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Besides the small fry, the swallowers of swords and the grimace makers, there were on the green real representations. There was a circus of women, ringing from morning till night a magnificent peal of all sorts of instruments,-psalteries, drums, rebecks, micamons, timbrels, reeds, dulcimers, gongs, chevrettes, bag-pipes, German horns, English eschaqueils, pipes, flutes, and flageolets.
They had under a large round tent some tumblers, who could not have equalled our present tumblers in the Pyrenees-Dulma, Bordenave, and Meylonga—who from the peak of Pierrefitte descend to the plateau of Limaçon, which is nearly perpendicular. There was a travelling menagerie, where was to be seen a performing tiger, who lashed by the keeper, tried to snap at the whip and swallow the lash. This comedian of jaws and claws was himself eclipsed.
Curiosity, applause, receipts, crowds, the Grinning Man took all. In the twinkle of an eye it was done. Nothing was to be thought of but the Green Box.
“Chaos Vanquished' is 'Chaos Victor,' ” said Ursus, appropriating to himself half the success of Gwynplaine, and taking the wind out of his sails, as we say in nautical phrase. The success of Gwynplaine was prodigious. Notwithstanding this, it remained local. It is difficult for a celebrity to pass over the water. It took a hundred and thirty years for the name of Shakspeare to penetrate from England into France. The water makes a wall; and if Voltaire -a thing which he very much regretted too late—had not made a short ladder to Shakspeare, Shakspeare at the present hour might still be on the other side of the wall in England, captive to insular glory.
The glory of Gwynplaine did not overpass London Bridge. It was not as yet large enough to find an echo in the great city. At least not during the first period. But Southwark might suffice to satisfy the ambition of a clown. Ursus said,
“The money bag of receipts grows visibly bigger."
Between the acts Ursus exhibited his power as an engastrimist, and executed marvellous ventriloquism.
He imitated every cry which occurred in the assembly—a song, a cry, startled by its resemblance, the singer or the crier himself; and occasionally he copied the acclamations of the public, and whistled as if he had within him a heap of people.
These were remarkable talents. Besides this, he harangued, and might be seen, like Cicero, selling his drugs, attending sickness, and even healing the sick.
Southwark was captivated.
Ursus was satisfied with the applause of Southwark, but by no means astonished.
“These are the ancient Trinobantes,” he said.
Then he added, "I must not confound them for delicacy of taste, with Atrobates, who peopled Berkshire, or the Belgians who inhabited Somersetshire, nor with the Parisians who founded York.”
At each representation the court of the inn, transformed into a pit, was filled by a ragged and enthusiastic audience. It was composed of watermen, chairmen, coachmen, and bargemen, and sailors just come ashore, spending their wealth in feasting and women. There were felons, ruffians, and blackguards, who were soldiers condemned for some fault in discipline to wear their red coats, which were lined with black, inside out, and from thence the name of blackguard, which the French turn into blaqueurs. All these flowed from the street into the theatre, and poured back from the theatre into the
Empty tankards did not decrease their success. Amongst the people which it is usual to call the dregs, there was one taller than the rest, bigger, stronger, less poverty-stricken, broader in the shoulders; dressed like the common people, but not ragged.
Admiring and applauding all to the skies, making way with blows from his fists, having a disordered periwig, swearing, crying out, joking, not being dirty, and, when necessary, blackening an eye and paying for a bottle.
This connoisse!ır, being fascinated, had adopted the Grinning Man.
He did not come every evening, but when he came he led the public-applause was raised into acclamation-success went up, not to the friezes, for there were none, but to the clouds; and there were plenty of those. Even these clouds (seeing that there was not a roof) wept sometimes over this masterpiece of Ursus.
So much enthusiasm made Ursus remark this man, and caused Gwynplaine to observe him.
It was a great unknown friend they had there !
Ursus and Gwynplaine wished to know him ; at least, to know who he was.
Ursus one evening, in the side-scene, which was the kitchen-door of the Green Box, having, by chance, Master Nicless near him, showed him the man mingled with the crowd, and asked him,
“Do you know that man ?”
Then, in redescending the steps at the back of the Green Box, to enter the inn, Master Nicless let fall this profound reflection, so deep that it went altogether out of sight
“What a pity that he should not be a lord. He would be a famous scoundrel."
Otherwise, though installed in the tavern, the group in the Green Box had in no way altered their manners of living, and held to their isolation. Excepting a few words exchanged now and then with the tavern-keeper, they mingled not with any inhabitants, either passengers or with those who were permanent in the inn ; and contrived to live amongst themselves. Since they had been at Southwark, Gwynplaine had made it his habit, after the performance and the supper both of the family and the horses-when Ursus and Dea had gone to bed in their respective departments-to breathe a little the fresh air of the bowling-green, between eleven o'clock and midnight.
A certain vagrancy in our spirits impels us to nightly walks, and to sauntering under the stars. There is a mysterious expectation in youth. It is for this we like to go out in the night, without an object
At this hour there was no one in the fair-ground, except a nodding drunkard, making staggering shadows in dark corners. The empty taverns were shut up, the lamps put out in the lower room of Tadcaster Inn, where, scarcely twinkling, in some angle a solitary candle lighted a last reveller. An indistinct glow gleamed through the window-shutter of the half-opened tavern, and Gwynplaine, pensive, content, and dreaming, happy in a haze of a divine joy, passed and repassed before the half-open door.
Of what was he thinking? Of Dea-of nothing-of everything – of depths.
He did not wander far from the Green Box, hell, as by a thread, near to Dea. To take a few steps away from it was sufficient for him.
Then he returned, found all the Green Box asleep, and slept himse.
CONTRARIES FRATERNISE IN HATE.
Success is not liked, especially by those whom it overthrows. is rare that the eaten adore the eaters.
The Grinning Man had decidedly made a hit. The mountebanks around were indignant. A theatrical success is a siphon—it pumps the crowd and makes emptiness around it. The shop opposite was lost. The increased receipts in the Green Box made a corresponding decrease in the receipts of the surrounding shows. In short, the entertainments, popular up to that time, stood still. It was like a low watermark, showing in an inverse sense, but with perfect concordance,--the increase here, the diminution there. All theatres know the effect of tides : they are high with one only on the condition of being low with another. The nests of foreigners who exhibited their talents and their tumult on the neighbouring platforms, seeing themselves ruined by the Grinning Man, were despairing, yet
All the grimacers, all the clowns, all the merryandrews envied Gwynplaine. How happy he must be with the snout of a wild beast! The buffoon mothers and dancers on the tight-rope, who had pretty children, looked at them with anger, and pointing out Gwynplaine, would say,—“What a pity you have not a face like that !” Some beat their babes with fury at finding them beautiful. More than one, had she known how, would have fashioned her son's face in the Gwynplaine style. The head of an angel, which brouglit no money, was not worth that of a lucrative devil. Gwynplaine was a bird which laid golden eggs !
What a marvellous circumstance ! This was the only cry in all the caravans.
The mountebanks, enthusiastic and exasperated, looked at Gwynplaine and gnashed their teeth. The rage that admires is called envy. Then they howled! They tried to disturb “Chaos Vanquished;" made a cabal, hissed, scolded, shouted! This gave a motive to Ursus to make field harangues to the populace, and for his friend Tom-Jim-Jack to use his fists in the re-establishment of order. These pugilistic marks of friendship brought him still more under the notice and regard of Ursus and Gwynplaine. It was at a distance, nevertheless, because the group in the Green Box sufficed to themselves, and held aloof from the rest of the world, and because Tom-Jim-Jack, this leader of the mob, seemed a sort of superb lackey, without a tie, without a friend; a smasher of windows, a
manager of men-appearing, disappearing-hail-fellow-well-met with everyone, and companion of none.
This raging envy against Gwynplaine did not decrease by opposition, nor by the friendly efforts of Tom-Jim-Jack. The outcries having miscarried, the mountebanks of Tarrenzeau field fell back on a petition. They addressed themselves to the authorities. This is the usual provision against a success that is irksome ; we first try to stir up the crowd and then we petition the magistrate.
To the merryandrews were united the reverends. The Grinning Man had struck a blow at the preachers. The empty space was not only in the caravans, but in the churches. The churches of the five parishes in Southwark had no longer a congregation. Folks went out before the sermon to go to Gwynplaine. “Chaos Vanquished," the Green Box, the Grinning Man, all the abominations of Baal, deadened the eloquence of the pulpit. The voice crying in the desert, vox clamantis in deserto, was not content, and willingly called to aid the government. The clergy of the five parishes complained to the Bishop of London, who complained to her Majesty.
The complaint of the merryandrews was based on religion. They declared it to be insulted. They pointed out Gwynplaine as a sorcerer, and Ursus as an atheist. The reverend gentlemen invoked social order. Setting orthodoxy on one side, they rested on the cause and the fact that acts of parliament were violated. It was the cleverer
Because it was in the time of Mr. Locke, who had been dead but six months— 28th October, 1704--when scepticism, which Bolingbroke had imbibed from Voltaire, had begun. Wesley came later to restore the Bible, as Loyola had to restore the papacy.
After this fashion the Green Box was breached on two sides; by the merryandrews, in the name of the Pentateuch, and by chaplains in the name of police regulations, the reverend gentlemen holding for the commission of highways and the mountebanks for heaven. The Green Box was denounced by the priests as an incumbrance, and by the jugglers as sacrilegious.
Had they any pretext? Had any cause been given ? Yes. What was the crime? This : they had a wolf, A dog was allowable ; a wolf forbidden. . The wolf in England is an outlaw. England admits the dog which barks, but not the dog which howls,-a shade of difference between the courtyard and the forest.
The rectors and vicars of the five parishes of Southwark recalled, in their petitions, numberless parliamentary and royal statutes putting the wolf beyond the protection of the law. They moved for something like the imprisonment of Gwynplaine and the execution of