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and described the amusements of the French capital, in a vein of humour, with a vis comica, which I would have thought beyond the reach of human power. Nothing can be more extraordinary than that one man should entertain a large audience, for several hours, by his mimicry alone-and that he should give the illusion of theatrical representation to the exertion of his own individual labours! His description of the sea-sickness of his fellow-passengers across the channel, is highly diverting. In the Diligence scene he personates 7 different characters, and changes his dress, appearance and tone of voice with astonishing rapidity. His entrance into the great city by the Porte St. Denys ("the beautiful triumphal arch to a devilish ugly street,") is painted with equal gayety. The account which he gives of the violent prejudices of John Bull against France, and of the means which his countrymen take to see Paris" in as short a time as possible," would have excited the risible muscles of Heraclitus himself! Although nothing is so lugubrious as the Catacombs, Mathews makes us laugh even in this region of horrors: with the design of ridiculing Dr. Gall, he travesties himself into an old, dirty German pedagogue, and gives a lecture on the bumps on the scull to the great merriment of the audience. One of the most diverting of his dramatis personæ is a nasty, snuffy old Scotch woman, into whose hideous form and features he transforms himself, after stooping under his table for a few moments;
he imitates the outlandish Scotch dialect, in all its original horrors!
Mathews is a perfect master of the French language; so that his imitations of Talma, and his singing of the vandevilles and opera songs are excellent; however, I think he might have omitted his caricature of the French Roscius in one of his declamations-for such a man is beyond the reach of ridicule. On the whole, the exquisite mimicry of this "fellow of infinite jest," the rapidity with which he changes his dress and countenance, and the perfection with which he "suits the action to the word and the word to the action,” render it a very agreeable recreation to spend an evening with "Mathews at Home."
Of the different players on the London boards, Miss O'Neill is my favourite. She is young and rather handsome. Her voice acts like the sweetest music on the ear; it is exquisitely pathetic, and it reaches the inmost recesses of the soul. Even in the wanton playfulness of the lover, there is something inimitably touching in the tones of
"Her voice, that, even in its mirthful mood,
Hath often made me wish to turn away and weep."
In the soft language of persuasion, the dignity of conscious innocence, the expression of remorse, and the horror of despair, Miss O'Neill exhibits all her powers. With a figure that would grace any court, or shine upon any
stage, she usually makes her appearance, with the most unconscious ease and gracefulness. I have seen her fine countenance enlightened by the fire of genius, and shaded by the exquisite touches of sensibility; but all this is merely called forth by the occasion, and vanishes before it is noticed by half the audience. The defects of this actress are such as are inseparable from the English stage. The refined critics have evinced their displeasure at the cris étouffés, convulsive hiccups, and other signs of bad taste, with which Miss O. occasionally indulges her audience, when she is in the ravings of despair.
The splendid costume and equipage of the Persian ambassador, and the hope of seeing his fair Circassian, attract immense crowds to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens—and, it being announced some days ago that his excellency would visit Drury Lane, the doors of the theatre were blocked up at an early hour, and the concourse of spectators prevented all possibility of getting a seat, unless after waiting patiently for a couple of hours. In the middle of the first act the oriental stranger was discovered; every eye was turned towards Mirza Aboul Hassan Khan-and the fashionable Aspasias had an opportunity of knowing, (like the contemporaries of Montesquieu,) "comment on peut être Persan"-The fair Circassian has been visited by many of the nobilitry and gentry-although it be a problem whether the Asian beauty be the wife, mistress
or servant of the ambassador! Some sly insinuations were thrown out in the radical papers, that the fair stranger was destined as a present to the Prince Regent or one of the Royal Dukes; but at the Prince's age, "the heighday of the blood is tame." At all events, some queer stories are told about him and a certain dame at Brighton, who is "fat, fair and forty!"
Je bois l'eau la plus salutaire, et par le plus beau temps, et dans le plus beau lieu, et avec la plus jolie compagnie qu'on puisse souhaiter. Mad. de SEVIGNÉ.
Bath, June 28, 1820.
I ARRIVED here last week, in my way from Paris to Liverpool, where I will probably embark for New York or Philadelphia. If there are no vessels to my liking at Liverpool, I will take coach for London, where I will spend a month or six weeks longer, previous to taking my final leave of the shores of Albion.
Bath is a very beautiful city. It is built of free-stone of a fine cream colour, and contains several public buildings which would be an ornament to any metropolis. The square is spacious and airy-but the avenues from it are very narrow and filthy. The circus has been
so minutely described by the splenetic Bramble, (who compares it to Vespasian's amphitheatre turned outside in!) that I will say no
thing about it. There are three beautiful rows of buildings that "look like so many enchanted castles raised on hanging terraces." Indeed, the whole town has such a regular, novel and highly finished appearance, that it looks as if it had been cast in a mould all at once. The shops are as splendid as those in the Passage des Panoramas-they are stored with wealth and luxury, and with a magnificent assortment of very pretty and very useless things, which were made (like Peter Pindar's razors,) to
This city is a sort of a great monastery, inhabited by people, not quite so religious, but equally as idle, as the inmates of convents.There appear to be no occupations of any sort, except that of killing time, which, in my opinion, is a travail de forcat.* I do not think it is half so agreeable a summer resort as our York springs, where the charms of nature are combined with all the luxuries of art. what pleasure I used to stroll along the Lovers' Walk early in the morning, and then return to the spring, where the invalid, the healthy, young, and old, assemble near the fountain, and partake of its wholesome fluid, which whets their appetites for the copious repast preparing in the hall.
The pump-room at Bath is thronged, early in the morning, with a motley crew, like that which resorts to the spectacles gratis at Paris;
* A weariness beyond what asses feel,
That tread the circuit of the cistern wheel. CowPER.