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of having no connexion whatsoever with him, till authority shall have decided the subject of debate." Whilst a mingled tumult of disapprobation and applause followed this address, Dugazon, another of the performers, rushed on the stage, and addressed the audience abruptly :- "Gentlemen, the society of comedians are about to take the same steps against me that they have already taken against M. Talma. It is false that M. Talma has betrayed the society; all his crime consists in having told the public, that he could play Charles the Ninth." Upon this a fresh tumult arose, the rancour of which, though not the noise, was allayed by Soulleau's rising and imitating the snuffling voice of the then president of the National Assembly, crying à l'ordre, and ringing an immense bell.* Divided in respect between the old authorities of the monarchy and the new ones of the revolution, some of the comedians had recourse to the gentlemen of the chamber, and others to the mayor of Paris. The mayor with difficulty allayed the tumult, and an arrêt du conseil was next day issued and placarded, enjoining Messieurs of the Comédie Française to continue their performances in company with M. Talma. They flatly refused to yield, and the magistrates shut up the theatre altogether, until they at length thought proper to submit. Talma appeared again in Charles the Ninth on the 28th of September. Peace, notwithstanding, was not restored in the green-room; scandalous pamphlets were continually making their appearance. Naudet publicly accused Talma of cowardice, and asserted that he had concealed himself with his fusil in a granary on the day of a popular tumult. The latter allowed having been in the granary on the day mentioned, but said that he had merely ascended, that he might there have a better view of the tumult. We here take leave of the French green-room and Talma for a while, merely mentioning, that as that actor laid the foundation of his fame in Charles the Ninth, he "put the seal to it" (as the French critics observe) in the Othello of Ducis.
The following letter, addressed by Chénier to one of the journals at this period, in which England is popularly quoted as a precedent, forms a curious contrast with the national sentiment at present:-"I was not myself," says he, "present at the scenes which took place a few days since at the theatre, but I have since conversed with many Englishmen who had the misfortune to be witnesses of them, and who were not a little scandalized on the occasion. If the public call for an actor whom they have not seen a long time, the other comedians who are hostile to this actor, engage their creatures to cry NO:-so far there is nothing extraordinary. The comedians dare to accuse this actor before the public with a seriousness that but augments the ridicule of the whole affair :-nor is this very astonishing. A comedian, bound by ties of friendship with the one proscribed, comes forward to defend him with a zeal, at least laudable-this too is natural. But here is the absurdity-the comedians are permitted to answer the public, and the public, who pays, is not permitted to answer the comedians. This is what strangers cannot conceive they affirm, that at London, it is not the public which owes respect and obedience to the performers, but the performers to the public. They also observe, that soldiers and fusils are a strange way of maintaining order in the interior of a theatre; and they speak with derision of the liberty of a people, who allow themselves to be surrounded with armed men in the enjoyment of pleasures which they purchase. They assure me, that even in Spain, which is by no means a free country, they do not degrade brave soldiers to the unworthy employment of constraining the public liberty merely to serve the hatred or caprice of the comedians. And they farther profess themselves assured, and I myself join with them in the conviction, that such a display of authority cannot meet the approbation of citizens such as Messieurs Bailly and Lafayette, &c."
THE period of the introduction of Chess into Europe, and particularly England, is, like the origin of the game itself, involved in considerable obscurity: the most probable supposition is, that this scientific pastime was introduced into Europe about the latter end of the 11th century; that England was indebted for her knowledge of it to the communication opened with the East, by means of the crusades; and that it afterwards became generally known on the return of Edward the First from the Holy Land, towards the close of the thirteenth century.*
The early romances make frequent mention of chess, from which a few instances may not be uninteresting.
Among the Lays of Mademoiselle Marie, there is one called 'Eliduc,' in which we find that the king of that part of England round Exeter was extremely fond of chess, and, while playing a game with a foreign knight, explained to him the moves of the various pieces. In the romance of Ferumbras,' Sir Lukafere of Baldas enters into conversation with Duke Naymes, and after many inquiries respecting the court of Charlemagne, asks what the amusements of the knights are during the intervals between one meal and another, the latter replies
"Sir, some men just with spear and shield,
Some shoot with dartes in the field,
And some playen ut chess among."
In Richard Caur de Lion,' this monarch is engaged at a game of chess in his galley with the Earl of Richmond, when he received important intelligence from the steward of the Emperor of Cyprus.-In the very ancient romance of the Seven Wise Masters,' a jealous Earl is occupied at chess with one of his vassals, while a Knight of Hungary is paying his court to the nobleman's young and beautiful wife, whom he subsequently succeeds in extricating from a strong and lofty tower, in which she had been incarcerated by her husband.—In the beautiful romance of Florence and Blaunche Floure,' the hero procures access to the haram of the Soldan of Babylon, where his mistress is confined, by permitting the porter to win from him at chess, a sacrifice of which every amateur of the game will fully understand the value: and a similar
* The learned author (Hon. Daines Barrington) of a Paper on Chess, inserted in the 9th volume of the Archeologia, supposes that this game was unknown in England until the return of Edward the First; but Robert of Gloucester, who composed his Chronicle between the years 1265 and 1278, would undoubtedly not have committed so great an anachronism, as to make the knights of King Arthur's court amuse themselves at chess, if this game had been then unknown, or had only been introduced into the kingdom so short a period before the compilation of his Chronicle. His words are
Sone after þys noble mete, as ryzt was of such tyde,
þe kyngtes atyled a hem aboute in eche syde,
In feldes and in medys to preue b her bachelerye.c
Wyb castynge oper wýþ ssetynge, d oþer in som ozýrt e manere.
stratagem was practised by Huon de Bourdeaux, in Egypt.-In The
In the romance of Ogier le Danois,' Churlot, the degenerate son of Charlemagne, incensed at losing two games to the young Baldwin, kills him with the massive chess-board: and the same fatal accident occurs in the romance of Guy of Warwick,' where Fabour, being invited by the Prince of Persia to play at chess, has the imprudence to give checkmate to the haughty son of the Soudan, who, offended by his presumption, wounds him on the head with the chess-board, which Fabour seizing in his turn, with one blow lays the prince dead at his feet. In the romance of Sir Tristrem,' our hero is skilled in minstrelsy, in the mysteries of the chase, and in all knightly games; and hearing that the captain of a Norwegian vessel, freighted with hawks and treasure, had challenged any one to play at chess, for a stake of twenty shillings, he goes on board with Rohand and his sons, accepts the challenge, and wins from him six hawks and one hundred pounds, and the captain, to avoid paying what he had lost, puts to sea with Tristrem; the vessel being overtaken with a tempest, the mariners impute it to the injustice they have been guilty of, and under this impression pay Sir Tristrem his winnings, and put him on shore in an unknown country :
Ther com a schip of Norway
To Sir Rohantes hold,
With haukes white and grey,
And panes a fair y fold: b
Tristrem herd it say,
On his playing he wold
For hauke silver he yold;c
Pennies, by implication wealth: thus, As prince proud in pan' means as
wealthy as a prince.
Tristrem deleth atvinne;
Of playe ar he wald blinne,"
His sones he cleped a oway;
Tristrem wan that day,
The education of Sir Tristrem, comprising the art of war, with the mysteries of the chase, skill in music, poetry, and the few sedentary games used by the feudal nobility, united all that was necessary, or even decent to be known, by a youth of noble birth.-Huon of Bourdeaux, disguised as a minstrel's page, gives the following account of his qualifications to a heathen Soldan: "Sire, dit Huon, je sais muer un epervier, voire un falcen, chasser le cerf, voire le sanglier, et corner quand la bête est prinse, faire la droicture aux chiens, trancher au festin d'un grand roi ou seigneur, et des tables et echecs en sais autant, et plus que homme qui vive." "Oh! Oh!" se dit Yvoirin, "ces ne sont mie la les faits de valet de menestrier, bien duiroient ils a gentil Damoiseau."
The most splendid game of chess occurs in the romance of "Sir Gaheret." That champion was entertained in the enchanted castle of a beautiful fairy, who engaged him in a party at chess in a large hall, where flags of black and white marble formed the chequer, and the pieces, consisting of massive statues of gold and silver, moved at the touch of the magic rod held by the player. Sir Gaheret, being defeated, was obliged to remain the fairy's prisoner, but was afterwards liberated by his cousin Gawin, who check-mated the mistress of the enchanted chess-board.—A similar adventure occurs in the romance of "Lancelot du Lac," 2de partie, fol. 101.* That the knowledge of chess during the 13th century was far from being contemptible, may be inferred not only from an attentive perusal of the following pages, but likewise from the corroborating testimony of contemporary writers. Boccacio, who lived in the 14th century, tells us that chess had then
Spake courteously: Débonnaire-Fr. & Against.
* Their pledge.
Sir Walter Scott, in his notes to Sir Tristrem, supposes this to be a term of Chess, now disused; the long Assize, however, was a favourite game at that period.
n Would stop.
• He got and gave.
* It is not in romance alone that we trace the partiality of our ancestors for this amusement. It was early known to the northern people, and skill in this interesting game was one of the accomplishments of a Scandinavian hero: in the Laws of Howel Dha, a chess-board is allotted as the reward of the king's principal bard. Vide Sir Tristrem, edited by Sir Walter Scott.
become a usual amusement at Florence; and we are also informed that in the year 1266, a Saracen named Buzecca, came to Florence, and in the Palace del Popolo, before Count Guido Novello, played on three chess-boards at one time, with the first masters in Florence, playing with two by memory, and with the third by sight: two games he won, and the third he made a drawn game by perpetual check.
The laity, however, were not the only admirers of this interesting game, for it appears to have formed one of the recreations of Monachism: thus in the statutes of the Savoy Hospital, it was enacted," Statuimus, &c. quod nullus magister, vicemagister, capellanus, perpetuus vel conductilius, aut aliquis alius minister, vel servitor hospitalis prædicti, pro tempore existens, ad talos, cartas, vel aliquos alios jocos illicitos et prohibitos, infra hospitale prædictum, clam vel palam, quoquo modo ludet. Poterint enim omni tempore ludere ad scaccos,' &c. MS. Cott. Cleop. c. v. xxiiii. a. And the most usual time of the day when the monks were permitted to recreate themselves in this manner, was probably after dinner; for we are told,
The zung monkes each daie,
MS. Harl. 913, fol. 4.
Robert Holcot*, the learned Dominican friar, wrote a book on chess, and of course played the game. Jacopo Dacciesolo, or Jacobus de Casolis, another Dominican, wrote on chess before the year 1200; his book is entitled "liber moralis de scaccor," but contains no rules for playing.
Mr. Turner, in his History of England, vol. ii. p. 591, says, "Among those authors whose researches have been the most extensive and successful, Holcot the Dominican friar, who flourished about 1330, deserves particular notice. He not only wrote some Latin commentaries on part of the Scriptures, which are remarkable for the great range of classical authors whom he quotes, and for his repeated encomiums on knowledge and literature; but he also composed, under the name, and therefore most probably with the sanction of the Bishop of Durham, (the English prelate to whom Petrarch addressed the letter which was never answered,) the work entitled Philo-biblon; the object of which peculiarly was, to excite a love of general study; an encouragement of new books; a desire to collect them; a taste for the liberal arts; indulgence for poetry; and an increased facility to students to read the books that were obtained." The work is 492 of the Harl. MSS. and commences with the following lines: Incipit prologus in philibiblon Ric'i dunelmenc' ep'i que' libr' co'posuit Robt' Holcote de ordi'e p'dicator' s'b no'i'e d'c'i ep'i. Vniu'sis xpi fidelib' ad quos sc'pti p'se'tes p'uen'i't Ricard' Ep's salute' in d'no sempit'nā, &c. At the end of this prologue, which occupies four pages of the MS., follow the
Incipiunt capitula philibiblon Ricardi dunelmensis Episcopi.
¶ Quare thesaurus Sapientiæ potissimè sit in libris
De multiplici oportunitate quam habuimus librorum copiam conquirendi
Quare licet opera veterum amplius amaremus non tum dampnamus studia modernorum...
De successia perfectione librorum..
Quare libros liberalium artium protulimus liberalibus viris..
Quare libros gramaticales tanta diligentia curavimus revocare..
Quare non omnino vileximus fabulas poetarum
Qui deberent esse potissimi librorum dilectores
Quot commoda confert amor librorum...