Графични страници
PDF файл

by the numerous desertions and by the receive 28). 175. 11d. a year. Ordinary searetirement of a large proportion of the men receive 22l. 16s. 3d. in the British, men after their first term of ten years' and 421. in the American service. The service.

prospect of a pension is to be taken into The pay in our navy, compared with consideration as an advantage in favor that in the navy of the United States, is of the British seaman; but this is a boon not sufficient. Able seamen in American not very highly prized by boys at the ships receive 21'50 dollars per month, or early age when they first enter the navy. 541. a year. Able seamen in our service - The Nineteenth Century.



ILIAD, xviii. 202.

So saying, light-foot Iris pass'd away.
Then rose Achilles dear to Zeus; and round
The warrior's puissant shoulders Pallas flung
Her fringed ægis, and around his head
The glorious goddess wreath'd a golden cloud,
And from it lighted an all-shining flame.
As when a smoke from a city goes to heaven
Far off from out an island girt by foes,
All day the men contend in grievous war
From their own city, and with set of sun
Their fires flame thickly, and aloft the glare
Flies streaming, if perchance the neighbors round
May see, and sail to help them in the war;
So from his head the splendor went to heaven.
From wall to dyke he stept, he stood, nor join'd
The Achæans-honoring his wise mother's word-
There standing, shouted; Pallas far away
Callid; and a boundless panic shook the foe.
For like the clear voice when a trumpet shrills,
Blown by the fierce beleaguerers of a town,
So rang the clear voice of Æakidês ;
And when the brazen cry of Æakidês
Was heard among the Trojans, all their hearts
Were troubled, and the full-maned horses whirl'd
The chariots backward, knowing griefs at hand;
And sheer-astounded were the charioteers
To see the dread, unweariable fire
That always o'er the great Peleion's head
Burnt, for the bright-eyed goddess made it burn.
Thrice from the dyke he sent his mighty shout,
Thrice backward reel'd the Trojans and allies;
And there and then twelve of their noblest died
Among their spears and chariots.

The Nineteenth Century.

MRS. SIDDONS AND JOHN KEMBLE. From Ward, who was Roger Kemble's graces the stage, we have five successive father-in-law, and an actor under Better- generations of a family some member of ton, to Mrs. Scott Siddons, who still which has been attached to the theatrical profession. This is an astonishing se- strongly objected to an alliance with a quence, embracing as it does a period of poor player. So Henry Siddons was quite two hundred years, and has proba- told the manager's daughter was not for bly no parallel.

him. But on his benefit night he reWard was a strolling manager when venged himself by reciting a poem of his Roger Kemble, who united hair-dressing own composition, in which he detailed with acting, eloped with his daughter. to the audience the story of his hapless The young couple started in manage- love, and thereby greatly won their symment upon their own account and strolled pathies and a box on the ear from his from town to town and village to village inamorata's mother, who was listening at after the manner and under the difficul- the side-scene in a very great passion. ties and disadvantages of the time; at This brought about a disturbance. some places received with gracious Siddons left the company, and Sarah favor, at others treated like lepers and went away in a huff, and hired herself as threatened with the stocks and whipping lady's maid to Mrs. Greathead, of Guy's at the cart's tail, according as the great Cliff, Warwickshire. There she did not people were liberal-minded or puritani- remain long, for Roger and his wife, cal. Their first child, born June 13th, finding her determined, and probably 1755, at Brecon, was christened Sarah; moved by the solicitations of their patheir second, a boy, christened John Phi- trons, gave a reluctant consent to ihe lip, was born at Prescott in Lancashire in marriage, and on the 6th of November, 1757. The old farm-house in which the 1773, Sarah Kemble became Mrs. Sidlatter event took place is, it is said, dons, and from that time so appeared in still standing. There came a Stephen in the playbills. Soon afterwards she and the following year, and other sons and her husband joined the company of daughters with whom we have nothing to Crump and Chamberlain, well-known do followed in due succession. All strolling managers in their day, at Chelthese were put upon the stage as soon as tenham; and there for the first time we they were old enough to speak a few hear of her being accredited with supelines, and as the years advanced Mr. rior powers as an actress. As BelvideRoger Kemble's company, like that of ra, in Otway's 'Venice Preserved,' she Mr. Vincent Crummles, was almost en- achieved a great success, and became a tirely included under one patronymic. protégée of all the fashionable play-goers, At thirteen we find Sarah playing Ariel especially of the Honorable Miss Boyle, in the great room of the King's Head at who assisted her scanty wardrobe by the Worcester, which boasted no other loan of dresses, and helped her with her theatre, and four years later sustaining own hands to make new ones. Her all the principal parts at Wolverhamp- fame reached London, and Garrick sent ton. She had now grown to be a very his stage manager, King, down to the beautiful girl, and made great havoc Gloucestershire watering-place to take among the hearts of susceptible squires, stock of her abilities. He reported very and even included an earl among the list favorably, and soon afterwards Parson of her adorers. But in her father's Bates, of the 'Morning Post,' pugilist, company there was a handsome young duellist, and critic, a well-known man of fellow from Birmingham named Henry the day, took the same journey for a Siddons, whom she preferred to all similar purpose, and brought back a warm her rich admirers. As Mr. and Mrs. eulogy upon her acting as Rosalind. Kemble had married against parental Thereupon Roscius engaged her for consent it followed as a matter of course Drury Lane at £5 a week. Her first that they would not allow their daughter appearance was on the 29th of Decemto choose for herself ; besides, they had ber 1775, and here is a copy of a portion their pride and their ambition, and of the playbill for that evening:

Drury Lane.

(Not acted these two years.)

By His Majesty's Company, at the Theatre Royal, in Drury Lane, this day will be performed,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The début was a failure. The part he was joined by all his company, except was not suited to her, and she was so Mrs. Abington, who called them all overpowered by nervousness that a na- “ fools" in their judgment. turally weak voice sank almost to a whis- It was a stunning and cruel blow," per; her movements were awkward, her she says, “ overwhelming all my ambidress old, faded-and in bad taste, as it tions, and involving peril even to the always was even in her great days; there subsistence of my helpless babes. It was nothing but her delicate, fragile was very near destroying me. My figure and beautiful face to recommend blighted prospects, indeed, produced a her. After this she appeared as Venus state of mind that preyed upon my in the Shakespeare Jubilee, as Mrs. health, and for a year and a half I was Strickland in 'The Suspicious Husband,' supposed to be hastening to a decline." and in several other pieces,-in all she Her next engagement was at Manchester, was coldly received both by the press and thence she went to York to Tate and public. Finally she appeared as Wilkinson. There “all lifted up their Lady Anne to Garrick's Richard ; here, eyes in astonishment that such a voice again, nervousness paralysed all her and such a judginent should have been powers, she forgot certain stage direc- neglected by a London audience." In tions he had given at rehearsal, and was 1778 John Palmer, on the recommendareproved for her forgetfulness by a tion of Henderson, engaged her for glance from those terrible eyes that near- Bath, then the first English theatre out ly made her faint with terror. One of of London, at £3 a week. In her first the newspapers the next morning pro- parts, Lady Townley and Mrs. Candour nounced the performance "lamentable." -the latter appears a strange character Five nights afterwards Garrick took leave for a young lady-she was only coldly of the stage, and the season closed. He received, and seemed to be on the threshpromised to recommend her to Sheridan old of new disappointments and mortiffor the next. Sheridan used afterwards cations. to declare that he took an opposite But I must now go back to detail the course, and depreciated her, but the fortunes of another member of the Kemgreat manager's word was not always to ble family. John Philip acted as a child be relied upon. Mrs. Siddons ever after like all the rest of his brothers and sisnursed a grudge against Garrick; he had ters, but by and by his father resolved to used her as a catspaw against the over- make a priest of him. Roger was a weening arrogance of Mesdames Abing- Catholic and brought up the boys to that ton, Crawford, and Young ;-he was jea- faith, the girls following the Protestant lous of her, she said. There may have religion of their mother. So at ten years been some truth in the first part of the old the boy was sent away to Sedgely Park accusation, but the second is ridiculous: College, Wolverhampton. There he reit is probable that he really believed her mained four years, and in 1771 proceedtalents to be only mediocre, and in this ed to Douai, where he was famous as a

Once upon


declaimer and for a prodigious memory. who exhibited tricks of legerdemain. In He once undertook to get two books of 1778 his sister procured him an engageHomer by heart, and actually repeated ment at Liverpool; thence, in the same fifteen hundred lines. But the theatri- year, probably by the same recommendacal blood within him rebelled against tion, he joined Tate Wilkinson at York. the cassock and burned for the sock There all the great leading parts were in and buskin. So he left the college in possession of a veteran actor named 1775, landed at Bristol, and proceeded Cummings, who played the gay Charles to Brecknock, where his parents were Surface at sixty. The audience prothen performing. Bitterly disappointed nounced Kemble " Very good in his way, in his ambition, Roger refused to receive but nothing to Coomins;" and the press his disobedient son ; a subscription of a advised him, if he desired to attain few shillings was raised among the com- eminence in his profession, to study that pany, to which the irate father was with gentleman's style. It would have been difficulty induced to add a guinea, and considered a sacrilege for any other acwith this pittance John Philip had the tor to have played the parts in which the world before him. He started on foot favorite was identified. for Wolverhampton, where his sister's bespeak night a servant of the patron's late managers, Crump and Chamberlain, refused to go to the theatre because had opened the theatre. On the road “ that Kemble was playing one of Mr. he fell in with another wandering disciple Coomins' parts.” An actor had much of Thespis wending his way to the same to endure from the ignorance and insotown. On Christmas Day they found lence of the audience in those days. themselves at an inn without a penny in There was a certain influential “lady" their pockets. They composed two let- at York who took a delight in insulting ters, one in Latin to a parson, the other the actors upon the stage. One night, in English to a lawyer-charitable per when Kemble was performing some trasons, we may presume, and known as gic part, she disconcerted him so much such-in which they stated their desti- by loud laughter and ridicule, that he tute circumstances and solicited assist- was compelled to address her and say he ance. The appeal was responded to, could not go on until she desisted. and with the funds thus obtained the Some officers who were in the box with journey was completed. But upon their her cried out she had been insulted, and arrival at Wolverhampton one was re- demanded an apology. Kemble refused ceived, the other rejected, and the reject to make any. There was a great uped one, alas, was John Philip. After a roar, but the tragedian remained firm. few days, however, the theatrical poten- The next day these gentlemen called tates were induced to reconsider their upon the manager, and informed him determination, and on the 8th of Jan- that, unless the actor was dismissed, uary, 1776, Kemble appeared as Theo- they and their friends would withdraw dosius.

their patronage, and compel their tradesHe did not make a favorable impres- men to do likewise. The manager resion, and was evidently what, in expres- plied spiritedly that he had always found sive stage parlance, is called “a stick." Mr. Kemble a gentleman, that he considBut he was studious and painstaking, ered he was in the right, and should not and made a progress in his art which, if think of discharging him. Such a deternot rapid, was sure. Lewis, the come- mination produced great excitement and dian, used to afterwards relate that astonishment in the city, but after a time while “starring" some little time after the audience came over to the side of this in a country town, he was greatly the actor, and the storm blew over. This struck by a young man who was playing same female insulted Michael Kelly, the Lovewell in The Clandestine Marriage, singer, in a similar manner, “ Lawks, see, who, although attired in a very ridicu- the fellow's actually got a watch !" she lous dress, was so correct and gentleman- cried with a laugh, and loud enough to ly in his acting and bearing, that such be heard by the whole house. shortcomings were lost sight of. He madam,” replied Kelly, holding it up to found him to be a Mr. John Kemble, her box, and as good a one, I flatter and that he was associated with a person myself, as any in England.".


From York John Philip proceeded to but was put off until the 10th of October. Dublin. Here, again, he appears to She was in town a fortnight beforehand have made little impression, for the au- preparing and rehearsing in a torture of dience still remembered Barry, and were , apprehension, for a second failure would loath to accept any one in his place. He have meant an eternal one, and probably worked indefatigably, played a round of the diminution of her provincial posisome thirty-eight characters belonging to tion. The play selected was Southevery range of the drama, and, although erne's tragedy, 'Isabella, or the Fatal never esteemed in comedy parts, gradu- Marriage. At the rehearsals the old ally won his way as a tragedian, until his nervousness again deprived her of voice, performance as the Count, in Jephson's until excitement and encouragement

Count of Narbonne,' raised him to be gave her strength. Two days before the an established favorite in the Irish capi. dreaded night she was seized with tal.

hoarseness which filled her with terror, Let us now return to his sister, whom but happily it passed away by the next we left at Bath struggling against her morning. inability to play comedy. Upon her

“On the eventful day, she writes, “my appearance in the sympathetic parts of father arrived to comfort me and be a witness tragedy her success was at once assured. of my trial. He accompanied me to my Four years did she remain in the West- dressing-room at the theatre. There he left ern city, and during that time made me, and I, in one of what I call my desperate many friends in the best society. Hen- terrific circumstances, there completed my

tranquillities which usually impress me under derson acted with her, and recommended dress, to the astonishment of my attendants, her to Sheridan in the most enthusiastic without uttering one word, though often sighterms, and the Duchess of Devonshire ing most profoundly.” spread the fame of her talents everywhere Her husband had not the courage to enshe went. By-and-by there came an offer ter the theatre, but wandered about the for one more trial at Drury Lane. But street or hovered about the playhouse in her former failure had left upon her mind an agony of suspense. The house was so gloomy and bitter an impression that crammed, and she was received with a she had constantly declared she should hearty round of applause. never desire to act again in London.

“ The awful consciousness," she says, Telling Palmer, the manager, of her offer, " that one is the sole object of attention to she expressed her readiness to decline it, that immense space, lined as it were with and remain with him if he would give human intellect from top to bottom and all her some little advance upon her small described, and by me can never be forgotten.”

around, may be imagined but can never be salary of 31. a week. Strange to say, although she was so immense a favorite, All doubts, however, were soon at rest. he declined to do so. This refusal pro- Her beautiful face and form, the exquibably arose from personal feeling; Sarah site tones of her voice, her deep tenderSiddons was never liked behind the ness, seized upon every heart, and as the scenes; she was cold, exacting, and dis- tragic story advanced, her overwhelming agreeable. Her farewell benefit took agony thrilled every soul as it had never place on May 12th, 1782. All the pit been thrilled before. Men wept, women was laid out in stalls, and a few front fell into hysterics, transports of applause rows of the gallery were reserved for the shook the house, the excitement, the enfrequenters of that part of the house, and thusiasm was almost terrible in its intenfor which inconvenience she entreat- sity, and the curtain fell amidst such aced their indulgence with many humble clamations as perhaps not even Garrick apologies. The performance consisted of had ever roused. In striking contrast to • The Distressed Mother' (Racine's An- this tumultuous triumph is the home dromaque), a poetical Address, and the picture that follows:

Devil to Pay,' in which she played Nell. "I reached my own quiet fireside on retirThe theatre was crammed, the receipts ing from the scene of reiterated shouts and were 1461., and the excitement was tre- plaudits. I was half dead, and my joy and mendous.

thankfulness were of too solemn and over

powering a nature to admit of words or even Even now Sheridan was only luke

My father, my husband, and myself warm over the engagement, and her sat down to a frugal meat supper in a silence,


« ПредишнаНапред »