Masques & Phases eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 208 pages of information about Masques & Phases.
that he had refused Mr. Arthur Bourchier’s offer of that role in a proposed revival of Hamlet at the Garrick.  Since the burial of Sir Henry Irving in the Abbey, he has never been seen:  though I saw him myself in the funeral cortege.  All his friends remember the curious exaltation in his manner a few days before the ceremony, and I cannot help thinking that in a moment of enthusiasm, realising that this was his only chance of burial in the Abbey, he took advantage of the bowed unobservant heads during the prayer of Committal and crept beneath the pall into the great actor’s tomb.  What his feelings were at the time, or afterwards when the vault was bricked up, would require the introspective pen of Mr. Henry James and the curious imagination of Mr. H. G. Wells to describe.  I have been assured by the vergers that mysterious sounds were heard for some days after this historical occasion.  Distressed by the loss of my friend, I applied to the Dean of Westminster and finally to Scotland Yard.  I need not say that I was met with sacerdotal indifference on the one hand and with callous officialism on the other.  I hope that under the Royal Commission which I have appointed the mystery will be cleared up.  Not that I begrudge poor Siddons a niche with Garrick and Irving.

(1906.)

To PROFESSOR JAMES MAYOR, Toronto University.

THE ELETHIAN MUSE.

After chaperoning into Fleet Street the eleventh Muse, the rather Batavian lady who is not to be found in that Greek peerage, Lempriere’s Dictionary, an obliging correspondent from Edinburgh (an eminent writer to the Signet in our northern Thebes) inquired if there were any more muses who had escaped the students of comparative mythology.  It is in response to his letter that I now present, as Mr. Charles Frohman would say, the thirteenth, the Elethian Muse.

Yet I can fancy people asking, Where is the twelfth, and over what art or science does she preside?  According to Apollodorus (in a recently recovered fragment from Oxyrynchus), Jupiter, suffering from the chronic headaches consequent on his acrimonious conversations with Athena, decided to consult Vulcan, AEsculapius having come to be regarded as a quack.  Mulciber (as we must now call him, having used the name Vulcan once), suggested an extraordinary remedy, one of the earliest records of a homoeopathic expedient.  He prescribed that the king of gods and men should keep his ambrosial tongue in the side of his cheek for half an hour three times a day.  The operation produced violent retching in the Capitoline stomach.  And on the ninth day, from his mouth, quite unarmed, sprang the twelfth muse.  The other goddesses were very disgusted; and even the gods declined to have any communication with the new arrival.  Apollo, however, was more tolerant, and offered her an asylum on the top shelf of the celestial library. 

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Masques & Phases from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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