royal of those portraitures of Shakespeare's which have, as Mr. Emerson truly remarked the other day, filled literature with conceptions of royalty far royaller than any which actual kings ever suggest. Mr. Mark Lemon's The general entreated, supplicated, and, Falstaff, however, fills so completely the at last, insisted that the curé should alter centre of the picture, that nobody cares to his decision. The brave soldier could not give to any of the minor characters more understand a man's refusing the grand cross than a passing glance of criticism. Mr. of the legion of honour, a bishopric, the Mark Lemon seems to us to deserve quite revenues of a diocese, a cardinal's hat and all the praise which a press, never too fasinfluence. However, the good curé re-tidious about praising any leader in literary mained firm to his resolution; he resisted circles, has awarded him. If there is a the general's supplications, and when threats weakness in his representation of the part, were used, he replied with the bitterness of an irritated Corsican, and with the authority of an aged relative, who was not to be coaxed or flattered by the inconsiderate youth and ambition of his great nephew: "General, I have given you my answer, and I will not swerve from it."
The disappointed general was forced to retire without executing his mission, and his noisy escort evacuated the village.
When Napoleon heard of the bad success of his ambassador and this utter want of ambition in a Buonaparte, he shrugged his shoulders with contemptuous pity.
Mattea was married to the dragoon, and became, in time, the wife of a colonel. Tommaso was, in a few years, a captain in the Imperial Guard.
And the good curé, Buonaparte, died before the termination of the first empire, beloved and regretted by all around him.
it is that he gives too much geniality to the humour, and too little emphasis to the selfish envy, and even malice, which Shakespeare certainly intended to reconcile in Falstaff with what is rarely found in its company, true humour. Nothing can be more admirable than Mr. Lemon's way of giving Sir John Falstaff's humorous soliloquy on himself in the dark lane just before the robbery, when he is wondering what can induce him to rob in "that thief's [Poin's] company," and suggests to himself as the only credible account of the matter, "if the rascal has not given me medicines to make me love him, I'll be hanged; it could not be else I have drunk medicines." conclusion is announced with a positiveness of manner and also an amused horror, as if imagination, having once apprehended this point, were roaming in search of the incalculable catastrophes which this hypothe
sis might warrant, that presents the humour in Sir John Falstaff at its highest point. Yet the delightful caprice of constructing such a wild hypothesis for himself as that he "fat Jack
Mr. Disraeli's face during an attack of any importance on his braggadocio,- Lord Palmerston's attack upon him, for instance, for his wonderful Slough speech in 1858,— was the victim of the rapidly passing cloud and the bright gleam of resourceful sauciness with which the Premier himself often watches and meets the criticisms caused by his own draughts on Sir John Falstaff's Cambyses' vein." Again, Mr. Mark Lemon is admirable in his delineation of the highly imaginative side of Falstaff's humour. He gives the candour of Falstaff's gloriously candid Conservatism in congratulating the Prince on acting the foot-pad, because "they e poor abuses of the time want countenance," with the true melancholy of a laudator temporis acti, who would willingly save even a particle of the delightful immoralities of the past from wanton destruction. So, too, where Falstaff determines on not changing his soiled garments of travel before stopping the newly-crowned King, his old boon companion, and points out to his companions the good effect this may have in giving an air of enthusiasm and passion to his congratulations, the almost poetic exultation of Falstaff in his own creative power, as his imagination accumulates touch after touch of the true interpretation which ought to be put by the King on his travel-stained attire, is most ably rendered by Mr. Mark Lemon:
of a sort of love-potion; the seeming flash of regret that there is no one by who can appreciate the humour of the suggestion; the musing pause in which he allows his imagination to range freely for a moment over the great field of possibility he has opened up; in fact, all the subtlety of that little bit of acting seemed to us quite lost on even the very select audience which was assembled to see Mr. Mark Lemon. There was, however, a certain want of swing, of élan, in Mr. Mark Lemon's mode of representing Falstaff. That delight in adding stroke upon stroke to his own caricatures, in letting himself float with the stream of his own rapture of exaggeration, is not given; as when, for instance, he multiplies the "men in buckram" with whom he has fought from two up to eleven; and when, again, in the scene with Bardolph he enlarges on the flame-colour of Bardolph's nose, calls it an admiral's lantern, an ignis fatuus, a ball of wildfire, a perpetual triumph, an everlasting bonfire-light, a salamander, and so forth. There is more, we think, of afflatus in these exaggerating moods of Falstaff's, more of the enjoyment of being carried away by his own extravagance, than Mr. Lemon fully expressed. And this fitful extravagance of moody humour is partly wanted to explain the excessive flatness and wretchedness of his condition when the mood is off him. Falstaff is evidently a humourist of uneven spirits, in whose extravagance there is a dash of excitement, which Mr. Lemon seems to us rather to miss. On the other hand, he gives his low spirits admirably, and where Falstaff says that he is "as melancholy as a gib-cat or a lugged bear," no one can doubt it for a moment. The touches most finely given by Mr. Lemon are the quieter touches of Falstaff's soliloquies, and, again, the fire of chaffing repartee, where there is not time for him to mount up to his highest extravagances. His momentary anxieties in ransacking his resources for an answer to the Prince and to the Chief Justice are perfectly given. When the Prince is telling him of the trick We have said that if there is a substanhe and Poins have played upon him by rob- tial defect of any kind in Mr. Mark Lemon's bing him and his party of their booty, and portraiture it is, perhaps, that he does not this just after Falstaff's magniloquent de- combine the spirit of grudge and even malscription of his struggle with the unknown ice which is at the bottom of Falstaff's charrobbers, Falstaff's look of momentary worry acter sufficiently with the play of his huand puzzle, and the sudden and impudent mour. This is due partly to the selection clearing of his brow when he devises a re- of the scenes, which are so chosen as to ply, might remind any one who has watched give a too favourable view of Falstaff, and
"Fal. Come here, Pistol; stand behind me.
made new liveries, I would have bestowed the [To Shallow.] O! if I had had time to have thousand pound I borrowed of you. But it is no matter; this poor show doth better; this doth infer the zeal I had to see him.
"Shal. It doth so.
"Fal. It shows my earnestness in affection. "Shal. It doth so.
"Fal. My devotion.
"Shal. It doth, it doth, it doth.
"Fal. As it were, to ride day and night; and not to deliberate, not to remember, not to have patience to shift me.
"Shal. It is most certain.
"Fal. But to stand stained with travel, and nothing else; putting all affairs else in oblivion; sweating with desire to see him; thinking of as if there were nothing else to be done but to see him."
too predominant an effect to his humour. which Sir John appears in which Shake The scene, for instance, in which Falstaff speare attributes to him an amiable quality. falls on Justice Shallow's character, and Mr. Mark Lemon is so much in love with backbites him with characteristic bitterness, his hero's humour, that he does not in his is omitted; the scene in which he stabs the acting make the character as utterly base as dead Hotspur in the thigh to make sure of it is meant to be. For instance, when Mishim in the first instance, as well as in the tress Quickly has charged Falstaff with second to lay a foundation for his boast of having said that the Prince owed him a having killed him, is omitted; the scene in thousand pounds, and Prince Henry asks, which he vents his spite on Poins and the " Sirrah, do I owe thee a thousand pounds?" Prince, behind their backs as he thinks, Sir John turns round, according to Mr. ("He a good wit! hang him, baboon! his Mark Lemon, with quite a genuine tenderwit is as thick as Tewkesbury mustard!"), ness in his manner, and says, A thousand is omitted; indeed, many scenes in which pound, Hal? a million; thy love is worth a the maliciousness of Falstaff's humour is million; and thou owest me thy love." Yet, chiefly shown are omitted. Nevertheless, it is evident that this, like the rest, is only enough is left to indicate Shakespeare's a repartee. Sir John cares not a jot for conception, that of a man who apparently Prince Henry, nor Prince Henry, except as never had a genuinely kind feeling for any a mere source of amusement, for Sir John. living creature but himself. It is evidently The first is shown by the contemptuous way partly malice which urges him on to his in which Falstaff picks the Prince to pieces pile of exaggerations about the flame-colour behind his back; the last by Prince Henry's of Bardolph's nose, and wholly malice with kindlier but still utterly cold farewell to which he taunts Mistress Quickly, "There's him when he supposes him to be lying dead no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune; on the field of Shrewsbury: nor no more truth in thee than in a drawn fox; and for womanhood, Maid Marian may be the deputy's wife of the ward to thee." Moreover, though it is not the selfish malice in Sir John Falstaff which is shown in his soliloquy on "honour" just before the battle of Shrewsbury, his cynicism is; and Mr. Mark Lemon's rendering of that scene was to our mind not nearly cynical enough,- too humourous, and not sufficiently contemptuous for the reputed virtues of men. This is the speech of a pure cynic who is trying to justify to himself his own baseness: What is that honour? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it insensible, then? Yes; to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it." Mr. Lemon gave it with great spirit, but not with that utter disgust for humanity and all it values most, proper to the utterly selfish man who has not a spark of sympathy for any good human quality left in him.
The reaction in favour of Sir John Falstaff truly represents him as a fine humourist, a gentleman by breeding, and certainly not a poltroon, not so much a coward, as a man so selfish that he makes it a principle to avoid danger. This is perfectly just and evidently true to Shakespeare's conception. But when it goes on to find anything truly "gentle" in Falstaff's nature, beyond his breeding, it seems to us to miss entirely Shakespeare's meaning. There is not a sentence in any of the three plays in
"Poor Jack, farewell!
I could have better spared a better man.
On the whole, the only fault we find with Mr. Mark Lemon's admirable impersonation is, that he does not seem to us to give the cold, envious, and malicious side of Sir John Falstaff's selfishness as finely as he gives his imaginative humour.
From The London Review. WORDS OF COMFORT.*
THE origin of this volume was the death of a little daughter of the editor, Mr. Logan, who has gathered together quite a body of literature on the subject of infant salvation, and the consolations arising out of that grand and intensely Christian idea. With the exception of the able and curious historical sketch of the subject, by Dr. William Anderson, the pieces of prose which form the first four hundred pages of the work are generally brief; and their excellence lies in this, that they have nearly all of them been wrung from the hearts of
*Words of Comfort for Parents Bereaved of Little Children. Edited by William Logan, Author of "The Moral Statistics of Glasgow," &c. With an Introductory Historical Sketch, by the Rev. Wil liam Anderson, LL. D. Glasgow. Fifth Edition, enlarged; 13th thousand. London: James Nisbet & Co.
men and women whom death has bereft of
tempted in that case to use the fearful