Page images
PDF
EPUB

from Russia, and joined the troupe of the Variétés. The climate of the north has not been favourable to her, nor has she, during her absence from Paris, made any great progress as an actress ; moreover, the agreeable voice she once possessed, has dwindled into a mere chirp, necessitating the substitution, in the characters allotted her, of spoken dialogue for couplets. By those who now see Mademoiselle Page for the first time, she will naturally be thought a handsome woman ; but my own recollections of her past attractions are still too vivid to admit of my confounding the Mademoiselle Page of 1848 with her of 1843, one of whose numerous adorers commenced a passionate address to her with these words, “Soyez la plus belle page de ma vie !"

I ought to add that in the new piece just produced for Bouffé, “ Le Pouvoir d'une Femme,” Mademoiselle Page is seen to far greater

advantage than in the proverbe selected for her début.

The vaudeville of “Le Marquis de Lauzun," played nightly by Déjazet at the Variétés, is simply a dramatic version of Eugène Sue's novel “ Le Vicomte de Létorière,” which title it would doubtless have borne, had not the same actress's répertoire already included a piece similarly named. “ Lauzun” is in itself a very slight affair, in fact, a mere canevas, which Déjazet embroiders with wonderful skill and versatility. Now a grave scholar, passionately fond of Horace (by the way, it is Persius in the original) ; now an intrepid sportsman ; now a timid youth, blushing at hearing himself speak ; and now a gay and brilliant marquis, un vrai muguet de la cour; she is, in every character assumed by her, equally at home and equally charming. Then her voice, so exquisitely musical, so touchingly melodious in its parting appeal to the audience; and her manner, so full of sprightly grace and vivacity! Well may the claqueurs complain that their office is a sinecure when she is on the stage, and that their hired enthusiasm is lost amid the plaudits of the genuine public. Long, long mayst thou enjoy those plaudits, excellent, inimitable Virginie !

A little one-act à-propos, called “ Les Filles de la Liberté," has just been produced at the Gymnase. Its literary merits are of a very common-place order ; but as its principal interpreters are Mademoiselles Rose and Anna Chéri, Désirée, Melcy, Eugénie Sauvage, and Marthe, the public sit it out very complacently. All these ladies play with spirit, especially that merry little sorceress Désirée, who looks le gamin de Paris to the life. Verily, she well deserves her name; so pretty and gentille a creature could never, even in a less gallant country than France, fail to be désirée !

I don't know whether my readers (if I have any) are confirmed antipunsters, or whether they have a weakness for an occasional calembourg. At any rate I must risk one to wind up this brief article, necessarily brief, there being positively nothing to talk or write about.

Pourquoi," said one of my neighbours in the stalls at the opera the other evening, during the performance of some intricate evolutions by a group of coryphées in “Griseldis," introduced to give Carlotta time to take breath between the andante and allegro of her pas. Pourquoi une danseuse n'a-t-elle pas besoin du souffleur ?

I gave it up. Parcequ'en dansant elle s'essouffle (se souffle) elle meme." P.S. Adeline Plunkett has just been re-engaged at the Opera. Trés

“ Robert Macaire,” is in rehearsal for Frédérick. Encore mieur. Paris, March 20, 1848.

bien ;

LITERARY NOTICES.

THE CHETHAM SOCIETY.. ONE of the distinguishing features of the antiquarianism of our time is the multiplicity of societies which have risen up in the course of a few years for the publication of the literary monuments of former days. The grand example was set by the Camden Society, founded in London in the year 1838 ; and this was followed almost immediately by three or four other similar societies, such as the Percy Society, the Shakspeare Society, &c., some of which were more restricted in their objects, and lasted but a short time, while others not only rivalled, but even outshone their prototype. The success of metropolitan societies soon led to the formation of local societies, on the same plan, for the publication of works illustrative of the history or antiquities of particular counties, some of which have also produced good fruits. Foremost of the latter stands the Chetham Society, formed by a small party of Manchester antiquaries in 1844, for the publication of historical and literary remains connected with the counties of Lancaster and Chester, and it has now been carried on through four years with great zeal and judgment, the volume before us being the thirteenth of its publications. The society, we believe, originated with Dr. Holme ; Mr. James Crossley ; Mr. James Heywood, now M.P.; Dr. Hibbert Ware, the learned author of the “ Philosophy of Apparitions," and the historian of the Collegiate Church (now the cathedral) of Manchester; the Rev. Canon Parkinson, author of a delightful little local book, the “Old Church Clock," as well as of a charming volume of poems, to say nothing of his theological writings; the Rev. Thomas Corser, of Stand, a well-known collector of rare books; Dr. Fleming ; Dr. Ormerod, the historian of Cheshire, and one or two other equally distinguished gentlemen of that neighbourhood. Dr. Holme was the first president, on whose recent decease the presidency was given to Mr. Crossley, whose extensive reading and acquirements well entitled him to the honour.

It is not our intention to make a review of the thirteen volumes that have already issued from the Chetham Society's press, which would far exceed the space we can conveniently devote to the subject. We will only observe that they are mostly of great value as connected more or less with local history, and that many of them are highly interesting to the general reader. Indeed the connexion of some of them with the immediate locality is slight, and consists more in the local connexions of the writer, than in the local character of the work. This is the case with the book last published, to which our attention is at present confined—the first volume of the “Diary and Correspondence of Dr. Worthington,” master of Jesus College, Cambridge, in the middle of the seventeenth century, carefully edited by Mr. Crossley, and illustrated by very copious and valuable notes.

Dr. Worthington was a remarkable individual, who held a prominent position in one of our universities during a very eventful period of English history. That university had been recently purged by a severe puritanical visitation ; and the strict formalities of academical discipline which had prevailed in olden times, were modified, but rendered almost more intense

Remains, Historical and Literary, connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester, published by the Chetham Society; vol. xiii.-“The Diary and Correspondence of Dr. John Worthington.” Edited by John Crossley, Esq. 4to, 1847. April.-VOL. LXXXII. NO. CCCXXVIII.

2 M

by the new doctrines of the age. Worthington had been made master of Jesus under the Commonwealth ; and at the Restoration he was obliged to vacate in favour of the loyal Dr. Sterne, who had been ejected at the commencement of the civil wars, and with this period ends his close connexion with the university ; but he still remained a highly respected minister of the Church of England, and continued all his life closely connected with the learning and literature of his country. Worthington was in the habit, like many men of that and the preceding age, of noting down the principal occurrences in which he was concerned on the margin of his almanacs or in other books, probably that they might serve as evidences or as helps to memory in a troubled age, when no man knew for what he might some day be called to account ; and these, transcribed originally by the industrious collector, Baker, of St. John's, form what is termed, Worthington's Diary. They are extremely brief ; and relate either to his own private affairs, or to his proceedings in the university, but they throw much light on university life and on church affairs at the period when their writer flourished. From them we learn that under the reign of the Puritans, students at college were exposed to the same temptations and were led astray in the same manner as in modern times.

On the whole, the most valuable part of Dr. Worthington's papers consists of his correspondence, which Mr. Crossley has, we think, very judiciously thrown into one consecutive series with the diary. These letters display the writer's character and opinions far more than the meagre entries of the diary ; many of them relate to the affairs of the church, and to matters now of minor interest ; but they contain, here and there, very curious notices of historical events, especially in the latter part, which will be included in the second volume, not yet published, the present volume ending with the year 1661. As perhaps the most remarkable example of such allusions, we cannot resist the temptation of giving from Baker's MS. in the British Museum (MS. Harl., No. 7045, p. 153), Dr. Worthington's graphic account of the confusion attendant on the great fire of London, from a letter to Dr. Evans (one of his friends), dated September 11, 1666, only a few days after the destruction of the city. He had then the cure of the church of St. Benet Fynk. After speaking of some of his private affairs, Dr. Worthington proceeds to say,

By reason of this late dreadful fire, the church, the house, and the whole parish is consumed, and the people scattered (every one shifting for himself) so that I shall lose in what was due for the two years I preached there, and would have been due at Michaelmas, at least ninety pounds (as I have computed the particulars) which, though it make no great report and sound in the ears of the great and rich to abundance, yet it is as much to me as their thousands to some; nor could I have held out so long, had I not been helped by a little I have, which is little enough for a family of eight persons. By reason of the fire's coming on so suddenly, and the great confusion at such a time, I lost several goods in the house. Some I forgot in this distraction, and some I had not time to remove, having none to help me, but one maid. My wife was not well, and others in the family were to be tended, not being well; so that I had not the hands and help which else I might have had. Some trunks that I removed had like to have been lost in the streets; they were thrown down and trampled in the dirt, and were given for lost, but at last very hardly recovered. The best of my trunks was left to the flames. It stood in a corner, and out of sight; and some things of far better value and price than we carried away, were also lost and consumed. Next to the danger of the fire was the confusion in the streets (in ours especially, being a great thoroughfare), so that, to me, it was a wonder that many were not crowded to death, or trampled and crushed to pieces by carts and horses. Several lost their goods after they were carried out, losing the porters in the crowd. Sometimes I have seen places in the street all strewed with feathers, which might be the destruction of beds. One burden which I sent, I thought had been lost, the porter not appearing of a long time: and one porter that carried away a chest for me, finding it heavy, left it in the streets in a corner, and we saw him no more, but happily got our chest again. Some porters would go away

after the first carriage, and then we were to seek new ones. It is impossible for any one that was an eye-witness to express, or the absent to imagine, the dreadful. ness of this conflagration, the confusion in the streets and at the gates (where people were forced to stay an incredible time to get through with their burden), the consternation and amazement of men's minds. Every one is now ready to say, that they might have preserved more of their goods, or secured more houses from the fire; but at that time their reason and dexterity was half taken from them, that they rather gazed upon the flames, and went about their business in a hurry, than acted rationally. I stayed as long as I could in the house and, night coming on, I was to go to Hackney. Many are quite undone, others almost. Bee* hath lost 60001. ; some say 10,0001. Other booksellers 40001. or 20001. Dr. Bates has lost 2001. in books. Dr. Tuckney's library in Scriviners' Hall was burnt ; Sion College destroyed, and many of the books. Gresham College was preserved by the activity and bounty of some in it. And the fire was stoppedin Broad Street: the Dutch minister's housesand Dr. Bolton's house being burnt, but the Dutch Church not burnt, and but a little of Dr. Bolton's on the south end. Sir Nath. Barnardiston, in St. Martin Outwich parish, by the bounty of his purse engaged men to work hard, and stopped the fire there. And so it was stopped at Aldersgate and elsewhere. Of ninety-seven parish churches, there are but twelve remaining. Of the rest, only the walls or some pieces of the steeples. If it were not for these, it could not be known were the streets were. Blackfriars Church (that had no steeple) is so buried in the heaps, that the old clerk, who hath been there forty years, could not discern where the church had stood. The Exchange was gone in less than an hour. I walked over part of the ruined city, that I might be the more sensibly affected, as none can be but by seeing it, and I think that such a mortifying sight is worth a journey, that men may be the more convinced of the uncertainty and vanity of things below.

The portion of these papers which gives most general interest to Mr. Crossley’s volumes, consists of the letters from the celebrated Samuel Hartlib(Milton's friend), who furnishes Dr. Worthington with regular and rather full intelligence of all that was going on among the learned men of England and of the Continent, and every one who has seen a letter of Hartlib's knows what a gossipping scholar he was. These, with Mr. Crossley's very laborious and valuable notes, exhibiting every kind of research, make the book a complete epitome of the learned literature of this part of the seventeenth century. The information, indeed, to be gleaned from the notes, is quite remarkable, and will render it a most useful book of general reference. We will only remark, in conclusion, that one of Dr. Worthington's letters to Hartlib contains a curious list of the lost works of the poet Spencer, with some suggestions as to where they then lay concealed ; on which Mr. Crossley observes that, “Of these pieces, none of which have ever been retrieved, his conclusion of the · Faery Queen, and his “ English Poet,' are unquestionably those the loss of which is most to be regretted.” We have been informed that a portion of Spencer's papers, containing apparently several of his poems supposed to be lost, are still in existence in Ireland'; and we believe that the late Dr. Maginn had seen among them the conclusion of the Faery Queen,” the destruction of which has been so often regretted.

* A noted bookseller of London at that time,

ner.

TRIALS OF DOMESTIC LIFE. Mrs. Bray always tells her stories in a straightforward, honest man

There is none of that mawkish sentimentality, or pseudo-philanthropy which is crowded into the pages of the fashionable novel of the day. The traditions and incidents of provincial family history have furnished her with such rich materials, that she can afford to set to work with her subject-matter at once ; once started, she never deviates from the thread of her history ; and thus, from the beginning to the end of her heart-thrilling domestic stories, the interest never flags for a moment. This we should think was the perfection of story-telling, although it may not be a sufficiently refined and high art to satisfy others. There is, however, that which is superior to all art ; a sound morality pervading all her writings; and at the same time an earnest desire to preserve those traditions connected with the more mysterious phases of humanity'; which are too generally neglected in the more prosaic and matter-of-fact details of life.

"! Mr. Fountaine was one of that rude race of country gentlemen who, alas, were by no means uncommon, especially in the more remote counties of England, about the time of his standing. His education had been of the roughest and most neglected kind. Coming into possession, when still young, of a great estate, he was accomplished in nothing but a knowledge of horses and dogs. He sought, also, the company only of those who were devoted to similar pursuits, and, by his boisterous energy, he obtained an unenviable pre-eminence, both at home and abroad, over the punch-bowl or in the hunting-field. Yet, with all this, Nature had given to Mr. Fountaine a strong and clear understanding, the most ardent feelings, passions no less vehement, and a resolution which, whether rightly or wrongly directed, nothing could shake. 3. Mri Fountaine united himself in marriage with a woman of elegant manners and refined feeling ; to whom he was devotedly attached, and yet, to whom he only acted the part of a coarse and tyrannical husband; for, both in his pleasures and his passions, he was alike a despot. His temper became still worse from disappointment at his wife bearing to him successively three daughters, but no son. When, however, Mrs. Fountaine was carried off in the prime of life, the bereavement made a very strong impression upon Mr. Fountaine's character. He especially turned for solace to his daughters, and on Elizabeth, the youngest, who, in person, temper, and character, was most like himself, he especially doated, and she was his openly avowed favourite.

Now, however, came the time to which all the subsequent misfortunes that befel the Fountaine family attach themselves, and with which the moral of Mrs. Bray's story especially connects itself

. Mr. Fountaine bad not only no pursuits worthy of himself, but he had also no desirable society. His arbitrary manners had driven all the neighbouring gentry, except a few rollicking sportsmen, from his doors, and the few ladies who had been intimate with Mrs. Fountaine found little temptation to continue their friendship at a house where there was no one but such a man as Mr. Fountaine to give them a half civil, half rude reception. The consequences, it can

readily be imagined, were most injurious to Mr. Fountaine's daughters. The girls from their very childhood, became accustomed to no better society than fox-hunting, punch-drinking squires.

Trials of Domestic Lifc. By Mrs. Bray, author of “The White Hoods," &c. 3 vols. Henry Colburn,

« PreviousContinue »