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frankly, do you think that with time and We went first to see a comedy greatly study I could compose music such as in vogue, and the author theroughly unsingers equal to myself would sing to ?” derstands the French stage of our day.
"You mean as a professional com- The acting was excellent in its way. The poser?"
next night we went to the Odeon, a ro“Well, yes."
mantic melodrama in six acts, and I know “ And to the abandonment of your vo- not how many tableaux. I found no fault cation as a singer ? ”
with the acting there. I do not give you “Yes."
the rest of our programme. We visited “ My dear child, I should be your all the principal theatres, reserving the worst enemy if I encouraged such a no- opera and Madame S- for the last. tion; cling to the career in which you Before I speak of the opera, let me say a can be greatest; gain but health, and I word or two on the plays. wager my reputation on your glorious There is no country in which the theasuccess on the stage. What can you be tre has so great a hold on the public as as a composer ? You will set pretty mu- in France ; no country in which the sucsic to pretty words, and will be sung in cessful dramatist has so high a fame ; no drawing-rooms with the fame a little more country perhaps in which the state of the or less that generally attends the com- stage so faithfully represents the moral positions of female amateurs. Aim at and intellectual condition of the people. something higher, as I know you would I say this not, of course, from my expedo, and you will not succeed. Is there rience of countries which I have not visany instance in modern times, perhaps ited, but from all I hear of the stage in in any times, of a female composer who Germany and in England. attains even to the eminence of a third- The impression left on my mind by the rate opera writer ? Composition in let- performances I witnessed is, that the ters may be of no sex. In that Madame French people are becoming dwarfed. Dudevant and your friend Madame de The comedies that please them are but Grantmesnil can beat most men ; but the pleasant caricatures of petty sections in genius of musical composition is homme, a corrupt society. They contain no large and accept it as a compliment when I types of human nature ; their witticisms say that you are essentially femme.” convey no luminous flashes of truth;
He left me, of course, mortified and their sentiment is not pure and noble – humbled ; but I feel he is right as re- it is a sickly and false perversion of the gards myself, though whether in his de- impure and ignoble into travesties of the preciation of our whole sex I cannot say. I pure and noble. But as this hope has left me, I have be- Their melodramas cannot be classed come more disquieted, still more restless. as literature - all that really remains of Counsel me, Eulalie ; counsel, and, if the old French genius is its vaudeville. possible, comfort me.
Great dramatists create great parts. ISAURA. One great part, such as a Rachel would
gladly have accepted, I have not seen in From the Same to the Same.
the dramas of the young generation. No letter from you yet, and I have left | High art has taken refuge in the opera ; you in peace for ten days. How do you but that is not French opera. I do not think I have spent them? The Mæstro complain so much that French taste is called on us with M. Savarin, to insist on less refined. I complain that French inour accompanying them on a round of the itellect is lowered. The descent from theatres. I had not been to one since Polyeucte to Ruy Blas is great, not so my arrival. I divined that the kind- much in the poetry of form as in the elehearted composer had a motive in this vation of thought; but the descent from invitation. He thought that in witness- Ruy Blas to the best drama now produced ing the applauses bestowed on actors, is out of poetry altogether, and into those and sharing in the fascination in which fats of prose which give not even the theatrical illusion holds an audience, my glimpse of a mountain-top. old passion for the stage, and with it the But now to the opera.
i n longing for an artiste's fame, would re- Norma! The house was crowded, and
lits enthusiasm as loud as it was genuine. In my heart I wished that his expecta- You tell me that S- never rivalled tions might be realized. Well for me if Pasta, but certainly her Norma is a great I could once more concentre all my as- performance. Her voice has lost less of pirations on a prize within my reach! lits freshness than I had been told, and
what is lost of it her practised manage- alas! not inspiration but enthusiasm from ment conceals or carries off.
the genius that had hallowed the place, The læstro was quite right I could and dreaming I might originate music, never vie with her in her own line ; but I nursed my own aspirations and murconceited and vain as I may seem even mured my own airs. And though so to you in saying so, I feel in my own line close to that world of Paris to which all that I could command as large an ap- artists must appeal for judgment or audiplause - of course taking into account my ence, the spot was so undisturbed, so sebrief-lived advantage of youth. Her act- questered. But of late that path has lost ing, apart from her voice, does not please its solitude, and therefore its charm. me. It seems to me to want intelligence Six days ago the first person I encounof the subtler feelings, the under-current stered in my walk was a man whom I did of emotion, which constitutes the chief not then heed. He seemed in thought, beauty of the situation and the character. or rather in reverie, like myself ; we Am I jealous when I say this ? Read on passed each other twice or thrice, and I and judge.
did not notice whether he was young or On our return that night, when I had old, tall or short ; but he came the next seen the Venosta to bed, I went into my day, and a third day, and then I saw that own room, opened the window, and looked he was young, and, in so regarding him, out. A lovely night, mild as in spring at his eyes became fixed on mine. The Florence – the moon at her full, and the fourth day he did not come, but two other stars looking so calm and so high beyond men came, and the look of one was inour reach of their tranquillity. The ever- quisitive and offensive. They sat themgreens in the gardens of the villas around selves down on a bench in the walk, and me silvered over, and the summer boughs, though I did not seem to notice them, I not yet clothed with leaves, were scarcely hastened home; and the next day, in visible amid the changeless smile of the talking with our kind Madame Savarin, laurels. At the distance lay Paris only and alluding to these quiet walks of mine, to be known by its innumerable lights. she hinted, with the delicacy which is her And then I said to myself
characteristic, that the customs of Paris “No, I cannot be an actress ; I cannot did not allow Demoiselles comme il faut resign my real self for that vamped-up to walk alone even in the most sequeshypocrite before the lamps. Out on those tered paths of the Bois. stage robes and painted cheeks! Out I begin now to comprehend your dison that simulated utterance of sentiments dain of customs which impose chains so learned by rote and practised before the idly galling on the liberty of our sex. looking-glass till every gesture has its We dined with the Savarins last evedrill."
ning: what a joyous nature he has ! Not Then I gazed on those stars which pro- reading Latin, I only know Horace by voke our questionings, and return no an- translations, which I am told are bad'; swer, till my heart grew full, so full, and but Savarin seems to me a sort of half I bowed my head and wept like a child. Horace. Horace on his town-bred side,
so playfully well-bred, so good-humoured From the Same to the Same. in his philosophy, so affectionate to And still no letter from you! I see in friends, and so biting to foes. But certhe journals that you have left Nice. Is tainly Savarin could not have lived in a it that you are too absorbed in your work country farm upon endives and mallows. to have leisure to write to me? I know He is town-bred and Parisian, jusqu'au you.are not ill; for if you were, all Paris bout des ongles. How he admires you, would know of it. All Europe has an and how I love him for it! Only in one interest in your health. Positively I will thing he disappoints me there. It is your write to you no more till a word from style that he chiefly praises : certainly yourself bids me do so.
that style is matchless ; but style is only I fear I must give up my solitary walks the clothing of thought, and to praise in the Bois de Boulogne : they were very your style seems to me almost as invididear to me, partly because the quiet path ous as the compliment to some perfect to which I confined myself was that to beauty, not on her form and face, but on which you directed me as the one you her taste in dress. habitually selected when at Paris, and in We met at dinner an American and his which you had brooded over and revolved wife - a Colonel and Mrs. Morley: she the loveliest of your romances ; and part-is delicately handsome, as the American ly because it was there that, catching, women I have seen generally are, and
with that frank vivacity of manner which 'presses me, into the being of some one distinguishes them from English women. who is what I would wish to be were I She seemed to take a fancy to me, and we man! I would not ask him to achieve soon grew very good friends.
fame. Enough if I felt that he was She is the first advocate I have met, worthy of it, and happier methinks to except yourself, of that doctrine upon the console him when he failed than to triRights of Women - of which one reads umph with him when he won. Tell me, more in the journals than one hears dis- have you felt this? When you loved did cussed in salons.
you stoop as to a slave, or did you bow Naturally enough I felt great interest in down as to a master ? that subject, more especially since my rambles in the Bois were forbidden: and From Madame de Grantmesnil to Isaura as long as she declaimed on the hard fate |
Cicogna. of the women who, feeling within them Chère enfant, — All your four letters powers that struggle for air and light be- have reached me the same day. In one yond the close precinct of household du- of my sudden whims I set off with a few ties, find themselves restricted from fair friends on a rapid tour along the Riviera rivalry with men in such fields of knowl-, to Genoa, thence to Turin on to Milan. edge and toil and glory, as men since the Not knowing where we should rest even world began have appropriated to them for a day, my letters were not forwarded. selves, I need not say that I went with I came back to Nice yesterday, conher cordially: you can guess that by my soled for all fatigues in having insured former letters. But when she entered that accuracy in description of localities into the detailed catalogue of our exact which my work necessitates. wrongs and our exact rights, I felt all the You are, my poor child, in that revolupusillanimity of my sex, and shrank back tionary crisis through which genius passes in terror.
in youth before it knows its own self, and Her husband, joining us when she was longs vaguely to do or to be a something in full tide of eloquence, smiled at me other than it has done or has been before. with a kind of saturnine mirth. “Made- For, not to be unjust to your own powers, moiselle, don't believe a word she says; genius you have — that inborn undefinait is only tall talk! In America the wo-, ble essence, including talent, and yet dismen are absolute tyrants, and it is I who, tinct from it. Genius you have, but genin concert with my oppressed country- ius unconcentrated, undisciplined. I see, men, am going in for a platform agitation though you are too diffident to say so to restore the Rights of Men.”
openly, that you shrink from the fame of Upon this there was a lively battle of singer, because, fevered by your reading, words between the spouses, in which, Il you would fain aspire to the thorny crown must own, I thought the lady was decid- of author. I echo the hard saying of the edly worsted.
| Mastro, I should be your worst enemy No, Eulalie, I see nothing in these did I encourage you to forsake a career schemes for altering our relations towards in which a dazzling success is so assured, the other sex which would improve our for one in which, if it were your true vocondition. The inequalities we suffer are cation, you would not ask whether you not imposed by law - not even by con- were fit for it; you would be impelled to vention; they are imposed by nature. it by the terrible star which presides over
Eulalie, you have had an experience the birth of poets. unknown to me; you have loved. In Have you, who are so naturally obserythat day did you – you, round whom po- ant, and of late have become so reflective, ets and sages and statesmen gather, lis- never remarked that authors, however abtening to your words as to an oracle — sorbed in their own craft, do not wish did you feel that your pride of genius had their children to adopt it? The most gone out from you — that your ambition successful author is perhaps the last perlived in him whom you loved — that his son to whom neophytes should come for smile was more to you than the applause encouragement. This I think is not the of a world ?
case with the cultivators of the sister arts. I feel as if love in a woman must de- The painter, the sculptor, the musician, stroy her rights of equality - that it gives seem disposed to invite disciples and to her a sovereign even in one who would welcome acolytes. As for those enbe inferior to herself if her love did not gaged in the practical affairs of life, fathglorify and crown him. Ah! if I could ers mostly wished their sons to be as but merge this terrible egotism which op-' they have been.
The politician, the lawyer, the mer- | words. That is the peculiar distinction chant, each says to his children, “ Follow of music. No genuine musician can exmy steps." All parents in practical life plain in words exactly what he means to would at least agree in this — they would convey in his music. not wish their sons to be poets. There How little a libretto interprets an opera must be some sound cause in the world's – how little we care even to read it! It philosophy for this general concurrence is the music that speaks to us ; and how ? of digression from a road of which the - Through the human voice. We do travellers themselves say to those whom not notice how poor are the words which they love best, “ Beware!”
the voice warbles. It is the voice itself Romance in youth is, if rightly under- interpreting the soul of the musician stood, the happiest nutriment of wisdom which enchants and enthralls us. And in after-years; but I would never invite you who have that voice pretend to deany one to look upon the romance of spise the gift. What! despise the powyouth as a thing
er of communicating delight ! the power
that we authors envy; and rarely, if ever, To case in periods and embalm in ink.
can we give delight with so little alloy as
the singer. Enfant, have you need of a publisher And when an audience disperses, can to create romance ? Is it not in yourself? you guess what griefs the singer may Do not imagine that genius requires for have comforted ? what hard hearts he its enjoyment the scratch of the pen and may have softened ? what high thoughts types of the printer. Do not suppose he may have awakened ? that the poet, the romancier, is most po- ! You say, “Out on the vamped-up hypetic, most romantic, when he is striving, ocrite! Out on the stage-robes and struggling, labouring, to check the rush painted cheeks!” of his ideas, and materialize the images I say, “ Out on the morbid spirit which which visit him as souls into such tangible so cynically regards the mere details by likenesses of flesh and blood that the which a whole effect on the minds and highest compliment a reader can be hearts and souls of races and nations can stow on them is to say that they are life- be produced !” like? No: the poet's real delight is not There, have I scolded you sufficiently? in the mechanism of composing; the best I should scold you more, if I did not see part of that delight is in the sympathies in the affluence of your youth and your he has established with innumerable intellect the cause of your restlessness. modifications of life and form, and art Riches are always restless. It is only and nature — sympathies which are often to poverty that the gods give content. found equally keen in those who have You question me about love : you ask not the same gift of language. The poet if I have ever bowed to a master, ever is but the interpreter. What of ?- merged my life in another's : expect no Truths in the hearts of others. He ut- answer on this from me. Circe herself ters what they feel. Is the joy in the ut- could give no answer to the simplest terance ? Nay, it is in the feeling itself. maid, who, never having loved, asks, So, my dear, dark-bright child of song, " What is love ?" when I bade thee open out of the beaten In the history of the passions each huthoroughfare, paths into the meads and man heart is a world in itself; its experiver-banks at either side of the formal rience profits no others. In no two hedgerows, rightly dost thou add that I lives does love play the same part or beenjoined thee to make thine art thy com- queath the same record. panion. In the culture of that art for I know not whether I am glad or sorry which you are so eminently gifted, you that the word “love” now falls on my will find the ideal life ever beside the real. ear with a sound as slight and as faint as Are you not ashamed to tell me that the dropping of a leaf in autumn may fall in that art you do but utter the thoughts on thine. of others ? You utter them in music; I volunteer but this lesson, the wisest through the music you not only give to I can give, if thou canst understand it: the thoughts a new character, but you as I bade thee take art into thy life, so make them reproductive of fresh thoughts learn to look on life itself as an art. in your audience.
Thou couldst discover the charm in TasYou said very truly that you found in so ; thou couldst perceive that the recomposing you could put into music quisite of all art, that which pleases, is in thoughts which you could not put into the harmony of proportion. We lose sight of beauty if we exaggerate the fea- tain in the army, another a lieutenant in ture most beautiful.
the navy. Another has committed a Love proportioned, adorns the home-'crime which weighs on his conscience, liest existence; love disproportioned, de-' and he has come for advice as to whether forms the fairest.
he should deliver himself up to justice ; Alas! wilt thou remember this warn only the crime was committed at Southing when the time comes in which it may ampton or Brighton, and he has not the be needed ?
means to pay his fare. Another is an au-
is obliged to have recourse to what he From The Contemporary Review. would never otherwise have thought of — MENDICITY: FROM A CLERICAL POINT the soliciting of your attention to his last OF VIEW.
work. Another has difficulties on the A CLERGYMAN, especially in London, subject of prayer, and having, by a fortuhas much experience of mendicants nate coincidence, heard your last sermon, of every degree, from the pretentious has entertained a hope, from some words * solicitor" down to the humble “loafer.” you let fall in that excellent discourse, The latter he finds, sometimes makes, that you are able to set his perplexity at in more or less abundance, in his own rest. He will probably, if you are of a parish. The “ solicitors," coming he hospitable disposition, get at least a lunknows not whence, find him, and lose no cheon or two out of you. Whether he has time in making his acquaintance. No the ulterior design of making a great hit sooner is he settled in his lodgings, on by publishing “The Answers of the his appointment to his first curacy, than Clergy to an Inquiring Spirit,” remains to they are upon him ; for they like to catch | be seen. him whilst he is young and innocent. Such are the master mendicants with They come with loud double knock; they whom the London curate comes in conenter his room with the confident air of tact during the period of his deaconship; old friends ; they salute him by name ; and as long as he cordially receives them, they shake hands with him, talk with him and is willing to “ lend” thein the trifle about the weather, inquire if he is any they may happen to want, so long the relation to some one of the same name in succession of such visitors is brisk and such and such a town, and sometimes continuous. But sooner or later he diseven mention the names of some of his covers that he is obliged to make a stand college friends. Finally it turns out that against them. As they are not his parthey are in a little temporary difficulty ; ishioners, he can only relieve them out of and of course it is impossible for him to his own pocket; and as he is seldom be hard-hearted towards gentlemen with overburdened with cash, he must make whom he has been engaged in pleasant up his mind to discourage their visits, in conversation. How do they manage so order to save himself from becoming an quickly to know all about him ? Do they inmate of the workhouse. The effect of hang about London House in Ember his decision, if it be resolutely carried weck, like crimps about a ship that is be-out, is quickly apparent ; for no sooner ing paid off, and somehow contrive to get does he firmly, however politely, dismiss a list of all the candidates for ordination, a few of the brethren without acceding to so that they may lose no time in setting their requests, than a perceptible diminuto work? Do they, at whatever head-tion of their visits takes place. Not that quarters they may frequent, take in the he need expect to be ever quite free from " Clergy List,” thé “ Clerical Directory," them. To say nothing of stray practithe “University Calendars," the “ Eccle- tioners, perhaps unconnected with headsiastical Gazette," &c. ? Do they em-quarters, who from time to time will wait ploy a secretary, whose business it is to upon him, some even of his earliest visregister each new comer, and to recorditors, as years roll on, will occasionally all the information that can be procured reappear. Either they forget that they about him? No doubt they are quite have paid him a previous visit, or they equal to the organization of such a system. reckon on his having forgotten it. Some But I have no light to throw upon the time ago an elderly gentleman called subject. Various are the characters they upon me, and sent in his card, on which assume. One is a brother clergyman, was printed the “Rev. —— M.A.” I another a scripture reader, another a cap-'suppress the name, because it is one
LIVING AGE. VOL. II. 55