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metropolis. He travelled with it from one to another of the great provincial cities, erecting, where he could not have access to the theatres, immense buildings of wood, which often in solidity and splendour seemed more calculated for permanent public structures than the mere portable fabrics of a season.

The building I was engaged to play in was of this description, and I believe the largest he had ever erected. It was in an exceedingly populous and wealthy manufacturing town, and as the support he met with was very liberal, he in return made every sacrifice to merit this, which the possession of a considerable capital, honestly accumulated in his profession, enabled him to do.

The extent of ground the building occupied was very great, for besides a large place for exhibition, it contained stables for a stud of fifty horses, dressing-rooms for biped and quadruped performers, saloons for the audience, and apartments for above a dozen servants connected with the concern, who lived constantly there.

The circus itself, or place of exhibition, consisted of first the circle or arena, a large round space, about fifty feet in diameter, depressed toward the centre. From this, stretched back on two sides, wide tiers of seats for spectators, on a level with the open space for some yards back, but beyond that, ascending more and more, till the last touched the lofty roof. One of these divisions was named the gallery, the opposite one, which had the seats cushioned and backed, was called the pit. The other two sides were occupied each with a double row of boxes, pierced with two wide curtained entrances for the performers. The fronts of these boxes, as well as the various pillars and supports about the place, were ornamented with medallions and shields, having upon them armorial bearings and paintings, very well executed, of such subjects as "Mazeppa," horses in a storm, a horse attacked by a lion, &c., or perhaps portraits of celebrated racehorses or hunters. Several vases, with flowers standing on small ornamental shelves between, gave an air of taste to the place much heightened by a profusion of little silken flags, disposed in hanging groups where they could not interfere with the view of the performances.

The roof, which was slated, was very high, and concealed on the inside by a ceiling of striped silk of red and white, star-shaped, through the centre of which was suspended a very large gasilier, with a profusion of jets perfectly dazzling to the eye. The aspect of the place altogether was magnificent in the extreme, and at the same time quite tasteful and in keeping; and you may well surmise, that I soon got proud enough of my new line of life, and cocked my hat in the faces of my old fellowstrollers of the legitimate school, with an air sufficiently supercilious and self-gratulatory.

But if the building was thus meriting all praise, not one whit less so was the company-a most numerous and well-appointed one, consisting altogether of at least a hundred individuals, several of them equal-nay, some of them much superior to the general run of metropolitan performers.

But the chief attraction when I joined the corps, and that which nightly filled the great amphitheatre to overflowing, was a female equestrian, whose enactments were of a most original and interesting-nay, often startling excellence.

She was a woman of striking beauty, which, though a little past its prime, and beginning to fade, was, nevertheless, by a little art and trouble, capable of a perfect restoration to its original brilliancy. She was a universal favourite, and the applause she nightly drew down was most unanimous and decided, and she seemed fully alive to it-in fact, her features used to exhibit a strange glowing pleasure in the noise that thundered around from every quarter of the vast and sonorous edifice, of a nature which I have never seen depicted on the countenance of any other player. A kind of anomalous enthusiastic delight, it seemed of an altogether unexplainable expression.

Her face was regular in its beauty, save that a few might have considered it somewhat too long, and was of a decidedly Jewish cast. Her eyes were large, black, and rolling, with a remarkably yellowish glow about them, something like that reflected from a mirror in a room where there is a fire, but no other light. Her hair was short, somewhat thin, but silky, and black as the very raven down of darkness itself.

Her figure again was the perfection of symmetry, and the lightness. and elegance, the easy confident swimming grace wherewith she went through her evolutions on horseback, accompanied by the sort of absent mystical smile of strange internal pleasure she constantly wore in such circumstances, rendered her an object which the eyes of the spectator felt pain in being removed from for one instant from her first entrance till her final exit.

But there was another without whom she hardly ever appeared in the circle, and who perhaps constituted a principal part of the charm that hung around her-her daughter, a tiny child of about three years old, exceedingly small for its age, but of much intelligence and beauty. Its face seemed absolutely angelic, whilst its little frame rivalled its mother's in grace. It was a light-tinted, flaxen-haired girl, altogether unlike its parent in features, save that its eyes of laughing hazel might possibly have fragments from the dazzling dark orbs of the mother.

Of this child she was immoderately, dotingly fond. She was continually caressing it, and talking to it in some foreign language, and never for a moment allowed it away from her sight-her very heart seemed rapt in the infant.

Daily in the public promenades she might be seen walking along, talking and smiling with an ineffable sweetness to her darling, and apparently careless, or rather scornful of the numerous young men that watched her crossing the street, and crossing again to get glimpses of her face, and see whether that beauty which had so fascinated them amid the glare of gas, the crash of music, and the flutter of drapery, would bear the test of sober day; or others, who by various schemes and affectations, endeavoured to draw upon themselves one of those looks of love which she lavished in such profusion on her little companion.

But if she bore toward her daughter such affection, the child seemed to return it with a devotion scarcely less ardent. It was never happy but when fondling and fondled by her, and was always pining and moping "bad" (to use a technical term), when her avocations led her from its society. On this account it never was that favourite among

us which its beauty and intelligence might otherwise have rendered it.

I may state that she was a woman of very low moral character-an abandoned and utterly profligate person, indeed-apparently without any one redeeming feature, save the engrossing attachment to her infant. I shall say no more on this point, but leave you, considering her station in life, to guess the rest.

- Her name was Clara Benattar, as was also that of her daughter. She was said to be an Italian Jewess, though we could only surmise her origin, as she never talked of any of the past events of her life. At all events she had played for a considerable time at Franconi's, in Paris, where a son of Mr. Codoni's engaged her.

The child and she used constantly to perform together on horseback, or on the tight-rope or slack-wire, on all of which she displayed consummate proficiency and grace, but especially the first. They were wont thus to assume such characters as Venus and Cupid, Psyche and Cupid, Hebe and Ganymede, Aurora and Zephyr, and the confidence, the total absence of fear displayed by the little one, when apparently in the most dangerous positions-nay, its look of wild delight when in such circumstances-its shrill, joyous laughter and exclamations, and the clapping of its tiny hands, conspired to take away every feeling of anxiety from the minds of the spectators, and leave them lost in delight and wonder.

The animal, too, that she chiefly used, as if to render the exhibition perfect, was one of exceeding spirit and beauty. It was a young blood-mare, black as a coal, which, having been rendered unfit, by an easily concealed accident, for the turf or chase, was purchased by our manager, and trained for exhibition in the arena.

Well, our season-a perfectly successful one, though prolonged to to the utmost, at length was over, and the benefit nights came on.

It was Clara's benefit, and she had advertised some of her most beautiful and attractive performances. The great building, as might be expected, was crowded to the utmost in every part, but especially the gallery, the low rate of admission to which made it to be frequented chiefly by the inferior and more juvenile portion of the community.

A gorgeous spectacle commenced the entertainments, and when it was over, Madame Clara and her child were announced amid continued rounds of applause. The black mare was first introduced, and led round the ring by two of the servants of the establishment, who ran at its head, for as yet it had not become so habituated to its occupation as not to be startled by the glare of gas, the shouting of the audience, and the ear-piercing music of our band.

Then Clara bounded lightly into the arena, attired in a drapery that set off her unrivalled symmetry of person to an admirable degree. It was intended to picture her as Ariadne, and round her loose, short, black curls, was bound a garland of roses, lilies, and vine-blossoms— all artificial, of course, but perhaps better calculated than real for a scenic display.

When with one of her strange enchanting smiles she had courtesied lowly to the house, in jumped her lovely child, attired in a close-fitting, skin-coloured dress, with two tiny butterfly-wings like a little Cupid,

bearing in one hand a thyrsus, or bunch of grapes, and in the other a small gilded chalice.

In a twinkling this little Bacchus had sprung with a clear cry of joyous laughter into her arms, and kissing the creature with an appearance of the utmost fondness on the lips and brow, she took a few quick steps, and with a bound, seated herself on the unsaddled back of the black mare. Upon the instant the grooms let go its head, and away it darted, galloping furiously round the circle, while the band. struck up a most fairly-like and beautiful strain, one of the dance airs in the opera "La Favorite," of Donizetti, and the two men retreated to the centre alongside of the riding-master and myself.

For a time nothing was to be heard save the muffled sounding, rapid tread of the horse's feet among the sawdust, and the fitful rise and fall of the wild melody from the lighter instruments of the band, with perhaps now and then an insuppressible exclamation of delight from scattered members of the audience. With these exceptions, all was breathless silence and admiration, as the fair equestrian and her child went on with their daring and graceful evolutions.

Now she would recline at length on the bare back of the flying steed, with an appearance of the utmost ease and unconcern, whilst the tiny Bacchus nestled in her bosom. Anon she would gently rise, kneel upon one knee in an attitude classically graceful, and looked round and upward to the little one that perched on her shoulder, and embracing her flower-girt brow, would seem to be laughingly pressing the juice from the grape-cluster into the chalice she held aloft in her hand.

All this while, the smiling look of warm and passionate affection to the infant never left her lovely features, though it was occasionally mingled with the blushful glow of strange inward exultation, so characteristic of her, at the quick, short rattles of applause, that seemed to burst at once from the whole enraptured audience.

Then she rose gradually to her feet, every change of posture being marked by the most poetical elegance of motion, and skipped lightly on the bare croup of the wildly galloping mare, whirling the young Bacchus about her head the while, or rather seeming to make the infant deity fly with its little fluttering wings, as she danced in swimming gyrations.

The way this latter feat was managed was simple enough. A system of bands of thin, but strong leather, passed under the child's dress round its waist, beneath it, and over its shoulders, These all met, and were secured together at the bend of its back to a strong steel ring, which she wore round three fingers of her hand, with the fourth and thumb controlling by a wire the two little gauze wings at its shoulders, which were mounted on small spiral springs, so that she could make them quiver or fold them to its back as she pleased.

Well, while she was thus flying round, and while the house was all eye for her, and all ear for the admirable musical accompanimentwhilst the horse was galloping at its most furious speed-at once, just as she was opposite to the pit, the winged Bacchus seemed to leave her shoulder and fly towards the ground.

As it fell, one of the wildly flung-up hind hoofs of the animal met it

and the next instant it was tossed lifeless and almost headless into the air, its brains dropping in a shower upon the persons of the closelyseated pit spectators, and immediately after, its little body with its painted wings and gaudy frippery, lay dead and motionless, like a crushed butterfly among the dust of the arena.

There was a strange, sudden bustle among the spectators at firstthey rose to their feet by masses-many screamed abruptly with dread, others gave hurried words of direction, and numbers jumped from the pit and lower boxes to render assistance. But the great majority were altogether unconscious for the first moment or two of the harrowing event, their eyes following the equally unconscious equestrian, as she was borne with lightning speed round the circle.

The riding-master and myself, stunned with the sight for a second, as soon as we could command our limbs, sprang from the centre, where we stood, to raise the shattered body of the child; but ere we had time to touch it, the fiery gallop of the black mare had swept its rider round the ring, and she appeared on the same spot.

As she came near, she seemed paralyzed with surprise and horror, standing in an attitude forcibly expressive of these emotions on the back of the animal (whereon, from mechanical habit merely, for it could not be from effort, she continued to maintain her balance), and with starting eyes, uplifted brows, parted lips, and features, the deadly pallor of which was fearfully evident beneath the warm, artificial complexion they bore, regarding the steel ring upon her hand, to which a fragment of leather was all that was now attached.

But when she saw the mangled frame of her heart's idol motionless among the dust, with the wild shriek of a mother's despair she leaped from her place, and fell frantically, grovelling on the ground beside it. A strange, unnatural scream was that!-such as shall ring through my brain when age or disease may have made my ears impervious; and it rose in loud and louder waves of piercing sound, till it filled the four corners of the vast amphitheatre, and was sent back in echoes and reverberations to lacerate anew the hearing, quashing the tumult of the alarmed and excited audience, as the crash of thunder in a tempest drowns the turmoil of the waters.

All was confusion and uproar, amazement and terror, among the people; women fainted, and children were crushed and trodden upon, and they struggled hither and thither apparently without any objecta strong panic seeming to have taken possession of them, while over the whole floated a deafening roar of mingled noises, louder than the loudest applause that had ever sounded there.

Meanwhile the band went on with their music, blowing and stringing their utmost to be heard above the clamour in the arena; for they were placed behind a screen in one of the entrance-passages, to let the orchestra be filled with spectators, and were not aware of what had happened.

The horse, moreover, riderless, and frantic with fear and excitement, flew round and round, tossing its head in the air, and flinging aloft the dust from its heels. Several of the company and servants rushing in from without, made attempts to catch it, in which I also joined. But they were in vain; for the affrighted creature, darting from its course, dashed across the circle, and springing wildly over the

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