[London—Tuesday, 5 October 1869]
London. October 5. Saw Robertson’s play of School last night; one of the prettiest things ever put upon the stage. We were all charmed but when I saw the theatre so crammed with an admiring audience and remembered what an old play it already was having been running I should say a year or two and always popular I could not help recalling the story Mrs Linton told us of the author. He had been a playwright for many years living in wretched poverty, in such misery indeed that his wife died at last just as School was put upon the stage. Success came too late and he cannot recover from the misery of those early years. He went abroad and after a time married again a beautiful woman with golden curls in wondrous profusion but he does not love her, they say, as he did his other wife who endured poverty and death for him.
Oct. 5—Oratorio of the Messiah—Sims Reeves & Christina Nilsson. I had never heard R. sing before and lovely as Nilsson was his singing was a revelation of beauty and perfection of art I had never conceived before. “Behold and see” was sung with a pathos wh. stirred the vast multitude assembled in Exeter Hall to its depths. One of the most interesting features of the evening was to see Nilsson’s surprise and delight over, “He shall break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” She could not take her eyes off him (S.R.) they seemed to grow large with wonder. “How can you do it?” Her face said, and by and by, “how glorious”!