« VorigeDoorgaan »
a delicacy and discipline. In this shrouded in ugliness! The greatest respect the actor is like the orator. infamy in Italian history smiles Eloquence is all the more moving down upon us in old picture galleries when it is animated and directed by from the perfection of manly dignity a fine and subtle sympathy which and the most delicate loveliness of affects the speaker though it does woman. M. Coquelin's conception is not master him. It is futile to deny as primitive as the orthodoxy which absolutely to the actor such impulses used to insist that the devil wore as touch the heart by the sudden horus and a tail. The demand that appeal of passion or pathos. Kean the incarnation of evil shall be prewas not a player who left anything eminently distinguished by physical to hazard, and yet he had inspired distortion is, to say the least of it, moments, which, perhaps, anyone scarcely in harmony with the enholding M. Coquelin's views might lightenment of our age. Faust is ascribe to insanity. Diderot and a mixture of legend and philosophy Talma pointed out-and M. Coque--a great human drama, with the lin repeats the lesson-that an actor intense reality of life overshadowed has a dual consciousness-the in- by the supernatural. Mephistophespiring and directing self, and the les is both man and spirit, and executive self. Yet, it was also should not the actor suggest to the Talma who remarked that an actor imagination of the spectators an will often leave the stage at the end almost exaggerated idea of the comof a scene, trying to remember manding, all-embracing influence of what he has done, instead of think- the evil principle, while presenting ing what he has still to do. This, the personality of the squire of at all events, is idealism in art, and high degree?" It is impossible to my complaint of M. Coquelin is represent such a creation in any that he seems to allow to idealism adequate fashion without summononly a very small place in his phi- ing picturesque aids to heighten the losophy. spiritual effect of the play. To what Not the least striking illustration extent the picturesque may be legitof this defect is his proposition that imately carried in dramatic art will a hideous soul should have a hideous always be a moot point. "Picturbody, and that Mephistopheles esque" is a word often used vaguely, should therefore be represented as an but if it mean beauty-the selection image of deformity. History and fic-of what is pleasing and harmonious tion alike rebel against such a dictum; for, if this critic be right, then the Borgias, Iago, Macbeth, Tito, Ulric, should embody moral disease in their physical tissue. It is true that Mephistopheles need not be a handsome demon, but why should a hump be a symbol of cynicism? Some of the most exquisite spirits that ever reflected the radiance of divine love upon earth have been
in illustration-then by all means let us be picturesque. To discard this element in action, color, and expression, would surely be a serious error. I fear that if I understand M. Coquelin aright, his philosophy is much more material than would be expected from an actor who tells us that he is nothing if not "lyrical."
There is, of course, much in M.
Coquelin's article that is true and that is admirably put-notwithstanding that he frequently upsets in one paragraph the proposition of another. Nobody would deny that the study of character is the foundation of our art, or that the detail which is foreign to a character ought not to be presented for the sake of theatrical effect. But the essay is not a primer for beginners, it is addressed to the writer's colleagues and contemporaries. It deals out praise in this quarter and blame in that, and it has a strong flavor of autobiography. This distinguished comedian scarcely does justice to his intelligence when he forgets that no two actors of any originality will play the same part alike. An actor must either think for himself or imitate some one else. Such imitation produces a reverence for certain stage traditions that is sometimes mischievous, because an actor is tempted to school himself too closely to traditional interpretation, instead of giving fair play to his own insight. Probably it is of our departure from this rule that M. Coquelin is thinking when he sighs over "the deepseated love of originality" in the English race. But that originality, after all, is only the very natural assertion of the principle that the representation of character can never be cast in one unchanging mould. The individual force of the actor must find its special channel. Salvini's Othello is a great impersonation, but judging from all we know of Edmund Kean's performance of the Moor, it differed widely from the Italian's. There seem to be no difficult problems in Othello's character, and yet it would be idle to expect a succession of great actors to
play the part in precisely the same way.
M. Coquelin divides actors into two classes-those who identify themselves with their characters, and those who identify their characters with themselves. Excellent as this definition is, it is somewhat misleading. M. Coquelin tells us that when he played Thouvenin, it was his greatest difficulty to repress his own idiosyncrasies. His study was to efface Coquelin entirely-voice, walk, gesture--and to present only the man he conceived Thouvenin to be. This is very good as far as it goes; but why should Edwin Booth, when he acts the part of Hamlet, try to forget that, physically speaking, he was ever Edwin Booth? His mind is absorbed in the character-he looks and speaks the melancholy, the passion, the poetry, and the satire of this supreme creation; yet is he to be told that, if in some detail of aspect, gesture, or movement, he remind the audience that he still be Edwin Booth, he is making the character a part of himself, instead of losing his own nature for the time in the world of imagination? The actor who portrays with the grandest power the Titanic force and energy of Lear, or the malignity and hypocrisy of Shylock, will be truer to the poet than another who interests us chiefly in the characteristics of age or a type of the Jewish race. M. Coquelin would, I fear, in tragedy teach us to be too prosaic; for however important realistic portraiture may be in the comic drama-and there are noteworthy examples of its success on the English as well as the French stage-in tragedy it has a comparatively minor place.-HENRY IRVING, in The Nineteenth Century.
A STUDY IN THE HAMPSHIRE DIALECT.
How be I this mornin'? Why terrible bad I be,
Lor, that's jest as it 'appens wi' me a layin' here!
Never a morsel o' dust when I was about myself,
There was that chist o' drawers-'twas nigh as good as a glass,
As fur that row o' chiney, it frets my heart to see,
I know if I look'd int' it 'tis durty as well can be,
The cups as my mother left me, the cups as I bespoke!
I'd sooner the roof 'ud tumble than one o' them cups was broke.
I mustn't worry, you tell me-ah, how can you understand
Now I've to lay here quiet, and watch the things go wry,
Miriam comes an' gives 'em the little sattlin' they get,
Miriam? She's my neighbor-she married my brother Sam,
Dick's as good as 'e may be, but he have his work, you see.
An' when his day's work's over, he's home soon's ever he stop,
Miriam, she comes in here, but she makes me downright ill,
Lor, how it aches jest now, like needles down i' the bone.
Doctor, he cum an' see me, and he says I may lay here
Fur months; an' he muttered summat that I was too deaf to hear;
May-be he said I was dying.
Well, death must come to us all.
I b'ain't afraid to die-I might 'a bin up at t' Hall,
Fur I were a giddy lass then, wi' no thought beyond the day;
There's nothin' like layin' helpless for bringin' yer past life back,
Sometimes, when the pain's so bad, I do git tay-rible days,
Sweeps the dust i' the corners when she thinks I'm lookin' away,
Good-bye, ma'm. Must you be going? It's good of you settin' here,
List'nin' to all my troubles. Nay, don't you sattle that cheer! May-be next time you're comin' you'll find the old woman gone, For death must come to us all, an' my time 'ill not be long.
Good-bye, an' thank you kindly. I suppose you must leave us
Listen-that's Miriam knockin'-jest hark at that woman's row!
THE JUBILEE MEDAL.-Queen Victoria directed that the fiftieth anniversary of her accession to the crown (June 20, 1887) should be commemorated by the issue of a medal. The reverse of this medal is designed by Sir Frederic Leighton, who thus describes it:
"In the center a figure representing the British Empire sits enthroned, resting one hand on the sword of Justice, and holding in the other the symbol of victorious rule. A lion is seen on each side of the throne. At the feet of the seated figure lies Mercury, the God of Commerce, the mainstay of our imperial strength, holding up in one hand a cup heaped with gold. Op posite to him sits the Genius of Electricity and Steam. Below, again, five shields banded together bear the names of the five parts of the globe, Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Australasia, over which the Empire extends. On each side of the figure of Empire stand the personified elements of its greatness-on the right (of the spectator) Industry and Agriculture-on the left, Science, Letters and Art. Above, the occasion of the celebration commemorated is expressed by two winged figures, representing the year 1887 (the advancing figure) and the year 1837 (with averted head), holding each a wreath. Where these wreaths interlock the letters 'V.R.I.' appear, and over all the words 'In Commemoration.'"
PRODUCTS FROM COAL TAR-In another place we give the important points in Mr. Newbigging's paper in the Scottish Review on the "Coal Industry of Great Britain.' Almost incidentally he refers to the not inconsiderable value of what was until quite recently regarded as waste material in this industry:
"The substances extracted from coal tar to the present time exceed 130 in num
ber, and fresh products are constantly
being obtained. Perhaps the most important substance yielded by the tar is Benzole. This is remarkable for its solvent
power for caoutchouc, gutta percha, resins, and fats. It is used also for preparing varnishes for removing grease spots and cleaning soiled white kid gloves. Treated with nitric acid it yields nitro-benzole or essence of mirbane, having an odor resembling oil of bitter almonds, and used
to perfume soaps and flavor confectionery. Aniline is also derived from it, this substance being the base of all the rich and beautiful dyes bearing the name of 'Aniline Colors.' Coal tar is also the chief, if not now the only, source of Anthracene, from which Alizarine, the coloring prin ciple of madder, is derived. Since the discovery of this substance in coal tar, the cultivation of the madder root in eastern countries has been entirely discontinued, and thus, as a distinguished savant has declared, an appreciable addition has been made to the surface of the globe! Creosote in large quantity is obtained in the distillation of coal tar. This is used for the preservation of timber in contact with the ground, notably the wood sleepers of railways. It is also an excellent liquid fuel, and in combination with caustic soda and tallow is valuable as a dip for washing sheep. Green oil, one of the distillates of coal tar, mixed with resin and oil, is used for making railway grease; lamp black, from which printer's ink is prepared, is also made from it. Carbolic acid, one of the most valuable antiseptics and disinfectants, is obtained from coal tar. The two most recent coal tar derivatives are, Antipyrine discovered by Herr Ludwig D'Erlanger, and regarded by physicians as the most powerful agent known for reducing temperature in fevers; and Saccharin, discovered by Dr. Constantine Fahlberg in the United States. The taste of this substance is so extraordinarily sweet that a solution of 1 in 70,000 of water is perceptible. The solid deposit upon the interior surface of gas retorts is almost pure carbon, and is employed in the construction of the Bunsen Galvanic Battery, and for the carbon points of candles used in the Arc Electric Lamp. Sulphuric acid and flowers of sulphur are largely produced from the spent oxide of iron used in the purification of coal gas. The spent lime rough land, and the valuable coke which of the purifiers is applied as a compost to
is drawn as a residue from the retorts after the gaseous products have been expelled is extensively burnt in domestic fires and for trade purposes.'
THE MOON AND EARTHQUAKES.— In Murray's Magazine Mr. J. Westwood Oliver treats of "Earthquake Warnings." He gives various theories which have been advanced as to the cause of earthquakes;