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a very striking and characteristic exordium; we mean Chi dice mal d'amore. The emphatic drop on the last syllable of the word falsità in that air, is a touch of real genius. Madame Pasta would give it with a corresponding beauty of gesture, impressing her firm and indignant hand upon it with all the grace of a noble scorn. There are two Mayers, we believe, both writers of pleasing melodies; though perhaps we are naming together two unequal men. One of them is the author of a graceful ballad, beginning Donne, l'amore e scaltro pargoletto. At all events, the name led us to expect more melody than we found in the new opera; or perhaps we should say, more original airs; for there is a vein of rambling melody throughout the piece, and, if not much invention, a great deal of taste and feeling. The music is so good, that we expect it every minute to be better. There is now and then a very delicate commentary of accompaniment, throwing out little unexpected passages both learned and to the purpose. The best of the regular compositions, are the duets. There are two between Madame Pasta and Curioni, (In tal momento in the first act, and E deserto il bosco in the second) for which alone the opera is worth going to hear. Curioni, who has a manner of feebleness and indifference in general, seems inspired when he comes to sing with Pasta. Her part is one of the least effective ones she has had; but everything becomes elevated by that fine face of hers, and that voice breathing the soul of sincerity. The words core and amore are never common-places in her mouth. They resume all their faith and passion. They are no more like the same words in ordinary, than gallantry is like love, or than scipio, any walking-stick, was Scipio who supported his father. Pasta has a large heart in her bosom, or she could not have a voice so full of it. This it is that gives her the ascendancy in the scene; that lifts her, "dolphin-like, above the element she lives in ;" and sports, and rules, and is a thing of life, in those deep waters of her song. Not that other singers have no hearts, and may not be excellent people; but they have not the same faith in the very sounds and symbols of cordiality, and cannot be at a moment's notice in the world which they speak of. The common world hampers and pulls them back. It was well noticed by a lady in the pit, that she is not hindered of
her purpose by a break now and then in her voice, the bubble of a note or so. She slides over it, as if it were a mole-hill under her chariot-wheels, and abates nothing of her triumphant progress; nay, adds a grace and a dignity on the strength of it, as if it were a new proof how indifferent to the spirit of a passage was the ground the most material to those who can look no higher. Besides, there is a suffering and permission in it that belongs emphatically to passion. If it were for want of skill or deliberation, it would be another thing. But in the rich haste of emotion, pearls are dropt as of no consequence. The profusion of real wealth allows us to notice them only as things that would make others poor.
Being closer to Madame Pasta than usual this night, we had a completer opportunity of noticing the extraordinary grace of her movements. She is never at a loss, because she never thinks of being so. She leaves the whole matter to truth and nature, and these settle it for her, as completely as they do for an infant. You might make a picture from any one of her postures. A favourite action of her's, and one extremely touching, is, after venting a passion of more than usual force, to put up her hands before her eyes, laying and shutting up, as it were, her looks in them, as if to hide from herself the sight of her own emotion. When she opens her arms in a transport of affection, leaning at the same time a little back, and breathing and looking as true as truth could wish, her heart seems to come forward for one as real, and her arms to wait the sanction of its acknowledgment. For all arms, be it observed, are not arms, whatever they pretend; any more than all that pretends to be love is love, or all eyes have an insight. Some arms are a sort of fore-legs in air, merely to help people's walking. Others have machines at the end of them, to take up victuals and drink with, or occasionally to scratch out one's eyes. Others, more amiable, are to hang armlets and bracelets on, or to be admired for a skin or a shape; and then ladies put them in kid gloves, on purpose to take them off, and lift them indifferently to their cheek with rings on their fingers, and people say, what an arm Mrs Timson has! But the real arms are to serve and love with; to clasp with; to be honest and true arms,
content to be admired for their own sakes if the possessor be worthy, but happy to enable you to lose sight of them for the sake of the heart and the honest countenance. It is out of an instinct to this purpose (for the least of our gestures have their reason, if we did but scan it) that Madame Pasta throws back her arms, as if things only in waiting, and brings forward her heart, as if the approbation of that alone would sanction their use. It is for a similar reason, that we admire those women who can afford to make no display of the beauty of any particular limb, but reserve it for the objects of their love and respect to find out. It shows they are richer than in mere limbs. And for the same reason, one hates all that French dancing with fine showy limbs and senseless faces, which follows the musical performances at this house, and is just the antipodes of all that charms us in Pasta's singing. If her limbs were among the poorest in the world, they would become precious as warmth and light, with that smile and those eyes; whereas if a French dancer could by any possibility have limbs like a Venus, with a face no fitter to look at for ten minutes, or for one, than nineteen out of twenty of them possess, she might as well, to our taste, be as wooden and pointed all over as a Dutch doll; which indeed in her inanimate posture-makings and senseless rightangles of toe, she very much resembles. These people are made up out of the toy-shop. They are dolls in their quieter moments, and tee-totums in their livelier, A mathematician should marry one of them for a pair of compasses.
We must not forget to mention, that Madame Caradori, whose illness had been previously stated to the public, went through her part in the opera in spite of it, though evidently in a state of suffering. She could of course be expected to do little; but what she did was good, and at least wanted nothing of its touchingness. There is at all times something amiable in the manner and appearance of this singer. Her more than usual delicacy the other night, together with her white dress which had a long boddice, with a cross over it, and her hanging uniform-looking sleeves, gave her the appearance of a Madonna in one of Raphael's pictures.
We must relate an anecdote of Madame Pasta, highly corrobo+ rative of what has been said of her. Some gentlemen who knew her well, informed a friend of ours when he was in Paris, that she would come home from the opera, and sit in a passion of tears at the recollection of what she had been acting. They told him that nothing could be more unaffected, and that she would say she knew it to be idle, but that she "could not get the thing out of her head." This is just what imaginative people would expect her to say. She never pretended that she had taken herself for the character she represented; but she had sympathized with it so strongly, that it became the next thing to reality; and if our hearts can be touched, and our colour changed, by the mere perusal of a tragedy, how much more may not a woman's nature be moved that has been almost identified with the calamities in it; that by force of imagination has brought the soul of another to inhabit her own warm being; and has entertained it there as the very guest of humanity, giving it her own heart to agitate, and taking upon herself the burden' of its infirmities!
THE MOUNTAIN OF THE TWO LOVERS.
WE forget in what book it was, many years ago, that we read the story of a lover who was to win his mistress by carrying her to the top of a mountain, and how he did win her, and how they ended their days on the same spot.
We think the scene was in Switzerland; but the mountain, though high enough to tax his stout heart to the uttermost, must have been among the lowest. Let us fancy it a good lofty hill in the summer-time. It was, at any rate, so high, that the father of the lady, a proud noble, thought it impossible for a young man so burdened to scale it. For this reason alone, in scorn, he bade him do it, and his daughter should be his.
The peasantry assembled in the valley to witness so extraordinary a sight. They measured the mountain with their eyes; they communed with one another, and shook their heads; but all admired the young man; and some of his fellows, looking at their mistresses, thought they could do as much. The father was on horse
back, apart and sullen, repenting that he had subjected his daughter even to the shew of such a hazard; but he thought it would teach his inferiors a lesson. The young man (the son of a small land-proprietor, who had some pretensions to wealth, though none to nobility) stood, respectful-looking but confident, rejoicing in his heart that he should win his mistress, though at the cost of a noble pain, which he could hardly think of as a pain, considering who it was that he was to carry. If he died for it, he should at least have had her in his arms, and have looked her in the face. To clasp her person in that manner was a pleasure which he contemplated with such transport, as is known only to real lovers; for none others know how respect heightens the joy of dispensing with formality, and how the dispensing with the formality ennobles and makes grateful the respect.
The lady stood by the side of her father, pale, desirous, and dreading. She thought her lover would succeed, but only because she thought him in every respect the noblest of his sex, and that nothing was too much for his strength and valour. Great fears came over her nevertheless. She knew not what might happen in the chances common to all. She felt the bitterness of being herself the burden to him and the task; and dared neither to look at her father nor the mountain. She fixed her eyes now on the crowd (which nevertheless she beheld not) and now on her hand and her fingers' ends, which she doubled up towards her with a pretty pretence, the only deception she had ever used. Once or twice a daughter or a mother slipped out of the crowd, and coming up to her, notwithstanding their fears of the lord baron, kissed that hand which she knew not what to do with.
The father said, "Now, Sir, to put an end to this mummery;" and the lover, turning pale for the first time, took up the lady.
The spectators rejoice to see the manner in which he moves off, slow but secure, and as if encouraging his mistress. They mount the hill; they proceed well; he halts an instant before he gets midway, and seems refusing something; then ascends at a quicker rate; and now being at the midway point, shifts the lady from one side to the other. The spectators give a great shout. The baron, with an air of indifference, bites the tip of his gauntlet, and then