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these two classes I have nothing to say. Mr. Windham, of bull-baiting memory, used to talk of such scenes giving vigour and courage to Englishmen! Mr. Adolphus, of forensic note, will perhaps say the same; and an old luminary of the law was proud of contrasting the surpassing ferocity of our thieves, and their audacity at execution, with the villains of foreign countries, as a proof of British bravery!! Such reasoners need no sober reply. Fostered by a love of gain, prizefighting has grown up within the last thirty or forty years, cherished by ruffians of all descriptions. It is peculiarly a creature of the money-loving spirit of the times, and has nothing to do with angry feeling-nothing but gain to qualify its immoralities. One of these exhibitions lately occurred almost in the centre of the kingdom, marked with some peculiar features to attract the attention and reprobation of the better part of society, and to draw down upon us the well-merited sarcasms of foreigners. It is true, as we get more remote from the coast, from large maritime cities, fashion, and foreign intercourse, we find the population less enlightened, and more attached to coarse and vulgar exhibitions. In the neighbourhood of the metropolis, and in all enlightened neighbourhoods, the magistracy check, as much as possible, open displays of a demoralizing and brutifying tendency; and the government seems very properly disposed to leave to their authority and the progress of better manners and feelings, the extirpation of these blots upon the national character. Unfortunately, most of the foxhunting magistrates, in counties distant from the metropolis, are as much behind their brethren in the better-informed districts as the people. It is not long since the fight between Spring and Langan was tolerated by the magistrates of Worcestershire or of Worcester, close to that ancient and fine city. Stands were erected for spectators with every possible publicity of preparation; a fight of gladiators in Ancient Rome could not have been more pompously announced, but no effort was made to interrupt the proceedings, nor was the potent voice of magisterial opposition heard,-very serious accidents too occurred. A meeting of a few dozen radicals would have set all the Dogberries in the county in motion. The secret here, and in the scene of blackguardism which follows, was the gain made by the neighbourhood from the motley assemblage, that swarmed from all points to the scene of action. On a still later and more disgraceful occasion, on the race-course of an ancient town, not only was another exhibition of this kind tolerated; but, if the journals of the day are to be credited, constables were appointed, each with his staff of office, to keep guard on the groundthe authorities of England appointed to repress all breaches of the peace, absolutely attending an exhibition of coarse, vulgar blackguardism that was an open breach of it! What will the higher authorities say to this? Will they suffer the influence of the neighbourhood to stifle the just reprobation of such acts, or will they do their duty? Where is the national self-complacency that thanks God we are not as other men, but that we are the beau-ideal of refinement and human excellence? Let not these acts be saddled upon the poor, or upon the vulgar and worthless alone. In this astounding token of the times, it appears there was a London committee to conduct blackguardism by rule (composed of the prize ring, I presume, sitting in some flash public
house,) and a Warwick committee of good sober burgesses, no doubt calculating on the money the mob would expend in their good town. A large stand on their race-course was given up to the spectacle, and the profits divided between these two honourable committees. All this took place in a borough, where there is a mayor, right worshipful, and portly aldermen-in an assize town, where the county gallows and prison, the dungeon of the poacher, and the treadmill of the vagrant, stood warning examples to the vagabonds collected, to the inmates of which the spectacle was calculated to make no small addition. Every method of grasping an ill-gotten profit was seized, even the farmers let out their wagons to the spectators. The journals say that "Lords Clonmell, Anson, Muncaster, and other nobles, made their appearance, and were soon followed by the fighting men and a strong muster of patricians!" These "patricians" no doubt feel the force of the moral example they give in frequenting scenes with which they have such a congeniality of feeling; they best know the value of their countenance to such an assemblage, and the inferences drawn from it in this public violation of the peace and of good manners. When they are in a different situation, and hear impugned the character of peaceable assemblages in their county, meeting to consider of real or fancied rights, they will take care that the more praiseworthy meetings of the rabble of the prize-ring, with the pickpockets, knaves, and vagabonds, to whom they have afforded countenance by their presence, shall be specially exempted from the censures that may fall on the former to whom they may not alike afford their beneficial example!
But I have protracted my observations on a very copious subject to a length which will not suffer me to notice a tenth part of the "Tokens of the Times," I had minuted, as promoted, if not originating in the money-getting spirit among the unrefined and vulgar in feeling. It is necessary, now more than ever, to be unsparing of our popular vices, to probe deeply for the sake of our high national character the wounds that are festering in our very vitals, to put down our egotism and selfcomplacency, and to expose the coarse and ferocious part of the community of all ranks, who will cant fluently about manners, sentiments, and feelings, of which they know nothing.
MADAME PASTA AND MADEMOISELLE MARS.
I LIKED Mademoiselle Mars exceedingly well, till I saw Madame Pasta, whom I liked so much better. The reason is, the one is the perfection of French, the other of natural acting. Madame Pasta is Italian, and she might be English-Mademoiselle Mars belongs emphatically to her country; the scene of her triumphs is Paris. She plays, naturally too, but it is French nature. Let me explain. She has, it is true, none of the vices of the French theatre, its extravagance, its flutter, its grimace, and affectation; but her merit in these respects is, as it were, negative, and she seems to put an artificial restraint upon herself. There is still a pettiness, an attention to minutiæ, an etiquette, a mannerism about her acting: she does not give an entire loose to her feelings, or trust to the unpremeditated and habitual im
pulse of her situation. She has greater elegance, perhaps, and precision of style than Madame Pasta, but not half her boldness or grace. In short, every thing she does is voluntary, instead of being spontaneous. It seems as if she might be acting from marginal directions to her part. When not speaking, she stands for the most part quite still When she speaks, she extends first one hand, and then the other, in a way that you can fancy she does so every time, or in which a machine might be elaborately constructed to devolope different successive movements. When she enters, she advances in a straight line from the other end to the middle of the stage, with the light unvarying trip of her countrywomen, and then stops short, as if under the drill of a fugelman. When she speaks, she articulates with perfect clearness and propriety; but it is the facility of a singer executing a difficult passage. The ease is that of habit, not of nature. Whatever she does, is right in the intention, and she takes care not to carry it too far; but she appears to say beforehand, "This I will do, I must not do that." Her acting is an inimitable study, or consummate rehearsal of the part as a preparatory performance. She hardly yet appears to have assumed the character; something more is wanting, and that something you find in Madame Pasta. If Mademoiselle Mars has to smile, a slight and evanescent expression of pleasure passes across the surface of her face, twinkles in her eyelids, dimples her chin, compresses her lips, and plays on each feature: when Madame Pasta smiles, a beam of joy seems to have struck upon her heart, and to irradiate her countenance. Her whole face is bathed and melted in expression, instead of its glancing from particular points. When she speaks, it is in music. When she moves, it is without thinking whether she is graceful or not. When she weeps, it is a fountain of tears, not a few trickling drops, The French themselves adthat glitter and vanish the instant after. mire Madame Pasta's acting, (who indeed can help it ?) but they go away thinking how much one of her simple movements would be improved by their extravagant gesticulations, and that her noble, natural expression would be the better for having twenty airs of mincing affectation added to it. In her Nina there is a listless vacancy, an awkward grace, a want of bienseance, that is like a child or a changeling, and that no French actress would venture upon for a moment, lest she should be suspected of a want of esprit or of bon mien. A French actress always plays before the court; she is always in the presence of an audience, with whom she settles her personal pretensions by a significant hint or side-glance, and then as much nature and simplicity as you please. Poor Madame Pasta thinks no more of the audience than Nina herself would, if she could be observed by stealth, or than the fawn that wounded comes to drink, or the flower that droops in the She gives herself entirely up sun or wags its sweet head in the gale. to the impression of the part, loses her power over herself, is led away by her feelings, either to an expression of stupor or of artless joy, borrows beauty from deformity, charms unconsciously, and is transformed into the very being she represents. She does not act the charactershe is it, looks it, breathes it. She does not study for an effect, but strives to possess herself of the feeling which should dictate what she is to do, and give birth to the proper degree of grace, dignity, ease or force. She makes no point all the way through, but her whole style
and manner is in perfect keeping, as if she were really a love-sick, care-crazed_maiden; occupied with one deep sorrow, and who had no other idea or interest in the world. This alone is true nature and true art. The rest is sophistical; and French art is not free from the imputation; it never places an implicit faith in nature, but always inixes up a certain portion of art, that is, of consciousness and affectation with it.
We English are charged unjustly with wishing to disparage the French: we cannot help it; there is a natural antipathy between the two nations. Thus, unable to deny their theatrical merit, we are said invidiously to have invented the appellation French nature, to explain away or throw a stigma on their most successful exertions.
"Though that their art be nature, We'll throw such charges of vexation on it, As it may lose some colour."
The English are a heavy people, and the most like a stone of all others the French are a lively people, and more like a feather. They are easily moved, and by slight causes, and each part of the impression has its separate effect: the English, if they are moved at all, (which is a work of time and difficulty,) are moved altogether or in mass, and the impression, if it takes root, strikes deep and spreads wide, involving a number of other impressions in it. If a fragment of a rock, wrenched from its place, rolls slowly at first, gathers strength and fury as it proceeds, tears up every thing in its way, and thunders to the plain below, there is something noble and imposing in the sight, for it answers to our own headlong passions, and the increasing vehemence of our desires. But we hate to see a feather launched into the air, and driven back on the hand that throws it, shifting its course with every puff of wind, and carried no farther by the strongest than by the slightest impulse. It is provoking (is it not?) to see the strength of the blow always defeated by the very insignificance and want of resistance in the object, and the impulse received never answering to the impulse given. It is the very same fluttering, fidgeting, tantalising, inconsequential, ridiculous process that annoys us in the French character. There seems no natural correspondence between objects and feelings, between things and words. By yielding to every impulse at once, nothing produces a powerful or permanent impression; nothing produces an aggregate impression, for every part tells separately. Every idea turns off to something else, or back upon itself; there is no progress made, no blind impulse, no accumulation of imagination with circumstances, no absorption of all other feelings in one overwhelming one, that is, no keeping, no momentum, no integrity, no totality, no inflexible sincerity of purpose; and it is this resolution of the sentiments into their detached points and first impressions, so that they do not take an entire and involuntary hold of them, but they can throw them off from their lightness, or escape from them by reason of their minuteness, that we English complain of as French nature, or a want of nature, for by nature is only meant that the mind identifies itself with something so as to be no longer master of itself, and the French mind never identifies itself with any thing, but always has its own consciousness, its own affectation, its own gratification, its
own slippery inconstancy or impertinent prolixity interposed between the object and the impression. It is this theatrical or artificial nature with which we cannot and will not sympathise, because it circumscribes the truth of things and the capacities of the human mind within the petty round of vanity, indifference, and physical sensations; stunts the growth of imagination, effaces the broad light of nature, and requires us to look at all things through the prism of their petulance and self-conceit. The French, in a word, leave sincerity out of their nature, (not moral, but imaginative sincerity;) cut down the capacities of feeling to their own narrow and superficial standard, and having clipped and adulterated the current coin of expression, would pass it off as sterling gold. We cannot make an exchange with them. They are affected by things in a different manner from us-not in a different degree and a mutual understanding is hopeless. We have no dislike to foreigners as such: on the contrary, a rage for foreign artists and works of art is one of our foibles. But if we give up our national pride, it must be to our taste and understandings. Nay, we adopt the manners and the fashions of the French, their dancing, and their cooking-not their music, not their painting, not their poetry, not their metaphysics, not their style of acting. If we are sensible of our stupidity, we cannot admire their vivacity; if we are sick of our own awkwardness, we like it better than their grace; we cannot part with our grossness for their refinement; if we would be glad to have our lumpish clay animated, it must be with true Promethean heat, not with painted phosphoras; they are not the Frankensteins that must perform this feat. Who among us in reading "Schiller's Robbers," for the first time, ever asked if it was German or not? Who in reading "Klopstock's Messiah," did not object that it was German, not because it was German, but because it was heavy; that is, because the imagination and the heart do not act like a machine, so as to be wound up or let down by the pulleys of the will? Do not the French complain (and complain justly) that a picture is English, when it is coarse and unfinished, and leaves out the details which are one part of nature? Do not the English remonstrate against this defect too, and endeavour to cure it? But it may be said, we relish Schiller, because he is barbarous, violent, and like Shakspeare. We have the Cartoons of Raphael, then, and the Elgin marbles; and we profess to admire and understand these too, and I think without any affectation. The reason is, that there is no affectation in them. We like those noble outlines of the human face at Hampton-Court; the sustained dignity of the expression; the broad ample folds of the drapery; the bold, massive limbs; there it breath and motion in them, and we would willingly be so transformed and spiritualised: but we do not want to have our heavy, stupid faces frittered away into a number of glittering points, or transfixed into a smooth petrifaction on French canvass. Our faces, if wanting in expression, have a settled purpose in them; are as solid as they are stupid; and we are at least flesh and blood. We also like the sway of the limbs and negligent grandeur of the Elgin Marbles; with their huge weight and manly strength, they have the buoyancy of a wave of the sea; they have the ease and softness of flesh; they fall into attitudes of themselves; but if they were put into them by the