The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, October 19, 1901, Page 2, Image 2

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o Uls home to receive the peculiar
hort of family scorn and ostracism
reserved for those members of a pious
household who renounce the exact
faith of their childhood. The scorn
of his mother and father, the sacri
fices they had made tliat they might
have a minister in the family, were
bitter punishment for a man who bad
but obeyed the dictates of his con
science and accepted truth as he saw
it. He was comforted by the Woman
who arrives at the right time 4n
stories and in life to comfort the
broken-hearted man and to offer her
self a sacrifice for heroic conduct.
She was a country school teacher and
had been teaching for two years when
tLe story ends. She had saved two
years' salary, and as David is penni
less she proposes to get married any
way and go north with him to some
college where he expects to study
physical science and afterward to
teach it.
This is all right from the ancient
novelist's point of view, who could
have added "and they lived happily
ever afterward." But we know bet
ter than that. We have seen por
married students trying to get
through college on nothing a year,
and they never lived happilv. A wo
man or gentle birth and breeding,
like Gabriella, can not be comfortable
without certain things the price of
which is beyond the means of a stu
dent who is putting himself through
college. Onecf the early preachers
in the Congregational church of this
city was determined to acquire a
college education, which is still too
highly valued by those who can not
afford one. The student, who after
wards became a preacher, bought a
sack of corn meal and lived on meal,
boiled and fried, during his college
days. He reported that he was hap
py and that bis education tasted the
better for the plainness of bis diet.
But his report was not made until
long after the taste of that meal had
been forgotten. He never ate it in
any fornl when I knew him. Such
economy would have been impossible
to a married man.
j J
Comedians are sad off the etage be
cause they can not play tragedy. A
quarter of a centimeter too little on
the nose, upward slanting eyes or
some such slight variation prevents
a man from acting Hamlet, Othello
or Lanciolto da Rimini. A snub
nosed Hamlet or a jovial-eyed Lan
ciotto is an impossibility. Even
Goquelin regrets that the uoconceal
able rotundity of his figure and his
upward slanting features prevent
him from assuming the heroic tragic
Most actors who can amuse think
It beneath tbem,and fancy themselves
in the tragic, classic roles creating
profound sensations. But the art of
grief . js exceedingly ..difficult. The
tine line which separates agony from
rant is so impalpable that most
.actors trample on it and produce ab
surd effects.
I think Mr. Ltis Skinner would
make a most acceptable .comedian.
He has a fine voice, he is graceful and
has the undefined electric quality of
getting on good terms with the audi
ence immediately. But Francesca da
Rimini is a bombastically tragic play;
we do not now thus receive misfor
tune's blows. Thoroughly artificial
situations color the acting, and Fran
cesca da Rimini is made up of stage
dialogue and forced situations'. Imag
ine, Tor instance, a marriage in a
cathedral before a cardinal of the
Catholic church between dignitaries
such as Lanciotto aud Francesca
were. Then the impossibility of the
scene which takes place immediately
after the ceremony is apparent. The
higher dignitaries are slaves of con
vention. A wedding Is the most con
ventional and rigid of all ceremonies, j
even on the frontier, among tbe least
conventional of all people. In, the
first place the greatest warrior of his
period and place would not have
shown his heart to bystanders as Lan
ciotto does in the play when he first
sees Francesca. Secondly, the- scene
in the cathedral before a gaping muT-,
titude when the new-husband accuses
his brother of treason, is a denial of ;
history and of probability. The old
Italians were a most ceremonious no
bility, and the members of Italian
society are still the most conventional
and custom-bound in the world.
The sorrows of the hunch-backed
soldier are stage sorrows. We do not
sympathize with him The lovers are
stage lovers, wc do not care for them.
All the out worn tragedy business,
all the signs that actors for a hun
dred years have used to indicate ex
treme grief and chagrin, Mr. Skinner
uses in Francesca da Rimini. So
many famous actors have played the
part that a modern is professionally
bound to accept the traditions and play
the part accordingly. Considering
these traditions and the artificiality
of the play, Mr. Skinner's acting and
reading is entirely satisfactory to
lovers of tragedy. I should like to
see him in a modern subtle play con
structed on a background of proba
bility. In real life we avoid funerals and
occasions of palpable demonstration
of the woes of mortal life, unless
friendship or kinship makes our pres
ence essential or convenant. Why,
then, should we go to the theatre to
see three men and one woman stab
bed, a hunchback reviled and con
stantly reminded of his deformity by
a detestable little fool in motley, and
a husband betrayed? It is cheaper
to read the di force and murder dis
patches in the morning paper. The
warden of the New York prison that
confines Czolgosz has received a thou
sand requests for passes to the ex
ecution of the assassin. There is
therefore quite a large proportion of
the citizens of this country who en
joy executions, and managers who put
on plays where in the last act all of
the principal characters are put to
death in sight of the audience, are
justified of their selection.
Mr. Skinner has a large and very
elaborately costumed companj . The
scenery is gorgeous and the artists
who painted the scenes put depth and
distance into their pictures. It was
hard to believe that their sunsets,
gardens, hills and skies were only a
few feet from the footlights. If it
were not for the scenery and the cos
tumes the murders and suicide might
be unpleasantly suggestive of death
and decay, even in the unreal light
of the stage.
Omaha, Nebr.,
October 11, 1901.
My Dear Eleanor:
You doubtless have performed your
little round of houpewifely duties ere
this unholy hour, and perhaps
are performing them yet once again
in domestic dreams. I fancy the
ehades are drawn to the proper length,
the milk-jar set out and the sponge set
to rise at the proper temperature, and
no single duty left undone disturbs your
well-earned rest. Good little wife!
dear, homely, honest joys! Truly yours
is the better part.
A late supper where the time-honored
rabbit figured as the piece de re
sistance, obbcured by several manly
cigarettes, has sent me home with a
slightly clouded brain and very wakeful
eyes. Scraps of song still hum about
me, fragments of aimless conversation
still linger, and the whole has engen
dered a sort of dissatisfaction with myself
and my friends for which nobody and
nothing can be held responsible, unlaw,
indeed, I am mean enough to blame the
rabbit which was, if the truth be told,
a bit too stringy. We discussed a'most
everything twixt heaven and earth, in a
misty, unfinished style where Ith the
rabbit we- deceived ourselves into the
flattering, belief that we were uncom
monly deep and clever. On sober sec
ond thoughts here in my sanctum, free
of the "blue Bmoke, I am convinced that
even our cleverness was shallow and
that the depth wasn't there at all.
Some one finally wanted to know
what constituted a sense of humor or
what a sense of humor presupposed or
involved on the part of the possessor,
and there we were introduced to our
Waterloo. No one was able to satisfy
the anxious inquirer, and so I am con
strained to pass it on to your clear, de
cisive intellect. Can't you help ue?
. These brooding Indian summer days
are full of a mysterious sadness to me.
They force in upon me all the things I
meant to be and do, which I have never
been or done. The air seems just a soft
winding-sheet for hundreds of dead
hopes. In the spring when the pulses
leap as the sap began to stir, we were
very gay and joyous, my heart and I.
We said: "We have planted many ten
der seeds of beautiful things, and as the
soft rains fall and the sun's warmth
grows, they will take root, and we will
watch and love them into full, strong
life; and when the summer comes they
will break into bloom and beauty;
they will perfume ail our way with
their sweetness. Bnt we must have
forgotten, we must some way have neg
lected them; for the heat of summer
scorched the tendrils and the leaves and
there grew no flowers. Now in the
golden harvest-time wn found only
rustling, shivering stalks to garner.
Oh! tender, tiny seeds! What did we
fail to do? How did we neglect you,
that now when the winter draws nigh,
my heart and I sit among barren fieldt?
There is no joy to me in the beauty of
this time in Nature. Like the last
hectic flush of the consumptive, it hints
too plainly of inevitable decay. Think
of God's poor, who must withdraw from
His green fields and blue skins, to the
corn-husks of humanity! I never
thought I was overly charitable or dis
posed tc assume the inevitable woes of
my kind, but some way the thought of
all the poor, the unfortunate, tbe Buf
fering obtrudes upon my peace of mind
just as soon as the trees stretch naked,
supplicating arms to the cold blue sky.
Of course, if you are disposed to be un
pleasant you can suggest that it is a very
easy sort of charity to sit in a cozy,
Bteam-heated room, in a new tailor
made gown, and sniffle with a lead pen
cil to catch the tears; over the world's
poor. But you will not do that, bless
your sincere -friendship, and, beside, I
have done a little'tnore, in my poor way,
aad I hbve fallen back baffled more by
the poverty of soul I have encojntered
than ty the empty coal bint. Some
way, some how, you can occasionally
have one of these filled; but where and
how shall one ever find covering and
warmth for the shivering, naked immor
tal part of these terrible poor?
You did not ask me to write a society
letter, did yon? I have forgotten. If
you did, you will probably return this,
even if unaccompanied by postage.
We are becoming quite an asylum for
everything and everybody that nobody
else wants or will have. Our latest
refugee is a certain
relative of Billy Patterson's, so far as I
know, but she just came sweetly to
abide with us and incidentally to fling
paper wads at her cruel tobacco-deanc
father-in-law who seeks to separate her
through the divorce courts from his sod,
Now there may be some good reason
why Mrs. Patterson chooses us as her
confidante, if to, I do not know it,
but she's a God-send to us on dajsthe
papers aren't busy. She is blonde acd
plump, affects black, an outward acd
visible sign of gnawing grief, perhaps -wears
big, fluffy boas and big hats and
large spotted veils. She sings and is
themoet interviewed woman into.n.
She wishes to make the cruel tobacco
gentleman draw his check for a Eutri
cient amount to salve her lacerated af
fections. Her grievance is that the
above mentioned father-in-law alienated
her husband's aSectiooB, they went up
in Bmoke, I suppote! If I could illus
trate that joke you might laugh next
week, or the week after that. That wit
ticism isn't broad in fact, it is what
you might call subtle.
If you and Jack ever fall out over the
lean and tbe fat, don't eat your heart
out, or eat the fat, if you do not like it;
just come straight to our generous,
motherly arms. We will give you a
corner room front in the best apartment
house, which shall be yours juet as long
as you canafford to pay for it. We will
condole with you privately and air pub
licly every incident of your career, past.
present and yet to come. We will ex
amine your rings for the hall-mark and
the belts of your gowns for your tailor's
name, then we will interview him as to
the amount of stuffing requisite to your
figure all this for the generous, unsel
fish purpose of announcing to the break
fast tables of the great metropolitan
dailies that you are altogether quite as
big a fool as you look. By all means
avoid the.damagiDg notoriety of Sioux
Falls! Come to Omaha!
I have recently read Elia W. Peattie's
"Beleaguered Forest." It seems to me
some critics have been disposed to yield
her rather reluctant praise. Praise
somewhat apologized for, forced on ac
count of the "idyllic setting of the
story." 1 may be no judge, but, such
S3 I am, she dominated and owned me
an ay in the wee sma' hours of one still
night. I heard her pines rustiest their
prayers for mercy. I breathed the
strong, Bweet wind of the lonely north.
I had tome better thoughts, a few higher
aspirations and a great added admira
tion for Mrs. Peattie when 1 closed the
book and sought m pillow that night.
It hinted at least of great possibilities
if her best is not there, you are con
vinced when she gives her best, it will
be very, very good. Must our eyes be
holden because we have eaten luncheon
with her many a time and oft at Bal
duff's? That may not sound applicable,
b jt if you had heard a woman criticise
the book as I did one day, you would be
obliged to draw the inference that it was
ridiculous to suppose Mrs. Peattie could
write an intelligent book because she,
the woman, had frequently dined with
Ii6r in the days of yore at the cafe!
Much of that woman's society would be
paraljzing, I am free to admit.
The midnight oil is about exhausted.
If the gods are not mad with you, you
may be able to decipher this perhaps
it would be better for my reputation if
you could not! In case it proves too much,
feed the flames of the kitchen range and
I will forgive you. As always,
"No," said the ingenue. "I don't like
'Why not?'' asked the college student .
"Because," responded she, blushing
'you have to Bit tandem all the time."
Hewitt I owe my success in life to
my wife.
Jewett I'll bet you've paid dearly
for it. Town .Topics.