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the personage he represents, and to clasp to his bosom the bright vision of honour like a solid possession. His Archer (in the Beaux Stratagem) is a very elegant and spirited performance; the scene with Mrs. Sullen is a rich piece of voluptuous and piquant acting; his comparison of that lady with her picture, is given with that rapturous gallantry which seems to have been carried to such perfection in those times of high-bred courtesy, when compliment was the sole business of life. In his representation of intellectual wit and delicate raillery, a light and glittering drapery seems to wave over the whole, giving at once a harmony and grace to the character beneath it.
Miss Kelly is the most versatile of all the female performers in England; she lives along a thousand delicate lines of sensibility with the utmost nicety of touch. In her exhibitions of rustic attempts at high life, the “ robe of country brown” is seen through the splendid veil which fortune has cast over her. I will never forget her appearance in Volante, “ full of life, splendour and joy," her face radiating with the spirit which sparkles in her soul, and her words tripping on her tongue with triumphant gayety. Her face appears the lucid mirror of her mind, and displays all the passions, from the airy gleam of a vivid fancy, to the most glowing, fervid and intense feelings. In her serious parts, she performs with a terrific truth and a fearful energy, and gives to sorrow a
romantic and a softening tinge; while, in her light moods, her tones distil over the worldwearied soul, like sweet drops of natural fresh
Miss Foote is the most beautiful woman on the London boards. She comes on us like the impersonation of poetic beauty, of those unreal forms, which, wove in the loom of a glowing imagination, “ float in light vision round the poet's head.” It seems rude to exhibit any other feeling for her but calm admiration, and we cannot find in our hearts to disorder with boisterous laughter or thundering applauses, her lovely ringlets and the exquisite harmony of her features. Like Spencer's Belphæbe,
“ Upon her eyelids many graces sit,
Her beauty is heightened by her various accomplishments and lady-like demeanvur: with what sorrow, then, did I hear that Miss Foote was a kept mistress!
Miss Stephens is a most enchanting comic actress, and her voice is melody itself. Her face, although not regularly beautiful, is wonderfully pleasing. Her fine black eyes, beautiful glossy hair, and teeth of ivory whiteness, are charmingly displayed to their best advantage by the inimitable grace of this actress, so different from most English women! Her quiet mode of singing simple airs, gives to them the tenderest pathos. But I shall not pretend to express the feelings which she awakens; they
can only be expressed in music such as her own!
One could very well apply to the opera the remark which Lord Ogleby makes to Canton: “Thou art like my rappee here, a most ridiculous superfluity, but a pinch of thee now and then is a most delicious treat.” The King's Theatre, or Italian Opera, is an expensive and privileged rendezvous of fashionables and pretended connoisseurs. The decorations and machinery are not executed with so much perfection as at the Academie Royale de Musique at Paris. In the changes of scenery which take place before the spectator, in the French opera, there is at first a disagreeable confusion on the stage-all the decorations are intermingled -on all sides you witness a chaotic disorderyou imagine that the whole is about to fall to pieces—but gradually every object is arranged, and you are agreeably delighted to find an en. chanted palace, and the splendid scenery which cast the richest shadowings of romance over our youngest days, succeed to this painful tumult. In the London Opera, the lowering and hoisting of machinery is very clumsily managed—I have seen the tops of trees, which were made to sink, projecting from the floor of the stage! The prices at the King's Theatre are very high-the pit alone being $2,50! and it is necessary to go in small clothes, otherwise no admission among the privileged oligarchs, and modish youths of the pit!
In addition to these theatres, there are many minora sidera, which twinkle out their istence in various parts of London. Most of them are the retreats of Cyprians, and the scenes of rows and drunkenness. The floor of the stage at Saddler's Wells is sometimes sunk, and its place supplied by real water, which produces a singular effect, with its display of ships, men swimming and apparently drowning: these exhibitions are called Aquatic Melo-Dramas. The most important personage in this theatre is the clown, Grimaldi, whose face is usually plastered with a deep-red paint, and a sort of white paste which forms a thick crust! In Astley's Amphitheatre, I have witnessed a fox-chase in full pack, with hounds and all the hunting accompaniments. In the Cobourg Theatre, I saw the representation of an Indian battle, in which cannon was fired, to the no small headach of the audience!
In the evening of a favourite representation, at any of the playhouses, an immense crowd assemble at the pit door; women and children take their chance with the men; and, to enjoy the play, you must run the risk of being nearly suffocated, dreadfully bruised, or having your pocket picked. When the door is thrown open, a violent rush takes place, and dreadful screaming and stifled cries are heard proceeding from the motley throng. On presenting your money, a copper medal is handed to you, which is to be delivered to a man at the entrance of the pit or boxes. Should you happen to pass
this fellow inadvertently, he will put on all the airs of a man in office; one evening the barbarian seized a friend of mine by the coat, because he forgot to deliver him the piece of copper!
I have already spoken to you of Mathews’ entertainments at the English Opera House. He is now amusing the metropolis, by introducing its inhabitants (as the bill phrases it) " to his Country Cousins and the Sights of London.” In this piece, he personates a variety of eccentric characters. The most diverting scene is that in which he introduces his cousins into St. Paul's Church. One of the Dramatis Personæ is a Frenchman, who has the ridiculous vanity to think that he understands English. On entering the cathedral, the cousins make several ludicrous mistakes in attempting to translate the Latin inscription to Sir Christopher Wren. The Frenchman takes Wren for the bird of that name, and takes a note of it in his tablets! At the whispering gallery, Mathews places his company at some distance, and whispers that“ St. Paul's was 300 years in finishing, that it is 40 miles high, cost 200 millions of guineas, and the architect lived to see it completed!" all of which is swallowed doux comme le lait, and the sage Monsieur slily inserts in his notes, that, in England, wrens lived three centuries!! Mathews next takes his cousins to the exhibition at Somerset House. Aunt Agatha buys a wrong catalogue, and thus confounds the paintings. She takes Danaë