Belvawney (Miss), of the Portsmouth Theatre. She always took the part of page, and wore tights and silk stockings. —Dickens: Nicholas Nickleby (1838).

Belvidera, daughter of Priuli a senator of Venice. She was saved from the sea by Jaffier, eloped with him, and married him. Her father then discarded her, and her husband joined the conspiracy of Pierre to murder the senators. He told Belvidera of the plot, and Belvidera, in order to save her father, persuaded Jaffier to reveal the plot to Priuli, if he would promise a general free pardon. Priuli gave the required promise, but notwithstanding, all the conspirators, except Jaffier, were condemned to death by torture. Jaffier stabbed Pierre to save him from the dishonour of the wheel, and then killed himself. Belvidera goes mad and dies.—Otway: Venice Preserved (1682).

We have to check our tears, although well aware that the “Belvidera” with whose sorrows we sympathize is no other than our own inimitable Mrs. Siddons.—Sir W. Scott: The Drama.

(The Booth used to speak in rapture of Mrs. Porter’s “Belvidera.” It obtained for Mrs. Barry the title of famous; Miss O’Neill and Miss Helen Faucit were both great in the same part.)

Ben [Legend], sir Sampson Legend’s younger son, a sailor and a “sea-wit,” in whose composition there enters no part of the conventional generosity and open frankness of a British tar. His slang phrase is “D’ye see,” and his pet oath “Mess!”—W. Congreve: Love for Love (1695). I cannot agree with the following sketch:—

What is Ben—the pleasant sailor which Bannister gives us—but a piece of satire…a dreamy combination of all the accidents of a sailor’s character, his contempt of money, his credulity to women, with that necessary estrangement from home?… We never think the worse of Ben for it, or feel it as a stain upon his character.—C. Lamb

C. Dibdin says, “If the description of Thom. Doggett’s performance of this character be correct, the part has certainly never been performed since to any degree of perfection.”

Ben Israel (Nathan) or Nathan ben Samuel, the physician and friend of Isaac the Jew,—Sir W. Scott: Ivanhoe (time, Richard I.).

Ben Jochanan, in the satire of Absalom and Achitophel, by Dryden and Tate, is meant for the Rev. Samuel Johnson, who, it is said suffered a scandalous amour under his own roof.

Let Hebron, nay, let hell produce a man
So made for mischief as Ben Jochanan.
A Jew of humble parentage was he,
By trade a Levite, though of low degree.
   —Dryden and Tate: pt.ii. 351–354 (1682).

Benaiah, in Absalom and Achitophel, is meant for general George Edward Sackville. As Benaiah, captain of David’s guard, adhered to Solomon against Adonijah, so general Sackville adhered to the duke of York against the prince of Orange (1590–1652).

Nor can Benaiah’s worth forgotten lie,
Of steady soul when public storms were high.
   —Dryden and Tate: pt. ii. 819, 820 (1682).

Benaskar or Bennaskar, a wealthy merchant and magician of Delhi. —James Ridley: Tales of the Genii (“History of Mahoud,” tale vii., 1751).

Benbow (Admiral). In an engagement with the French near St. Martha on the Spanish coast in 1701, admiral Benbow had his legs and thighs shivered into splinters by chain-shot; but, supported in a wooden frame, he remained on the quarter-deck till morning, when Du Casse sheered off.

Similar acts of heroism are recorded of Almeyda the Portuguese governor of India; of Cynægeros brother of the poet Æschylos; of Jaafer the standard-bearer of “the prophet” in the battle of Muta; Widdrington (q.v.); and of some others. (see Jaafer.)

  By PanEris using Melati.

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