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it seems Torrento is “Old Anselmo's son, the rightful heir" of the title and estate which they enjoy. Torrento dreading their enquiries, and having no suspicion of their cause, seeks to divert them from the subject, by delivering the following rhapsody upon Curiosity:
but is too palpable an imitation of the description of Queen Mab. The next scene displays a saloon decorated for a fête, which commences, but is interrupted by a tumult, occasioned by the entré of Lorenzo, driving before him the attendants, who would intercept his progress ; he denounces the Prince as an impostor, and Ventoso and his wife are almost inclined to give him credit, when Spado enters with the letter with which he had been despatched at the end of the third act; and, in a struggle for its possession, Torrento is successful : the Count, however, seizes, and be. gins to read it; but, it commencing with some very free remarks upon the Ventoso family, he tears it. Torrento is restored to his confidence, and quits the saloon in triumph, accompanied by the whole assembly. Lorenzo, being left alone, begins to soliloquize ; but Stefano appears, and tells him, that'tis noble blood that fills" his“ veins." Lorenzo is not inclined to believe it, and abruptly departs.
The business of the miniature is not the only improbability in the progress of the fourth act. The mistrust entertained by the Ventosoes of their visitor, seems to vanish without any sufficient reason. The circumstance of Lorenzo having written a letter, in which he abused them, could be no evidence of the validity of Torrento's pretensions; and, as the supposed Prince is addressed in the said letter by the irreverend appellation of scoundrel, it should rather bave confirmed than removed their suspicions: and it would have been far more natural, if, instead of being reinstated in favour, Torrento had been kicked out with disgrace; but it was necessary for the author's purpose that he should retain the confidence of his host, and we must acquiesce in this absurdity, “for the better carrying on the plot.” The coming of Lorenzo, and the delivery of the letter, appear to answer no purpose whatever, but to make a bustle on the stage; they neither assist nor retard the progress of the action, but every thing goes on just as it would have done, if neither one nor the other had taken place. The language of this act displays some poetry, and is not disgraced by any jargon: some anchronisms, however, we shall presently notice. The fifth act introduces us to the mess-room of the hussars;
the entrance of Lorenzo, we learn that the marriage between Victoria and the impostor Prince is to take place that evening at a castle a league out of town. This castle, somehow or other, none of the family have ever visited ; and it has been contrived to drive the party round the suburbs, and, under the cover of night, to lodge them in the jail, instead of the castle. Spado announces that the cavalcade is gone.
“The old Count and Countess, full of bustle, blunders, and Brussells' lace, according to custom; the bride full of blushes and tears, according to custom; and the bride's maids, servant-maids, and maids of all descriptions, full of laughing and impudence, tattle, and white tep-knots, also according to custom.”
Lorenzo determines on going alone, but has no sooner departed than the Colonel, the Major, and the Cornet, resolve to follow him. The next scene is in the jail, where the Ventoso party arrive. Torrento justly enough observes, that it is a most singular looking castle. And here we must protest against the utter improbability of prevailing upon a number of
persons to believe that a town-jail was the chateau of a
marquess. Torrento indeed remarks, with some humour, that “ it has the look of a jail, the smell of a jail,—it feels like a jail ;” but the rest of the company are perfectly satisfied that they are in the baronial mansion of a nobleman. The hussars presently arrive; but this circumstance does not alarm the Countess; and, though their impertinence excites her anger, she exhibits no surprise at their unasked intrusion into her < castle." Ventoso introduces Leonora, who recognizes Torrento, and threatens to expose him; but he appeases her by an appeal to the “brightness of” her eyes,” and retires with her to explain. Victoria shortly enters, and Lorenzo makes his appearance at the same moment from an opposite door: the Countess storms, Victoria seems disposed to faint, and Ventoso calls lustily to the Prince to take his “ bride.' Torrento approaches, and at this moment Lorenzo calls to the jailer to“ fling the impostor into the dungeon whence" he « took him :" Torrento draws, but the jailer's men rush behind, and pinion him; he calls upon the Count to become security for him, but the Count declines, and the bridegroom is carried off. The hussars then retire; and Lorenzo delivers the moral of the whole business thus:
“You, Victoria, have suffered for the crime of inconstancy; you, Count, for the folly of being a slave to the will of women; you, Countess, for the violence of your temper; and all for your common crime, Pride.”
We are now transported to a room in Ventoso's house. Victoria declares that she will take the veil, but Leonora thinks that she had better not;-a messenger enters to command their attendance at the palace, by order of the Viceroy the Prince de Pindemonté. This, of course, occasions some surprise ; but, as the message is pressing, and their attendance required without delay, they only stop to perform an elaborate piece of musical composition, previous to their setting out for the palace.
We now arrive at the last scene, which is a saloon in the palace, where we learn that Stefano is the real Prince de Pindemonté, and Viceroy of the Island, who, after a long search for a lost son, has found him in Lorenzo; the objections to his union with Victoria of course vanish, and he expresses his delight in these terms:
“ Lor. Fair ladies, nobles, gallant cavaliers !
Shall lisp our names; and old men, o'er their fires, Flourish their cups above their hoary heads, And drink our memory! Come in, sweet love!" But another discovery remains to be made, to give the pride of the Ventosos an additional fall. Stefano declares Torrento to be "old Anselmo's heir, the banker's son;" and that Ventoso must surrender not only the title, which he is not unwilling to part with, but the estate, which he much prefers to keep. The speech of Torrento, on his good fortune, is sufficiently characteristic :
“A banker's son, magnificent! a golden shower!-Leonora, my love, we'll have a wedding worthy of bankers. What trinkets will you have ? the Pitt diamond, or the Great Mogul? A banker, my angel! 'Tis your bankers that sweep the world before them! What army shall I raise? What cabinet shall I pension? What kingdom shall I purchase? What emperor shall I annihilate? I'll have Mexico for a plate-chest, and the Mediterranean for a fish-pond. I'll have a loan as long as from China to Chili. I'll have a mortgage on the moon! Give me the purse, let who will carry the sceptre."
The fifth act is better than the second, but not equal to the first, third, or fourth; it is deficient in business : the action of the comedy properly terminates in the second scene, and the remaining two seem excrescences clumsily appended to the play. The necessary discoveries ought to have been made immediately after Torrento was reclaimed by the jailer ; but then the act would not have been of sufficient length, and, moreover, we should have missed an Italian trio in the third scene, and a view of the interior of the palace in the fourth. The improbabilities which attend the progress of the action, we have adverted to: the characters also exhibit considerable defects ; none of them, except Torrento, seem to be finished; they are all mere sketches : neither the avarice of the Count, nor the pride of the Countess, are brought out as they ought to have been ; yet these, after Torrento, are perhaps the most finished characters in the piece. Lorenzo is the merest walking-gentleman that ever was advanced into a hero; his three brother-officers seem to be thrown in but as makeweights : Spado is only the ghost of a character; Victoria is a sentimental heroine, and Leonora a gay one; but the sentiment of the one, and the spirit of the other, are pourtrayed with equal feebleness, and take no hold either on the feelings or the fancy. We cannot but regret the introduction of so many songs; it is probably owing to this that the characters are so sketchy and imperfect. The author appears to possess powers adequate to their development, and we are persuaded that the cause which we have assigned' has prevented his suc
VOL. I. PART I.
cess in this particular. Albeit that we love music even to enthusiasm, we do hold that the fashionable practice of cramming the plays of Shakspeare brimful of it is not an inprovement. We like a song or two in a comedy ; but we do wish the distinction between comedy and comic-opera to be preserved. The author of " Pride shall have a Fall” appears to be deficient in the vis-comica. We do not mean to say that he never will attain it, but certainly he has not attained it in the present comedy. Torrento's humour consists of little more than some pleasant exaggeration. The hussars speak a Babel-like language, which, if it excite a smile at all, it niust be of the same kind that we bestow on Punch and his associates; a smile provoked by seeing human nature "imitated so abominably.” Spado, in the first scene, promises some amusement, but turns out as dull a varlet as ever was entrusted to deliver a message. It must strike every one who reads the play, that all the pleasantry, except that which is produced by Torrento, consists in a great number of very indifferent puns, and which moreover we are assured by a friend, who is a punster par excellence, and consequently an authority on the subject, are all old ones. The numerous anachronisms evince a degree either of carelessness or of wantonness, for which it is difficult to suggest an excuse. The officers of "the Twentieth” are not at home at Palermo; and we suspect that they bear a stronger resemblance to some hussars in a more northern latitude than to any that are to be found in Sicily. These officers are represented as reading in an evening paper, among other articles, intelligence of a boxing. match; from which we must conclude, that boxing is a favourite amusement in the South. Torrento is well acquainted with blue-stocking ladies, Doctors' Commons, and the novels of the Great Unknown. These things are equalled only by Lords Beefingen and Puddingfield reading in the Daily Advertizer an account of the signing of Magna Charta by King John. It is useless to say that anachronisms are to be found in the elder dramatists ; they are so; but they are not such as shock probability. It is of no consequence to the spectator or the reader whether Bohemia be a maritime or an inland State, or whether certain events are not referred to by the speakers, which took place after the times in which they are supposed to live. As Schlegel has observed, we do not go to the theatre to learn geography or chronology; but we have a right to require that the probability of the scene shall not be totally destroyed by the introduction of allusions, which immediately strike us as unnatural, and out of place,-allusions by the inhabitants of a distant country to the peculiar and passing topics of the day in our own,