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THE schoolboy, agape at the tinsel splendour and seeming miracles of a holiday pantomime, longs for a peep behind the pasteboard parapets that limit his view. When the falling curtain puts a period to Clown's malicious buffoonery and to the blunders of persecnted and long suffering Pantaloon, he marvels as to the subsequent proccedings of the lithe and agile mimes who have so gloriously diverted him. He is tempted to believe that Harlequin sleeps in his motley skin, that Columbine perpetually retains her graceful rose-wreaths and diaphanous muslin. He can hardly realize the relapse of such glittering apparitions into the prosaic humdrum of every-day life, and would gladly penetrate the veil of baize that shrouds from his eager eyes the mirth-provoking crew. Better that he should not. Sadly would his bright illusions fade, sore be his disenchantment, could he recognise the brilliant Harlequin in yon shabbygenteel gentleman issuing from the stage door, and discern her of the twinkling feet rewarding herself with a measure of Barclay for the pirouettes and entrechats that lately ravished his youthful vision.
Not unlike the boy's desire for a peep behind the scenes, is the popular hankering after glimpses of royal
privacy. The concealed is ever the coveted, the forbidden the most desired. Keep an ape under triple lock, and fancy converts her into a sylph; it was the small key, the last of the bunch, that Bluebeard's bride most longed to use. For the multitude, the Chronicles of Courts have ever a strong and peculiar attraction. With what avidity is swallowed each trivial detail concerning princes and their companions; how anxious are the humble many to obtain an inkling of the every-day life of the great and privileged few, to dive into the recesses of palaces, and contemplate in the relaxation of the domestic circle, those who in public are environed by an imposing barrier of ceremony, pomp, and dignity. In the absence of more precise and pungent particulars, even the bald and fulsome paragraphs of a court circular find eager readers, who learn with strange interest the direction and extent of a king's afternoon ride, and the exact hour at which some infant principule was borne abroad for an airing. Less meagre and more satisfactory nourishment is afforded to popular inquisitiveness by the writings of those who have lived in the intimacy of courts. Seldom, however, do such appear during the lifetime both of the writer and of the
Diz Ans à la Cour du Roi Louis Philippe, et Souvenirs du Tems de l'Empire et de la Restauration. Par B. APPERT, de la Société Royale des Prisons de France. Berlin and Paris, 1846.
VOL. LXI.—NO. CCCLXXV.