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human organs could be expected to reach, we confess her power, and assent to all that her warmest admirers insist on. But the quality of her voice is comparatively poor; it does not compare in roundness and melody with Alboni's or with Castellan's, who has one of the best natural organs I have ever heard; while in scientific training Grisi is infinitely superior. Jenny's reputation is made of
kinds of material, among which the gentle sweetness, and real kindness and simplicity of her character, bear their part. She has a pretty place at Brompton, which she calls home; and one of her neighbors there assured me that she was an angel of goodness. This character, her youth, her pleasant face and delicate appearance, all contribute, probably, to the enthusiasm of the public. Poor Grisi, so long a reigning favorite, is now convicted of the crime of growing old, and sings to scant houses, though she is a good actress, which Jenny will never be.
“ Mademoiselle Alboni is two Jenny Linds rolled into one, for size of body, and power, 'and volume of voice. She reminds me a good deal of our old favorite Pico, who was never fully appreciated in New York.”
Although we strongly suspect that some person has been hoaxing Mrs. Kirkland with the following story, we cannot help quoting it as a good illustration of that instinct wuich tells a crowned head that literature is a dangerous thing to all superstitions, however popular they may be :
“ We were amused to hear that the Queen of England does not like literary people; that she excludes them as far as possible from the Court; and, in fact, considers having produced a book as equivalent to loss of caste. A person who had by dint of great science and ingenuity perfected a plan by means of which the public interest was essentially benefited, embodied the result of his studies in a
book, highly esteemed by the critics and the public. It was pro-. posed by a certain lady at Court to present this gentleman, on the strength of his merit; but the Queen absolutely declined receiving him, because of his literary character. Some one suggested that he had served with honor in the army, upon which ground her Majesty consented to receive him. But the gentleman very properly declined appearing at Court on these terms; so that her Majesty was, after all, the only person presented in the affair. (Somebody says, there is hardly a magistrate that does not commit himself twice as often as he commits any one else.) But the Queen is only proving her legitimacy; for who ever heard of one of her family as a patron, or even an admirer of literature ?"
We have the authority of one of the poet's own family for saying that Queen Victoria, the head of the Anglo-Saxon race, had never heard of Wordsworth till he was proposed to her for Poet-Laureate, on the death of Southey.
If this be really the fact, it seems only fair to infer that Her Majesty has had no education at all, for it evidences so deep an ignorance of other branches of learning, besides Belles-Lettres. It is scarcely possible to read a dozen volumes without some allusion to the great philosophical poet of the day, or else some quotation from his writings. A committee of the House of Lords should be formed to inquire into this point. We recommend Lord Brougham to follow up our suggestion.
Mrs. Kirkland's boldness we have before spoken of in terms of commendation. But what will the female aristocracy of England say to this ?
“ With a strong prepossession in favor of English beauty, and a notion that such an occasion as that of the drawing-room would
afford a fine field for the display of it, we have been disappointed in our search. Very few of the ladies we saw were more than comely; a large proportion fell behind even that. One beautiful woman there was, whom we were led to suppose to be the Marchioness of Douro, though we could not ascertain it. We were told that that lady, daughter-in-law of the Duke of Wellington, and the Duchess of Argyll, daughter of the Duchess of Sutherland, were the only conspicuously-beautiful women about the Court.”
We would advise her not to put herself into the power of the infuriated “graces” of the British nobility. It is said that a profound judge of the female heart was told that two ladies of his acquaintance had quarrelled and abused each other so violently that a reconciliation was deemed hopeless ! “Did they call each other ugly ?” said he. “No," was the reply. “It 's all right—they 'll soon make it up,” was the emphatic answer, and it proved so. Mrs. Kirkland has, therefore, no chance of pardon! We also feel for the Duchess of Sutherland and the Marchioness of Douro! Conspiracies will be hatched forthwith against their beauty! Possibly the fact of the Duchess of Sutherland being an extensive grandmother may plead in her behalf, but the lovely young Marchioness is doomed. It is not the first time that the latter has been the cause of a deadly report. Her maiden name was Lady Elizabeth Hay. When Lord Douro was courting her the wits said, that, like the Duke of Devonshire, he had got the “Hay Fever !"
Our readers must hold Mrs. Kirkland responsible for this bit of gossip, for mentioning Lady Douro !
The conventional elegance of the woman is sometimes too
strong for her kind heart and vigorous common sense, as witness this rhapsody:
“I can never forget the view in Kensington Gardens, as we stood on one side of the water, and looked far through the ancient groves upon snatches of rich sky beyond. The walks were alive with children and their attendants; boys were launching their gay
boats upon the water, and watching their progress as the wind wafted the tiny sails here and there. Other boats were there, larger, for they held men; but still, more like the most delicate of the seashells than like boats of mortal mould. Below, Hyde Park was full of elegant equipages and equestrians, as well as throngs of people on foot; and that famous statue of the Duke, which afforded “Punch' material for so many good jokes, stood out fair against the sky, overtopping the arched gateway towards Piccadilly, making, at least to those who associate it with the great events of 1815, no undignified feature in the landscape. Then on every side are palaces, and more parks, and more trees, and more water, and more people. A lovelier or more exciting circle of vision I do not expect to enjoy in this life, though Fate should lead me to the top of the Himmalehs, or to that “peak of Darien’ from which Cortes and his men stared at the Pacific ! A sense of the majesty of human life and human ability—of the goodness of God, and the accountability of man-filled my thoughts, and inspired my imagination as I gazed. Not but some painful considerations found place too--not but I was ever conscious of the truth, that much of this splendor is the result of an unjust and oppressive inequality of condition, in this land so favored of Heaven. I felt all this; but the scene as it was made an indelible impression, and I shall ever think of it as a model of what may be done, and, in our own country at least, without any of the attendant evils which
seem but too pertinaciously to dog the steps of whatever is best and most glorious in England, and especially in London.”
It is not of Kensington Gardens or of the parks, that an American should think when writing of the British Empire; they are but a small and artificial part. Let them be contrasted with the coal mines of Barnsley, where men and women work naked, and where little children crawl on all-fours, harnessed to cars like the brutes of the fields ; or else with Spitalfields, where the weavers may
that God bad made them silkworms instead of men-worms ! This is the reverse of the medal, and no writer should dare to give an impression of one side without the likeness of the other.
Let the Americans thank God heartily for all their blessings, but above all that they have no grandeur so appalling as that of England. While we are in the fault-finding vein with Mrs. Kirkland, let us name that, for a lady of the land of equality, there are occasional ebullitions of an artificial elevation we did not expect to meet with in an Aunerican and a republican. We must excuse it on the ground of her having been above a month in the old country. How true it is, “English communication corrupts American manners !"
“My dislike is to the class, rather than to any particular specimen of it. My objections relate principally to the disgustingness of such a presence at a time when one would possess one's soul; the perpetual vicinity of a vulgar mind when the very zest of the moment lies in forgetting all vulgar things; the ceaseless iteration of threadbare common-places, while the best powers of memory are tasked to call up its most precious hoardings. At first the in