Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 7/The prodigal son - Part 11
THE PRODIGAL SON.
BY DUTTON COOK, AUTHOR OF “PAUL FOSTER’S DAUGHTER,” &c.
“A lytel misgoyng in the gynning causeth mykel errour in the end.”—Chaucer’s “Testament of Love.”
CHAPTER XXI. A NEW BALLET.
The Theatre Royal, Long Acre, was crowded from the floor to the ceiling. The success of the new grand romantic ballet “L’Aérolithe,” (the music by Signor Strepito) was extraordinary. It was not merely a play-bill and placard and advertisement success; it was admitted even in the treasury of the theatre,—that little office under the grand staircase, the only part of the great building in which Truth ever built a permanent nest,—it was admitted there between the manager and his confidential officer that the bally was a legitimate triumph; and no exception on the ground of actual inaccuracy could therefore be taken to Grimshaw’s constant remark, “that he was pulling in the money like one o’clock.” He was now ordering “glasses round” with more than usual persistency; ceaseless in the liberal inquiry as to whether any gentleman would take anything to drink; and the company were this time regaled with a champagne supper, which did not make any of them very seriously ill.
The scene of the new grand romantic ballet was of course laid on the banks of the Danube. Ballets invariably take place on the banks of the Danube. The scenery was in Blister’s best style. The spectators never could make up their minds whether they admired most “The Village of Ochsenkopf in Transylvania” (Blister); or “The Pass of the Rothen-Thurm or Red Tower, with distant view of the Convent of Kosia, in Wallachia” (Blister and Boker),—I think that both these scenes, differently set, had done duty under other names in Tootle’s opera of “Estafetta, or the Star of Styria,” which only ran six nights during a previous unfortunate season),—or the grand scene of “The Summit of Mount Pretroska by Moonlight, amid the Peaks of the Carpathian Mountains” (Blister). But perhaps this last had the greater number of admirers; few could resist the beautiful effect of the lime light, the moon rising behind the peaks, with floating clouds to pass over and obscure it occasionally. Blister had quite a reputation for moonlights: and was often called on the stage to receive the congratulations of the house in regard to this scene. I need not say that Grimshaw took the opportunity of leading on his artist and bowing to him, and shaking him by the hand amidst the loudest applause. “All right,” said Grimshaw, as he came off grinning. “We shall secure first-rate press notices by this. They’ll say we were both called on. The bally’s a hit, and no mistake!”
Does the reader wish to know what the new grand romantic ballet of “L’Aérolithe” was about?
Oscar (M. Anatole) in blue velvet trunks, striped silk stockings, white shirt sleeves, and a hat with a scarlet ribbon, being a peasant of the village of Ochsenkopf, is betrothed to Bianca (Mademoiselle Blondette) the daughter of Claude (M. Renaud) a farmer, and Claudine (Mademoiselle Schmidt) his wife. The wedding festivities are in course of celebration. Many peasant dances are executed (the blind fiddler of the village is a little part admirably performed by that veteran pantomimist Mr. W. H. Sims). There is a Pas Grotesque by Michael, the village idiot (M. Pierre); a Pas de Quatre Hongroise by Mesdames Celine, Julie, Brown and Estelle. Pas Cracovienne by Mademoiselle Blondette (encored); Galop Styrien by the entire corps de ballet. Then a procession of monks (in dark glazed calico) who pass through the village carrying enormous crosses, and bless the peasants (to slow music), kneeling reverentially. Sunset effect—very imposing. The wedding fêtes are resumed. Night comes on. The villagers prepare to depart to their homes after a grand Mazourka of Transylvania with coloured lanterns. The storm! (Signor Strepito’s music here becomes of a violently descriptive character). Fall of a thunderbolt! General consternation! Mystic appearance of Fiametta, la Fille du Firmament (Mademoiselle Stephanie Boisfleury, première danseuse of the principal theatres of Europe, her tenth appearance in England); Pas d’Orage, Mademoiselle Boisfleury; Pas d’Electricité, Mademoiselle Boisfleury. Oscar is bereft of reason! Pas Insensé, M. Anatole. He deserts his bride, his parents, his village, to follow Fiametta. The next is a “carpenter’s” scene, the cottage of Bianca. Despair of Bianca at the departure of Oscar. Some comic business for Michael, the idiot, and the blind fiddler. Anger of Claude and Claudine. They determine that Bianca shall now wed the rich farmer Obol (M. Raphael.) Scene changes to the Pass of the Rothen-Thurm. Grand pas de Désir, Mademoiselle Boisfleury and M. Anatole. Grand Valse, La Tentation; Pas d’Amour, Mademoiselle Boisfleury and M. Anatole. Fiametta is an aërolite, her mother is the firmament, her father is the earth, on the wings of the storm she can descend from her home in the skies, and assume a mortal appearance. She may lure others to love, but she may never love herself, or she will sink deep into the earth—buried for ever. Fiametta explains her situation in pantomime; to those who understand the ballet language her actions are extremely intelligible. Oscar is in great grief. Pas de Désespoir, of course. Fiametta begins to feel her heart tremble. Pas d’Alarme. She flies from Oscar. He pursues. She disappears down a trap (technically called a vampire.) There are other episodes in the entertainment upon which it is not necessary to dwell. Finally, Fiametta witnesses the devotion of Bianca, who, deserted by Oscar, still loves him. She is struck by the fact that this love is greater than her love. She restores Oscar to Bianca. Then she discovers that she has loved, that she still loves, a mortal! Yet she may escape her dreadful doom if she will consent to lure Oscar to ruin! But she cannot: she sacrifices herself so that Oscar may be happy! She descends in the moonlight (after an exquisite Pas) from the skies to “The summit of Mount Pretroska, amid the peaks of the Carpathian Mountains.” She swings in the air. She hides her face in her hands to shut out the sight of the bliss of Oscar and Bianca in the foreground, and disappears at the back into the mountain, which splits in sunder conveniently, amidst the loud applause of the whole theatre.
Such is the ballet of “L’Aérolithe.” If the reader should be of opinion that it very much resembles some other ballet that he has seen, why I must admit such to be the case; but the truth is, that I never yet saw a ballet that did not very much resemble many other ballets.
Madame Boisfleury was one of those dancers who win their public simply, as it seems, by the steady determination to win them, by mere force of will. There was a sort of grand defiance about the way in which she bounded upon the stage (after pushing a path for herself through the coryphées, certainly rather roughly) her eyes glittering from beneath her thick black brows, her nostrils distended, her red lips compressed, and then after a few superb leaps and whirlings, stood suddenly still upon the points of her toes in the centre of the stage, her head thrown back, her grand round arms raised above—her whole attitude as audacious as it was admirable. She had laughed at Blondette’s paint, but it seemed that she had not hesitated to avail herself of similar artifices. She looked much fairer than by daylight; but her massive neck and shoulders were plentifully powdered, while there was very strong rouge upon her cheeks. Yet the glare of gas almost necessitated this. It was one of Grimshaw’s standing orders always to turn the gas well on when the bally was played, “Mind that, now, Gassy,” he would say to his fitter, “and light ’em well up.” Mademoiselle Boisfleury’s style of dancing was of the strong school. It was graceful according to the dancer’s theory of grace, but it was never tender; she was agile enough, but never aërial, in spite of the part she played in the romantic ballet. She had none of that slenderness of limb which sometimes makes the spectators tremble lest a foot should give way or an ankle be distorted. The substantial frame of Mademoiselle Boisfleury set at rest effectually all ideas of that kind. She was as a grand flower on a thoroughly strong stalk. She was safe enough—dashing, intrepid, indefatigable, with a smile that did not look assumed, and a glance that seemed to dare the theatre to withhold its applause. Certainly she was an imposing-looking creature in her first dress of flame-coloured gauze powdered with gold stars, with her jewelled armlets and necklace (probably the stones were not precious), and some brilliant ornaments glittering amidst her jet black hair. In the last scene she wore, of course, white muslin, without decoration of any kind, her hair streaming down her back and the rouge washed from her cheeks.
“She’s a good one to dance,” said a stout gentleman, with his coat closely buttoned, sitting in the stalls, to a friend in gold spectacles.
“Well, yes, she is,” the friend answered; “her entrechats are really admirable. She is a first rate danseuse of the second rank. She would not suit us in Paris; but she does very well for you others here.”
“Has she appeared at your opera house?”
“No; there are reasons for her not appearing in Paris.”
“Indeed! Mossoo!” said the Inspector, “our sort of reasons?”
“Let us say political reasons, if you will, my friend. It is the plea many of the French urge to excuse their absence from their native country. Some governments are too paternal, and like the wise father, they do not spare their children the rod. Perhaps Mademoiselle Stephanie fears the rod. You see, my friend, I have taken of your haff-naff, but I am still of the executive. I know what I say.”
“She is a good-looking woman!” said the Inspector, bluntly. “How old do you suppose she is?”
“Ah, well, let me see; she must be as near thirty as a woman ever gets,—let us say twenty-eight. Yes, she is pretty! very charming indeed, ma chère! What is this—La Tentation, is it not? Yes, of course. She does it very well.”
“Has she been dancing all these years?”
“Sometimes she dance—sometimes she sit still: she appear and re-appear. She made her débût very young. She was then at Brussels—she was young; she could not dance very well.”
A handsome bald-headed man, sitting in front of the Inspector and his friend, turned round suddenly at this.
“Will Monsieur kindly permit me to use his opera-glass for one minute?” asked the Frenchman, in a soft voice, bowing politely.
“Immediately,” was the answer. The gentleman seemed to have caught sight of some one he knew occupying a private box on a low tier. He looked through the glass, and having apparently satisfied himself upon the subject, he handed the glass to the Frenchman.
“Yes,” said George Martin to himself, “it is he, sure enough. Wilford has come here to make certain that Mademoiselle Regine is Mademoiselle Boisfleury! Who can wonder that he should do so, poor fellow. How white he looks! how he keeps at the back of the box. It is a wonder that I saw him at all. How he must suffer! This woman his wife, and Violet——! Can such things be?”
“That petite is Mademoiselle Blondette, I suppose?” the Frenchman inquired of his friend. “She is pretty, only she is affected.”
“Yes,” said the Inspector, “she used to be at the Vulture in the City Road,—a clever girl; but you should hear her father speak of her—hear the character he gives her. Most respectable man by the name of Simcox,—keeps a pie-shop up at Hoxton. Little Sally Simcox—that’s his daughter—used to dance Highland-flings and such like, at the Alexandrina Saloon near Shoreditch. Now she calls herself Blondette—cuts her family dead, and won’t hear of the name of Simcox—keeps a coach and pair. Such is life!”
“Ah, truly,” the Frenchman remarked, philosophically, “it is wonderful the fortunes that are made by ballet-dancers.”
Some one entering in great haste nearly placed a foot in the Frenchman’s glossy hat on the floor before him.
“Prenez garde, Monsieur!”
“Je vous demande pardon, Monsieur,” muttered the new-comer.
“Ah! Monsieur Alexis; it is you, then?”
“Chose. S'il vous plait, Monsieur Chose.”
Then suddenly Monsieur Chose abandoned the tone of banter in which he had been speaking, and whispered fiercely in the ear of Monsieur Alexis: “How dare you come here, sir? Go! What do you here? go at once.”
“I go, Monsieur,” the boy said, in a scared voice, and hurried out. He was afterwards to be seen in the upper boxes of the theatre, vigorously applauding the performance, and especially the dancing of Mademoiselle Blondette.
“Who is he?” asked the Englishman.
“You don’t know him? Ah! then you soon will. Petit diable; he is a young man of considerable promise.”
“He looks a mere boy.”
“He is not far from twenty, however. He is a half-breed. If he takes care, there is a chance that he may be able to combine the dexterity of the Parisian with the brutality of the London thief. At present he is a little too fond of pleasure to be very successful; but in time he may outgrow that; he is young, there is hope for him. He is clever, he has no heart; he would sell his mother for a chasse of Marasquin; his sister for a packet of cigarettes; his father—well, he did sell him—we owe him thanks for that—for twelve hundred francs: and le père Dominique is now at the galleys as a natural consequence. But Madame sa mère knows not of the transaction: it is a hold I have upon her son.”
“And the sister?”
“The sister is Mademoiselle Stephanie dancing now for our pleasure.”
“And is she—?”
“Ah! Monsieur Inspector, you interrogate me, is it not so? France through her executive, is interested in Mademoiselle Boisfleury and her family. They are emigrés. France may wish that they should return to her bosom. She is a great nation; she has moments of clemency; she has moments of cruelty. She may pardon the family for the beauty and the talent of the daughter, or she may turn the key upon the whole group. I don’t say which course she will pursue. It is not for us, cher ami, to decide this kind of question. We are but members of the executive; police-men, as you others say. Eh, bien? we wait and see, and we act when some one whispers in our ears what we shall do. For Stephanie—”
“Hush! don’t talk so loud. I must go: I see my gent from Liverpool in a private box, with a lady—his sister very likely—good bye. I must go up-stairs to the door of the box,” and the stout Inspector withdrew.
“Have I take too much haff-naff—do I talk too much?” Monsieur Chose asked himself.
The bald, handsome gentleman in front here politely proffered his opera-glass to the Frenchman.
By-and-by on a bridge of small civilities, Mr. Martin and Monsieur Chose passed gradually into conversation. Monsieur Chose was evidently in a talkative mood. Martin was always a good listener; he distinguished himself especially in that character on the present occasion. Perhaps he had, or thought he had, an object in view in doing this.
“The ballet in England,” said the Frenchman with a grand air, “is an exotic which has never taken deep root—which would die but for much care and what you call forcing. In France it is a natural production, and it flourishes always. London tries to like, to acquire a taste for the ballet. Paris loves it from instinct. It is the dream of the English that they have the tastes, the perceptions of the French. Monsieur, believe me, it is not possible. They try to like claret—they swallow it with a wry face; it does not please them, really; why should they pretend that it does? Let England keep to her native productions; to her port wine, her sherry wine, her porter, ale, her haff-naff, which is excellent, I know it; which fits well to this climate opaque and brumeux. Let her not seek to imitate the pleasures of the French. For you, the pantomime of Christmas; for us, the ballet—pensif—poetic, sublime! We are a nation of sentiment; we love always the appeals to our hearts, to our emotions. We should hiss this ballet in Paris. It is good, but it is not good enough. The nuances are not preserved; the ensemble is not cared for. The whole is without esprit. Mademoiselle Boisfleury is charming; Mademoiselle Blondette is ravissante, but for the others! Monsieur, to see a ballet of the first quality, you must see it in Paris and nowhere else, as to eat strawberries in perfection you must pluck them yourself from their beds.”
“Monsieur,” said Martin, bowing, “I have long entertained these opinions, but I have never been able to express them so well. Your remarks are profound—more, they are philosophical.”
“Monsieur!” exclaimed the Frenchman, his face beaming with delight as he bowed his head repeatedly, “you do me an honour extreme. But it is given to the intellect of France to be not less appreciative and judicial in its character, than competent to wield those attributes to the advantage of the universe!”
Monsieur Chose spoke with an air of enthusiasm and deep conviction: his gestures were extremely animated, and he rose from his seat. There were cries in the pit behind him of “Sit down in front!”
“I am carried out of myself,” he said, with an air of greater calmness, “let me remember my situation. Ah, behold us now at the grand scene of ‘L’Aérolithe.’”
A roar of applause was the recognition of Blister’s triumph in the picture of the “Summit of Mount Pretroska by moonlight, amid the Peaks of the Carpathian Mountains,” the last scene of the ballet. (It may be as well to say that Blister had never in his life been further from London than Blackwall! but then he never professed to give faithful representations of particular landscapes; and, indeed, he held that vraisemblance had nothing to do with scene-painting, perhaps because he thought that if he made the background too natural, it would interfere too much with the actors who were to be the fore-ground figures, and who it must be said, were generally quite as far off truth of delineation as was Blister.)
Monsieur Chose was loud in his applause throughout the whole of the scene, though his approval was always given with a great air of consciousness of superiority and condescension. Nevertheless, his repeated “Brava! brava!” possessed a tone of languid ecstasy that brought all his neighbours into a like frame of mind, and induced them to applaud also. It was as though his manifestations of delight were wrung from him, notwithstanding the obstacles presented by a constitutional indolence and an aristocratic indifference, and were therefore all the more precious. And the scene was worthy of applause. When the première danseuse swung high up in the air, descending gradually lower, a strong lime light pouring upon her—so strong that the wire supporting her was hardly visible from the stalls, while it could not be traced at all from the boxes, except now and then when it caught the light—the effect was almost poetical; Monsieur Chose said it was quite. The inevitably absurd characteristics of the ballet costume were very nearly lost. There was a sort of gauze cloud wreathing about Stephanie; her long black hair was streaming behind her; her hands were clasped upon her breast; her splendid eyes were turned upward. She looked very handsome, beautiful indeed, while it was part of the effect to make the light—almost blinding in its vividness—appear to emanate from her, until she seemed to hang gleaming in the air like an incarnate jewel. George Martin could not help vieing with the Frenchman in applauding the scene. He gave a glance at Wilford’s box to see if he was still present, but he was unable to discover him—possibly because the audience portion of the theatre was darkened for the enhancement of the moonlight scene. Suddenly there was a lull in the applause—a murmur—a gasp! Mademoiselle Boisfleury was to descend into the summit of Mount Pretroska, it was true, but surely not with such rapidity? Was it accidental—was it intentional? Some continued to applaud, nay, clapped their hands the more violently in their regret at what seemed a growing apathy in the house. There were cries for Mademoiselle Boisfleury, then shouts of “Bravo!” “Order!” “Shame!” “Grimshaw!” “Sit down!” “Stephanie!” &c.
“There is something wrong, surely,” Martin whispered to the Frenchman.
“Yes, the rope must have broken—I knew it would.”
Martin turned to him quickly, looking at him inquiringly.
“Pardon, Monsieur,” the Frenchman answered the glance, bowing and smiling. “You flatter my intelligence. I did not know that the rope would break to-night.” He added, to himself, “Enfin, then, behold me present when the accident has occurred!”
The conviction that there were was something wrong grew upon the house. The thing was evident in the looks of M. Anatole, who had given up his ballet attitude, and was now indulging in poses natural, if not graceful. He was turning from one side to the other to get instruction from the people in the wing as to what he should do next. Mademoiselle Blondette was clearly shivering with fright, was holding Anatole’s arm tightly with both her hands, speaking to him, looking beseechingly at him—at the prompter. It was quite certain that there was something wrong. A loud cry arose in the upper part of the house. From that point of view many spectators could perceive the figure of Mademoiselle Boisfleury. She must have struck against the scenery in her descent, the rope probably breaking, and then been precipitated to the stage. She was lying, half hidden by a set piece, at the back of the stage. In quiet moments a low moaning could be heard to proceed from the spot; she was no longer the radiant première danseuse of the continental theatres—she was simply a poor woman in a huddle of crumpled, soiled muslin, the victim of an accident, grievously hurt. The lime light had been withdrawn, the stage was very dark; still this was perceived; then a small crowd of carpenters, scene-shifters, and ballet-girls, men and women, hurried on to the stage, and the curtain came down—not with the slow regularity of its usual descent, but with an abrupt scramble. All this takes some lines to tell, but little more than two minutes intervened between the accident and the dropping of the curtain.
The audience looked at each other. The evening’s entertainment was over, but could they go in this way? Some hurried off at once, it is true, with white, sickened faces, but the rest remained, talking earnestly in groups; men hitherto strangers, who had sat speechless next to each other, were now discussing the accident as though they had just discovered they were really intimates of the longest standing. Some stood on seats—there was a disposition to hoot and groan. Some obstinate and obtuse people still persisted in applauding. At last there was a tolerably unanimous cry for “Grimshaw!” which strengthened as it went on, and grew more and more angry.
A well-dressed gentleman, holding in his hand a very glossy hat (it is said that at the T. R. Long Acre a glossy hat is always kept ready in the wings for those who make apologies, or are called to receive applause), Tacker, the stage-manager, appeared before the curtain. His look was dignified and serious, his manner irreproachably polite. He was expressly engaged to make apologies, of which Grimshaw himself was quite incapable, though he liked to go on now and then in a rough bonhomie sort of way, to show himself, receive applause, and smile and bow to the audience. There was immediate silence for Tacker. He held his hat gracefully in his left hand—his right was of course pressed upon his heart. He glanced up and down, right and left, so as to include the whole audience.
“Ladies and gentlemen. I regret to inform you that an accident, not, as it is believed of a serious nature—” (oh! oh! from the back of the pit. Tacker glared fiercely at that quarter, and was loudly applauded by the stalls). “Not,” he repeated sternly, “it is believed of a serious nature, has happened to Mademoiselle Boisfleury. The management have to request, therefore, under these circumstances, the indulgence a British audience has never hesitated to give. The audience are requested to allow the performances to come to a close at once. The cause of the accident shall be searchingly investigated, and provision made against it recurrence. In any case, the management have the pleasure to announce that the new ballet will be performed to-morrow and every evening until further notice.”
What could the house do but applaud Tacker and go home?
“Hist!” said the Frenchman to Martin. “Let us go round to the back and make inquiries. I will arrange.”
Martin looked at Wilford’s box, it was empty. He accompanied Monsieur Chose.
“Well, this is just my luck,” said a sturdy gentleman, elbowing his way out of the pit. “I come here for abstraction and recreation, under the pressure of great calamity at home. What happens? A rope breaks, or something goes wrong, and a woman breaks her neck—don’t tell me she hasn’t broken her neck—I’d take my oath of it; and a good-looking woman, too, in very nice order and preservation; a highly respectable Murillo; or, at least, an excellent example of the school of Murillo. Poor thing! I’m sure I’m very sorry for her. I came here for amusement, and this is what I get.”
It was, of course, Mr. Isaac Phillimore, picture-dealer of Freer Street, Soho.
A shabby-looking man was with him. A man with no shirt-collar, a red nose, a broken hat (with crape on it), and very watery eyes. His lips had a tremulous movement about them, as though they were always talking.
“What is it you’re saying, Loafe?” Mr. Phillimore asked. “My poor fellow. You’ve got into such a way of muttering, there is no hearing a word you say.”
Mr. Loafe whispered into Mr. Phillimore’s ear.
“O, well!” said Mr. Phillimore, “if you want to go, why of course you must go—and here’s the half-crown you ask for—I should have to pay it for your supper, so you’re welcome to it.”
“I’ll pay you back,” said Mr. Loafe, with breathless earnestness. “’Pon my soul, I’ll pay you back. I shall get twelve and sixpence, if I’m lucky. I did not see any one doing it, and I dare say I can plant a paragraph on two, or three of the morning papers. Only I must go and get particulars, and do it at once.” And Mr. Loafe disappeared.
“Well, I’m sure I never saw a man that looked more as though he wanted twelve and sixpence. I suppose it comes of being a literary man! Why Loafe’s got to be a mere drunken boor by Ostade! Then, he added: “Well, my recreation is over, and I go back to my dismal home a more miserable man than I came from it. I suppose that comes of being a picture-dealer and an appreciator of the Fine Arts. Stay! I won’t go home yet. I’ll try a devilled oyster. Perhaps that will cheer me.”
Mr. Loafe’s paragraph was as follows:
“Serious Accident at the Theatre Royal, Long Acre.—We regret to have to state that a serious accident occurred at this favourite establishment last evening, during the performance of the new and successful ballet, “L’Aérolithe.” Towards the conclusion of the performance, as our readers are probably aware, a full description having so recently appeared in our columns, the eminent danseuse, Mademoiselle Stephanie Boisfleury who sustains the character of Fiametta, the Fille du Firmament (from whence the name of the piece is derived), is required to swing for some time over the stage suspended by a wire, the strength of which it is the rule of the theatre to test every morning, so that no precaution may be spared to render the feat a comparatively harmless one, the actress finally disappearing from the gaze of the enraptured audience down a trap-door at the back of the stage. From some cause, with the particulars of which we are unacquainted, and indeed it appears to be a mystery to all concerned, in spite of our ceaseless endeavours to obtain explicit information at the late hour last evening at which we went to press, the rope broke, or became detached from the dress of Mademoiselle Boisfleury, the accident has been explained to us in both ways, but its exact manner does not appear to be sufficiently accounted for, and she was precipitated from a great height of some twelve feet or more with considerable violence on to the stage. A scene of extraordinary alarm, consternation, and excitement ensued in the theatre, and the curtain was at once lowered. Mr. Tacker, the admirable stage-manager (whose benefit, we observe by our advertising columns, is fixed for Tuesday week, when we trust that he will receive the support so delightful an actor, and excellent a public servant, fully deserves), endeavoured in a short speech, capitally delivered, to allay the fears of the audience, among the female portion of whom considerable fear had been manifested. Mr. Grimshaw has been indefatigable in his attention to the sufferer, and the best medical skill in the metropolis has been called in to her assistance. Meanwhile, Mademoiselle Boisfleury lies in a state, which we fear we must call precarious. Perhaps it is a fitting time to ask how long entertainments of a dangerous character, &c., &c. When will our senators give us an Act of Parliament to remedy a state of things which &c., &c.?”
There was a good deal more of it.
Perhaps, it is fair to state, however, that Mr. Loafe’s paragraph did not appear exactly as he had written it.