Saturday, October 09, 2010

16Jul1873, "Marie Antoinette" by Ristori

LONDON, Wednesday, July 16th, 1873.
F. and I, May and Atie. P, went to see "Marie Antoinette" done by Ristori at Drury Lane. It was grand tragic acting—the only thing of the sort I have ever seen (except the same actress in "Medea" when I was fifteen, of which I have only a confused recollection). The awful truth and recentness of the events made it almost intolerably painful and pathetic to a degree that set many off crying, me to a frightful extent! A tiny girl who cdnt have been more than 8 played the poor little Dauphin's part wonderfully and the King was well done too. But oh, the Queen!—especially when she asks the King's forgiveness, when she cows Simon and aftds appeals to him before he carries off the child, and at the end when she goes to execution, and with her hands tied behind her, is sublime. The horror and pity of the whole thing was to me intensified by realising what the sufferings of the miserable mob must have been, and of their ancestors for generations, brought before one in the play by the clamour and shouts for bread coming from a distance nearer and nearer—and all the vengeance falling, as so often, on the guiltless heads. But they were happier in death than their predecessors had been in the pride of life.

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