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PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS OF THE METROPOLIS.
“Sighs for a home, and sighs, alas ! in vain :
Through each he roves, the tenant of a day,
" When Christmas revels in a world of snow,
We are exceedingly gratified to find that our humble efforts (together with the powerful assistance of one of the most influential of the hebdomidals—the Sunday Times) to awaken the slumbering capacities of the “powers that be” to the present degraded state of many of our metropolitan places of amusement have not passed unheeded. At the time we write, we know not the decision arrived at by the Lord Chamberlain respecting the lowering of the prices of admission to many of the minor theatres ; but of this much we feel perfectly assured, that the interference of the proper authorities in a matter that gave promise of an infinity of harm to the public morals, will ultimately lead to a beneficial result.
Assuming this minor difference to be adjusted in the most satisfactory point of view, there still remains a question to be settled of major importance, in which every true lover of the drama is intensely interested. Will those most competent by official appointment condescend to enlighten us by bestowing a trifle of information regarding the purpose for which Drury Lane and Covent Garden received their patents ? Was it intended that the two “national” theatres, as they were termed in the “high and palmy days” of the stage, should be the scenes of foreign “airs" and of continental twistings and turnings? Melpomene and Thalia are now unceremoniously excluded from the “ great” houses ; and surely, unless some fostering hand be promptly put forward to provide a fitting habitation, our country's drama, after sighing for a home in vain, will inevitably sink
“ Despised, neglected, left alone to die."
'Forty-Six did not expire without liberally providing for his holiday friends an abundance of Christmas cheer. The denizens of London have been at this season richly catered for, as far as quantity extends, in the production of seasonable entertainment at the various places of amusement. Pantomime reigns paramount over burlesque this yearat least so far as numbers count, there being we really cannot declare how many, so numerous are they of the former species of entertainment;
whilst of the latter there is a solitary unit, and that is, the Christmas production at the little theatre in the Haymarket. In all the necessary essentials this one burlesque will beat all the pantomimes to “atoms -a locality, by the way, of which we must candidly confess our entire geographical ignorance.
The St. James's THEATRE is the favourite resort of the beau monde, ; and, indeed, we should be greatly surprised if such were not the fact, for the French Plays are so admirably rendered, and the general management is so excellent, that the inevitable result of Mr. Mitchell's exertions in the public cause must be complete success. Perlet, that peerless personator of French character under many phases, is a prodigious favourite with the countless numbers who loudly testify their approbation of the versatility of talent exhibited by this incomparable artist. Mademoiselle Brohan is a desirable acquisition to the London troupe. She is vivacious to a degree ; and her general manner is arch, lively, and pleasing. Her several impersonations are characterized by an ability that evidences a thorough knowledge of her art.
The ETHIOPIANs are just now in full force. So severely do they test the cachinnatory muscles of our common anatomy, that at some time or other we should not be at all surprised at their being within an ace of having to answer for some shoals of expiring humanity. Those who follow in the wake of Somnus we charitably exhort to attend the representations of these sable serenaders, whose anthypnotic powers will, most assuredly, in a brace of shakes, irresistibly change the veriest drone that ever winked into one of the most “ wide-awake”' representatives of creation.
The Christmas offering of the zealous manager of the HAYMARKET claims its descent from the fairy tale of the Countess D'Anois, Prince Lutin, now yelept “ The Invisible Prince ; or, The Island of Tranquil Delights.” Perchance the reader may deem it sufficient to declare the claims of modern authorship are in this instance due to Mr. Planchè, for it to be at once understood that success attended the first representation. Still, remembering that Mr. Planchè's name is “ a tower of strength” at all times, we certainly make no bones in averring that the wreath that encircles his name will be gloriously augmented by this last flower culled from a richly yielding fairy garden. The invisible prince is sustained by Miss P. IIorton, who is the very prince of princes ; her costume is in the best of taste, and her graceful manner, heightened by her killing looks, is quite sufficient to win the affections of any princess of domestic or foreign growth. We are not by any means surprised that Xquizitelittlepet, personated by Miss Julia Bennett, should lose her heart to such an irresistible scion of nobility. Miss Julia Bennett contributes her talents as the Princess of the Island of Tranquil Delights in a manner highly pleasing : her gear, sooth to say, is not peculiarly suitable to her contour. Miss Reynolds, as Apricotina, is a most powerful adjunct ; her impassioned manner is exquisitely good, and her determined action in rendering the parody on the “ Buffalo Gals” is richly ludicrous, and comical in the extreme.
Neither must we omit a word of commendation for this lady's mode of giving an excellent parody on “The Bold Dragoon,” a provocative to mirth that Momus himself could not outdo. James Bland, the undisputed monarch of burlesque, is a prince “every inch ;" his facetious and easy style tells
wonderfully ; his mandate for his guards to “stick at nothing." is delivered in the most funnily pompous tone that it is possible to conceive. That the Fairy Gentilla is well represented, we deem it but due to say “ so much for Buckingham.” The scenery, dresses, and decorations are all good ; the acting of the whole dramatis personæ is excellent ; the dialogue overflows with brilliancies-an interesting fact for the manager, that will cause his house to overflow with audiences. Puns of the first order are interspersed : allusions to the most engaging topics of the day are made in the best possible taste ; the several parodies introduced evince an easy, polished style of composition not to be surpassed ; and to sum up our opinion, as Sheridan would have it, take this extravaganza altogether, we have no hesitation in pronouncing it to be not alone the best burlesque of the day, but the most successful of its class ever yet produced.
Mr. Allcroft brought his Promenade Concerts at the LYCEUM to a successful termination by providing on the most liberal scale a Bal Masqué. The admissions, politely forwarded by the enterprising manager, not reaching their destiny until two days after date, we are incapacitated from declaring more than general opinion favoured the arrangements on this festive occasion.
ASTLEY's is nightly thronged with holiday folks all agog for the rich Christmas entertainment so liberally provided by Mr. Batty. " Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” is the title of the new pantomime, in which is introduced some gorgeous scenery, some hundreds of little ankles and miniature feet, supporting one-half as many gossamer spirits, some good tricks well performed, and an abundance of pointed allusions to the passing topics of the day. Success, we are rejoiced to declare, has crowned the indefatigable efforts of the enterprising lessee.
We have not space to enter fully into the merits or demerits of the pantomimes at the other houses. Suffice it to say, that amongst the worst are DRURY LANE, where “ St. George and the Dragon” cannot drag-on a lengthened existence; and the Princess's, the pantomime at the latter house containing one solitary trick.
The WALHALLA in Leicester Square is, without question, the very best gallery wherein the Posés Plastiques are given. Madame Warton, “the original Venus rising from the Sea,” bestows particular care and attention upon the grouping, which we pronounce to be artistical. The various tableaux vivans are complete embodiments of classical works of masters, both ancient and modern.
The Chase The season Forty-six by Forty-seven has opened and run on so far very differently from its half-brother, Forty-five and Forty-sixthe best for hunting, according to that good anthority, Mr. Surtees (vide “The Analysis”), we have had for many years. Sport of all varieties, in fact, has been nearly at a stand-still during the last month, and what has happened in the way of hunting sounds in the superlative as but cold-catchy, sticky, unsettled sort of work. A week's frost relieved by a week's rain is about the finest receipt for making a country rotten, and crossing it dangerous, that we confess to be cognizant of; and this, in plain fact, is nothing, more or less, than the sum-up of the last moon or so of the old year. Accidents at such times come quite as matters of course; and accordingly, we have only to begin at the top of the tree, and notch down at once the Master of Her Majesty's staghounds for a roughish fall and a dislocated ancle while fighting his way over "the vale”as likely a neighbourhood, certainly, as any we know of, et mihi contingit adire Corinthum, to show cause for such a calamity. Then, next in order, we have that ramming, cramming top-sawyer, Lord Gardiner, selling off, but with reserve, in consequence of a still worse overthrow, and a damaged collar-bone in remembrance thereof. How many more of smaller rank and hurt would follow in procession, we cannot stay to consider, but hasten to drop the acquaintance of a dreary December that has been unfit for hunting, and really, as a contingency, fit for very little else. Some of the steeple-chasers, to be sure, were willing to keep the ball a-rolling, despite the efforts of Father Frost to the contrary; but then livery-stable and tavern bills have, in all these instances, so strong a tendency to top valour over discretion, that we may set down the sine die adjournment of the Leamington as only “the proper thing.” Perhaps, just to add one drop of comfort, we could not hit on a better (if another) than the great promise and éclat with which the Worcestershire Hunt dinner went off, and the predisposition evinced by the members to be pleased with their new Governor. This is all as it ought to be, and we trust the good men of Worcester will continue to encourage a feeling that we fancy has not always been so general in that sporting shire as it should have been.
ROYAL YACHT SOUADRON.
A special meeting of the members of this Squadron is called for the 4th of February, when a new commodore will be elected. The present vice-commodore, the Marquis of Donegal, has lately been chosen commodore of the New Royal Irish Yacht Club, and is also pretty generally expected to succeed Lord Yarborough. The celebrated yacht of the late commodore has been appropriated to the following very becoming and national purpose. We borrow the paragraph entire from Bell's Life:
The KESTREL Yacht.-We are glad to announce that the report of the Portsmouth Dockyard officers, of their recent survey of the late ever-to-belamented Commodore's yacht, the Kestrel, has been favourable. The Admiralty have accordingly become the purchasers of that splendid yacht, and the name of Kestrel is henceforth to grace the Navy-list. This act of the Government has, we have no doubt, been done to record its sense of the services which the late Earl of Yarborough has rendered to his country by promoting the advancement of naval science, and encouraging that branch of architecture. It is a singular coincidence that two distinct Administrations have purchased for the Royal Navy the two “flag yachts” of the squadron-the Waterwitch and Kestrel-both of which, for mechanical and scientific proportions, have been the theme of admiration throughout the world. Thus has another laurel been added to the many already possessed by their talented builder, and Cowes may be justly proud that her scientific builders have not been forgotten. The Kestrel was hauled off the mud on Saturday week, and has been moored in the stream, in readiness to be conveyed to Portsmouth, It is rumoured that she will be added to the Mediterranean fleet.
The amount of subscriptions received to the monument or sea mark now exceeds £600; and it is reported that the committee bave determined on a monument to be erected in the Isle of Wight. Mr. Whalley's proposition of the Royal Thames Yacht Club subscribing a certain sum from its funds, was negatived, after considerable discassion, at a late meeting of the club, and the plan of the Royal Yacht Squadron adopted, by which every member gives individually and what he pleases. At the same meeting of the Thames Yacht Club Lord Groves was elected a member, the annual ball fixed for February 18th, and the disputed prize at the Dawlish Regatta awarded to the Ithiel.
ROYAL VICTORIA YACHT CLUB. At a special meeting of this club, held on the 1st of December, the following resolutions were received and adopted, in order to facilitate the opening of the new club-house, and which will now be ready the 25th of March:
I. That the members of the R.V.Y.C., of the second class, subscribers of two guineas, who, being absent, do not make use of the club-house, shall continue to be members on the payment of that subscription; but, in the event of their using the club-house, they shall be subject to the payment of three guineas annually.
II. That on and after the 1st of January, 1847, all members of the R.V.Y.C., of the second class (with the exception of the above), shall pay an annual subscription of three guineas each.
III. That on and after the 24th of March, 1847, all members who may be elected in the R.V.Y.C. shall, in addition to the annual subscription, be subject to the payment, as entrance money, of five guineas.
IV. That every honorary member of the R.V.Y.C. who may use the clubhouse, shall be subject to the payment of one guinea annually; the officers of H.M. Service, locally employed, excepted.
V. That the entrance money of five guineas, to be paid on the election of members of the first class, and on and after the 24th of March, 1847, shall cover all demands for the yacht privileges—viz., Admiralty warrant, foreign certificate, signal-book, pendant-sheet, and seamen's articles.
VI. That officers in H.M. Service, in full pay, may be admitted by ballot as temporary members of the R.V.Y.C., on payment of the following subscriptions :-For six months, £2 2s.; three months, £l ils. 6d.
The dog-stealers, it appears, have shifted their quarters, and are now doing a good business in Glasgow, above all places in the world !
EXTRAORDINARY SPORT.—On Friday, the 4th of last month, the Marquis of Blandford, Lord Huntingfield, Lord Rendlesham, and Mr. Thomas Thellusson killed, while shooting over Lord Rendles