« ElőzőTovább »
the other is not marked. Now, Peter, to finish this business, take the two bits of straw in your hands; and they two who do not know which bit is marked, nor how it is marked, shall take each of them a bit, and he who happens to have that which is marked, will be admitted into the vacant place, as we have agreed.” When the cuts (of straw) were drawn, the apostles examined who had that which was marked, and cried out altogether, c'est Mathias, i.e. Mathias); upon which, Peter expressed himself thus, (Englished): “God be praised! Now, Mathias, you shall be one of us to make up the number of the twelve apostles. I am heartily glad on't: huzza ! Be confirmed in your station.” The Devil naturally makes up a considerable portion of the mysteries; but, instead of inspiring horror, such was the taste of the day, laughter prevailed. In the work we have just quoted, Lucifer is made to summon up all the devils; at length, Satan comes, and this is his answer : “ Prince of hell, you have bawled so loudly, that your cries have been heard even in the deepest place of this dark region, and have almost cracked the walls of our wretched habitation. What do you want? Are you going to hang yourself? Whole legions of
devils are gone out.” Much more might be quoted of a similar nature. It may be observed, that there are numberless passages much more ridiculous and burlesque than these quoted.
In the early periods of acting the moralities and mysteries, a very extraordinary incident is related in the history of Sweden, written in Swedish, by Dalin. It took place at the representation of a mystery of the Passion, under King Joho II. in 1513. The actor who performed the part of Longinus, (the soldier who was to pierce Christ on the cross in the side,) was so far transported by the spirit of his action, that he really killed the man who personated the Christ; who, falling suddenly, and with great violence, overthrew the actress who represented the Holy Mother. King John, who was present at this spectacle, was so exceedingly enraged against Longinus, that he leaped on the stage and struck off his head. The spectators, who had been delighted with the too-violent actor, became infuriated against their King, fell upon him in a throng and massacred him.
VOLTAIRE AND THE NOVICE. Le Kain (the Garrick of France) says, “A young and beautiful girl played with me the part of Palmire, in the tragedy of Mahomet,' written by M. de Voltaire, and in his Theatre. This amiable girl, who was but fifteen, possessed not sufficient strength to give the requisite dignity to the imprecations she was to utter against her tyrant. She was so young, handsome, and interesting, that Voltaire assumed more than usual gentleness, while he endeavoured to convince her how distant she was from the spirit of the character. He said to her, self, my dear Mademoiselle, that Mahomet is an impostor, an atrocious villain, who caused your father to be assassinated, who had just poisoned your brother, and who, to complete all, would absolutely ravish yourself. If all this is a trifling treachery, or can give you any degree of pleasure, certainly your politeness to him is well-judged. But, if he excites in you the least disgust, this is the tone you should assume.' M. de Voltaire then repeated the imprecations, and gave the
• Recollect yourinnocent girl, who was blushing and trembling with shame and fear, a lesson the more precious, as it blended example with precept, and finally she became a very pleasing actress.”
The Chinese have a theatrical piece called the “See-hon Pagoda," being the history of that temple, now in ruins. Several genii, mounted upon serpents, and marching along the margin of the lake, opened the scene; a neighbouring Bonze shortly after made love to one of these goddesses, who, in spite of the remonstrances of her sister, listened to the young man, married him, and became pregnant, and was delivered of a child upon the stage, who very soon found itself in a condition to walk about. Enraged at this scandalous adventure, the genii drove away the Bonze, and finished by striking the pagoda with lightning, and reducing it to the ruined state in which it now appears.
The argument of one (as related by Mrs. Piozzi,) runs as follows, and perhaps may amuse the reader. An Englishman appears, dressed precisely
as a quaker, his hat on, his hands in his pockets, and with a very pensive air. He says, he will take that pistol and shoot himself; “ For (says he) the politics go wrong at home now, and I hate the ministerial party; so England does not please me. I tried France, but the people there laughed so about nothing, and sung so much out of tune, I could not bear France. So I went over to Holland; those Dutch dogs are so covetous and hard-hearted, that they think of nothing but their money; I could not endure a place where one heard no sound in the whole country, but frogs croaking, and ducats chinking. Maladetti! So I went to Spain, where I narrowly escaped a sun-stroke, for the sake of seeing those idle beggarly dons, that if they do condescend to cobble a man's shoe, think they must do it with a sword by their side. I came here to Naples, therefore, but ne'er a woman will afford one a chase; all are too easily caught to divert me, who like something in prospect; and though it is so fine a country, one can get no fox hunting; only running after a wild pig: yes, yes, I must shoot myself, the world is so very dull I am tired on't.”
He then coolly prepares matters for the ope