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son by the fact that he has issued a volume of University sermons which, if not read by ordinary readers, is at least diligently studied by those who act intermediately between the multitude and great thinkers, those intellectual middlemen who bring home the thoughts of the few to the comprehension of the many.

We gladly turn aside from the pile of books. That unconscionable east wind which has been raging with unparalleled violence and persistency into these opening days of June, has kept us longer over them than we could have wished, and has been loathe to let us free into the liberal air to shake off the ennui of over-much reading. For among many of us there is a great deal of this over-much reading; we are veritable slaves of type, and blindly accept our thoughts and facts from the dictation of those who are good enough to furnish us with them. Truly says a poet of our own, 'Knowledge comes but Wisdom lingers.' Knowledge comes-she comes in whole sheets of literature, in the enormous accumulation of facts, in multitudinous reams of comment; but Wisdom lingers; she lingers late, and comes slowly and

comes sadly, and the facts on which she mainly relies are those which are wrung from our own experience, and the thoughts those which are the slowly matured life fruits of the mind. Lay aside your books, my friends, and while the short-lived zephyrs invite you and the hard earth is still enamelled with flowers, read the fair page written in the leafy covert of bosky dells and engraven on the rocks that front the much resounding sea. That open volume is the best teacher both of knowledge and wisdom. Grow familiar, then, with the beauties of animated nature, with other beauties of animated nature whereof honest Goldsmith was not taking count when he coined the phrase. The books of the season are best discussed by the belles of the season when the season is over, and clear, concise, and quick thoughts will evoke meanings and sidelights of which the authors little dreamed, and prove the freshest and rarest of criticism. For it is by such ways that the ultimate value of a work is fixed, and the fact decided whether the books shall only last for the season, or take their lasting place in the affections and recollection.



T is not easy to determine in Eng


land what particular bent the life of a man will take who exists entirely for the purpose of amusing himself. So great is the variety of our national character, well-marked as are the leading features of it, that a man may be on the turf, an amateur of the ring, beloved behind the scenes, may hunt six days in the week, or may lie on the sofa all day and read novels, and his walk in life will be, comparatively speaking, private and unnoticed. But what our countrymen call 'amusing themselves in their own way,' is not at all understood by our neighbours across the Channel, whose habits and ways of thought are characterized by a somewhat tedious uniformity. The long, low, sandy coast which awaits the traveller at Calais, though the sun rises bright in France, and fair sets he,' may supply in its monotonous level, as contrasted with the ever-varying white cliffs of Dover, some reflections as to the manner in which the land they live in reacts upon its inhabitants. The Frenchman's first consideration is publicity -anything else you please, but publicity. To this cause has been ascribed the lukewarm manner in which our national games have been received across the Channel, ministering, as they do, rather to what phrenologists would call self-esteem, than to the Frenchman's masterpassion, love of approbation. Our neighbours can be, and do, and suffer; but though they may under sudden impulse go up like a rocket, unpraised they are sure to come down like a stick. If the Spartan boy, in whom our childhood is taught to believe, had been a French boy, he would certainly have taken the fox out, showed him, and put him back again.

The gay, glittering life of which we are about to give some account, and which, like the coats of the butterflies and the hues of the flowers, is at this season daily increasing in brilliancy, is guided by one ruling principle. The fashion which in England may be described as a

current, powerful indeed, but leaving many a still pool and quiet back water in its course, is in France a resistless whirlpool, a maelstrom into which every possessor of francs is hurled, and kept in a perpetual gyration, till released by death or impecuniosity.

We doubt not that many of our readers have looked at the frontispiece of the Vie Parisienne.' In the vignettes which compose it may be remarked most of the salient situations in the ordinary Parisian life; the 'grisette' whose garment is short, and the financier' whose purse is long; the repulsive chaperon who is looking forward, and the impulsive Adéle who is looking down; the successful jockey who is coming in, and the crinoline which is going out; with my lord and my lady in a contemplative and philosophic attitude to crown all. If to these we add some few mental sketches, and bestow a passing thought on the Jockey Club at 4 A.M., with 100,000 francs changing hands in one rubber, at the Café Anglais, time three hours after a 1,500 franc dinner, place under the table and elsewhere; a few studies of countenance at the Tattersall Français,' which might sit respectively for envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness; Madame her milliner's in the Boulevart des Italiens, and Monsieur anywhere you please; we think that our imaginative readers will have seized the leading outlines of the picture, and may have patience to endure a few minutes of shading and colouring.


The theatre takes up no mean part of a Frenchman's time, thoughts, and conversation. It may, therefore, not be amiss if we give our friends in England some account of the food which is this season prepared to satisfy the insatiable craving for excitement characteristic of Paris at most times, and certainly of 'Paris after Easter.'

The stage in England, from want of support, has unfortunately fallen so low, that those who have not resided some time in Paris, can hardly form any idea of the intense import

ance which a Frenchman attaches to le spectacle. The dramas and farces which in England find no re-echo in any state of society, past or present, hold in France with very great fidelity the mirror up to nature; and the self-same scene which is passing in the troisième au dessus de l'entresol' of the next house, is being represented in life-like colours to the audience of the Vaudeville or the Gymnase. It might be supposed that the domestic troubles, pecuniary embarrassments, and petty scandal, from which an Englishman would gladly take refuge in the healthier excitements of hunting field, moor, or salmon river, would induce our mercurial neighbours likewise to seek some reaction; but far from this being the case, Monsieur and Madame are never more pleased than when they behold the bickerings and intrigues of morning and noon served up at night at a temperature of eighty degrees, with a seasoning of couplets and faintly-tickling puns. It would, however, be very unjust did we omit to look at the other side of the picture. Nothing must strike an impartial observer more than the glaring contrast between the capacity and performances of the minor actors and actresses of London and of Paris. Now and then in England, a meteoric body flashes across the present theatrical darkness, and a Miss Bateman leaves a trail of light behind in the feeble imitations of the rest; but as a rule, the most finished representation in England, whither we repair again and again to study the features of some one great actor, is marred by the abominable mannerism, stilted demeanour, and irredeemable vulgarity of all the rest. Until the stage becomes in England what it is in Germany, a powerful agent in humanizing and educating the people, this must continue to be the case; but it is a pity that in this respect we cannot take a hint from continental nations. France has beyond a doubt much more to learn from England than England from her, but this should not prevent the leaven of French grace having a salutary operation on our own lump. Three representations are at present especially engaging the attention of


the Parisian theatrical public, that is, of Paris. They are' Barbe-Bleue,' at the Variétés, 'Bu qui s'avance,' at the Folies Marigny, and an old favourite, 'Les Diables Roses,' at the Palais Royal. The first is an opéra bouffe in three acts, by Offenbach, and was produced last February. Since that time the proceeds have been upwards of 9,000l. We are ourselves acquainted with a gentleman who has been to see it eleven times. Some of our readers may remember 'Orphée aux Enfers,' by the same author, to which this piece bears some resemblance in its general style. Barbe-Bleue' slightly modifies the usual French programme. The fun here is playing at murder, which does very well as a temporary change of the more permanent gratification attending the dramatic infraction of a neighbouring commandment. The old story of Blue Beard' is of course the foundation of Offenbach's most amusing and melodious operette, everything having been added which was considered to lend interest to the plot and elegance to the stage effect. Blue Beard himself reminded us forcibly of our eighth Henry, both in appearance and in those portions of his biography which the drama disclosed. It is not improbable that some picture of him was selected as a model. He is brought before the public as equally a foe to vice and a friend to crime, the manifestations of which bent of character are very prettily set to music. We make his acquaintance between the fifth and sixth wives. The former has already passed into the hands of Popolani, his alchemist, who has instructions to send to Hades in as quiet and gentlemanlike a manner as possible the souls of the rejected fair. The present object of affection is Boulotte, who obtains the prize drawn by lot of being carried in sumptuous raiment before Barbe-Bleue, crowned by him as the 'rosière,' or most virtuous maiden in the village. No sooner is Boulotte seen, than she becomes the sixth object of attachment, and, the marriage announced, the most brilliant festivities are arranged to take place at the court of King Bobêche, of whom Barbe



Bleue is the most powerful vassal. Unfortunately, however, for Boulotte, within a few hours after her marriage, Barbe-Bleue makes the acquaintance of the Princess Hermia, the daughter of King Bobêche, and determines to lead her ere midnight to the altar, it being then half-past ten. There is evidently no time to lose, so an excellent scene follows between Popolani and Boulotte. The latter is finally obliged to swallow the cup of cold poison, which afterwards turns out to have been merely a strong narcotic. The piece ends by the exposure of all Barbe-Bleue's misdeeds, and the production from behind a curtain of the other five wives, supposed to be defunct, but in reality collected into a little harem for Popolani. Bobêche at first indignantly refuses to confer his daughter on the iniquitous vassal, but being reminded of certain horsemen in waiting at a convenient distance, he suddenly changes his mind, and the happy, happy, happy pair' are welcomed into matrimony with the same magnificence as before, and a splendid chorus of 'Hyménée-Hymenée,' &c. History and M. Offenbach are silent as to whether or no they lived happily ever after. It will be remarked that there is no attempt at poetical justice to the amorous hero, who thus sums up his own character:

Je suis Barbe-Bleu, o gué,
Jamais veuf ne fut plus gai.'

The next piece on our list, and one which has had an uninterrupted run for many months, is 'Bu qui s'avance.' The name is judiciously chosen, for we believe that not a few have been induced to take tickets in order to see what could be the explanation of so strange a title. The derivation is from a line in Offenbach's 'Belle Hélène,'

Voila le roi Bar.....

Bu qui s'avance... . Bu qui s'avance .... Bu qui s'avance. . .'

'Bu qui s'avance' is performed at the little theatre called the 'Folies Marigny,' which is charmingly situated among trees and flowers at the lower end of the Champs Elysées. It is a very small house, only hold

ing five hundred, but the enterprising manager contrives to keep it always full, and sustains the principal character himself. This performance belongs to the class termed 'reviews' in Paris, but our readers are recommended to imagine something a little different from the 'Quarterly.' The idea is to place before the public a lively sketch of such of the salient events of the past year as may amuse babes without proving too strong meat for them. Our own pantomimes, of course, attempt to recal in a grotesque fashion the events of the past year, but it is needless for us to say that the fable of the lap-dog and the donkey is here applicable. Politics being entirely excluded from the reviewer's field of action, he is driven to expend all his resources in depicting social foibles, and firing off little metrical popguns at local abuses. In fact, the material worked up on the French stage at the present day resembles not a little that employed by Parisian cooks, where a very little meat indeed is so prepared with piquant sauces, that the original material attains a dignity and importance much beyond its true value. That this species of entertainment should, with the exception of operas, and the representations at the Français, be the only kind of dramatic performance which will pay, is, we think, a fact not flattering to the French people. We have in vain sought to discover any theatre-going section of society which has higher aspirations, and it is matter for regret that a nation so richly endowed with dramatic genius should never try to aspire beyond the region of elegant buffoonery. In this respect Parisians contrast very unfavourably with Germans, to whom, we need hardly remark, Shakspeare is as familiar as Schiller, and who seek to invest 'die Bretter die die Welt bedeuten' with some of the earnestness and significance of the great stage of human life.

It is proposed shortly to open a small theatre for the exclusive performance, in their original languages, of Sophocles, Euripides, Terence, and other classical dramatists. We should think that, left to the tender

mercies of the Quartier Latin,' its existence would be short. We may here remark that in one important respect a great change has been effected in Parisian taste within the last few years. Not longer ago than the year 1859 the music of Germany was almost totally unknown in the French capital, and, when known, disliked. This, as far as instrumental music is concerned, is almost equivalent to saying that all real music was unknown. It is to the enterprise of a single individual, Mr. Pasdeloup, who some six years ago conceived the project of rendering the beautiful harmonies from beyond the Rhine a pleasure instead of a pain to the Parisians, that we owe a great revulsion of public feeling in this respect. Mr. Pasdeloup hired a very large circus called the 'Cirque Napoléon,' capable of containing four thousand people, and has succeeded, like a modern Orpheus, in attracting every Sunday as many listeners as the building will hold. We are of opinion that homilies of less value may be heard of a Sunday afternoon than the stereotyped sermons of Beethoven and Mozart.

We will take our readers to one more theatre, the 'Palais Royal,' and will extend to the fair and wise ladies who appreciate the best 'London Society' the privilege of entrance, which they will not enjoy in any other manner.

The Palais Royal Theatre has one object, viz., to make its audience laugh, by fair means or foul. Its managers think that a perception of the ludicrous, as one of the leading characteristics of human beings, must be carefully cultivated. We admit that they fully succeed in amussing, nor were we greatly shocked by anything we heard on the evening of our visit. This, however, was mere chance, and it is certainly not a place for ladies. On this subject there is one remark to be made, which is, that in England, when a play is coarse, it cannot remain a matter of doubt; whereas we are convinced that English ladies might hear Bu qui s'avance,' or many of the other Parisian performances, and remain in blissful igno

rance as to the cause of the titter in the pit and the horse-laugh in the gallery.

'Les Diables Roses' has been before the French public for a considerable time. In plot it is commonplace enough, though very amusing in detail. The rich and insolent suitor comes with note-book in hand and reads to the lady and gentleman he wishes to select for his second parents the tolerably satisfactory particulars he has been able to collect about them. The desired marriage is soon arranged. The future mother-in-law professes herself deeply impressed with the superior virtue and merit of the young gentleman, a conclusion which she is subsequently compelled to modify, for the piece turns on the unexpected meeting of father-in-law, son, and mother-in-law in the most awkward situations. The numerous 'old loves' of the hero of course figure very largely in the story, but by far the most amusing character is Pavillon, a fencing-master. Those who are familiar with the jargon of the French'salles d'armes,' with the confident style of encouragement in which the 'professeur' addresses the most hopeless pupils, with his self-satisfied anecdotes, and with the chronic jokes which occur in a circle, like the seasons, must confess that Pavillon is nearly perfect. The 'coup du commandant' which he treasures up with mystery as his 'botte secrète,' and communicates in a whisper to any pupil who may have occasion to make use of a foil without a button, at last transpires. The two combatants being 'en garde,' and having exchanged some passes, the possessor of this artistic stroke suddenly exclaims, 'He! les gendarmes!' Upon the adversary turning to look for the guardians of the public peace, he is run through the body. "Seulement,' Pavillon adds, 'on ne le repète pas souvent, parce qu'on pourrait être pendu.' Later on, when the master has forgotten all about the lesson imparted, he is himself transfixed in the most amusing manner by a pupil with a' He! les gendarmes!' The wound inflicted is naturally of a description likely

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