Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

44 OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.

AS

S conductors and readers of a publication in which

ladies are particularly interested, and which deals with fashions in costume and other matters of social importance, we may be expected to sympathize with the family of the founder and proprietor of a Berlin magazine of a somewhat similar character. The gentleman referred to, Herr von Schafer-Voit, having amassed a large fortune, and honourably distinguished himself as a public man, was raised to the rank of nobility. His son held a commission in a regiment of Cuirassiers, won the decoration of the Iron Cross by his bravery, and died a soldier's death at the battle of Vionville. His sister, a young lady of beauty and most attractive manners, engaged the affections of Count Friedrich Eulenberg, lieutenant in one of the crack regiments, and a marriage was arranged. His aristocratic friends and some of his fellow officers informed him that as he was making a mésalliance by uniting himself with the daughter of a man who, whatever bis present position and high character, had at one time been engaged in commercial pursuits, they felt it necessary to “cut” him. Deeply feeling this insult, the young Count challenged several of them, and also complained to the commandant of the regiment, Colonel Von Atten, who took part against him. The Count very rashly sent him a challenge, for which, as a breach of military discipline, he has been sentenced to a year's imprisonment in a fortress. The Emperor has been appealed to; but although the members of the royal family make little secret of their private sympathy, “discipline must be maintained,” and to prison, undoubtedly, the young lover

We trust the beautiful and wealthy Fraulein von Schafer-Voit will be faithful, and, when the year is over, reward her too sensitive lover with her hand.

Etiquette is, of course, a matter of great importance, and no lady or gentleman would like to make the mistake of bowing at the wrong time or shaking hands with the wrong person. But shaking hands, supposing that all proper rules of etiquette be observed, is scarcely considered to be in itself an improper proceeding. It has been reserved for a Frenchman, the Abbé Defourny, to discover that hand-shaking, as practised especially by the English, is morally reprehensible. He has even asked the Pope to reprove the practice; but that amiable old gentleman has returned an evasive answer. The Abbé calls for “a reprobation by ecclesiastical authority of a most disrespectful usage which comes to us from the Freemasons, and which consists in shaking by the hand, à l'Anglaise, the body of the person whom it is intended to salute." He wishes to substitute an inclination of the head, and a pious ejaculation for the touch of the hand, and by that means to re-establish respect in families, and to inspire Christians with a horror of sedition and war."

It is probably our insular stupidity which prevents our seeing the connection of ideas no doubt clear enough to the estimable Abbé; but as to the free use of religious phrases, and the utterance of sacred names every time we meet a friend, we think such language would grow into disrespect if lightly used, and we recalled a command of some authority about not taking names in vain. Altogether, we prefer the hand-shaking.

It would seem that the Italian brigand of the “ Fra Diavoli" type, gentlemanly in manners and dress, fasci. nating in conversation, who makes a bow of the most engaging fashion when asking for money or any little valuables travellers may chance to have about them, is not quite extinct. At any rate, a very dashing brigand of this class, one Capraro, whose "gay recklessness and savage generosity of character made him the idol of his younger followers and the natural leader of the older ones," has been shot by a party of soldiers, sent to attempt his capture. He lived in a cave, of course-all poetical brigands do--and in the cave were many images of saints and madonnas which, as Dr. Johnson once remarked, "showed the rascal had good principles." When captured, he wore a jacket and pantaloons of black-coloured cashmere, a flannel shirt of a livelier tint, high boots of white leather, and, slung over his shoulder, an excellent binocular fieldglass of long range and elegant manufacture. Round his neck was a gold chain with guard, to which was attached a silver watch ; while on his finger he wore a massive gold ring, with “ Vincenzo Capraro” engraved on it. Two pocket-books were also found upon him, one of them with his name artistically embroidered in gold. This picturesque gentleman, who fought desperately even after receiving a formidable wound, could no doubt have sang "Gentle Zitella ” almost as charmingly as did Wallack when he played Massaroni in “The Brigand " fifty years ago, and set the hearts of sentimental young ladies palpitating, and made the song very popular. We rather regret to add that the attractive Capraro was, with some of his associates, something more than suspected of a tendency towards cannibalism.

The marvellous progress of Japan in the arts of civilization, and the eagerness they exhibit to adopt the social customs of the western world, are shown in a very interesting manner by a Japanese young lady, Miss (we really do not know the proper title in Japanese for a young lady) Ude Tsuda, who, in a letter to the “ Japan Gazette," makes some suggestions she considers well worthy of adoption. First of all, she proposes that all the population of her native country should be immediately converted to Christianity--a most desirable thing, no doubt

, but certainly attended with some slight difficulties. Then she recommends an increased importation of scissors.

will go.

What effect that commercial development would produce we cannot possibly imagine; but as Miss Tsuda appears to think it a matter of great importance, we willingly defer to her judgment. Then comes a suggestion, no doubt the result of great reflection on the necessities of the case—the introduction of the American custom of wedding breakfasts. Here our far-seeing Japanese friend is utterly beyond us. We have had no experience of wedding breakfasts in America, but we know that in this country they are generally very agreeable; that the presence of charming young ladies in scarcely less charming costumes exerts a mollifying influence even on the hardened hearts of confirmed old bachelors, and sometimes stimulates them to unwonted flights of eloquence; but we have generally suspected that the gushing geniality evaporated very quickly after the throwing of the last white slipper, and it never occurred to us that any very amazing effect was produced on our political or social institutions. That only shows how ignorant we are, compared to the Japanese Miss Ude Tsuda, whom we should greatly like to listen to (if she would kindly speak English) at the next meeting of the Social Science Association.

Here is a little marriage anecdote from Kansas, a western state of America, where, perhaps, eligible young ladies are scarce. A Miss Alice Carson not only had two strings to her bow, but went so far as to accept two gentlemen, a Mr. Kretzer and a Mr. Holt, and to arrange

with each the same day and the same place for the wedding ceremony. In that part of the world a bridegroom brings his own minister, so that what would be impossible here was quite possible there. Mr. Holt arrived first, and married the young lady, to the great astonishment of Mr. Kretzer, who arrived just after the irrevocable words had been said. At first, it seemed that a fight was inevitable; but, on second thoughts, the disappointed lover seemed to think the lady was no great loss; and it is quite possible that other people may think so too.

This chat leads us to mention one or two fashionable weddings which have just taken place. Major Sterling has married Viscountess Clifton, and the ceremony was honoured with the presence of the Princess Louise (Marchioness of Lorne) and Prince Leopold. The wedding took place at St. John's, Willow Road. Lord Castlereagh was united to Lady Theresa Talbot, eldest daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury, in the 'private chapel of Alton Towers, Staffordshire. There was a very large gathering of distinguished friends, and more than a thousand of the Earl of Shrewsbury's tenants attended to show their respect. Captain George Canning Talbot has been united to Miss Edith Mary Brocklehurst, niece of Mr. Dent, of Sadeley Castle, Gloucestershire, in the chapel of which venerable and most interesting edifice the ceremony took place. There were great rejoicings in the neighbourhood, and the generally quiet of town of Winchcombe was in a state of intense excitement.

DRAMATIC AND MUSICAL NOTES.

SHAKES

HAKESPEARE has done well of late. With Signor

Salvini at Drury Lane and Mr. Henry Irving at the Lyceum, the greatest of all dramatists has been drawing audiences—and, moreover, audiences which fill the treasury coffers. This is quite an exceptional result for Shakespearian representations, as many lessees know too well. Why this should be so in Shakespeare's own country it is hard to explain, unless, indeed, we draw our deductions from a comparison of two recent representations of “ Macbeth”-one at Mr. Bateman's house, with Mr. Irving as Macbeth, and Mrs. Crowe, née Miss Bateman, as the Lady; the other at the Queen's Theatre, with Mr. Ryder in the principal róle, supported by a Lady Macbeth whose name would scarcely be known were it mentioned here. Of the ensemble at the Lyceum little need be said, while as to Mr. Irving's delineation of the principal character, opinions may differ on some minor points; but the most scrupulous critic must admit that as a whole, the representation is a new and unhackneyed reading, worthy of the same actor's Hamlet, and one by which dramatic art will be enriched. At the Queen's Theatre we learned that there are Macbeths and Macbeths. Mr. Ryder's impersonation was stiff, heavy, and

stereotyped. With the exception of Mr. Edgar's Banquo, the rest of the caste may be dismissed as incompetent to a degree, judging from our point of view. Here must lie the secret of Shakespearian success or failure, so far as managers are concerned. Siddonses, Keans, Fechters, Irvings, and Salvinis are not common, but one such is a sine qua non for a successful representation of Shakespeare's great plays; and we should prefer not hearing another line of the bard's, to having it put before us by novices who have hardly recovered from the first rules of elocution.

A pretty farce, entitled “The Doctor's Brougham,” is playing at the Strand Theatre. As usual, it is of French extraction, and differing but little from the ordinary type of such pieces. M. Marius is the chief personage, and raises no little mirth by his somewhat exaggerated earnestness of purpose.

At Drury Lane, Boucicault's great drama, “Shaughraun," continues to please ; while at Mr. Buckstone's, in the Haymarket, Mr. H. J. Byron's new comedy, “Married in Haste,” is being received with great enthusiasm.

The Opera Comique has opened yet again-this time under the guardianship of Mr. F. C. Burnand, of "Happy

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »