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Let us leare bulinage, lest I be mistaken, while stating my argument. No one-save such a weak woman as Miss Martha Le (iranıl, who can never let “those Liberals” alone—will pretend or imagine that the reception of " The Gipsy" by The Pope in polved the most hom vopathic amount of gallantry. There are two hundred small to the cight principal staircases of the Vatican; anıl, since, the world has somewhat too loosely agreed to smile on the private pleasures of liberal leaders, the rumour of any figure, howsoever historical, tripping up the former, might have caused a few days' gossip among the Signora Grundinis of the Jesuit faction ; but there it would have ended. Vot so ; methinks, the removal of the Anathema from the Actor! Ilow heavily oppressive, how mockingly unjust, this has been in Catholic countries,—we, with our Garricks, Kenibles, Youngs, Macrcadys-our Anastasia Robinsons and our Miss Farrens—do not entirely “realise,” as the Ameri
The Church set Opera and Pantomime a-going amoxg the Middle-Age people—was only too glad, at a later epoch, to call in the Farinelli, or Conti, or Millico, or Velluti of the hour to sing Anthems for her, on her high days and holidays: and yet "the poor player" was denied Christian burial—placed in the same category with the wizard or the self-destroyer. "The Songstress, whose coming set all Italian towns (very full of stubble, Sir, they must be) in a flame-on whose gains Young Noblemen hoped to thrive (such speculations having been seen even in England)-on whose name Ladies drew out cabalistic figures, and bought or sold their Lottery Tickets, was, in virtue of her class, rated infamous : a being not to be aclmitted, on any pretext whatever, into the chaste circles made
up of husbands, wives, and house-friends. And the World has wiped its mouth ; wondered “that Artists were rapacious, capricious, impudent, and vulgar ;” and cncouraged them (the Women especially) to scheme for an under-hand social ascendancy, which, admitting the existence of all these charming attributes, was fatal to the human being, and degrading to his profession ! When Columbine has been up the front staircase a few times oftener, it will be her fancy to un-Columbine horself as much as possible ; that she may pass muster among the Roses, the Lilies, and the Golden Rods—if she may not hope to slip in unnoticed among the Daisies or the modest Violets !
But says some Count Etiquette, or Lady of the Starched Wardrobe—“Do we hear aright? Would you have the tone of Society, whether Courtly or Common, spoilt by the admission of persons sa
very conspicuous : granting” (this with a choking effort of magnanimity) " that here and there you may find one who is wellconducted ? Would you open the door to people who are always acting ;—who can neither dress, nor demean themselves like the rest of the world ?" Sir and Madam, I would Aware though I be of the awful importance of your Epithet “conspicuous,” I cannot admit your objection as reasonably exclusive, till I see it carried out. Your Actor is at least as natural in private as your Man in Law, who lies in wait for discussion at every turn, makes a Court of your dining-room, and a jury of your twelve guests, by his pleas and rejoinders ;-and, if you decline peas, will cross-question you thereupon, ere you can save yourself in spinach. His “accost is no more professional than the Physician's, whose eye is
upon you for symptoms, and whose voice is a carefully-prepared anodyne, and whose hand has a generic tendency to glide from a shake into a feeling pressure. Nor do his sock and buskin, his flute or her music-book, peep out more clearly in his talk than do the “ crape and lawn” of the clerical practitioner, whether it be his humour to awe or to fascinate, or (no irreverence meant) to take the place and predominance due to a Teacher, whose study is Virtue, and whose active life the diffusion of the same? You would demand of these poor Actors to become not only the most consummate Artists, but the most plausible hypocrites the world has yet seen; if you were to claim from them voices as carelessly modulated, attitudes as unstudied, dress as innocent of effect--as belong to those who have no stage to rehearse upon, no pasteboard banks whereon thrice a week they must weep over canvas rivers (undulated by waves hired cheap in the alley-seven for sixpence!) -no footlights to stand behind, looking at a sea of heads and spouting soliloquies ! No man is interesting who does not bear about with him the sign and token of the profession in which his interests and sympathies are embarked. Give him an opportunity of sometimes meeting people as engrossed as himself with their own “ations” and “isms,” and, if he have a head and a heart, his peculiarities will drop off, unless you encourage them. Confine him to his own class, and his turn of expression will coarsen into cant; and the seal his daily occupations have set upon him swell into an excrescence and disfigurement. Every Desdemona or Benedict may not be worth saving: but many may be saved, be their toilet ever so rampant, or their phraseology ever so flowery with “ What time,” " " Go to," and such-like braveries.
I am assuming that I am writing to a Christmas boxes, pit, and gallery: who do not think the Play-llouse a chief dependancy of the fientleman in Black—t!ıe pit, a bottomless one—and the whole merry rabble, who wring our hearts or make our sides ache, a sanhedrim of imps, with hoofs and horns and tails (not property on?-) who breathe sulphur, and could not—did the trick draw erer so large a "half-price,”—be got across the threshold of a consecrated building. But, besides these, there is a large and an honest (hristmas public, wlw ilo believe such dismal things implicitly, and who will think themselves the worse for listening for a simple tive minutes while ('olumbine is talked about. Now, what will these good souls, belonging to The Reverend Mr. Scrupler's congregation, say, when I call their attention to an impropriety worse than the actress at The Pope's toc-namely, to Spiritual Pride and Immaculate Purity at the feet of the Actor—that Child of Perdition? When did ever Ilospital Committee, or Dorcas Committee, or Committee for making jails as comfortable as private houses, or Committee for raising cheap l’rejudice Schools—refuse the proceeds of a “ theatrical benefit as tainted money ?-or send back the ten-pound-note of the Pasta, or the Jenny Lind, because
“ the wages of sin ? ” My Mrs. Bell, Sir,—who has much to do with the Charities—has let out such tales of efforts made by zealous and economical ladies to press these iniquitous and to-beshunned people into the good cause, as would make me smile, if they did not make me sick :--sick, at the Pharisaical pretension -sick, at the want of common sense and charity—sick, at Scruple one moment seeking for the strongest magnifier it can find ; and the next blinding its own eyes, that it may not see the mud of the gutter it is stepping over! I do not know how other people manage to reconcile themselves to it, but to me there is no sight so fearful, as that of Righteousness cheating The — - ! This is not the old monkish view of the matter, Sir, I am aware : but the days of monkery are over-save for the harmless bit of play in which the Pugins and the l'useys must work out their dramatic propensities. A St. Senanus would be no longer countenanced for throwing the most persecuting of Ladies into the Lake. Camaldolese Friars make up beds, 'tis true, (beyond their holy precincts) for tired Mrs. Trollopes, who ride on ass-back to see, with their own Tory eyes, what wicked things monasteries can be :—and The Pope has spoken with Columbine !
Let us turn these things in our minds, Sir. There are some
places I have read of, in which it is the pretty custom for people who have quarrelled, to shake hands and make friends on New Year's Day. Surely, Christmas is not the worst time of the year for the reconsideration of old prejudices. At least, don't let us feed them, and clothe them, and fill their wallets for another twelve months' ramble among Men—and Women! And, thus, if any one chooses to take umbrage at the thoughts of Columbine at Court—why, let him stay away from it himself * * And I have only to add
Mrs. Bell! which of you has drunk up my punch ? The glass was three-parts full when I dropped asleep!
Ardwick, November 30th.
JUSTICE. A REVERIE.
BY WILLIAM THOM,
Ance wild in woods wi' brither brute,
Men hunted day by day;
The wolf's half-worried prey.
Fouk awnd nae ither micht;
An' sleepit syne.
An' haul'd their huts thegither;
An' ate nae ane anither.
Love ruled wi' little fyke;
An' buckled syne.
Aye, lighter, aye-ilk glimmer threw
A brichter gleam beyon'it;
Man shaved an' wore a bonnet !
The gudewife wi' sic power enthronat,
An' bairnie on her knee; Whilk she could either scaul or scone it, Just as the case micht be,
An' daut it syne.
Ane hunder years, an' mair than that,
Had drousy Justice snor'd;
l'pon a summer night, They loudly on the lady roard, ha wauken'd in a fright,
An' wonnert syne.
The dosen'd goddess e'ed the fouk,
An' fairlied at their fury;
At bonnie Inverury.
W'ha reive me o' my sleepiu' ?
An' rot ye syne!”
A stark auld man, toom, dour, an' thin,
Stood talesman by the “vote,” His banes stared ’neath his wither'd skin,
An' time had bored his coat.
Upon her fair repute,
Its sickar syne.”
Our fa'en guides hae rackt an’ wrung
An' pouch'd the slave-won plack; In very kernal Conscience flung,
An' wail'd, “Fie! send it back." We 'll gie on earth our wealth-our wrack,
We'lĩ gar our bairns gang duddy ; Ere we connive wi' heathen Black, God send ilk wight a wuddy!
An' hang 'im syne.