Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

There was an awfully-guilty si- the most flimsy and nominal engagelence. Esther turned her hot face ment to any one at home.' away towards the window; David Esther's eyes glowed with a fire caught himself fast by the cuff of that Joan understood thoroughly; his sleeve in one of his own fish- but the poor child was forced either hooks, and blushed like a girl. to be silent or to betray her own

"In love with Mr. Oliver Carew. secret; and so Miss Engleheart I don't say that she has made any stood master of the field. David, confidences on the subject to you, paralyzed, as usual, by the suddenwhatever I may think'--dire visions ness of the onset, had never atof lonely days to come rose before tempted to speak since Joan entered David at the emphasis of that one the room, As he listened to her word—but I am just going to tell opinion of the likely stability of you both the result of such dreams Esther's love it did occur to him on a girl like Esther. You are not too that his cousin's decisions, harsh really in love with the man, child.' and unfeeling though they seemed, Esther turned round quickly, and were not altogether irrational. If with an indignant denial half burst- the girl's absence from Countisbury ing from her lips. If you were, I were, in truth, to uproot her fancy should speak differently. You think for Oliver, David felt that he could you care for him wonderfully be- bring himself to bear it, even though cause he's the first man you have he had, single-handed, to parry ever spoken to; and if you were to his cousin's attentions till her rego on dreaming and loitering away turn. your life, and reading sentimental Joan read something of what was poetry, and making confidences with passing through his mind upon his David here, you might become so face. I really think you might try in truth. What is the result? You to open your lips, David,' she cried will have to battle with life, will harshly. “It does look so foolish for enter upon it weary-hearted, dull, you, a man forty-two years of age, spiritless—all that young women to sit blushing and fidgeting like a are who have gone through the dis- school-girl when these things are appointment of a first foolish pas- talked of. Do you, or do you not, sion.'

think that Esther should waste her 'But, Joan

life among us old people, and dream'I know what you would say, ing dreams of folly, when she has a Esther, that Carew may return and chance of mixing with the world hold to whatever idle word now and improving herself ? Have the stands between you.

I hope, he goodness, for once, to give a straightwill do so, if he is a man of honour- forward opinion. able feeling and has sufficient money 'I-I don't think Esther ought. to maintain you. But your remain- to offend Mrs. Tudor,' said David; ing fooling away your time here at but he felt the baseness of his own Countisbury can have no influence, motives too keenly to look in that I know of, over the young Esther's eyes as he spoke. You man's fidelity He has gone to might have planned her visit less Malta ; you say he is to go to India. suddenly, Joan, but I can't be so Well, India is a great way off, and selfish as to wish her not to go.' a great many things may happen . Do you hear David's opinion, there.'

Esther?' "Oh, cousin!'

· Yes, Joan, I hear.' 'I am not thinking of death, my "And what decision

you Mr. Carew did not look to coming to, may I ask? If you are me at all like one of those whom going to write to Aunt Tudor you the gods love. I am thinking of all must set about it at once.' the temptation to change which 'I am not going to write to Aunt must beset a young, light-hearted, Tudor,' said Esther, deliberately. and, I should say, not over strong. "Your advice, both of you, is so headed lad like this abroad. A lad, exceedingly sensible that I have no moreover, who is only bound by choice but to abide by it.'



[merged small][ocr errors]

* And you will travel in your lilac ' And, you know, David,' (she muslin ?

said this with exceeding deliberation . If you please.'

and certainty,) it is childish in the • Aunt Iudor would be sure to extreme to care so much for places : make some unpleasant remark if you no change of scene or people can arrived in cotton, and, as you've really have any influence on one's worn it already, you may as well feelings when they are very true travel in your muslin as in another. and deep like mine. Oliver will be Lend me your watch, David, if you quite as much with me wherever I please. I must go and see to the go as he is here at Countisbury.'. hard-boiled eggs at once.'

And quite late that night, when * Poor David is fast bound,' said Miss Joan had released her from her Esther, coming up kindly to his packing, and when all the house side. Cousin, what in the world was still, Esther stole away through have you been doing with your the dim woods to the foot of that flies ? All our beautiful green sycamore where she had parted drakes and hackles wound up into from Carew, and cried beneath it, a tight little ball, and two hooks and apostrophized it, and, I think, imbedded fast in your sleeve! Oh, pressed her lips upon its bark with you absent old David !'

warmth much more creditable to 'I was not absent, child,' he her eighteen years than to her phiwhispered, when Miss Joan had left losophy. them. 'I was '-David did not tell My love is only a foolish dream stories well—'I was feeling for you, that time will wake me from! Esther. It must be a grief to you Change of scene will bring me to to leave all the places that remind be untrue to one word that I have you of your short happiness.' promised ! Oh, Oliver! are you

. And yet you advised me to go.' Thinking of me now? Oliver, I

"I couldn't find it in my con- never knew before how much I science to say that you should run loved you ! any risk of offending Mrs. Tudor; At that particular moment Mr. besides, it is better for you to have Carew was looking in the face of change and occupation than remain the prettiest girl in Valetta, and here.'

assuring her that he had never be"Yes, I know it. Oliver would fore danced with any one whose say so too: that is why I have step, both in the waltz and the brought myself to go so suddenly. polka-mazurka, suited his own so He may be away for years. I must exactly. To a superficial observer do other things than dream and of human happiness it would someregret and look back during all that times seem rather a matter for retime. I must improve myself, and joicing than regret that one half of see more of life, an

grow wiser and
the world can

never know, with stronger for his sake.

minute and circumstantial accuracy, Yes.'

what the other half does.

[ocr errors]


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




By the Author of 'Queens of Song.'







in their ears would have sounded

the notes of those wonderful instruOld Vauxhall and Places of Fashion. ments, the invention of the very

names whereof demands talent of no ordinary nature.


was as yet a thing of the future;

and Tatlers, Spectators, CommenSIR JOHN VANBRUGII AND THE FINE

tators, and Guardians had not yet HEAR-OWEN M'SWINEY-AARON HILL

the opportunity of exercising their -HEIDEGGER THE TGLY-HANDEL- cutting wit and biting sarcasm on THE SINGERS' COMPANY—THE STARS OF basso, tenor, and chorus: coffeePERIOD, ANASTASIA ROBINSON,

house wits and Hell-fire Clubbists SENESINO, COZZONI, AND FAUSTINA-A had no prima donna or ballerina to COLLAPSE-HANDEL'S TOUR IN ITALY— criticise or to adore. SUCCESS OF FARINELLI-FATAL RESULT In the time of the First Charles, OF HANDEL'S MANAGEMENT. [1705- London Society, wanting opera, testi1740.]

fied its longing by patronizing ShakAUXHALL, with its thousand spearian tragedies interspersed with

tender melodies, and by applaudavenues; York Buildings, with its ing musical interludes of an exceedsmart vocalists and admiring crowds; ingly mild description. The singthe Folly on the Thames, offering its ers, however, were deplorably bad; smoking-rooms, elegant music-hall, and there were no concerts or public and ceaseless round of pleasure ; places to give employment to even Marybone Gardens, with its bowl- these vocalists. The companies at ing-green, bowers, and lamps; the the theatres were small, and comDuke's Theatre in Lincoln's Inn posed of inferior actors, and those Fields, with its exciting comedies, who were foolish enough to depend brilliant concerts, and pleasant mu- upon their vocal abilities for a livesical interludes; Drury Lane, with lihood had little to rely on besides its Shakspearian attractions ;-all the royal household and chapel estathese places of fashionable resort blishments, the liberality of the sovewere in their meridian glory when reign, and the patronage of the great. the Royal Italian Opera was but a Nothing was known of opera but struggling neophyte. Music, it is

the name, which the dramatists true, had not yet arrived at that sometimes used. degree of perfection which rendered Charles II., albeit he starved his it worthy of being discussed_by singers, liked music, and once wrote patched and powdered Pretty Fel

a song himself.

He had a slight lows, who confined their fastidious knowledge of music, understood the attention and artistic aspirations to notes, and could sing 'a plump sewing and knitting of garters, knot- bass.' Admiring everything French, ting of fringe, the artful disposition he brought with him a taste for of China jars, and the nice conduct French music, and was quite pleased of a clouded cane. Young belles, when Cambert - organist of the spending their days lounging in church of St. Honoré, in Paris, and India-houses, buying ivory fans and the first French musician who tried Japan cabinets, talking scandal and to set operas-quitted France in a meditating fresh frolics, dreamt not huff at being displaced from the of Opera boxes, Crystal Palace management of the Opera in favour Opera Concerts, or of packets of of Lully, and came to London. illuminated songs from the last new His merry Majesty had his band of opera. As yet unknown to fame twenty-four violins in imitation of were big lorgnettes, black or white; the band of King Louis, and he unknown

snowy cravats, immediately instailed Cambert at 'bones,' neat broughams, white and their head. The Frenchman made gold bournouses, and Covent Gar- many efforts to persuade the Eng, den bouquets. Unfamiliar in the lish to like his operas, but at last mouths of the amateurs was the he broke his heart at the indifferlanguage of the cognoscenti; strange ence with which he and his works


[ocr errors]

were treated, and died nine years harpsichord that she stole the heart after his arrival. Yet attempts at of Colley Cibber, who enthusiastioperatic music were now becoming cally threw his hand, heart, and greatly the fashion. Pepys, in 1667 seventy-five pounds a year at her -the year Cambert died—went feet. Miss Campion sang so enwith my Lord Brouncke to his chantingly that the aged Duke of house, there to hear some Italian Devonshire took her off the stage. music,' with which the genial old However, musical dramas are not gossip was 'mightily pleased.' The operas, and the world of fashion witty, dashing Tom Killigrew, King wanted real opera. A great crisis Charles's jester, who was present on invariably brings forth a great man. that occasion, had already visited The great man who undertook the Rome eight or ten times for the task of supplying the fashionable sake of hearing good music, and world with grand opera was Thowas very anxious to bring forward mas Clayton. He was a miserable Italian pieces.

pretender, though he was in King When it was discovered that his William's band; he was utterly denewly-restored Majesty was fond of void of genius, or even talent; but music, composers speedily started he had a great deal of tact, he was into being. Matthew Locke-most specious and plausible, and just the peevish of geniuses-brought out man to successfully impose on the the 'Tempest' in 1673 at the the- unsuspecting. He went to Italy, atre which had been opened in Lin- to improve himself by study, and coln's Inn Fields two years before having there heard the opera, by the son and the widow of Sir Wil- thought what a fine thing it would liam D'Avenant. The expensive de- be to have the credit of introducing corations of scenery and dresses, the it into England, and that it might singing and dancing, and the fine be a money-making speculation. music, made this piece extraordi- He by some means possessed himnarily popular. The public were self of a bundle of songs, and with delighted. Everybody ran to see these returned to London. the new work, and its success in- There were only two theatres duced D'Avenant to produce other open then-Drury Lane and Linmusical dramas by Locke. The di- coln's Inn Fields'. Sir John Vanrectors of Drury Lane were alarmed brugh, with the aid of a subscripat the repeated successes achieved tion of thirty thousand pounds, at the Duke's Theatre, and employed given by persons of quality,' was a miserable writer of bad farces to building the Queen's Theatre, but it parody Locke's pieces; but the was not finished. Clayton comDuke's Theatre continued to be menced his campaign by taking thronged. Two years later, Pur- Drury Lane, and engaging the best cell, most original of composers company in London, headed by the and irregular of bons vivants, then lovely Mrs. Tofts, and the tawny a lad of nineteen, composed a mu- Tuscan,' Margarita de l'Epine, both sical drama, which created a great prodigious favourites, and by Leveexcitement in private circles. D'Ave ridge, a most popular singer. Then nant, hearing of its merits, proposed he produced his opera of 'Arsinoe, to bring it forward in public, to Queen of Cyprus.' The pit and which young Purcell joyfully agreed. boxes were reserved for the subIt succeeded; and D'Avenant brought scribers; the rest of the house was out several pieces by Purcell, which open, as usual at the subscription were received with the utmost music. approbation by the public.

The public were surprised, deMusical dramas, not always of the lighted, with this new species of liveliest nature, became the rage, amusement; though the critics who and the performers therein sought wrote of the music call it worthless,' after celebrities. Moll Davies cap- 'execrable,' ' contemptible,' 'misetivated King Charles by her bird- rable, 'trash.' Clayton had suclike notes ; pleasant Miss Shore ceeded in inventing a novelty; and played to such good purpose on the although his opera, both music and


« AnteriorContinuar »