« ElőzőTovább »
Nor causeless hated ;-'tis the peasant's curse,
That hourly makes his wretched station worse;
Destroys life's intercourse; the social plan
Wealth flows around him, fashion lordly reigns;
Yet poverty is his, and mental pains.
Methinks I hear the mourner thus impart
Whence the new grandeur that mine eyes behold ?
The widening distance which I daily see,
Has Wealth done this!-then Wealth's a foe to me:
Foe to our rights; that leaves a powerful few
The paths of emulation to pursue :--
For emulation stoops to us no more: of labourers; he might almost be said to be of the variety
The hope of humble industry is o'er : labourer; for there are as complete and contrasting varie The blameless hope, the cheering sweet presage ties established by long habit in the human race, as in of future comforts for declining age. any of the inferior animals. A carthorse is not more dis Can my sons share from this paternal hand tinct from a racer, than a regular hereditary clodpole The profits with the labours of the land? froin a fine gentleman. Circumstances have made them No: though indulgent Ilearen its blessing deigns, both physically and intellectnally. What a mere piece
Where's the small farm to suit my scanty means? of agricultural machinery is the labourer in many rural
Content, the Poet sings, with us resides ; districts! From age to age his line has descended on the
In lowly cots like mine, the damsel bides;
And will he there in raptured visions tell same spot, doing the same things, and knowing them
That sweet CONTENT with Want can erer duell? only. Of all the great movements and events of the
BLOOMFIELD. world beyond his parish he knows nothing. To plough and sow, to reap and mow, to wash sheep in summer, and thrash out the corn in winter. To clean ditches and Bloomfield. Such was it in our own. We remember the
Such was the condition of things in the days of Robert plash hedges--to eat, drink, and sleep, so the world natural fixture of ihe scene, tree, stone, or pasturing farmer's fields. Nature and the society of their old friends goes round and he goes round with it, like any other retreating glimpses of it. We have seen poor men happy
we have seen them happy in the cattle. He is truly of the earth,-earthy. Such is the labourer in many a thoroughly farming, fences in the early spring felt nature at his heart, as
were full of joy to them. The labourer banking up his obscure place. From age to age “nobody has cared for his soul. True, there may be a church in the parish In the green growing com with the lark carolling in the
he saw the growing bud, and smelt the delicious violet. or there may not. In many a great corn-growing parish blue bright sky above him, he weeded out the golden there is no such thing, and where there is, and the la- charlock, and with his neighbours chatted and joked bourer gets to it-it is to take a good sound nod rather than to hear the sermon. Nothing but the stimulus of over the past and present life of the village. The hay
field, the harvest-field, they were as gladsome as any the open air can keep him awake.
But this is the creature of the wold and the wild. In poet has described them. But in James Meldrum's days other agricultural parishes, the weekly attendance at considerably over the country. Squires were grown into
the “ Peasant's curse," as Bloomfield calls it, had fallen church or chapel, the parish and the Sunday school, and lords, and had become far grander than were the the newspaper read at the barber's shop or the village fathers. Farmers were grown squires, and little farms
own inn, have sent some light into the darkness, enough, at had vanished. The commons too had vanished; and the least, to let the labourer feel that he is a wretched creature. Ay, well may this class talk of the good old times. clearing system had commenced, by which cottages graThere were good old times for them. It is no fable. dually disappeared, and villages dwindled into a few scatTimes when each had his old-fashioned thatched cottage, a melancholy stateliness. Where it was not so easy to
tered cottages, and large farms and large parks presented his garden, his pigstye, and if, as often was the case, clear off the population, union workhouses raised their on the edge of a common-his cow! Those were the times for the labourer. His mind, indeed, did not new-fangled heads, and filled the hearts of the peasantry stretch beyond his own neighbourhood, nor had it need;
with new-fangled wonder and alarm. there lay all that he required in life---peace, plenty,
Things, however, were far from having come to the contentment. He worked hard, and he fed well. He worst, and there were, here and there, parishes that to paid to his club against sickness and old age, and for a certain degree had escaped the rapid progress of the the rest life itself was an enjoyment that filled his whole modern plague of aristocratism-a deadly spirit, glitterliving horizon. In the quietness and freshness of the ing and cold as polished silver-insinuating itself into country his days sped on not without their humble plea- every grade, from the peer to the pedlar, sures. In the old-fashioned equality of the village so
Beecup, the village in which James Meldrum lived, lay ciety he was at The squire, if squire there about seven miles and a half from the pretty town of were, was too far aloft to trouble his thoughts. But the Reading Here he was born, and here he had lived all parson had a friendly word for him when ihey met, and his life, as his ancestors had done before him. The vilthe farmer was a sort of old patriarch that was respected, could hardly be called a common--it was too small, yet
lage lay scattered round a considerable green, which but yet familiarly addressed. At his table they sate at sheep-shearing, at harvest time, and amid Christmas allowing a fine breathing space amid the woodlands, which jollities.
stretched for miles around it. A deep, clear, but some
what sluggish, river flowed not far from the village, and Proud thus to meet his smiles, to share his tale,
a hall built in the last century, but rarely inhabited by His nuts, his conversation, and his nle.
its possessor, gave a character to the otherwise rather Such were the days, ---of days long past I sing,
flat scenery. When pride gave place to mirth without a sting;
'Meldrum had an old thatched cottage and a good, Ere tyrant customs strength sufficient bore
large garden at the edge of the green, and at the time To violate the feelings of the poor ;
we begin to take notice of him was about fifty years To leave them distanced in the maddening race,
of age, and reckoned a very well-to-do man. He Where'er refinement shows its bated face ;
worked for a farmer not a quarter of a mile from his
own home, and earned twelve shillings a week. True, ears, and astonished the audience by several mysterious this was not a sum to constitute a very well-to-do man, grunts, and was not discovered till the unlucky preacher but James Meldrum had what is called a very notable ascending the pulpit steps, and opening the door, it wife. A quiet, tall, thin, but sensible plodding woman rushed out between his legs, and both pig and terrified was Mrs. Meldrum, and she not only helped her hus- minister rolled down the stairs together, amid a band and the three children, a girl and two boys, fast iningled uproar of affright, indignation and laughter from growing up, to keep the garden in order of evenings the ungodly conspirators, most scandalous to the place after they came from work, but she kept a little shop. and occasion. The two boys too were employed to drive plough and At another time, they had scattered snuff all over the the like, and added to the family income. The Mel- foor, so that, as the people moved about, and especially drums were a well-to-do family.
as they knelt down to pray, it was stirred up by the The squire, we have said, came rarely to the hall. clothes, especially the women's and there was nothing In fact he was a minor, and had been at distant schools but an universal sneezing, that wholly spoiled the meetand universities, and now was on his travels abroad. ing, though the persecuted people stood it out like marThere was a talk of his coming, on his return to live tyrs. Another time when the old woman opened the at the hall, but that time was not yet arrived. The doors of the chapel at the last minute for the Sunday steward was an gentleman farmer--who had been morning service behold there was not a seat left in the steward to his father, and who, though he had gradually place, and the people had to stand the whole time, advanced rents, was by no means rigid or extortionate. These young fellows having carried them out, and sunk The clergyman was also an old man who, duly preached them with stones in the neighbouring Loddon. on Sunday, and on week-days was seldom seen, for he But for all these pranks young Meldrum paid a severe was a great botanist, and was never so happy as when penalty. On one occasion when he had gone to scoff, rambling over the distant heaths, and through the woods. he remained to pray. The preacher drew such a picture Things went on pretty easily at Beecup.
of the state of such as himself, was such a lively geoNay, the Methodists, who were then on the look out for grapher of certain regions of retribution with all their all neglected localities, had found their way into Beecup, burning brimstone rocks, fiery serpents, and fiends much and soon won three-fourths of the people. They had more familiar than agreeable, that James Meldrum was an old barn converted into a chapel. One or two of the terrified and thunderstruck at the certainty of his own farmers, who secretly grumbled at the tithes paid to the damnation. It was in vain that he attempted to drown vicar, were favourable to them, and said it was quite his fear in drink, or to laugh it off. It followed hiin right that while the old clergyman only troubled him- | into the field at his work, and wrung from him an alself to gather weeds, and such like rubbish, somebody most bloody perspiration. It haunted him at night, so should look after the poor people's souls. There was that he dare not go out after dark, and in his dreams till wanted a Sunday school in the village, and the Metho- he awoke in the most terrible alarm. His health fordists had one in their chapel. So things went on sook him, he trembled as with an ague, and the same smoothly. The old vicar never troubled himself about sanguine temperament which had made him foremost in either chapel or school. He was just as kind and friendly these disgraceful doings, now drove him to desperation. to those who went to the chapel, as those who came to He had rushed out one night spite of his former terror, the church, when he saw them at all. The steward and hurried down to the river's bank. There, at the never troubled himself about any one, so that they paid moment that, at the bottom of a deep and hollow lane, their rents, kept up their fences, did not run out their he reached the river, and was about to fling himself lands, or meddle with the game.
into its gloomy flood, a voice close to him cried, “ Halt!" James Meldrum was a Methodist-he was a class- a strong grasp was laid on his arm, and he saw the fealeader amongst them. In his youth he had been a wild tures of the well-known Methodist minister, examining young fellow, as wildness goes in such places. He had his with a sharp and searching sternness. He saw them been associated with a knot of the wildest young fellows as clearly as if it was day, though it was pitch darkin the place. Had been a great frequenter of wakes, for a fire seemed to blaze over them from his own heated fairs, and dancing parties. There was no face better brain. known at the public house, than his, and in all matches “ Meldrum ! is that you ?" exclaimed the preacher. of boxing, wrestling, foot races, cricket, nine pins, and "What! has the devil then got such hold of you as to the like, he was most active. Twice he had enlisted drive you to a destruction like this ? What! was he when not very sober at “The Statutes," but had been not sure enough of you to let you run on a while longer in bought off, by a collection amongst liis comrades, and doing his work, but he must have you leap at once into there were whisperings of certain exploits in which he hell? No! he was not sure enough of you if he gave you time, had a hand, which, if well proved, would have given for he knows God's long-suffering, and that he wculd one the law a rough hold of him.
day or another snatch you as a brand from the burning. When the Methodists first came into Beecup, Meldrum And he'll do it! It is for this that he has sent me to had been one of a set who took a particular delight in meet you at this inoment, though I only thought I was annoying and disturbing them. All those country tricks going to visit and pray by a poor sick brother in your and plots which were so commonly played off on the village. The Lord be praised for his mercies.” Methodists, were played off here, and Meldrum was one At this unexpected encounter and address, Meldrum's of the ringleaders in them. On one occasion squibs and knees failed; he sunk down upon them before the crackers were laid, and so connected with a train of preacher, and in an agony implored him to tell hin, “if gunpowder, that when all the people were down on there were any hope for him, is God could forgive such a their knees in earnest and vociferous prayers in the dreadful sinner.” evening, they were sent off, and bouncing and banging in “ Can he?" said the
“ What can he not the faces of the astonished worshippers, produced the do? What does he not do every day? What did he most excessive alarm and outcries, to the infinite de- send his beloved son to this wicked world for but to light of the rogues without. On another occasion, by seek and to save all that were lost? Rise young man, means of a key, made by the blacksmith's apprentice, and go with me to the village---God is still stronger they had on a Saturday night, introduced a pig into the than the devil.-He can, and he no doubt will save pulpit, which being enormously fed by them at the thee, or he had not sent me just in the nick of time. time, had slept as sound as a top till the moment that His ways are merciful.” the preacher was about to enter the pulpit, when roused Meldrum walked back, listening to the words of the by the coming in of the people, it had pricked up its very man whom he had insulted by putting the pig into
the pulpit, and had tried to alarm, by making hideous manner that easily won on those that he came near. groans as he went, after a late meeting at night, through Falling in, therefore, with Meldrum, he affected to the woods close to this spot. He thought that such a listen to his reproofs of his loose life, and his warnings, wretch as himself could never expect salvation, but the and Meldrum endeavoured to persuade him to come to preacher told him that only the more clearly showed the chapel and begin a new life. At this Big Bow-wow God's favour and mercy, and added to his glory. In only laughed and shook his head for some time, but short, within a week, Meldrum was down on his knees after much entreaty and many conversations he at length in the middle of the chapel floor, confessing all his sins went, and seemed to be much impressed, grew very and follies, in the midst of the people he had ridiculed serious, and went often. The conversion of such a and persecuted, and who now, kept ejaculating aloud, reprobate was, of course, a matter of uncommon tri“Wonderful! Christ Jesus be praised! Amen! Ano- umph. Big Bow-wow was much caressed, and at length ther brand plucked from the burning! O, thou lover admitted to Meldrum's class. When Meldrum had of souls we magnify thy name !” etc., etc.
questioned some of the other brethren of the state of “The great conversion of James Meldrum the their souls and given them suitable advice, the turn mocker," was soon sounded through the Methodist came to Big Bow-wow. Amid the assumed gravity of that meetings far and wide. It figured in the magazine-expressive countenance, any one but the simple and enit became the burden of a tract; and Meldrum himself, thusiastic James Meldrum might have seen the supas zealous in religion as he had been against it, gradu- pressed signs of a mischief that was about to burst forth ally rose to be a leader amongst these people. Nor was at the first word, and no sooner did Meldrum congratuthis accomplished without a full repayment of the per- late him on seeing him there, and ask him how he felt secution he had inflicted. He had it now himself from now in his mind, anticipating a hasty glance at his past his former comrades. He had it in the most pitiless lite, and a very song of holy triumph on his present conridicule, in the most irritating insults; in the names of verted state, than the incurable wag exclaimed, “Eh, sneak and coward, and saint and hypocrite, when he James ! what rogues thou and I have been. Eh! if all came near them. Iu the village street he had continu- that we have done could be known lad, why it would ally run the gauntlet of their gibes, and sometimes of hang us both. Dost thou remember-” their rough attacks. They knocked off his hat-asked “Stop!” cried the terrified Meldrum-“Stop bro. him to preach them a sermon, imitating the tone and ther!-so open a confession here is not needful. Enough manner of the Methodist preachers, would come out of that thou hast repented-all that is now erased out of the ale-house, and put a tankard to his mouth saying, — the book of God's remembrance." “Off with that sanctified, cantified mask, Meldrum. Ah, James ! art thou sure of that ? Hast thou seen You once could be merry enough. Come, drink man, the book itself? I wish to God it may! But I doubt and be yourself again.” At other times they would it. Oh! I doubt it sorely! Dost thou remember that challenge him to fight, and fetch him a blow to exas- packman that we Stop-stop, man” reiterated perate him, and pursue him with the names of coward Meldrum, with the utmost vehemence, “Stop, I comand fool.
mand thee-pollute not the ears of the innocent with the Through all this Meldrum went with the spirit of a crimes and the deeds that are repented of. Enough, martyr. He deigned them no word, but kept on his enough that they are repented of, clothed in sack-cloth way, as well as they would let him, in solemn silence, and ashes, trodden on, disdained, and detested.” They tried another plan of annoyance. There was a “Trodden on, disdained, and detested !" re-echoed great, strong, wild fellow of the name of Berkhamshire, Big Bow-wow; “Ay, but never to be washed out of my but who was much better known by the name of Big heart and remembrance-oh! that robbery of Bow-wow, for his sometimes suddenly crying bow- that cheating of at the fair, that drunken blaswow to the children to frighten them as he came behind phemous rioting at oh! they'll hang us both them, when half or wholly in his cups. Big Bow-wow lad, if they are known, and I must out with them. I was one of those men who are to be found everywhere. must make a clean breast of it.” Of a large handsome person, and endowed with an Meldrum pale as a ghost, and endeavouring to drown amount of natural wit and talent, that properly trained the fellow's voice, by as loud remonstrance, clapped his and directed, would rise to distinction anywhere; but hand on Big Bow-wow's mouth, and cried with tones of which lost in some obscure scene, and having no early thunder, “ Cease villain, I command thee, cease. It is guidance, throw out their strength, in an exuberant false! It is a vile heap of lies. Bad enough hare we wildness and utter neglect of any restraint of consci- | been but when did we rob? when did we cheat? when ence or principle, that makes them at once the wonder did weof the ale-house circle, and indeed of any one who Dost thou not remember?” cried Big Bow-wow, decomes to close conversation with them, but whose life lighted at thus having contrived to ridicule Meldrum is one long disorder, and their end ruin.
before his class, and his whole face and form Big Bow-wow led a life of utter libertinism. He laughed seeming to glow with the enjoyment of it.-"Dost thou at the restraint of marriage, and made conquest of not remember?—then I will tell thee.” some of the finest women of the neighbourhood. He But Meldrum at this fresh menace called on his brethaffected to treat the Bible as a mere fable, and had by ren to help him to turn this wolf out of the sheepfoldthe end all those quibbles and objections which have and with many a struggle, and still vociferating a stream travelled from the pages of Voltaire, Volney, and that of crimes as committed by Meldrum and himself enough school, into the remotest corners of the country, and to have muddied a huge river, the fellow was pitched into the minds of those who never could read a line. into the street and the door closed upon him. He loved to puzzle the villagers with the question, If the roof of Meldrum’s house in which they were whether the hen or the egg was made first; and to ex- had fallen in, or the floor had rocked and gaped to plain the story of Jonah by representing the ship in swallow them up, the company could not have been which he sailed as a public-house with the sign of the more astounded. A silence like that which follows the ship, out of which he was thrown for not paying his shock of an earthquake followed. The members of the shot, and the whale which swallowed him up as another class gazed at one another in wonder, and James Melpublic-house of that sign where he drunk three days, drum sunk exhausted in a chair. and was then vomited up, or cast out by the landlord The class was broken up for the time—the members for the same cause.
hurried to depart, “Vile man!” ejaculated Meldrum, With all his lawlessness and wickedness, Big Bow-wow as reverting mentally to the scene. “ Vile man! had at the same time a degree of good nature, and a echoed the departing guests, with an abstraction that
left a painful uncertainty whether the words applied to circumstances of her life. The father, however, and Big Bow-wow or to the unhappy class-leader. It was one only of the sisters had courage to be present at her not long before it was seen that some of the venom fell public trial. on the latter. There will never be found a slanderer As a little peep behind the scenes it may be interest. without numbers eager to believe him. The scandal ing to our readers to know that, firm and collected as created by Big Bow-wow took effect. There were some the young actress had been during all the necessary preof Meldrum's brethren and sisters who were or affected paration, her courage failed her at the last moment, to be excessively shocked and alarmed at the things laid when dressed as Pauline, she seated herself on the to Meldrum's charge. He was called to a strict account; couch on which she is discovered as the curtain rises, there were many meetings, many scrutinies, many clo- The moment the tinkle of the bell was heard as a signal settings with ministers and class-leaders, and many for the curtain to rise, the full importance of the step heart-burnings. James Meldrum was shorn down as she had taken rushed upon her mind; she felt as if she by the blast of an evil power. He went about dark in were losing all self-possession; a horrible stifling sencountenance, as it were, withered and shrunk up in body, sation oppressed her, and starting up she exclaimed and with a silence of step which proclaimed him a dis- “No, no! Not yet! I cannot!” Everything seemed to graced man. Without, the laughter and scorn of the swim before her eyes, and for a few seconds she totally enemy was unbounded. The exploit of Big Bow-wow forgot what she had to say and do. The actors and the was the theme of every ale-house the country round, manager, in the utmost alarm, crowded round her, trying and Meldrum could be seen nowhere without sarcastic in vain to soothe and reassure her. How it might have jokes being flung at him, and the confessions of Big ended there is no knowing, had not one of the first coBow-wow being repeated with derision. This persecu- medians, who had rallied her in the morning on being tion followed him into the very work-field and the barn, frightened when the trying moment came to which she and the evident shyness of his religious brethren, and had indignantly replied that her motives would give her his being reduced from a class-leader to an ordinary courage, made his way through the surrounding and member told to the world that his enemies' accusations terrified crowd, saying, in his most comical manner, had not fallen without effect.
“ Didn't I tell you so! Where's all the courage now ? Time, however, cures many evils and sets many There might be little in the words themselves; but the wrongs right, and at the period of our first acquaintance ludicrous expression of his countenance and manner rewith James Meldrum he was once again the leader of stored her at once. She remembered her resolution; his class. The preachers, who came from a distance, she thought of her husband and her father, who, with made his house their head quarters. He was steady as the rest of the audience had heard the bell ring, and time in his work. His two sons were out in farm must now be alarmed at the delay. service in the neighbourhood. His wife's shopkeeping “Let the curtain rise," she said, and the manager seemed to flourish. The members of his society seemed dreading a relapse took her at her word. The audience to look up to him, and many pleasant “ love feasts received her with the utmost enthusiasm, and two miand as pleasant tea-drinkings on sundays and holidays nutes after she was enacting her part with as much calmat each other's houses, seemed to proclaim that the ness and ease as if it had been for the fiftieth instead of union introduced by religious conviction was the key to the first time. the true enjoyment of life.
When the play was ended and she was summoned be
fore the curtain, the stage looked like an unbroken par(To be continued.)
terre: bouquets, wreaths of silver, and garlands of laurel covered it. Nothing could equal the rapturous cheering of the audience; and even the ladies rose en masse to salute her, a compliment which had never be
fore been paid to any actress in that theatre. MEMOIR OF ANNA CORA MOWATT.
Behind the scenes the actors and actresses were
equally kind and warm in their congratulations. These, BY MARY HOWITT.
however, were not the triumphs to repay her for all she
had suffered; the real repayment came a few hours (Concluded from p. 170).
later, when she drove from the theatre to her father's
house, on her way to her own. At her approach, her The important morning of her debut was come, and affectionate parent, followed by her step-mother and her without having the least misgiving she felt how momen- sisters, rushed down the steps to meet her, his face tous it was. She reviewed her past life, and saw that beaming with joy, and his whole frame trembling with the very hand of Providence seemed to have ordered all agitation. He clasped her in his arms, covered her with things, from her earliest childhood, to prepare her for kisses, and called her by a thousand tender epithets. this great step. She had been an actress long before she Then it was that she first felt and enjoyed her success. had entered the walls of a theatre. She analysed her Hitherto it had been too much like a dream; there had motives, and the more she understood the true springs been something strange in the shouts of the multitude, of her action, the more indifferent she became to they had confounded and stunned rather than delighted the scorn of the senselessly proud, who could not com- her, but the voice and caresses of her beloved father prehend that there is no degradation where there is no were a sweet reality. sin. She felt that in dedicating her powers to the stage, The next morning the public papers, unbought and she was but fulfilling her destiny as willed by Heaven, unsolicited, contained long and laudatory articles and and this conviction gave to her an unwavering courage. most glowing descriptions of the scene. The wonder of
The day of her debût was spent with her sisters in the all was, that a woman, without long years of study, preparation of her dresses; all were unusually silent, stepping at once, as it were, from private life upon the and through the whole day scarcely was an allusion stage should obtain a success so unequivocal and commade to the event of the evening. As she drove to the plete. But had not she been preparing and studying theatre she passed her father's house, where handker- from her very childhood, and that with natural gifts, chiefs were waved, and tearful eyes watched her depar- which, like inspiration, made the true rendering of theture. We have not mentioned that the father, since the atrical character at once correct and effective ? death of his first wife, had taken a second, and this most From this moment her fortune was made. Highly kind and excellent woman sympathized with and profitable engagements were offered to her all over the strengthened her step-daughter in all these important country, and at once giving up their house in New
York, Mrs. Mowatt, attended by her husband, com- not darker than that of many brunettes, and their hair menced travelling. Her reception in New York was fell in long and silky ringlets. In European countries but a foretaste of what was to follow, for in every con- they would have been beautiful children for the occasion siderable city in the Union her success was equally and even here the young actress hoped, that with great.
the aid of a little rouge, their origin would not be deAll this, liowever, would have been imperfect satis- tected and she was satisfied. faction had not a third blessing been added. Her health, Night came, the children were brought early to Mrs. which had so long been delicate, gradually improved. Mowatt's dressing room, and their little picturesque toilets At first she was so often overcome by her exertions, as at made as she thought most satisfactorily. They were times to faint on the stage; yet still she persevered, be carefully instructed in their parts, caressed kindly, lieving that she was constitutionally adequate to all the feasted on cakes and sweetmeats, and promised all sorts fatigue; and so it ultimately proved. What, however, of rewards if they behaved well. As Mrs. Haller's was the feeling at that time regarding her health may be children do not make their appearance until the last understood by the following little incident, which con- act, and as these little novices were all unused to such siderably affected even herself at the moment.
late hours, and were growing sleepy early in the evenShe was playing Juliet, and was arrived at that part ing, a bed of shawls was made up for them in one corwhere the heroine lies in her deep sleep of apparent ner of the dressing room, where they were to sleep till death in the tomb, waiting for Romeo to burst it open. they were wanted. Two scene-shifters outside, as if they might really have To make the remainder of the anecdote intelligible it supposed her in the death-like swoon, began talking of is necessary for the reader to know, that if any coloured her.
person is found in the streets after nine o'clock without * She's a good little soul!” said one.
a pass,” he is conveyed by the police to the watchSure, and that she is,” replied the other, “and it's house. Towards the close of the fourth act, the chilwhere she's lying now she'll be lying soon in reality, or dren were woke up, and this as gently as possible. They you may say I can't tell when I see one booked for the stared about them very wildly, and it was with the other world!”
greatest difficulty that they could be made to compreIn spite of this prediction, and many another from hend where they were, or what they had to do. Their wiser heads than that of the poor scene-shifter, her little bodies and minds seemed saturated with sleep, strength increased rapidly, and she could soon enact a and it was next to impossible to do anything with them. five-act piece without any apparent exhaustion. The At length, lowever, the heavy lids contrived to keep truth was, that anxiety and care, which wear out the open their hair was smoothed, their dresses arranged, human frame much more than physical labour, were now and the curtain rose for the fifth act. removed. The oppressed chest seemed to expand; and In the first scene it will be remembered that Francis the pulmonary symptoms, which had caused so much leads the children across the stage, and after the Baron has anxiety, almost entirely disappeared. The physicians met him and exchanged a few words, they are taken attributed one cause of amendment to the use of the into the cottage on the left. On walked Francis holding voice; but we maintain that freedom from carking a little one by each hand; but no sooner had he reached care,'
combined with change of air and scene, the the middle of the stage, than the poor little girl, casting smiles of fortune, and a mind at peace with itself, were a bewildered look at the audience, uttered a loud the true means of this amended health. How many scream, and bursting from Francis, darted up and down thousands of meekly suffering invalids, now booked the stage trying in vain to find an outlet. The whole for the other world,” might have a long lease of life house burst into a fit of laughter, and applauded with given to them were but existence made easier, and the all their might; this terrified the poor child still more, burden of its daily anxieties removed from their wearied and Francis kept rushing about after her, and dragging hearts.
her little brother also from side to side, which frightened !! Within the first twelve months she played above two him, and set him crying vehemently. On this he caught hundred nights, and her popularity was greatly on the him up under his arm, and being thus less impeded in increase. From all quarters of the Union she received his movements, soon secured the elder child. His obinvitations, most of which were accepted. In the re- ject now was to get them into the cottage, but here a moter parts many curious incidents occurred, which fresh difficulty occurred. The poor terror-stricken chil. could only happen in such a state of society; among dren were seized with a new apprehension and awe, as others which we have heard her relate with infinite hu- we have said before, peculiar to people of colour; mour, is the following:
young as they were, they knew the oppressions of their Whilst in Savannah “ The Stranger” was announced race, and clinging to Francis, they cried out together, for her benefit. On the morning of the rehearsal she “Oh! don't ee put me in ee guard-house ! Don't ee was informed that the two children who usually per- put me in ee guard house !" formed the part of Mrs. Haller's children were ill, and Their accent and this peculiar cause of terror, bethat every effort to procnre others had failed, as the pa- trayed at once their origin; the audience grew almost rents would not allow them to appear in public. Iere frantic in their mirth. Poor Francis made a desperate was a dilemma. To alter the play would displease the plunge into the cottage, but the audience were not audience, to play without the children, who are so im- quieted by his disappearance, and through the remainportant in the last act, was impossible. In the midst of der of the play, they could scarcely controul their this difficulty, Mrs. Mowatt's dresser, a young and laughter. Of course to re-produce the children was not pretty mulatto, begged to speak to her privately. When to be thought of, and that which at first was considered they were alone, she begani, " I see that you are very an impossibility was done; the play was acted without troubled, Ma'am, about the children; so I thought I'd them. just let you know that I've a couple very much at your Another anecdote of a very different kind, and referservice.” So far, good. But then Mrs. Haller was a ring to this same play in which Mrs. Mowatt was act. white woman. This difficulty was suggested to the ing in another city, is worthy of relation. mulatto mother. " Oh! my children are not very During the performance of the last scene in "The black," answered she, seeing as how their father was Stranger," where Mrs. Haller appears before her husaltogether white.”
band and confesses her crime, the audience were sudAs a last resource the children were sent for, when a denly thrilled by a piercing shriek uttered by a lady in very pretty little boy of about three, and a still hand- the dress circle. A bustle ensued; she was conveyed somer girl of fire were brought. Their complexions were out by her friends, but even then her hysterical sobs