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their air and character of sobriety. The nuns of St. Vincent de Paul, who have the care of the great prison of St. Lazare, wear under the black veil, an inner one of light blue, which is very pretty, but gives a strange, masquerading look to the costume otherwise so grave. Bands of white cloth, cover forehead, cheeks, and throat; the gown is of black serge, with long, loose sleeves; the veil of blaok moueselinc de laine, shaped like a scarf, but sewed together at the back, so that the ends may not fall forward, and interfere with business. With all deductions, and in all varieties, the dress is beautiful and fascinating. No milliner ever devised one inore becoming to good looks, or more favourable to bad ones. For this reason we are apt to fancy all the nuns handsome, or at least well-looking; though it must be confessed that their teeth are apt to show a not commendable contempt for the art of dentistry. The shoes afford oertainly the last proof of humility and self-renunciation in a French woman, for they are next to taboti in coarseness.
The sabot is a curious substitute for shoes, which is made to fit the human foot about as well as the nutshells of the mischievous boy fit those of the unhappy cat. It is hollowed out of a single piece of wood, with high heel and pointed toe, and necessarily worn so large, on account of its unyielding nature, that it slips partly off at every step, so that it makes a great clatter. In Paris, this foot-gear is seen only about the outskirts, or in the lowest neighbourhoods. Little children, who can but just walk, make the oddest figures; but it is wonderful to see how deftly they manage this strange hoofing. We asked whether such shoes ever wear out ?" Oh, indeed! they last but a little while! One unlucky blow against a stone splits them; and even with fair and fortunate wear, they do not last above three months, as they are necessarily made of light wood."
Walking is really the great business of Paris. Carriages are comparatively little used by the many. In London one observes just the contrary. But your true Parisian loves th« pave, and leaves the confinement and indolence of a carriage to the too-rioh-to-be-happy people. The Boulevard is made on purpose for promenading. There is its wide, clean pavement, from which everything disagreeable is strictly excluded, watched by unseen policemen shut up in little dwellings, stationed at certain intervals along the curb-stono, reminding one of Young's description of Conscience, who,
"While she seems to sleep,
Whether these dignitaries have rose and myrtle to sleep upon or not, they certainly have little windows to look out from, and a door, out of which they sally, upon occasion, to make very sharp inquest upon what seem trivial occasions. Each of their curious little domiciles has its clock, illuminated at night, so that no one need plead ignorance of the time to go home.
In summer evenings there is no such spectacle as the Boulevards, their immense width and length all alive with human creatures, at leisure, and gathered for the pleasure of social intercourse. The moving throng,—that part of the show which is naturally and continually ambulatory, from not possessing the wherewithal to make stopping at a caft pleasant,—is particularly interesting, because peculiarly national. It is composed, for the most part, of artisans and their families, or people whose daily efforts are necessary for their daily bread; who live in orowded streets or au cinquUme in better ones, and who cannot afford to wear their Sunday clothes too often, even on the Boulevards. You will see the stout man and his stout wife, with all their children, down to the baby in Us tight black silk cap. Perhaps the father has a cap on, too, or an apology for one; the mother certainly has, and no bonnet. Not a bonnet is to be seen on any woman who does not claim the rank of a lady, on some tenure or other. Besides these family groups, there is an immense number of young people in pairs, who evidently consider the Boulevard the best place for a tete-a-tfite, and whom you will pass and repass so often that you can easily guess they find no lack of topics for conversation. Comparatively few persons are seen walking alone, though here and there a melancholy individual passes, looking on the scene with a countenance that shows he has no part in it, or as if he once had, and thought he ought to have now. We have tried, by the aid of imagination, to read the hearts of these moody lookers-on, and fancied we saw in them the despairing workmen, who are first at the barricades on occasion of an cmeute, or perhaps the still more deeply despairing lovers, who try charcoal as an antidote for their woes, or plunge into the muddy Seine at midnight, to furnish a spectacle for careless eyes at the Morgue the next day. Perhaps if we saw just such men at home, we might not be so struck with their moody air, and lowering or depressed looks. But in contrast with the gayseeming crowd, and with the knowledge we have of the amount of secret suffering that exists in Paris, wo weave a history for every solitary promenader where so few are solitary.
The lamps on the Boulevards, brilliant as tbey are, do but little towards producing the blaze of light by which we see all this. It is from the wide plate-glass windows, and open doors of the eaftt, that those floods of radiance come, multiplied to the uttermost by countless mirrors. And not the least interesting and characteristic part of the show, is the company seated in front of the cafte, at little tables covered with some slight refreshments, chatting away by the hour, as they sip their coffee, chocolate, or ices, with light wines, or now and then a petit-vcrre of Cognac Clouds of tobaccosmoke envelope these out-door groups, which, as we ought to have mentioned, include ladies as well as gentlemen, seated on light, slender chairs, at the smallest of stands, all in the open street, and in the full lustre of gas. Within are other loungers, reading the papers at marble tables, on which are spread similar refreshments to those without, while at a particularly resplendent central point, on a sort of tribune adorned with drapery and other graceful objects, sits the presiding genius of the place, a lady, who directs everything, without herself being very conspicuous. Great quiet prevails, and all conversation is carried on in an under tone. There are private parties in upper rooms, but all noiseless. The French certainly excel in the externals of decorum.
Thus far for the Boulevard des Italians. As we go higher up, the crowd thickens, is more vivacious, and less genteel. Street music is heard, and a loud laugh occasionally. About the doors of the minor theatres there is a lower class of loungers; and the vicinity of the various less pretentious places of amusement, presents a scene of somewhat rougher, jostling manners. But still there is great quiet, considering. Above the Porte St. Martin the throng is immense. In the open space near the Gaitfi, are venders of journals, flowers, and small wares; jugglers, tumblers, and catchpennies of all sorts. Bouquets for five sous are plenty, and play-bills are urged upon you. Scarcely any carriages are seen; and they would find it difficult to make their way, for the crowd fills the middle of the street as well as the side-walks. When the theatres empty themselves, the press is tremendous for a few minutes; but, thanks to immensely wide streets and good manners, all is still far from noisy. There is a deep, continuous hum of life, but no outbursts, even of fun.
At twelve, the cafts close; and by that time the company is nearly all gone. As the gay, brilliant windows and doors are shut, one by one, we begin to see that the Boulevards are well lighted by their own lamps, which seem nothing in the greater illumination. At three, looking out upon the Boulevards from an upper window, we have seen the whole immense space
vacant, with its rows of lamps shining on, making the solitude more lonely and striking. It was as if some great procession was expected —a procession that would never come. Or like a ball-room waiting for guests cut off by some strange fatality. Melancholy was the predominant expression, perhaps, naturally enough, because of the life and gaiety of the day-view we had so often admired.
Another view of the great thoroughfare that we particularly enjoyed, was the twilight, or early evening one, when the lamps of the thousand carriages passing up and down and across —for when we spoke of the Parisian taste for walking, we did not mean that there were not a multitude of carriages, but only a still greater multitude of foot-passengers—reminding us of the flitting of fire-flies over a marsh in the wild woods, where we have so often watched them during the still, sultry hours of a summer evening. The beauty of the Boulevards is wonderfully enhanced by the smoothness of footing. No jarring stones break the even roll of wheels, no discordant rumble reminds us that luxury has not yet conquered the homeliness of nature's facts. A coating of asphalte, even as a dancing-floor, covers the pavement, and bears the throng of wheels without a sound. The great street is silent as a sick-chamber, and you may sit in your window composing philosophical treatises if you will, looking out upon the gay scene for an illustration when you choose, but forgetting the vicinity of so much life whenever you would be self-absorbed, or lost in " heavenly contemplation." Because of this advantage, we advise all strangers in Paris to do what the roar of an ordinary pavement would forbid—take a lodging on the Boulevard. It is customary to prefer the Rue de Rivoli, or the Rue de la Paix, which have their advantages, certainly. But we have tried them all, and give warm preference to the Boulevard. The Rue de la Paix is pretentious and dull, and much affected by travelling English, whose main object in coming abroad seems to be to bring as much of England with them as possible, as we leave a body of earth clinging about the roots of transplanted trees, to keep them from dying in strange soil. There are elegant shops in the Rue de la Paix; but prices one-third higher than elsewhere are demanded for the most ordinary articles, because the English and Americans buy there. On the whole, we found the whole neighbourhood comparatively dull, and resolved on the spot to advise all our travelling friends who would see Paris as Paris—unique, splendid, gay, French Paris,—to go at once to the ever-lively Boulevards, and study that most fascinating of panoramas at all hours of the day and night, as we have done, with neverweary eyes.
MUSIC IN BOSTON.
BY JOHN S. DWIGHT.
The cold city of the Puritans, weary, as it were, of being considered the intellectual brain and literary "Athens" of America, is rapidly becoming the chosen home of the warmest and most sympathetic of the Fine Arts. Whether it be the fruit of well-directed, persevering special efforts, like those of its "Academy of Music," its "Handel and Haydn Society," &c, whether it be that there is a greater average of cultivation, and a more settled tone and sphere of social refinement, or whether it be owing to the compactness of Boston, whereby the whole of the musical element in its population may be more readily summoned together, than in a vast, multifarious, distracted, hurried cosmopolitan world like New York; true it is, that the higher order of musical performances meets there with more constant audience than in any other of our cities.
Boston has, what perhaps can be found in no other American city, a large permanent audience of quiet lovers of the deepest and best works of the great composers. There is a steady demand for "classical" music, both in the forms strictly so called, and in the more generous and general sense which includes compositions of established genius, as songs, and operas, and the best of the piano-forte music of the romantic modern school, as well as the strict symphony, sonata, quartette, or concerto.
The whole of the past winter, or long musical season, embracing autumn, winter, and spring, in Boston, has been remarkable for the almost total discontinuance of those great, showy, miscellaneous, "monster" concerts, so called, with their long and startling programmes, in which music descends to a competition with mountebanks and circus-riders for the public favour; and by a steadily deepening interest in the serial concerts of societies and clubs, who study to interpret the enduring works of the great masters, in the form of the orchestral symphony, of chamber music, of the oratorio, and of all those genuine organic forms of art, which never grow old, but increase in meaning and interest with the hearer's taste and power of appreciation.
Even the Italian Opera, for such short time as Maretzer and his famed tragic star, PaBODI, were vouchsafed to Boston, has been less eagerly resorted to than oratorios on Saturday and Sunday evenings. And among the operas available, Mozart's " Don Giovanni" seems to have weighed more than the whole list of "Ernanis," "Normas," "Gemma di Vergys," and Italian "Favoritas," in producing a subscrip
tion towards a recall of Maretzer and his troupe in May. It was somewhat significant, too, that Parodi, who had borne the name of "peerless" in New York, and whom many proclaimed so much greater, in the essentials, than Jenny Lind, was only measurably admired in Boston. Indeed, the enthusiasm which welcomed her first advance to the foot-lighta, ere she had sung a note, left a tide-mark high and dry above the topmost ebullition of any feeling that succeeded. She was admired for her rich, sweet, and expressive voice, her smooth and skilful execution, and a certain tragic energy of passion. But the passion was not felt to be of the deepest; it was a physical and savage kind of energy; it often over-acted itself; it was thought to lack that quiet, pervading sentiment of art, which called forth a heartier unanimity of enthusiasm even in the weaker voice and much more unpretending action of the unfailing favourite, Truppi-beneDetti. In Jenny Lind we felt imagination, geniut; in Parodi, only talent and strong impulse, which is not passion in the deepest sense. Such, at least, was the impression which soon settled down upon the majority of music-lovers in Boston.
In the concert-room, the experience of all preceding winters has been reversed. The vocal morcraux of Mozart, Schurert, MendelsSohn, &c, have been more frequently sung than scenas and cavatinas from Bellini, DoniZetti, and Verdi. Madame Anna Bishop, who lost favour in several miscellaneous ballad and operatic concerts, more than redeemed it by the solid programme and artistic execution of one evening, when she sang the great songs from Handel's "Messiah," "Judas Maccabceius," "L'Allegro," &c.; "'With verdure clad," from the " Creation;" Schurert's Ave Maria, and the Gratias Agimut of Guolielmi.
As for pianists, those ef the Herz and STRAKOSch and De Meyer school, with their ingenious tours de force, and brilliant variations, have scarcely made their appearance. On the contrary, there is a growing taste for the solid classic beauties of the Sonatas of Beethoven and Mozart, the "Songs without Words" of Mendelssohn, and Liszt's admirable transcriptions of the immortal songs of Schurert. In this department, Mr. Perareau and Mr. Langr havo frequently officiated, pleased to find an audience for that which they themselves love best. Nothing during the winter has been more admired than Mr. SchARPENRero's performance of a concerto by Hummel, and a Caprice by Mendelssohn, with the accompaniment of the "Musical Fund" orchestra.
In this connexion, it may be remarked, that the music publishers afford a surer index than the concerts, of the taste for music in a place. Daring the year, the "Songs without Words" of Mendelssohn have been republished entire, in Boston. The same publisher has commenced, in numbers, a complete edition of the thirty or more great Sonatas of Beethoven; another publisher has found reason to do the same thing for Mozart, and another for Hatiin. Each month gives us at least one Sonata from each of these great masters. We cannot but congratulate the students of the piano upon having their attention turned from the mere finger-music of the day, to these solid and inspired classics of the instrument. As the pianoforte is now an inmate in almost every house, where "the humanities" are cherished or affected, and as it is, more than all things else, the medium of musical culture throughout the community, it becomes really a matter of deep concern that the genuine masters and poets who have written for that instrument, that the Beethovens, Mozarts, Mendelssohns, and Chopins, should be at least as well known among us as the ephemeral fire-eaters of the new school, who write for the fingers rather than for the soul.
The music of Boston, then, for the season 1850—51, sums itself up essentially in the doings of its several societies, as follows (of course there has been no lack at the same time, of "music for the million." The simple, and often truly beautiful melodies of " Negro Minstrels," "Harmoneans," "-Eoleans," &c.,— which shun the artificial on the side of nature, as the classic music shuns it on the side of art, and therefore are a part of our genuine musical growth,—have always had their audiences).
1. The Musical Fund Society.—This is the fraternity of the best resident musicians, who compose an orchestra, now of near sixty members, and who devote themselves to the study and performance of the great symphonies, overtures, &c. This season, they have given eight concerts, uniformly attended by about two thousand persons, during which they have performed four Symphonies of Beethoven (viz., the 4th, 5th, Pastoral, and 7th), one of Mozart (in G Minor), one of Haydn (the "Surprise"), and one of Mendelssohn (in A Minor). They have also weekly rehearsals through nine months of the year, attended by some four hundred subscribers, who thus get the first taste of many new symphonies, &c., tried over with a view to the concerts of next year.
2. The Mendelssohn Quintette Clur.— This consists of five young artists, mostly Germans, who first formed the habit of meeting together, from their own love of it, to practise tho string quintettes, quartettes, &c., of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Spohr, Onslow, and the like, and who now find con
stant audience for such music. This winter they have given a dozen "Chamber Concerts" in Boston, with an average attendance of from three to four hundred listeners, varying the entertainment with now and then a good pianoforte piece, or a good song of Schurert, or from one of Mozart's operas. In the large towns near Boston, too, they have found like employment for nearly every evening of the week. A beautiful festival, quite German and artistic in its sentiment, was given by this club upon the 3d of February, in commemoration of Mendelssohn's birthday, when the music was entirely of that lamented composer's.
3. Messrs. Breissmann, Lange, and Suck, have given another, and an equally choice and charming series of Chamber Concerts. The first named gentleman is a tenor singer, who most truly interprets the great German masters of song. The other two have produced the Sonatas, for piano and violin, of Mozart and Beethoven, interspersed with fine solos for either instrument.
4. The Handel And Haydn Society have given four performances of Haydn's "Crea tion," three of Mendelssohn's "Elijah," and one of the "Stabut Mater" of Rossini.
5. The Musical Education Society have twice performed the "Messiah," twice the "Israel in Egypt," and once or twice the "Jephtha" of Handel. They have a chorus of two hundred and fifty voices, a good orchestra, but have relied upon their own amateur forces for the solos, except in "Jephtha," where they have had the valuable aid of Mr. Arthurson's highly cultivated tenor and true appreciation of the Handelian style.
But our space is exhausted, and we must close with a single caution. We would not have it understood that the children of the Puritans are becoming mere purists and pedants in their preference for classic music. We have cited the concert experience of the past winter as certainly significant. But the inference we would draw is, that it is significant rather of the intrinsic and enduring power in music of that kind to interest the human mind and heart, wherever it has frequent chances to be heard, than of any superiority of Boston audiences in respect to taste. We would urge the example upon concert-givers and musical societies in all the cities and large towns. Lighter and more brilliant styles of music need not to be so jealously fostered. Italian opera, and wonderful singers and solo-players, will still have their turn of audience, and sometimes at furore, in Boston, and everywhere else. But in a reeumi of the musical facte of the times, such a fact as we have been describing, is singularly encouraging to those who long to have Americans become a musical people.