Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

“ will ever be made generally accessible,” he Press," which preceded Miss Edgeworth's states that “permission” has been given “to books, and some of the sensation novels of quote liberally from them.” This matter of our own day which have come after them, we the "permission” has since been publicly have no reason to be ashamed of the pleadenied, in a communication to the Athenaum, sure we once took (and which may be taken by M. Packenham Edgeworth, one of the again) in those still unsurpassed storie of editors of the work, in the name of his “Parent's Assistant," the “Moral Tales," associates, “who have the sole right to grant · Ennui,” and others, artificial as they may that permission.” Under these circumstan- in some respects be considered. As for the ces, it may be questioned whether, for the Irish stories, their humor and character are present at least, that hungry Oliver Twist, not to be questioned. the public, who in such cases is “always The anecdotes of this Memoir, preserved asking for more,” will not have to sit down in her diaries or correspondence by Miss with the portion thus surreptitiously ladled Edgeworth, are charming. Mr. Pakenham out by the reviewer. It certainly leaves us Edgeworth certainly must relent before he with a good appetite; nor can we think that would deprive the world of such characteristic any harm would come from assimilating the morsels as those of Mrs. Siddons and Sheridan, whole.

Talma and Napoleon. Miss Edgeworth meets The lesson of Miss Edgeworth's life, like Mrs. Siddons at a literary party given by that of her writings, was eminently whole- Lydia White, and gets this capital story of some and practical. This was known before, tbe hold traditions have upon the stage, and, and was sufficiently certified to by the ad. for that matter, in a great many other demiration of Sir Walter Scott for her personal partments of human action: character, and the general report of her con. She gave us the history of her first acting of temporaries who met her in society. It Lady Macbeth, and of her resolving, in the sleep appears at every turn in the reviewer's well- scene, to lay down the candlestick, contrary to the

precedent of Mrs. Pritchard and all the traditions, filled pages; for it will probably be found he

before she began to wash her hands and say, “Out has made the most of his opportunity, and, vile spot !” Sheridan knocked violently at her door as a good reviewer he was bound to do, during the five minutes she had desired entirely to squeezed the orange pretty effectually. There herself, to compose her spirts before the play began.

He burst in, and prophesied th:1t she would ruin is no occasion to follow him in detail in these

herself for ever if she persevered in this resolution interesting passages, which will be universally

to lay down the candlestick! She persisted, howread; but it is worth noting how admirably ever, in her determination-succeeded, was apthe author in private meets the expectation

plauded, and Sheridan begged her pardon. She

described well the awe she felt, and the power which would be formed from her writings, in

of the excitement given to her by the sight of making the best of a carcer not without its

Burke, Fox, Sheridan, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, difficulties, in voluntary self-sacrifice of in

in the pit. clination to the claims of prudence, in all the

The Napoleon story was told by Sir Hum“prime wisdom” of daily life, its forbear

phry Davy. ance, its cheerful activities, its unfailing use.

Sir Humphry repeated to us a remarkable cri. fulness, its unceasing mental and moral cul.

ticism of Buonaparte's on Talma's acting: “ You tivation. Miss Edgeworth's writings do not, don't play Nero well; you gesticulate too much; indeed, round the whole compass of human you speak with too much vehemence. A despot

does not need all that: be need only pronounce, thought and emotion; there may be other

. Il sait qu'il se suffit.'" And," added Talmı, motives than those which she employs, and

who told this to Sir Humphry, “ Buona parte, as he other results than those which she exhibits; said this, folded his arms in his well-known marbut their influence is always sound, and they ner, and stood as if his attitude expressed the have some sterling practical qualities of humor sentiment." and good sense

e-for instance, in illustrating An anecdote of the literary precocity of and enforcing every-day duties, which the the present Earl Stanhope, from a letter by corresponding literature of the day frequently Miss Edgeworth’s in August, 1813, has a aimed so high to attain. There is no vapory curious interest: “We have just seen a cloudland in Miss Edgeworth's writings. We journal by a little boy of eight years old, of walk upon the solid earth, among good and a royage from England to Sicily; the boy is bad boys and girls and good and bad men Lord Mabon's son, Lard Carrington's grandand women, and learn how to choose our It is one of the best journals I ever company and strengthen our footsteps. When read, full of facts ; exactly the writing of a we look at the productions of the “Minerva child, but a very clever child."

son,

Mr. HEPWORTH Dixon's book, Spiritual “spiritual.” Mr. Dixon should have had Wives, fully deserves the reprobation it has re- more regard to the ordinary good sense and ceived on all hands. Its title is a complete virtue of the community, than to term any of misnomer, since it can hardly be claimed that the adulterous connections which he details, outrages on morality of Brigham Young in apparently with great relish, too, as spiritual. America, and similar outrages on the part of They are, rather, earthly, sensual, devilish, as Prince in England, and of certain others in the Bible teaches. The book is a strange Germany, are in any sense of the word medley, offensive to decent readers.

TABLE-TALK.

The dinner given at Delmonico's on the her claims, was so convincing in its logic, and 24th of June to the Chinese Ambassadors was so persuading in its manner, that the walls of one of the rare exceptions to the usual dul- our Caucasian prejudice fell fiat before the orness of ceremonial entertainments. It some. ator's trumpet. In our own particular case, times seems as tedious as a time-told tale to however, this was not much of a surrender, find ourselves marching into the very large for we have always had a weakness for the and very handsome dining-room where we Chinese, and should never have the heart to have so often assisted our “distinguished fel. entertain an evil thought against the nation low-citizens,” in our humble way, to do honor who gave us the gift of tea alone, to say noto famous people from over seas, or from thing of other trifles, such as the inventions nearer home. But, on this occasion, every of printing, gunpowder, and the mariner's thing was delightful. Imagine the smiles compass, with compliments and the Golden that played about the venerable faces of Suns- Rule. After Mr. Burlingame came Mr. Evarts, Tajen and Chi-Tajen as the waiters placed whose speech must have astonished those who before their astonished eyes the familiar bird's- only knew him by his other speech on the imnest, nid d'oiseau au mandarin, but pre- peachment trial. This was as light as that pared with a delicacy, such as even the Em- was heavy, as full of point as that was dull, peror's Chef never attained to in his moments as sparkling as that was flat. It ran round of highest inspiration! Hardly, too, had the tables, that Mr. Evarts was showing the they recovered from their surprise when suc- Republicans who had found fault with him cessive dainties familiar to them from child- for defending the President, bow much bood, were floated airily over their shoulders they were mistaken, for, if he had really meant by the white-cravated ganymedes; Puppidog to defend him, they might now see what ál Empire, Rat d ravir sauce piquante ; -it powers he could have brought to the task. was a positive pleasure to see the grave Mon- There was no need of his burying Mr. Johnson golian faces wrinkle into smiles, and their under such a mountain of dulness, and in con. bead-eyes twinkle with delight as they found sequence, he did it in the interest of Radisomething they could be sure of in the midst calism, for might he not have met Mr. Butler of this wilderness of unknown dishes. As for with wit for wit, subtlety for subtlety, and the speeches, nothing could have been better. turned the laugh against him and his cause, Mr. Burlingame showed himself a natural or- if he had been so minded ? Our Chinese ator, and took the Chinese side so enthusias friends are gone, after having had, no doubt, tically and earnestly that one almost looked to a right good time. In public and private we see the national pig-tail sprout from his have given them a hundred evidences of our head. As Chi-Tajen jocosely remarked to Mr. good-will, and we most heartily wish that Brown, “he was more Chinese than the Chi- wherever the Embassy may go in its mission, nese themselves." At least we so interpreted it may meet as warm a welcome as it found the words as they fell from the Ambassador's in New York. lips, though, as is usual in China, they took the form of a proverb. But this seemed to No doubt many of our readers enjoyed be the sense of the remark,—“The robe that with us the procession of the German marks. has lain in the musk, is more fragrant than the men—the Schutzenfest-on the occasion of musk-ball.” But, Mr. Burlingame made out their annual meeting in the last week of June. his case in a most convincing fashion, and There were several things to be noted in rehis plea for justice to China in our diplo- lation to that procession. One is the admirmacy, and justice to her in our judgment of able way in which the costumes were got up,

&

by which it was intended to represent the suggestive. Its motive was a fruitful hint, invention and developinent of shooting wea- for it showed a host of industrious citizens pons. This portion of the procession was who know the value of play, and are not uslered by six mounted heralds in the costume ashamed to make a yearly holiday with no of the Middle Ages representing the nationali- excuse but the love of play to give it authorties of France, England, Italy, Germany, Spain ity. And the intelligence of these faces, the and Switzerland. Then came the Marshal of order of the whole, the energy without turthe Division and bis aids in the dress of the bulence that ran through this long line like a Landsknechte of the time of George von spinal cord. There was no element of disFrondsberg. Six Teuton warriors with tat- turbance in it. As was remarked, when St. tooed bodies and bear-skin robes picturesquely Patrick leads his line through the street, ladies hinted at barbaric times. Then came Wil- run ip doors and drag their children after liam Tell and bis Son, this last a most charm- ther, for who knows on what corner the maring boy in a most becomingly beautiful dress, shals will lead their men into a bloody fight? and following close upon them six cross-bow- These Germans neither broke our Sabbath men in the costume of the eleventh century. peace nor defied the week-day law. They This was the second period, and as Tell had in- were obliged to take the street from us for an troduced that, so Berthold Schwartz, the inven- hour or so, but they made amends by filling it tor of gunpowder led in the day that dawned at from side to side with manly men, and manly Crecy. Following him were six men each hav. manners, with gay colors and good music, and ing the old fire-lock musket with rest, habited made us glad beside, with the conviction that in the costume of the Queen's Musketeers of the our German fellow-citizens are lovers and sixteenth century. Behind these, six Tyrolese defenders of the law, and that our social order in the dress of their canton with short rifles, has nothing to fear from them either in the and at their head Andreas Hofer. Then, present or the future. with a short skip to this present year of grace, six American sharpshooters with the most Ristori bade what we suppose will prove a approved breech-loading rifles, and last of all final farewell to America, on Friday the 26th the Gatling gun, the last word of murder by of June, when she played Queen Elizabeth the wholesale, that waits its time to speak on at a morning performance. She sailed for the field of war. Now, all these costumes Europe on Saturday. In the course of her were deserving of something more than a two visits to America, she played 349 times, word of passing commendation, for in the first and considering that she spoke a foreign place the notion of the group was apt and in- tongue, she certainly showed great power to genious, and the way in which it was carried hold her audience, and gained a remarkable out was simply perfect. It deserves, what it popularity. In our opinion, Ristori cannot did not receive, cheers, and flowers, and be called a great actress, for that title is only handkerchiefs, along the whole line. It was earned by genius, and genius cannot be prea beautiful sight, for the men were picked dicated of her. She does not rank with men of a manly and handsome race, and the Siddons, and Rachel, and Kean, but with costumes were most accurate in cut and color, Cushman, and Macready, and Talma, the actors they reproduced old pictures with a vivid re- of eminent talent. Nothing can be more unality. The rest of the procession was like all satisfactory than comparison of Ristori with processions, remarkable perhaps for its order Rachel, for no comparison is possible between and decorum, and for the bearing of the men, natures so different as theirs, and forms of art but the best of all was in that little bit of poet- so opposite and so opposed. In nearly every ry that led the van. When one sees a Saint thing that Ristori did, there was a taint of Patrick's procession—ten thousand men in vulgarity, and in some of her parts, there was black suits, black hats and green scarfs, or an more than a taint of this vice; it permeated American procession, ten thousand men in the whole conception, and was present every black suits, black hats and no green scarfs, where in the acting. She was, no doubt, and then see a procession like this of the herself most strongly drawn to plays of pure Schutzenfest, with color and costume all along melodrama like Marie Antoinette, which is the line, and one bright bit of culture, one one prolonged butchery, and smells of blood small but choice fruit of poetry, and learning, from end to end. Considering how good her in its most conspicuous part, he feels that the nature is said to be, how refined her manners, German has a lesson to teach him.

Not one and how retiring and delicate her private life, but many, for the procession was many ways one is amazed to see how she goes through without flinching this most horrible play. painstaking, conscientious member of the proThose who have not seen the Marie Antoi. fession. She cannot have reached her pres. nette, and who have seen Charlotte Cushman ent position without an amazing amount of in the last scene of Oliver Twist, when she hard work, and patient industry.

But, all comes in reeking in her own gore after hav- this does not make her a great artist ; nor do ing been butchered by Bill Sykes, may fancy we mean to say that Ristori bad not gifts that what a play must be that is full of scenes as were worth all this culture. She had great horrible as this from beginning to end. So talent. She had a fine face, wonderfully mobile far as art is concerned, it is our duty to say and expressive, and a voice most musical and what we believe, that Marie Antoinette and varied in its power. She had defects that interthe White Fawn are on precisely the same fered with the presentment of some of her parts. plane. The one appeals to the tiger in our Her figure was far from good, and she was not blood, and the other to the ape and goat that as tall as was desirable. She had but little lurk in us. And the evil that is in this play, taste in dress, though sometimes her dress was is one that is in many others in Ristori's list. admirable, as in the first and third acts of She chooses subjects that admit this mode of Elizabeth, though when one compared these treatment, and she forces it into those to costumes with the dresses in her Adrienne, which it does not naturally belong. Nothing and in her Marie Antoinette, we mean the can be more repulsive to the sense of art dresses meant to be splendid or merely elegant, than the last act in her Elizabeth. It is un- it was to be suspected that where the dresses true to pature. It is untrue to history. It were good, they were dictated to ber, and where is a scene at which the delicate mind revolts. they were bad, she devised them for herself. But it is also a scene which need not have Thus even on the side of art, she did not satisfy been so presented. Dalaroche, in his noble the severest demand, and she committed so picture bas made it deeply affecting in its many offences against art and against taste, grandeur. As we read the story in history, that we cannot sincerely regret her departure it stirs the heart with awful pity. But it was or desire her return. perfectly possible to see Ristori act it, and to refrain from either tears or pity. In her Now that our relations with China and hands it was both ludicrous and disgusting. Japan are growing closer, and it is becoming So, in the last scene of her Pia, and in the common to meet with their beautiful, and it death of Adrienne, the morbid love of the may be added, in the case of Japan, with horrible, in all its details, was exhibited with- their really useful, manufactures, we recall out reserve. It is true that the actress seemed with pleasure that before the more material to feel that she had not succeeded in these two trade in merchandise set in, the friendly Japs parts, and that she did not repeat them after and Chinamen had sent us several pleasant the first few nights, but she played them often gifts of shrubs and flowers which are rapidly enough to show that they were creations be becoming domesticated in our gardens. The yond her skill to reproduce. She planted oldest of these gifts is the Japan Quince, herself for judgment on Elizabeth and Medea, Pyrus Japonica, of which we have three on Marie Stuart and Marie Antoinette. And varieties, the scarlet, the pink, and the white. as these parts all depend for their effect on a Then there is the Salisburia, or Ginkgo tree, certain objective treatment, and appeal large- first brought to this country in 1791, by ly to the material side of our nature, it is to Alexander Hamilton, Esq., and planted in his be acknowledged that Ristori earned all the country-seat, “ The Woodland," near Philaapplause that these performances brought her. delphia. The Ginkgo is not so well known And if to excel in such personations, appeal. as it ought to be; it is an excellent tree for ing not to what is deepest in us, but to what lawns, being very rapid in its growth, elegant is external, not to our souls but to our senses, in shape, and its leaves, which are very pecuif this deserves to be called 'great' acting, liar in their form and delicate in their structhen Ristori was great. But we do not so ture, turn a beautiful golden-yellow in Auunderstand the art of Siddons and Rachel. tumn, Mr. Hoopes, in his recently published, To our thinking, Ristori has not elevated the and very valuable, book on Conifers, places dramatic art by her career in this country ; the Ginkgo in that class, on the strength of she has not set an example, by following its fruit. So far as we know, this is the first which, the present diseased condition of the time it has been so classified, or, indeed, clasdrama here can be surely made healthy and sified at all. The Ginkgo tree is planted near sound. She is, it is true, a most careful, temples in China and Japan. We believe its name is a synonym for the Divinity, and that No one who does not know these plants but it is the origin of our vulgar “jingo.” But will thank us for telling him of them. Of the word “jingo” has been traced to the these flowers, the Magnolia purpurea has a Basque, and there are other explanations faint lemon perfume, but all the rest are beside. The Ginkgo and Japan Quince scentless. With the exception of the lilies are neither of them so well known as their and the Wiegela, the flowers, too, appear, lovely countrywoman, the Camelia Japonica, in every instance, before the leaves. This a plant whose flowers continue rare and makes them doubly valuable, for they are high-priced because it is not in the least thus in bloom before the most of our Ameri. hardy. We do not understand why this can garden-plants have waked from their should be, for all the other plants that have winter sleep. come to us from Japan and Northern China stand our climate perfectly; even our last two The human animal seems to have a decided winters, severe as they were, did not affect leaning to prophecy. Whether an historian's the Wisteria, the Forsythia, the Japan Lilies, books will sell is always a doubtful question, nor the Weigela. But the Camelia does not and, indeed, only those histories do sell whose flourish with us; even in our greenhouses, it writers have largely mingled imagination with is not common to see a perfectly perfect their so-called facts. A book of prophecies, specimen of this flower

however, is a steady income to the fortunate “Faultily faultless, icily regular,

writer, and it probably makes little difference Splendidly null.”

whether he prophecy good fortune or bad. Yet, travellers in Japan describe the long Here, on our table, is the latest prophecy; hedges of Camelia profusely set with blos- an unattractive, square pamphlet, covered soms, white, and red, and variegated; as with shiny blue-black paper, with the title in common there, as the Hawthorn, in England. gilt letters: “The Future Great City of the Of later introduction, quite recent in fact, World.” It is written by J. W. Scoit, and and only within the last two or three years comes to us from Toledo, Obio; and fu. getting to be found in small gardens, are the ture great city of the world is no other than Forsythia, named after W. Forsyth, royal Toledo itself. This position, however, is not gardener at Kensington; the Wisteria, often to be acquired for a hundred years at least, in misspelled Wistaria, with its racemes of pale which time London and New York will sucpurple flowers, looking like the ghosts of cessively have gained and lost the crown of grapes, now almost as common as the grapc- commercial empire. London is nearly in vine itself; and the Weigela, a splendid possession of that crown to-day; in thirty shrub when fully grown and covered with its years New York will be in a position to dismass of blossoms of pink shaded into white. pute its possession with her, and having Then there is the Dielytra, or, as it is some- wrested it from her hands, some city of the times called, the Bleeding Heart, which is Mississippi Valley will in turn wrest it from now in every garden, however small, and is a her, and hold it-forever. We say, universal favorite. It obeys the earliest call city,” for, Mr. Scott is a prudent prophet, of Spring, and comes like the Daffodil, before and wavers on the tripod between Chicago the swallow dares.

and his own Toledo. One or the other of Last in the list come tho Japan lilies, these, however, is sure to be the greatest city an important addition to our gardens. There of the world before a hundred years have are many varieties, but three of them, Album, passed, and, if we understand the oracle, it Roscum, and Rubrum, are sufficient for a will continue to be the greatest, to the end small place. Lest we should be accnsed by of time. He quotes good Bishop Berkeley, our city and suburban readers of bringing who, our readers, especially if they have ever coals to Newcastle, we confess that this been at Newport, may possibly remember, paragraph is written for our friends in far-off said:-"Westward the star of empire takes country places, whom these recent settlers in its way; Toledo, Time's noblest empire (un. our gardens have not yet reached. Nor less it shall be Chicago) is his last." The should we have omitted to mention the two pamphlet is an amusing one, and not altoMagnolias, M. conspicua and M. purpurea, gether uninstructive, but the author's arguboth of which came from China to this coun- ments are not of a character to carry inevitatry, and also the Pauwolonia, whose delicately- ble conviction. Where the great cities of shaped, delicately-scented purple flowers greet the future shall be, it is impossible for the our senses so pleasantly in the opening June. most ingenious to guess, or for the most logi.

[ocr errors]
« IndietroContinua »