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PROVIDENTIAL ESCAPE FROM ASSASSINATION.

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when I tell you that having cast anchor once in the Red Sea, it was with difficulty we hove it up (1) again; which was occasioned, do you see (2), mother , by a large wheel (3) hanging on one of the flukes of the anchor (4). It appeared a strange old Grecian to look at, so we hoisted it in (5); and our captain, do you mind me, being a scholar (6), overhauled (7) it and discovered it was one of Pharaoh's chariot-wheels when he was capsized (8) in the Red Sea. This suited the old lady's understanding. " Aye, aye, Johnny,” cried she, “ I can believe this, for we read of this in the Bible; but never talk to me of flying fish, no, no never, etc.

PROVIDENTIAL ESCAPE FROM ASSASSINATION.

Some years ago an Englishman who was going to make a tour on the continent, landed at Calais accompanied by only one servant. After staying a few days to view the town and make the necessary preparations for his journey , he hired (9) an additional servant and

(1) Hove up, passé de to heave up, terme de marine, lever, soulever.

(2) Do you see, voyez-vous.
(5) Wheel, une roue.
(4) Flukes of the anchor, les pattes de l'ancre.
(5) To hoist in , tirer à bord , embarquer.
(6) A scholar, un savant, un écolier.
(7) To overhaul , terme de marine , examiner, visiter.
(8) To be capsized, être renversé, chavirer.
(9) To hire, louer, prendre en lounge.

fixed the following morning for his departure. As he was sitting at dinner in his own private room, a waiter came and told him that a gentleman wished to speak with him, saying he had something of importance to communicate. The Englishman was much surprised that any one should inquire (1) for him at a place where he knew nobody; however he desired the waiter to introduce the gentleman.

A very gentlemanly (2) Frenchman was introduced, who, after apologizing for the interruption, said : “Sir, I have communication to make which is of the greatest importance to you; I am acquainted with your intentions respecting your journey; I know what money, jewels, etc. , you have with you, and many other circumstances which will perhaps astonish you: you are in danger, sir, in great danger; are you a man of courage?

Your conversation, said the Englishman, “ is indeed very extraordinary; I cannot conceive the meaning of it; but with respect to courage, I flatter myself I should not be found wanting (3) in a case of necessity. I must however request you to be more explicit (4).”

“Well then, sir, you are to be robbed (6) and assassinated in your bed to-night : I am prefect of the police; I am acquainted with the whole plan, and if you

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(1) To inquire for, s'informer de.

(2) Gentlemanly, respectable , qui a l'air d'un homme bien .

(3) Wanting, manquant, en défaut.
(4) Explicit, communicatif.
(5) To be robbed , être volé.

PROVIDENTIAL ESCAPE FROM ASSASSINATION.

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have sufficient courage to follow my directions,

the robbers will be taken and brought to justice ; if not, we can only prevent the execution of their plan. Well," said the Englishman, " what do you wish me to do? – I advise you,

» said the prefect,

to take your accustomed walk after dinner, and not on any account (1) to examine the closets (2) of your bed-room , nor look under your bed before you go to rest; go to bed as usual, feign to sleep, and leave the rest to me. The traveller thanked him, went to take his usual walk, and having ascertained that it was really the prefect he had seen, returned to his lodging to prepare for the mys. terious and alarming event. After taking a light supper, he retired to his room, and shortly went to bed, having followed the instructions he had received. He pretended to be soon asleep and to sleep very soundly, when, after a short time, he heard something move, and opening his eyes a little, he perceived two men come out of a closet and approach his bed, one of them having a dark lantern. Our Englishman had sufficient fortitude to remain quiet at this trying-moment (3); the men approached, one of them seized his arms, the other at the same moment was placing a poniard to his breast, when instantly, from another closet in the room, rushed four men (police officers) who seized the murderers almost in the act of assassination. Lights were immediately brought, and imagine the Englishman's surprise

(1) On any account, pour quelque raison que ce soit.
(2) Closets , cabinets.
(3) Trying-moment, moment d'épreuve.

on recognising his confidential servant with the poniard in his hand.

(Historical.) SADLER.

THE IMPROVISATORE,

It is a curiosity in the history of natural genius to discover a people with such a native fund of comic humour, combined with such passionate gesticulation, that they could deeply interest in acting a comedy, carried on (1) by dialogue, intrigue, character (2) all'improvista, or impromptu; the actors having no rehearsal (3), and in fact composing while they were acting (4). The inspiration of national genius alone could produce this phenomenon; and these extempore comedies were indeed indigenous to the soil. Italy, a land of improvisatori, kept up (8) from the time of its old masters, the Romans, the same fervid (6) fancy.

Men of great genius had a passion for performing in these extempore comedies. Salvator Rosa was famous for his character of a Calabrian clown (7), whose original he had probably often studied amidst that mountainous scenery in which his pencil delighted.

(1) Carried on , exécuté, fait.

(2) Character, en parlant du théâtre, signifie role, personnage.

(3) Rehearsal, répétition.
(4) To act, jouer sur le théâtre , agir.
(5) To keep up,

maintenir.
(6) Fervid , ardent.
(7) Clown, paillasse , pierrot.

THE IMPROVISATORE.

151 This kind of spectacle (1), says Riccoboni, is peculiar to Italy; one cannot deny that it has graces perfectly its own, and which written comedy can never ex-. hibit (2). This impromplu mode of acting furnishes opportunities for a perpetual change in the performance, so that the same piece repeated still appears a new one : thus one comedy may become twenty comedies. An actor of this description (always supposing an actor of genius) is more vividly (3) affected than one who has gol his part by rote (4).

An Italian actor learns noting by head; he looks on the subject for a moment before he comes forward on the stage (3), and entirely depends on his imagination for the rest. The actor who is accustomed merely lo recite what he has learnt, is so completely occupied by his memory, that he appears to stand, as it were, connected either with the audience or his companion ; he is so impatient to deliver himself of the burden he is carrying, that he trembles like a school-boy, or is as senseless as an echo, and could never speak if others had not spoken before. Much of the merit of these extempore actors unquestionably must be attributed to the felicity of the national genius. I shall give one anecdote to record the possible excellence of the art.

un

(1) Les Anglais se servent rarement du mot spectacle en parlant du drame; en général ils l'emploient pour coup d'ail extraordinaire, el au pluriel pour luneltes,

(2) To exbibit, montrer, offrir à la vue.
(3) Vividly, vivement.
(4) To get ou learn by rote , apprendre par routine.
(5) The stage , le théâtre, la scène , étage.

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