Graphics, Image for The Chimes, a Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In
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Graphics, Image for The Chimes, a Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In
THE   ADELPHI   THEATRE   CALENDAR
A Record of Dramatic Performances at a Leading Victorian Theatre

Formerly the Sans Pareil (1806-1819), later the Adelphi (1819-1900)
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Title:The Chimes, a Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In
Description:The Chimes, a Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In (based on Dickens' novel) by Mark Lemon and Gilbert A. à Beckett.  Toby (Trotty) Veck was played by W. O. Smith.  Meggy by Julia H. Fortescue, Will Fern, James Hudson and Lilian, the Orphan, Emily M. Turtle.
1st Performance:Dec 18, 1844
Theatre:Adelphi
Source:The Illustrated London News, Jan 4, 1845, p. 16
Review:The Illustrated London News, Jan 4, 1845, p. 16

SCENE FROM THE DRAMA OF "THE CHIMES," AT THE ADELPHI THEATRE.

Our illustration is from the Second Quarter of this impressive drama--the scene that in which Trotty Veck having brought home Will Fern and Lilian, the orphan, joins his daughter Meg, in setting before them the hospitality of their humble home.  We cannot do better than quote the original story, of which, indeed, the drama is a reflex:--

    Trotty, in a breathless state, set the child down before his daughter in the middle of the floor.  The little visitor looked once at Meg; and doubting nothing in that face, but trusting everything she saw there, ran into her arms.
    "Here we are and here we go!" cried Trotty, running round the room and choking audibly.  "Here!  Uncle Will!  Here's a fire you know!  Why don't you come to the fire?  Oh here we are and here we go!  Meg, my precious darling, where's the kettle?  Here it is and here it goes, and it'll bile in no time!"
    Trotty really had picked up the kettle somewhere or other in the course of his wild career and now put it on the fire: while Meg, seating the child in a warm corner, knelt down on the ground before her, and pulled off her shoes, and dried her wet feet on a cloth.  Aye, and she laughed at Trotty too--so pleasantly, so cheerfully, that Trotty could have blessed her where she kneeled: for he had seen that, when they entered, she was sitting by the fire in tears.
    "Why father!" said Meg, "You're crazy to-night, I think.  I don't know what the Bells would say to that.  Poor little feet.  How cold they are!"
    "Oh they're warmer now!" exclaimed the child.  "‘They're quite warm now!"
    "No, no, no," said Meg.  "We haven't rubbed ‘em half enough.  We're so busy.  So busy!  And when they're done, we'll brush out the damp hair; and when that's done, we'll bring some colour to the poor pale face with fresh water; and when that's done we'll be so gay, arid brisk, and happy--!"
    The child, in a burst of sobbing, clasped her round the neck; caressed her fair cheek with its hand; and said, "Oh Meg!  Oh dear Meg!"
    Toby's blessing could have done no more.  Who could do more?
    "Why father!" cried Meg, after a pause.
    "Here I am, and here I go, my dear," said Trotty.
    "Good Gracious me!" cried Meg.  "He's crazy!  He's put the dear child's bonnet on the kettle, and hung the lid behind the door!"
    "I didn't go to do it, my love," said Trotty, hastily repairing this mistake.
    "Meg, my dear?"
    Meg looked towards him and saw that he had elaborately stationed himself behind the chair of their male visitor, where with many mysterious gestures he was holding up the sixpence he had earned.
    "I see, my dear," said Trotty, "as I was coming in, half an ounce of tea lying somewhere on the stairs; and I'm pretty sure there was a bit of bacon too.  As I don't remember where it was, exactly; I'll go myself and try to find ‘em."
    With this "inscrutable artifice," Trotty withdraws to purchase the viands; the meal is prepared, and little party--
    Trotty's occupation was to see Will Fern and Lilian eat and drink; and so was Meg's.  And never did spectators at a city dinner or court banquet find such high delight in seeing others feast: although it were a monarch or a pope: as those two did, in looking on that night.  Meg smiled at Trotty, Trotty laughed at Meg.  Meg shook her head and made belief to clap her hands, applauding Totty; Trotty conveyed, in dumb-show, unintelligible narratives of how and when and where he had found their visitors, to Meg; and they were happy.  Very happy.

This is one of the most effective scenes in the homely drama: it has so many touches of domestic pathos--so much of everyday life-- and is cleverly but naturally acted throughout.  W. O. Smith, as Trotty, is an artistical portrait; Mr. Hudson, as Will Fern, is judiciously emphatic; and Miss Fortescue, as Meg, plays with a tenderness that gains upon the feelings of the audience.

 

The Illustrated London News, Jan 4, 1845, p. 15

 

 

The Illustrated London News, Jan 4, 1845, p. 16

 



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Copyright © 1988, 1992, 2013 by Alfred L. Nelson, Gilbert B. Cross, Joseph Donohue.
Originally published by Greenwood Press as The Sans Pareil Theatre 1806-1819, Adelphi Theatre 1819-1850: An Index to Authors, Titles, Performers, 1988, and The Adelphi Theatre 1850-1900: An Index to Authors, Titles, Performers and Management, 1992.
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The Adelphi Theatre Calendar revised, reconstructed and amplified.  Copyright © 2013, by Alfred L. Nelson, Gilbert B. Cross, Joseph Donohue.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License, with the exception of graphics from The Clip Art Book, edited by Gerard Quinn and published by Crescent in 1990.  These images are reproduced in accord with the publisher’s note, which states "The Clip Art Book is a new compilation of illustrations that are in the public domain.  The individual illustrations are copyright free and may be reproduced without permission or payment.  However, the selection of illustrations and their layout is the copyright of the publisher, so that one page or more may not be photocopied or reproduced without first contacting the publishers."