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say a few words more of it, which persuaded that he knows tout ce we shall still do in reference to M. qu'il est convenable qu'il sache. Now Benjamin Constant. The Aristocracy M. Benjamin Constant has published of France is divided virtually into - from 1814 to 1819–a number of three classes
.. We have the Aris- amusing pamphlets; the Frenchman tocratie ultra of the fauxbourg St. Ger- says be reads them à cause de leur main. -2. The Aristocracy of MM. esprit ; all the while, however, he is de Broglie, St. Aulaire, De Staël, being instructed. The ultra party, who wish to make their class of led by the Jesuits, a subtle race, Aristocracy exactly what the Les easily saw that the royalist pamMilords Anglais are in London.-3. phlets were dull and stupid by the The Aristocratie Lafitte, De Les- side of those of Constant—which, sert, Perier, &c. whose object it and that was worst of all, not only is to make the millions a sufficient amused, but instructed. They theretitle to consideration. These three fore set themselves to calumniate classes are all just now of a religious him, and they have had abundance of cast, for Christianity happens to be success. at this moment in Paris an engine of On the return of Napoleon from power, and a means of triumph; the Isle of Elba, in 1815, M. Benjaand, for the interests of the respective min Constant, not having an army in classes, nothing must be done which his pocket to drive him from the pais likely to cast a slur upon their se- lace of the Thuilleries, accepted the veral reputations. For instance, a place of Conseiller d'Etut : not being great male leader of the class No. 2. able to repel the tyrant, he wished, lately lived with a noble female as much as was in his power, to leader of the same class, whom diminish the evil which he was about he has quitted within two months, to inflict. The mere presence in the lest the scandal might injure his Conseil d'Etat, of a dialectician so party. For the last ten years the dexterous and epigrammatic as M. upper classes have been unjust to the Benjamin Constant, was enough reputation of M. Constant. The to seal up the mouths of such men reason of this injustice is that he is as Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely, poor. Opinion in France permits all Maret, and the other valets of Napokinds of meamess to a man, pro- leon. Well-since Constant is poor, vided always that he is rich enough the Aristocracy will not see any to keep a carriage, and has his but- thing in this action really, benefiton holes decorated with a cross or cial to France, but the desire of two. These two points attended to, ensuring to himself some appointthe authority of the noble society of ments to the amouut of a thousand Paris ordains that he shall be con a-year. Constant has felt this injus. sidered honnête homme. Now M. tice very deeply. The calumnies of Constant has neither got a carriage the Ultra party have caused him to nor a cross. The low estimation in be neglected by the liberal part of which he felt himself held, has, in the middle classes, the real majority our opinion, driven Benjamin Con- of France. He was a year without stant to the only bad thing he ever being re-elected into the chamber; did—the publication of his De la Re, and this has put the finishing stroke ligion. M. Constant has more than to his demoralization. He sees that any other man in France, contributed France is not worthy of having a to teach his countrymen what is disinterested defender, and to the meant by a Constitutional Government. bottom of his heart he is sold to the He is not eloquent, but he is smart, Aristocratical party. By the word epigrammatic, and subtle ; his talent sold, we do not mean that he has resembles very much that of La Bru- taken money, but he has hoped that yere, the celebrated author of the by publishing a book which should Caruetères. By the aid of this talent, flatter the views of the first class of Constant has made frenchmen, al society in Paris, that he should be most without their knowledge, fully recompensed by its praise and its comprehend the constitutional re consideration. Madame la Duchesse gime. French vanity is such that a de Broglie has written twelve pages man of thirty docs not like to be on Bible Societies--this little circumtiught--a Frenchman is intimately stance is a key to the noble society of
Paris. She envies the consideration Aulaires have formed a powerful which our Aristocracy has obtained club, called the Society of Christia n all over the nation. T'he sole end at Morals. This plan is evidently that this moment of one great class of the which poor Benjamin Constant point s nobility of Paris is to acquire the out in his book, and yet in this so precise existence of the English ciety de la Morale Chretienne he is Peerage. The middle class have, never talked about; we doubt even however, both too much talent and whether he is a member. too much vanity ever to permit this In the meanwhile, the book has success. The liberal peers of France entirely ruined constant with the perceive that the spread of education, class of rich merchants and bankers, of the kind which has been spread- and the great monied men of Paris ; ing in France of late years, is the headed by the MM. Lafitte, de most likely thing in the world to pre- Lessert, and Perier. This class never vent the attainment of their darling reads, but in this act of the deputy object—the life of the English Peer of the Seine (M. Constant has been --and they have consequently joined re-elected some months) it sees a with the Ultra Peers to commit edu- piece of servility towards the party of cation into the hands of the Jesuits, the Aristocratie nobiliaire. The monied or, at least, to the religious corpo- men have therefore spread abroad a rations. MM. de Broglie, de Sainte report, that Constant is sold to the Aulaire, de Staël, and the other chiefs minister Villèle, and at this moment of the class of pretended liberals, have this is the general opinion in Paris. actually made up to M. le Cardinal de This evil action, this bad book, this Lafare, M. de Talaru, and the other sad piece of hypocrisy, has made the Ultra peers. The view of the two poor man despised by the nobles, and parties is the same-to found l'Aris- punished by the bankers. tocratie nobiliaire. The only differ The end of the monied Aristoence is this that the party of M. de cracy to make stock a fair title to adBroglie has more intellect than that mission among the noble Aristocracy, of M. de Talaru, and comprehends the will, in all probability, be gained. limits of their power, and understands In the course of ten years, it is likely that all that it is possible to acquire is that every man with five millions of the state of the English nobility. M. francs (about 200,0001. sterling) will de Talaru, who is a man of a' narrow- be as good a noble as a duke. At er mind, fancies that they can go the present, however, the noble Arisbeyond that—and become again the tocracy make every effort to preinsolent GRANDS-SEIGNEURS of the vent this assimilation and strive to reign of Louis XIV. Constant has corrupt education by the Jesuits, and bound himself to the least blind of bring this back as near as possible these two parties—but even these to the ancient regime. All the prindespise both his motive and his ciples of Constant's book are likebook, and that which is most par- wise in action, he nevertheless has ticularly mortifying to him is, that the pain to see his book forgotten, he sees them following up all his and himself despised. This is, howideas to the letter, without ever ever, unjust. We regard him as a deigning to mention his work. The good man, and a useful citizen, who Broglies, the Staëls, and the Saint has made one false step.
THEATRICALS OF THE DAY. THE "great" theatres have open- sent indeed they are rather menageed for the season. If their greatness rial exhibitions, similar to those at is to be estimated by the number of Exeter Change and Bartholomew bricks in each building, it is indis- Fair, than any thing else: they putable. And to the name of theatres, are almost equally well calculated in its primitive sense, they have (with the help of outlandish music nearly as undoubted pretensions as and orchestras more than commonly any “ Orama” in the metropolis, uproarious) to amuse the eye and disbeing little more than permanent tress the ear. The Germans have and enormous show-boxes. At pre- monopolized one house for the whole
by-gone month, and the Equestrians drops of the animal oil course onethe other: monsters and quadrupeds! another down his “ piteous nose," O wise, erudite, intellectual, and re groans or rather whinnies with defined People of England! What a light as the fourfooted objects of his · feast of reason do we not partake of anxiety make their appearance ! every night when a stage-full of Hark'ee : how far eminent does he toads, serpents, crocodiles, hell- rise, think you, above the poor dumb hounds, hobgoblins, foul birds and brutes whom he contemplates? Why, unclean beasts of every indescribable forsooth, he can laugh at them, description are served up to us by way whilst they by the parsimony of their of refreshment after a two hours' natures cannot return the salutation. auscultation of dull dialogue and See how the lax muscles of his visage mad music! What a flow of soul run into an indistinguishable jelly at may we not indulge every night the awkward gambols of Roscius on when we behold a gentleman in a all-four! how his eyes and mouth black mask and a blood-red mantle simultaneously broaden into an exsweep across our eye-sight, “ fierce pression of dumb-stricken wonder at as ten furies, terrible as hell,” crying heavy-heeled Esop scampering up a fee-fa-fum ! - and another unlucky wooden staircase into the regions of personage exclaiming Donner und thunder, and the sound of his gravid blitzen ! as he is shot askew with a hoof vibrating through the carpentry charmed bullet ! Who dares say of a play-house! O for a pompion after this that the drama is no more, to feature out idiotcy in extatics! that the stage has degenerated, that What anxiety, what amazement, John Bull has not more taste for what pleasure, and what praise ! To theatricals than Bully Bottom (when see incogitative matter, hoofed, highhis ass's head is on) for a bottle of maned, long-eared, and mounted upon hay or a peck of provender? I four legs, stand on the stage instead · would fain see that fellow. And the of in the stable! To see a bona fide quadrupeds too! Ay: it is here that living and long-tailed quadruped, by we of all modern civilized nations, the mere force of underhand exercise we alone imitate and excel that and eternal custom, lie down in a brave and brutal people,—the people proper place, or bite a biped in tune, of old Rome. We do not only go to —to see him cutting lavoltas and casee quadrupeds exhibit in an open pricoles to the admonition of the arena, but we bring them into the rowel, as long as the “ great babies” room with us, teaching them to in the house are pleased to applaud mince their footsteps and walk as him !— Astonishment! Surely God gingerly over the boards as if they works a miracle now-a-days, making were endeavouring to caper over a reasonable creatures of horses, and field of corn or to dance upon a floor of asses of reasonable creatures! Listen, eggs without bending the one or countrymen and lovers: Suppose that breaking the other. Look !—it is there were two roads from the millbetter than any farce, though a me race to the clover-field, and that - lancholy one - look at the grave, Giles were accustomed to lead Dobbin
phlegmatic, taciturn, suicidal En- by one and the same of these roads glishman when the quadrupeds en- every day to and from pasture; ter! Behold one of the most thinking would any one stand agape if Dobbin people on earth, the profound and upon being left to himself were to go sagacious islander, the national by the customary road rather than brother of Newton and Bacon,—the the other?-But in the theatre it is consummation of sublunary wisdom, quite another thing: here incessant behold him in the middle of the pit pains are taken to inure the animal when the snort and the tramp, the to one routine of action, yet it is clang and the clatter, announce the perfectly admirable that he should ingress of a herd of equestrians ! persist in this on the stage as well as His right hand furnished with the at the riding-house, and in the presymbol of solemnity-a snuff-box, sence of a greater number of fools and his nose bestridden by a pair of than his masters ! But it comes to owl-eyed spectacles, behold him how this: the wonder that Nature makes "he stretches his apoplectic neck to anything whatever but men and towards the proscenium, and while blind matter, or that the inferior
classes of animals should be endued their bent. No half measures for with any quality which might re me: I would go roundly to work. semble human reason in some of its For this purpose the first thing I lowest capacities. Yet let the won
should do would be to engage a der cease when we reflect how fre« German dramatist who could produce quently the higher class approximates at least one regular certificate of in to the lower, so as to differ from it sanity, who had attempted to in shape and outward appointments shoot others and hang himself,--who only. How many men do we meet had drunk blood out of scull-cups with in society, endowed with less and played at skittles with dead men's sensibility than an oyster ? how bones,—who could boast the acmany who are distinguishable from quaintance of every wild grave, waasses only by the shortness of their ter-king, old witch, &c. &c. within the ears? What paddock in Elysium is belt of the nine Circles,—who was a fool fit for?" Or must he not ra- cup and can with Von Goethe and ther drop, like his brother-brutes, per consequence hand in glove with into the river of Oblivion, and die for Mephistopheles,—who was in short ever when he dies at all? How practically conversant with all the much more grateful to its divine crimes in the calendar and on terms Creator must the breathing field- of easy familiarity with all the deflower be, than the vile and offensive mons at either side of Hell-gate. tenement of a sinful and (even though Such a noble Trojan as this would I it were pure as a cherub's) a scarcely engage for my Major Domo, were I save-worthy soul?
a manager; and with his assistance But the question is:- Who are would I cater for the public stomach the real patrons of the quadrupeds till it sickened with the very hue of and the monsters ? Three classes the viands. It would be then time. of candidates are named for this enough to turn about and serve up honourable distinction: and the pre- Adam and Eve in fig-leaves, as a tensions of each generously allowed pleasant contrast of nature in a green by the others. The managers are dress with every thing unnatural in a raised by universal acclamation of German one. To relieve the audience, the two other parties to this bad however, by a grateful variety of eminence. Ah ! disinterested rivals! amusement whilst my tragedist was But indeed the sacrifice is too great; playing off his men-monsters, and to Truth nor Justice will allow it. So indulge them in their propensity for pusillanimous, so little ambitious quadrupeds, I would occasionally in this way have the managers been, favour them with a performer of this: that it is only lately they have dared number of legs. But horses would to exhibit any thing out of the com- be too common-place for my ingemon track,-such as pantomime, nuity; were I theatrical purveyor to opera, maudlin tragedy, farces in an English audience, and did they five acts and in two. They have persevere in their present taste, by neglected with the most blameworthy all that is solemn and serious, I indifference to cultivate the perspi- would give them a bear! Not a cient taste of the public, which has young biped sewed up in a rug, nor long been declining towards the the stuffed Greenlander from Monfourth, or Monstrous School of the tague-house,-but a real, perpendidrama." For my part, were I a cular, dancing bear! By thus turnmanager,'I would make a bold stroke ing the stage every now and then for popularity, and introduce “ the into a bear-garden I would endeadevil and all his works” at once. If the vour to afford the public a conpublic were determined to be fooled, summation of their refined taste in I would fool them to the very top of intellectual enjoyments, an union of
To the three which I have already enumerated in my“ Letters,"—the Dramatic, the Rhetóric, and the Poetic, I am now to add a fourth, - the Monstrous, as making up the very respectable number of schools through which English Tragedy has successively permeated. The last is only now beginning to engage general admiration, but its merits are of so unequivocal a description as to render its ultimate success with a discerning public inevitable. I have not been premature therefore in branding it with a suitable title and speaking of it as the fourth school of our national drama.
the double and dissimilar qualifi: line of the latter. I profess myself a cations of a quadruped and a bi- critic in these matters, and yet I hoped; if it should ever happen to nestly declare that I would rather see be my lot to turn bearward for Mr. Ducrow canter up to the clouds the profit and delight of the British as a knight of a modern pantomime, I nation.
than Mr. Young stalk across the Yet neither is it the public who stage as the hero of a modern tragedy. are to be looked upon as the original But granting the postulate, that the patrons of the quadrupeds; nor is public taste is irrational, — whose it to their encouragement that the fault is this ? Acknowledging the Monstrous school of drama in Eng- lamentable truth that the million is land primarily owes its existence prone to idolatry of quadrupeds and and success. We, that is, the public, monsters, and that it still retains the have many pairs of shoulders ; you old Jewish propensity to adore devils may lay any weight of obloquy upon for deities (at least on the stage); them. Nothing is more easy than to acknowledging this truth, and that ascribe the present degraded state of the reigning taste of the public esa the stage to the perversity or depra.' emplifies it, — whose fault is it? Supvity of the public taste in theatricals. pose the pedagogues of all the schools This is a ready and a favourite solu- in Great Britain were to drop, as by tion of the phenomenon,-especially a thunderstroke, their books and with those who know it to be false. birches, with all other orthodox inDo I then pretend to assert that the struments of edification, and assault public taste is not vitious and irra- the ears alone of their pupils with tional, at present? No. Do I pre- home-made poetry,-would it be any tend to assert that the countenance crime if the sufferers were immediand applause with which the qua- ately to cry. “Whoop!” and sally drupeds and the monsters meet every out to trap-ball and cricket ? Cere night, is not the cause of their pre- tainly not. If those who ought to be sent occupation of the stage? No. their teachers desert the office, and
But how far is the public guilty in neglecting legitimate modes of in\this? Entertainment of one kind or struction seek to overwhelm their unother must be · had. If we can- offending auditors with a perpetual not have legitimate drama, we must effusion of poetry,--the inattention of have illegitimate: if we cannot have the latter is a subject for praise not the noble deeds of men, we must blame, and their consequent ignorance have the damnable gesticulations of or bad taste is not their fault, but monsters ; if we cannot have heroes their misfortune. Exactly by the to amuse us, we must have horses. same rule we may regret the degeneWhat choice has the public? or how rate taste of the public which can can it show its taste and discrimi- indulge itself so gratefully in contemnation ?-By tearing the concave (I plating night after night the menagesuppose), by blowing the house-roofto rial exhibitions at Ďrury Lane and the moon, when such splendid ebulli- Covent Garden, but we cannot fairly tions of dramatic genius as “ The censure it. We may deplore that want Vespers of Palermo,” “ Caius Grace of public feeling which permits the chus,” &c. &c. are played off before boards where Macbeth and Othello us? -and by groaning at the quadru- have trod to be profaned by the hoof peds whenever they attempt to enter of a quadruped, which permits the the lists against the heroes of such temples of Shakspeare to be metadoughty performances! This is so morphosed into little hells where reasonable ! Seriously, and upon every unhallowed species of tragic my sincerity, I think the public diablerie may be perpetrated with evinces nothing short of the purest. impunity,—we may deplore the want, good-taste in preferring the quadru- but we cannot set it down to the pubpeds and the monsters to the mise- lic as a crime with which they are rable tragedies from which the Dra- justly chargeable. Those who should matists of the Day expect so much have directed the public taste and inimmortality and money. There is structed the public judgment, have something to please at least in one deserted their post. The shepherds sense in the former;“nil admirari 'in have left their flocks, which have a passive sense sounds through every therefore naturally gone astray. They