Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

jected that the charter of the company should not be violated; and upon this point, sir, I shall deliver my opinion without disguise.

A charter is a trust to one or more persons for some given benefit. If this trust be abused, if the benefit be not obtained, and its failure arise from palpable guilt, (or what, in this case, is full as bad,) from palpable ignorance or mismanagement, will any man gravely say, that trust should not be resumed, and delivered to other hands,-more especially in the case of the East India Company, whose manner of executing this trust, whose laxity and languor produced, and tend to produce, consequences diametrically opposite to the ends of confiding that trust, and of the institution for which it was granted ?

No man will tell me that a trust to a company of merchants, stands upon the solemn and sanctified ground, by which a trust is committed to a monarch; and I am at a loss to reconcile the conduct of men, who approve that resumption of violated trust, which rescued and re-established our unparalleled and admirable constitution, with a thousand valuable improvements and advantages, at the revolution ; and who, at this moment, rise up the champions of the East India Company's charter; although the incapacity and incompetence of that company to a due and adequate discharge of the trust deposited in them by charter, are themes of ridicule and contempt to all the world; and although, in consequence of their mismanagement, connivance, and imbecility, combined with the wickedness of their servants, the very name of an Englishman is detested, even to a proverb, through all Asia; and the national character is become disgraced and dishonoured.

To rescue that name from odium, and redeem this character from disgrace, are some of the objects of the present bill; and gentlemen should indeed gravely weigh their opposition to a measure, which, with a thousand other points, not less valuable, aims at the attainment of those objects.

26*

EXERCISE XXXII.-LINES TO THE OLD CLOCK WITHOUT HANDS, AT

HAMPTON COURT. -G. P. R. James. [An example of the style of grave and serious sentiment. The elocution of such pieces, is dependent, chiefly, on distinct and deliberate enunciation, true inflections, well marked emphasis, and full pauses: the utterance is low and subdued. In recitation, the gesture which accompanies the voice, must be chaste and simple, but not feeble or monotonous.]

Memento of the gone-by hours,

Dost thou recall alone the past ?
Why stand'st thou silent, midst these towers,

Where time still flies so fast?

Where are the hands, in moments fled,

That marked those moments as they flew,
To generations of the dead,

Who turned on thee their view,
To watch and greet the appointed time

Of every empty dream of joy,
Or wait, in agony, the chime

Which might such dreams destroy ?
To thee the eager eye has turned,

of pride, of policy, and power,
And Love's own longing heart has burned

To hear thee mark his hour.

Pleasure and pastime, grief and care,

Have heard thee chime some change of lot;
While the dull ear of cold despair

Has heard, but marked thee not.

And thou art silent now, and still,

While round thy mystic dial runs
The legend of man's hours,-though ill

As thou, he marks the suns,-
Those rolling suns,—those rolling suns

Unchronicled by both go on;
Though still each comments as it runs,

Till man's brief day be done.
Man's heart 's too like thy face : on it

Records of passing hours may stand,

But stand unmarked by movement fit,

By chimes or pointing hand.
O dial! art thou raised on high

To speak reproach for life's abuse ?
Or give to eager hope the lie?

Or tell Time's future use?

The future? Thou hast nought to do

With it !—The solemn past, alone,
Is that whereon thy comments go,

Fit grave-stone of hours gone!
The future ?-Yes! At least to me,

Thus, plainly thus, thy moral stands,-
Good deeds mark hours! Let not life be
A dial without hands!”

EXERCISE XXXIII.-AN UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO RAISE THE

WIND.Dickens.

Dialogue adapted from Martin Chuzzlewit. --Speakers,- Tigg, Pecksniff, and Slyme.* Scene,—the bar-room of the Blue Dragon.

[Humorous dialogue demands attention to the full expression of free, playful feeling, in voice and action. The motto of elocution in such pieces is, as in youthful sports, Keep up the spirit of the scene.' The object of practice, in this form, is to impart ease and animation to the speaker's general manner.]

Tigg, [dragging in Pecksniff by the collar.] You were eavesdropping at that door, you vagabond !

Peck. (shaking himself free.] Where is Mrs. Lupin, I wonder ? Can the good woman possibly be aware that there is a person here, who

Tigg. Stay! Wait a bit! She does know. What then?

Peck. What then, sir ?- What then ?-Do you know that I am the friend and relative of the sick gentleman above stairs? That I am his protector, his guardian, his

Tigg. Wait a bit! perhaps you are a cousin,—the cousin who lives in this place.

* In appearance, Tigg represents the shabby genteel, in its last stage; Pecksniff, a smooth, well-dressed man, with a prodigious collar ; Slyme, a miserable looking wretch, worn out with low dissipation.--Tigg's manner is dashing, independent, and highly affected; Pecksniff's grave and cold, very much constrained; Slyme's is dull and stupid, indicating partial inebriety.

Peck. I am the cousin who lives in this place.
Tigg. Your name is Pecksniff?
Peck. It is.

Tigg, (touching his hat.] I am proud to know you; and I ask your pardon.—You behold in me one who has also an interest in that gentleman up stairs.-Wait a bit. [Pulling off his hat, and dropping from it a handful of dirty letters, and broken cigars; and selecting one of the former, which he hands to Pecksniff.) Read that!

Peck. This is addressed to Chevy Slyme, Esq.

Tigg. You know Chevy Slyme, Esq., I believe ?- Very good: that is my interest and business here.

Peck. [withdrawing from T.] Now, this is very distressing, my friend. It is very distressing to me to be compelled to say, that

you are not the person you claim to be. I know Mr. Slyme, my friend: this will not do: honesty is the best policy: you had better not: you had, indeed.

Tigg. Stop! Wait a bit !—I understand your mistake; and I am not offended. Why? Because it is complimen. tary. You suppose I would set myself up for Chevy Slyme. Sir, if there is a man on earth, whom a gentleman would feel proud and honoured to be mistaken for, that man is Chevy Slyme. For he is, without an exception, the highestminded, the most independent-spirited; most original, spiritual, classical, talented, and most thoroughly Shaksperian,if not Miltonic; and, at the same time, most-disgustinglyunappreciated dog I know. But, sir, I have not the vanity to attempt to pass for Slyme. Any other man in the wide world I am equal to. But Slyme is, I frankly confess, a great many cuts above me. Therefore you are wrong.

Peck, [holding out the letter.] I judged from this.

Tigg. No doubt you did. But, Mr. Pecksniff, the whole thing resolves itself into an instance of the peculiarities of genius. Every man of true genius has his peculiarity. Sir, the peculiarity of my friend Slyme, is, that he is always waiting round the corner. He is perpetually round the corner, sir.

He is round the corner, at this instant. That is a remarkably curious and interesting trait in Slyme's character; and whenever Slyme's life comes to be written, that trait must be thoroughly worked out by his biographer ; or society will not be satisfied,-observe me,-society will not be satisfied.

Peck, [coughing nervously.] Hem!

Tigg. Slyme's biographer, sir, whoever he may be, must apply to me; or, if I am gone to that what's-his-name from

which no thingumbob comes back, he must apply to my executors for leave to search among my papers. I have taken a few notes, in my poor way, of some of that man's proceedings,—my adopted brother, sir,—which would amaze you. He made use of an expression, sir, only on the fifteenth of last month,—when he could not meet a little bill, and the other party would not renew,—which would have done honour to Napoleon Bonaparte, in addressing the French army

Peck. And pray what may be Mr. Slyme's business here, -if I may be permitted to inquire ?

Tigg. You will give me leave, sir, first to introduce myself. My name, sir, is Tigg. The name of Montague Tigg will perhaps be familiar to you, in connexion with the most remarkable events of the peninsular war ?

Peck, shakes his head.]

Tigg. No matter,—that man was my father, and I bear his name. I am consequently proud, -proud as Lucifer. Excuse me, one moment. I desire my friend Slyme to be present at the remainder of this conference. [Withdraws, and returns, followed by Slyme, who looks stupidly at Pecksniff, and Pecksniff looks coldly at him.]

Tigg, [pretending to address Slyme,—who has been whispering in his ear, touching his elbow, and making other signs to him to ask money of Pecksniff. T. speaks loud enough for Mr. P. to hear.] Chiv, I shall come to that presently. I act upon my own responsibility, or not at all. To the extent of such a trifling loan as a crown-piece, to a man of your talents, I look upon Mr. Pecksniff as certain.O Chiv, Chiv! You are, upon my life, a strange instance of the little frailties that beset a mighty mind! If there had never been a telescope in this world, I should have been quite certain, from my observation of you, that there were spots on the sun! Well, never mind! Moralize as we will, the world goes on. As Hamlet says,

Hercules

may lay about him with his club, in every possible direction ; but he can't prevent the cats from making a most intolerable row on the roofs of the houses, or the dogs from being shot, in the hot weather, if they go about the streets unmuzzled.--Life's a riddle, a most confoundedly hard riddle to guess, Mr. Pecksniff. Like that celebrated conundrum, 'Why's a man in jail like a man out of jail ?'—there's no answer to it.-Chiv, my dear fellow, go out and see what sort of a night it is. [S. goes out. T. turns to P.] We must not be too hard upon the little ec

« AnteriorContinua »