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seemed as if the Abolition Bill had made the limbs of the dark-complexioned ladies and gentlemen as lively as their hearts ; and there was no end to the pleasure and perspiration of the evening, till the head of the gombah was fairly beaten in, and the last string of the bonjoo was scraped to pieces.
I am, my dear Sir,
R. R. M.
THE LIONS OF KINGSTON.
To MRS. HOLLAND.
Kingston, August 1834. My dear Madam, When it pleases the Jews to execute the drama, the poor victim to the injured laws of histrionic art is led forth before the eyes of the Hebrew multitude, (literally, in the place of public execution,) and, after various mutilations and unheardof cruelties, that most unfortunate man, Mr. William Shakspeare, undergoes the extreme penalty of a representation of his plays in Kingston. Figure to yourself Romeo and Juliet in the agonies of such a representation—the most sentimental of lovers in the hands of a strapping Hebrew store-keeper—and the beautiful Juliet enacted by a lubberly Jew-boy from a linen-drapery establishment : fancy the awful strides of Capulet's daughter in the garden scene: imagine the terrific screams in the balcony, Romeo swearing like a trooper of Mantua by the
« Blessed moon,
that he is desperately in love; while the gentle Juliet, whose petticoats are rather too scanty to conceal the peeping extremities of a pair of Russiaduck inexpressibles, is straining her cracked voice
“ To lure her tassel-gentle back again.” But Romeo in all probability is swigging some last-imported London particular at the wing, and can hardly be brought to time, while
“ Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud ;
As it is, however, she manages to “split the ears of the groundlings,” and to inform the real “Black Orangemen" and women outside the walls “how silver sweet sound lovers' tongues by night;" while the genuine black-guards from the adjoining barracks in the gallery are struck all of a heap at the idea of cutting up the poor fat buckra, in the tight hose, into little stars, and converting his grease into tallow candles,—which is the only way they can imagine of making the heavens look more bright by means of Buckra's fatness.
On Saturday night the theatre is generally open in the cooler months : the lower tier of boxes is filled with the beauty and fashion of Israel in Kingston; and some wondrous pretty women there
! are too among the daughters of Zion in Jamaica, whose black, brilliant, oriental eyes possess the power of transfixing those on whom they chance to fall. No “ stoney limits can hold love out,”
” where so much beauty is often assembled in one small box. Excellent Stilton-cheese and admirable salt-butter may be purchased in the morning of some of the fashionables, who are the observed of all observers in this same, theatre in the evening ; but what signifies Stilton cheese and salt butter in comparison with the diamonds and pearls, and precious stones, and trinkets of gold and silver, which glare and sparkle in the front row of the dress-circle. There is one of the
performers who plays melodramatic characters with a considerable degree of talent. A passion for theatricals unfortunately induced him to assume the sock and buskin ; he got tired of the stage, and, getting tired of the stage, he got tired of his life and swallowed poison. To make assurance doubly sure, he dissolved a large quantity of an active poison in a very powerful menstruum ; and, as a matter of course, having said, like Romeo, “Here's to my love," he drank the potion. But the deuce of the matter was—the menstruum was so nauseous,
-the poison would not stay down : a medical man was sent for in, great haste : the poor actor was said to be in the agonies of death : the doctor found him in a very perilous situation, but still entertained some hopes of his recovery. In the midst of this unpleasant scene, a brother actor of his entered the room in the slow and measured step of theatrical affliction, with one dusky finger pressed on his left temple, and a whole big hand expanded over the region of the heart: he walked towards the doctor, “ This is a sad business, sir," said the doctor.-“ Awful, sir !” responded the actor, in a tragic tone that one might expect to issue from the ghost of Talma—" very awful indeed!” He approached the bed-side of the poor gentleman. “Ah, my friend,” he exclaimed, “is it come to this? Is it thus. I see
The play for Saturday announced but yesterday your name in the bills, and no chance of your appearance !"
The poor gentleman, however, ultimately recovered, and is at present the only tolerable actor of the corps dramatique of this island. The actors are not always the only performers at this theatre, for the rising generation of the Hebrews sometimes perform pugilistic exploits. A scene of this kind lately occurred, which relieved the actors on the stage a good deal ; for, as the attention of an audience cannot be directed two ways at once,