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[1188] this disappointed me. Neither did I laugh, but thought all the while of Miss K.,—how very graceful she was, and whether this and that way of rendering the part was just. I do not believe she has comic power within herself, though tasteful enough to comprehend any part. So I went home, vexed because my ‘heart was not full,’ and my ‘brain not on fire’ with enthusiasm. I drank my milk, and went to sleep, as on other dreary occasions, and dreamed not of Miss Kemble.

Next night, however, I went expectant, and all my soul was satisfied. I saw her at a favorable distance, and she looked beautiful. And as the scene rose in interest, her attitudes, her gestures, had the expression which an Angelo could give to sculpture. After she tells her story,—and I was almost suffocated by the effort she made to divulge her sin and fall,—she sunk to the earth, her head bowed upon her knee, her white drapery falling in large, graceful folds about this broken piece of beautiful humanity, crushed in the very manner so well described by Scott when speaking of a far different person, ‘not as one who intentionally stoops, kneels, or prostrates himself to excite compassion, but like a man borne down on all sides by the pressure of some invisible force, which crushes him to the earth without power of resistance.’ A movement of abhorrence from me, as her insipid confidante turned away, attested the triumph of the poet-actress. Had not all been over in a moment, I believe I could not have refrained from rushing forward to raise the fair frail being; who seemed so prematurely humbled in her parent dust. I burst into tears; and, with the stifled, hopeless feeling of a

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Walter Scott (1)
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