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amongst the leading vocalists of Europe. Long practice has made him an adept in the various exigencies of the stage, and his voice, though wanting in the requisite power for embodying many of the chief characters of lyrical tragedy, is clear and vibrating. The school ihrough which M. Roger has passed is certainly not the highest class; it is rather that of a charming mannerism, rather tricksy than elevated, and assuredly not the most advantageous for the cultivation of a great talent. It is strange that in the existing dearth of singers—in the absolute distress of the Academie de Musique—that neither under the former managements, nor under the present one, M. Roger was ever offered an engagement, although he had sang there at benefits, and upon one occasion had acted the part of Edgardo. However this may be, M. Roger created a favourable, if not a profound sensation at the Royal Italian Opera. His portion of the duet in the first act was rendered with infinite tenderness, and the famous “ Fra poco” was full of pathos and passion. The grand scene in the third act, the finest ever written by Donizetti, elicited little fervour. A new barytone, Signor Corradi Setti, debûted in the part of Enrico, but failed to gain esteem either as actor or singer. The orchestra and chorus are perfect, and are in quantity and quality immeasurably beyond all precedent example. The “great stars ” of the troupe are hourly expected,
DRURY LANE THEATRE. The equestrian company celebrated throughout Europe under the title of “ Fran. coni’s” are now in possession of this splendid theatre. The stage has been removed, the pit abolished, the side scenes taken away, and a bona fide circus has arisen in their stead. The extent is great, and the accommodation sufficient for many thousand persons. The orchestra is erected at the extremity of the stage, and is suspended, like Mahomet’s coffin, between heaven and earth, yet touching neither. Shakspere is banished for saw, dust, tragedy for trampolins, comedy for coursers, Sheridan for steeds, dwarfs for the drama, and leapers for lyricals. The old aphorism, that if we would please to live we must live to please is here made manifest; and nothing but sheer necessity arising from the tightness of the money market could have induced the speculation. Much, however, as we may regret the change that has come over the spirit of the place, we must in justice admit the talent of the various persons engaged, and the innumerable marvels conjured up by the Genius of the Ring. The vaulting, the leapings, the posturings, the balancings, the daring equitation, the horse polking, and mare mazourking, are all firstrate, and there is a jauntiness and an air of gentility, and a Continental tone about the entire affair that transports us for the time to the gay Champs Elysée. And then there are the famous Auriol and his son, the delight of the Paris cockneys, who, with small odd voices and infantine silliness, and lithe limbs and supple joints, effect all sorts of impossible feats, with their feet in the air and their caputs in the dust. The elder Auriol is himself alone--he is the Talma of tumblers, the perfection of Pierrots, the very concentrated compound of clownship-we mean French clownship- for he is gay, graceful, and glib, and never vulgar, never gross, never rude-he does his spiriting gently, and very pleasant spiriting it is. There is also the dashing Caroline, who, although upon the high horse, smiles graciously and condescendingly around, while “witching the world with noble horsemanship.” Unlike her sisters of the circle, she essays not the jumping through hoops, nor the leaping over barricades, but sits upon her courser, confident in power, and dignified in demeanour as a queen upon her throne. The animal moves through every pace of the high manége as though endued with a hidden sympathy, or received his impetus from the soft throbbing of the rider's pulse. At her will the noble animal is literally suspended in the air, or moves its pliant limbs with the exquisite motion of a Taglioni. The troupe is exceedingly numerous, and the performances, though necessarily similar in their nature, are greatly varied, for each artiste has his or her specialité. They are alike, but different-their styles and mode of operation are so skilfully arranged that no feeling of tedium is experienced. The little Loisset, who appeared last season at Vauxhall, is greatly improved, and fully earns his sobriquet of the Little Devil by his recklessness and dare-devilism. His small limbs cling to the horse as though they were part of the equine nature, and in the rapidity of the gallop round the circle he seems a youthful centaur. “La Petite Anato” is a graceful piquante child, who dances the Cachouca, and plays on the castanets with a nerve that is quite remarkable. The Spanish dwarf, Don Francisco Hidalgo, affords infinite mirth, and the beautiful costumes of the middle ages, and the gorgeous harness of the horses in the cortége and quadrilles, are alone worthy of a visit.
SURREY THEATRE. The appearance of Mr. Ira Aldridge on the metropolitan boards is peculiarly interesting. He is an African, and the true heir-apparent of some royal throne of skills in
the neighbourhood of Timbuctoo, and here in free England is this representative of ages of bondage, giving utterance to the almost divine thoughts and inspired language of our poets. As regards Mr. Ira Aldridge, nature has been no niggered of her gifts, for though marked with all the outward features of his nation--videlicet, the woolly hair, thickened lips, &c.—his form and figure are commanding, his appreciation of the true dramatic impersonation refined and scholar-like, and his development original and artistic. The character selected for his appearance was Zanga, in Young's tragedy of The Revenge. The part, as far as mere physiognomy may be considered, was appropriate, for there tax levied for the theatrical illusion ; but the language is unnatural and stilted, the story repellant, and the means for tragic display few and far between. Its resemblance to the fiendish nature of lago is unrelieved by any intellectual supremacy. Zanga is a mere objectless scoundrel, a craven wretch, with mind as dingy and heart as black as his complexion, poisoning the soul of his victim through four long tedious acts, to spurn and desecrate his dead body fur insults he had not the boldness to avenge, nor moral courage to contest. Mr. Ira Aldridge is a really good actor, careful, conscientious, and intelligent; indeed, if there be any fault, there is throughout his delineations a super-civilisation and an ultra-refilement which enfeebles the effect. We want the torrid passions and the tiger-like thirst of blood, instead of the calculating diplomatist or the cautious civilian. Mr. Aldridge need not fear to exaggerate; his good sense will prevent his rushing into the opposite extreme. In Zanga we want not the unruffled lake and the gentle murmurings of the western breeze, but the foaming torrent and the hoarse north wind; not the gale, but the hurricane. It was a bold and a worthy effort to exhibit to the world that country nor clime prevent the fair expansion of God's divinest gift—the human intellect, and we believe more real good will be effected by the acting of Mr. Ira Aldridge than by all the much-vaunted benefits which have accrued from the vast sums devoted by those mistaken, though well-meaning, people, the abolitionists. The last scene of the tragedy was admirably acted, and great applause was elicited. The physiognomical peculiarities of Mr. Aldridge must necessarily circumscribe his range of characters; and this is to be regretted, as we feel assured that, in the present dearth of good actors, he would be a valuable addition to the English stage. As a sort of moral antagonism to Zanga, Dibdin's musical piece of The Padlock followed, and afforded ample scope for the comic vein of the debûtant in the part of Mungo. The laughter was incessant, and Mr. Ira Aldridge, both at the end of the tragedy and farce, was called before the curtain, amidst the enthusiasm of the audience.
MARYLEBONE THEATRE. Mrs. Warner continues to carry out successfully the estimable plan with which she commenced her management. Many of the best works have been admirably acted, and the company is so well trained that a perfect whole is the result. The Enchanted Tower; or, the Adventures of Prince Headstrong and Princess Bloomingbell,—
,-a new burlesque spectacular fairy tale; from the pen of Mr. Charles Selby, has been produced with good effect. To analyse the plot, the great excellence of which consists in its escaping the process of analysation, would, if we could, be of small purpose. The essence of this class of productions consists more in reflecting ludicrously passing events, than either in sparkling wit or refined fancy. Many of the hits at political tergiversations, civic eccentricities, municipal matters, Continental conspiracies, metropolitan movements, and London life, are mixed up into one huge humorous olla podrida. The dresses are capitally imagined, the music appropriate, the scenic effects gorgeous, the scenery admirably designed and cleverly painted. The acting is throughout excellent; indeed, to select any one for special commendation would be invidious, where all so equally administer to the mirth of the production.
MR. LINDSAY SLOPER'S PIANOFORTE SOIRÉES. On Thursday evening, the 16th inst., was given the last of the series of these most interesting soirées-interesting, from having presented us with some of the most beautiful specimens of the great masters, and various compositions, unkrown to us, of Jean Baptiste Lully and François Couperin. The programme was comprised of Hummel, Couperin, Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Bennett, Heller, and Lindsay Sloper. A beautiful MS. duett of Hummel's, for two pianofortes, was most efficiently executed by Madame Dulcken and Mr. Lindsay Sloper, and Beethoven's lively sonata in E minor proved how truly Mr Sloper is imbued wiih the spirit of that “ Shakspere or Michael Angelo of music.” It is the true legitimate playing. No exaggeration or striving to produce effects where the composer has not introduced them ; but classical and unforced feeling is displayed throughout. Mr. Sloper is also much to be commended for searching after novelties, which each of his programmes has afforded. A duett of Mendelssohn's, for piano and violoncello, much delighted us from the truly artistic manner in which it was rendered by Messrs. Sloper and Rousselot. The“Allemande” of Couperin, most quaint and pleasing, seemed, by the applause which was bestowed upon it by the audience, to be much relished, as was also the beautiful nocturne and scene pastorale of Heller. Miss Bassano sang sweetly an aria from La Clemenza di Tito; and Miss Ransford two songs of Stern dale Bennett's, in the latter of which she obtained an encore. The evening concluded with a charming Mazourka and study, alla Tarantella, by Mr. Sloper, whose compositions always display that classical elegance and scientific construction which place our talented countryman upon so high a standard of musical eminence.
MEMOIRS OF MADEMOISELLE DE MONTPENSIER, GRAND-DAUGHTER
OF HENRI QUATRE AND NIECE OF QUEEN HENRIETTA MARIA. Written by herself; edited from the French. In three volumes. London: Colburn, 1848.
Historical literature, if it be at all well written, is almost sure to be possessed of considerable interest. The period to which the volumes before us relate was replete with events of the most exciting kind, and to most of them the writer alludes in the course of the narrative. Court intrigue always furnishes materials for revelations of an extraordinary kind, and Mademoiselle de Montpensier was by no means deficient in acuteness of character, and that amount of cunning necessary to make a good autobiographer. Hence we are presented with a fund of anecdote and amusing details, which at once serve to entertain the reader, and throw considerable light upon the manners of the times.
Some doubt has been cast upon the authenticity of these memoirs by some of our contemporaries-a doubt, however, in which we do not share to any very great extent. Certainly the Editor gives us not the slightest information as to where he obtained the MS. from which the present volumes are translated. This seems to throw an air of suspicion over the origin of the work-not but that it is highly probable, nevertheless, that the Editor is well prepared to state whence he drew his materials. He may have been withheld from so doing by many reasons, into an enumeration of which, however, it is not our intention at present to enter. That the work has received considerable additions and embellishments we entertain no doubt where a gap in the narrative occurred it was necessary to fill it up, and this may have been done in many instances. Be this, however, as it may, we have been presented with a most interesting narrative, which will, we venture to predict, meet with a success equal to that obtained by any three-volume novel of the season.
The reader must not expect to find a simple relation of every-day life at court; he must not seek for revelations of the heart, or exciting incidents, but he will have to watch the dawn and unfolding of a woman's most ambitious schemes, and how they afterwards fell to the ground and faded into empty shadows. Mademoiselle de Montpensier proves herself at the outset to be incapable of cherishing any amount of affection for any living being. Her father is introduced, and plays a conspicuous part in the early portions of the work. For him she professed to entertain a certain kind of attachment; but as soon as the world and all the temptations of a court, the prospects of ambition and power open upon her, he is only regarded in the light of a tyrant-they lead the most bickering life, are continually at war with one another. Now and then a kind of forced reconciliation is effected between them, but the fall of a feather disturbs the peaceful alliance. Considered, indeed, throughout her whole life-time, Mademoiselle de Montpensier’s character is not one to challenge respect; she proves herself capable of nothing great or noble. Her ambition is always for herself-personal aggrandisement is all she cares for. From her earliest years this passion exercises predominant sway over her mind, and in order to attain her ends she will condescend to any kind of meanness.
She tries to force the king's brother to marry her when he is only seventeen-carries on a steady firtation with the Prince of Wales (Charles II.), keeping him in a kind of abeyance, until she discovers whether it is at all likely she shall be made empress. When, however,
all these events are placed beyond hope of accomplishment, she at last suffers herself to form an attachment to Monsieur de Lauzun. She is now forty years of age, and all the feelings of her life, until then pent up, seem to concentrate themselves around him—his very coldness, which she interpreted into prudence, gave fresh ardour to her affection. He, on the contrary, cold, calculating, and selfish, was incapable of the remotest affection, and seems at first to have shunned her society, lest she should chance to entertain such feelings towards him. We blame her here for her want of spirit, her unwomanly pursuit of one who treated her with such neglect, who so evidently made her feel that his attachment was wrung from him. Had she been possessed of true feminine delicacy, she would have scorned to seek to obtain the affections of a man, she would have thrown herself back upon her pride, and have learned to forget the person, let
her have loved him ever so greatly, who was only to be won by incessant persecution. She must have perceived the true state of affairs; she could not have believed in the co-existence of devoted attachment and such worldly prudence, which weighed and calculated probabilities and chances as though she were not worthy the risk of the smallest among them. But however much we blame, we cannot refrain from pitying her at last; an attachment so disinterested as that she entertained for him is not to be despised or passed by without notice; it is the only redeeming trait in her character. Love makes her at once noble and generous, it calls her from the level of commonplace to the heights of distinction; we forget her former selfishness, her amazonian exploits, her coarse imitation of men, and pity the generous victim of an unrequited affection, Monsieur de Lauzun treated her with the most shameful ingratitude ; after she had sacrificed fortune and all for his sake, he refused to marry her, and we take leave of her almost broken hearted. These details are full of interest ; the remainder of the work is no less so. The reader who seeks for revelations of the Court of France at that period will be highly entertained, the names of La Valliere, Mazarin, Conde, Bourbon, Fouquet, &c., are often met with, and assist in forming the background of a most entertaining picture. THE PARSON, PEN, AND PENCIL; or, Reminiscences and Illustrations of an Excursion
to Paris, Tours, and Rouen in the Summer of 1847; with a few Memoranda on French Farming. By G. M. Musgrave, M.A., vicar of Borden, Kent. In three volumes. London: Bentley, 1848.
There is nothing more painful in conversation or writing than the attempt at wit, Real bona fide wit is a rare gift. All imitations fall far below the original, but nothing is more unendurable than the imitation or affectation of humour. No matter who is guilty of the offence, our animadversion falls equally upon them; yet are we inclined to visit with far higher censure the gentleman who, professing to be a minister of the Gospel, goes forth upon his travels intent upon turning into ridicule every object and person with whom he meets. However much we may endure the relation of those irresponsible youthful travellers, who, emancipated for the first time from college rule, rush into France, resolved upon exercising their humorous powers to the utmost, and however much we may be inclined to pardon the overflowing of their animal spirits, we feel that we cannot visit with the same gentleness the reverend writer now before us.
Our facetious “parson sets out with his son on a tour through France, intent upon giving us, as he says, a correct estimate of men and manners, or esplaining what is worth seeing in the French metropolis, where the best inns are to be met with, and the proper prices which ought to be paid for everything. This promise, however, he by no means fulfils. Much of the information with which he furnishes us is “stale, flat, and unprofitable.” It has been narrated a hundred times before, in the commonest handbooks with which travellers furnish themselves before quitting this country for foreign lands. Mr. Musgrave, for instance, in one part particularly impresses upon our recollection that the common women do not wear bonnets in France, and that bonnet means a cap in French; while chapeau signifies what we here in familiar language denominate “a bonnet." As this intelligence was considered by us very valuable, we have placed it here, in order that it may be diffused far and near, for the benefit of this and of all succeeding generations.
Mr. Musgrave's object seems to have been in the early part of the work, before he was disgusted with France and Frenchmen, to have drawn all sorts of contrasts between the foggy unwholesome atmosphere of England and the bright sunny clime of France. He is all animal spirits, all facetiousness, all enjoyment, and is hurried into various sallies not at all becoming either his reverend years or office. Let us not, however, be misunderstood. We do not say that because Mr. Musgrave is a clergyman he should write in a gloomy morose manner, and represent all things through a borrowed medium. On the
contrary, as real cheerfulness is the soul of religion, we welcome it in the divine as an earnest of his tranquillity of mind, and the perfect projection of his energies into the ser. vice in which he is engaged. What we find fault with is the affectation of wit and humour, which degenerates into the greatest coarseness of thought and expression, apparent at intervals throughout the whole work. The description, for instance, of the journey from Dover to Boulogne is disgusting, and even dirty, descending to particulars quite unnecessary to be spoken of at all. Every one knows the sufferings incidental on a trip at sea to those unaccustomed to its roughness, and surely they need not be dwelt upon in the pages of a tour or book of travels. Mr. Musgrave complains that the English clergy are not recognised in France, or treated as such; that they are addressed as Mr. This and Mr. That, instead of “Reverend,” &c. But it is a question to be considered whe:her such clergymen as go abroad act in a way to invite the respect of those with whom they move in society. If the remarks in the present volumes were taken (which, thank Providence! they are not) as samples of the mode of conversation and thought of the clergy of England, we do not see why they should be dignified by any particular respect. Again, Mr. Musgrave animadverts very strongly upon the letting out of chairs in French churches. We grant that the practice of asking for the money during the service is a very reprehensible one, where it does exist; but it is a mistake to argue, because Mr. Musgrave witnessed it in one or two churches, that it occurs throughout France. We, also, have been in France, and in French churches, and beheld all the forms of Catholic worship, and rarely observed an instance of the kind. In general, however faulty the religion itself, however at variance with true Christianity all the ceremonies of the Catholic Church may be, we must confess that the service is conducted with the greatest respect and devotion; and if chairs be let out in France, and it be wrong to do it, why should pews be let in England ? There the money is devoted to repairing the church, alms-giving, and other purposes ; and what better uses would the money have been appropriated to had it remained in the hands of the devotees themselves ? It is but a difference in terms, after all, that Mr. Musgrave finds fault with.
Our parson's wit in describing the bears' polka is really astounding. We recommend him to abandon the clerical profession, and set up for another Tom Hood. He would succeed à la merveille. Waiters at hotels should not wear moustachios; they ought always to have been forbidden to do so, and Mr. Musgrave absolutely chuckles with delight over the fact that an edict to that effect was promulgated last year in France. In 1847 a few young men at an hotel in Paris offended Mr. Musgrave beyond the possibility of forgiveness by being excessively plain-featured, and wearing moustachios. In the dead-house of one of the hospitals our author finds another opportunity of exercising his penchant for humour; and in describing the beautiful spots in Pere la Chaise he is still more coarse and offensive. In spite of all this, some very valuable hints on French farming will be discovered interspersed throughout the volumes; and these, though they cannot compensate for the rest, will redeem them from the utter contempt into which they would otherwise have fallen. ADVENTURES OF AN AIDE DE CAMP, or A CAMPAIGN IN CALABRIA. By James
Grant, Esq., author of “The Romance of War.” In three volumes. London: Smith and Elder. 1848.
The author of the volumes before us has more than once very successfully appeared before the public, in “ The Romance of War," and various other works of considerable merit. His talents are peculiarly adapted to this kind of fiction, as his style is bold and full of energy; now delighting us by the most simple descriptions, now rising to passages of the greatest grandeur. His delineations of battle-scenes are admirable in the extreme, and the events which he narrates are all possessed of vivid interest. Though the foundations of the story are correct, and based upon actual historical facts, the author confesses that he has bestowed them upon the colouring of fiction; this the reader must expect. The scenes are laid for the most part in the Calabrias, and are part of those really enacted at the time Sir John Stuart undertook to lead the expedition which set out with a view of driving the French from South Italy. No narrative of these events has hitherto been published, but its importance was not considered such as to warrant much being written about it. Still a simple narrative of facts would have been valuable, and, we doubt not, sufficiently successful. Much of love and romance is mixed up with the present story, which will bestow upon it a wider interest than if it treated only of military details. Mr. Grant, however, possesses the felicitous art of blending domestic with warlike exploits, and rounding both into a beautiful picture, The last chapters of the volume are devoted to the delineation of the siege of Scylla, and