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Adèle. Oh! yes! That would be heaven, if my memory could die with me --but if I die thus, the world will say to my child—“Your mother thought to escape shame by death ... and she died in the arms of the man who had dishonoured her”—and if my poor girl say, “no;" they will lift up the stone that covers our grave, and say “There, see them !”
Antony. Oh! we are indeed damned, neither to live nor die !
Adèle. Yes, yes. I ought to die alone—thou seest it... Go then, in the name of heaven-go! Antony. Go! . quit thee!
.. when he comes . ..
to have had thee, and to have lost thee! ... bell ! And were he not to kill thee he to pardon thee ... To have been guilty of rape, violence, adultery—to have possessed thee and can I hesitate at a new crime, that is, to keep thee?What! lose my soul for so little! Satan would laugh. Thou art foolish. No, no! Thou art mine as man is misfortune's (seizing her in his arms). Thou must live for me . . . I carry thee away.--Evil be on the head of him who would prevent me!
Adèle. Oh! oh!
the street door.) Adèle (bursting from Antony's arms). Oh! it's he.... Oh! my God! my God! Have pity on me! pardon, pardon!
Antony. Come, it is over now!
Adèle. Somebody's coming up stairs ... somebody rings— It must be remembered this is a French house, and the knock was at the outer door)- It's my husband-fly, fly!
Antony (fastening the door). Not I-I fly not ... Listen!... You said just now that you did not fear death.
Adèle. No, no... Oh! kill me, for pity's sake!
(A voice from without ; “ Open, open! break open the door!") Antony." And in thy last breath thou wilt not curse thy assassin ? Adèle. I'll bless him—but be quick ... that door.
Antony. Fear nothing! death shall be here before any one. But reflect on it well-death! Adèle. I beg it-implore it (throwing herself into his arms)
ms)-I come to seek it. Antony (kissing her). Well then, die !
(He stabs her with a poniard.) Adèle (falling into a fauteuil). Ah ! (At the same momemt the door is forced open, Col. d'Hervey rushes on
SCENE IV. Col. d'Hervey, Antony, Adèle, and different servants.
(He throws his dagger at the Colonel's feet.)
The merits of M. Dumas."Angèle.”—“Darli on.”—“Teresa.”—“Tour de
Nesle." -Description of the effect produced by the “Tour de Nesle.”—The characters of a time should be in the character of the time.-M. Dumas dresses up the nineteenth century in a livery of heroism, turned up with assassination and incest.
There is enough, I think, even in the short and imperfect translation I have just given from Antony, to show considerable energy and talent, and that kind of passion and movement which hurries away an audience. Indeed, the productions of M. Dumas, which lose much of their effect in reading, afford, in acting, a thousand proofs of this author's having taken every pains to study and to succeed in the arts of the stage. There is a line in Angèle, wonderful in its exemplification of his knowledge and his study of these arts. Angèle, * a young lady, unhappily
, seduced, is desirous of confessing her misfortune to her mother—she says she has something to say—the mother inquires tenderly what it is
Angèle is a young lady, seduced by an adventurer who intends marrying her on a speculation, but, on finding the mother a better affair, he engages himself to her. Angèle, however, after being confined (which she is, one may say, on the stage), confesses the story to her mamma just before the marriage takes place.
D'Alvimar, the adventurer, is for making off, but is stopped by a Doctor Muller, a young physician, who, having long loved Angèle, had accidentally delivered her of her child, and now delivers her of her false-hearted lover, whom (by a most unmedical mode of destruction) he shoots—then marries Angèle, adopts her child, and (in order to make her quite happy and comfortable, I suppose) assures her he must die within the year of a pulmonary complaint.
Angèle weeps--the mother takes her hand, endeavours to soothe and encourage her; Angèle still weeps. “Is it something so very bad then ?” says the mother, not suspecting her daughter's innocence. The daughter fixes her eyes upon her mother, sobs, struggles to speak the audience is all attention. But how make the confession ?
" Ah, si j'avais mon enfant je le mettrais à vos pieds." A more enthusiastic burst than followed this exclamation (I saw the piece the first night of the representation, it is impossible to describe. *
M. Dumas has written Henry III., Antony, Angèle, Darlington, t. Teresa, and also claims a share in the Tour de Nesle. S The Tour de Nesle is the most powerful of these performances, and thrown back into a dark century is excusable in its ghastly accumulation of midnight horrors. This tower, the Tour de Nesle,built in the twelfth century, on the site now occupied by the college Mazarin, tall, round, and casting its gloomy shadow on the Seine, was the spot sacred to many of the old popular superstitions,
* I remember another instance, in the “ Tour de Nesle : ” immediately after the murder of Philippe Daulnay and all the abominations of Marguerite and her sisters, the guardian of the night is heard chanting without—"Il est trois heures; tout est tranquille-Parisiens, dormez !”
+ Darlington is the illegitimate son of a bangman (this is in England), who is determined to make his fortune. To do this, nothing is so easy (N. B. This was in the days of unreformed parliaments) as to be returned M.P. for the County of Northumberland and the Borough of Darlington (both meaning the same thing). Darlington, then, is soon an M.P.; and he now makes a good speech, on which he is instantly sent for by the minister, and offered at once, by the king in person, a secretaryship of state, an earldom, and an immense estate, with the only condition of forsaking his principles and marrying a second wife, his own wise being yet living : this he of course complies with. But his wise is more difficult to be got rid of than his principles—and in his attempt to carry the good lady abroad, he is stopped by his moral, and virtuous, and indignant father, the hangman. Here ends the piece-finis coronat opus.
# Teresa is married to an officer older than herself, and who, indeed, has a daughter, Amelia, of nearly her age. Teresa is in love with a young man, Arthur, who marries Amelia and then intrigues with Teresa. Amelia gets possession of Teresa's letters, without knowing whose letters they are, but, suspecting some intrigue, places them in her father's hands, and her father finds his wife and his son-in-law to be little better than they should be. He satisfies himself, however, with hurrying daughter and son-in-law off on a foreign mission (in all M. Dumas' plays there is a foreign mission-no one bas such interest in the diplomacy), and Teresa thereupon destroys' herself, as will be seen in a note a little further on.
$ See the following note.
among which was a kind of Blue-beard story of a Queen of France, who, according to Brantôme, “ se tenait là d'ordinaire, laquelle fesant le guet aux passants et ceux qui lui revenaient et agréaient le plus, de quelque sort de gens que ce fussent, les fesait appeler et venir à soy, et, après avoir tiré ce qu'elle en voulait, les fesait précipiter du haut de la tour en bas en l'eau, et les fesait noyer." The name of this Queen seems a matter much disputed, but Marguerite de Bourgogne, wife of Louis. X., who, together with her two sisters, was convicted of practices something similar, furnishes the author of the piece with his heroine, and the plot turns on her intrigue with two brothers, whose parentage she was ignorant of, but who prove to be her own sons, by an adventurer, Buridan. One of these sons is murdered by the mother's order, another by the father's contrivance—there is hardly any crime to be found in the Causes Célèbres, which is not ingeniously crowded into the five acts of this drama.* There is hardly any horrible or ter
* The main plot (for there are several other minor intrigues) of the Tour de Nesle is this. There are two brothers, orphans and ignorant of their parents, Philippe Daulnay and Gaultier Daulnay. Gaultier Daulnay is in the Queen's guard, and is beloved by the Queen. Philippe Daulnay, coming to see him, is seduced to the Tour de Nesle, and, after having partaken of the Queen's revels, is murdered, according to her usual orders. Buridan, who, as, page to the Duc de Bourgogne, had formerly been the lover of Marguerite in early youth, before her marriage, and at her suggestion had murdered her father, Robert II., visits Paris, in order to take advantage of this secret, and finally insists on being made prime minister, and governing France in conjunction with the Queen. Marguerite apparently consents, but determines to contrive his death ; while Buridan also begins to think Marguerite's death necessary for the security of his fortunes. This amiable couple then make a love-appointment at the Tour de Nesle, each intending that it should end in the death of the other. Marguerite posts assassins in the chamber through wbich Buridan is to pass, and gives them orders to despatch the first man who enters. Buridan informs Gaultier Daulnay of his rendezvous, excites his jealousy, and gives him the key that will admit him into the tower in his (Buridan's) place, while in the mean time he gives the captain of the guard an order in the King's own hand to enter the Tour de Nesle at the hour when he expected Marguerite and Gaultier would be there, and to seize whoinsoever, without exception, be might find, as perpetrators of the horrid murders for which the place was famous. Hardly, however, has Gaultier left Buridan, before the latter learns that Philippe Daulnay, already slain by Marguerite, and Gaultier Daulnay, whose death he has just been contriving, are the offspring of his early loves with the Queen. He hastens then to the tower to save Gaultier, and, entering by the window, avoids the assassins. But he only comes in time to hear his son's cries under their hands; and as Gaultier, covered with
rible position of which the stage affords an example, in which the author has not contrived to place his heroine or heroes-there are some events ( the sudden nomination, for instance, of Buridan to be prime minister) too improbable for even the necessities of the scene to justify; but there are no flagrant violations of history such as those in Marie Tudor-nor is there any wanton attempt to interest you in crime. You are not told that you should feel as M. V. Hugo would have told you that you should feel—the deepest interest for the lady who had been strangling her lovers all her life, because she felt some compunction at having accidentally strangled her son at last. Your feelings are allowed to run on in their ordinary course, and your breast is dark from every gleam of pity when the guard leads off the queen and her paramour, caught in their own snares, to execution.
If you choose to judge the Tour de Nesle by the ordinary rules of criticism, it is a melo-dramatic monstrosity; but if
you think that to seize, to excite, to suspend, to transport the feelings of an audience, to hush them into the deepest silence, to wring out from them the loudest applause—to keep them with an eye eager, an ear awake, an attention unflagged from the first scene to the last—if you think that to do this is to be a dramatist--that to have done this is to have written a drama -bow down to M. Dumas, or M. Gaillardet—to the author of the Tour de Nesle—whoever he be—that man is a dramatist, the piece he has written is a drama. And yet, powerful as this play is, it wants poesy; there are no glorious passages, no magnificent situations,—written in prose, its prose is strong, nervous, but strictly prosaic. I should find it impossible to sum up an opinion of this performance, by calling it bad, or good-Go, reader, to see it! There is great art, great defects, great nature, great improbabilities, all massed and mingled up wounds, totters into the chamber and dies at the feet of his parents, the King's guards enter. The captain of the guard advancing
You are my prisoners.
Capt. of the Guard. There are here neither Queen nor prime minister : there is a dead body, two assassins, and an order, signed by the King's hand, to arrest this night whomsoever I should find in the Tour de Nesle.