« НазадПродовжити »
fatigue us with their monotony ; the general want of relief, however, leaves us the more at liberty to expatiate on the only novelty which solicited our attention. The oft-told tales of Her Freischutz and the Fall of Algiers at one house, and the Belle's Stratagem and the Inconstant at the other, were, on Thursday week, partially relieved by the appearance of a new play, from which Me. Soane, the reputed author, cannot expect to derive a single sprig, in addition to the bays with which he had previously bound his brows.
Masaniello, or the Fisherman of Naples, the principal characters of which were personated bj Kean, Wallace, Terry, Mrs. Bunn, and Mrs. W. West, did by no means exhibit that truth and consistency of outline, or warmth and skill in colouring, which might have been expected from the author of The Falls of the Clyde, and the Innkeeper's Daughter; nor did we find that connection between the parts, or that consonance in the whole, by which an inspired dramatist seeks to enchain the heart and mind of the spectator— "To snatch us o'er the earth, or through the
To Thebes, to Athens, when he will, and
where." Passion, the vivifying principle, the primum mobile of the tragic muse, is, in Masaniello, but feebly sustained; and even the hero of the piece is not so prominently conspicuous as to prevent our suspecting, when the Fisherman displays himself in his gorgeous apparel, and mounted on his curvetting charger, that his former habit is concealed under that of his assumed dignity—that he is but a disguised ensnarer of the finny race—or, if that be too humble an idea for a troller of nets raised to supreme authority—a Triton on horseback.
The plot of this melo-dramatic Uagedy lies in a small compass. The government of Naples having levied a tax with which the people are not pleased, an insurrection ensues, of which Masaniello soon becomes the head, and takes upon his piscatorial shoulders the weight of the new administration. He accordingly, after having exhibited himself, en pleheur, is discovered in the hall of the duke d's/rcos, demanding, in the name of the people, the charter granted by Charles V., when the duke, as mean as cunning, stoops to the adoption of a fraud, and produces a forged charter; but Masaniello is not to be so easily duped; and no sooner detects the imposture, than, with indignation, he casts the parchment to the ground, and tramples it under his feet. Another baseness resorted to by the duke, is that of employing Zamot, a bravo, to assassinate the patriot.
But this scheme also fails, and it is resolved to inveigle him—as he has inveigled many a poor, unsuspecting fish— by a luring bait. The fair Olympia is thrown in his way; and the double purpose is served, of captivating his affections, and filling the heart of his wife, Lorina, with jealousy. Determined to watch his motions, she follows him in ;the disguise of male attire, and falls by his hand, in a mistake. This incident is followed by a kind of counter-revolution; in the progress of which, Masaniello, coming forth to quell the tumult, is shot in front of the palace from which he issues, and his death produces the extinction of the public commotion.
Of these materials we wish we could say that the author had made the most; but while we are aware of the radical defect of a subject that throws on a poor obscure fisherman the task of sustaining the dignity of a leading patriot and tragic hero—though we see the difficulty of surmounting so formidable an impediment to the realization of the grandeur of imperial tragedy—still we insist, that- more might have been effected, and, doubt not, that more would have been effected, had Mr. Soane's talents been allowed to take their own free course. But we happen to know that he worked under the the misguiding thraldom of managerial dictation. Due attention was exacted from him to the display of parade and scenic show. Music for the ear, and pomp for the eye, comprise all that some managers are capable, or ever were capable, of appreciating. With them, drums, trumpets, and glittering spectacles, are all in all. For these—
"The play stands still, curse action and discourse! Back fly the scenes, and enter foot and horse.'*
Foot, horse, and scenery did not, however, in the present instance, prove competent substitutes for plot, sentiment, and poetry; and in spite of the excellent acting of the performers already named, Masaniello soon found himself fishing in troubled waters. The sounds of the malecontents were plentifully mingled with the applause of determined friends, and the piece barely escaped complete condemnation.
REMINISCENCES OF BOND-
This ancient city.
How wanton sits she, amidst nature's smiles;
Our first ideas of Bond-street were those of a gay and splendid street; and
REMINISCENCES OF BOND-STREET.
many a stranger, on entering it, has been struck with surprise and disappointment, equalled only by that of poor VVhittington, when he expected to find London streets paved with gold! Must people in their early days have .heard of the loungers of Bond-street, and, indeed, a love of display and dress is so strongly associated with this spot, that all young folks i are led to consider it as the grand metropolitan stage of gaiety and fashion. Bond-street is, however, one of the most irregular and unsightly of the great streets of the West; but iong <" established custom, and these early impressions, have attached to it a degree of celebrity which its colonnaded neighbours will not attain for a century. The shops (or "warehouses") of Bond-street and their proprietors are, nevertheless, of a superior order; and altogether this spot is interesting to the curious observer of mankind, their habits, and dispositions. These strolls often act as antidotes to the hypochondriasis of the man of fashion, and at the same time serve as relaxations from more abstract pursuits, whilst they exhibit life in all its multicoloured forms and varieties.
There is a true saying, by Goldsmith, "that one half the world are ignorant how the other half lives." Men iu active employment are at a loss to imagine bow the wealthy and great contrive to eke out their time; and the latter are equally puzzled to know how they may protract each day. The created wants and caprices of the one support the industry and ingenuity of the other, whilst they are the means of enriching thousands, who may be considered of an intermediate rank. Thus, it 'is amusing to calculate bow many individuals are requisite to produce the splendour of the expensive entertainments given among the higher circles. The taste and skill of decorators are necessary to produce the magnificent effect of brilliant illuminations and chalked Hours; and the soupers display all the delicacy and luxurious invention of scores of cooks and confectioners; while the variegated richness has furnished a previous fortnight's occupation to all the handmaids of fashion. The beneficial result of this immense expenditure is sufficiently obvious; indeed, it forms the reciprocating benefits of high refinement and civilization.
But philosophy in Bond-street is like snow in harvest. There is much to admire here, and, as we have before said, the street is celebrated and storied in times gone by. Here we view assembled all the elegancies and bijouterie of art. Bloor's porcelain warehouse is of
itself a triumphant exhibition of national genius ; the Western Exchange an amusing lounge; and Oakley's ware rooms, with their costly suites, would even satiate the fastidious eye of Mr. Thomas Hope, whose exquisite taste in furniture designs will be handed down to antiquarians in a splendidly embellished folio volume, written by that gentleman. Again, who can pass by the elegant emporium of Truefitt, sen. without halting to admire his tasteful devices for the embellishment of heads, whose metamorphoses would bailie even G. A. Stephens himself.
We remember to have seen groups of holiday children fiock to Tabart's Juvenile Library, at the corner of Graftou-street, and many are the hours of delight that we have spent in reading his instructive toys and trifles. Bond-street too has its literary resorts. Ebers, "bookseller to the king," has an acre of books; and here is to be learnt all the opera news, and the arrangements for the ensuing masquerade, "on a scale of unequalled magnificence." From Andrews's issues that pleasant and interesting quarterly journal, "The Album." John, the brother of Leigh Hunt, formerly had his boudoir at No. 23, where the "Liberal" first commenced its meteor-like career. At No. 19, a short time since, lived Mr. Warren, a liberal publisher (!) and here he introduced to the world the fascinating rhymes of Mr. Procter, under the pleasant ruse of Barry Cornwall. Warren, however, soon became surrounded by second-rate talent, and success did not keep pace with his goodness of heart. Prowett, his neighbour, has his name in some beautiful reprints of old books; Hookham's library and reading-rooms have existed from time immemorial; and Carpenter's may be known by the fine portrait of Anacreon Moore, which we recollect to have seen occupying a lower pane of his window for several years.
Thevenot's is a perfect cabinet of nicknackery, where highly wrought Freuch clocks in or moulu rise amidst glittering heaps of cut glass; and delicious odours remind us of the perfumed gales of eastern climes. What will not fashion devise! Amongthe inventions of this ingenious gentleman are toilet barrels of cut glass, with gold taps, and glass stands and pans! Opposite are the extensive premises, originally Dale's music warehouse, now "The Clarendon," with all the qualifications of a firstrate London hotel. Further on are the Claremont, Stevens's, and Long's hotels; the two last of which furnished some trifling incidents, a few years since, for two satirical novels, which illustrated the follies of the haut ton with an unsparing hand. Here,' too, 'are depots for French perfumery and liqueurs, and swell clothiers, whose "visionary bills unpaid" often produce expostulations, in sense though not in poetry, resembling that of the unfortunate Dermody to his importunate tailor:
"Fond man, while "pausing o'er that gloomy page That tells thee what thou art in terms too plain,' O'er the capacious ledger lose thy rage, Nor of unsettled dehts again be vain.
There lords and dukes and mighty princes lie, Nor nn them canst thou for prompt payment call. Why starts the big drop in thine anguish'd eye! One honest genuine bard is worth them all."
At length, we halted at that part whence Bruton-street branches off to Berkeleysquare, and Conduit-street to Hanoversquare. Here the records of our stroll must end for the present. We turned out of Piccadilly at one o'clock, and St. George's clock now struck three. Our hours had not been wholly mispent; for in our calls we inspected some of the most exquisite specimens of art, and in no other street could we have witnessed so fine a display of costly wares.
In this street we recognised but few of such business-like faces as we saw at every step in the neighbourhood. Several were leisurely taking their airing with "theirchins new reap'd," in all the pride of high starched cravats and elegant morning dress, while others—
"with new commission vain,
Who sleep on brambles till they, kill their man,"
were mounted on high-bred horses, or listlessly rolling along in their easy cabriolets. All was life and bustle; and (though not as in former years, when Bond-street was choked up with lines of equipage) elegantly dressed crowds were ascending and descending their carriages in all directions.
A few hours hence hundreds might be seen whirling off to full-dress dinner parties, to the opera, and still later to some magnificent rout in a neighbouring square. Such is the busy round of life, and such the phantasmagoria that flits before our eyes, where—
"Happy hours glide on from morn till
night. One ceaseless round of exquisite delight: Balls, operas, concerts, Almack'sand Soho,* By turns attended, various joys bestow."
* In the time of our poet, Soho was'the hemisphere of fashion; but, at this moment,-its comparatively deserted appearance resembles that of a sacked city.
The scene is both amusing and instructive; and although not always suited to the grave and sober-minded contemplatist, it may serve as a set-off to the more serious records in the pages of his remembrance.
Sir Thomas Lawrence has recently presented to the Royal Academy of Arts, a very fine copy of the lower part of the famous Transfiguration of Raphael. It is at present placed in the school of painting, at Somerset-house, for the study of the artists. This copy was executed by that celebrated painter, Romney, whose pictures, for some years, divided the attention of the town with sir Joshua Reynolds. It remained for some time after the death of Romney in a neglected state, in the house in Cavendish-square, which he had occupied, (since the residence of Mr. Shee,) and was afterwards claimed by the relatives, put up to auction, and purchased by sir Thomas Lawrence, for three or four pounds. It is executed upon paper, in bistre, and varnished.
The Transfiguration was the last, and is considered to be the finest picture Raphael produced. The sensation it excited in his own time, the age of great artists, may be estimated by the circumstance of the Pope having ordered the picture, when all the dignitaries and illustrious foreigners went to view his body lying in state, to be placed at the head of his coffin. Of the numerous copies which have been made of this famous picture by our countrymen, and by foreigners, we will venture to say that there is not one gives an idea of the merits of the original but this. These merits consist in the utmost refinement of expression, so subtle as to be beyond emulation by an ordinary hand, or, indeed, by any man who does not'possess somewhat of the same feelings and taste as the elegant painter who conceived the original. It is, indeed, impossible for a person who has not been abroad, and who has not beheld this copy, to have an idea of the exalted merits of Raphael. The subject is a maniac boy brought to the apostles, who, in the absence of Christ, in the act of transfiguration at the top of the mountain, are unable to cure him. The grandeur of action, and the energetic ap. peal in the countenance of the distracted mother, are truly wonderful, and are contrasted by a tender and pa'.hetic air of supplication in the face of the sister, (who, with the father, sustains the youth,) that is lovely beyond expression,
WARY OF OCCURRENCES.
The countenance also of a young man, one of the apostles, is exceedingly beautiful. None of the prints in the possession of connoisseurs give any idea of these heads; indeed we have not seen, in any of the few undoubted works of Raphael which we possess, any expression of passion so refined and so exquisite.
We cannot help regretting that talents which could execute these heads, even at second hand, should have been ultimately doomed to the manufacturing of portraits —the staple commodity, as an eminent foreigner has termed them, of this country. The time, patience, and labour that this picture took, prove that the artist had been preparing himself for the highest sphere of art,—of employment in which he was ultimately disappointed; and it is a still more serious reflection upon the taste of our connoisseurs that such a picture should have been sold at a public auction for three or four pounds.
Anecdote Of Potyemkin. — When Ismail had been besieged by the Russians forseven months, Potyemkin began to grow impatient, though living in the camp in the midst of luxury, and surrounded by a crowd of courtiers and warriors, who employed every effort to amuse him. Madame de Witt, one of the females, pretending to read the decrees of fate in a pack of cards, presaged that he would take the town at the end of three weeks. Prince Potyemkin, smiling, answered that he had a method of divination far more infallible, and that instant sent his order to Suvarof to take Ismail within three days. The brave, but barbarous hero obeyed his order to the letter, and after a dreadful slaughter, succeeded in making himself master of the town.—Lyall's Travels in Russia.
Languages to the number of 3664, are in use in different parts of the earth, as appears from a learned work of M. Aldeling, wherein are arranged and classed, the vocabularies, more or less perfect, of 937 Asiatic, 587 European, 276 African, and 126,4 American languages and dialects!
The preservation offish during long journies and voyages may, it is said, be effe6ted by removing their entrails, and sprinkling the internal and external surfaces with a mixture of sugar and pounded charcoal, which will, for a considerable period, prevent the least taint, and may be washed clean off previous to cooking the fish so preserved.
Mrs. Belzoni, the widow of the enter
prising traveller, is erecting the Egyptian' tomb; which it is expected will be opened for exhibition early in March.
The newly discovered edition of Shakspeare's Hamlet is in active preparation at Covent-garden theatre, and will shortly be brought forward in the costume of the time and appropriate scenery, so far as they can be ascertained.
Elasticity Of Steam.—The Royal Academy of Paris, to whom had been referred various inquiries as to accidents arising from the bursting of steam-engine boilers, have published a table of the elasticity of steam of different temperatures; which has been reduced to English measure and weight, in Mr. Brande's "Journal of Sciences," No. 36 ; as follows:
Measures of Elasticity in Pressures on Columns of Temperatures, a Square Mercury, in in Decrees Atmo- InchEng. in English of
spheres. lbs. avoir. Inches. Farenhelt.
1 14-61 29-92 212-0
2 29-23 59-84 251-6
3 43-84 ;89-76 275-0
4 58-46 119-69 293-4
5 7307 149-61 309-2
6 87-69 179-53 322-7
7 102-30 209-45 334-4
8 116-92 239-37 343-4
Prize-fichtino.—The Recorder, in his address to the grand jury, at the opening of the London Sessions.dealt some heavy blows on the pugilists; and public feeling generally seems setting strongly against them, for which they have nobody but themselves to blame. Their unprincipled treatment of each other, their late exhibitions in the police courts, and the many fatal accidents that have lately occurred, show that the Fives' Court is far from being the best school of honour and manliness. For my part, I always doubted the improving tendency of prize-fighting. There was a time when all the diversions of the people were of a violent and cruel character; cock-throwing, and the baiting and torturing of animals, were the amuse
ment of all classes, from the prince to the peasant. But it docs not appear that the mass of the English people were more courageous in the reigns of Elizabeth and James, than they now are, when barbarous diversions are only pursued by a very small and insignificant portion of the community.
Money is so plentiful that it has really become a drug. The lottery prizes lying unclaimed amount to 41,415*., and the dividends due, and not demanded, amount to 1,200,000/.
17. PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES. The
determined upon, and the scene of action will be Worcester or Warwick. The match is for 5,000 sovereigns. Three dogs are to be let loose at one time, and if one should be killed, a fresh one put on.
A similar experiment was made in the Tower in the reign of that weak and pusillanimous pedant James I., butl forget how it terminated.
It appears, rain fell during 180 days (nearly half) of the last year. No wonder sheep have the rot.—There were admitted into the British Museum last year, 112,840 persons.—There is not a "single
debate on the first reading of theCatholic case of forgery in the present Old Bailey
Association Suppression Bill is at length concluded. It occupied three days and nights, and is of such prodigious length that I am sure I shall never be able to read it. While there are so many ingenious contrivances for economizing labour, it is a pity something cannot be hit on to shorten parliamentary debates. They are becoming intolerably lengthy, and the competition among the newspapers to give them in the fullest manner, spreads them oufbeyond all reasonable limits. I have myself adopted an expedient, which I find very convenient. I never read the procemium of any hon. Member's speech—
sessions. Such a circumstance has not occurred for a number of years.—The rail roads now projected, if carried into effect, would consume iron to the value of 28 millions sterling. The 111 miles of road planned between Birmingham and Liverpool, will require 60,000 tons of iron for the rails alone, at the cost of 840,000/.— The price of wool and iron is getting up amazingly.
Brawls In Chancery.—The wigs in chancery, adopting the decorum of one of the courts below, now frequently indulge in personal squabbles; in a case of this nature last Friday, the Lord Chancellor
that part I have always found dull, pomp- thus interrupted the learned gentlemen:
"Now do let me just interpose a little of the old good humour. I am sure I need not say, when I am speaking to Mr. Home and Mr. Montagu, I am speaking to two gentlemen for whom I have a most affectionate regard; but really it is with
a point, an argument, or a joke, about the greatest pain I 6nd that most unplea
ous, and studied—and to have no particular bearing on the main question ; passing over that, I run my finger down the columns of the Morning Chronicle, till I come to a " cheer," a " laugh," or a "hear! hear!" which are sure signs that there is
that place: by these means I generally get through" the longest debate in ten minutes, without weariness, or losing anything except mere words and flourishes.
Forty new churches, it seems, are about to be erected, at the expense of govern
sant altercations have lately become in this court so common, that they distress me exceedingly; and I do hope, from this moment, we shall never hear of another within these walls."
A bookseller at the west-end is now
ment, in the Highlands of Scotland, to publishingthe"MemoirsofaLadyofPlea
each of which will be appointed a mini- sure," who publicly proclaims her shame,
ster, with a manse, and a salary of 120/. a though of a family of which one of the'
year. Some of the Highland parishes are daughters is married to a Peer. The pub
from 20 to 50 miles wide; and with all Iisher asserts he has sold 50,000 copies.
the obstructions of lakes, bogs, rivers, Campbell has been making a proposal for
mountains and torrents, will require no establishing a Metropolitan University
ordinary feats of pedestrianship in the but I think it won't do—there is not the
minister to enable him to discharge his same want of accommodation among the
parochial duties. middling as the working classes.
18.—Legality Of Wagers.—In the Went to the British Gallery, and adcourt of King's Bench the chief justice mired several pictures; was particularly
refused to allow a cause to proceed, in struck with two subjects by Hurlstoue
which a Mr. Egerton sought to recover a study from one of Paul Jones's crew
100/. from a Mr. Furzeman, which had and a Head of an Old Woman for force*
been deposited with him as the stakes truth, and nature, they are really excel
upon a dog-fight. The chief justice ob- lent; Paul Jones's old comrade positively
served that all such wagers were illegal. appears to be lo&ing out through oue of
Feature Of The Times. — The-fight his own portholes; and as for the Old
between Mr. Wombwell's lion Nero, and Woman, though certainly her powers of
six English mastiffs, or bulls, is finally exciting the tender passion are somewhat