We must confess we approach a description of the third act with diffidence. Such intense pathos, we feel, demands words of more sombre sound—ink of a darker hue, than we can command. The third scene is, in particular, too extravagantly touching for ordinary nerves to witness. Mary Clifford is in bed—French bedstead (especially selected, perhaps, because such things were not thought of in the days of Mother Brownrigg) stands exactly in the middle of the stage—a chest of drawers is placed behind, and a table on each side, to balance the picture. The lover leans over the head, the mother sits at the foot, the father stands at the side: Mary Clifford is insane, with lucid intervals, and is, moreover, dying. The consequence is, she has all the talk to herself, which consists of a discourse concerning the great “governors,” her cruel mistress, and her naughty young master, interlarded with insane ejaculations, always considered stage property, such as, “Ah, she comes!” “Nay, strike me not—I am guiltless!” Again, “Villain! what do you take me for?—unhand me!” and all that. Then the dying part comes, and she sees an angel in the flies, and informs it that she is coming soon (here it is usual for a lady to be removed from the gallery in strong hysterics), and keeps her word by letting her arm fall upon the bed-clothes and shutting her eyes, whereupon somebody says that she is dead, and the prompter whistles for the scene to be changed.
In the last scene, criminal justice takes its course. Mrs. Brownrigg, having been sentenced to the gallows, is seen in the condemned cell; her son by her side, and the fatal cart in the back-ground. Having been brought up genteelly, she declines the mode of conveyance provided for her journey to Tyburn with the utmost volubility. Being about to be hanged merely does not seem to affect her so poignantly as the disgraceful “drag” she is doomed to take her last journey in. She swoons at the idea; and the curtain falls to end her wicked career, and the sufferings of an innocent audience.
* * * * *
PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
FOR THE WEEK ENDING AUGUST 28, 1841.
* * * * *
THE HEIR OF APPLEBITE.
INTRODUCES THE READER TO THE APPLEBITE FAMILY AND TO AGAMEMNON COLLUMPSION APPLEBITE IN PARTICULAR.