MR. ARNOLD having relinquished his refiigeratory process of ice- creams, has bad recourse to the more approved method of freezing the blood of his audience by means of a murderous melodrama. Its very name—A Father's Crime!—is calculated to excite an agreeable shudder, and as its cold-drawn horrors are developed, a chill sensation should creep over the whole frame, closing the pores and overflowing the lachrymal duct. We say it should produce these effects; and we doubt not the more susceptible portion of the audience were properly affected : for ourselves, we can only testify to the preliminary sensations of apathy and coldness, accompanied by drowsiness and a tendency to yawning. Critical readers of the Newgate Calendar, and other connoisseurs of criminal eases, unanimously prefer a trial where murder is proved by circumstantial evidence. A doubt of guilt gives an additional zest. The dramatist has bort e this well iti mind ; fur the plot of the piece is a complicated tissue of circumstances. To unravel the web, would be cruel to those who anticipate the neat of seeing the play ; and others will care little about it. Thus nitiele however, we are bound to reveal—as LISTON says in the play, " If it's murder, mention it !" The father's crime, then, is murder ; the son discovers it ; and in the attempt to conceal his father's guilt, incurs suspicion, and affords circumstantial proof that affects his own life. Ile refuses to save himself by de- nouncing his father; but by a most ingenious device, the real murderer is discovered, and the son is relieved from the horror of having un- consciously criminated his father, by its turning out that he is riot the son of the murderer, but of a respectable gentlemen in black, who by discovering his long-lost son is saved from a sentence of death. So that the title is a misnomer, after till.
Mr. PERKINS, who perpetrates the murder, is only too mysterious : Lis looks and actions would convict him before the least sapient magis- trate on the bench. His hollow, muffled tones, and spasmodic utterance, and the incessant wotking of the muscles of his face, if they do not proclaim his guilt, make him a very suspicious person. Mre. Keet.ev's acting, as the supposed son, by its force and natural- ness almost made us lose sight of the revolting improbabilities of the story, and the over-acting of Mr. PERKINS. Her first sensation of borror at discovering the murder, by her supposed father, is succeeded by mingled feelings of pain, grief, and aversion. She loathes, yet pities him ; and resolves at least not to accuse her father. Her titter thoughtlessness of herself is shown by the astonishment with which she discovers that in the endeavour to save him she has become impli-
cated. This perilous position, however, only confirms her pur-
pose : she is determined to suffer for her father, and she awaits her fate with calm resolution. Detestation of her father's meanness is now added to abhorrence of his crime; yet she is not moved to de- nounce him even by his despicable appeal to her sense of honour by picturing to her the disgrace that the discovery of his guilt would en- tail upon her RS his son. All these emotions Mrs. KEELEY depicts with the most impressive distinctness. The performance of this character is certainly ber finest effort in serious acting; and we regret it is thrown away upon such a wortblies subject. 0. SMITH is an admirable study of a Spanish robber, in his long drab cloak and broad-leafed hat. His cool, sarcastic manner, and blunt free- dom of speech, with his ragged habiliments, make a complete contrast to the cunning duplicity, smooth, insinuating manner, and rich costume of Mr. PERKINS. his companion in crime.
The piece is an adaptation from the French, by Mr. SERT.E. We
gave him credit for better taste; but perhaps he surrendered his discre-
tion to please the public. If so, lie will find in the disapprobation of the audience a negative testimony to the superior merit of his origi- nal productions.
The Bottle Imp has been revived ; and WILSON'S excellent singing and KEELEY'S drollery render it attractive.