Imatges de pÓgina
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ing probably their own conclusions as to Willyam Kendall-to give him for his the significance of the demoniac apparition, said servis everi week of his playing in are said to have prudently taken to flight London ten shillings, and in the countrie in an opposite direction.

five shillings, for the which he covenaunteth Upon our early English stage the to be redye at all houres to play in the honse

super" had frequent occupation; the of the said Philip, and in no other." It Shakesperian drama, indeed, makes large may be noted that Shakespeare's first condemands upon the mute performers. The nexion with the Globe Theatre is shown stage at this time was not very spacious, upon fair evidence to have been originally however, and was in part occupied by the that of a “servitor.” In that case the more pretentious of the spectators, who, poet must often have been required to seated upon stools, or reclining upon the appear in very subordinate characters, rushes which strewed the boards, were perhaps even characters not intrusted with attended by their pages, and amused them- speech. Will it inflame too violently the selves with smoking their pipes and noisily ambition of our modern "supers” to criticising the performance. There was suggest to them that very possibly Shake. little room therefore for any great number speare himself may have preceded them in of supernumeraries. But spectacles—to the performance of their somewhat inwhich the "super" has always been indis- glorious duties? The hired men or ser. pensable—had already won the favour of vitors were under the control and in the playgoers. Sir Henry Wotton writes in pay of the proprietor or manager of the 1613 of a new play produced at the Globe theatre, and their salaries constituted no Theatre, “called All is True, representing charge upon the shares of the chief actors. some principal pieces of the reign of Henry Still these were entitled to complain appathe Eighth, which was set forth with many rently if the hired men were too few in extraordinary circumstances of pomp and number to give due effect to the represenmajesty, even to matting of the stage; the tations. In 1614 a dispute arose between knights of the order with their Georges Henslowe and his sharing actors, by reason and Garter, the guards with their em- of his having suddenly reduced his exbroidered coats and the like; sufficient, in penses by dismissing four hired men." truth, within a while to make greatness He had previously sought to charge their very familiar, if not ridiculous.”'

"Supers" stipends upon the shares, although bound must surely have been employed on this by agreement to defray these expenses ont occasion. It is clear, however, that the of the money derived from the galleries, at money-takers, “or gatherers," as they were this time, perhaps, a managerial perquisite. called, after the audience had assembled, But in addition to the servitors, as the and their presence was no longer needed at representatives of minor and mate chathe doors, were accustomed to appear upon racters, there were also available the jourthe stage as the representatives of guards, neymen or apprentices of the more eminent soldiers, &c. An early play refers to the performers. If they paid no premium upon combats of the scene being accomplished being articled, novices were at any rate by “the blue-coated stage-keepers, or at- bound in return for the education they tendants. And the actors were classified received to hand their earnings, or a large at this time, according to their professional part of them, to their masters. And this is standing, as

" whole sharers," “three- precisely the case at the present time in quarter sharers,” “half sharers," and regard to the pupils of musical professors * hired men,” or “servitors.” The leading and the teachers of singing, dancing, and players were as joint proprietors in the feats of the circus. The services of the undertaking, and divided the receipts apprentices were transferable, and could among them according to a prearranged be bought and sold. There is quite a slavescale. Minor characters were sustained trade aspect about the following entry in by the “servitors” who were paid, as our Henslowe's Diary. “Bowght my bose actors are at the present time, by weekly Jeames Brystow, of William Augusten, wages, and had no other interest in the player, the 8th of December, 1597, for success of the theatre with which they eight pounds.” Augustine Phillips, the were associated, beyond desire that its ex- actor, one of Shakespeare's partners, who cheqner might be always equal to their died in 1605, and who by his will beclaims upon it. Philip Henslowe's Diary queathed to Shakespeare “a thirty shillin: contains an entry regarding a non-sharing peece in gould,” also gave to “ Samuelt! actor: “Hiered as a covenant servant | Gilborne, my late apprentice, the some of

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fortye shillings, and my mouse-coloured the clown and pantaloon. It is not survelvit hose, and a white taffety dublet, a prising altogether that a certain apathy blacke taffety sute, my purple cloke, sword gradually steals over him, and that such and dagger, and my base viall.” He also intelligence as he ever possessed becomes gave to “ James Sands, my apprentice, the in time somewhat numbed by the peculiar some of forty shillings and a citterne, a nature of his profession. Moreover, in bandore, and a lute, to be paid and de- regard to the play in which he takes part livered unto him at the expiration of his he generally but dimly informed. Its terme of yeres in his indentur of appren- plot and purpose are a mystery to him. He ticehood.” From his bequest of musical never sees it represented or rehearsed as instruments, it has been conjectured that an entirety. His own simple duties accomPhillips sometimes played in what is now plished, he is hurried to the rear of the stage called the orchestra of the theatre. A sum to be out of the way of the actors. Why of forty shillings in Elizabeth's time repre- he bends his knee to one performer and sents the value of about ten pounds of our loads another with fetters; why there is currency. What with its gatherers,” banning in this scene and blessing in that; “servitors,” and journeymen, the Shake- why the heroine in white adores the gallant spearian stage was obviously provided suffi- in blue and abominates her snitor in red, ciently with supernumerary assistants. are to him inexplicable matters. The

The “super” is useful, even ornamental dramas in which he figures only impress in his way, though it behoves him always his mind in relation to the dresses he is to stand aloof from the footlights, so that constrained to assume during their repredistance

may lend his aspect as much en- sentation, the dresses being never of his chantment as possible; but he is not highly own choosing, rarely fitting him, and their esteemed by the general public. In truth significance being always outside his comhe has been long the object of ridicule and prehension. To him the tragedy of King caricature. He is charged with stupidity, John is but the occasion on which he and his and is popularly considered as a very

fellows wore them tin pots on our ’eads ;” absurd sort of creature. But he has re- Julius Cæsar the play in which “we went on signed his own volition, he has but to obey. in sheets.” “What are we supposed to be ?" He is as a puppet whose wires are pulled by a curious "super" once inquired of a more others. He is under the rule of a “super- experienced comrade. “Blessed if I know,” master," who is in his turn governed by was the answer. “Demons I expect.” the wavings of the prompter's white flag They were clothing themselves in chainin the wings, the prompter being controlled mail, and were “supposed to be”—Cruby the stage-manager, who is supposed to saders. be the executant of the dramatist's inten- The "super's" dress is, indeed, his prime tions. The“super's” position upon the stage consideration, and out of it arises bis is strictly defined for him; sometimes even greatest grievance. He must surrender marked on the boards with chalk. He himself unconditionally to the costumier, may not move until the word of command and obey implicity his behests. Summer is given him, and then every change of or winter, he has no voice in the question; station or attitude must be pursuant to he must clothe himself warmly or scantily, previous instruction. And his duties are just as he is bidden. “Always fleshings sometimes arduous. He may often be when there's a frost," a "super" was once required to change his attire and assume heard to grumble, who conceived the classia new personality in the course of one cal system of dress or undress—and for that night's performances. A member of a band matter, perhaps, the classical drama alsoof brigands in one


may in to be invented solely for his inconvenience another be enrolled in a troop of soldiers, and discomfort. But more trying than this sent to combat with and capture those antique garb is the demoniac mask of panmalefactors. In the same play he may tomime, which is as a diver's helmet ill prowear now the robes of a nobleman, and vided with appliances for admitting air or now the rags of a mendicant: A demon permitting out-look. The group of panting possessed of supernatural powers at the supers," with their mimic heads under opening of a pantomime, he is certain their arms—their faces smeared with red before its close to be found among those or blue, in accordance with direction, not good-natured people who saunter across of their own choice—to be discovered bethe stage for the sole purpose, as it would hind the scenes during the performance of seem, of being assaulted and battered by a Christmas piece, is an impressive portion


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of the spectacle, although it is withheld naturally asserts itself in his costume, from the contemplation of the audience. ' which will not bear critical investigation. There have been “supers” who approached His boots are of the homeliest and somevery near to death by suffocation, from the times of the muddiest; course dabs of hurtful nature of their attire, rather than rouge appear upon his battered cheeks; fail in the discharge of their duties. For his wig-for a "super" of this class almost there is heroism everywhere.

always wears a wig-is unkempt and deThe stage has always been fertile in the cayed; his white cravat has a burlesque matter of anecdotage, and of course comical air; and his gloves are of cotton. There stories of “supers” have abounded; for are even stories extant of very economical these, the poorest of players, are readily “supers" who have gone halves in a pair available for facetious purposes. Thus, so of " berlins," and even expended rouge far back as the days of Quin, there is record on but one side of their faces, pleading of a curious misapprehension on the part that they were required to stand only on of the supernumeraries of the time. Quin's the right or the left of the stage, as the pronunciation was of a broad old-fashioned case might be, and as they could thus be kind, a following of a traditional method seen but in profile by the audience, these of elocution from which Garrick did much defects in their appearance could not to release the theatre. The play was possibly attract notice. Altogether the Thomson's Coriolanus, and Quin appeared "super's” least effective performance is that as the hero. In the scene of the Roman of “ a guest." ladies' entry in procession, to solicit the It is a real advance for a "super" when he return to Rome of Coriolanus, the stage is charged with some small theatrical task, was filled with tribunes and centurions of which removes him from the ranks of his the Volscian army, bearing fasces, their fellows. He acquires individuality, though ensigns of authority. Quin, as the hero, of an inferior kind. But his promotion commanded them to “ lower their fasces” entails responsibilities for which he is not by way of homage to the matrons of Rome. always prepared. Lekain, the French But the representatives of the centurions tragedian, playing the part of Tancred, at understood him to mean their faces, and Bordeaux, required a supernumerary to act much to the amusement of the audience as his squire, and carry his helmet

, lance, all reverently bowed their heads with ab- and shield. Lekain's personal appearance surd unanimity.

was insignificant, and his manner at reBut it is as the performers of "guests" hearsal had been very subdued. The that the “supers” have especially moved “super” thought little of the hero he was derision in our theatres; and, indeed, on to serve, and deemed his own duties slight the Parisian stage les invités have long been enough. But at night Lekain's majesty of established provocatives of laughter. The port, and the commanding tone in which he assumption of evening dress and some cried, “Suivez moi !” to his squire, so thing of the manners of polite society, has startled and overcame that attendant that always been severely trying to the super- he suddenly let fall, with a great crash, numerary actor. What can he really the weapons and armour he was carrying. know of balls and fashionable assemblies? Something of the same kind bas often Of course, speech is not demanded of him, happened upon our own stage. “ You disnor is his presence needed very near to tressed me very much, sir," said a famous the proscenium, but he is required to give tragedian once to a

super,” who had com. animation to the background, and to be as mitted default in some important business easy and graceful as he may in his aspect of the scene. “Not more than you frightand movements. The result is not satis- ened me, sir,” the “

super” frankly said. factory. He is more at home in less re- He was forgiven his failure on account of fined situations. He is prone to indulge the homage it conveyed to the tragedian's in rather grotesque gestures, expressive of impressiveness. admiration of the brilliant decorations sur- M. Etienne Arago, writing some years rounding him, and profuse, even servile since upon les choristes, calls attention to gratitude for the hospitality extended to the important services rendered to the him. He interchanges mute remarks, enli- stage by its mute performers, and demands vened by surprising grimaces, with the lady their wider recognition. He holds that as of the ballet, in the shabbiest of ball much, or even more talent is necessary to dresses, who hangs affectionately upon his constitute a tolerable figurant as to make

The limited amount of his stipend a good actor. He describes the figurant

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as a multiform actor, a dramatic chameleon, Our new play will be a great go !” a compelled by the special nature of his oc- promoted "super" once observed to certain cupation, or rather by its lack of special of his fellows. I play a policeman! I nature, to appear young or old, crooked or go on in the last scene, and handcuff Mr. straight, noble or base-born, savage or Rant. I have to say, 'Murder's the civilized, according to the good pleasure of charge! Stand back ! Won't that fetch the dramatist. “Thus, when Tancred de- the house?” claims, "Toi superbe Orbassan, c'est toi que There are soldiers doomed to perish in je défie!' and flings his gauntlet upon the their first battle. And there have been stage, Orbassan has but to wave his hand “supers" who have failed to justify their adand an attendant advances boldly, stoops, vancement, and silenced forever have had to picks up the gage of battle, and resumes his fall back into the ranks again. The French former position. That is thought to be stage has a story of a figurant who ruined a very simple duty. But to accomplish it at once a new tragedy and his own prowithout provoking the mirth of the audi- spects by an unhappy lapsus linguæ, the ence is le sublime du métier-le triomphe result of undue haste and nervous excitede l'art!"

ment. He had but to cry, aloud, in the The emotions of an author who for the crisis of the drama: “Le roi se meurt!” first time sees himself in print, have often He was perfect at rehearsal ; he earned been descanted upon. The sensations of a the applause even of the author. A bril“super,” raised from the ranks, intrusted liant future, as he deemed, was open to with the utterance of a few words, and him. But at night he could only utter, in enabled to read the entry of his own name broken tones, “ Le meurt se roi !" and the in the playbills, are scarcely less entitled tragic situation was dissolved in laughter. to sympathy. His task may be slight So, in our own theatre, there is the esenough, the measure of speech permitted tablished legend of Delpini, the Italian him most limited; the reference to him in clown, who, charged to exclaim at a critical programmes may simply run

moment, “Pluck them asunder!” could

produce no more intelligible speech than CHARLES (a waiter) . . Mr. JONES;

“ Massonder em plocket!” Much mirth in

the house and dismay on the stage ensued. RAILWAY PORTER Mr. BROWN;

But Delpini had gained his object. He

had become qualified as an actor to particibut the delight of the performer is infinite. pate in the benefits of the Theatrical Fund. His promotion is indeed of a prodigious As a mere pantomimist he was without a kind. Hitherto but a lay-figure, he is now title. But John Kemble had kindly furthered endowed with life. He has become an the claim of the for

the claim of the foreign clown by intrusting actor! The world is at length informed him for once with "a speaking part.” The of his existence. He has emerged from tragedian, however, had been quite unprethe crowd, and though it may be but for a pared for the misadventure that was to moment, can assert his individuality. He result. carries his part about with him every- Delpini was, it appears, doomed to morwhere--it is but a slip of paper with tification in regard to his attempts at one line of writing running across it. He English speech upon the stage.

He was exhibits it boastfully to his friends. He engaged as clown at the East London, or reads it again and again ; recites it in Royalty Theatre, in Goodman's Fields, at every tone of voice he can command- a time when that establishment was withpractises his elocutionary powers upon out a license for dramatic performances, every possible occasion. A Parisian figu- and was incurring the bitter hostility of rant, advanced to the position of accessoire, the patent managers. It was understood, was so elated that he is said to have ex- however, that musical and pantomimic enpressed surprise that the people he met tertainments could lawfully be presented. in the streets did not bow to him; that the But the unhappy clown, in the course of a sentinels on guard did not present arms as harlequinade, had ventured to utter the he passed. His reverence for the author simple words, “ Roast Beef !” and forthwith in whose play he is to appear is boundless ; he was prosecuted and sent to prison as a he regards him as a second Shakespeare, if rogue and a vagabond. For a time he seems not something more.

His devotion to the to have been even reduced to prison fare. manager, who has given him the part, for His case is referred to in a prologue written a time approaches deliriousness.

by Miles Peter Andrews, and delivered upon

or even


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in this spot, and there was also a ceaseless bound to get my will whosomedever lends sound of disturbance, for the roar of sway- me a hand.” ing miles of wood surged above and below "Come," said Katherine, "this is interestin continual thunder. Even the mildest airs ing. My dear wise woman, I thank you of heaven seemed to have secret stings, for your compliments, and I am delighted which goaded the Tobereevil Woods un- to make your acquaintance. You thought ceasingly into motion and sound. The dark- you had something good, and you find you ness and confusion were very awful in this have something naughty; so you become solitary dungeon which the trees had made quite friendly and tell me your secrets. for themselves. It seemed like a meeting. Nothing could please me more. It gives me place for evil spirits. Katherine approved intense pleasure to meet with people who of it, and, in order to enjoy herself, took intend to have their will. And who is

your her seat on a fallen trunk over which she boy Con-and what is he to Simon ?” had stumbled.

She knew the story well, but chose to


He's my sister's own son, an' Simon's KATHERINE had not been long in this nephew," she said. “An' I've swore an oath uncomfortable spot when she heard a sound on my knees that he shall be master o' which, fearless as she was, caused her a Tobeerevil. There was a will that was momentary shock. To hear a footstep in nearly signed whin Paul Finiston he cat such a place was startling. Yet there was in an' turned us ont o' doors. I've been a crackling of the underwood to be de- years starvin' yonder wid the black-beetles tected through, or rather on the surface of, an' the rats ; an' I'm bound to have my the roar of the woods. Her eyes, being reward. I'll get back to his kitchen, an' now used to the darkness, distinguished the I'll put my boy into Paul's shoes. I've outline of a woman's form, which was grop- been begging on the hills, but it's little I'll ing its way amongst the bushes. Presently think o'that when I've the money-bags in my a scream from the new-comer announced clutches, an' I'm come this ways through the fear at the glimmer of Miss Archbold's woods in hopes o' meetin' somethin' wicked white furs. The figure fell and cowered that'd help me. There do be devils an' on the ground, and Katherine amused her- bad spirits always livin' in the threes—I'm self for some minutes with the terror of not afraid o' them if they'd give me a han'. this unknown and silly wretch. Then she But I'm mortial feared o' the angels, for touched the prostrate body with the toe of they might keep me from my will." her little boot.

Katherine looked at the creature with “Get up quickly," she said, “whocver admiration. Where in all the land could

she meet with anything so congenial a3 The creature, an old woman, revived at this hag, who had thus avowed a purpose the human voice, and gathered herself which had made them enemies at once ? grotesquely into a sitting posture. They For I,” thought Katherine, "have decould see each other now, however dimlý. termined that Paul Finiston shall be master Katherine looked like some beautiful fairy, of Tobereevil, and I am resolved to have who had chosen for no good end to pay a my will. And this creature is also bent visit to this spot ; the other like some witch upon forcing fate, so that her Con sball in her familiar hannt. For the old woman take his place. Yet we shall be friends

, was ugly, and she was weird. In short, in spite of this little difference.”. she was Tibbie.

My dear soul,” said she, “sit down on “I know ye now!" she cried, I know this stump and tell me all about it. I am Ye're Sir John Archbold's anxious to hear your plans.

What do you daughter from beyant the mountain. Many mean to do in order to ruin Paul Finiston a time I have heard o' the beauty o’yer “I would not tell you,” said Tibbie, face, an' the hardness o' yer heart. I know “ only that I know you are hard-hearted. ye by yer hair, for though my eyes is not If I thought you soft an' good, I wouldn't good, I can see the glint o't. 'I took ye open my lips to ye, not if ye prayed me on for an angel, an' I'm not good company for yer knees. For Paul Finiston's the sort the angels—not till my boy Con's some- that women likes.” way settled to his property. When Simon “But he is a fool,” said Katherine, “ ar gives him his rights, then I'll set my mind impostor, and a beggar, who must

be to goodness; but people can't get their wills turned by the shoulders out of the country; wid the grace o' God about them. An'I'm Tibbie crowed, and clapped her hands

you may be !"


ye now!

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