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love with the actor's life, and felt complexion, made a powerful impressecret yearnings to quit the university, sion on him. Her acting seemed to and throw himself upon the world in him the acting of an angel. quest of adventure-especially in quest H e left the theatre madly in love of & Marianne, a Philina, and a with her. Mignon! He had not as yet dared We all know what it is to be in to disobey his father's strict com- love with an actress. We have all of mands—he had never ventured inside us, in the halcyon days of boyhood. a theatre ; but he had imbibed the offered up the incense of our young dangerous poison-he had learned to hearts to some painted, plain, conlook upon an actor's life as a life of ventional, and perfectly stupid actress, poetry. The seed was sown!
round whose head we have thrown About this time my cousin William the halo and the splendour of our went to the Leipsic university, and imaginations. We have had our became the fellow-student and com- Juliets, our Desdemonas, our Imopanion of Franz. From him I learned gens, our Rosalinds, our Violas, our most of these details. William was Cordelias, who, though in the fleshby no means a model of select virtue and blood reality they were good,
-in fact, was what, in the jargon of honest, middle-aged women, mothers the day, is called “ rather a fast of families or disreputable demireps, man;" and he led Franz into many to us were impersonations of the ideal a debauch which would have driven -fairy visions, to whom we have Schoenlein wild, had he known it; written verses, whose portraits have but he could not persuade him to go hung over our beds! to the theatre.
Therefore, having known a touch Franz was ready enough at a duel, of this "exquisite fooling," we can and had spoiled the beauty of some sympathise with Franz. Never havhalf-dozen faces by the dexterous ing seen an actress before, any hag sword-cut which draws a line over painted for the heroine of the night the nose, and lays open the cheek. would have charmed him. But Clara He was ready enough, too, with his was by no means a hag : in fact, bis beer-few youths of his age had more passion was excusable, for on the promising talents that way: and as stage she was charming. to patriotic songs, energetically de- Franz went again and again, only manding of the universe where the to return home more in love than German's fatherland might be, or the before. He fancied she had remarked probability of tyrants long crushing him in the pit; he fancied the smile free hearts beneath their heels, to- on her raddy lips was a smile of engether with frantic calls upon the couragement addressed to him. He sword, responded to by the clatter of wrote her a burning love-letter, which beer-jugs -in these Franz was distin- she quietly burned. He waited imguished.
patiently for an answer, and went to At last he did brush away his the theatre expecting to read it in her scruples, and accompanied William to looks. He could read nothing there the theatre. They played Schiller's but her loveliness. Don Carlos. Conceive his rapture He wrote again; he wrote daily. at this first taste of the long-coveted He sent her quires of verses, and forbidden fruit ! He thought the reams of " transcripts of his heart," Marquis of Posa a demigod. But in the form of letters. He lived a words cannot express his adoration blissful life of intense emotion. Faof the Princess Eboli, that night therland was forgotten; the sword played by Madame Clara Kritisch. was no longer called upon; all tyrants She was to him the " vision of love were merged in the cruel one whom liness and light," which an actress al. he adored. ways is to an impassioned youth, the At length he gained admittance befirst time he sees one. Her large hind the scenes; nay, more--he was voluptuous eyes, her open brow, her introduced to Clara. delicate nostrils, her full and not un- Alas! the shock his sense of loveligraceful figure, together with the ness received, when he beheld before dazzling beauty of her (theatrical) him the fat, rouged, spangled woman,
whom he had regarded as the incarna- notice his love for her, began to retion of beauty! Her complexion cognise its seriousness. She knew was this its red and white? were its how to distinguish between the real roses and lilies gathered by the hare's homage of a heart, and the lip-homage foot and the powder-puff?
which others offered her. He could not speak; the springs of There is something inexpressibly his eloquence were frozen; the deli- charming in knowing yourself poscate compliments he had so labori- sessed of a heart's first love ; and ously prepared, faded away in an women - especially those who have unmeaning stammer. The first illu- passed the first flush of youth-are sion of his life was gone.
more gratified by the love of a boy, · Perhaps there is nothing more than by that of twenty men. A boy's striking to a young man than his first love has something in it so intense, experience of the stage behind the so absorbing, so self-forgetting! It scenes. That which, seen from the is love, and love only, unmixed with boxes, looks health and beauty, be- any thoughts of responsibilities ; hind the scenes is weariness and paint; looking forward to no future, reflected that which in the house is poetic, by no past. There is a bloom on first behind the scenes is horrible mecha- love. Its very awkwardness is better nism. What scene-painting is when than grace; its silence or imperfect looked at closely, that are actresses stammerings more eloquent than eloseen in the green-room.
quence; there is a mute appeal in its Franz was staggered, but not cured. eyes, which is worth all the protestaHe could not divest his heart of her tions in the world. image, and began to see her again as Clara, who had been accustomed to he had always seen her. Growing the admiration of roués, felt the exaccustomed to the reality, he again quisite charm of this boy's love. In beheld it in its ideal light; and as on a few weeks he became her acknowthe stage Clara was alwaysenchanting, ledged lover; and excited no little she carried with her some of the ens envy among the habitués of the theatre, chantment when she left it. Poor who could not for the life of them fellow! how patiently he stood there, comprehend “what the devil she could hungering for the merest wordthe see in that bumpkin." simplest look! He saw others--& But if boys love intensely, they love privileged few-speaking to her like tyrants, and Clara was made a boldly; jesting with her; admiring slave. Jealous of every one who apher; giving their opinions respecting proached her, he forced her to give up her costume, as if she were an ordinary all her friends ; she gave way to every woman, while he could only stammer caprice ; she began to idolise him. out some meaningless remark. What This connexion with an actress, as would he have given to feel himself may easily be foreseen, led to Franz's at ease with her, to be familiar, so adopting the profession of the stage. that he might be seen to advantage! Clara taught him in a few months
At last he thought of a plan for that which ordinary actors take years making himself better known to her. to acquire; but this was owing to his He wrote a play, in which the heroine hereditary dramatic talent more than was destined for her; and as hers was to her instruction. His appearance the only character in the piece which on the stage, which would, he knew, was effective, she pronounced it the profoundly hurt his father, was not finest thing which had been written the mere theatrical ambition which since Schiller. Franz was in ecstasies. possesses most young men: it was She read the play herself to the stern necessity; it was the only promanager, and exerted all her elo fession open to him, for he had married quence in its behalf. But the manager Clara ! saw well enough her motive,-knew Yes! he, the boy of one-and-twenty, that she was so delighted with the bad married a woman of five-andplay merely because her part was the thirty! It was a mad act—the reckimportant one, and declined to pro- lessness or delirium of a boy : but it duce it. The play gained its author's was an act which has too many end however. It had established him precedents for us. to wonder at it. among Clara's friends. She began to He had by this act separated himself, he feared, from his father for that when a few critics and actors ever. His only hope of pardon was, whose judgments were all traditional, as he fondly thought, dramatic success. objected that he could not be a good Could his father but see him success actor because he had not gradually fully following in his footsteps, he worked his way upwards, they were would surely forgive him. It was a speedily silenced by the incontestible proud moment — that boy's tri- fact that he was a great actor. A umphant debut; proud because he had brilliant engagement had been offered succeeded, proud because his pardon him at Berlin; and he was about to was purchased as he thought! appear on the same stage with his
Franz had only played a few weeks, father, before that father had the and Germany was ringing with his faintest suspicion of his son's ever praises. So great was his success, having entered a theatre.
The curtain fell. Franz had reap- “It only proves your disobedience. peared to receive the enthusiastic Vocation, indeed! Any man has a homage of the audience, and was now vocation for the stage : any man who in his room undressing, when the door bas brains, and is not physically too opened, and his father stood before weak to utter the thoughts of an him.
author. Vocation ! You might as well Instead of rushing into his arms, tell me you had a vocation for the Franz stood confused, blushing, trem- highway — and if you had robbed bling. The haggard sternness of his a man, by placing a pistol to his father's face told but too plainly with head, and bidding him stand and what feelings he was regarded. deliver, that your success was your It was a moment of cruel silence. excuse !
The position was humiliating. “Is it not enough," pursued SchoenWith his clothes scattered about the tein, after a pause," that there should room; with the paint still unwashed be one actor in the family : one whose from his face; with his room in dis- necessities have driven him on the order ;- swords, playbills, theatrical stage, and who, once there, is forced dresses, a wig, a rouge-pot, and to remain there?” washing-stand, lying about; himself “But I, for my part, see nothing in the undignified attitude of drawing reprehensible in the life of an actor." on his stockings ;-all combined to "I do." present the miserable and prosaic side F ranz saw there was no appeal from of his profession to the angry glance such a decision, so he dressed himself of an incensed parent.
in silence. “ So !” said the old man, " these He was hurt, angry. He expected are your theological studies! This is that his father would have been dethe end of all my care! you have dis- lighted with his performance, would obeyed me. You bave destroyed all have rejoiced in his success. To be my hopes, and gone upon the stage, treated like a schoolboy, to bear such for which you well know my detesta- tones and see such looks, irritated tion. I find you thus !"
him. Franz could make no answer.
"Come with me to my hotel," said " While I fondly believed you Schoenlein, as Franz completed his still at the university, pursuing an dressing. honourable career- a career useful to They had not taken many steps bemankind and honourable to yourself fore a stout middle-aged woman, enyou were like a runaway apprentice veloped in a fur cloak, said to Franz: taking to this odious life.”
"Lieber Franz, the carriage is wait" But, sir, -I have succeeded!” ing." " So much the worse!"
Schoenlein did not hear the whis“Is not that my excuse ?”
pered reply, but strode hastily on“No; it is your condemnation." wards : his son followed.
"Surely, father, it proves that I " Who was that," he inquired, as have chosen right. It proves I have they came out into the street, “who a vocation for the stage ? "
called you Lieber Franz ?"
"Oh! that -- an actress - one of "I cannot believe it. You are the our company-Madame Kritisch." only actor in Germany who thinks so.
"Hm!" growled the old man; but Besides, I have, as it seems to me, a he did not speak again till they real vocation.-You may sneer, but reached the hotel. Arrived there, they a vocation is necessary in this as in went up into his room.
all other professions. It is quite clear "Franz, my dear boy," said Schoen- that I have none for theology. I lein, with great tenderness, " you must get my bread somehow." must promise me to quit this life, and "Your bread ? Franz, listen to me. I will forget that you have ever dis- So fixed is my opinion, that if you obeyed me. Let us look on it as a will obey me, from this time forward boyish freak, now over.”
you shall have the whole of my earnFranz was silent.
ings. I have already saved enough to “ It is your father who speaks. Re- satisfy my own humble wants. I will member he is your best friend ; and he devote every shilling to furthering and earnestly implores you to quit a career maintaining you in any profession you which even success can only make a choose to select. You shall not say gilded disgrace. Will you promise that necessity made you-as it has me this ?"
made me--an actor." He felt very uncomfortable, and “I cannot accept such a sacrifice." knew not what answer to make.
" It is none." I would sacrifice “You are young," pursued his every thing rather than see you on the father; "young and hopeful. You stage! Besides, in another year or two look as yet only to the bright side of you may make a rich marriage. I life, and see only the pleasures of the have already agreed with our old stage. You think it glorious to be friend Schmidt, that you should be applauded, to have your name in the united to his daughter Bertha, and her mouths of men, your portrait in shop dowry will be very large.” windows. In a little while all this _ A deep, deep blush overspread applause will pall upon your ear; all Franz's face, which was succeeded by these portraits will look like so many a deathlike'paleness, as his father mensigns of your disgrace, and caricatures tioned marriage. of yourself. The charm will pass “How can I ever break my maraway, and you will feel yourself to be riage to him !" was his mental exclaa mountebank, painted to amuse a mation. gaping crowd! Then the wear and “Will you promise me?" tear of the profession, its thousand "I cannot. Believe me, it distresses petty irritations and miserable anxie- me thus to disobey yon, but I cannot ties, will be as stings of wretchedness, quit the stage.” and you will curse the day you first "I have failed to convince you trod upon a stage.
then? You misapprehend my motives. "Look at me!” he said, suddenly You think, perhaps" — and here an pausing in the angry walk which he affected laugh of irony gave tenfold was taking up and down the room. force to the words—"that I am jealous “ Have I not been successful ? have I of you?” not been flattered, envied ? have I « Oh, father !” exclaimed Franz. not known what it is to be a great B ut his father's words and tone had, tragedian, to dictate terms to man- as in a flash of light, suddenly reagers, to sway audiences? Have I vealed the real feeling in his heart: he not known all this? And yet, since you was jealous, and his son perceived it. can remember me, have you ever seen Do not, however, suppose that the me happy ? Is not my life an example? old man was aware of this feeling; he Does not my whole life cry out to you, would have shuddered at the accusaBeware! Will yon not profit by the tion. Blinding himself with all sorts bitter lessons of my experience ?" of sophistications, he attributed his
“But, my dear father, you forget horror at Franz's adoption of the stage one thing: you have always looked to his very sincere disgust to that proupon the profession with disgust. I fession; and because he really did in do not."
his own person feel an actor's life was “ You will learn to do so."
disgraceful, even sinful, he fancied his objection to Franz's being an actor endeavoured to dissuade him by paintwas wholly derived from that feeling. ing all the dangers of the profession But in the depths of his heart he was its pangs, its weariness, its disappointhorribly jealous. He had learned to ments-painted the disagreeable orhate Franz as a rival, before he knew deal he himself had been forced to him to be his son. Critics had mad- undergo; and speaking, as he thought, dened him by their comparisons. to accomplish his son's welfare, he was Franz had been pointed out as the eloquent. actor who was to eclipse him. And This much is to be said for fathers now that he found Franz was his son, who object to their sons following their instead of rejoicing in his success, in own careers : the struggles by which stead of feeling proud that at any rate they have won their way, the sorrows his rival was his son, and that the which have been forced upon them, genius which dethroned him was de- the dangers they have escaped-these rived from himself-instead of the con are all so vividly present to their solation which another father would minds, that they believe them insepa. have received, he was assailed by the rable from the career. Who shall bitterest thoughts at the idea of his say that another will escape these son being an actor! He was in- perils ? All the delight, all the rapture censed at such disobedience, at such of hope and of success are forgotten, or violation of all his wishes; and attri- else weigh but as a feather in the scale buted to his anger all he really felt of against these perils. A father says:jealousy.
" It is true I escaped; but I was There is something so painful in the fortunate. Besides, I had genius, - I idea of a father being jealous of his had rectitude, I had strength of will. son, that many will be tempted to My poor boy, (and fathers are apt to pronounce it impossible. Rare it for- look with a sort of compassion on their tunately is, but not impossible. Who children: is it because the children has not known women jealous of their have, from infancy upwards, looked daughters : women preserving their to them for pity and protection ?)— beauty, and followed by homage, till my poor boy will not be able to buffet their girls are old enough to dispute with the world as I did! He will be and bear away the palm from them? led away by temptations; he will If this is not uncommon-and more succumb beneath adversity !" than one instance must occur within In proportion to the precariousness every reader's experience-what is to of the profession is the reluctance of prevent the same principle applying the parent. Poets never wish their in a man's case ? You have only to sons to be poets; certainly not to imagine the vanity pampered by flat- trust to poetry for their livelihood. tery into an unhealthy condition, and Nor do artists desire their sons to be then bring in a rival-no matter whom artists. Actors almost universally --and the thing is done. Either the shudder at the idea of their children father's vanity will be caressed by the becoming actors. reflection of the child's success, (and S o that Schoenlein's remonstrances this, happily, is the commoner case,) would have been vehement, even had or it will be irritated at the child's in- he not been tormented with jealousy: terference with its claims.
But, from the moment Franz perceived In Schoenlein's case must be added the real state of his father's mind, all the strange but intense dislike with compunction vanished. No arguments which he regarded the profession of could have made him quit the stage; an actor. Had there been no rivalry but now he felt his father's arguments in the case, had Franz been only a to be insults. tolerable actor, he would still have "I hope you do not misunderstand been excessively irritated. But for me," said the old man. “You must his son to be an actor, and for the know me well enough to believe that public to prefer him as an actor to his no one would more rejoice in your father—this was agonising!
success—that to no one should I be so He grew eloquent in his exhorta proud to transmit my laurel crown, tions. Finding it was in vain to make if it were not lined with iron, which Franz share his religious opinions, he brands the forehead with disgrace. I