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"Listen to me, Blake," said the other gently. "I believe
I believe you in this. I am aware you knew it not, for Larry has told me all. You were kept in ignorance of her living; the piper wished to have a hold on you and revenge at some future time. Not a soul knows of it but myself, and no one ever will, if you keep your own counsel. I would not let poor Mrs. Mordant hear of it for all I possess. I have Larry's oath he will never mention it, and that oath I know he will keep. You must not see Mrs. Mordant again. You have made her life wretched enough. To-night or tomorrow you will be arrested not served, but arrested—there are warrants out against you. Now, which do you prefer? Going to prison, or escaping to the Continent, where
shall have three hundred a year as long as you remain there? It shall be paid quarterly and regularly to you. Choose, and choose quickly, for if you wish to escape it must be to-night.”
It is needless to say Crighton's offer was accepted. The frightened cowering bully was got away in the darkness, and crossed to France. An excuse was made for him to the ladies ; they were told he had fled from the bailiffs, who, when they came the next day, found the bird flown.
Crighton, his wife, her mother, and Lord Evershorte, a few days after landed in England, heartily sick and tired of Ireland. Not a word did Mrs. Blake, or rather Mrs. Mordant, know of the past, for Crighton kept the secret rigidly locked in his own bosom. The poor lady always went by the name of Blake, and believed herself to be so to the day of her death.
Consandine Blake did not live long to enjoy his annuity ; 'he took to brandy, which soon finished him, and what remains of him is now lying in an overcrowded cemetery at Boulogne. His supposed widow did not grieve much, for he had led her a wretched life. She is happy with her daughter, with whom she resides. She pets and spoils her grandchildren and doats on her son-in-law, who is more than considerate and attentive to her.
Evershorte is still unmarried, though he talks of being “ tied “ You look so jolly and comfortable, George,” he would say, “ that I've half a mind to try matrimony, only I'm afraid my club will be stopped, and that I could not stand. If I thought a fellow could go to his club and have his hunters I'd have a try. I know a dooced pretty girl with a nice fortune, who is to be had for asking. After all I'm single now, and on the right side of the hedge. No, on second thoughts, I'll remain as I am. Yes, I am for shirking a double.”'
Follow my Leader. (Suggested by Mr. Albert Moore's picture.)
Your forms are sweetly shaped,
Why does Fate,
Out of date?
If Dame Fashion were displaced,
As you pass through groves of Spring,
Like the lark,
To Hyde Park ?
Leafy boughs above you twine
As your eyes.
What has Mr. Wills made of Bulwer's idea? What will Mr. Irving make of Mr. Wills's version of Eugene Aram'? were questions much mooted when we last glanced at what the theatres were doing. They were answered on the seventeenth of April, when the new play was produced at the Lyceum before a crowded and sympathetic audience, with every accessory of scenery, decoration, and costume which the most fastidious admirer of realism could desire. Mr. Wills has made a few interesting tableaux out of what Bulwer executed as a romance, and conceived as a drama, to which he doubted his own ability to do justice, but he has not made a good play out of it any more than he reduced the ready-made tragedy of the Life and Death of Charles the First’ to the conditions of a good acting drama. Mr. Irving makes the most and the best of Mr. Wills's tableaux, but he is overweighted by the disproportion of his part, and he has to struggle against the inherent unsuitability of the story of 'Eugene Aram’ for representation on the stage at all, unless it were given in its entirety. Mr. Wills claims to have adhered neither to Bulwer's romance nor to Hood's poem; and in a certain sense he has written his play independently of either, though he has taken some of his effects from both. It would, however, be clearly unreasonable to expect that this play should be considered on its own merits only, and not to some degree with regard to its proportion to and relation with Bulwer's novel, to which the murderer of Daniel Clarke owes his posthumous renown outside the records of the Annual Register and the 'Newgate Calendar. Thus considering it, the question is naturally suggested : Why did not Mr. Wills, inspired by Bulwer's idea of a lonely student possessed by remorse and fear, out of which he is only partially beguiled by love, and whose fate comes up with him just as he is about to marry a beautiful girl, refer to Bulwer's view of how the subject ought to be treated in a dramatic, instead of merely adopting it in its romantic, form ? He had Bulwer's own exposition of his notions on this point, and he had the Fragment' of the drama which Bulwer commenced, but did not proceed with, and they make it clear that the novelist perceived and appreciated the nature and extent of the difference between the romantic and the dramatic capabilities of the story of crime and misery which had strongly fascinated his imagination. Bulwer turned the drama into a romance; Mr. Wills has turned the romance into a drama in the face of the novelist's careful demonstration of the vital distinction, in fact, the antagonism, between the two. The novel takes up the murderer’s life at the point where it is most adapted for description, that is, for the reverse of dramatic treatment; but the 'Fragment' takes it up at the point at which the dramatic element is in its full force; that is, when motive is most powerful and action most prompt. The · Fragment' might never have been fashioned into a good play; but any play founded upon the life of Eugene Aram' which departs entirely from the method of the ‘Fragment' must necessarily fail to be a good play. In this instance the dramatic instinct has deserted Mr. Wills, and he supposes the existence of a state of consciousness on the part of the audience such as the novelist has it in his power to induce by description, digression, or suggestion, but which it is the dramatist's business to create. We cannot imagine Shakespeare bringing the guilty Queen on in the first act in Macbeth, bemoaning herself and washing her hands in her sleep, and then the unravelling of motive and the description of the murder of Duncan, all done backward in a frenzied soliloquy. But we follow the skulking figure of Rudge, the murderer of his master and of his fellow-servant, through all the pitiful stress of his dastard fear and his remorse, which is never repentance, until the author of Barnaby Rudge' discloses the secret, with a sense that the exigencies of romance are adequately observed.
The failure of this dramatic instinct renders the first situation in Mr. Wills's play weak and incongruous. Why should the marriage of the only daughter of the vicar of an important parish with a village schoolmaster be a matter of rejoicing to everybody, the vicar included ? Only, it would appear, in order that Mr. Wills may not adopt the reasonable side of Bulwer's story of a romantic girl's love for a learned recluse, not divided from her by a hopeless inequality of station; while he, equally with Bulwer, does depart from the fact that Eugene Aram had a wife living at the time of his detection. In the revelation to his wife of Aram's crime,-its motive and its perpetration having been made plain to the audience by a prologue,—there would have been an opportunity for the exhibition of true dramatic power in both author and actor; an opportunity far more worthy than the declamatory, incoherent selfaccusation at the feet of a bewildered girl, to whom her moody lover has ever been a problem, imposed upon Mr. Irving, in a scene, impressive indeed, demanding the utmost exercise of the actor's peculiar skill, but which elicits no spontaneous response, apart from the tribute of admiration due to that skill, because it is untrue to the facts, to nature, and to the previous indications of the piece. In the soliloquy which follows the entrance of Eugene Aram, it is certainly implied to the audience that the remorseful man is in love for the first