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was an attractive woman ? You took love with her. I should say, for my part, him up rather sharply."
that it is very likely. I have seen a “No, I did n’t,” said Minnie, with that great many things of the kind, though freedom of speech which is so pleasant you never open your eyes. He is always among near relations. “I said she was going to Markland to see what he can rather old for that."
do, if there is anything she wants. He “She is scarcely any older than you. is almost sure to fall in love with I know that from the peerage. I looked her.” her up."
Minnie, a married woman!” “So did I,” said Miss Warrender. “Oh, you little simpleton! She is not “ That does not make her a day younger a married woman, she is a widow; and or more attractive. She is four years she is left extremely well off and with older than Theo : therefore she is as if everything in her hands, – that is to say, she were not to him. Four years is a she would be very well off if there was dreadful difference when it is on the any money. A widow is in the best posiwrong side.”
tion of any woman.
She can do what Chatty was ridiculously simple for a she likes, and nobody has any right to person of three and twenty. She said, object.” “ I cannot think what that has to do "Oh, Minnie!” protested the younger with it. The rector is really very silly sister again. at times in what he says."
“ You can ask mamma, if you don't “I don't see that he is silly. What he believe me. But of course she would means is that Lady Markland will amuse not have anything to say to Theo,” Miss herself with Theo, and that he will fall in Warrender said.
M. 0. W. Oliphant.
TIME IN SHAKESPEARE'S COMEDIES.
I PROPOSE to analyze the plays of tinguished American commentator, Mr. Shakespeare for the purpose of indicat- Richard Grant White, is one of the ing the lapse of time which accompanies chief of these, his reasoning being simthe action of each of them. Separate ply this : that, as Shakespeare is obvidramas have occasionally been examined ously careless with regard to all such with this end in view, but I am not matters of form, it is vain to search his aware that any attempt has been made plays for evidences of intention. But to bring together within a narrow com- my precise object is to find out just pass the results of an inquiry concern- how careless Shakespeare was, and just ing the dramatist's entire treatment of how careful, in the particular matter unthe element of time. I mean to refrain der consideration. I do not believe such as nearly as may be from theories and a question is to be settled by begging speculations, and to confine myself to the it ; and though I share the general adfaithful discovery and simple setting miration for Mr. White's brilliant scholforth of the poet's own plan as it is un- arship, I cannot allow myself to be difolded in his text.
verted from my purpose by what he has Certain critics have undertaken to written on this point, especially as he forestall such an examination by pre- has taken for his special text the play dicting its worthlessness. Our most dis- of Hamlet, in which Shakespeare has
marked the progress of time with ex- embraces a majority of the comedies and ceptional distinctness.
Othello. In the third class are all the All students of the master-poet are historical plays (with which I reckon agreed in recognizing the extraordinari- Lear and Macbeth and the Roman tragly efficient quality of his genius. What- edies, except Titus Andronicus, which ever he willed to do be could do. Often I have not taken into account); a few he was indifferent as to matters of de- of the comedies, mostly of the earlier tail, but when he chose to be scrupu- period; Pericles, Timon, and Troilus lous his fineness was a marvel to the and Cressida. This is a rough division, most exacting. The fact and the force and will need much explanation and of his intention are to be inferred, as in perhaps some modification, as the case of any other human agent, from along. For convenience, I shall deal the character of his work. A rapid wholly with the comedies in this paper. reading of his plays will discover that Grouping the comedies in the manhe paid little regard to the “unities” of ner just indicated, I place in the first the classic dramatists, and that he sel- class, as was said above, the Comedy of dom took pains to placard his scenes Errors and The Tempest, in which the with statements concerning the progress progress of time is marked with minute of the action. And his dramas have precision ; in the second class, A Midcome down to us unaccompanied by au- summer Night's Dream, the Merchant of thentic programmes setting forth the pe- Venice, the Merry Wives of Windsor, riods of time supposed to elapse between Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Noththe scenes, except in some rare instance ing, As You Like It, Measure for Meas
“ chorus" plays the part of in- ure, and the Winter's Tale, in all of terpreter. But though he disregarded which the time is shown with substanthe fashion of the ancients and never tial fullness and clearness; in the third knew the method of the moderns, it will class, the Two Gentlemen of Verona, be made to appear that in this as in Love's Labor's Lost, the Taming of the various other matters he had his own Shrew, All's Well That Ends Well way of working, and that the movement and Cymbeline, with Pericles and Troiof time in his plays is often visible to lus and Cressida, in which the lapse of eyes that are patient enough to exercise time is indicated scantily, obscurely, or their function of seeing. The general not at all. result of an examination on the point I. Entering upon the consideration in question might indeed be safely of these groups in their order, I ask my prophesied by any careful student of readers to note at the outset the interShakespeare's method as a playwright: esting fact that there are but two of it could be guessed in advance that in a Shakespeare's plays in which the action few of his dramas he would be very is confined within a single day. One clear and exact in displaying the pas- of these, the Comedy of Errors, stands sage of time in the action ; that in many unquestionably among the earliest of his other pieces he would show it with a dramatic compositions; the other, The distinctness sufficient for practical pur- Tempest, is doubtless one of his very poses ; that in many he would give few latest. The former shows more of a or no indications of it. Upon investiga- disposition to imitate the classical playtion it is found that the Shakespearean wrights than appears in any other of
may be classified in just this his pieces; the latter displays Shakeway. The first class includes only the speare's untrammeled genius in its most Comedy of Errors, Tempest, Romeo and matured and characteristic shapes. Yet Juliet, and Hamlet. The second class though so widely different from each
other in all matters of substance and in the preceding. In Scene 1 of Act V. nearly all matters of form, the two “the dial points at five;" the characters dram:s are alike in this, that they alone all come together, mostly by appointtell their stories with such succinctness ment; the near doom of Ægeon is once in point of time as almost to come within more proclaimed, the day having exthe bounds permitted by the strict classi- pired without the appearance of a friend cal canon.
Each of them covers but a to advance his ransom, and in a few portion of one day. In Scene 1, Act I., minutes everything is happily ended. It of the Comedy of Errors, old Ægeon is would not be unwarrantable to say
that condemned to death, in default of a ran- the last four acts are shown by Shakesom of one thousand marks; the Duke speare's text to occupy about an hour limiting to the prisoner “ this day” in apiece, the second act opening at two which to raise the sum. The hour of P. M., while the first act covers a part the imposition of the sentence is early, of the forenoon and a few minutes befor in the last scene of the play the tween one and two P. M. Duke alludes to the “morning story The action of The Tempest consumes of Ægeon. Scene 2 begins not long af- about four hours. The moment of the ter the midday dinner-time of Antipho- shipwreck, with which the comedy lus of Ephesus; his Dromio — after the opens, is not fixed precisely in the scene meal had been kept waiting so long that itself, but on almost the last page of the “the capon” has “burned ” and the fifth act the Boatswain, now restored to “pig" fallen " from the spit" - having reason and reverence, announces, been sent by Adriana to hunt up the
“Our ship, tardy master of the house. In the same Which, but three glasses since, we gave out split, scene the “ merchant” friend of Antiph- Is tight and yare." olus of Syracuse promises to meet the Everything in The Tempest moves with latter at five o'clock P. M. The hour of
great speed, though there is seldom any Scene 1, Act II., is two P. M., as indicated
appearance of hurry; indeed, almost by a remark of Adriana. Scene 2, Act
every incident in the piece is supposed II., follows close upon the preceding, or
to be fitted to every other by the magic is partly contemporaneous with it, — it
of Prospero. In Scene 2, Act I., after being “not half an hour" since oue of
Prospero's disclosure to Miranda of the interviews of Scene 2, Act I. Scene their checkered past, Ariel appears,
and 1, Act III., sharply succeeds, and shows
it is two o'clock; for to his master's inAntipholus of Ephesus on his way home, quiry about “ the time o' day” the fine conscious that he is late for dinner and
spirit replies that it is “past the midapprehensive about his wife's temper, so
season,” to which Prospero adds, that it is now about half past two; and
" At least two glasses ; the time 'twist six and in the same scene, Angelo agrees to meet him an hour hence.” The “hour Must by us both be spent most preciously." hence,” 3.30 P. M., is reached in the last So that within the scant four sequent scene of Act III., when Angelo tries to hours Ferdinand is captured by Proskeep his appointment. In Scene 1, Act pero, and enslaves and is enslaved by IV., it still lacks something of five o'clock, Miranda ; Antonio and Sebastian plot and Angelo is begging of his creditor a against the life of the King of Naples, few minutes' delay, that he may collect of and are foiled by Ariel ; Caliban makes Antipholus of Ephesus the sum “ prom- acquaintance with Stephano and Trinised” to be paid at five. The short scenes culo, and learns the joys, audacities, and 2, 3, and 4 of the same act are either inadequacies of drunkenness and the contemporaneous, or fit snugly in after self-disgust of returned sobriety; and
there is a handsome margin of time left in his stories and scope for full life and for Prospero to use in entertaining the free illustration in his personages were Dewly betrothed couple with rare private the ends which he perpetually sought to theatricals, and afterward in lecturing his attain. If the plot was full of dramatic prostrate foes with magnificent length interest, - above all, if it gave ample and splendor of diction. Some of the room for the play and progress of huhints of the progress of the time are man passion and the display and develdelicate, and all are interesting. In Scene opment of human character, — he was 2, Act I., Caliban, who has apparently willing that it should sometimes fly made a very long forenoon over his about with his hearers, as if it were a wood-gathering, - a branch of industry magical Persian carpet. Yet in his to which Prospero seems to have given pieces there is seldom any failure of enmuch vicarious attention, is snarling tire coherence in the plot, as there is alabout his dinner, the hour (past two most never any failure of self-consistenP. M.) being, of course, disgustingly cy in the persons. The movement in late for that meal. In Scene 2, Act the classic play of ancient Greece is all, III., Caliban possesses Stephano with a as it were, upon one broad plane; in the plan for murdering Prospero during his Shakespearean drama it runs upon vast master's afternoon nap, which will be ascending spirals. On the other hand, “within a half hour.” The fifth act Shakespeare knew the frequent value of and final scene opens, as Ariel informs concentration both in time and place, Prospero, " on the sixth hour," and Fer- and exemplified his knowledge when it dinand is presented to his father as the suited his purpose so to do. His own will accepted lover of a maid with whom his was his law; but his will was ever guid"eld'st acquaintance cannot be three ed by his sense of dramatic propriety hours." The shadows of evening begin or necessity. One strong inclination of to fall upon the close of the scene which his mind constantly interfered with any ends the eventful afternoon. Prospero strict compliance on his part with the invites the gentlefolk to lodge with him canon of dramatic unities : he seems until the next morning, and they enter nearly always to have desired that his his cell prepared to spend “some part prominent characters should act out in of the night” in hearing the story of their own persons, as far as might be, his thirteen years' exile; while Ariel, it every important event of the story; he is reasonable to suppose, flies off to take could not abide that any essential part a twilight dash upon a bat’s back, in an- of their doings should be delivered at ticipation of a speedy return to elemen- second hand. Consequently, his chief tal freedom.
personages do not often contribute diII. The second group of comedies'ex- rectly to the plot by telling or suffering hibits the method of dealing with the others to tell what has happened to question of time which Shakespeare them; they show it all to the eyes of practiced in a majority of his non-bistor- the spectator. This was in direct oppoical plays. It is not improbable that he sition to the theory and practice of the was familiar with the strict rule of the ancient dramatists. In long plays of an classic Greek authors, and that he re- elevated order, it is, in fact, generally jected it, with more or less deliberation, impossible that the unities should be as unsuitable to his own theory of dra- preserved without a vast amount of inmatic composition, or to the bent of his troductory or parenthetic narrative. The own genius. The only “unities” which mental habit just named, which in Shakehe was scrupulous to preserve were emo- speare has almost the potency of an abtional or moral. Continuous vivacity solute law, works, as we shall see, important results upon the scheme of time the comedies and tragedies of this type in his plays. If an ancient Greek - Shakespeare devotes his first act - or, or, for that matter, a modern French- perhaps, as in Twelfth Night and Measman, of the higher classic tendency - ure for Measure, only a few opening had dramatized the story of Othello, he
to the introduction of some of would have opened his play with the his chief personages, and the presentathird scene of Shakespeare's third act, tion of the basis event or events upon and would have narrated through the which the main structure of the drama mouths of some of the dramatis persona- is to be reared. This opening act or scene rum the history of the Moor's elopement seldom covers more than a few days, and and wedding, of his summons before sometimes occupies but a few hours. the Venetian magnificoes, of Braban- An interval in time, varying in length tio’s alienation from Desdemona, and of but never very long, next occurs, during Cassio’s lieutenancy and degradation. If which the characters sustain some imShakespeare had written The Tempest portant readjustments; and then, the in his usual mood, — though of course it terms of the problem of the piece havis easy to suggest reasons why his ani- ing been stated, the solution is worked mus should have been just what it was out continuously and rapidly. It is as if in the case of this particular comedy, in a musical work the theme were first the piece would have begun, not with simply stated in a few strong chords, a the shipwreck of the usurping Antonio rest of some bars followed, and then, and the King of Naples upon an undis- with new resolutions of the initial harcovered island, but with at least one mony, the composition were developed whole act in Milan, in which the depos- to its close without a break. The ing of Prospero and his expulsion from length of the interval of time just his dukedoni would have been dis- named is in general not explicitly stated, played; and very likely a second act though sometimes, as in Twelfth Night which certainly would have been ex- and IIamlet, pains are taken before the tremely interesting - might have shown end of the drama is reached to indicate Prospero's first encounters with Ariel its extent. The lapse of time after the and Caliban, and the application of the interval is usually made clear, and in varied arts and incantations by which some instances is set down with minute he persuaded or compelled their obedi precision. Of this type are Hamlet, ence. Now this habit in dramatic con- Measure for Measure, As You Like It, struction by no means results either in Twelfth Night, and, with some variation, a constant or in a general disregard by the Merchant of Venice and the WinShakespeare of the element of time, or ter's Tale. Othello may also fairly be in a disposition to refuse to indicate the said to belong to the same order, allapse of time to the spectator; but it ef- though in its action there are two undefects a want of uniformity among the termined intervals which precede the different plays, the movement being by final rush of the plot to its fierce conclua series of throbs and checks, begun and sion. It will be correctly inferred that intermitted at various points, according Shakespeare had no deep respect for the to the poet's judgment of the needs of division lines of the acts with which his each drama. Yet there is a certain plays are given to us, and that his cæsumarked similarity of treatment of the ral pauses were made nearly as often in plot in a good many pieces, which makes the midst of an act as at its close. it possible to speak of half a dozen or A Midsummer Night's Dream is not more of them as conforming pretty of the type which has just been declosely to one constructive type. In scribed, and to which most of the sec