图书图片
PDF

Enter CHARLES. Chas. Madam, my uncle being prevented calling with me, as he intended, I am obliged to introduce myself.

Kath. You will excuse my not rising to receive you, sir. Pray sit down. I am very happy to see you. The nephew of my father's old friend must always be welcome here.

Chas. Madam, you are very kind; I am afraid I've called at an unseasonable hour; I have disturbed you,-you are reposing—perhaps you were sleeping ?-possibly dreaming.

Kath. No, sir; you could not have called more opportunely. I have been looking over this endless portfolio of drawings.

Chas. Drawings !-are you fond of the art?
Kath. Excessively! I could look at them for ever.

Chas. [Aside.] Accomplished creature! I always said, that when I did fall in love, it would be at first sight; and I do believe my time is come at last.

Kath. What a delightful art painting is! to be able to perpetuate the features of those who are dear to us.

Chas. Charming!

Kath. Or to treasure up remembrances of scenes in which we have been happy, but which we may never look upon again.

Chas. Delightful!

Kath. Or to copy the classical groups of antiquity!—or form new combinations of graceful, lovely figures.

Chas. Oh! your enthusiasm quite enchants me!
Kath. Ah, then you are enthusiastic, also?

Chas. Oh! prodigiously. Pray, my dear madam, allow me to feast my eyes upon some of your drawings.

Kath. Sir?-1-1-what did you say ?
Chas. Permit me to see one of your performances.

Kath. I regret to say that I never had the least idea of drawing! my houses, my trees, and my cattle, and my faces, are all one confused jumble of scratches.

Chas. Not draw?
Kath. No!

Chas. I? Oh, no! But I quite misunderstand you: I thought.—[A side] Dear me! what a pity such a creature should lack such an accomplishment, such a resource!

Kath. Is anything the matter, sir?

Chas. Oh, nothing. [A side.] After all, it is but one accom: plishment wanting; I've no doubt she has all the rest.

Kath. Did you speak?
Chas. I was saying, I never heard so musical a voice.

Kath. Oh, you flatter me. You mention music-do you not doat on it ?

Chas. Ah! there we do agree!—The woman who sings-
Kath. Yes, sir.
Chas. The woman who plays-
Kath. Yes, sir.

Chas. The woman who does both well, is a divinity. You are an enthusiast in your love of music. I see you are.

Kath. I am, sir: music is my passion! music in the morning! music in the evening! music at the silent hour of night! music on the water!

Chas. Music under the water!
Kath. Music at any hour!
Chas. Yes, or on any instrument !

Kath. Ah, yes; from the magnificent organ, to the gentle lute.

Chas. Yes, delicious!

Kath. Or a voice !-better than all, a soul-enchanting voice.

Chas. [Aside.] There is no resisting her.—Oh, madam, sing!

Kath. Alas, sir! how shall I make the sad confession? Much as I love music, I can only listen.

Chas. What?

Kath. I have not a singing note in my voice; and no one could ever teach me to play.

Chas. [A side.] Was there ever such an imposter?–Madam, you positively astonish me.

Kath. My fate is an unhappy one-I am an orphan, as you know, and, of course, labouring under such manifest defects, I never mean to marry.

Chas. Never mean to marry ?
Kath. Never !

Chas. Oh, madam, in mercy to mankind, make not so rash, so inconsiderate a resolve.

Kath. Sir, it is in mercy to mankind I make it. What would be a fond busband's sufferings, were he to see the wife of his bosom sinking under the degrading consciousness that she was unworthy of him?

Chas. Unworthy!

Kath. Would he not cast her from him? Yes, yes he would do so—I must live on, unloved.

Chas. [A side. She is irresistible!—Madam, I offer to you my hand and heart. [kneels.]

Kath. I must retire. My maid shall return, and speak a few words to you; and then, after you have seen your uncle, you may visit me again. [Kath. is wheeled out.]

Chas. Well, positively, that is the laziest proceeding I ever witnessed. I suppose she was too faint to move. Well, Susan, how is your mistress? . She is a charming creature. What a happy girl you are—what a sweet mistress you have got!

Sus. She is charming-poor thing!
Chas. Poor thing?—what do you mean by poor thing?
Sus. Oh, it's very sad!
Chas. What is sad?
Sus. You saw my mistress whisper me?

Chas. Yes, to be sure! but there's nothing so sad in a whisper.

Sus. Indeed, but there is, though! She desired me to reveal the affair to you: she had not courage to tell you herself. To be sure, you must have known it, sooner or later.

Chas. What can you mean?—You frighten me out of my wits?

Sus. It's a sad affliction for her a very great defect she's much to be pitied.

Chas. A defect? another defect?, and I have committed myself!—I've proposed ! what is it?

Sus. Oh, sir!
Chas. Speak out, do!
Sus.. Many years ago-

Chas. That's as bad as “once upon a time.” Pray go on ! make haste.

Sus. My mistress was thrown from her horse ,
Chas. Yes—well-she was not killed; so, what then? .
Sus. Fractured limb—
Chas. Oh! What limb?
Sus. Foot-broke it-all to bits-and-
Chas. Well k-speak!
Sus. Amputation !
Chas. Horror!—What?
Sus. She has got a cork foot !

Chas. A cork foot! Horror! What have I done? engaged myself to a-a cork foot. What am I about to do? renounce her! see her no more because she is unfortunate--no, no. I'm no such cold-hearted coward! Oh, here she is. [Kate is wheeled in.]

Kath. Still here! waiting to say farewell.

Chas. No, you wrong me! When I offered to be your protector and friend, I knew not how much you needed both; and now that I do know it, do you think that I will desert you?-Never!

Kath. Generous man! Take my hand, and when I forget

your kindness, neglect and spurn me. I have already endeavoured to shew my sense of your goodness—I have prepared a surprise for you. You seemed disappointed at my not being able to draw. In my absence I have endeavoured to make a sketch. Here it is.

Chas. Wonderful !-what a likeness ! 'tis your own portrait.

Kath. I'm glad you think it like. Take it; and remember, 'twas my first gift.

Chas. Thanks! a thousand thanks!

Kath. You are fond of music, too! Like most young ladies, when they are asked to sing, I refused at first-but now, if you press me sufficiently, I may be induced to own I can sing a little.

[She springs from the sofa with the guitar.] Chas. Take care—you will hurt yourself. What am I to think?

Kath. Think? only they have brought machinery to very high perfection.

Chas. Impossible! nay, your foot never was fractured !
Kath. It never was.

Chas. Huzza! my wife's perfection! She bas feet—and thus I fall at them! (Kneels. But I have not met with that monster, a perfect woman; for you certainly displayed one little failing.

Kath. Well, what is it, pray?
Chas. Fibbing! A cork foot! Oh, fie! .
Kath. Nay, I told you no fib.
Chas. How so?

Kath. I have a cork foot—absolutely, two cork feet-for I was born in Cork, in the province of Munster, in my own dear native Ireland.

Chas. Cork ! Well, then I suppose, we must admit you are a cork model of a perfect woman.

ANNABEL LEE. It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the Sea, that a Maiden there lived, whom you may know by the name of Annabel Lee; and this Maiden she lived with no other thought than to love, and be loved by me? I was a child, and she was a child, in this kingdom by the Sea ; but we loved with a love that was more than love,-I and my Annabel Lee; with a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven coveted her and

me! And this was the reason that, long ago, in this kingdom by the Sea, a wind blew out of a cloud, chilling my beautiful Annabel Lee; so that her high-born kinsmen came, and bore her away from me, to shut her up in a sepulchre--in this kingdon by the Sea. The Angels, not half so happy in heaven, went envying her and me; yes! that was the reason (as all men know, in this kingdom by the Sea) that the Wind came out of the cloud by night, chilling and killing my Annabel Lee. But our love it was stronger by far than the love of those who were older than we--of many far wiser than we; and neither the Angels in heaven above,--nor the Demons down under the sea,-can ever dissever my soul, from the soul of the beautiful Annabel Lee! For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams of the beautiful Annabel Lee; and the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes of the beautiful Annabel Lee; and so, all the night tide, I lie down by the side of my darling--my darling--my life and my bride; in her sepulchre there by the Sea,in her tomb by the sounding Sea !Poe.

ADVICE TO PLAYERS. SPEAK the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand—thus; but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear å passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings: who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb show and noise: I would have such a fellow whipped, for o'er-doing Termagant; it out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it.-Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing; whose end both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to shew virtue, her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure. Now, this overdone, or come tardy off, though it

« 上一页继续 »