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The Bay of Biscay O' By ANDnew CHERRY. 534 The Sea. - - - - - - -
On wi' the Tartan. By Hugh Ainslie. . 542 Count Balthazar. . . - - -
For Lack of Gold. By Dr. AustiN... . . 544 The Heart-Broken. - - - - -
FRAzer. . - - - - - . 544 An Irish Song. - - e - -
There lives a Young Lassie. - - . 549 I love my Love, because he loves me. . -
Biographical Notice of Edwand CoATE PIrr-
r Edwamp CoATE
THE MIRROR LIBRARY,
JUDITH, OR THE OPERA. BOX,
IRY EUGENE SCRIBE.
0-1 evening—if I remember rightly, it was at the end of 183 —there was a great crowd at the Opera, for Taglioni was to dance. The spectators had crowded themselves on the steps of the orchestra, and the extra stools furnished for the friends of the conductor formed a sort of barricade which I found it difficult to surmount, amidst cries of “ Hush, hush : silence, silence " from the enthusiastic amateurs whom I disturbed. For when Taglioni dances, one not only gazes but listens. It seems as if the eye were not sufficient to admire with. I found mysels in an awkward position, forced to stand amidst a group of my friends whom I met there by appointment, and who were too much crowded to make room for me, when a young man rose and offered me his seat, which I declined, noto to deprive him of the pleasure of the spectacle. “It is no deprivation,” he said—“I am going out.” I accepted his offer with thanks; and my obliging neighbour cast a last look at the stage before taking his departure, stopped an instant, and leaning his back against the box of General Claparede, seemed to look for some one in the distance, and then, sinking gradually into a profound revery, thought no more of retiring. He was right in saying I did not deprive him of the view; for, turning his back to the stage—seeing nothing -hearing nothing—he appeared entirely to forget where he was. I examined him attentively. It was impossible to imagine a face more handsome or expressive. Dressed simply and elegantly, there was something noble and dis. tinguished in all his movements. He seemed about fiveand-twenty. His fine black eyes were fixed incessantly on a front box of the second tier with an indefinable ex. pression of m 'ancholy and despair. Involuntarily I turned in that direction, and I saw that the box was empty. ‘He expects somebody who has not come,” I said.— “She has deceived him—she is ill—or her father has prevented her, and he loves and expects in vain. Poor young man " And I watched as attentively as he. I pitied aim, and would have given the world to see the door of the bor opened; but it remained closed. The ballette was about to end ; and while the inferior dancers were performing, conversation as usual proceeded almost aloud. Among other things, we talked of Robert le Diable, which was then in rehearsal, and was about to appear in a few days. My friends made all sorts of inquiries—about the music—the ballettes—the situations, te, and begged very earnestly to attend the last rehearsals. A rehearsal seems so strange and wonderful to those unaccustomed to it! I promised to introduce them, and * al rose up to go away, for the curtain was about to
who remained still motionless in the same place, I ex pressed my regret that I had accepted his offer, and my gratification if I could do anything to oblige him in re. turn. “You can do so quite easily,” he replied; “I have just gathered that you are M. Meyerbeer.” “I have not that honour—” “At any rate, you are one of the authors of Robert le Diable 7” “After a sort,” I said; “I wrote the words.” “Well, then,” he rejoined, “let me be present at the rehearsal to-morrow.” “We are so little prepared as yet, that I can only ven. ture to ask my friends.” “That is one reason more for my repeating the request.” “And,” I said, “I am delighted you have repeated it on those terms.” He shook my hand, and the hour was fixed for the fol lowing day. He was exact to his appointment. We walked for e few minutes about the stage before the rehearsal commenced. He spoke gravely, yet pleasantly and cleverly ; but it was easy to perceive that it needed an effort to keep up the conversation, and that he was pre-occupied with other thoughts. Our goddesses of the dance and of the song began to arrive one after another. Several times I perceived him tremble, and once his agitation was so great that he had to support himself on the side scenes. I began to suspect he was a rejected lover of one of our Clios or Terpsichores—a suspicion which his extreme handsomeness and his style altogether rendered by no means probable; and in reality I was mistaken. He spoke to no one—went near no one—and no one knew who he was. The rehearsal began. I looked for him in the orches. tra among the amateurs. He was not there; and though the body of the house was somewhat dark, I thought 1 saw him in the front box which he had gazed on so con stantly the night before. I was anxious to make sure of this, and at the end of the rehearsal, after the admirable trio of the fifth act, I ascended to the second tier. Mey; erbeer, who had something to say to me, accompanied me. We arrived at the box, of which the door was half open, and saw the unknown with his head resting on his hands. At our approach, he turned quickly round and rose up. His pale face was covered with tears. Meyerbeer was overjoyed ; and, without saying a word, shook his hand most kindly, as if to thank him. The unknown, trying to conceal his embarrassment, muttered some words of compliment in such a vague and unconnected manner, that he saw he had not listened to the performance, and that for two hours he had been thinking of any thing rather than the music. Meyerbeer whispered to me in despair—“The wretch has not heard a note:" We all three descended the stairs; and crossing the ..arge beautiful court which leads to the Rue Grange Batalierc, the unknown bowed to M. Sausseret, who at that time had the letting of the seats. I went to M. Sausseret. “You know that handsome ycung fellow who has just left me?” “M. Arthur–Rue du Helder–No. 9. I know nothing more. He has engaged a box on the second tier for this winter.” “He was there this moment,” I said. “Then he seems to use it in the morning only, for he never goes near it at night. The box is always empty.” And in fact, the whole week the door was never opened. The box remained deserted. The first appearance of Robert was now near, and on such occasions a poor devil of an author is overwhelmed with applications for boxes and tickets. You may imagine what time he has to attend to his play, and the changes and curtailments that may be required. He has to answer letters and claims that pour in upon him from all quarters, and it is invariably the ladies who are most exacting on such nights. “ %. were to have got me two boxes, and I have only got one.” “You promised me No. 10, next to the General's, and they have sent me No. 15, next to Madame D , whom I detest, and who casts me into the shade with her diamonds.” A first night is a time when you get into scrapes with your best friends, who, perhaps, overlook it in a few days if your piece “takes,” but who nurse their indignation a long time if you are damned; so that you are punished both by them and the public at the same time. Missor. tunes never come alone. Well, then, on the morning of the first night of Robert, I had promised a box to some ladies; but the manager took it away from me to give it to—a journalist. I complained. He replied, “”Tis for a journalist. You understand A journalist who hates you, but who has promised—thanks to my politeness in .giving him your box—to speak favourably of the music.” It was impossible to resist an argument like this, and the box was given up. But where was I to bestow my sair friends, whose wrath was a much more serious matter to me than that of the journalist 7 I luckily remem. 'bered my unknown acquaintance, and went to his residenee. His room was very simple and unostentatious, particularly for a man who had a box at the Opera. “My dear sir,” I said, “I come to ask you a great savour.” “Say on.” “Do you intend to be present at the first representation of Robert le Diable 2 In your box, I mean.” He appeared embarrassed, and replied with some hesiation, “I should be very happy—but—it is impossible.” “Have you disposed of it !” “ No.” “Will you give it up to me? You will get me cut of an awkward predicament.” His trouble seemed to increase every moment. He could not refuse me ; and at last, as if making a great effort to command himself, he said, “I agree, but upon one condition—that you put nobody into that box but men.” “Impossible, my dear sir, I ask it expressly to accom:modate some ladies.” He was silent for a while. “And among those ladies,” he said, “is there any one you love 7” “ Undoubtedly,” I ...i. “Then take the box,” he said, “for I leave Paris toda .” made a motion expressive of interest and curiosity, and he seemed to divine my thoughts; for he took me by the hand, and said, “You no doubt perceive that cer. tain fond and sad remembrances attach themselves to that box. I can communicate them to no one. Of what
had passed away.
“You come late,” said one of my friends, a professo, of civil law, who has as much “esprit” at night as eru dition in the morning. “And you are very wrong in so doing,” added a lite man dressed in black, with a sharp voice and a powde ed head, as he tapped me on the shoulder. I turned round, and saw M. Baraton, the notary of my family. “You here " I cried—“ and your office—” “Sold it three months ago—I am rich—I am a widower—I am sixty years old—I have been twenty years married, and thirty years a notary—I think I am entitled to a little enjoyment.” “And he has now been a subscriber to the Opera for eight days,” said the professor of civil law. “Ay, to be sure; I like to laugh; I like comedy, and so I have bought an admission here.” “And why not at the Fran ais ?” “Oh not half so amusing as here—one sees and hears the most extraordinary things in the world. These gentlemen know every thing—there is not a box of which they do not know the history.” “Indeed " I cried, and mechanically turned towards the box on the second tier, which had so excited my curiosity some years before. What was my amazement: That night it was empty as before; and the only empty one in the whole house ! I was delighted to have a history to tell, and in a few words related all that I have now told you. I was listened to with attention: my friends were lost in conjecture— the professor tried to recall some ancient recollections— the little notary smiled most maliciously. “Well, gentlemen,” I said to them, “which of you (who know everything) can unriddle this enigma for us; who can tell us the story of that mysterious box 7” They were all silent, even the professor, who passed his hand over his brow as if to refresh his recollection of some anecdote, and would probably have finished by inventing one appropriate to the occasion, if the notary had given him time. “Who will tell you that story !" he exclaimed, with an air of triumph, “who but I ?—I know the whole particulars.” “You, M. Baraton 7” “To be sure.” “Go on, then—go on,”—and we all drew near to listen. “Go on, M. Baraton.” “Well, then,” said the little notary, with an importunt look, and taking a pinch of snuff, “which of you was acquainted with—” But at that moment the first crash of the overture began—and M. Baraton, who piqued himself on not losing a single note, stopped immediately, and said—“After the first act, gentlemen.”
“Gentlemen,” said the notary, when the first act of the Huguenots was finished, “Queen Marguerite has to be dressed with all her maids of honour—the castle and gardens of Chenonceaux have to be got ready; and the interval will be long enough, I think, to enable me to tell you the story you wish to hear.” And after a placid puncil of snuff, which gave him time to collect his thoughts, M. Baraton commenced in these words:– “Which of you, gentlemen, was acquainted with the little Judith ?” We all looked at each other, and the oldest frequenter of the orchestra was puzzled. “The little Judith,” he went on, “who some seven or eight years ago was brought out as a figurante in the ballette " “Stay,” said the professor of civil law, with somewhat of a pedantic air, “a little blonde who was one of the pages in the Muette 7" ” She was dark,” said the notary: “ as to the part vor.