ePub 版

warning; but diffusing a flowery warmth over every region it overflows, and astonishing the natives with unexpected and almost untoiled for harvest.”—This has at least the merit of modesty, whatever may be said of its truth.

6th.From the report of the New York papers, it would appear that the Italian Opera has succeeded in America, and Brother Jonathan seems delighted with himself for being delighted with this polite entertainment. There is, however, a suspicious passage in the New York paper, which gives me to infer that Italian music, though in prodigious favour, is still accounted in that part of the world not quite so desirable as English :—“ The prima donna continues to be received with great enthusiasm. She (in Rossini's masterpiece, Il Barbiere) broke upon the audience in a manner at once agreeable and surprising, by substituting for the admired Spanish, or, as we consider it, Moorish ballad, the English air of Home.Here we discover the genooine taste; the audience went to the theatre expecting to hear fine Italian music, and they were agreeably surprised when their prima donna sung an English ballad in the place of the appropriate air of Rossini! A familiar ballad was to them, under such circumstances, as the face of an old friend to one in a strange country.

What would have been the effect on the New York organs of hearing, if Mademoiselle Garcia, as Rosina, bad warbled, instead of “Home," “ Yankee Doodle," in a spree style? There would have have been a pretty considerable d-d particular tumult of applause, I guess. But why should we laugh at the Americans for these things ? their taste in good music cannot yet be born ; ours is very young, and“ cruel small.” A taste for good music, I don't mean mere pretty music—is an acquired taste, it is the result of experience, of an acquaintance with the various styles, and a comparison of their respective excellencies and qualities of constantly pleasing. Every body has a taste for music, as almost every body has a taste for painting. The clown esteems the sign of the Christopher and Dragon, under which he fuddles his sublime faculties, a perfect specimen of the art, and thinks, if he ever thinks at all, that he has a taste for painting ; but the landlord who draws his liquor, and who has seen the pictures in the 'Squire's hall on quarter-day, suspects that the Christopher, after all, if not a daub, is at least far short of the perfection of the 'Squire's paintings; and the 'Squire in turn, who has seen Titians, is conscious that the resources of the art have not been exhausted on the performances on his walls. It is so with music : people become first acquainted with the lowest specimens of the art, and lay claim to a taste for the whole art because they relish the simplest and rudest production of it. We hear every day the declaration : “ I am enthusiastically fond of music, but to my taste there is nothing like a simple ballad—those sweet pretty things, such as “ The Cottage in a Wood,' and the Nutbrown Maid." The clown might as well say: “ I'm mortal fond of painting, but to my mind there is nothing like a banging bran-new blazing sign, such as our Christopher." Until the beauties of superior compositions have been forced on the perception of people by frequent repetition, which trains and drills their ears, nothing can be more tedious to them than the infliction of good music; and great is their delight when, in the midst of a fine, and to them unintelligible performance, some hacknicd strain is introduced with which they are well acquainted ; as I said before, it is as the face of an old friend, and they testify their joy at the rencontre by shaking their noddles froia side to side, beating out of time with their feet, and drumming with their fingers. Rousseau remarked this phenomenon at the Paris Opera in his time, and it may now be occasionally observed at our Opera. I remember when the Zauberflote was produced some years ago, the people were dying of ennui during the performance of its noblest pieces; but when they were suddenly surprised by the hacknied but beautiful Dolce Concento, (better known by the name of “ Away with Melancholy,") their grateful surprise'and' rapture were unbounded.

The same cause rendered the 2 Home" of Mademoiselle Garcia so agreeable to the Americans ;' and I do not a little admire the young lady for her tact in introducing it. She took a just measure of the depth of the American taste for Italian music, and knew that nothing wonld delight them so much in an Italian Opera as an English ballad.

Tih.--A meeting of the sliareholders of the Arigna Mining Company. I observe that the Duke of York's oath is quite the fashion with the directors of this concern. Sir William Congreve at the first meeting protested that he thought the transaction, touching the buying at 10,0001. selling to the company at 25,0001., and sharing the difference among the directors, honourable" So help me God!" At the meeting of yesterday, Mr. Brogden swore like the Duke, but in a key very different from that of the martial Sir William. “ So help me God!" “ So help me Heaven !” and “ As sure as there is a God in Heaven!" were the adjurations with which he seasoned his exculpation. From the account of the matter given by the chairman of the Ways and Means, it would seem that the directors of this Company have been the most innocent and injured of directors. They were ruined in their sleep, as it were ; poor beguiled gentlemen! While they were all in the dark a certain genius came round, saying: “ Shut your eyes and open your mouths, and see what God has sent you," and then he slipt a bon-bon into the unsuspecting innocents' mouths, which they swallowed like mother's milk-excepting indeed Mr. Bent, who had penetration to discover, and the honesty to denounce the trick. At the first meeting, it will be remembered, that the directors carried the matter with a high hand, and the shareholders, like the bamboozled ants in the fable,

Passed the accounts as fair and just,

And voted them implicit trust. Now a very different face is put on the matter. Sir William Congreve's mustachios no longer overshadow and overawe the meeting, and the transaction of the 15,0001. before voted honourable, is undefended by a single voice.

8th-The John Bull is again trumpeting Mr. Burton. It prophecies the effect which will be produced by some building of his at the corner of a street. This paper is becoming very dull, and as nauseously adulatory as the Morning Post ever was in its most fulsome days.

Thic arecdote, row going the rounds of the press, from the last London, of General Wirion's advice to the Frenchman who complained that an Englishman knocked him down whenever he attempted to rise-_“ Mon ami, when an Englishman knocks you down, never do you get up until he is gone away,” reminds me of a story of Serjeant Davy. The Serjeant having abused a witness, as Serjeants will abuse witnesses, was, on the following morning, whilst in bed, informed that a gentleman wished to speak to him; the Serjeant, concluding that it was a client, desired that he might be shown up; the visitor, stating his name, reminded the Serjeant of the abuse which he had heaped on him on the preceding day, protesting that he could not put up with the imputations, and must have immediate satisfaction, or he should resort to personal chastisement. On this the Serjeant, raising himself up, said: “ But you won't attack me surely while I'm in bed, will you?” “ Certainly not,” said the aggrieved party;

“ I should never think of attacking a man in bed." “ Then I'll be d—d,” said the Serjeant, as he laid himself down, wrapping the clothes round him, “ if I get out of bed while you are in this town.”

- The minor theatres, of course, cater for the vulgar taste; if the proprietors of the Coburg perform this office judiciously, the vulgar taste for horrors must be of insatiable voracity. I have now the bill of the horrors of this theatre before me. The first entertainment is called, “ The City of the Plague, and The Great Fire of London.” The incidents of the piece are thus temptingly set forth-we begin with The Plague

Scene 1.-Part of Blackheath, with view of Shooter's Hill, Greenwich and London in the distance. The terrified Citizens, with their Families, escaping in alarm from the City of the Plague,-their progress into the Country opposed by the Magis. trates, from a fear of the Infection spreading. The unhappy Fugitives supplied with Provisions, encamp on the open Heath,-extraordinary Precautions to prevent any Communication. The horrible Situation of a Family reduced to Starvation by the Desolation of the Plague,—sudden appearance of that fatal Malady,—the horror at. tendant on it,—the Mother flying from her Child, the Husband from his Wife; the closest and tenderest ties snapped asunder by the terror of the Disease,-miserable state of those thus deserted and left to perish. Agonizing state of a Father and Husband whose Wife and Daughter are infected with the fatal Malady.

View of Aldgate High Street, exhibiting the Desolation of the City during the Rage of the Disorder. Precautions used to secure Families against Infection,horrors of the Infection felt by Fathers of Families who dared not to enter their own Doors to relieve the sufferings of their nearest connexions. Most pathetic instance of a Child dying in the sight of its Father. Dreadful Delirium occasioned by the Disease, the sudden manner in which the Victims are struck with Death. The Watch and Ward. Placing of Guards at the Doors of infected Houses to prevent all Communication,—the extreme hardship of healthy Persons shut up in infected Houses. The Dead Cart. Manner of removing the dead bodies,—desperate expedients resorted to by Persons shut up in infected Houses to escape. The Construction and Incidents of this Scene will illustrate, as accurately and forcibly as the Slage will admit, the Desolation, Horror, Misery, and Despair which that dreadful Visitation the Plague produced.

Entrance to Aldgate Church Yard,—Burying the Dead.

Aldgate Church and Church Yard by Moonlight,--with the Immense Pit for the Burial of the Dead. Solemn Penitential Procession and Anthem for Mercy. The Despair felt by a Father whose whole family have been cast into the Pit, his Desperate Resolution to cast himself amongst them,—the fated existence of a Man on whom the Infection cannot take hold,--sudden appearance of the intented Victim of Assassination,-Pardon and Reconciliation. Abatement of the Ravages of the Plaguo announced by the Funeral Bell, and Resumption of the usual Rites of Funeral.

There is consummate art in doldrums in making the tolling of the funeral bell the gayest, and most cheering and cheerful circumstance in the piece.

After the Plague comes the Fire of London, just by way of a relief, a change, a transition, as Lord Castlereagh would have expressed it, from the frying-pan to the fire.

Scene 1. Splendid Banquetting Hall in the Royal Palace of Whiteball.-Grand

Entertainment in honour of the return of the Court to London after the Cessation of the Plague. Festal Masque, entitled The Emporium of Beauty.

2. Bosky's House adjoining the Baker's. Commencement of the Great Fire ! 3. Apartment in Fitzhoward House.

4. Ancient Street. Progress of the Fire,— Alarm of the Inlabitants, Calumnies against the Papists, interference of the Trained Bands to maintain order.

5. Cheapside in Flames, with St. Paul's Cathedral burning. Confusion and Despair of the Inhabitants as the Destruction became universal, anxiety to escape with their property,--advantage taken by abandoned Characters of the dreadful Calamity to Plunder and Murder the unhappy Citizens --Attack of the Trained Bands on the hardened Spoilers, - Appalling Climax of Terror and Distress.

6. Gallery in Fitzhoward House. Advance of the Fire seen at a Distance. The Nobles commissioned by the King to repair to the Scene of Destruction, and arrest the progress of the Flames by pulling down and blowing up Houses, and to protect the Property of unhappy sufferers.

7. The Burning City seen from the Fields near Highgate, with the Encampment of the Fugitive Citizens. Distress of the Inhabitants compelled to fly with the remains of their property to the open Fields --Alarm that the Fire was occasioned by the machinations of the French and Dutch,—Desparation of the Sufferers --interference of the king, who calms the effervescence of popular feeling by promises of succour.

8. Vaulted Passage under Fitzhoward House. The Conflagration Encreased. Court next Baynard's Castle, in Upper Thames Street, the then Residence of many of the Nobilitý,--dreadful Situation of several Families enclosed in the Court by a Wall and Gate, whilst their Residence is in Flames,—the entire Court involved in the Conflagration,-encreasing Peril and Distress,--the Buildings successively fall a prey to the Flames, exhibiting a dreadful Picture of the horrors attendant on the Fire, the destructions of the Houses affords an open View of the River, illuminated with the Flames, with a distant View of Southwark and the Globe Theatre.--Tremendous Spectacle of the Universal Conflagration.

The piece goes on, it will be observed, like a house on fire, always getting on for the worse, and ends well with matters at the worst. The second entertainment has for its pleasant plot the tragic death of poor Mungo Park.

9th.—On Saturday there was a report in town of Lambton's death, I observe that there is a lie broached regularly every Saturday; the lie of the Saturday before last was the death of the Duke of York. The advantage of lying on Saturday. is, that the lie lives till Monday, and has two whole days in which it can work all over the country. The rumour of Lambton's death puts me in mind of rather a good story which is told of him, I know not with what degrec of truth. Lambton, like most other men, is extremely fond of being" in for a good thing," as the slang hasit. When the Alliance Insurance was coming out, Lambton wrote to Rothschild for four hundred Shares, and receiving an answer that his application should be attended to, took it for granted that he was to have them. Going into the City one day before the thing came out, and finding the Shares at three per cent premium, he directed his banker to sell his four hundred Shares at that premium, and hastened to Brookes's in great glee, where, with his hands in his pockets, he recounted to envying Whigs what a good morning's work he had made. Peter Moore turned pale with envy, and Colonel Davis sighed a wish that Rothschild had given him such another job. In a few days, however, out came the Alliance at 20 per cent premium, and Lambton, to his unspeakable dismay, found that, instead of 400, he had only 100 res allo ed to him. Here was a circumstance! a false position! He had sold 400 at 3, and had only 100 to make over, consequently he had 300 at 20 per cent premium to buy in order to fulfil his contract. This he was of course obliged to do ; when the account of his good day's work stood thus :-gained on the lucky day by selling 400 Shares, in the forthcoming speculation, at 3 per cent premium, 1,2001.; disbursed when the scheme came out, 6,0001. in the purchase of the 300 Shares to supply the deficiency, at 20 premium; loser on the hit, 4,8001. When the news of the issue of the affair reached Brookes's, Colonel Davis confessed that Heaven was just, and Peter Moore looked up.

10th. There is in the Blackwood for this month another posthumous letter of Charles Edwards, Esq. These epistles are by a Cockney who cannot, and therefore does not write English. The man, who never in his days can have aspired to any thing above a jaunt in a one horse chaise on a Sunday, talks in this frantic strain of driving to a hotel with four horses: “ Well, here I am once more in London. You savo my name among the arrivals” (the vulgar dog !]—“ Charles Edwards Esq. [always insist on the Esq. while you live]

from a tour! They would have said as much, although I had come from Botany Bay, so that I drove to P-'s hotel with four horses.” Indulging in some common-place regrets, to the effect that there are now-a-days no romantic adventures, or romantic rides or walks in England, he laments that he cannot in these days take his luncheon under a cork tree (query cock tree as he used to do formerly when on a journey. God bless the poor man! what has he been dreaming of? A cork tree was never seen in this country except as an exotic; but what can a Peter Pastoral know about trees? i marvel, nevertheless, what tree of the road-side he imagined to be a cork tree. Some one said in the London Magazine, that with this Charles Edwards, Esq. a Cheapside housemaid in her Sunday things, was the perfection of female elegance; he in this epistle furnishes evidence the truth of this assertion. Speaking of the dresses of the lower classes, he says: “ And for the lower ranks, as regards external appearance, literally, now, you can't even gue88 at the condition of any female in London by her dress. There is not a woman servant in this house where I am living, who does not go abroad on her holidays, in velvet and feathers," &c. A man who has been used to the society of ladies could never be deceived for one instant by the finery of a housemaid, her velvet and feathers; and would guess pretty accurately of the condition of any female in London by her dress. But this is obviously not the case of Charles Edwards, Esq. He has no idea of an elegance beyond velvet and feathers, poor man! Anon our would-be man of fashion, who drives to P_'s hotel with four horses, complains bitterly of the new houses. They are showy, but, alas! there are no conveniences in the drawing-rooms, not a closet, a recess, a foot deep,” in which Charles Edwards, Esq. can lock

up his little matter of bread and cheese, and tea and sugar, and gin and whiskey, when he arrives in town in a chaise and four from a tour. Speaking of coats, on which, like all vulgar pretenders, his head is incessantly running, he says: “ If you want a coat, the fashion changes five times before you can determine which of the five hundred professors best deserve your attention.” Now, to my certain knowledge, and I am not very curious about these matters, the fashion of a coat has not changed for the last three years. Stultz himself only confesses to having made them within that period a thought lower in the collar, and I don't believe that Weston has done even that. But

« 上一頁繼續 »