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“ Etiquette for Ladies;” and, as a natural consequence of observing the laws of etiquette in all their rigour, “ The Etiquette of Courtship and Marriage.

The first work is already in its twenty-ninth edition! We question if X. Y. Z. can say as much, even of the palmiest of his “successful productions,” backed by the superlative commendation of the “ authoritative,” but anonymous periodicals, to which he refers. This says a good deal for the public desire to eschew the gent and become the gentleman, but when we turn to the title-page of the second volume, and see that it has flourished through thirty-five editions-(bona fide ones, of course)—we are at a loss for words to express the delight we feel in thinking how many of our fair country women must be on the high road to gentility. There is, by-the-by, an appendix to the “ Etiquette for Ladies," which may, in some degree, account for the larger sale of the work.

It treats of presentations at court, and thus sets a very tempting goal in view for those who are entered for the race. The success of “The Etiquette of Courtship and Marriage" is not announced by "editions," but by “ thousands," and the issue for 1846, the last published, has on the title-page, Seventh Thousand,” a very fair result, supposing the two first works introductory to the third. The author of the latter says, in his preface, that those “excellent little publications (Mr. Bogue, of Fleet-street, is the godfather of the whole family) suggested his own." They could scarcely fail to do so, for to any one who chooses matrimony as his momentous theme, and has the doctrine of harmonious proportions in his thoughts, it was but the working of an ordinary rule of three: as the finished gentleman is to the perfect lady, so is courtship to marriage ; it was impossible to miss the conclusion. The close of 1817 did not herald the birth of another “thousand," but this, perhaps, was owing to the panic; let us hope, as the present year is leap year, that the ladies will avail themselves of their quatrennial privilege.

We will now turn to the contents of these “excellent little publications." We shall take them in the order already named, and begin with the gentlemen, premising (though, perhaps, there was no necessity for saying so), that the author is one, for he announces his pages as “ some of the results of his own experience.” He deprecates criticism, from which he thinks his work is “ almost apart.” We are not quite of the same opinion, but we will endeavour to be as gentle as possible. And our task is the easier, for with many of his observations we entirely agree, nor have we been unamused by the anecdotes occasionally thrown in. He is not, however, scathless, and valuable as his lucubrations may be to some, they still serve to show that Job had not a bad idea of what was requisite in a critic, when he so fervently wished that his enemy would " write a book.”

The first subject discussed in the “Etiquette for Gentlemen,” is “ dress,” and here we start with a very consoling assurance. " However ugly you may be, rest assured that there is some style of dress which will make you passable. If, for example, you have a stain on your cheek which rivals in brilliancy the best Château-Margot (Margaux); or are afflicted with a nose whose lustre dims the ruby, you may dress so that the eye, instead of being shocked by the strangeness of the defect, will be reconciled at least, if not charmed, by the graceful harmony of the colours."

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Claret stains are certainly not beauty-spots, nor are “jolly noses” an object of admiration, save in song, and it is a comfort to think that these violent hues may be toned down, but what we object to in this passage is the vagueness of the remedy hinted at. Youmay dress so as to make a red nose harmonise with your garments"— but how? We should like to have acquired the information from the author's “ resources.” Is it by wearing a fireman's jacket or scarlet plush inexpressibles ? We should really be under serious obligations to the author if he would speak out in the thirtieth edition, for to tell the truth we are ourselves occasionally inconvenienced by a little more brilliancy in the tip of our pasal organ than is altogether becoming. Perhaps, however, we are wrong in concluding that our Mentor is not explicit, for in the next page we read, —“ Almost every defect may be concealed by a judicious use and arrangement of the hair.” Those who have the same passion for whiskers as the celebrated Queen of Navarre, who could never disassociate them from her ideas of beauty, will agree that, like charity, they may be made to cover a multitude of sins; but neither in wig, whiskers, nor even moustaches do we find any cure for the “ burning lamp” which made Bardolph so conspicuous when he ran up Gadshill in the night to catch Falstaff's horse. And we should be glad to discover what "judicious use" of hair can neutralise the expression of a pair of eyes that squint. But these, perhaps, are the exceptions alluded to. The strength of Samson lay in his locks, and there are not a few of the present generation who may not put in the same claim for consideration.

There are, we learn, two things absolutely necessary to be done when the gentleman has arranged his hair and dressed himself after the author's pattern. This is the first :

“ Before going to a ball or party you must be personally inspected by your servant or a friend." For want of this precaution the author

once saw a gentleman enter a ball-room, attired with scrupulous elegance, but with one of his suspenders curling in graceful festoons about his feet!” It was well for this gentleman, whose pantaloons, bythe-bye, must have set rather awkwardly, that it was so harmless a part of his attire as one of his “suspenders” (vulgo voc. “ braces.”)

And the second is as follows :

“ Upon this subject” (the effect of dress) “ the ladies are the only infallible oracles. Apart from the perfection to which they must of necessity arrive from devoting their entire eristence to such considerations" (hear this, ye “ Women of England,” taught by Mrs. Ellis, exampled by Mrs. Somerville, Miss Martineau, &c.); "they seem to be endued with an inexpressible tact, a sort of sixth sense, which reveals intuitively the proper distinctions. That your dress is approved by a man is nothing ; you cannot enjoy the high satisfaction of being perfectly comme il faut, until your performance has received the seal of a woman's approbation.” There is a difficulty here which our author does not clear up.

What he writes is intended chiefly for bachelors, who are not always in a position for consulting the “infallible oracles," nor would it be very convenient for a man to be obliged always to order his cab to set him down at Miss Eliza Smith's on his way to a party, that she might “course o'er his exteriors."

If any misadventure similar to that recorded above should have chanced, the gentleman must feel as much shocked

To see the bright eyes of the dear one discover the mistake, as if it had been exposed in a crowded room.

However, we have got our gentleman on his legs ; now, to set him in motion, the first step is “the salutation.” It is as important and difficult an act as Lord Burleigh's shake of the head.

“ According to circumstances, it should be respectful, cordial, civil, affectionate, or familiar : an inclination of the head, a gesture with the hand, the touching or doffing of the hat." As Dangle says, “ There is a vast deal to be done by dumb show and expression of the face.”

We are not, in this instance, limited to formalities ; here are special instructions. “ If

you remove your hat, you need not at the same time bend the dorsal vertebre of your body, unless you wish to be very reverential, as in saluting a bishop.”

Like Hamlet, he commends the hat to its right use ; in the case of an Osric he says,

“ If you meet a fop, whose self-consequence you wish to reprove, you may salute him in a very patronising manner ; or else, in ackuowledging his bow, look somewhat surprised, and say, “Mister-eh-eh ?!”

That is to say, reprove folly with greater folly. Our author must have learnt this rule in the school of Brummell.

Introductions are to be effected with mathematical simplicity and precision. Mr. A., Mr. B.; Mr. B., Mr. A.” Somewhat priggish this, but our friend is rigidity itself in this matter.

On“ visiting” he thus advises :-“ You must not talk about literature in a visit of condolence, nor lecture on political economy in a visit of ceremony."

We certainly should not recommend the latter in any case.
The “gentleman” must be a martyr to his word. “If

you

have an invitation to a party, never fail to keep your promise.” Well or ill, you must go, even if, like John O'Connell, you die on the floor of the house. * You may be certain that many others will break their word.” How ! In the society frequented by our gentleman! Etiquette, then, has been written in vain. • By going, you will confer a real benefit.” This is sometimes doubtful.

When the “gentleman" is invited to dinner, the author says, he must “arrive at the house rigorously at the hour specified.” We agree with him here, though we are not always prepared for such consequences as these in being too early. "You find every thing in disorder ; the master of the house is in his dressing-room ; the lady is still in the pantry; the fire not yet lighted in the parlour.". This is being “ rigorous' with a vengeance, but there is balm in Gilead—there is still a remedy. “ If you arrive too soon, you may pretend that you called to inquire the exact hour at which they dine, having mislaid the note, and then retire to walk for an appetite.We particularly recommend this plan in wet weather, -say in the month of November. The man who arrives "too late" is spoken of in terms of justifiable severity.

A good host is, in our author's estimation, a creature unmatchable.

“To perform faultlessly the honours of the table, he must have the genius of tact to perceive, and the genius of finesse to execute; ease and frankness of manner; a knowledge of the world that nothing can surprise ; a calmness of temper that nothing can disturb, and a kindness of disposition that can never be exhausted. When he receives others, he must be content to forget himself; he must relinquish all desire to shine, and even all attempts to please his guests by conversation, and rather do all in his power to let them please one another. He behaves to them without agitation, without affectation ; he pays attention without an air of protection; he encourages the timid, draws out the silent, and directs conversation without sustaining it himself. He who does not do all this, is wanting in his duty as a host ; he who does, is more than mortal.

We are entirely of the same opinion ; at the same time, we should like to dine with our author, for we shrewdly suspect he thinks there is one Amphytryon who is “more than mortal.”

The Carthusian principle is one a host is strongly enjoined to obey: “ When the master of a house carves a dish, he should not ask his guests whether they will allow him to help them, but should supply a plate in silence and give it to a servant." This may be very polite, but it strikes us as not very social ; it is the very embodiment of Timon's prayer ;“ Make the meat be beloved more than the man who gives it.” We would rather drink wine (if our author will allow us) with the statue of the Commander of Seville than with so stony a host.

Here is a delicate piece of advice with regard to the lovely Thaïs who may bappen to sit beside you :-“ If the lady be something of a gourmande, and, in over-zealous pursuit of the aroma of the wing of a pigeon, should raise an unmanageable portion to her mouth, you should cease all conversation with her, and look steadfastly into the opposite part of the room. If the fair gourmande should be a reader of the “ Etiquette for Ladies,” we hope she will never be placed in so false a position, but we admit that nothing more gentlemanlike can be imagined than “the gentleman's” behaviour, who does not even glance at “the lady” with the tail of his eye.

The following rules are slightly rococo :-“Before the cloth is removed, you do not drink wine unless with another.” Woe be to him then who refuses the sherry and hock handed round by the butler! “Champagne is drunk after the removal of the first cloth ; that is to say, between the meat and the dessert.” Again we say we pity the man who is compelled to wait so long. We would rather dine somewhere else. A high authority (Grimod de la Reynière) says;—“ Buvez du Champagne pendant le diner,” but the dinner is over if we adopt our author's rule.

We are by no means disposed to quarrel with him for objecting to the introduction of children after dinner. He calls them “ lovely nuisances," and-at this particular moment-he is right.

But the cloth is not yet off the table, we are only halfway through the gentleman's code, and our pen is at the bottom of the page, beyond which we cannot venture. We must reserve what more we have to say on “ Etiquette” till another month.

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THE OPERA.

The unknown often hath a value above the known, inasmuch as the latter is comprised within certain bounds, so that the mind can grasp it readily; whereas the former not being so limited, the fancy may disport itself, and fill up the void as it listeth. Thus, he who fancies he is admiring an actual object, often really marvels at nothing but the creatures of his own brain. Hence have political theorists, when they would sketch some country of perfect excellence, chosen some land that never existed, as the site of the beautiful state. Thus did Utopia and Eldorado become famous among men.

Our dearly beloved Burton had never tasted coffee ; nay, he even terminated its name with an “a," and he wrote concerning it in this fashion :

“ The Turks have a drink called coffa (for they use no wine), so named of a berry as black as soot, and as bitter (like that black drinke which was in use among the Lacedæmonians, and perhaps the same), which they sip still of, and sup as warm as they can suffer; they spend much time in those coffa-houses, which are somewhat like our ale-houses and tavernes, and there they sit chatting and drinking to drive away the time, and to bee merry together, because they find by experience that kind of drink so used helpeth digestion, and procureth alacrity.”

Now, we who know what coffee is, with what a smile of benevolence do we look back upon the crude conjectures of old “Democritus, junior." Right pitiable appears to us his floundering between the Spartan black broth and the modern tankard of ale. We imagine that he rather lent to the latter direction. Yes, he deemed coffee a sort of hilarious drink, a jollification-promoting beverage, wherewith he and those amiable bargemen, whose jests relieved his melancholy, might have refreshed their spirits and promoted new pleasantries. Oh, beloved Burton! collector of oddity, and immortaliser of melancholy! “ Cui vitam et mortem dedisti !"* Coffee is a very good thing in its way, but it is not the thing which you surmised. There is no fear that

any

brown-coloured divinity, his temples wreathed with the berries of Mocha, will supplant the vine-crowned Dionysus, nor that the rapid stir of the coffee-spoon will cause the clash of the Bacchic cymbal to be forgotten.

Coffee follows dinner, and the opera follows coffee, and thus we are working up to our title in regular progression of time. And we also wished to illustrate the state of mind in which an audience is placed, when an opera-bill is laid before it on the opening night of a season. A succession of new names,—what a field for conjecture !

Very often-(mind, not this season)-the expectations concerning præ-paschal vocalists have been doomed to disappointment. This was shown by the fate of the singer Melodioso, who appeared at the Opera in the year 18–

Early in the year, Melodioso came from the fair city of Neapolis to the foggy banks of the Thames, and delighted the barbarous natives by

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· Paucis notus, paucibus ignotus, hic jacet Democritus junior, cui vitam didit et mortem melancholia."-Burton's Epitaph.

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