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parts of the book, are devoted to ridiculing the taverns and coffee houses of London. We are not going to follow our author through all his culinary details, nor to discuss with him the comparati e merits of English and French soups, ragouts, &c. But first of all, it is ludicrous to hear a traveller who dines at a chop-house, and who visits such a coffee house ay is described in chapter 7, attempting to offer an opinion upon the comparative excelle ce of living in London and Paris. What would he say of an Englishman who should despise the Parisian Restorateurs, on the strength of having frequented some obscure Café in the Quartier du Temple, or some miserable Auberge amidst the filth of the Quartier de l'Université. We should not much fear the templations of French luxury, if we could persuade our countrymen in Paris to content themselves with the fare they would find in those two delightful regions. But a Frenchman, through ignorance, or through poverty, omits to visit the City of London Tavern, the Piazza, or the Bedford, where he might complain in deed of higher charges, but scarcely we think of worse accoinmodation than that even of. M. M. Very and Beauvilliers. Nor does our present traveller appear to comprehend the effect which the difference of national habits must produce on the coinparative goodness of hotels and coffee houses. With us they are far from being considered so highly, or frequented by the same class of people as in France : an Englishman looks for his comforts at home rather than abroad, and would never dream of taking the females of his family to dine constantly at the table of a Restorateur. It is only surprizing that there should not exist a much greater disproportion than there actually does, between establishments, which in one country are calculated to supply only the occasional wants of that saine class, by which in the other they are regarded as the general and natural resource.
There is a must characteristic chapter upon the observation of the Sunday in England. The silence of London in the morning, the inanner in which the Churches are crowded, the closing of the shops and theatres, and the suspension of the ordinary routine of evening parties, are incomprehensible to our French author. We have heard of a man, who after having argued for some time with sufficient extravagance upon the proper occupations of the Sabbath, at last candidly confessed his ignorance of the origin of the institution : something of the same sort of ignorance seems to hang about our author : he has heard of “le Jour de Recreation du Peuple, qui n'a que ce moment pour se délasser des travaux auxquels la semaine est consacree :" he has some conception of a certain day when the French “ s'enivrent dans une guinguette," or on which they have the advantage of two
lessons in declamation, one in the Church, and another at the theatre. But that people should pause on Sunday from their daily toils, that they should remain at home that day amongst their families, that they should frequent a Church, and actually show symptoms of being in earnest in their devotions, more than all, that they should read the Bible to themselves when not at Church, all this appears to our author amongst the strangest of all strange sights which he has witnessed in England. He comes totally unprepared for things of this sort, and amongst other new and valuable information which he may have acquired by his travels, we are sure he may class the knowledge that there exists in the world, and not a hundred miles off from his own country, something like a sense of religion.
We extract the whole of the following passage ; partly for the pleasure of quoting so honourable a testimony to the good feel. ings of an English congregation, and partly to justify the severity of our preceding remarks. It is evident that the author was not familiar with pious dispositions ; and we fear from the tone which he holds in the rest of the chapter, that the “ religious respect" with which he confesses that he was affected, maintained over him a very short lived influence.
« Nous nous présentâmes successivement à deux Eglises sans pouvoir y entrer. Elles étaient tellement pleines, qu'il y avait dų monde jusques dans la rue, sur les escaliers qui y conduisaient: Enfin nous pûmes nous placer dans la troisième: j'avoue, que je fus étonné, saisi même d'une Espece de respect religieux, en voyant l'ordre, le silence, le recueillement qui y régnaient. L'office était commencé quand nous entrâmes, et nous occasionâmes un léger mouvement pour nous placer. Personne cependant ne parut fairo. attention à nous : L'Esprit et les yeux d'aucun assistant ne se dérangèrent de leur occupation pour nous. On ne voyait point là, comme dans certains autres pays, des jeunes gens se promenant en long et en large pour y découvrir quelqu'un de leur connaissance; des femmes faisant avec les yeux des signes qu'elles tâchent de nc rendre intelligibles que pour celui à qui ils sont addressés; des gens causant de la partie de plaisir qu'ils ont le projet de faire en sortant de l'eglise. *** Nul objet étranger ne vient vous troubler, et chacun parait exclusivement occupé du Dieu dans le temple duquel il se trouve.''
P. 61. We will suppress the thoughts which crowd upon us in view. ing the contrast so livelily drawn in this picture. The author finishes the passage, and apparently forgets it: it leaves on his mind no impression, it suggests to bim no reflections. But it is not for nothing that France has for more than a century given, herself up to the grossest irreligion : the national character has borne ample witness that a nation cannot mock with impunity at the knowledge of saving Truth. In the author now before us we
see the proofs of that lax morality which has resulted from the absence of sound principles. He devotes a chapter to the prostitutes of London, and speaks with becoming disgust of the grossness of their manners and the effrontery of their seductions ; but whether this language be dictated by abhorrence of the vice, or only of the naked deformity in wbich in those instances it exposes itself, there are one or two passages in his work which in our judgment go far to decide. We refer to pages 14 and 27. And of a coarseness of feeling, most eminently French, the scaudalous suspicion implied in page 83 against a most amiable and irreproachable actress, may serve as a notable example.
The old quarrel against our English theatre is not forgotten; and the old cry of the violation of the unities, the old ignorance and injustice of making Aristotle the patron of French criticism, and the old eulogies of Addison's Cato, which Voltaire has made fashionable in France, may all be found in page 85, where our author passes judgment upon the play of the Gamester. It is not worth while to enter into this eternal controversy : but some remarks which follow upon English acting are far more deserving of our attention.
« Ils, (i. e. the English actors,) s'eloignent de la Nature pour vouloir trop s'en rapprocher, on ils la rendent de manière que l'imitation en devient désagréable et hideuse. Peut on aimer à voir Beverley se vouler par terre dans les convulsions que lui occasionne le poison qu'il a pris ? Le cri épouvantable que pousse sa femme, quand elle voit son mari mort : l'espece de hoquet convulsif qu'elle fait entendre, ne sont-ils pas du plus mauvais
Connecting this with what he says again on another occasion, where he speers at the English for preferring “ les sorcieres de Macbeth, ou les fossoyeurs du Roi Léar,” (such being his accurate kuowledge of Shakespeare,) "à la douleur intéressante d'Iphigénie, aux douces larmes que fait couler l'amour maternel d'Andromaque,” and we arrive at the favourite notion of the French, that our gross and cold feelings can only be excited by something exaggerated or monstrous, and that the food which pleases a healthy palate is vapid and tasteless to our corrupted organs, a charge which we may be pardoned for stopping awhile to examine.
The author before us must not be examined too strictly as to his assertion of our preferring the witches of Macbeth to the interesting sorrow of Iphigenia : Euglish readers need not be told that no one ever dreamt of a comparison between the two, but that the people take delight in both in their respective places :
and we may refer the French to their favourite oracle Aristotle, who will tell them that terror, equally with pity, is a passion which it is the business of tragedy to excite. For the other charge, that English acting is more vehement, and relies too much on the efficacy of groans, convulsions, and other such appeals to the outward senses, we believe it to be true, and we think that it may naturally be accounted for. The English are not a theatrical people; they go to the theatre as an amusement and a recreation, and carry' thither for the most part minds hardly abstracted from the business which they have just quitted, or from the company which they see around ihem: besides Englishmen in general bave a most lively perception of the actual realities of their situation, and with the slamming of box doors in their ears, the odour of lamp smoke in their nostrils, and the apparition of lustres, and curtains, and boards, and gayly dressed company before their eyes, it requires a very powerful application to make them surrender themselves up to the illusions of the stage. That they tolerate the violation of all the dramatic unities is not inconsiste ént with this statement, for no attention at all is directed to this point, and if it were possible, which it is not, for any one to fancy the action represented to be real, the dropping of the curtain between the acts would dissipate this dream quite as effectually as the change of scene several times in the course of one act. The truth of the matter as to ordinary spectators we imagine to be, that they never think for a moment seriously as to the reality or fiction of the scene before them, they are pleased with what is going forward without any definite notions about its nature, and they have no ideas of its truth and actual existence which are interfered with by the change of scene, and imagined lapse of time in the story of the drama. The strong sensations of pity and terror which the drama excites in its deepest catas. trophes, are to a certain degree mechanical, and differ rather in degree than in kivd, from the tears drawn forth by applying an onion to the eyes ; and we think that it is the wish to give them a more elevated character than they deserve, which has puzzled so many writers in attempting to analyse and to account for them: it is clear that the reason is utterly in abeyance when we weep at a theatre, or we should perceive the absurdity of weeping at a fiction, and the weeping of which reason is conscious, and of which it sanctions the propriety, becomes real sorrow, and never did nor ever can give pleasure to any one. Again, when Alexander of Pheræ wept at the representation of the sorrows of Andromache, he was aware that the feeling was mechanical, and expressed bis consciousness of the difference of his own real feelings when bis reason united with them, by saying that it was shameful that he who never wept elsewhere should weep at a theatre. There are
other passions or sensations of our nature, the key of which is not so much in the power of others, and which do not exist so easily without the concurrence of reason ; high admiration, and the delight which arises from the contemplation of excellence, are of this, as we deem it, superior class; and no recitation or theatrical aid could give that effect to the delicious poetry of Comus, which it derives froin being perused in calmness and solitude, because the reason which mixes with our admiration and delight in beauty, would impress on us too strongly the protlicacy which pollutes so large a part of the audience around us, and would contrast too vividly the corruption of a city play-hvuse and its occupants with the glorious purity, and the more than earthly splendour of the divine philosophy to which we were listening-holding therefore the tears of a spectator at a theatre scarcely to differ from a mechanical effect, and that they must flow more or less freely, according to our habits of acting upon impressions or upon realities, or to express it more gently, according to our greater or less consciousness of the existence of realities, we think it no way wonderful that the feelings of an English audience should require a stronger mechanical power to raise them, nor are we disposed to regret that national character, to which, according to our notions, this peculiarity is to be traced.
But as for the question of syınpathy with distress, were we to argue from the French drama we should maintain that the French of all nations possessed the least share of it. They cannot feel as men, but only as Frenchmen; grief however deep, passions however agonizing, must be clothed in French costume, or a Frenchman's heart is barred against their influence. Hence on their stage all sorts of characters ancient or modern, heathen or Christian, have one surcoat of French fashion which effectually covers all peculiarities of their own attire. Hence the very phraseology of French conversation is introduced into a Grecian fable, and Seigneur” and “ Madame” are bandied about as politely between Manlius and Valeria on the stage, as between any the most fashionable of the company in the boxes. Hence the tone of passion must be lowered to the standard of Parisian society; no gesture, no exclamation, no language, above the ca. pacity of a drawing-room audience to understand, must be heard or seen in any of their actors. Hence the practice of their abomis nable rhymes; because such a style, thanks to the example of the worst pretenders to poetry in Europe, is eminently French, it is worth in French ears every thing that is natural, original, and sublime. Other nations are proud-perhaps none more so than ourselves; but in none, save only in France, shall tind this utter insensibility to foreign feelings; this blind, doting, engrossed attention bestowed upon themselves. The pride of a Frenchman