Imatges de pÓgina
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And is this all, thought I, that now remains of that gifted creature, who, less than three short months since, electrified the ears of all auditors, and charmed the eyes of all beholders, in my own theatrical domain? and whom little more than three short weeks since I saw apparently well and happy, all brilliancy and buoyancy, in a crowded theatre at Paris? And is this dreary chamber, in a busy commercial inn, the place where so much talent and beauty slept the last sleep in, and now lies cold in death? I availed myself of the courtesy manifested by the landlady, (whose conduct throughout was full of heart and honour,) and upon that lone coffin I committed to paper THE MONODY which was delivered the ensuing week on the stage of Drury Lane Theatre.

FUNERAL OF MADAME MALIBRAN.

Early on the following morning, Saturday, October 1st, we assembled at the Moseley Arms, to go through the worldly ceremony of consigning to the bosom of the earth one of the loveliest flowers that ever sprang from it. While we were in the midst of preparation, the Earl of Wilton, a nobleman whose various merits it is unnecessary to eulogise, because none would ever think of detracting from them, arrived from his seat in the neighbourhood; and, with feelings that did honour to his high character, requested permission to bear any part, however humble, in the mournful rites. About half-past nine o'clock, the mourners accompanied the Reverend James Crook, senior priest at the Granby-row Chapel, to the chamber before

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alluded to, where the ritual of the Romish church was read by the side of the coffin-a general custom when the deceased, being of the Catholic persuasion, is to be buried in a Protestant place of worship. As soon as this ceremony was concluded, a hearse, drawn by four horses, was brought up to the front door of the hotel, in which the body was then deposited. It was followed by six mourning coaches, each drawn by four horses, which conveyed the mourners in the following order:

First Coach.-John Macvicar, Esq. (the Boroughreeve of Manchester), CHIEF MOURNER, supported by the Earl of Wilton and Sir George Smart.

Second Coach.-Robert Brandt, Esq. (the Barrister,) Mr. Beale, and Mr. Willert, his son-in-law, (the two gentlemen deputed by M. de Beriot to give directions for the funeral,) and Mr. Bunn, (Lessee of Drury-lane Theatre.)

Third Coach.-Mr. William Shore, Mr. Joseph Ewart, Mr. Edmund Wright, and Mr. John Shuttleworth.

Fourth Coach.-Mr. Gardner, Mr. David Bellhouse, jun., and Mr. George Whittington, (Stewards of the Music Festival Committee.)

Fifth Coach.-R. C. Sharp, Esq., George Peel, Esq., F. R. Hodgson, Esq., (Churchwardens of Manchester,) and Joseph Peel, Esq., (a Festival Steward.)

Sixth Coach.-Shakspeare Phillips, Esq., Daniel Broadhurst, Esq., and Thomas Potter, Esq., (all

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Magistrates of the County) and J. B. Wanklyn, Esq., (Treasurer of the Festival Committee.)

The procession was headed by Mr. Thomas, deputy constable of Manchester, four beadles, mutes, a body of gentlemen of the town, in deep mourning, walking three abreast, and a stout yeoman carrying the state-lid of feathers. The heavens wept enough on the occasion, for the rain fell in torrents all the morning; but, however it damped their apparel, it did not at all damp the ardour of the inhabitants, it having been roughly computed that more than fifty thousand people were congregated between the Moseley Arms and the collegiate church. The funeral service was performed by the Rev. C. D. Wray. As the body lay on the bier in the centre aisle, and Handel's "Holy, holy," was sung as a dirge, from the gallery of the collegiate church, a stirring impulse pervaded the whole crowded community, while a deeper feeling swept across those of more contemplative mind, arising from the reflection that, on the last occasion this sublime composition was heard within its sacred walls, it was breathed by the lips of one now cold and inanimate, amongst those her exquisite tones had so animated but a few days before. I can remember no similar sensation.

It is not my purpose to inquire into the conflicting opinions by which I found the town of Manchester agitated, respecting the immediate cause of her illness, and the more immediate cause of her death. While some asserted that she had never recovered

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from a fall, while taking equestrian exercise during her late engagement in London, others maintained that she was improperly bled, others that the introduction of the system of Homœopathics by Dr. Belluomini, after her having been treated upon so totally different a principle for several preceding days, was fatal. I have my opinions, based upon the information of men of science, but I keep them to myself; still one thing is quite certain, and to that fact the calamity may in reality be traced, viz., to use the words of Lablache, “ Son grand esprit étoit trop fort pour son petit corps." Neither is it my intention to enter upon another circumstance which created almost as great a sensation as the death of the wife the sudden departure of the husband from the scene of sorrow. One party maintained that, in conformity with the custom of his country, Monsieur de Beriot had very properly quitted so mournful a spot; that his feelings would not admit of his remaining there; that he had important family business at Brussels, and his only hope of survival was in instantly repairing to his sister and child, at Ixelles, near that city. Another party, and by far the more popular, maintained, that leaving the body -not yet iced by death-of a wife whom he professed to love so much, and one whose talent the world so idolized, to be interred by strangers almost ignorant of the religion she while living professed, and, with every good intention, still tenacious as to the modes and forms to be adopted, was the act of a cold and

MONS. DE BERIOT.

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bloodless heart, and that his instant flight to a now widowed home was solely for the purpose of securing to himself every article she died possessed of. Although these conflicting opinions appeared in various journals at the time, and certainly formed the general topic of conversation, it is no part of my task to analyse them, nor is it my intention to state to which side of the argument I incline. As soon after my return to London as I could spare the time, I wrote a letter to Monsieur de Beriot, detailing as delicately as possible the result of my visit to Manchester, and offering, if armed with his authority, to rebut the calumnies in circulation against him.*

One point upon which the world at large was unanimous, was the disgusting scene of exhuming the body, and transporting it to Lacken. It was neither more nor less than an outrage on the memory of the

* The following reply to my letter, posted at Brussels, October 14, 1836, is from Monsieur de Beriot's sister:

"MONSIEUR,

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"Depuis plusieurs jours mon frère a le désir de répondre à votre "bonne lettre, mais il est encore si douloureusement accablé du mal"heur que nous a frappé, et des suites de tout ce qu'il a souffert à Man"chester, que la moindre émotion est funeste à sa santé ; j'évite autant que possible qu'il les se renouvellerait; cette ce qui m'engage à vous temoigner en son nom, combien il est sensible à votre souvenir, sur"tout dans une circonstance ou il a tout besoin d'amitié.

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"Je n'ai pas jugé de remettre votre lettre à Charles au moment où “je l'ai reçue; il ignorait encore alors les calomnies infâmes répandues 66 sur son caractère, sur son cœur; son âme est trop pure pour qu'il ait

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pu s'en douter; et dans la situation d'esprit où il se trouvait c'etait un "devoir pour moi, de ne pas l'en instruire, je l'ai amené avec prudence

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