Records of a Girlhood eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,000 pages of information about Records of a Girlhood.
own, making all allowances for etc., etc., etc.  I think, irrespective of age or sex, it is not a bad play—­perhaps, considering both, a tolerably fair one; there is some good writing in it, and good situations; the latter I owe to suggestions of my mother’s, who is endowed with what seems to me really a science by itself, i.e. the knowledge of producing dramatic effect; more important to a playwright than even true delineation of character or beautiful poetry, in spite of what Alfieri says:  “Un attore che dira bene, delle cose belle si fara ascoltare per forza.”  But the “ben dire cose belle” will not make a play without striking situations and effects succeed, for all that; at any rate with an English audience of the present day.  Moreover (but this, as well as everything about my play, must be entre nous for the present), my father has offered me either to let me sell my play to a bookseller, or to buy it for the theatre at fifty pounds.
Fifty pounds is the very utmost that any bookseller would give for a successful play, mais en revanche, by selling my play to the theater it cannot be read or known as a literary work, and as to make a name for myself as a writer is the aim of my ambition, I think I shall decline his offer.  My dearest H——­, this quantity about myself and my pursuits will, I am afraid, appear very egotistical to you, but I rely on your unchangeable affection for me to find some interest in what is interesting me so much.

                     Always you most affectionate


The success of the English theater in Paris was quite satisfactory; and all the most eminent members of the profession—­Kean, Young, Macready, and my father—­went over in turn to exhibit to the Parisian public Shakespeare the Barbarian, illustrated by his barbarian fellow-countrymen.  I do not remember hearing of any very eminent actress joining in that worthy enterprise; but Miss Smithson, a young lady with a figure and face of Hibernian beauty, whose superfluous native accent was no drawback to her merits in the esteem of her French audience, represented to them the heroines of the English tragic drama; the incidents of which, infinitely more startling than any they were used to, invested their fair victim with an amazing power over her foreign critics, and she received from them, in consequence, a rather disproportionate share of admiration—­due, perhaps, more to the astonishing circumstances in which she appeared before them than to the excellence of her acting under them.

One of the most enthusiastic admirers of the English representations said to my father, “Ah! parlez moi d’Othello! voila, voila la passion, la tragedie.  Dieu! que j’aime cette piece! il y a tant de remue-menage.”

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Records of a Girlhood from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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