Page images
PDF
EPUB

of the “ Mémoires du Diable” prove that the spécialité of this theatre is drama rather than vaudeville.

No, no, believe me; the répertoire of the Salle de la Bourse should consist of light and agreeable pieces, seldom exceeding one act in length, and never two; pieces got up with little expense as regards scenery and costumes, but well written and well played ; pieces, in fact, similar to the one produced there the other evening, “ Le Lion et le Rat.”

Nothing can be more simple than the donnée of this little vaudeville, the performance of which scarcely occupies three-quarters of an hour ; but during that time the audience are kept in a continual state of merriment, as well owing to the piquancy of the details, as to the exquisite talent of the actress who interprets them. For it must be owned, that by far the greater share of the success which has attended every representation of « Le Lion et le Rat” is due to Madame Doche ; nor is such acknowledgement an act of gallantry, but of simple justice. It is impossible to display more grace, finesse, or good taste in the creation of a part than that exhibited by the charming actress alluded to in her performance of Alberta, and I am happy to have the opportunity of congratulating her on her well-earned and legitimate triumph.

Madame Doche is one of the very few sterling artistss who still shed a lustre on the French stage ; she has nothing in common with those self-styled comédiennes with whom the various Parisian theatres are overstocked, and who are neither qualified by nature nor by art to maintain the position they have gradually succeeded in usurping. Ten years have elapsed since the début of Madame Doche in the Rue de Chartres ; and yet, to look at her, one would be inclined to date her first appearance on the stage from yesterday. Those ten years have at once perfected her beauty ad matured her talent ; in 1838, she was the rosebud of the Vaudeville, in 1848 she is its queen. From the very commencement of her career to the present day she has never ceased to be l'actrice à la mode ; but, unwilling to owe her supremacy to her good looks alone, she has by dint of study and application established a more lasting claim to celebrity than any which mere personal advantages could have acquired for her. To her many admirable natural qualities she has added others equally admirable, for which she is indebted solely to her own zeal and perseverance ; and it is thus that, in her double capacity of jolie femme and highly talented actress, she has secured for herself a degree of popularity to which few, very few, of her contemporaries can fairly pretend.

Not only has Madame Doche, in her creation of the merry, appleeating, nut-cracking rat, given a fresh proof of her versatility, by combining with her own matchless grace and elegance the 'irresistible piquancy of Déjazet, but she has also for ever set at rest the question, often prompted by les intrigues de coulisses, as to the reality of her talent, unaided by the prestige of diamonds and by the skill of her couturière. In “ Le Lion et le Rat,” three five-franc pieces would more than pay

for her entire costume, from her little black straw-bonnet down to her socles ; she wears no bracelets, no ear-rings, no brooch, no lace, no silks, no satins, not even an embroidered handkerchief, and yet, never, in all the splendour of her richest and most becoming toilette, never did she look one-half so pretty!

Paris, January 21, 1848.

LITERARY NOTICES.

Few could substantiate the great truth, that countries supposed to be exhausted, are by no means so, to the well-stored mind and original observer, in a more striking manner than Mr. J. S. Buckingham. A traveller or a sojourner in half the countries of the world, and a lover of nature and of man alike in all ; a spirit of humanity breathes through his writings, which brings the stranger forth in a new light, and an ardent love of a real civilisation eliminates contrasts not previously imagined, even in such well-trod and now railway-netted countries, as Belgium, the Rhine, Switzerland, and Holland.

The lovers of fairy literature will feel grateful to Mr. John Edward Taylor for having presented them with an English version of Il Pentamerone, a collection of fairy tales written in the Neapolitan dialect by Giambattista Basile in the seventeenth century, and which, although some time since made known to the Germans by the indefatigable fairy hunter Dr. Jacob Grimm, have hitherto remained unavailable to English readers. Although a puerile fondness for concetti, not palliated by our own Sir Philip Sidney's extravagance in metaphor, detracts from the charm of simplicity which should so particularly characterise fairy stories ; still these are such genuine echoes of the ancient and true myths current in the world, that they would survive any ill-treatment, and George Cruikshank's pencil illustrations are as buoyant and lightsome, as Basile's conceits are often heavy and insipid.

The Rev. Henry Christmas has, under the title of A Concise History of the Hampden Controversy, &c., given a brief history of the reverend prelate's antecedents, and a sketch of the state of society at Oxford, of the rise of the Tractarian Party, and of the views entertained on church matters by the late Regius Professor, which are at once opportune and comprehensive.

Tales having a solely moral object in view, are objected to by many as opposed to either liberty or perfection of art, and that often with much justice. Mr. Charles B. Tayler writes, however, with so much earnestness of purpose, with such power of language and description, and above all with such a serious intent, that although the story of the good and the bad apprentice has been told before by pen and by pencil, we feel assured that Messrs. Chapman & Hall will have most numerous demands made upon them for the prettily illustrated history of Mark Wilton the Merchant's Clerk.

Fitz Alwyn, the first Lord Mayor, and the Queen's Knights, is the first of a series of stories which purport to be “Tales of the Companies, or of the Citizens of Old London." They are written by a lady who belongs to the ultra-romantic school-Miss E. M. Stewart--and thus at a time when rosaries and holy-water pots were doled out in Paternoster Row, when Blackfriars was à monastery, and Charing a village, the reader will not be surprised to find kings' sons engaged in street brawls with members of the Draper's Company, mysteries in Epping Forest as dark as any thing Pyrennean, and most murderons acts being committed by a foul knight, and a hideous dwarf. The contrast with modern times is certainly very great.

“ Twenty thousand copies ! Five and thirty thousand copies ! Perhaps, both hemispheres included, hundreds of thousands of copies of one tale! Peradventure, millions of readers! Heavy responsibility! Noble vocation.” Thus exclaims the hopeful author of that excellent story Emilia Wyndham, which Mr. Colburn has just published at a price which renders the work attainable by all ; and we sincerely hope the author's expectations may be realised, as truly as well disciplined hearts, righteous consciences, and cultivated understandings exist in women.

The Rev. John Jordan has undertaken in his Scriptural Views of the Sabbath of God, not only to advocate the strict observance of the Sabbath, but also to show that the change of day for that observance from the seventh to the first, one of those points which persons of high-church views are accustomed to pride themselves upon, as a proof of the authority of the church, in other words, of tradition --- had its origin in Scripture, and not in church authority.

Several books of poetry, some of them of more than ordinary merit, claim notice this month. Hactenus: more droppings from the pen

that wrote “ A Thousand Lines,” “ The Crock of Gold,” &c., will be welcome as the effusions of an established favourite. Annesley is most assuredly a tender, beautiful, and touching poem. The purpose also-the contrast of the superior usefulness and worth of a life spent in seeking the improvement of mankind, rather than the acquisition of wealth-is noble and praiseworthy, Miss Drury will, undoubtedly, occupy a place by our Crabbes and Goldsmiths. Nimrod, a dramatic poem, in five acts, is also a very meritorious performance. As a reading drama, it possesses claims of a very high order. We wish we could say as much for Ambition, a poem in four parts, by Henry R. Pattenson. Ecclesia Dei: a vision of the church, is a poetical declamation against bishops, who, the author declares, are barely civil

, and coldly hospitable to their humbler and poorer brethren, besides being guilty of greater errors, which it is not our province to investigate.

It would be an act of positive injustice not to notice the more striking merits of certain works, which necessity compelled us to pass over last month. The Reformation in Europe, by Cesaré Cantu, is the first volume of a work of infinite labour and remarkable merit, which particularly recommends itself as the work of a liberal and enlightened Roman Catholic. Mr. Robert Snow's Observations on Imitation are

nost deserving of perusal. These observations abound in curious, learned, and quaint illustrations of the subject, that of art generally, and will be read with equal interest and advantage. Several pretty books for the young were also passed over too cursorily in proportion to their merits. Charles Boner's Book, is an entertaining and instructive collection of stories, pleasingly illustrated ; but in point of number, variety, and excellence of illustrations, My Own Annual surpasses all competitors. The Custom House of Liverpool is a real gem. The Three Paths, is another little book for the young, apparently derived from the French, but of great storied interest, and also cleverly illustrated. The Family Jo: Miller, is an exceedingly well got-up book, with a clever preface, all the best modern and old facetiæ, and illustrations by an ever welcome pencil. We must not omit to mention that the last volume of Mr. G. P. R. James's works contains the Little Ball o' Fire; or, John Marston Hall.

HUMORIS T.

CONTENTS FOR MARCH.

PAGE

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

TO CORRESPONDENTS.
Mr. AINSWORTH begs it to be distinctly understood that no Contributions what-

ever sent him, either for the New MONTHLY or Ainsworth's MAGAZINES,
will be returned. All articles are sent at the risk of the writers, who should
invariably keep copies.

A NEW AND REVISED EDITION

ОР

CRICHTON.

An Historical Romance,

BY W. HARRISON AINSWORTH,' ESQ.

WAS COMMENCED IN THE JANUARY NUMBER

OF

AINSWORTH'S MAGAZINE,

AND WILL BE CONTINUED MONTHLY UNTIL COMPLETION.

ILLUSTRATED BY HABLOT K. BROWNE.

CHAPMAN AND HALL, 186, STRAND.

« PreviousContinue »