Sunday, March 05, 2006

29May1858, The Crystal Palace, Edmund Kean

LONDON, May 29th, 1858.
—Glorious summer heat, hazy and dazzling, with soft fragrant wind. We went with Aunts Coque and Kitty and Uncle Spencer — such an odd party — to the Crystal Palace, where I have only been once before, 3 or 4 years ago. It was lovely : the trees and grass in early green, and the masses of rhododendrons in flower. We came in for the playing of the fountains, and also heard " Der Freischütz " on the noble organ, and many rather dull things by a brass band. We also dined there, and had delicious strawberry cream ice. The heat was great : overpowering I may say at times, but so beautiful. We stayed till 6, then rushed off in frantic hurry to be in time for the Princess's at 7. We actually were in very good time. Much we admired the marvellous scenery, which is the very best that ever was, and this helping out the noble words of the great play (" King Lear ") made it delightful. But I can't abide the acting. Surely it ought to aim at being natural, not perpetual forced gestures and voice, affected and ranting. Yet we saw Kean, who is reckoned capital

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