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of one of Lord Byron's demi-profundities, he had as lief kill himself as not; and goes out of the world, apostrophizing the ciel, or his cœur, or the miserable hopes of L'Homme. Joking apart, it is from half-thinking that most suicides are committed, whether in France or England; but we do it from a gloomy habit of halfthinking, the French from a more enthusiastic one. With us, it looks like an affair of the mind; with them, it is accompanied with a more obvious physical sensibility;-with all, the chief secret is a disturbed state of body, whether the first cause is bodily or not; and he that sets about mending his health, will stand little chance of troubling the coroner. After all, political changes must have to do with this matter in France.
To return to the subject of dissection. An end is now likely to be put to all questions on the subject; the benevolent will no longer have to struggle with their imaginations, or kindred be alarmed for one another's shoulder-blades. But meanwhile, if the accounts from Dublin are true, a physician there, Dr Macartney the anatomist, well known for his zeal in behalf of the co-operative system, has done himself immortal honour by bequeathing his body for dissection; and fifty other medical men have followed his example. The Sheffield Iris mentions another instance; and we are informed, that some time ago the same thing was done by the venerable Jeremy Bentham.
66 ONLY ONCE."
We know not whether the following joke is old. It was new to us, who boast of being great readers of anecdotes and jest-books. If it be objected, that it turns upon an infirmity, we answer that none could be more averse than ourselves to repeating stories of that kind, unless of infirmities obtruded or turned into vanities, like those ridiculed in the imitations of Mr Mathews; for which in our critical days we unwisely found fault with him. But although the case before us is not a similar one, all ungraciousness is taken out of the jest, by the fact of its having been told us by a wag of the first water, himself a stammerer.
A good-natured elderly gentleman, sick but smiling, was recom
mended, for an impediment in his speech, to take the benefit of sea-bathing. He accordingly went down to Margate, and being no swimmer, but philosophical withal, committed himself into the hands of two or three strong fellows to be dipped. While preparing himself in the machine, he explained, with the usual difficulty of utterance, how it was that he came to be a bather; and then spoke of the confidence he had in the care and skill of the persons present, who took great pains to preserve their gravity before a gentleman so good-humoured; and as soon as he was ready, took him in hand. He had repeated some of his latter observations several times, and appeared anxious to repeat another, when they assured him that there was no necessity; that they understood the case very well; and doubted not that he would be satisfied.
The gentleman had four dips in all. After the first he came up, panting, and crying Oh, but smiling; and the men, construing a gesticulation he made into "farther orders," dipped him again. At the second, he came up, blind and panting, but still gesticulating; and was dipped again. Great earnestness and haste at the third, and was again dipped. At the fourth, he spoke, and was dipped no more; but how he exclaimed every time, and what he spoke at last, will be best seen, as follows:
First dip ;-up comes the gentleman, drenched and panting, but smiling, and crying out-" 0-0-”
Second dip;-drench as before-" 0-0-0-"
Third dip-great vehemence and gesticulation-" 0-0-0-0-”
He was to have been dipped "only once;" but could not get it out.
Correspondents next week.
A writer in a Sunday paper has done us the honour to say, that our remarks on the Duchess of St Albans have modified some of his opinions on that lady; and he has added a sentence, in a style more than handsome. Next to the pleasure one cannot help feeling on such an occasion, our first impulse is to feel nothing but deference towards a spirit of so much candour; and our final one, to hope that we may continue to think alike.
Published by HUNT and CLARKE, York street, Covent garden: and sold by all Booksellers and Newsvenders in town and country.-Price 4d.
PRINTED BY C. H. REYNELL, BROAD STREET, GOLDEN SQUARE.
No. XX. WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 1828.
"Something alone yet not alone, to be wished, and only to be found, in a friend."-SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE.
PASTA AND SONTAG.
We were seduced the other evening to go and see, not the two rival, but the two harmonious queens, at the Opera House. The house was full to excess. The gallery hung in the air like a cloud of human faces. In the pit, despairing amateurs came in and out at the door; or tried to content themselves with sitting on the staircase, and hearing though they could not see. The boxes looked atrociously comfortable, and thereby increased the general sense of compression. This however was only while we remained; for unfortunately we could not stay long. We suppose they became as crowded as the rest of the house afterwards. The performance began very late; which made the matter worse. Much hatred of one's neighbour prevailed among the impatient: considerable internal" damn,” and a longing to be disagreeable. Our beloved countrymen are so apt to be discontented with themselves, that even the anticipation of delight does not enable them to be willingly at ease with one another.-At length, Rossini's overture comes scampering about, like a dog before a solemnity; the curtain rises; divers prefatory "first mobs" clamour and chorus it; a space is left in front; silence ensues; and Pasta, midst a thunder of welcome, as if the galleries were coming down, makes her appear
ance as Othello. She is in a vest and turban, her face rather swarthy than black. She halts in front of the lamps; smiles with a beautiful mixture of emotion and self-resumption on her friends; and opening her arms gradually, and bending her head, receives the redoubled shower of applause with the utmost grace of acknowledgment.
It is not our intention to criticise the performance of this evening. We were present too short a time. We did but snatch an opportunity of seeing Pasta again, and getting a taste of the new singer Mademoiselle Sontag. The papers however say, that Pasta surpassed herself (a phenomenon which we are sorry we could not witness), and that the new singer, who was expected to fail in Desdemona, surprised the audience with turning out to be a good tragic actress. Desdemona is a favourite part of her friend's; and yet, they say, she completely acted up to her; and that the Othello and Desdemona of the Opera House, besides being beautiful singing, is worth going to see, in both performers, as a tragedy.
We can very well believe this, notwithstanding the difficulty we feel, in consequence perhaps of not having stopped long enough, in regarding Mademoiselle Sontag as a person tragical. Nor let it be any disparagement to that charming singer, for charming she is. All the outrageous flourishes of trumpets with which her appearance in this country was preceded, and the downfall with which she was threatened for it in public opinion, do not hinder us from feeling this truth, and from recognising in her something very different from the mere musical instrument, however perfect, which she was pronounced to be by the "indignant blind." But charming singers are of various descriptions; and it follows as little that Mademoiselle Sontag should be a mere flageolet or warbling image, because those trumpets went before her, as it does that she should be a tragic actress, because she made a suitable impression in Desdemona. The truth we suspect to be this, that she made a good Desdemona in her way, not because she brought any particular stock of tragedy to the part, or could make it a thing fine for its own sake, as Pasta does, but because she is not a tragic person, but (singing apart) a mere lovely, feminine creature, with more archness than gravity in her nature, and therefore (as Desdemona
was) the more touching for getting into those tragic circumstances. On this account we are not sure that we should not prefer her Desdemona to Pasta's; not because it had so much genius in it, but because it was more passive, less prominent, and in touching us more on the side of gentleness, affected us with a balmier pity. We have been told, that when Pasta sees the dagger upheld to kill her, she fairly seizes her petticoats, and shrieks, and runs for it. This is one of those great strokes of nature, by which she drives at once into the heart of the multitude; and nothing, as a thing tragic, can surpass it. Desdemona is here made human to us all; and does as any female would do, who, suddenly threatened with death, forgets every circumstance but that one, and the horror of its infliction. Perhaps Mademoiselle Sontag may imitate her in this passage; if not, she has most likely had the benefit of her co-operation during rehearsals;-which is a remark intended to the honour of both parties. But we should guess of her Desdemona, that it is a thing less unsophisticate to the many, than touching to the other sex; that she looks more passive throughout, -less able to conflict with circumstances, or to fly from them; less agitating out of a certain dark, Italian ripeness for tragedy, than affecting for its total unsuitableness to her fair delicacy and bringing up-in short, that she is
"The gentle lady married to the Moor;"
not the representative of all married and murdered womankind.It may be thought presumptuous in us to make this criticism upon a catastrophe we have not seen; and we grant that it can only be excused as an avowed speculation, not injurious to either party. But we think we have grounds for it; and these are neither more nor less than the faces of the two performers. Madame Pasta's is too well known, and we have said too much about it, to need description. It is the mirror of impassioned truth. Mademoiselle Sontag is neither such a paragon of beauty as her foreign harbingers announced, nor on the other hand has she so little of it as some of the "blind" aforesaid would have made out. For our parts, we have rather a dread of your paragons of beauty, who are apt to be perfections of form and colour without a soul. When we first heard of Mademoiselle Sontag, we wondered how she could