Lovely shadows trooped into his mind, names that had been naught but names to him till now Rosalind, Camiola, Bianca. They had passed before him as so many smooth-faced youths, carrying awkwardly and awry their woman's wear, and lamentably uninspiring.
Julia in "The Hunchback," and Camiola in "The Maid of Honor," were among the few exceptions to this preparatory attack of despondency; but those I in some sort choose myself, and all my other characters were appointed me by the management, in obedience to whose dictates, and with the hope of serving the interests of the theater, I suppose I should have acted Harlequin if I had been ordered to do so.
In spite of all which she is a very fine creature, immeasurably superior to the despicable man who accepts her favors and betrays her love. It is worthy of note that Bassanio, who is clearly nothing else remarkable, is every inch a gentleman, and in that respect no unfit mate for Portia; while the Sicilian prince is a blackguard utterly, beneath Camiola in every particular but that of his birth.
You have no idea what a quantity of "things to be done" has been crowded into the last fortnight: studying Camiola, rehearsing for two hours and a half every other day, riding for two hours at a time, and sitting for my picture nearly as long, running from place to place about my dresses, and now having Lady Teazle and Mrs.
I remember two things connected with my performance of Camiola which amused me a good deal at the time. I used to pause upon the last words, endeavoring to convey, if one look and tone might do it, all the regretful gratitude which ought to have filled her heart, while uttering with her farewell that first, last, and only recognition of his infinite devotion to her.
I am much afraid my father will shock them with the speech of that scamp Mercutio in all its pristine purity and precision. Good-by, dear H . Ever your affectionate P.S. My mother desires to be particularly remembered to you. I want to revive Massinger's "Maid of Honor;" I want to act Camiola.
I hope by and by to act Camiola very well, but I am afraid the play itself can never become popular; the size of the theater and the public taste of the present day are both against such pieces; still, the attempt seemed to me worth making, and if it should prove successful we might revive one or two more of Massinger's plays; they are such sterling stuff compared with the Isabellas, the Jane Shores, the everything but Shakespeare.
She seems like a perfect rose, blooming in a precious vase of gold and gems and exquisite workmanship. Portia is the Lady of Belmont, and Camiola is the merchant's daughter, a very noble and magnanimous woman.
The character of Camiola is extremely noble and striking, but that of her lover so unworthy of her that the interest she excites personally fails to inspire one with sympathy for her passion for him. The piece in this respect has a sort of moral incoherency, which appears to me, indeed, not an infrequent defect in the compositions of these great dramatic pre-Shakespearites.
To-morrow Sheridan Knowles dines with us, to read a new play he has written, in which I am to act. In the evening we go to Lady Cork's, Sunday we have a dinner-party here, Monday I act Camiola, Tuesday we go to Mrs. Harry's, Wednesday I act Camiola, and further I know not. Good-by, dear; ever yours,