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play for others—no room for the efforts of honourable ambition—no diversity of style-no opportunity for the nurture and cultivation of new races of actors, so long as this species of tyranny is permitted to be exercised with impunity.
To return to the comedy. It was read and put into rehearsal at once. On the tenth day from the day it was read in the green-room it was put upon
It had been rehearsed four times, and under circumstances, too, which rendered the establishment of any thing like an intelligence amongst the actors impossible.
Some notion of the care that was bestowed upon this comedy, may be formed from the circumstance tl:at it had four rehearsals between the day when it was read in the green-room, and the night of its production on the stage ; and some of these rehearsals, too, were scrambled for amongst a mob of people who were trying to hurry forward in the same helter-skelter way, a tumultuous opera of such multitudinous magnificence, that it must have put the printer to his wits' end to squeeze its descriptive particulars into a double play-bill! To suppose that any actors could be ready to do justice to a new play, or to themselves, at such short notice, would be preposterous ; but in this case, where some of the characters did not sit quite easily upon the performers, the utmost that could be hoped for, was to escape a complete and disgraceful failure. How much praise, then, is due to the artists who, under such circumstances, carried the play triumphantly through its perilous ordeal ?
The play succeeded, and was announced for repetition at the end of four days.
In the interval the announcement was changed to “three times a week”-then in a few days more to“ due notice will be given,” &c., and then it was dropped out of the bills altogether. Upon these mysterious and unprecedented facts, we have some observations in which the question arising out of them—the question that really concerns the public-is distinctly stated.
If this were a matter simply between the author and the manager, I should certainly let the play glide quietly into oblivion, like a bubble on the waters, that had just glanced for a moment in the sunshine, and then suddenly drifted into shadow. But it is a matter of rather a wider reach—it involves the interests of all future dramatic writers, and through them the interests of dramatic literature itself; and it also involves the right of the public to insist upon having their verdicts respected. When a play is damned, the author suffers in proportion ; shall he not have the benefit of success? I am well aware that all questions of this nature become more or less evasive, in the attempt to define and fix the responsibility ; but the fact of responsibility on general grounds is indisputable, while its extent and exaction must depend upon the special circumstances of each case.
The substantive question here is this : Whether a manager is justified in withdrawing a play which the public has approved, and the success of which, on its first representation, he has himself acknowledged in his bills ?
The only answer, we apprehend, which can be made to this question is—that if managers are justified in so doing, there is an end to the drama. Certainly no man--unless he be driven to it by want, and every other avenue to occupation be closed upon him—would write for the stage with such a sword as this, hair-suspended over his head.
The author could obtain no explanation as to why the comedy was thus burked. He took an action against the manager, for the avowed purpose of asserting the principle at issue. The next step in this new aspect of the case is no less remarkable and suspicious than the first.
My object was not to recover pecuniary damages from Mr. Bunn, but to vindicate the principle he had outraged. This vindication would have been complete in the reproduction of the comedy, and its repetition for a few nights, simply to show that a play which was successful on its first representation is entitled to a longer trial and a further test. I gave this alternative to Mr. Bunn, and at last he embraced it; but by a very remarkable coincidence, just as he agreed to re-produce the comedy, the theatre was suddenly shut up by the proprietors!
The coincidence certainly was very remarkable.
At last Mr. Bunn became lessee of Drury Lane, in which case he had promised to enact the play ; “but unless it were to be set to music, or reduced to a ballet of action, there was no earthly visible means” by which he could accomplish his promise. In this exigency he made a submission and acknowledgment, which admits the full principle contended for throughout, confirming the admission by the payment of a small penalty. The document is a curious one, and ought to be recorded for the sake of all dramatic writers. It is addressed to the solicitor, and the only liberty taken with it, says the author, " is the omission of two or three complimentary phrases, which shed a sort of opal light upon the transaction without making it a whit more clear."
“Theatre Royal, Drury Lane,
“Jan 3, 1844. “ My Dear Sir, “Regretting, as I do, the disappointment created by the non-repetition of Mr. Bell's comedy of . Mothers and Daughters,' I beg to repeat that it arose from no want of merit in the comedy itself (of which I entertain the same opinion I have ever expressed, that it is one of our best of modern comedies), but is entirely to be attributed to the crippled state of the theatre, and the impossibility of doing it justice by those means which previous failures had left in my hands.
“The best opinion I can give you of Mr. Bell's comedy is, that I would have done it this season at Drury Lane, if I possessed a company capable of doing it justice.
“ I am most happy in putting an end to the litigation between Mr. Bell and myself, by the payment of 501. towards the expenses incurred by Mr. Bell in printing the comedy, as well as his legal expenses, and of ceding to him the entire right of representing the comedy.
"I do this, not merely to express my sense of Mr. Bell's forbearance throughout all the unpleasantry which has arisen, but my highest appreciation of his gentlemanly conduct, &c., &c.
“If I knew how, either to Mr. Bell himself, or to the merits of his comedy, I could offer higher tribute, I would do so.
“ Yours, &c.
“ A. Bunn." “ J. Abbott, Esq., &c. &c."
We have entered into this case because it affords a practical and a very important vindication of a distinct right of dramatic authors. We would not have a manager required to run a play one night beyond the extent of a fair trial. Why should he ? It would be a gross injustice to expect him to throw money in vain out of his pocket. But he ought to run his risk as well as the author; and if a play be received at its first representation with decided success, he ought io feel bound on all accounts at least to repeat it. A third or fourth night, in most cases, would determine the prudence or necessity of extending the risk any further but that risk ought to be looked upon as inevitable, in the event of a successful first night. We think a precedent is clearly established by the case before us. Mr. Bunn has paid in costs and penalties as much as he would have been called upon to pay if the comedy had run a week. This is the “ moral" of the case.
NARRATIVE OF A VISIT TO THE COURTS OF VIENNA,
CONSTANTINOPLE, ATHENS, AND NAPLES.
BY THE MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY.
(Concluded from page 414.) Our captain was a great resource; abounding in anecdote, originality, and talent, he was always amusing, and besides his quotations and love of poetry, we discovered two additional accomplishments, singing and drawing. His likenesses were striking and done by a trait de crayon, while he quoted Metastasio, and
airs from " Norma” and “ La Sonambula. I begged him to send early next morning for milk, as the tea was ’bad without; to which request he replied, that tea without milk, was like justice without mercy, and quoted
La giustizia senza la clemenza è tiranna,
La clemenza senza giustizia è debolezza. But I fear no description can do G. justice, or convey the least idea of his singular character.
Next day, Tuesday 29th, we anchored off Corinth, at Leutrachi, in a small bay, surrounded by mountains, and scarcely a habitation visible. We found that to ride from thence to Athens by Megara would take two days, that there was only a bridle-road, and there were no inns; while an hour would be sufficient to take us across the isthmus to Callimachi, where we hoped to find some vessel to convey us to the Piræus. A gig was prepared for Lord L. and me, and carts for the baggage, and we set off accompanied by some strange, wild people, as guides. Worse countenances I never saw, and G.'s winks and shrugs, combined with his previously declared opinion, made one unwilling to trust to their care.
The road was flat and good, the day lovely, and the scenery enchanting, and we had advanced about half way, when we were met by Captain Lyon, who had preceded us, and returned to say that there was no place at Callimachi, the only station where we could possibly spend the night—no inn, no provisions, no boats, in fact, nothing. We were obliged to retrace our steps, and pass our evening again with the captain, who told us rather an amusing story, though I believe, an old one, of an Austrian and a French officer. The officer began,
« Mais voulez vous m'expliquer pourquoi vous vous battez ?" l'honneur,” replied the Frenchman, “et vous ?" “ Pour l'argent,” answered the Austrian; “ chacun se bat pour ce qui lui manque.”
We determined if the answer did not come next day from Athens, that we would devote it to visiting Corinth, and climbing the Acropolis. Being fine weather we set out, the captain disliking the expedition, from his avowed bad opinion of the country and the people.“ Voilà trente ans,” said he, “que je suis dans ces parages, et je les connais, ces animaux." Then he told a story of the purser of a frigate who had lagged behind his companions in walking to Corinth, when all of a sudden they missed him, and though they immediately turned back, and ten minutes had not elapsed since they lost sight of him, no
vestige or trace of him was ever afterwards discovered. It was supposed he had been murdered for a large silver-gilt chain he wore round his neck; but neither he nor any thing belonging to him was ever again seen.
Just as we were starting, a messenger arrived with an express from Sir Edmund Lyons, saying that the Russian minister had, with great consideration, sent us a fine man-of-war cutter to take us to Athens; we therefore returned to the steamer to pack up, and at about three o'clock we all started as on the previous day. The distance between the two seas is hardly five miles, and a more romantic country cannot be imagined. Wild, uncultivated, and uninhabited, the descent into Callimachi was beautiful; the distant blue mountains, the sea like glass, and that peculiar colouring only seen in sunny southern climes. In spring, I am told, this favoured land has the myrtle and oleander in full bloom in the
air. On reaching the shore, we found the cutter lying in the bay, and we immediately went on board. She was a man-of-war with twelve guns, fifty men, and eight officers. The want of wind and of dexterity in managing the sails, prevented our making much way; the sweeps were had out. The only accommodation was one very small cabin with narrow seats. An excellent dinner had been provided by the Russian minister, who most kindly had the attention to send his cook and servants. The difficulty, however, was how to spend the night, repose for all parties being impossible. A sail was put up as a partition in the cabin, and my maid and I took possession of one side, Lord L., Captain Lyon, and Dr. Forbes, being on the other; and here, without beds, we settled ourselves, and passed some uncomfortable hours till daylight, when, to our great regret, we found that at least twelve of the the thirty miles, remained to be accomplished. In despair at the prospect of another day and night on board, I asked the captain if we might have the boats, as the day was fine, and there was no appearance of a breath of wind. He most civilly assented ; three were speedily manned, and filled with people and luggage, and the eight-oared boat in which we were, brought us in about three hours to the Piræus.
We found Sir Edmund Lyons's carriage waiting for us, and the consul, Mr. Green, a very obliging person, ready to render all assistance. Rooms being taken at the Royal Hotel, Madame Cassali's, we at once drove there, and proceeded to settle ourselves. We found a cold, straggling, Greek inn, where, however two fire places were an unexpected luxury. We dined with Sir Edmund, a most hospitable, agreeable man.
His house was comfortable, with a marble hall and stairs, and must in summer be very pleasant, as the rooms above are warm and quite English in winter. On our return home we were glad to find the baggage safely arrived, the cutter having profitted by a little breeze to get in.
The next day, January 1st, the weather was clear, the morning bright, and we commenced the new year by ascending the far-famed Acropolis. It is necessary to have a permission, but being accompanied by the English minister, no questions were asked, and the little door opened and admitted us. Notwithstanding that our expectations were so raised, the coup d'æil surpassed any idea I had formed of it; and to a mind early stored with classic lore and historical knowledge, the pleasure of this visit must be doubly increased. Still, even the ignorant beholder cannot fail to be struck with admiration at these stupendous and wonderful renains, the immense quantity and masses of marble, as well as the magnificent position. The first object that meets the eye is the propylæa or entrance to the Parthenon. It increases the regret caused by the destruction before one, to think that when time had respected these works, avarice, barbarism, war, and the bad passions of mankind have aggravated and extended the devastation and ruin; for although earthquakes have shaken, and centuries have passed over them, the chief injuries have been done by the atrocities of war, shells, balls, and gunpowder. On the right, on entering, is the Temple of Victory Apteros, a graceful building lately discovered under a Turkish battery, and skilfully put together. The columns are fluted Ionic; the whole is in miniature, being only twenty feet in length, but very beautiful, and is situated on a little eminence.
Passing between this and the propylæa, the Parthenon is before you. It stands on the highest spot of the hill, and the only feeling that disturbs the mind while contemplating this unrivalled ruin, is regret and sorrow that it is no longer the perfect fabric it was. After the first wonder-stricken gaze, on a closer examination of these massive columns, and seemingly impregnable masonry, the stranger not only marvels how such an edifice could be finished in seven years, but that it ever was completed at all. The immense Doric columns, above six feet in diameter, are fluted; there are seventeen of a side; the whole of this and the other buildings of the Acropolis, are of Pentelic marble. It was 228 feet long and 100 broad. In the interior space a mosque has been built, wherein are deposited some remains of cornices and statues. The view from here over the olive plain, the Piræus, and the distant mountains, is very extensive and fine. From here is also seen the Areopagus, and the place where Saint Paul was brought up the steps, and preached.
I heard an anecdote of an English captain of a merchant vessel, who came and entreated Mr. Hill, the American clergyman here, to show him this spot: he ascended it, and pulling out his Bible, read some of the chapters, preached there, and, after a short prayer, turned to depart, saying he meant to sail that night. “ Will you not visit some of the temples on the hill ?" said the minister. “Oh no, sir,” replied the captain, “ I came to see this place, and have no desire to approach those profane buildings." Nor could he be induced to change his decision.
Lord L. wrote our names on one of the columns in front of the entrance of the Parthenon, to be perhaps read in after years by our children, and children's children. We then turned to the Erechtheum, a beautiful building, and, until the last twelve years, quite perfect. During the war in 1827 a Greek chief, with all his family, took refuge in its interior. A ball having nearly struck it, they covered the roof with earth. Another shot reached still nearer, and made them pile on more. During the night a tremendous rain caused the earth to swell, and thus the weight was so increased that the roof fell in and killed seventeen persons, and, amongst the rest, several females perished. The southern portico is supported by caryatides, of which three only remain. One has been carried off to St. Petersburg, and another went to London among Lord Elçin's spoils.
The sacred olive tree grew here, and the supposed tomb of Cecrops is