1126 A PICTURE-BOOK WITHOUT PICTURES
naked wall now peers through. The beggar sleeps under the arcade, whose pavement in old times was trodden only by the feet of the high nobility. From the deep wells, and perhaps from the prisons by the Bridge of Sighs, rise the accents of woe, as at the time when the tambourine was heard in the gay gondolas, and the golden ring was cast from the Bucentaur to Adria, the Queen of the Seas. Adria ! shroud thyself in mists ; let the veil of thy widowhood shroud thy form, and clothe in the weeds of- woe the mausoleum of thy bridegroom—the marble, spectral Venice!'
1I looked down upon a great theatre,' said the Moon. ' The house was crowded, for a new actor was to make his first appearance that night. My rays glided over a little window in the wall, and I saw a painted face with the forehead pressed against the panes. It was the hero of the evening. The knightly beard curled crisply about the chin ; but there were tears in the man's eyes, for he had been hissed off, and indeed with reason. The poor Incapable ! But Incapables cannot be admitted into the empire of Art. He had deep feeling, and loved his art enthusiastically, but the art loved not him. The prompter's bell sounded ; " the hero enters with a determined air," so ran the stage direction in his part, and he had to appear before an audience who turned him into ridicule. When the piece was over, I saw a form wrapped in a mantle creeping down the steps: it was the vanquished knight of the evening. The scene-shifters whispered to one another, and I followed the poor fellow home to his room. To hang oneself is to die a mean death, and poison is not always at hand, I know ; but he thought of both. I saw how he looked at his pale face in the glass, with eyes half closed, to see if he should look well as a corpse. A man maybe very unhappy, and yet exceedingly affected. He thought of death, of suicide ; I believe he pitied himself, for he wept bitterly; and when a man has had his cry out he doesn't kill himself.
* Since that time a year had rolled by. Again a play was to be acted, but in a little theatre, and by a poor strolling company. Again I saw the well-remembered face, with the