Since you say that my perpetual quotation of that stupid song, “Old Wilson is Dead,” worries you, I will renounce my delight in teasing you with it. The love of teasing is, of course, only a base form of the love of power. Mr. Harness and I had a long discussion the other night about the Cenci; he maintains your opinion, that the wicked old nobleman was absolutely mad; but I argued the point stoutly for his sanity, and very nearly fell into the fire with dismay when I was obliged to confess that if he was not mad, then his actuating motive was simply the love of power. Do you know that that play was sent over by Shelley to England with a view to Miss O’Neill acting Beatrice Cenci? If it were ever possible that the piece could be acted, I should think an audience might be half killed with the horror of that entrance of Beatrice when she describes the marble pavement sliding from beneath her feet.
Did my mother tell you in her note that Milman was at the play the other night, and said I had made Bianca exactly what he intended? I wish he would write another tragedy. I think perhaps he will, from something Murray said the other day. That eminent publisher still has my MSS. in his possession, but you know I can take things easily, and I don’t feel anxious about his decision. I act in “Fazio” Monday and Wednesday, and Friday and Saturday Mrs. Beverley and Belvidera at Brighton.
I was inexpressibly relieved by receiving a letter from my brother, and the intelligence that if I answered him he would be able to receive my reply, which I made immediate speed to send him.
DEAR MRS. JAMESON,
My brother John is alive, safe and well, in Gibraltar. You deserve to know this, but it is all I can say to you. My mother has suffered so much that she hardly feels her joy; it has broken her down, and I, who have borne up well till now, feel prostrated by this reprieve. God be thanked for all his mercies! I can say no more.
F. A. K.