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TO THE N E W MOON. 255
father. They nerved themselves to go to the door to receive them, but their agitation was increased when, instead of kissing them as usual, Mr. Dis, ney said sternly, “Come into the parlour, girls— I wish to speak to you.” They followed him and he continued in the same tone, “Who is that young Dutchman you have sneaking about the neighbourhood after you?” They both trembled and turned pale. “Answer me plainly. I have heard a pretty story which is in circulation about you.” “What—what did you hear, pa?” faltered Ellenetta. “That one or the other of you has been carrying on a courtship in the woods yonder, with a fellow — a scamp, no doubt, who passes for a nobleman, and that you have taken such pains to conceal it from me, that I did not know of his existence. I overheard it from two young men who had been out at Mendenhalls, and who had received a full account from Mrs. O'Conner. Your mother has confirmed it by telling me of a serenade last night, and by recollecting some speeches about a Count or Baron, which she did not understand, and paid little attention to, when she heard them.” “Oh, pa!” sobbed Charlotte Ann, “he is no gentleman at all, but a thief, and has stolen all the silver!” “The silver!” shrieked Mrs. Disney, running to the sideboard, whose interior corroborated the assertion, and the girls sobbed harder and harder. Mr. Disney desired his wife to control herself, and ordering the girls to dry their eyes, demanded a full explanation of the whole matter. They gave it simply and without reserve, and when they had done, though his countenance somewhat cleared, he bade them “pack up bag and baggage, and be ready to remove to town as soon as possible.” “You have proved yourselves,” he continued, “as I predicted you would, unfit to live from
under my eye, and as long as I retain you in my guardianship, I shall take care that you never again get yourselves into such mischief. So have yourselves ready, and I'll send out furniture carriages to-morrow.” Agreeably to this decree, the family immediately re-established themselves in the city; and but for the mortification of returning in disgrace, the young ladies would have been perfectly satisfied. Mr. Disney lost no time in searching after the robber, and through the activity of a firm celebrated in that line of business, was successful both in apprehending him and recovering his effects. He proved to be a musician attached to the orchestra of one of the theatres, who having boarded at a low German tavern in the vicinity of the cottage, had sometimes made the woods a resting place in walking to and from the city. The serenade was explained by his supposing himself under a professional engagement to Mrs. O'Conner, and the visit was made in quest of his pay, terminating much to his satisfaction, in an opportunity to remunerate himself on an unusually liberal scale. On the family leaving the cottage, Mrs. O'Conner's baggage was sent after her to Mr. Mendenhalls, but she soon found it expedient to return with it to the city. Shortly after she made a runaway match with Mr. Augustus; for the romance of the thing, it was presumed, as there was nobody to run from. Her fortune, instead of being thirty or forty thousand dollars cash, proved to be only ten, but it was sufficient to carry the bridegroom to Paris, while his wife took cheap lodgings and lived on the rent of her house. Before winter the Misses Disney were restored to the favour of their former admirers, Mr. Dillworthy and Mr. Butford, and the next spring were married to them. They make very good wives to worthy husbands, and though in excellent circumstances, they never hint an ambition to extend their importance by keeping a country-seat.
WOULD.Be LITERARY CHARACTERS.
Who is that gentleman seated so lazily in a café, turning round every now and then to look in the looking-glass behind him? Before him is a glass of eau sucrée, of which he swallows a mouthful occasionally. There are magazines on his table, one of which he is reading, interrupting himself occasionally to exclaim, “Oh, what nonsense! Bad! bad—miserable— absurd—the idea of praising such a piece—a fine piece, indeed—an infamous rhapsody!—if I had written it, I would go drown myself!” By his self-importance, you might imagine this gentleman to be some distinguished personage— one of our literary artistical celebrities—that is, if you are not skilled in men. Undeceive yourself. Great people do not behave thus. Men of talent are much more indulgent. You never hear them tear their fellow writers to pieces, depreciate their rivals, and turn young beginners to ridicule.
the author of part of a vaudeville, badly acted at
some influence. : read over his piece, and touch it up. He has been This gentleman, who makes so much noise, is
one of our smallest theatres. Since then, he has taken the title of dramatic author; and by a great many tricks, he has succeeded in getting his name on the prospectus of a little daily paper. He is now a man of letters; but among the true literati these people are very little thought of. Does any body remember the man who used to go and eat his piece of dry bread in the garden of the Palais Royal, and who walked about in the evening with a tooth-pick in his mouth, and said with a satisfied air to the friends he met, “I am taking a walk to improve my digestion, for I have been dining at the Palais Royal?” But the multitude are so easily deceived by appearances! There are always simple minds, who are the dupes of these literary jugglers, just as people will buy quack medicine, and pomatum to make the hair grow. A young man of talent, but who is yet unknown, has written a piece. He seeks a man who has He wants to ask such a one to
told that the gentleman in our picture is a man of letters; he addresses himself to him, and humbly
presents his work, which the latter condescends to take, with a protecting air. “Very well, I will read it. Come back in a week or two; by that time I think I shall have been able to examine it.” The young man has come as many as ten times to his friend; but has never found him at home. At last he meets him at a café, and hastily joins him. “Ah, sir, I am glad to find you.” “Good morning, my dear!” “I have been to your house several times, without ever being able to find you at home.” “How can I be at home!—so much business! —so many adventures! I seldom sleep at home. I pay 1200 francs for my apartment; but it is very foolish, for I am never there.” * “Have you been so kind as to read my piece?” Here the gentleman of the sugar and water bites his lips, shakes his head and winks his eyes, and says: “Yes, my dear, I have read it.” “What do you think of it?” The man of letters strokes his chin, and lets a few huns escape him. This is very tormenting to the young man, who again asks, “What is your opinion of it, sir?” “Well, in the first place, there is not enough love in it, you must try and put a little more in.” “Not enough love!—why, sir, there is nothing else.” “Well, then you must take some out; because —do you understand—always the same thing is very monotonous; but we will settle all that. I have done harder things.” The young man begins to understand what sort of person he has to deal with, and asks in a dry tone, “Have you my manuscript about you, sir?” “Yes, here it is. I was amusing myself with reading some fragments of it. There are two pages lost, but that is a small evil; you can easily replace them with any thing that comes into your head.” The young man takes his poor manuscript, puts it in his pocket, and making a bow, says, “I beg your pardon for having troubled you, sir; but I do not think I am fit to labour with you!” “Well, I believe it is so!” cries the man of letters. “Try to do something—I will mention you some day in my newspaper, perhaps.” There are some of these little men of letters who think they do a great deal. When, by accident, they get hold of a new writer, who, in the hopes of finding a friend and assistant, confides his manuscript to them, they shut themselves up, and reading it over and over, rack their brains for alterations, or, as they call them, advantageous changes. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, to be a real author, one must have received the gift, the secret influence from heaven, and when you are
not endowed with this, you may rub your forehead in vain; nothing will come out of it. Boileau says
“Be rather a mason, if that be your talent.”
But not many of these persons have read Boileau. People do not like to see themselves shown up. After keeping the manuscript a month or more, the pretended literary man writes to the author— “My dear master,” (master is the word now adopted at Paris by literary men speaking to each other.) Formerly only lawyers used this expression. But it succeeds very well in literature. It flatters him who receives it, and costs nothing to the other party, as he is sure to be styled so in his turn. It means nothing. It is one of these compliments which are handed about everywhere-losing their value in proportion as they multiply. The self-styled man of letters, therefore, writes to the dramatic aspirant— “My dear master, I have finished our piece. I have had to alter a great deal, and do a great deal over again, cut out all that was unnecessary, and at last I think it will do. Come and see me tomorrow morning. We will read it over together, and then we will go in search of a director, and all will go well, I hope.” When he receives this note, the author of the manuscript is agreeably flattered at seeing himself styled my dear master, because, as he has never yet published any thing, he has no right to the title of master. So he dresses himself in black, the favourite colour of those who aspire to literary celebrity, whilst those whose fame is achieved, never think of the colour of their dress. When he is ready, he hastens to the house of his illustrious colleague. After the customary compliments, they arrive at the important subject, the reading of the piece. The young man is very impatient to see the advantageous alterations. The other takes the manuscript, seats himself, and is going to begin to read. After coughing, to see if his voice has all its accustomed strength, he stops himself just as he begins, saying, “I must first tell you, my friend, that I have changed the name of our drama.” “Oh! you did not like it, then?” “Well, it was not bad exactly; but if I can find a better, I would prefer substituting it. Do you know, my friend, that a good title is half— three-quarters of the whole thing?” “I have no doubt but that it is advantageous, especially if the piece is in accordance with it.” “Why, as to accordance, the principle is to promise a great deal; but an original title is a great thing. I am acquainted with literary men— men of great talent—whose sole occupation is to invent names for pieces. Whenever one of these inventors of titles gets one, he takes it to an author who is in the habit of writing—who writes by the wholesale. A third has the scene part, and invents fortunate situations, and a fourth throws a
little wit into it. If gaiety is wanted besides, recourse is had to a fifth man; but generally it is not required that a piece shall be amusing. So there, now, it is finished, and the person who gave the name has one-fourth of the profit.” “Four are a great many to write one piece!” “It sometimes takes five or six. I should not be surprised, if a society were to be constituted for the production of written plays.” “But let us come to my manuscript. My piece was called ‘The Shepherdess of the Forest.' I thought that was a pretty title.” “It might do, but the title I have given it is much more original—more striking. I call it “The Forest of the Shepherdess.' What do you think of that?” “The same title backwards.” “Yes, but that is of no consequence. What a great change in the signification. ‘The forest of the Shepherdess” that title promises so much. Every one will be curious.” “It promises so much—but go on—I am listening.” The young author is not at all pleased at the change in the title of his piece. The other goes on reading— “Personages. Count Artold de Montournal. You had merely put the Count of Montournal. I have added Artold, it is much better,-nobler. Baron d'Apremont — you had it Baron d'Apreville. I think a name ending in ville was too soft for a traitor; but mont? how well that sounds! so full! I am very glad I thought of Apremont,-it came into my head one evening when I was playing whist;-then Adele Dorgeville—you had Adele Dorgemont—I thought here that mont was too harsh for a woman—especially if she is in love;women in love are never harsh—Dorge ville is much more flowing;-Bernard, Steward of the Castle— you had Dubois; Dubois is much more common; you find Dubois in all the old comedies; it is used up, whilst Bernard has been very little used. Allain, the gardener, I have not changed that— Allain will do very well—we will leave it. Fanchonnette, the shepherdess, -remark here the great change; it was Fanchette, as you had it; now it is Fanchonnette, a syllable more is of great consequence in the principal character. You had two servants belonging to the castle—I have put four, because, I said to myself, the effect of four servants will be much finer than that of only two.” The young author made a slight face upon hearing the changes in the names of his characters. The other wipes his forehead, and goes on. “I have made an alteration here. You have put, “The Baron goes out at the right,'—I have changed it to, ‘The Baron goes out at the left." It will be much better, because at the right we have a tree, and if the Baron happened to go out very quickly, he might strike against it. You have made Fanchonnette say in the end of her speech, “Oh! how dreadful it is to love without hope of a return of our affection.’ See what I have substituted. ‘Oh!
to love without hope of a return of our affection is a dreadful thing.' The idea is the same, but better expressed. Further on, you make Allain, the comic character, say—‘ Women are like nuts, to find a good one, one must take several.’ My dear colleague, this will not do at all; compare women to nuts! it is risking too much, it is dangerous. I have put in its place, “There are good women, there are also good nuts.' I defy censure to fall upon that!” “But it seems to me, that is not the idea I wished to express.” “You had one idea, it now expresses two; it is much better; I will go on.” The young author submits. Towards the end he perceives that a whole scene is left out. “What has become of the scene where my shepherdess receives a declaration of love? yoé have skipped it!” * “No, my dear friend, I cut it out.” “Cut it out! for what? it is the most important part of the whole piece, the knot of it all.” “Precisely. In cutting the knot, the action is easily perceived. Besides, declarations of love are very common; you find theni in every play!” “What have you put in its place?” “When the shepherdess goes into the forest, I make the Count follow her. He says in an aside, loud enough to be heard by every one, “Fanchonnette is going into the forest. I will follow her, and say two words to her.' This aside says every thing, and at the same time nothing; it has the great advantage of leaving you in suspense.” The poor young author is silent; this is certainly more than he expected. The other goes on reading. The changes in the end are very much the same as those in the beginning. In one place he has substituted, I hate you unto death, for 1 detest you. Let us both perish, for let us die together— Oh's for Ah's, and great God for just heaven. This is the work that has occupied a month, and of which he is so proud. When he has finished reading it, he expects thanks and praises from the young author, who nevertheless preserves a melancholy silence. He is stupefied, but at last consoles himself with the thought “He will have it acted, that is the principal thing.” Three months pass, during which time the young author goes every week to the house of his colleague. “When are we to have our reading before the directors?” “Some day soon—next week—without fail.— They say, “we are overcome with business and readings, but we will attend to you before many others!' Have patience, I will write you word when they are ready.” At last the day of the reading comes. The young man goes to his colleague, for whom his former confidence revives, and who repeats, “It is all settled--all will go well. I will read it myself.”
The young man, who was not satisfied by any means with the manner in which it was formerly read, says, timidly, “But, if you wish it, I could read it myself. I could do it—I have sufficient warmth.” “You! you could not! you are not in the habit of reading in the presence of the directors; it is not warmth that is wanting, it is calmness, coolness. Trust to me.” They go to the directors' house. The young author is presented by his colleague as a young aspirant whom he is anxious to encourage—he makes an awkward bow, but his heart beats so violently that he cannot speak. The literary man begins to read the piece—he reads it as badly as possible, but the young man hopes that this is only his own private opinion— others may think better of it. The reading is over; the result is a unanimous refusal of the piece. The young author is alarmed—he enters into melancholy reflections upon his dramatic association. As to the reader, he is furious; he bursts out into invectives against the director and his theatre. “Refuse such a piece as that!--when I had sown wit by handfuls. They are asses — that theatre can never go on—it will be a failure — I know perfectly well that it will be received and played elsewhere——but it is very disagreeable to have had the trouble of reading it for nothing.” “You think it will be received elsewhere?” asks the young author with a sigh. “No doubt of it!” And in the space of two years, this man obtains six readings. The piece has been every where refused, and the young man giving up all hopes, has left his manuscript in his partner's possession, who after several months changes the name of it, and has it performed as his own at one of the humblest theatres in Paris. There are some of these men who really work, work a great deal, and although they never write any thing good themselves, have a singular habit of blaming all that their colleagues write, and always alter everything in the pieces that are brought to them. When you have business with such men, if the name of your piece is Hero and Leander, they will alter it to The Adventures of Telemachus. If you have written a work on the Battle of Fontenoy, it will become in their hands, the Foundation of Rome. You may read your piece from beginning to end; you will not see one idea of your own, nor a phrase of your own; and, unfortunately, what is substituted is very inferior to your own production. In the fourth class of these men, you find the man goes about all day long, from one theatre to another, assisting at all the rehearsals, representations, and discussions; you will find him in the directors' closet, behind the scenes, in the boxes, in the green-room, everywhere.
OF PARIS. 259
He complains of injustice; he asks for readings; he goes from one to another; he is always in agitation; if a director passes by, he runs up to him, takes his arm, draws him into a corner, where he endeavours to keep him, affecting to speak in a low tone, and to assume a mysterious air, so as to make every body think he is engaged in some important dramatic business. We advise literary beginners to go to one of this class of men, they will be less likely to be cheated.
We have been very diffisse upon this subject, because Paris is the great manufactory of all plays, which are afterwards performed in the other towns of France, and because now every body writes in Paris, and wishes to be thought an author.
THE LADY THAT WAS TOO FASHIONABLE.
Why should we speak of the fashion, in a city where it is so inconstant. Yesterday's fashion is gone to-day, and that of to-day will be gone tomorrow. In Paris, those who dress according to the fashion are always busy; they must not lose a moment in the day; there is the morning undress, and the morning dress; day dress, evening dress, and concert or ball-dress; and this is not all; one must have fashionable rooms, fashionable furniture, fashionable carriage and horses, fashionable liveries, and fashionable harness; and fashion is always fleeting. These people to whom fashion is everything, are extremely unhappy when they are found wanting in the smallest particular. This way of tying the cravat is no longer in fashion; coats are not buttoned up so high as this now; this hat is not of the new shape; this colour is in bad taste; and this cane is completely gone by. If you have been so unfortunate as to go out without knowing all this, you are lost. Run, hide yourself, quick, before any one sees you, or your reputation is gone. Fortunately for the Parisians, they are not all slaves to fashion. Men of talent think very little of it; they have other things to think about. Some austere philosophers and cynics, affect to despise it: they sometimes carry this too far. Est modus in rebus. The following circumstance befel a lady in Paris, to whom fashion was everything. This lady was forty years old; she was not handsome; but she often wore things that made her less so. “It is the fashion,” was her favourite saying. “One cannot go wrong when one is in the fashion.” “But, if the fashion is a ridiculous one?” said her friends. “Fashion can never be ridiculous.” “If it is unbecoming?” “It is of no consequence.” “If fashion directed you to expose your throat?”