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tactician, whose works are held by the French in high estimation. The gendarmes are another very serviceable body, more humanely disciplined than the rest of the army, for their sole duty is to make prisoners ; they are seldom known to kill their captives, and never refuse quarter. The long swords which they carry by their sides in steel scabbards are therefore not much more formidable than their enormous cocked hats, and both are well calculated to impose on an enemy,-a very important piece of strategy:
Of the light troops, it is only necessary to remark that the voltigeurs are those employed in leaping over hedges, ditches, and other obstructions, and that the duty of the eclaireurs, as their name implies, is to carry torches to light the army on a midnight march.
Such is the composition of the French army ; for its exact numerical strength, the reader is referred to the “Stranger's Diary,” in Paris, which is published every day, except Sunday, in Galignani's Messenger.
We come now to the question of resistance.
The illustrious F-ld-M-rsh—1, already adverted to, has said that the whole line of coast from the North Foreland to Selsea Bill is, with one exception, open to the attack of any enemy who
choose to make a
descent upon it. The exception, of course, is opposite Walmer Castle, as the French would never think of landing there when the d-ke is at home; and they might always be made to think so, if his gr-ce's flagthe union-jack-was kept constantly flying,—an ingenious stratagem which, I trust, the Board of Ordnance will not fail to resort to. It is a fact, which cannot be too generally made public, that, however good soldiers the French may be, they are extremely bad sailors,—I mean in the sense in which it is generally understood by little boys and ladies, who venture as far as Margate in squally weather. The truth is, they suffer greatly from sea-sickness, for which reason they would naturally prefer the shortest passage, even if the question of the long range were left out of consideration. I do not, therefore, apprehend that an invading flotilla would put to sea from Tréport, Dieppe, Fécamp, or any remoter arsenal on the Norman coast, with the intention of landing at Littlehampton, Newhaven, or Pevensey ; though I admit, as far as the lastnamed place is concerned, that there has been a precedent for it. My historical readers will at once understand that I allude to William Rufus.
I imagine, on the contrary, that the base of their operations would extend from Cape Grisnez to Gravelines, and that they would select some point on the coast of Kent; not Deal, for the reason stated above, -nor Dover, because it is very unpleasant to land there at low-water, and though the situation of a tide-waiter may be agreeable enough on dry land, it is quite the reverse when you are not on it. But, I can see no reason why they should not make an attempt on Ramsgate ; or, suppose we say, a simultaneous attack on Ramsgate, Broadstairs, and Margate. There is always water enough in Ramsgate harbour for vessels to enter; I have seen pleasure-boats go in and out at all times of the tide, and it stands to reason that what some people can do merely for pleasure, others can accomplish who are impelled by sterner motives. At Broadstairs the enemy's boats could be safely beached, there being plenty of beach to do it upon; and at Margate it cannot be difficult to land, for there are two piers, and the French could select which they pleased. None of these places, moreover, are, in my opinion, provided with adequate means of defence. There is, it is true, a place called a fort at Broadstairs, with a preventive service station attached ; and there is another preventive station beyond Pegwell, but the fort has no guns, and the men at the station have, I am afraid, no resources of their own for preventing a French army from landing. The approach of the enemy's flotilla would, no doubt, be sooner perceived on this coast than on any other, for every one is possessed of a telescope, through which he is perpetually looking out; but, except for the purpose of alarming the country and affording time for preparation, these telescopic observations could scarcely be turned to account. Again, though the courage and patriotism of the innumerable visitors to these watering-places is beyond a question, they are, after all, only an ephemeral population, here to-day and gone to-morrow, as the price of lodgings and steamboat fares may determine, and cannot, therefore, be implicitly relied on. Nor without a continuous chain of redoubts (the reader will pardon me if I am obliged to be technical), field-works of a very extensive nature, a well-organised militia, and some 20,000 or 30,000 regular troops, could any resistance be made against an invading army, protected by the fire of their own guns from the opposite shore. I, therefore, consider the Isle of Thanet to be untenable ; but, for all that, I do not abandon the hope of saving my country by an apparent inability to suggest the means of defence.
Such means exist, and in a few words I will explain them.
It is one of the peculiarities of genius to discover the value of that which ordinary minds altogether overlook, and even as early as the battle of Vimiero, the D-ke of W-11-ngt-n (then S-r A-th-r W-11-sl-y) perceived the advantages of the position of Torres Vedras. In the same manner, when passing a few days last summer, at Broadstairs, an accidental trip in a pleasure-boat, implanted in my mind a germ which, like the acorn, will one day become a British oak! The weather was very calm, and we landed for half-an-hour on the Goodwin Sands.
IT IS ON THIS VERY SPOT THAT I WOULD ESTABLISH MY LINE OF DEFENCE.
Let a camp be intrenched in that formidable position ; as it is directly in the way between France and England, the enemy, to avoid having his rear turned, would be compelled to attack it before he approached the coast ; the fortifications being of sand, no hostile batteries could make any impression on them; and as to being breached by the French vessels, every British laudsman is aware, that if a ship runs her bowsprit into the Goodwin Sands, she immediately goes to pieces.
To prove that I am not a mere theorist, but determined to submit this heureuse idée to the test, and unwilling, moreover, to expose the life of an aged warrior now reposing on his P-n-s-1-r and other laurels, I hereby offer to undertake the perilous post of commander-in-chief, My
Let this suggestion be adopted, and none of us will have to behold the “ Tragedy,” the dread of which has not only frightened this isle from its propriety, but has equally scared our opposite neighbours, who are dreadfully afraid that, nolens volens, they shall be obliged by M. G-2-t to come to invade us.
THE DRAMA IN PARIS.
BY CHARLES HERVEY, ESQ.
Opéra Comique—“Haydée"- Mademoiselle Duverger and Liévenne-Vaudevill
_" Le Lion et le Rat”-Mademoiselle Doche. SINCE the production of Halévy's “ Mousquetaires de la Reine," the almost unprecedented success of which piece is still fresh in the mind of every Parisian playgoer, the Opéra Comique has added little worthy of note to its répertoire ; neither “ Le Bouquet de l'Infante," nor “Ne touchez pas à la Reine,” though both works of promise, having obtained more than a temporary vogue. For more than a year, indeed, notwithstanding the successive revivals of “ l'Eclair,” “ Acteon,” and “ La Fiancée," and the re-engagement of Mademoiselle Darcier, after her short sojourn at the Vaudeville, the receipts have been gradually declining, and it is only since the 18th of last December that matters have taken a more favourable turn.
Yes; the approaches to the theatre, formerly deserted by day, and by night solely frequented by the bearers of billets de faveur, are now thronged morning and evening by shabbily dressed and seedy individuals, who smile in conscious importance at the ignorant tyro, who disregarding their offers of a stall or a box slightly above the regular price, marches straight to the box-office, where he is told to his unspeakable dismay that “ tout est loué.”
“ Fichtre !” says the tyro, half incredulously.
“Pas une stalle, pas même le plus petit tabouret,” continues the official, complacently contemplating his feuille du jour.
“Bigre!" mutters the amateur, quite convinced this time, but not the less determined to form one of the audience, coûte qui coûte.
The seedy men at the door, who, having taken care to secure all the remaining places, are quite satisfied as to the result of the tyro's application at the bureau, look more important than ever as he comes out, and far from attempting to accost him, converse among themselves, and even venture on a whistle with apparent indifference. The amateur looks doubtingly for a minute, first at them and then at the affiche, until, unable any longer to resist, he picks out his man and says to him “ Avez-vous une stalle ?”
mes out a greasy, well-thumbed pocket-book, and one solitary ticket (only one of course) is produced therefrom with befitting solemnity. This the seedy man eyes as if it were a relic, and on being pressed to name its price, modestly asks four times the sum he originally gave for it, adding that he would 'much rather not sell it at all, being sure to make double the money by it later in the day. The amateur, at first horrified by the overcharge, takes another look at the affiche, and then at the ticket, which is on the point of disappearing between the folds of the pocket-book ; he hesitates, but not for long ; in another minute the fivefranc pieces are chinking in the hand of the seedy man, and the latter, rejoining his comrades, who have been silent, but attentive, spectators of the whole scene, surveys them with an air of quiet self-approbation, as much as to say, “Ce n'est pas plus difficile
And what has been the cause of this improvement in M. Basset's finances ? Simply the production of Scribe and Auber's “Haydée." Do
not imagine, however, that this new offspring of the Siamese twins alluded to bears the slightest affinity to the “ Domino Noir," 6 La Part du Diable,” “ Les Diamans de la Couronne," or, indeed, to any of the former productions of the gifted pair! On the contrary, “ Haydée” can only be styled a comic opera, inasmuch as it is performed at the Opéra Comique, reminding one of Arnal's definition of a capitalist, “parcequ'il habite la capitale.” In truth, throughout the entire three acts, there is very little to make one laugh, and a good deal, I am sorry to say, to make one yawn; the plot is at once improbable and deficient in sustained interest, and the music, although in part redeemed by several real Auber-like gems of melody, is generally of too serious a character to please the habitués of the theatre.
But then the execution, as far as Roger is concerned, is perfect; nothing can be more dramatic than his acting, or more touchingly beautiful than his singing. The whole weight of the piece is on his shoulders, and nobly does he bear it. Roger, it is said, has accepted an engagement at the Académie Royale from next November; may he not have reason to regret his determination! May M. Girard's drums and trumpets, and M. Halévy's instrumental thunders, deal lightly with his exquisite organ! His departure leaves M. Basset without a leading tenor, neither Mocker nor Audran, nor even Couderc (whose re-engagement is talked of), having sufficiently powerful voices to do justice to such characters as Georges, in “ L'Eclair," Rafäel, in “La Part du Diable,” or D’Entragues in “ Les Mousquetaires de la Reine.”
But to return to “ Haydee,” and its other interpreters, Messrs. Audran, Hermann-Léon, Ricquier, Mademoiselles Lavoye and Grimm. The first of these has an agreeable tenor voice, especially for ballad singing, but is an indifferent actor; the second, Hermann-Léon, the basso of the troupe, and in “ Haydée,” a sort of minor Mephistopheles, or Bertram, both sings and acts very creditably; and the third, Ricquier, is an amusing actor, but cannot sing at all.' Mademoiselle Lavoye always puts me in mind of an ingeniously constructed and properly wound up automaton, so coldly correct is her singing, and so utterly inanimate her acting : whether the part undertaken by her be serious or comic, she never moves a muscle of her countenance beyond what is absolutely necessary to give utterance to each successive note. Her singing is most mechanical and most accurate, so accurate, indeed, that I would give worlds to hear her let slip a few wrong notes now and then, just by way of variety; for, however perfect a musician she may be, I cannot help thinking with Anna, in “ Trop Heureuse,” that, in the case of Mademoiselle Lavoye at all events, “ la perfection-c'est très ennuyeux.”
As for Mademoiselle Grimm, she is but a beginner, but her voice is infinitely fresher and more simpatica than that of her chef d'emploi.
Nothing can be richer or in better taste than the scenery, costumes, and getting up of “ Haydée;" indeed, I am of opinion that Roger and the decorator might each very justly be entitled to say alternately, “Le succès, c'est moi !"
Mademoiselles Duverger and Liévenne are, perhaps, of all French actresses the most migratory in their habits ; both are perpetually on the move, and perpetually contracting new engagements which are sure to be broken at the expiration of a month or two. No sooner have their names appeared on the affiche than they disappear again ; and as their managers receive for each disappearance a dédit of some five or ten thousand francs, they are the last to complain. Now as far as Mademoiselle Liévenne is concerned, her presence on or absence from the stage, is, to the public in general, a matter of the most absolute indifference ; mais la belle Augustine, c'est autre chose! The one is certainly a handsome woman, though much gone off, but can neither act nor sing ; the other is, to say the very least, equally good-looking, and has some idea of acting, I wish I could add of singing. Moreover, she dresses expensively and well, and as her toilette or her fine eyes (why will she paint her eyelids, by the way, when nature has done her best for them ?) or, perhaps, the two together are decidedly instrumental in filling the stalles d'orchestre, she has a fair claim to be ranked among the important members of whatever company she may belong to.
After creating, and playing for a few nights at the Palais Royal the part of la Comtesse Dubarry (another name for Lola Montes) in the new and exceedingly droll revue of “ Le Banc d'Huitres,” she has once more vanished suddenly and mysteriously, her place being supplied by Mademoiselle Liévenne, engaged at a few hours' notice to personate the dashing Lola. It is confidently whispered that Mademoiselle Duverger is about to contract an advantageous marriage, and that this time she has taken a final leave of the stage.
Nous verrons bien.
A little one-act piece has just been played at the Vaudeville, the success obtained by which would seem to prove, that in once more returning to its ancient spécialité,—the gay and lively Vaudeville of the Rue de Chartres——this theatre might possibly regain the popularity it formerly enjoyed in the days when the bait held out to the public was amusement, instead of what it now too frequently is, ennui. Then the evening's entertainment consisted of four short pieces, each abounding in fun and frolic; now three, and sometimes five-act dramas, occupy the affiche, and it is only at rare intervals that the joyous laugh, which still remains faithful to the Variétés and Palais Royal, is heard in this theatre, where Momus once. reigned supreme.
It is an undoubted fact, that for the last ten years only one drama represented at the Vaudeville has ever obtained a succès d'argent; though many others, thanks to the talent of the actors, have enjoyed a temporary vogue. That one exception is the famous “ Mémoires du Diable," a piece admirably written, admirably charpentée, and inimitably played. Its popularity is still immense ; no other piece in the répertoire possesses the same attractive quality, and it is a common practice with the mysterious powers, whose duty it is to determine the spectacle for the ensuing day, to transmit to the printer, when the receipts have been unusually low, the following decree
“ Qu'on affiche les mémoires .!"
But it is by no means a matter of course that because one chef d'æuvre succeeds, a pendant to it should be easily found; and this the different managers of the Vaudeville have discovered to their cost. Each of them has in his turn anticipated a similar triumph for some favourite piece, and each in his turn has been disappointed. A rule is not the less general because one exception to it has been found, nor does the success