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hold on with him untired, coming as he imagined I did from poor powerless London. He walked well and shot well; indeed, his aim was unerring, but I rather think he was not severe enough to his dogs for a gamekeeper, not but that I honoured his character the more for this its professional weakness. When Rattler, a tall handsome galloping setter, with a liver and white skin, and curly head, raced over a field and proceeded to bound a hedge or shoot a gate without leave, I have seen his master (almost delivered to wrath I confess) halloo and whistle him in,_ take his long napkin of an ear in one hand, and stretching forth the other, like an orator, expostulate, as man would talk to man, on his undoglike conduct. His “ for shame” awed even me. Rattler remembered the admonition for a time; but I fear a small whip would have been more impressive, much as I should have grieved to see so handsome a creature corrected. During our walk I spake to my guide of the Turks and of the Greeks, people of books, imaginary men, creatures for travelers to romance upon. Adams listened with visible delight, and put ques
tions to me, credulous but sensible, to which I replied as faithfully and plainly as possible. He liked to hear of the habits of these nations, even though he was not quite convinced of their positive existence.
I have been in many scenes, and with those persons who are called lovers of the country, but never did I pass such a happy golden time as that which I whiled away in the humble hospitable cottage of Harry Adams.
Here I conclude my rambling history. But who can write of a wi and romantic forest, peopled with such associations as those which abide in Bradgate, and keep the straight and beaten path? Here and there I may in descriptive particulars be incorrect, but I am strictly faithful to my impressions, and write from recollections that were born between six and seven years ago. The memory of Lady Jane Grey made the place sacred to me, and therefore I thought that some record, however slight, might find readers who would take pleasure in the same. If I have thought correctly, I shall not have written wholly in vain.
ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS.
Of all the actors who flourished in my time—a melancholy phrase if taken aright, reader–Bensley had most of the swell of soul, was greatest in the delivery of heroic conceptions, the emotions consequent upon the presentment of a great idea to the fancy. He had the true poetical enthusiasm—the rarest faculty among players. None that I remember possessed even a portion of that fine madness which he threw out in Hotspur's famous rant about glory, or the transports of the Venetian incendiary at the vision of the fired city.” His voice had the dissonance, and at times the inspiriting effectof the trumet. His gait was uncouth and stiff, but no way embarrassed by affectation; and the thorough-bred gentleman was uppermost in every move
ment. He seized the moment of passion with the greatest truth; like a faithful clock never striking before the time; never anticipating or leading you to anticipate. He was totally destitute of trick and artifice. He seemed come upon the stage to do the poet's message simply, and he did it with as genuine fidelity as the nuncios in Homer deliver the errands of the gods. He let the passion or the sentiment do its own work without prop or bolstering. He would have scorned to mountebank it; and betrayed none of that cleverness which is the bane of serious acting. For this reason, his Iago was the only endurable one which I remember to have seen. No spectator from his action could divine more of his artifice than Othello was supposed to do.” His confessions in soliloquy alone put you in possession of the mystery. There were no bye-intimations to make the audience fancy their own discernment so much greater than that of the Moor—who commonly stands like a great helpless mark set up for mine Ancient, and a to clear my cloudy face for two or three hours at least of its furrows? Was this the face—manly, sober, intelligent, which I had so often despised, made mocks at, made merry with ? The remembrance of the freedoms which I had taken with it came upon me with a reproach of insult. I could have asked it pardon. I thought it looked upon me with a sense of injury. There is something strange as well as sad in seeing actors—your pleasant fellows particularly—subjected to and suffering the common lot—their fortunes, their casualties, their deaths, seem to belong to the scene, their actions to be amenable to poetic justice only. We can hardly connect them with more awful responsibilities. The death of this fine actor took place shortly after this meeting. He had quitted the stage some months; and, as I learned afterwards, had been in the habit of resorting daily to these gardens almost to the day of his decease. In these serious walks probably he was divesting himself of many scenic and some real vanities—weaning himself from the frivolities of the lesser and the greater theatre—doing gentle penance for a life of no very reprehensible fooleries, taking off by degrees the buffoon mask . he might feel he had worn too long—and rehearsing for a more solemn cast of part. ying he “put on the weeds of Dominic.” The elder Palmer (of stage-treading celebrity) commonly played Sir Toby in those days; but there is a solidity of wit in the jests of that half-Falstaff which he did not quite fill out. He was as much too showy as Moody (who sometimes took the part) was dry and sottish. In sock or buskin there was an air of swagering gentility about Jack Palmer. e was a gentleman with a slight infusion of the footman. His brother Bob (of recenter memory) who was
* How lovelily the Adriatic whore
uantity of barren spectators, to shoot their bolts at. The Iago of * did not go to work so grossly. There was a triumphant tone about the character, natural to a general consciousness of power; but none of that petty vanity which chuckles and cannot contain itself upon any little successful stroke of its knavery—which is common with your small villains, and green probationers in mischief. It did not clap or crow before its time. It was not a man setting his wits at a child, and winking all the while at other children who are mightily pleased at being let into the secret; but a consummate villain entrapping a noble nature into toils, against which no discernment was available, where the manner was as fathomless as the purpose seemed dark, and without motive. The part of Malvolio, in the Twelfth Night, was performed by Bensley, with a richness and a dignity of which (to judge from some recent castings of that character) the very tradition must be worn out from the stage. No manager in those days would have dreamed of giving it to Mr. Baddeley, or Mr. Parsons: when Bensley was occasionally absent from the theatre, John Kemble thought it no derogation to succeed to the part. Malvolio is not essentially ludicrous. He becomes comic but by accident. He is cold, austere, repelling ; but dignified, consistent, and, for what appears, rather of an over-stretched morality. Maria describes him as a sort of Puritan ;
and he might have worn his gold chain with honour in one of our old round-head families, in the service of a Lambert, or a Lady Fairfax. But his morality and his manners are misplaced in Illyria. He is opposed to the proper levities of the piece, and falls in the unequal contest. Still his pride, or his gravity, (call it which you will) is inherent, and native to the man, not mock or affected, which latter only are the fit objects to excite laughter. His quality is at the best unlovely, but neither buffoon, nor contemptible. His bearing is lofty, a little above his station, but probably not much above his deserts. We see no reason why he should not have been brave, honourable, accomplished. His careless committal of the ring to the 5. (which he was commissioned to restore to Cesario), bespeaks a generosity of birth and feeling.” His dialect on all occasions is that of a gentleman, and a man of education. We must not confound him with the eternal low steward of comedy. He is master of the household to a great Princess, a dignity probably conferred upon him for other respects than age or length of service.t. Olivia, at the first indication of his supposed madness, declares that she “would not have him miscarry for half of her dowry.” Does this look as if the character was meant to appear little or insignificant P Once, indeed, she accuses him to his face—of what Pof being “ sick of self-love,”—but with a gentleness and considerateness which could not have been, if she had not thought that this particular infirmity shaded some virtues. His rebuke to the knight, and his sottish revellers, is sensible and spirited ; and when we take into consideration the unprotected condition of his mistress, and the strict regard with
* Viola. She took the ring from me; I'll none of it. --- - Mal. Come, Sir, you peevishly threw it to her; and her will is, it should be so returned. If it be worth stooping for, there it lies in your eye; if not, be it his that
+ Mrs. Inchbald seems to have fallen into the common mistake of the character in
some sensible observations, otherwise, upon this Comedy.
“It might be asked,” she
says, “whether this credulous steward was much deceived in imputing a degraded taste, in the sentiments of love, to his fair lady Olivia, as she actually did fall in love with a domestic; and one, who from his extreme youth, was perhaps a greater reproach to her discretion, than had she cast a tender regard upon her old and faithful servant." But where does she gather the fact of his age? Neither Maria nor Fabian ever cast that re
proach upon him.
* * * *
which her state of real or dissembled mourning would draw the eyes of the world upon her house-affairs, Malvolio might feel the honour of the family in some sort in his keeping, as it appears not that Olivia had any more brothers, or kinsmen, to look to it—for Sir Toby had dropped all such mice respects at the buttery hatch. That Malvolio was meant to be represented as possessing some estimable qualities, the expression of the Duke in his anxiety to have him reconciled, almost infers. “Pursue him, and intreat him to a peace.” Even in his abused state of chains and darkness, a sort of greatness seems never to desert him. He argues highly and well, with the supposed Sir Topas,” and philosophizes gallantly upon his straw. There must have been some shadow of worth about the man; he must have been something more than a mere vapour—a thing of straw, or Jack in office—before Fabian and Maria could have ventured sending him upon a courting errand to Olivia. There was some consonancy (as he would say) in the undertaking, or the jest would *have been too bold even for that thouse of misrule. There was “example for it,” said Malvolio; “the lady of the Strachy married the yeoiman of the wardrobe.” Possibly too he might remember—for it must have thappened about his time—an instance of a Duchess of Malfy (a countrywoman of Olivia's, and her equal at least), descending from her state to courther steward—
The misery of them that are born great : They .. rced to woo, because none dare woo them. To be sure the lady was not very tenderly handled for it by her brothers in the sequel, but their vengeance appears to have been whetted rather by her presumption in re-marrying at all, (when they had meditated the keeping of her fortune in their family) than by her choice of an inferior, of Antonio's noble merits especially, for her husband; and, besides, Olivia's brother was just dead. Malvolio was a man of reading, and
the man might well be rapt into a fool's paradise.
Bensley threw over the part an air of Spanish loftiness. He looked, spake, and moved like an old Castilian. He was starch, spruce, opinionated, but his superstructure of pride seemed bottomed upon a sense of worth. There was something in it beyond the coxcomb. It was big and swelling, but you could not be sure that it was hollow. You might wish to see it taken down, but you felt that it was }. an elevation. He was magnificent from the outset; but when the decent sobrieties of the character began to give way, and the poison of self-love in his conceit of the Countess's affection 5. to work, you would have though that the hero of La Mancha in person stood before wou. How he went smiling to himself! with what ineffable carelessness would he twirl his gold chain what a dream it was 1 you were infected with the illusion, and did not wish that it should be removed you had no room for laughter! if an unseasonable reflection of morality obtruded itself, it was a
igs laid the waiting maid
* Clown. What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wildfowl?
deep sense of the pitiable infirmity of man's nature, that can lay him open to such frenzies—but in truth you rather admired than pitied the
unacy while it lasted—you felt that an hour of such mistake was worth an age with the eyes open. Who would not wish to live but for a day in the conceit of such a lady's love as Olivia * Why, the Duke would have given his principality but for a quarter of a minute, sleeping or waking, to have been so deluded. The man seemed to tread upon air, to taste manna, to walk with his head in the clouds, to mate Hyperion. O ! shake not the castles of his pride— endure yet for a season bright moments of confidence—“ stand still ye watches of the element,” that Malvolio may be still in fancy fair Olivia's lord—but fate and retribution say no-I hear the mischievous titter of Maria—the witty taunts of Sir Toby-the still more insupportable triumph of the foolish knight—the counterfeit Sir Topas is unmasked— and “ thus the whirligig of time,” as the true clown hath it, “brings in his revenges.” I confess that I never saw the catastrophe of this character while Bensley played it without a ind of tragic interest. There was ood foolery too. Few now rememer Dodd. What an Aguecheek the stage lost in him " Lovegrove, who came nearest to the old actors, revived the character some few seasons ago, and made it sufficiently grotesque; but Dodd was it, as it came out of nature's hands. It might be said to remain in puris naturalibus. In expressing slowness of apprehension this actor surpassed all others. You could see the first dawn of an idea stealing slowly over his countenance, climbing up by little and little, with a painful process, till it cleared up at last to the fulness of a twilight conception—its highest meridian. He seemed to keep back his intellect, as some have had the power to retard their pulsation. The balToon takes less time in filling, than it took to cover the expansion of his ‘broad moony'face over all its quarters with expression. A glimmer of understanding would appear in a corner of his eye, and for lack of fuel go out again. A part of his forehead would catch a little intel
ligence, and be a long time in communicating it to the remainder. I am ill at dates, but I think it is now better than five and twenty years ago that walking in the gardens of Gray's Inn—they were then far finer than they are now—the accursed Verulam Buildings had not encroached upon all the east side of them, cutting out delicate green crankles, and shouldering away one of two of the stately alcoves of the terrace — the survivor stands gaping and relationless as if it remembered its brother—they are is the best gardens of any of the Inns of Court, my beloved Temple not forgotten—have the gravest character, their aspect being altogether reverend and law-breathing—Bacon has left the impress of his foot upon their gravel walks—taking my afternoon solace on a summer . upon the aforesaid terrace, a comely sad personage came towards me, whom from his grave air and deportment I judg: ed to be one of the old Benchers of the Inn. He had a serious thoughtful forehead, and seemed to be in meditations of mortality. As I have an instinctive awe of old Benchers, I was
his shadow in every thing while he lived, and dwindled into less than a shadow afterwards—was a gentlemah with a little stronger infusion of the latter ingredient; that was all. It is amazing how a little of the more or less makes a difference in these things. When you saw Bobby in the Duke's Servant,t you said, what a pity such a pretty fellow was only a servant. When you saw Jack figuring in Captain Absolute, you thought you could trace his promotion to some lady of quality who fancied the handsome fellow in his topknot, and had bought him a commission. Therefore Jack in Dick Amlet was insuperable. Jack had two voices, both plausible, hypocritical, and insinuating; but his secondary or supplemental voice still more decisively histrionic than his common one. It was reserved for the spectator; and the dramatis personae were supposed to know nothing at all about it. The lies of young Wilding, and the sentiments in Joseph Surface, were thus marked out in a sort of italics to the audience. This secret correspondence with the company before the curtain (which is the bane and death of tragedy) has an extremely happy effect in some kinds of comedy, in the more
highly artificial comedy of Congreve
or of Sheridan especially, where the absolute sense of reality (so indispensable to scenes of interest) is not reuired, or would rather interfere to iminish your pleasure. The fact is, you do not believe in such characters as Surface—the villain of artificial comedy—even while you read or see them. If you did, they would shock and not divert you. When Ben, in Love for Love, returns from sea, the following exquisite dialogue occurs at his first meeting with his father— Sir Sampson. Thou hast been many a
weary league, Ben, since I saw thee. Ben. Ey, ey, been I Been far enough,
* Dodd was a man of reading, and left at his death a choice collection of old English literature. I should judge him to have been a man of wit. I know one instance of an impromptu, which no length of study could have bettered. My merry friend, Jem ite, had seen him one evening in Aguecheek, and recognising Dodd the next day in Fleet Street, was irresistibly impelled to take off his hat and salute him as the identical Rnight of the preceding evening with a “Save you, Sir Andrew.” Dodd, not at all disconcerted at this unusual address from a stranger, with a courteous half-rebuking wave of the hand, put him off with an “Away, Fool.”
+ High Life Below Stairs.