Page images
[ocr errors]

I give you fair warning that it's rather a melancholy story, so tell me what's o'clock before I begin ?" “ Its nearly the quarter after twelve ?"

Humph! the very witching time of night. You must know then, my dear Mr. Locke,”-and Materialism began to mix some brandy and water as he spoke: “ You must know, my very dear Mr. Locke, that Ellen was unfortunately with child by me.”

“ By you !--Merciful Heaven ! what infamy!”

“ Why, yes, indeed, it was a considerable contre-temps ; for the poor, agreeable, old lady:—my very dear sir, may I again trouble you for the water,--the cold water, -this brandy of yours is most insuperably spirited. They tell me, that the pregnancy of Ellen was the occasion of her decease. Dead she soon must have been; but Ellen's unfortunate condition was indisputably the immediate occasion of her death." « Horrible! Horrible!”

My dear sir! you seem unwell : can I assist you ?” “ No: no:-proceed: proceed !"

“ Well then, after the death of her mother, it occurred to me, that Ellen's existence would be but a dull and troublesome concern ; that the child would soon be born; that this might prove, perhaps, an additional inconvenience to her, and to myself a very considerable cause of annoyance and expense ; so—the evening after the funeral-I just called on Ellen, who had escaped from the fury of the mob, into Smith's old stable; and, while she hung weeping upon my neck, I took out my razor and cut her throat.”

Locke turned pale as death; he grasped the arm of his chair with convulsive eagerness, to prevent his falling from his seat. The presence of an acknowledged murderer chilled and shook him with the violence of an

[ocr errors]

ague fit.

His tongue

had no power of utterance. With the sweetest of all possible smiles, Materialism again leant across the philosopher to reach the water bottle. There was something appallingly unnatural, at this moment, in his adding water to the brandy.

“What art thou ?” exclaimed Locke, who appeared recovering from his first horror,-“ What art thou, who canst thus leisurely and quietly make confession of crimes that harrowed the very soul to think upon !"

“ And why not, my dearest Mr. Locke ?”—Materialism played with his spoon and pressed the knob of sugar against the side of his glass as he spoke-"Why not?the matter is perfectly well contrived. There is not a possibility of punishment, or detection, or even of suspicion.”

“ But the body ?"

“Oh! that I had removed, by Giles, the resurrection man, to my own dissecting room, as a fresh subject for anatomical experiment."

This was the climax of horror. Locke's body appeared to become stiff and cold. At length, with difficulty he began, “ Have you no"-conscience he intended to have said; but he suddenly recollected that there was no such thing in his system, and he continued“What does this creature want to make him like other men ?

The eyes of his companion were instantly illumined by a fiend-like lustre: he rose rapidly from his seat, walked with an air of stern malignity towards Locke, grasped his wrist with firmness, and exclaiming, “ He wants sympathy, feeling, sentiment, moral principle”instantly vanished.

Mr. Locke started from his seat, but discovering that it was all a dream, sat quietly down again, muttering, “ Very likely; but I must support my hypothesis."

H. s.


We do not envy the man who can view with indifference the first announcement of this delicious amusement: who does not look forward with eager expectation to the tardy dawning of this sun of melody, whose absent beams we are doomed to regret through all the autumn, and half the winter. There are a thousand charms peculiar to this temple; its magic circle conjures forth associations which are dormant, or rarely awakened, in other mansions of pleasure. Some of its separate attractions exist almost equally in other theatres, but in no other are so many combined, and heightened by mutual approximation. Here is a noble structure, a splendid and glowing interior ; on the stage, the finest music is executed by artists who soar above the mechanical drudgery of mere interpretation, and are often inspired by the enthusiasm of genius ; and when the ear is sated with the luxuries of sound, for the eye are still reserved all the graces of form-all that is picturesque in attitude, group, decoration-all the science of motion exhausted on some tale of pathos or romance.

The foreign climate of the place, too, is very fruitful of agreeable associations: the performers are travellers, natives of remote cities, assembled for our gratification from the corners of Europe. The fancy loves to trace them to their far birth-place, to accompany them in their wanderings. They have visited a hundred scenes

which we shall never view ; they have delighted nations whose language we do not even understand ; they have sung on the banks of the Neva and the Tagus; the Rhine has paid them tribute ; they have pantomimed at Madrid, or pirouetted at Stockholm. And many of the spectators form new links of this chain; we are seated next an Italian Marchesa, whose brilliant eyes and softest accents transport us to Naples, and in the next minute we are conveyed to our old lodgings in the Boulevards by the eager, the easy, the voluble Frenchman who lounges on our left.

The 13th of January was the first night of the season, when the direction was announced to be vested in a Committee of Noblemen, with a new deputy, Signor Petracchi, from Milan.

Figaro opened the campaign. The only novelty was Signora Caradori, in the character of the Page. She is young, pretty, and interesting :- her blue eye, her fair complexion, and lightest locks presented an unusual object on this stage of darker and more fiery beauties, and confirmed the report of her German origin. Her voice is very sweet; it has all the delicacy of her frame, and countenance ; it steals gently over the ear, winning its way tenderly and gradually, and secure of reaching the heart. Her native diffidence, increased by a first introduction, was not unsuited to the interval between boyishness and manhood—the dawning developement of new emotions, which she was called to personate. Her smile is exquisite, not strange to her features, not assumed for the moment, but innate, genuine, tranquil, pure; it makes you forget the actress, or perhaps, wish that she were not compelled to be one. Camporese was excellent as ever in Susanne, she tripped through her part, the very ideal of a waiting-maid, except that

she sang as no Abigail has yet been heard to do. Madame Ronzi de Begnis deserved more applause, as the Countess, than she obtained: her languid manner, and luxuriant form admirably portrayed the woman of fashion; while her rich and refined tones gave full effect to the music of her part. Her husband, Ambrogetti, was dashing, bold, and restless as are all his representations, and Angrisani, as barber and valet, displayed his usual powers of humour and of voice.

M. Anatole is the new maître de Ballet: his first production was Pandore, which displays invention and taste misemployed on an allegory too serious and severe for the theme of dance. Madame Anatole, who was the heroine, supported the piece with great energy: her figure is grand, yet elegant; finely adapted to the tragedy of pantomime, and remarkably active. There is another new luminary, Mercandotti, a Spanish girl, who has but just appeared above the horizon, but who promises long to shine :--she is eminently beautiful, and her countenance is strikingly expressive. Mlle. Perceval is very pleasing ; not an aspiring genius, but graceful, attentive and decorous. Mlle. de Varennes was seen last year, and Albert is also returned, to win an applause that may justly be called extravagant, when compared with that which is bestowed on other portions of the exhibition.

Il Barone de Dolsheim is acceptable to the lovers of Rossini, merely because it is a close imitation of that composer, and in many parts an actual transcript from his works. The story is slight, and turns on the rough benevolence of that Frederick of Prussia, who has been miscalled the Great. The best feature of the piece is the delineation of this monarch attempted by Cartoni, a new, and most meritorious member. His style is very English: he is forcible, pathetic, unaffected, quite free

« PreviousContinue »