Before the Footlights and Behind the Scenes: a Book about "the Show Business" in All Its Branches: from Puppet Shows to Grand Opera: From Mountebanks to Menageries; from Learned Pigs to Lecturers; from Burlesque Blondes to Actors and Actresses: with Some Observations and Reflections (original and Reflected) on Morality and Immorality in Amusements: Thus Exhibiting the "show World" as Seen from Within, Through the Eyes of the Former Actress, as Well as from Without, Through the Eyes of the Present Lecturer and Author
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Page 267 - I could a tale unfold whose lightest word Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres, Thy knotted and combined locks to part And each particular hair to stand on end, Like quills upon the fretful porcupine : But this eternal blazon must not be To ears of flesh and blood.
Page 371 - Lucretia Borgia.' This was also the theatre of predilection with Mercadante, who is now ninety years of age, and blind. It was here, also, that took place a tragedy which alarmed Europe at the time. Nourrit, the great French tenor, had gone to Naples, and all expectantly waited his first night, which he confidently anticipated would be the greatest triumph of his life. ' William Tell' was the opera chosen for the occasion, N"ourrit not fearing to make his debut in the most difficult tenor role known...
Page 402 - Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world — though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst — the cant of criticism is the most tormenting! I would go fifty miles on foot, for I have not a horse worth riding on, to kiss the hand of that man whose generous heart will give up the reins of his imagination into his author's hands — be pleased he knows not why, and cares not wherefore.
Page 260 - an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," a life for a life; Shakespeare, too : " Accursed be the air on which he rides, And damned all those that trust him.
Page 53 - Othello, the mixture of love that intruded upon his mind upon the innocent answers Desdemona makes, betrayed in his gesture such a variety and vicissitude of passions as would admonish a man to be afraid of his own heart, and perfectly convince him that it is to stab it to admit that worst of daggers — -jealousy.
Page 475 - Th' insulting tyrant, prancing o'er the field Strow'd with Rome's citizens, and drench'd in slaughter, His horse's hoofs wet with Patrician blood ! Oh, Portius ! is there not some chosen curse, Some hidden thunder in the stores of heaven, Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man, Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin ? PORTIUS.
Page 402 - I would go fifty miles on foot, for I have not a horse worth riding on, to kiss the hand of that man whose generous heart will give up the reins of his imagination into his author's hands, be pleased he knows not why, and cares not wherefore.
Page 50 - Mr. Betterton (although a superlative good actor) laboured under ill figure, being clumsily made, having a great head, a short thick neck, stooped in the shoulders, and had fat short arms, which he rarely lifted higher than his stomach. His left hand frequently lodged in his breast, between his coat and waistcoat, while, with his right, he prepared his speech.
Page 54 - A distinguished theatrical performer, in consequence of the sudden illness of another actor, had occasion to prepare himself, on very short notice, for a part which was entirely new to him ; and the part was long and rather difficult. He acquired it in a very short time, and went through it with perfect accuracy, but immediately after the performance forgot every word of it. Characters which he had acquired in a more deliberate manner he never- forgets, but can perform them at any time without a...