Sappho: To which is Added Between the Flies and the Footlights (Google eBook)

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Little, Brown, 1899 - 353 pages
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Page 341 - ... distance far above me, and alighted in a sudden, vivid spot of brightness on the stage. Set down in the midst of twilight space, as it were, with only my father's voice coming to me from where he stood hardly distinguishable in the gloom, in those poetical utterances of pathetic passion I was seized with the spirit of the thing; my voice resounded through the great vault above and before me, and, completely carried away by the inspiration of the wonderful play, I acted Juliet as I do not believe...
Page 341 - ... poetical utterances of pathetic passion I was seized with the spirit of the thing; my voice resounded through the great vault above and before me, and, completely carried away by the inspiration of the wonderful play, I acted Juliet as I do not believe I ever acted it again, for I had no visible Romeo, and no audience to thwart my imagination; at least, I had no consciousness of any, though in truth I had one. In the back of one of the private boxes, commanding the stage but perfectly invisible...
Page 343 - I was placed in a chair with my satin train carefully laid over the back of it; and there I sat, ready for execution, with the palms of my hands pressed convulsively together, and the tears I in vain endeavoured to repress welling up into my eyes and brimming slowly over, down my rouged cheeks...
Page 344 - called my mother, and on waddled Mrs. Davenport, and, turning back, called in her turn " Juliet ! " My aunt gave me an impulse forward, and I ran straight across the stage, stunned with the tremendous shout that greeted me, my eyes covered with mist, and the green baize flooring of the stage feeling as if it rose up against my feet; but I got hold of my mother, and stood like a terrified creature at bay, confronting the huge theatre full of gazing human beings. I do not think a word I uttered during...
Page 344 - I have never since heard without a thrill of anything but comical association ; " never mind 'em ! don't think of 'em any more than if they were so many rows of cabbages ! " " Nurse ! " called my mother, and on waddled Mrs. Davenport, and, turning back, called in her turn, "Juliet!" My aunt gave me an impulse forward, and I ran straight across the stage, stunned with the tremendous shout that greeted me, my eyes covered with mist, and the green baize flooring of the stage feeling as if it rose up...
Page 340 - I had struggled with while reciting, in floods of tears. A few days after this, my father told me he wished to take me to the theatre with him to try whether my voice was of sufficient strength to fill the building ; so thither I went. That strange-looking place, the stage, with its racks of pasteboard and canvas streets, forests, banqueting-halls, and dungeons drawn apart on either side, was empty and silent ; not a soul was stirring in the indistinct recesses of its mysterious depths, which...
Page 340 - They neither of them said anything beyond, " Very well, very nice, my dear," with many kisses and caresses, from which I escaped to sit down on the stairs half-way between the drawing-room and my bed-room, and get rid of the repressed nervous fear I had struggled with while reciting, in floods of tears. A few days after this my father told me he wished to take me to the theatre with him to try whether my voice was of sufficient strength to fill the building ; so thither I went. That...
Page 346 - I even made my conventional curtsey of leavetaking to them, but I snatched my little nosegay of flowers from my sash and threw it into the pit with handfuls of kisses, as a farewell token of my affection and gratitude. And so my father, who was very much affected, led me off, while the house rang with the cheering of the audience. When we came off my courage gave way utterly, and I cried most bitterly. I saw numbers of people whom I knew standing behind the scenes to take leave of us.
Page 341 - ... gentleman; the best judge, in many respects, that my father could have selected, of my capacity for my profession and my chance of success in it. Not till after the event had justified my kind old friend's prophecy did I know that he had witnessed that morning's performance, and joining my father at the end of it had said, "Bring her out at once; it will be a great success.
Page 344 - How is she?' to which my aunt answered, sending him away with words of comforting cheer. At last 'Miss Kemble called for the stage, ma'am!' accompanied with a brisk tap at the door, started me upright on my feet, and I was led round to the side scene opposite to the one from which I saw my mother advance on the stage; and while the uproar of her reception filled me with terror, dear old Mrs Davenport, my nurse, and dear Mr...

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