[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

too; but I make little account of you. ful, and the ludicrous, and incredible, You might just as well have been brought which melted all sterner feelings. The up in my shop or in trade. But there's idea that Janet might be my lady filled something about Paul, mind you, that's him with a subdued pleasure and amusewhere it is; he's got that grand air, and ment, and a subtle pride which veiled that hot-headed way. I hate social dis- itself in the humor of the notion. It tinctions, but he's above them. The made him smile in spite of himself. As power of money

is to me like a horrible for Fairfax, this had so completely taken monster, but he scorns it. Do you see his breath away that he seemed beyond what I mean?. A man like me, he rea- the power of speech, and Spears went on sons it all out, he sees the harm of it, and musingly for a minute or two walking bethe devilry of it, and it fires his blood. side him, his active thoughts lulled by But Paul, he holds his head in the air, the fantastic pleasure of that vision, and and treats it like the dirt below his feet. the smile still lingered about his closelyThat's fire that takes hold of the imag- sharp lips. At last he started from the ination. I don't mean to hurt your feel- weakness of this reverie. ings, Fairfax," said Spears, giving him “ There is to be a meeting to-night,” he another friendly tap on the shoulder," but said, “ down in one of these streets, and you're just a careless fellow, one thing I am going to give them an address. I've doesn't matter more than another to you.” got the name of the street here in my

“ Quite true. I am not offended," said pocket and the house and all that - if Fairfax, laughing. “You discriminate you like to come." very well, Spears, as you always do.” Certainly I will come,” said Fairfax Yes, I suppose

I have a knack that with alacrity. He had not much to way,” said the demagogue, simply. “I occupy his evenings, and he took a shouldn't wonder,” he added, “ though it kind of careless, speculative interest, not is not a subject that a man can question like Paul's impassioned adoption of the his daughter about, that it was just the scheme and all its issues, 'in Spears's same thing that attracted my girl.” political crusade. The demagogue patted

Fairfax turned round upon him with him on the shoulders once more as he quick surprise; he had not heard any left him. He had always half patronized, thing about Janet. 6. What !” he said, half stood in awe of Fairfax, whose care“has Markham -"and then paused; less humor sometimes threw a passing for Spears, though indulgent .to freedom light of ridicule even on the cause. “If of speech, was in this one point a danger. you see Markham, bring him along with ous person to meddle with. He turned you, and tell him I must understand what round, with all the force of his rugged he means," he said. features and broad shoulders, and looked But Fairfax did not see Paul again. the questioner in the face.

He did not indeed put himself in the way “ Yes,” he said, “Markham has - a of Paul, though his mind was full of him, fancy for my Janet.' There is nothing for the rest of the day. Janet Spears very wonderful in that. His mother tried was a new complication in Paul's way; to persuade me that this was the entire The whole situation was dreary and cause of his devotion to my principles hopeless enough. His position as head and me.

But that is a way women have. of the house and the family, his impor. They think nothing comparable to their tance, his wealth, his power of influencown' influence. He satisfied me as to ing others, all taken from him in a day, that. Yes,” said Spears, with a softened, and Spears's daughter – Janet Spears meditative tone, that is the secondary hung round his neck like a millstone. motive I spoke of; and, to tell the truth, Paul! of all men in the world to get into when I heard of the old fellow's death. I such a vulgar complication, Paul was was sorry.. I said to myself, the girl will about the last. And yet there could be never be able to resist the temptation of no mistake about it. Fairfax, who honbeing my lady.'”

estly felt himself Paul's inferior in everyA smile began to creep about the cor- thing, heard this news with the wonderners of his mouth.

For himself, it is ing dismay of one whose own thoughts very likely that Spears would have had had taken a direction as much above him virtue enough to carry out his own prin. (he thought) as the others were beneath ciples and resist all bribes of rank had him. With a painful flush of bewilder.. they been thrown in his way, but he con- ment, he thought of himself floated up templated the possible elevation of his into regions above himself into a different child with a tender sense of the wonder. I atmosphere, another world, by means of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]




the woman who had been Paul's com- even by the usual glass globe. There panion all his life, and Paul He had was a constant shuffling of feet, a murmur heard of such things; of men falling into of conversation, sometimes the joke of the mire out of the purest places, of a privileged wit whispered about with rebellions from the best to the worst. earthquakes of suppressed laughter. They were common enough. But that it For the men, on the whole, suppressed should be Paul!

themselves with the sense of the dignity When evening came he took his way to of a meeting and the expectation of the crowded quarter where he had met Spears's address. “He's a fellow from Spears, and to the meeting which was the north, ain't he?” Fairfax heard one held in a back room in an unsavory man say. “No, he's a miner fellow.” street. It had begun to rain, the air was " He's of the cotton - spinners.” wet and warm, the streets muddy, the While another added authoritatively, floor of the room black and stained with “ None of you know anything about it. many footsteps. There was a number of It's Spears the delegate. He's been sent men packed together in a comparatively about all over the place. There's been small space, which soon became almost some talk of sending him to Parliament.” insupportable with the flaring gas-lights, “Parliament, I put no faith in Parliathe odor from their damp clothes, and ment.” "No more do I.“ Nor 1,” the their breaths. At one end of it were a

men said.

“And yet,” said the first few men seated round a table, Spears speaker,“ we've got no chance of getting among them. Fairfax could only get in our rights till they've got a lot like him at the other end, and close to the door, there." which was the saving of him. He exer- At this moment one of the men at the cised politeness at a cheap cost by let- table rose, and there was instant silence. ting everybody who came penetrate fur- The lights flared, the rain rained outside ther than he. Some of the men looked with a persistent swish upon the paveat him with suspicion. He had kept on ment, the restless feet shuffled upon the his morning dress, but even that was very floor, but otherwise there was not a sound different from the clothes they wore. to interrupt the stillness. This was They were not very penetrating in re- somewhat tried, however, by the reading spect to looks, and some of them thought of a report still very like a missionary him a policeman in plain clothes. This report in a parish meeting. There was a was not a comfortable notion among a good deal about an S. C. and an L. M. number of hot-blooded men. Fairfax, who had been led to think of higher prinhowever, soon became too much inter- ciples of political morality by the action of ested in the proceedings to observe the the society, and who had now finally looks that were directed to himself. given in their adhesion. The meeting There was a good deal of commonplace greeted the announcement of these new business to be gone through first- small members by knocking with their bootsubscriptions to pay, some of which were heels upon the floor. Then someone weekly; little books to produce, with else got up and said that the prospects of little sums marked; reports to be given the society were most hopeful, and that in, or here and there a wavering member, the conversion of S. C. and L. M. was a falling back into the world, a new con- only an earnest of what was to come. vert. It looked to Fairfax at first like a Soon the whole mass of the working parochial meeting about the little chari- classes, as already its highest intelligence, ties of the parish, the schools, and the would be with them. The meeting again almshouses. Perhaps organization of applauded this " highest intelligence."

• any kind has its inherent vulgarities. They felt it in themselves, and they liked This movement felt grand, heroic, to the the compliment. “Mr. Spears will now men engaged in it, how much above the address the meeting,” the last speaker curate and his pennies who could say; said, and then this confused part of the but it seemed inevitable that it should proceeding came to an end, and every: begin in the same way. The walls were thing became clear again when Spears roughly plastered and washed with a spoke. dingy tone of color. The men sat on And yet Fairfax thought, looking on, it benches which were very uncomfortable, was by no means clear what Spears and showed all the independent curves of wanted, or wished to persuade the others backs which toil had not straightened, that they wanted. Very soon, however, the rough heads and dingy clothes. Over he secured their attention, which was one all this the gas flickered, unmitigated great point, the very feet got disciplined

[ocr errors]

into quiet, and when a late member came | adorned with full-length portraits of threedown the long passage which led straight headed gods and mythic heroes in strange into this room, there was a universal attire. Three uprights — one of them a murmur and hush as he bustled in.

growing tree

on either side the stage, sustained the “foot-lights some twenty kerosene lamps.

The auditorium had been excavated

from the sand in the form of an amphiFrom Macmillan's Magazine. “CYMBELINE” IN A HINDOO PLAYHOUSE. below the level of the stage. The audi

theatre, sloping downwards to three feet The festivities at Baroda in celebration ence, about five hundred Hindus, men and of the marriages of H. H. the Gaikwar children (ladies seldom appear in such to a Tanjore princess, and his sister, Tara public places *), sat in semicircular rows, Bai, to the Prince of Savantwari, have the first two classes on chairs and couchbeen carried out on a scale of magnifices, and the third on benches, while the cence unusual even in ceremonious India. fourth squatted placidly on the ground. For a month there was nothing but amuse. Although the assembly was essentially ment; business stood still; the schools Hindu, one only heard Guzerathi and Mawere closed; rajahs and sirdars assem- rathi spoken in the back rows, English bled from all parts to honor the solemni- being evidently the fashionable language ties, and many English visitors enjoyed amongst the occupants of the front seats. the hospitality of H. H. the Maharani Like an English audience, they did not Jamna Bai Saheb. Nor was there any appear at all averse to chaff, and considlack of variety: illuminations, fêtes, erable merriment at the expense of an shows, fireworks, durbars, reviews, hunt eminent physician (who sat next me) arose, ing expeditions, picnics, balls, nautches, when the Master Doctor Cornelius apbanquets, and similar támashas (amuse-peared in Act i., sc. 6, and still more ments), varied the monotony of station when some wag happened to discover a life.

likeness between old Belarius and a grey. Besides the performers hired for the bearded "party" in the second seats. occasion, the festivities attracted to Ba- The prominent rôle played by oranges roda many itinerant artists : jugglers, in a British pit was here taken by pan snake-charmers, dancers, acrobats, and, sopari — all the audience, and most of not the least interesting, a company of the actors (especially Imogen !) chewing strolling players.

betel-nut vigorously throughout the whole Through the kindness of an Indian performance. gentleman, I was enabled to be present From the playbill, printed in Marathi, at several distinctively native támashas, I learned that the actors belonged to the not witnessed usually by Europeans. Itchal Karanjikar Company (deriving the One evening my friendly " intelligencer" name apparently from Itchal Karanji in wrote:

the southern Mahratta country); and that • The · Tara,' an adaptation in Marathi “ Tarahad been translated by Vishnu of Shakespeare's Cymbeline, will be Moreshvar Mahajani, M.A., head master acted in the theatre-house to-night at nine. of the Umraoti High School. The fees for admission are, two rupees These bills, distributed gratuitously, per seat for the first class, one rupee for contained a full outline of the plot. Exthe second, eight annas for the third, and cept that the names of persons and places, four annas for the fourth.”. Accordingly, and literary allusions, have been Indianprovided with the needful rupees and a ized, the adapter has closely followed his note-book, I arrived at the theatre at nine English original. punctually. The performance had not The anachronism of having modern begun, so I had time to make a careful Italians in ancient Rome is got rid of by survey of the situation.

the cities being made fictitious. Britain The theatre was a temporary structure has become Suvarnapuri (golden city), and of bamboo-poles and canvas. The stage, Italy, Vijaipura (land of fame). The

, a whitewashed sandbank forming an oval chief characters are named: about three feet in height, twenty feet in breadth, and forty feet in depth, was * The following extract from the play-biil points a partly concealed behind a drop.curtain,

Respectable ladies on whiclı an elephant and tiger fight was Naikin wa Kasbin (i.e. disreputable depicted, and by a proscenium of canvas, ditto)

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]


4 annas.



[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]







her shoulders, and displayed in fan-shape Cymbeline

SAMBHAJI. above her head, next appeared; on her Guiderius


head a golden mitre, and kerchiefs war. Arviragus


ing in either hand, like wings. Belarius


The goddess danced a swift, spasmodic Cloten

MURARRAO. Posthumus


hornpipe, and vanished. The chorus lachimo

KHANDUJI. struck up a hymn to the gods, and the Pisanio


prologue was over (10.5 P.M.). Imogen's assumed name Fidele is literally

Thus, as amongst other Aryan nations, rendered Vishvasrao (Faithful).

the religious origin of the drama is indi

cated. This overture, traditional from I learned also that the company's réper- the earliest times, and slightly varied toire included versions of “ The Comedy sometimes by the introduction of the of Errors,” “Taming of the Shrew,” Sutradhar's wife, is the indispensable pre"Tempest” and “Othello,” besides the liminary to an Indian theatrical perform" Shakuntala” and other Sanskrit dra

The play proper now began. As The spectators had no reason to com- “ Tara” is a close translation from "Cymplain of not getting their full money's beline,” all description of the plot would worth, as the performance lasted for five be out of place. The departures only hours and three-quarters! (9.10 P.M. to from the original need here be noted. 2.55 A.M.)

I must mention, however, one striking At ten minutes past nine the manager resemblance to the drama of Shakeof the company, the leader of the chorus, speare's own time, and the Imogen of in Marathi sutradhár (coryphæus), two Shakespeare's day — all the female parts other singers, a couple of musicians play- were acted by boys. ing a satar (cithana), and a tabla (tabor, It would have been difficult for any tomtom), came before the curtain, and the actress to have given with more womanly overture - - a hymn to the god Narayen feeling, or with a sadder and more plead. that the play 'might be successful — being voice, the rendering of the part of gan. The manager led the choric music, “ Tarawhich I saw. an excruciating performance, to my pro- The audience must have been profane ears sounding most like an unavail- foundly touched by the manner in which ing attempt to smother the squeals of two it was played, for in the cave scene, where babies with the din of a bagpipe and a Imogen lay seemingly dead, and was betin kettle.

wailed by the two boys, many of the specAfter a few minutes, however,

tators brushed aside their tears, while one Silence, like a poultice, came

old rajah fairly blubbered outright! To heal the blows of sound,

Much of this was no doubt a tribute to

the original pathos of the character, but but only for a moment's space. The some share of credit for so powerfully clown, grotesquely attired in red, and exciting the emotion of pity must be given tricked out with leaves, waddled in and to the young actor himself. mimicked the hymn of the chorus. Imogen (Tara, i.e. Star) being the cen

The manager remonstrated, and some tral figure of the play, the adapter judilaughter-provoking chaff, after the man- ciously departs from his original in giving ner of circuses, ensued. The hymn was her name to the piece. He has shown resumed, the curtain rose, and revealed equal discrimination in cutting out the the god Ganpati, a vermilion-faced, ele- whole of that most un-Shakespearian phant-trunked monster, with gold turban, vision in Act v., his deus ex machina blue and gold tunic, and white legs, being supplied by a voice from behind the seated on a very terrestrial-looking, cane- scene. With less pleasing effect to one bottomed chair, in front of an Indian familiar with the English play, the famous house.

dirge: “Fear no more the heat o' the Ganpati directed the manager to sing sun,” has been replaced by a long disin praise of Sarasvati (goddess of learn-quisition from old Belariuś on the docing and the arts), and after the song a trine of metempsychosis. flash of stage-lightning announced the The adapter bas made the king a ludi. acceptance of the prayer.

crously contemptible personage, lorded Sarasvati, dressed in gold brocade, a over and bullied by his masculine queen. peacock's head and neck projecting from His uxoriousness, and especially his lamher girdle, the tail-feathers fastened to lentations for his dear departed consort



in the last scene, appeared to afford in- The soothsayer in Act v. was replaced finite amusement to the audience, hen. by a Brahmin astrologer, who promised pecked husbands being no rarities in the victory to Iachimo's side if they took care East, despite the zenana system.

to give the Brahmins a feed. The part of Cloten has also undergone Indians being very little accustomed to considerable modification, and has been sit on chairs, the actors seemed never made more despicably, idiotic. His ab- comfortable when doing so, the men surdities were greatly heightened by the generally sat cross-legged, and the ladies, actor, who — though rather too conscious Imogen and the queen, invariably placed of his own comicalities, and speaking too one foot on the chair, and tucked the knee manifestly at the audience -stuttered * under the chin in a manner more sugin a manner that greatly tickled his hear- gestive of comfort than elegance. The

In Act ii., SC. 3, where the musician players seemed to be most at ease when is asked to sing a “very excellent good standing erect and motionless. They conceited thing,” Cloten provoked roars used very little gesture, their action being of applause by his instructions to the declamatory rather than demonstrative. musician, and his preference for a song in There was no ranting or raving, and even which the musician burlesqued classical Posthumus, in his most infuriated tirades, music. The fight between Cloten and maintained complete repose of body. The Guiderius was made very absurd by Clo- defect of gesture was hardly compenten's attempts, and his appeal to Guide- sated for by the very artistic groupings rius for help to draw his sword from its of the characters in each scene, and the sheath. The sword-play would have as- by-play was not always sufficiently distonished Mr. Irving. The combatants, tinct. As on the Elizabethan stage, the making no attempt at defence, and never scenery and stage accessories were of allowing the swords to clash, danced the simplest description, but the costumes round and struck each other alternately were extremely rich and beautiful. Two with the flat of the blades on their lumbar scenes, one, the exterior of an Indian regions! Finally, Cloten was driven off, house, the other, three palm-trees to rephis turban, which had belonged to Post- resent the forest, and half-a-dozen common humus, falling on the ground. This tur- chairs, completed the stock of “properban, and not the headless body, is seen ties.” by Tara, and recognized as her husband's. The dresses, however, deserve descrip

It should be noted also that, widows tion by the court newsman's abler pen. not remarrying as a rule in India, Cloten The scene being laid in India, the cosis made the queen's nephew, instead of tumes were strictly Oriental. Imogen being her “son by a former husband.” wore the ordinary “full dress ” of a Mara

In reading the English play, I have tha lady - dark green sari with gold always felt that there was something con- edges, golden armlets, and earrings. Her temptible about Posthumus, and I was face was fair as any English maiden's, and given the same impression of that char. her cheeks bloomed with very conspicuacter by the Marathi version. The actor, ous rouge. Unfortunately, she had not too, hád hardly enough “presence to taken the precaution of whitening her dignify the part. The audience seemed arms to match her face, and the contrast ratber horrified at the love-scenes between was rather marked when she lifted her Imogen and Posthumus, for the well- nut-brown hand, as she frequently had regulated Indian wife, so far from run- occasion to do, to adjust the cumbersome ning to embrace her husband, usually pearl ornaments which adorned (?) her veils her face at his approach, ventures lily-white nose. A dab of red paint on perhaps to peep timidly towards him from her forehead, and a large “bob” of black beneath the folds of her sari, but takes hair projecting from the back of her head, refuge in a corner if her lord becomes at completed the picture. all demonstrative in his affection. On The rani (queen) was similarly attired the other hand, the spectators expressed in a sari of gold tissue. Posthumus wore loudly their warm approval of the women- a red velvet jacket and red turban, and hating sentiments uttered by Posthumus Iachimo was gorgeously arrayed in white in Act ji., sc. 4- but then, their wives and gold turban, and tunic of black vel. were not present !

vet with gold embroidery. All the gen

tlemen carried swords. When the scene • An interpretation probably of " The snatches in his voice,

was supposed to represent the interior of And burst of speaking."

a house, the performers wore no sandals Act iv., sc. 2. on their feet.

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »