« ForrigeFortsett »
which we tried hard to laugh at in a moment of kindness, but found it utterly impossible. Without desiring to question the veracity of our traveller, we must think that his frogs had more illigant lungs' than those reptiles generally stand seized of, or else that, owing to some physical peculiarity, their auditor was enabled to take in a greater volume of their nocturnal melody, than could be received by one less gifted. Seriously, it was this perpetual record of small personal matters, which gave us so much weariness in the perusal of the volume before us. We could pardon the egotism, and the occasional melancholy and untimely strivings at humor, which pervade the work, much more readily than the trite common places into which the writer is continually led, apparently in order to make up his volume—the really valuable portions of which-and we think there are many—might be embraced in half the number of pages. For example, he expatiates at large on the straw hats sold in the fairs of Guayaquil; advises travellers to beware how they purchase the thing,' lest they get taken in; tells how he carried a wet towel in his hat to keep his head cool; how the women threw foul water on him in carnival time; how the mosquitoes bit him in a canoe ; how he saw a monkey, and how the animal grinned and chattered; how peculiarly disagreeable a stabbed alligator smelt; and what a trick his sick mule played him in ascending a hill, with other astounding adventures, of about the same interest and magnitude, interspersed with accompanying remarks, suggested thereby, and amounting to-nothing. We do not wish to criticise our tourist too severely; but while we waded through his list of small adventures, and read his prosy observations thereon, we could not help thinking of the first stanza in the old Yankee song of Incontrovertible Facts :'
Boston isn't in Bengal-
Lobsters wear no specs at all,
And cows don't smoke the German pipe. Every insignificant thing seems to have excited in his mind some slender train of thought. He thus dilates upon the hapless fate of some guineapigs, that, among other animals and fowls, were domiciliated with a friend under whose roof he lodged at Bodegas. These guinea-pigs,' he says, in a burst of melancholy sentiment, are, Alas! not so happy as their fellow-inmates, the delicacy of their flesh often condemning them to the spit or pot.' Gracious heaven! Is that the way they use pigs in South America! But whatever may be the condition of those devoted quadrupeds—whether they are to be stewed, or broiled, or roasted-one consolation, dear to humanity, remains,—their fate has been touched with the pencil of sympathetic pity, and their memory will be glorified !
We like our author best, when he leaves such petty details, and escapes into descriptions of nature and art in South America. Here he is often respectable—sometimes almost elegant,--and brings in history aptly to his aid. In this point of view, his work deserves praise, and is worth its price. His pictures of Chimborazo, of the volcano Pichincha, of Quito, Panama, etc., are well drawn, and probably accurate. Should he ever make another book, he would do well to keep himself more in
the back ground—to sink his little personal incidents, his common places, and his struggles for wit—and with these improvements, we believe he might produce a very readable volume. Should he re-adventure thus, he will find us ready and willing to mete to him the same justice (we hope more favorably) which we have bestowed in this article. It is neither flattery nor poetry,—but simple verity. We should add, that the execution of the volume is highly creditable to the old and enterprising house from whence it proceeds.
FRANCE, SOCIAL, LITERARY, POLITICAL: By HENRY Lyton BULWER, M.P. In livo vols. 12mo. New-York : HARPER AND BROTHERS.
We have perused the American edition of this work, now passing through the press of the Brothers' Harper. It is the first literary effort of the writer ; but it exhibits few of the blemishes of inexperienced authorship. The style is peculiarly piquant and racy, and the various matter a mingling of useful information with entertaining, illustrative anecdote, and appropriate comment. The work is not yet completethe author promising a continuation, which shall treat of political economy in France. Under the head of France, social, he treats at much length of the customs and habits of the French people. The peculiarly easy, colloquial style of the work—to say nothing of the important and entertaining subjects of which it treats—will cause it to be widely read in America; and we might congratulate the author, that he has chosen for his disseminators in this country, publishers whose tomes are on every bookseller's counter, every turnpike road, and navigable water in the States, from farthest Maine to the region of the Oregon.
THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND, from the earliest times, to the year 1588 ; by the Right Hon
orable Sir James Mackintosh, L.L.D., M.P. Philadelphia : CAREY, LEA AND Blan
The reader cannot be ignorant of the lamented demise of the distinguished author of this excellent history—a work in which he had proceeded as far as the 392d page. The object aimed at, and accomplished by Sir James himself, and kept well in view by Dr. Lardner, his successor, was and is, to furnish an accessible manual of reference, containing a summary of the most memorable events in English history, in regular succession, together with an exposition of the nature and progress of the political institutions of England—to lay open the workings of minds who have guided their fellow-men; and, most of all, to strengthen the moral sentiments by the exercise of them on all the personages conspicuous in history. This work needs few words of recommendation. It is the very best of its species, and should be in the library of every gentleman of intelligence. "Its execution is every way excellent, and reflects honor upon the publishers.
MORNINGS IN AUTUMN.-We have often wondered why all the available sentiment extant, should be wasted upon the mornings of Spring and Summer, and the heavenly splendors of an Autumn day-break escape glorification. The two seasons just mentioned are beset with sonnets, from their coming to their departure. Poetry of all kinds is hurled full in the face of each opening day, and the evening is similarly signalized : so that the diurnal incomings and outgoings of old Time are measured by harmonious numbers. The early air is hailed as a blessed spirit, and patronized in every possible form of verse. Who that has ever heard it, can for. get the ineffable versicle of the ruralizing English cockney, when the peace and sweetness of a country landscape found their way to his sus ptible heart, and ex ded his narrow fancy into poetry ? Thus it ran :
"Oh ! how sweet the morning air,
While the heifers,
With the zephyrs,
Their odorous breath compare ! Doriving, as we do, half our notions respecting the weather from England, and not having yet taken it into our national heads to admire that which is not admired on the other side of the water, we have generally considered that Autumn is a melancholy season, because, forsooth, a November is cheerless in London! But it is a glorious season. It teems with a tender beautyma transcendent loveliness, sweeter than all the blossoms of spring-time, or the wealth of summer. There is something about its mornings and evenings that seems to melt the heart, and kindle anew the visions of memory. What a delicate balm there is in the air! Yet it carries no song on its languid pinion ; there is no odor in its train—no sweetness in its sigh. But when the yellow light streams like palpable dust of gold through the streets of the city, and when, as you catch a glimpse of the country from its great thoroughfare, the many colored woodlands appear rising like piles of rainbows in the distance, in the rich light of an October day-where is the sceno that can compare with Autumn for beauty ? Tell us not of the Spring, when every vista is clothed in "smiling Nature's universal robe.' We grant it beautiful; but we miss the holiness of feeling which Autumn inspires; that sweet Sabbath of the Year, when as we gaze upon its fading loveliness, we feel how impressive is death-in-life, and seem to hear the accents of the departed trembling in our ear. Then, we recall the distantwe restore the dead. The smiles flash back upon our spirits, that in better days were poured from eyes and lips now dim and dumb; we listen, in fancy, to the melody of voices that will speak no more ; we drink delicious poison from contagious glances that have ceased to thrill. It seems a time when the Dovo of Peace descends for a while from a better world, to linger amidst the blighted garniture of this.
Many estimable people make the Autumn time a period of melancholy homilies. But it was not so designed. It is an era of ripe fruits and mellow fruitfulness,'-of plenty and thanksgiving. It is, to our mind, a time of honest enjoyment. The harvests are in the garner; the nuts are housed for the winter's fire; the husbandman's cider hath been expressed into barrels, whence, being sometimes grievously discontented, it worketh its passage,' outward from the soaming bung-hole. The farmer is in the finest glee; the city denizen layeth in his coal and wood; and numerous are the paupers engaged in flinging the same down sidewalk grates, into cellars beneath. That which conduceth to gastric delight, is secured for the season. The occasional rains and sorrowful clouds only serve to make the fair weather fairer ,
and to admonish man that winter is at hand. Devout governors issue their proclamations for thanksgiving, and the martyrdom and consumption of poultry succeed.
Reader, Autumn is belied. It is not melancholy, but contrariwise cheerful ; or if it be sad, it is a sadness beneficial to the spirit-making the fetters of sin and mortality looser;-teaching the bosom by its solemn monitions, to receive a lesson of tranquillity even from the desolation around, and strengthening the aspirations of the heart for a better region, where blight is never known, and friends are never sundered.
"The scene each vision brings,
Of beauty in decay,
Too exquisite to stay:
Of flowers, whose bloom is fled ; or farewells wepe upon the shore
Or friends estranged or dead.
or all that now may seem,
To memory's learful eye,
O'er which we gaze and sigh.'
The DRAMA.–Thus far, the present has been a most brilliant Theatrical Season. At the PARK THEATRE, the engagement of Miss Phillips,—the tragic actress, whose admirable performances were mentioned somewhat at length in the October number of this magazine-was every way successful. She was succeeded by that "fine poet of humanity,' James SHERIDan Knowles, who appeared for several nights to overwhelming and delighted audiences. The American public had long known him as one of the most eminent living dramatists—as a man possessed of rare poetic endowments, and a genius of the highest order-but they wero unprepared to see him unite to these the peculiar talent necessary for the stage. But his Master Walter, in his own fine intellectual creation of The Hunchback, undeceived them at once. He imparted to the character,--excellent as it is in the hands of any respectable actor, a new interest. There is a slight, but not unpleasant brogue in the pronunciation of Mr. Knowles; and sometimes a little more of quick, bustling action,-as in parts of his William Tell and Virginius--than is perfectly graceful or appropriate ; but with all those blemishes, there is the irresistible eloquence of true feeling in his personations,—especially in his Master Walter-and a skilful embodying, in look, voice, and manner, of the conceptions of his gifted mind. Mr. Knowles was received with great enthusiasm on his first appearence, which seem. ed scarcely to abate at any period of his engagement. His reply to the generous welcome of the audience, was brief, feeling, and characteristic: “They told me,' said he,' that you would welcome me : you have welcomed me,--and I am grateful.' He has been received, we are glad to perceive, in Philadelphia and Boston, with the same enthusiastic spirit which distinguished his first appearance in this city. The veteran comedian, MATTHEW8, was next upon our boards. Time, which has thinned and whitened his hair, has laid a light hand upon his extraordi. nary comic powers. Attempts were made by inflammatory hand-bills, accusing him of traducing and ridiculing the American people in England, to prevent his appearance. But he promptly met, and denied the accusation. His 'Comic Annual' is a medley of the finest humor. W. would instance the scene before the Lord Mayor, the election-hustings, and the picture of the Old Scotch Lady, as especially irresistible. Of his Monsieur Morbleu it is of course unnecessary to speak. It is the perfection of that species of acting and the same may be said of his performance in the comedy of Love laughs at Bailiffs.' The engagement of Miss Phil. LIPS, a vocalist of much eminence, followed that of Mr. Matthews. A crowded and fashionable audience witnessed her first appearance, as Cinderella, and received her with prolonged
applause. Her person is large and commanding-her features handsome, and lighted up by brilliant and expressive black eyes. Her voice is soft and flexible, and when occasion requires, powerful, without losing its sweetness. Her style of execution is of the elaborate Italian school. In the operas of Cinderilla, the Marriage of Figaro, and Guy Mannering, she acquit. ted herself with great credit. She is winning her way to permanent favor. Miss Watsonnot a little famous for having been inveigled from her family, some months since by Paganini, has been no small object of attraction at this theatre. To a pleasing, if not absolutely beautiful, face and person, she unites a sweet voice, which she manages with discretion, and a style admirably chaste and simple. She is a high favorite, and deserves to be. We should not omit, in our brief dramatic record, to mention the uniform excellence which characterizes the personations of Mrs. CHAPMAN and Mrs. GURNER. The Julia of the former, in the Hunchback, was an exquisite embodying of the character, and deserves especial commendation. Hill and HacketTunequalled in their peculiar line-have attracted their full sbare of admiration and profit during the month.
At the BOWERY THEATRE, two popular melo-dramas from Tom Cringle's Log and Guy Rivers, have been produced, in which Mr. J. R. Scott-an actor of sterling talent, and high promise-sustained the most prominent part. Booth, too-who, now that Kean is no more, has not his equal in many characters,—has fulfilled a short engagement at this theatre. His Richard III.-more particularly in the tent scene, and the stirring action which follows to the close of the tragedy-we have never seen excelled in America. Under the direction of the new stage manager, FLYNN, this theatre promises to present new and varied attractions.
HENRY Inmar.—It is to congratulate the lovers of genius and art, rather than to laud the deserving, that we mention the establishment of this distinguished artist in our city. Mr. Inman has become part and parcel of those intellectual valuables, on the possession of which we may pride ourselves as a nation. The public pictures he has executed, have always received and will always deserve, uniform admiration. Some of the most ancient and estimable societies of Philadelphia, and the executive halls of New-York, retain the trophies of his talent, and bear the amplest evidence of his success and skill. We hold it as beneficial to society, when such a man as Inman stands ready to enrich its public or private scenes with the trea. sures of his art. As an historical painter, he has been but faintly appreciated, because he has never professed to make that department a prominent one ; yet in this respect, he is pre-eminent. We have seen efforts of the kind from his easel, which would do honor to the brightest hours of Leslie. In portraiture, he is acknowledged to excel. To the strictest truth of nature in his likenesses, he manages to superadd the very poetry of painting. His colors are admirably distributed; and a fitness or aptitude abounds in his positions, which seem to kindle the very mouvement of life upon his canvass. We are sensible that we only utter established truisms respecting Mr. Inman; and had we supposed that his return to the city were as well known as are his extraordinary abilities, this article would have remained unwritten. We do the members of our tasteful community a benefit, by speaking of his residence among them ; although perhaps small service to one whose talents require no herald, and whose whereabout neod only be known to ensure him a replonished studio, and a success, which he is qualified not to seek, but to command.
The Fine Arts. The season of holiday presents is not far distant,--and as it usually requires time for kindly-disposed donors to make up their minds in the selection of appropriate presents, from the mass which encumbers the variety stores, and the counters of the booksel lors,we may do the reader a service, by an early suggestion or two, bearing upon this sub