Зображення сторінки

than enough, of 'lardy dardies,' authors, or, rather, persons who well - shaped but scantily - clad have written plays, who have not limbs, golden tresses, diaphanous yet succeeded in getting their costumes, and insolent female works publicly performed, is a fact cancan dances. If such are de of which we are not unfrequently manded by a certain class of reminded, though it must be theatre-goers-chattering boobies owned that Dr. Vellere has not who exchange their loud and recently drawn the attention of coarse remarks to the disturbance the public to his unappreciated of their neighbours while some self by means of a colloquial thing beyond their limited com advertisement in the Times.' prehension is going on upon the We are told that there are plenty stage, gilded youths who alternate of good authors about, and that between the cigarette and the we, the playgoers, do not know toothpick, and whose chief anxie what we are losing because manaties are their buttonholes and

gers are very reluctant to read their bets—for goodness' sake new plays and to produce the let them have a home of their works of untried men. That own; call it a Château des Fleurs, there is a considerable amount an Alcazar, a Mabille, an Argyll, of truth in the statement nobody but let it not be honoured by the will care to deny; but in justice name of Theatre. In the first to managers we cannot repress number of a new and amusing the conviction that a thoroughly magazine, called The London good actable play will, sooner or Sketch Book,' Mr. Clement Scott later, force itself in one way or wrote an article entitled "The another upon theatrical authoStage; a Study or a Speculation ? rities, and take substantial form and he undoubtedly damps the behind the footlights. The unhopes of all theatrical reformers acted can, at all events, follow the by his denunciation of modern example set them by Mrs. George managers; and Mr. Scott does not Cresswell, and if managers will speak without experience. It is not set their plays before the of course true, that a theatre, in public in one shape, they can these commercial days, must be themselves set them before the to a great extent a speculation, public in another, as this lady a matter of plain business has proved by the publication in pounds, shillings, and


a handsome volume of her drama May we indulge the hope that • The King's Banner; or, Aimez the playgoing public will less Loyauté.' But on perusing this and less deserve that epithet of play it is impossible for anybody "inartistic' which Mr. Scott ap who has any practical acquaintplies to it; and as taste is unques ance whatever with the stage not tionably becoming more refined in to understand why a manager general articles de luxe,' so its who knew his business would outspoken demand will compel decline to produce it, for, as it the supply of a higher standard stands, the construction is hopeof theatrical entertainment, and lessly undramatic from the manateach theatrical speculators that gerial point of view. The King's the drama is an intellectual study? Banner' is in four acts: the first Mr. Scott will reply, “You must act requires four different scenic first reform your public.'

arrangements; the second, five;

the third, three; and the fourth, That there are several dramatic six; and not one of these are what

are technically called carpenters' in his family for six hundred scenes, but they all require very years, depend upon his personal considerable stage arrangement, possession of a certain document and what are called tableau cur entitled The Royal Charter Extains' would have to be constantly traordinary,' given by the Condropped in order to secure due queror to Sir Roland Neville. A effects. Then, in Act 2, between considerable amount of the motive Scene 2 and Scene 3 three years of the piece hangs upon this atelapse; in the Fourth Act, nine surd notion. Again, when Sir years elapse between Scene 2 and Ralph Neville goes away to fight Scene 3; and Scene 2, according for his king, he leaves his castle to the author's expressed inten in charge of his brother--Mrs. tion, should be supposed to oc Cresswell probably means his brocupy six-and-thirty hours, with the ther-in-law-Sir Lionel de Vere, necessary change of lights. Now whom he has every reason to beit is obvious at once that such lieve to be a thorough scoundrel, requisitions are impossible of ful and this for no earthly purpose filment, and sin 80 grievously whatever; and the reader does not against all rules of dramatic con need to be told that Sir Lionel struction, that unless a manager plays old gooseberry with the wished to ruin his reputation for charge committed to him, and is ever, he could not for an instant especially anxious about obtaining entertain the idea of putting. The • The Royal Charter ExtraordiKing's Banner' on the boards. nary,' though it could be of no The story in itself is a very good more value to him than the market one and contains many excellent price of a twelfth-century piece of situations, and it is to be regretted parchment; he is, however, clearly that Mrs. Cresswell having such of opinion that if he once gets ample materials at her command, possession of it the goodly heridid not, by a very slight exercise tage,' as he expresses it, will fall of ingenuity, keep them more in to him. Blunders of this descriphand, and avoid that diffuseness tion are beyond apology or explawhich appears to be her greatest nation. Nor is it easy to forgive weakness. Into the plot there is Sir Lionel-rascal as he was-for no space in these pages to enter; his bad grammar in talking about it is sufficient to say that the somebody leaving the coast clear fable is interesting, if it is at for you and I,' though we cannot feel times somewhat hard reading; much surprise at the Puritan lawyer and there are serious blemishes shortly afterwards talking about which cannot easily be forgiven. · founding'a tale upon a 'superFor instance, what right had the structure, because he in all good daughter of a certain Sir Ralph faith took Sir Lionel's view of the Neville, period 1648, to the title of insecurity of Sir Ralph's title Lady Laura Neville ? And why should the wonderful document should Sir Lionel de Vere's pass into other hands. But we daughter be styled Lady Eleanor are bound to quarrel with Lady de Vere? Mrs. Cresswell may, pos Laura's language when she swears sibly, have precedents for this, but 'to be none other's bride but thine, they are unknown to the majority of and to use this ring only in case of readers. And she would have done direst need-either to save my life well to have consulted a solicitor or honour from our enemies, or before she made Sir Ralph Neville's thine's, Eustace, or my dear father's. title to his estates, which had been Thine's' might have suited Arte

mus Ward very well, but it does authoress intends to be pathetic. not do for Lady Laura. Just Several passages in the drama are before this oath, the following marked with inverted commas, dialogue had taken place :

and the ordinary reader would pro'LORD E. But listen, sweet bably think that these passages are heart, hast thou no token to ex intended to be cut out in represenchange with mine? I hold thy tation. This is not the case; for glove. Even that poor covering a note at the end informs us that of thy soft, white hand I prize the lines so marked have been most truly; but 'tis only as a considered the best by all great hostage for something better. I actors and judges who have read would carry away with me some the play.' It is only right that a part of thy dear self—thy warm, specimen should be reproduced. living, breathing, loving beau 'St. Clair. I pray you stay, and teous self. Canst thou not spare share our wedding feast. one of these ? (touching her curls). MAURICE. Nay, that were too

Lady L. Even as thou wilt, hard a task for any mere mormy lord, seeing I am all thine tal man, to gaze ungrudgingly own in body, soul, and spirit. on that rich jewel he once had (Offers scissors from her girdle or well-nigh deemed his own, set in châtelaine.)

the breast-plate of another; it LORD E. Yet 'tis too great a were to lift the bowl of Tantalus, boon. I would not harm a hair brimming with joy, unto the of thy dear head. I am almost parched lips of some poor thirsty tempted to claim the whole at traveller, and bid him not quaff once instead of one fair curl.' the precious nectar; yet, lady, be

It is to be feared that this last lieve me, I as much rejoice in thy remark of my lord's would be too new-found happiness as if it were much for the gravity of a British my own, albeit henceforth I own no audience; and the spectacle of mistress but my country and my Lord Eustace St. Clair going to cause. Farewell ! for ever.' battle with the chignon of his I will not say to Mrs. Cresswell fiancée in his pocket would sharply the last three words spoken by touch that sense of the ridiculous the gallant Maurice : on the conwhich is always present in the pit trary, I express a hope that we and gallery, and would rather spoil may meet again. the effect of a love scene which the


[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]
« НазадПродовжити »