Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

body; and not only shall we be struck the language of Ophelia in support of by the allusion, but, I contend, the the common notions with regard to whole force and meaning of the pas- the personation of this character; but sage are lost, unless the speaker can you forget the remarkable expression lay his hands upon a goodly paunch, she uses when describing to her father as he exclaims,

the unexpected visit of Lord Ham"O! that this too too solid flesh would melt, let, while she was sewing 10 bet Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew.'

closet.' We are not to suppose Hamlet speaks "At last, a little shaking of mine arm, metaphorically, but physically; and And thrice his head thus waving up and down,

He raised a sigh so piteous and profound, his corporeal appearance should be an As it did seem to shatter all his bulk, illustration of his words. He is al. And end his being.' ready weary of the world-he wishes What say you to this _His bulk! to die-but the Everlasting has fixed The sigh was so profound, that it his canon against self-slaughter,' and, seemed to shatter even his bulk! I therefore, he prays for natural disso- fancy I might rest my case here, and lution, by any wasting disease, which win my wager, eh? But I am too may 'thaw and dissolve' his ' too too skilful a general to throw away my solid flesh.' This, perhaps, you will strength at the beginning of a battle. consider merely conjectural criticism: If I have not already beaten you from plausible, but not demonstrative. I your last stronghold-from your last own it has a higher character in my defence-I have a corps de reserve, eyes; and, unless I am greatly mista- which will at once decide the victory. ken, even the ghost of his own father You remember the concluding scene, glances at his adipose tendency, when I suppose-the fencing bout between he says,

Hamlet and Laertes ? What do you I find thee apt,

think of the following little bit of diaBut duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed That roots itself in ease on Lethe's wharf,

logue ? Wouldst thou not stir in this.

* Laertes.-A touch-a touch, -1 do confess. That is, according to my reading, 'fat

ding afat King.-Our son shall win.

QUEEN.-HE'S FAT AND SCANT OF BREATH. as thou art, thou wouldst be duller

Here, than the fat weed of Lethe if you did Hamlet, take my napkin-rub thy brows. not bestir yourself in this business.' **

mozes * * Come, let me WIPE THY FACE! Observe, too, with what propriety Do you not imagine you see the pursy Shakspeare has here employed the Prince, puffing and blowing and sweatword 'stir, it being a well-known facting with the exertion he had made, that corpulent persons have a strong and larding the lean earth,' like andisinclination to locomotion. And other Falstaff almost? Nay, the very Hamlet himself, (in his interview with words, 'Come, let me wipe thy face,' Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,) makes are addressed by Doll Tearsheet to a pointed allusion to the indolence and Falstaff, when he was heated by his lethargy which so commonly accom- pursuit of Pistol :- Alas, poor ape, pany obesity. I have of late,' he how thou sweatest ! Come, let me says, but wherefore I know not, lost wipe thy face. Hem !" quoth Mr. all my mirth, foregone all custom of Henry Augustus Constantine Stubbs, exercises, and, indeed, it goes so hea- "I have done-and pause for a reply." vily with my disposition,' &c. &c. “You'll be horribly laughed at," Now what is this, I would fain know, said M Crab, “if you do make Hamif it be not the natural complaint of a let a fat little fellow." man suffering under the oppression of “Shall I ?” exclaimed Stubbs, with too much Nesh ? or, as he afterwards a contented chuckle, and rubbing his expresses it, with another allusion to hands-o shall I be horribly laughed his fatness, to grunt and sweat, un- at?” der a weary life?' You have quoted « Ay,” replied M Crab, “and glo

riously gibbeted the next day, in all “ but it will be a gross violation of the papers, for your Sancho Panza the author's text.”. exhibition.”

“How so, friend M-Crab?" replied "Pooh!”ejaculated Stubbs,“ pooh! Stubbs. pooh! what care I for the rascally pa- « How so !” answered M‘Crab. pers ? Don't I know what sort of “ You forget that Polonius and the critics they are who guide the public King conceal themselves as lawful taste, and fulminate their mighty we espials,' behind the arras, watching in the columns of a newspaper ?” this interview, in the hope of thus dis

“ Why, to be sure,” answered covering whether the madness of M'Crab,“ when it is recollected that Hamlet springs from love or not; and nine-tenths of the gentlemen of the that immediately after Hamlet quits press are only competent to write the stage, they enter, the King exdown the ideas of others, never hav- claiming, 'Love ! his affections do not ing tried to do so with their own, it is that way tend.' But surely Shaksan absurdity to value at a pin's fee' peare would not have put such a sentheir trashy slip slop; but the misfor- tence into the King's mouth, if Hamtune is, that however much you or I let were intended to show, by the very may despise, with equal scorn, their concluding act of his interview, that censure and their praise, there are love was the predominant passion of those—and they not a few—who hold his soul at that moment.” for gospel whatever they read in the “Never mind,” said Stubbs, a litnewspapers.”

tle disconcerted,-“I do not think I “ I know what I'll do,” exclaimed am quite so strong here as upon my Stubbs ;-' I'll prepare the public fat point ; but an impassioned kiss of mind for my proposed innovation-or the hand, as if to atone, by that silent rather, innovations—for I intend in- though eloquent language of love, for troducing several new readings in the bis harshness, will produce an effect, part, quite as original as the one I depend upon it. It will elicit monhave now propounded to you. I'll strous applause.” address two or three letters to the “ It should do so," replied M Crab, Morning Post, and say a little about “ for it will be monstrously ridicuthe gentleman' of independent for- lous.” tune who is shortly to appear in Ham « N'importe !exclaimed Stubbs, let, and his original study of the cha- gaily ; “ there are more admirers, in racter. That will be an excellent this world, of the ridiculous than of ruse de guerre, eh?”

the true, that let me tell you. But I "Do no such thing,” replied M-Crab, must to my studies, for the night apwith a malicious gravity. « Take the proaches. Next Monday-and this town by surprise. It is the only way, is Thursday- and I am by no means if it is to be taken at all. But what au fait yet in my part. So good are your other new readings ?” morning—let me see you soon again

" It would weary you, answered and meanwhile adieu ! adieu ! reinemMr. Stubbs, " to go through the ber me !" whole. I'll mention one, however. Mr. MCrab departed; and Mr. I intend to let Ophelia see,

Henry Augustus Constantine Stubbs · That I essentially am not in madness, prepared to go through the soliloquy But mad in craft.

of “ To be-or not to be," before a So, after bidding her go to a nunne- mirror which reflected the whole of ry, before I quit the stage I will take his person. her hand, kiss it tenderly, look in her Monday came, and oh! with what face with a silent expression of doting a futter of delight Mr. Stubbs cast fondness, and sigh desperately as I his eyes upon that part of the paper, slowly retire froin ber presence.” where the play for the evening was

“ It may be new," said M‘Crab, announced, and where he read, This

evening will be acted the tragedy of stretch across the carriage road; but Hamlet : the part of Hamlet by a Gen- he was sure there were some hundreds, tleman, his first appearance on any though so early, and he thought they stage.But this was not enough for must have heard who the “gentleman'' the eager appetite of his supremely was, that was then rolling by: He blest ainbition. He rang for his boots; would not be positive, too; but he he put on his hat and gloves ; he could almost swear he heard an huzza, walked forth; he traversed more than as he passed along. There were above fifty streets; stopped at all the green- a dozen persons collected round the grocers' shops, biscuit-bakers, butch- stage door; and he plainly perceived ers, and fishmongers, where the bill that they drew back with respectful of the day was invitingly hung out, or admiration, as the new Hamlet stepleaned its rubric face against the rail- ped out of his carriage. ing; read, again and again, “ The partH e hastened to his dressing-room, of Hamlet by a GENTLEMAN, his first where he found his friend, the manaappearance on any stage;" wondered ger, Mr. Peaess, who shook him corthe managers did not send a bill to dially by the hand, as he informed every shop in the metropolis ; thought him that they had an excellent boxthe cobbler's stalls ought not to be book. Stubbs smiled graciously ; and without them; sauntered past the the inanager left him with his dresser, stage door of - theatre, and care- to attire himself in bis “customary lessly mingled with a group of five or suit of soleinn black.” Mr. Stubbs six men and boys in fustian jackets, had kept his intention of stuffing the who were spelling the bill of the play; character a profound secret, fearful admired the increasing taste for dra- lest any mere technical objections matic exhibitions among the lower should be made by Mr. Peaess, and orders; and returned home delightful- desirous also of making the first imly fatigued with his perambulation. pression in the green-room. When He had attended the last rehearsal on he entered it, therefore, in the likethe preceding Saturday, and so had no- ness of a chubby undertaker, ready thing to interrupt his meditations for for a funeral, rather than in that of the rest of the day; and in order that the “unmatched form and feature of they might not be interrupted, he gave blown youth”-in short, the very strict injunctions that he was at type and image of poor Tokely in home to nobody.” He dined alone, Peter Pastoral,-his eyes and ears off a roast chicken and a pint of Ma- were on the alert to catch the look of deira ; and on one side of his plate surprise, and buzz of admiration, was the “ tragedy of Hamlet, by W. which he very naturally anticipated. Shakspeare," and on the other, a He was a little daunted by a supsmall house bill, as it is called, spread pressed titter which ran round the out, with the decanter placed upon room; but he was utterly confounded one corner of it, to prevent its blow- when his best and dearest friend, Mr. ing away whenever the servant opened Peaess himself, coming up to him, the door.

exclaimed,-" Why, zounds! Mr. Thus he sate, feeding on walnuts Stubbs, what have you been doing ? and glorious fancies, till he heard the The audience will never stand this !” five o'clock bell of the general post- “ Stand what ?" replied Henry Auman, when he started up, and pre- gustus Constantine Stubbs. pared to go to the theatre. His car- « What?" echoed the manager; riage was at the door—and he told the “why this pot-belly, and those checoachman to drive down street, rub cheeks.” that he might see, in passing along, “Pooh! pooh!” replied Stubbs, whether the crowd at the pit and gal- "it's Shakspeare, and I can prove it.” lery doors, would obstruct his pro- « You may pooh! pooh ! as much gress. It was not quite so large as to as you like, Mr. Stubbs,” rejoined

the manager; " but you've made a It was soon evident that they would mere apple-dumpling of yourself.” not, or rather that they could not,

“ Do you think so ?” exclaimed stand it. But it was not alone his Stubbs, glancing in one of the mirrors new reading in what regarded the - Well; I do assure you it is Shak- person of Hamlet, that excited asspeare, and I'll prove it. But what tonishment. Mr. Stubbs had so many shall I do?" and he looked imploring- other new readings, that before he got ly round upon the broad, grinning to the end of his first speech, begincountenances of the other performers. ning with, “ Seems, madanı ! nay, it

"Do ?” ejaculated Mr. Peaess; is,” they were satisfied of what was " you can do nothing now—the cur- to follow. When, however, Mr. tain has been up these ten minutes ; Stubbs stood alone upon the stage, in Horatio and Marcellus are coming off, the full perfection of his figure, and and you must go on.”

concentrated upon himself the undiAt this moment the ghost of Ham- vided attention of the house, when let's father entered the room, but be- he gathered up his face into an indefore he had time to look upon his son, scribable aspect of woe-but, above the call-boy's summons was beard for all, when, placing his two hands upon the King, Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, his little round belly, he exclaimed, Laertes, &c., to be ready, and forth while looking sorrowfully at it, sallied poor Mr. Henry Augustus Constantine Stubbs, to prove, if he

“ Oh, that this too too solid flesh would melt, could, to the audience, that bis rotun

(Pat, went the right hand,) dity was perfectly Shaksperian. Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,”

The awful flourish of drum and . (Pat, went the left hand) trumpet was sounded ;-their majes- the effect was irresistible. One roar ties of Denmark, attended by their of laughter shool

of laughter shook the theatre, from train of courtiers, walked on. There is the back row of the shilling gallery to a pause! All eyes are bent in eager the first

the first row of the pit, mingled with gaze to catch the first glimpse of the

cries of bravo ! bravo ! go on, my litnew Hamlet-all hands are ready to tle fellow-you shall have fair playapplaud. He appears—boxes, pit, -silence-bravo ! silence !-Stubbs, and gallery, join in the generous wel- meanwhile, looked as if he were recome of the unknown candidate. He

ally wondering what they were all revives-hastens to the foot-lights

laughing at; and when at length sibows/another round of applause-- lence was partially restored, he conbows again-and again—and then tinued his soliloquy. His delivery of falls back, to let the business of the the lines. scene proceed. He looks round, meanwhile, with the swelling con- “ Fye on't, oh fye ! 'tis an unweeded garden sciousness that he is at that moment

That grows to seed : things rank and gross in

nature,” &c. " the observed of all observers,” and tries to rally his agitated spirits ; but was one of his new readings—for just as he is heginning to do so, bis holding up his finger, and looking towandering eye rests upon the ill- wards the audience with a severe exomened face of M.Crab, seated in pression of countenance, it appeared the front-row of the stage-box, who as though he were chiding their ill is gazing at him with a grotesque manners in laughing at him, when he snuile, which awakens an overwhelm- said, “ Fye on't-oh, fye!” ing recollection of his own prediction, He was allowed to proceed, howthat he would be “ horribly laughed ever, with such interruptions only as at, if he did make Hamlet a fat little his own original conceptions of the fellow," as well as a bewildering re- part provoked from time to time ; or miniscence of the manager's, that when anything he had to say was ob“ the audience would not stand it.” viously susceptible of an application

to himself. Thus, for example, in servation to escape him, which indithe scene with Horatio and Marcellus, cated he thought anything was aniss. after his interview with the ghost: Then, indeed, while sitting in the

green-room, and as if the idea had “ Ham. And now, good friends, As you are friends, scholars, and soldiers,

just struck him, he said to Mr. Peaess, Give me one poor request.

Do you know, I begin to think I Hor. What is it, my lord? We will.

lord ? We will have some enemies in the house, for Ham. Never make known what you have when in the scene with Opbelia, I seen to-night.

said, 'What should such fellows as I « Let him, if he likes,” exclaimed do crawling between earth and beaa voice from the pit he'll never ven?' somebody called out, loud see such a sight again.”—Then, in his enough for me to hear him, “Aye! instructions to the players, his delivery what, indeed ? It's very odd. Did of them was accompanied by some- you notice it, ina'am ?” he continued, thing like the following running com- addressing the lady who performed mentary :

Ophelia. “I can't say I did,” repli“ Speak the speech, I pray you, as ed the lady, biting her lips most unI pronounced it to you, (that is im- mercifully, to preserve her gravity of possible !) trippingly on the tongue : countenance. but if you mouth it, as many of our T his was the only remark made by players do, (laughter,) I had as lief the inimitable Mr. Stubbs during the the town-cricr spoke my lines.* **- whole evening, and he went through Oh, it offends me to the soul, to hear a the fifth act with unabated self-confirobustious, periwig-pated fellow (like dence. His dying scene was honored yourself) tear a passion to tatters, &c. with thunders of applause, and loud -I would have such a fellow whipped cries of encore. Stubbs raised his (give it him, he deserves it) for o'er- head, and looking at Horatio, who doing Termagant.* **Oh, there be was bending over him, inquired, “ Do players that I have seen play, (no, we you think they mean it ?” see him,) and heard others praise, and “Lie still, for God's sake!” exthat highly, (oh! oh! oh!) not to claimed Horatio, and the curtain slow. speak it profanely, that, having nei- ly descended amid the deafening roars ther the accent of Christians, (ha! of laughter, and shouts of hurrah! ha! ha!) nor the gait of Christian, hurrah! Pagan, nor man, have so strutted The next morning, at breakfast, (bravo! little 'un !) and bellowed, Stubbs found all the daily papers on (hit him again !) that I have thought his table, pursuant to his directions. some of nature's journeymen bad He took up one, and read, in large made them, (who made you ?) and not letters—“THEATRE. First AND made them well, (no, you are a bad LAST APPEARANCE OF MR. HENRY fit,) they imitated humanity so abomi- AUGUSTUS CONSTANTINE STUBBS, nably." (Roars of laughter !) IN HAMLET.”

It was thus Mr. Henry Augustus He read no more. The paper Constantine Stubbs enacted Hamlet; dropped from his hands; and Mr. and it was not till the end of the Stubbs remained nothing but a GENfourth act that he suffered a single ob- TLEMAN all the rest of his life.

EXTRACTS FROM MY NEPHEW'S DIARY.

DEAR MR. EDITOR,—The following without an occasional spice of affectadocuments I gleaned from the volumi- tion; and, therefore, my regard for nous journal of a lately deceased ne- the memory of one who was alınost a phew. They are evidently written in child to me would bare restrained me the most careless manner, yet not from publishing them, if I had not

« AnteriorContinuar »