« AnteriorContinuar »
to and fro, but this cursory glance was sufficient to show me so poor and wretched-looking a town, that I could not conceive how a single troop of cavalry should not have been sufficient to demolish it at once; yet I am told that this immense army, which though it sustained considerable loss in the march across the Balkan, had yet an enormous force, sat down before it for many months.
"There were several Russian vessels lying round us, with all their rigging seemingly in the trimmest order, but I knew how far to trust to the flourishing appearance which Russia gives to all her naval appurtenances, from a little circumstance which occurred not long since in Athens. We had gone on board of a Russian corvette, and had greatly admired, not only the neatness and order everywhere displayed, but the attention which seemed to be bestowed on the comfort of the sailors, as their neat hammocks were all ranged round the deck just as in an English ship. Shortly after, a Russian lady, a friend of ours, went a voyage in this same ship, and returned long before the time she had originally intended, because she was so utterly disgusted with the misery and ill-treatment of the unfortunate crew. The hammocks were a mere sham got up for show, and her description of the want of cleanliness and comfort, and the barbarous punishments daily administered, was most dreadful. The wind became favourable as soon as we left Varna, but the night was not the less tempestuous? and I was very glad there was nothing to be seen before the darkness set in, as it was quite impossible to stand upright.
This volume is a valuable addition to the many, but not too many books already written about the East.
THE TRUE STORY OF MY LIFE: a Sketch by HANS CHRISTIAN Andersen. Translated by MARY HOWITT. Longman & Co. 1847.
A DELIGHTFUL little book, written with the whole fine soul, and sterling sentiment of that excellent author, Andersen the Dane. The translation, like indeed all those of Mrs. Howitt, is most gracefully done. thus dedicates the work:
"To JENNY LIND, the English Translation of the True Story of her Friend's Life is inscribed in admiration of her beautiful talents and still more beautiful life, by MARY HOWITT.
We pass at once over the other parts of this interesting book, to present from it the following account of the Swedish Nightingale, which must prove acceptable to every reader :
"At this period of my life, I made an acquaintance which was of great moral and intellectual importance to me. I have already spoken of several persons and public characters who have had influence on me as the poet; but none of these have had more, nor in a nobler sense of the word, than the lady to whom I here turn myself; she, through whom I, at the same time, was enabled to forget my own individual self, to feel that which is holy in art, and to become acquainted with the command which God has given to genius.
"I now turn back to the year 1810. One day in the hotel in which I lived in Copenhagen, I saw the name of Jenny Lind among those of the strangers from Sweden. I was aware at that time that she was the first singer in Stockholm. I had been that same year, in this neighbour country, and had there met with honour and kindness: I thought, therefore, that it would not be unbecoming in me to pay a visit to the young artist. She was, at this time, entirely unknown out of Sweden, so that I was convinced that, even in Copenhagen, her name was know only by a few. She received me very courteously, but yet distantly, almost coldly. She was, as she said, on a journey with her father to South Sweden, and was come over to Copenhagen for a few days in order that she might see this city. We again parted distantly, and I had the impression of a very ordinary character which soon passed away from my mind.
"In the autumn of 1843, Jenny Lind came again to Copenhagen. One of my
friends, our clever ballet-master, Bournonville, who has married a Swedish lady, a friend of Jenny Lind, informed me of her arrival here and told me that she remembered me very kindly, and that now she had read my writings. He entreated me to go with him to her, and to employ all my persuasive art to induce her to take a few parts at the Theatre Royal; I should, he said, be then quite enchanted with what I should hear.
"I was not now received as a stranger; she cordially extended to me her hand, and spoke of my writings and of Miss Fredrika Bremer, who also was her affectionate friend. The conversation was soon turned to her appearance in Copenhagen, and of this Jenny Lind declared that she stood in fear.
'I have never made my appearance,' said she, 'out of Sweden; every body in my native land is so affectionate and kind to me, and if I made my appearance in Copenhagen and should be hissed!--I dare not venture on it!'
“I said, that I, it was true, could not pass judgment on her singing, because I had never heard it, neither did I know how she acted, but nevertheless I was convinced that such was the disposition at this moment in Copenhagen, that only a moderate voice and some knowledge of acting would be successful; I believed that she might safely venture.
Bournonville's persuasion obtained for the Copenhageners the greatest enjoyment which they ever had.
Jenny Lind made her first appearance among them as Alice in Robert le Diable-it was like a new revelation in the realms of art, the youthfully fresh voice forced itself into every heart; here reigned truth and nature; every thing was full of meaning and intelligence. At one concert Jenny Lind sang her Swedish songs; there was something so peculiar in this, so bewitching; people thought nothing about the concert room; the popular melodies uttered by a being so purely feminine, and bearing the universal stamp of genius, exercised their omnipotent sway-the whole of Copenhagen was in raptures. Jenny Lind was the first singer to whom the Danish students gave a serenade: torches blazed around the hospitable villa where the serenade was given: she expressed her thanks by again singing some Swedish songs, and I then saw her hasten into the darkest corner and weep for emotion.
"Yes, yes,' said she, I will exert myself; I will endeavour, I will be better qualified than I am when I again come to Copenhagen.'
"On the stage, she was the great artiste, who rose above all those around her; at home, in her own chamber, a sensitive young girl with all the humility and piety of a child.
Her appearance in Copenhagen made an epoch in the history of our opera; it showed me art in its sanctity-I had beheld one of its vestals. She journeyed back to Stockholm, and from there Fredrika Bremer wrote to me :-‘ With regard to Jenny Lind as a singer, we are both of us perfectly agreed; she stands as high as any artist of our time can stand; but as yet you do not know her in her full greatness. Speak to her about her art, and you will wonder at the expansion of her mind, and will see her countenance beaming with inspiration. Converse then with her of God, and of the holiness of religion, and you will see tears in those innocent eyes; she is great as an artist, but she is still greater in her pure human
"In the following year I was in Berlin; the conversation with Meyerbeer turned upon Jenny Lind; he had heard her sing the Swedish songs and was transported by them.
"But how does she act?' asked he.
"I spoke in raptures of her acting, and gave him at the same time some idea of her representation of Alice. He said to me that perhaps it might be possible for him to determine her to come to Berlin.
"It is sufficiently well known that she made her appearance there, threw every one into astonishment and delight, and won for herself in Germany a European name. Last autumn she came again to Copenhagen, and the enthusiasm was incredible; the glory of renown makes genius perceptible to every one. People bivouacked regularly before the theatre, to obtain a ticket. Jenny Lind appeared still greater than ever in her art, because they had an opportunity of seeing her
in many and such extremely different parts. Her Norma is plastic; every attitude might serve as the most beautiful model to a sculptor, and yet people felt that these were the inspiration of the moment, and had not been studied before the glass. Norma is no raving Italian; she is the suffering, sorrowing womanthe woman possessed of a heart to sacrifice herself for an unfortunate rival-the woman to whom, in the violence of the moment, the thought may suggest itself of murdering the children of a faithless lover, but who is immediately disarmed when she gazes into the eyes of the innocent ones.
"Norma, thou holy priestess,' sings the chorus, and Jenny Lind has comprehended and shows to us this holy priestess in the aria, Casta diva. In Copenhagen she sang all her parts in Swedish, and the other singers sang theirs in Danish, and the two kindred languages mingled very beautifully together; there was no jarring; even in the Daughter of the Regiment, where there is a deal of dialogue, the Swedish had something agreeable-and what acting! nay, the word itself is a contradiction-it was nature; anything as true never before appeared on the stage. She shows us perfectly the true child of nature grown up in the camp, but an inborn nobility pervades every movement. The Daughter of the Regiment and the Somnambule are certainly Jenny Lind's most unsurpassable parts; no second can take their places in these beside her. People laugh,-they cry it does them as much good as going to church; they become better for it. People feel that God is in art; and where God stands before us face to face there is a holy church.
"There will not in a whole century,' said Mendelssohn, speaking to me of Jenny Lind, be born another being so gifted as she;' and his words expressed my full conviction; one feels as she makes her appearance on the stage, that she is a pure vessel, from which a holy draught will be presented to us.
“There is not any thing which can lessen the impression which Jenny Lind's greatness on the stage makes, except her own personal character at home. An intelligent and child-like disposition exercises here its astonishing power; she is happy; belonging, as it were, no longer to the world, a peaceful, quiet home, is the object of her thoughts-and yet she loves art with her whole soul, and feels her vocation in it. A noble, pious disposition like hers cannot be spoiled by homage. On one occasion only did I hear her express her joy in her talent and her self-consciousness. It was during her last residence in Copenhagen. Almost every evening she appeared either in the opera or at concerts; every hour was in requisition. She heard of a society, the object of which was, to assist unfortunate children, and to take them out of the hands of their parents by whom they were misused, and compelled either to beg or steal, and to place them in other and better circumstances. Benevolent people subscribed annually a small sum each for their support, nevertheless the means for this excellent purpose were small. "But have I not still a disengaged evening?' said she; let me give a night's performance for the benefit of these poor children; but we will have double prices!'
"Such a performance was given, and returned large proceeds; when she was informed of this, and, that by this means, a number of poor children would be benefited for several years, her countenance beamed, and the tears filled her eyes. "It is however beautiful,' said she, that I can sing so!'
"I value her with the whole feeling of a brother, and I regard myself as happy that I know and understand such a spirit. God give to her that peace, that quiet happiness which she wishes for herself!
"Through Jenny Lind I first became sensible of the holiness there is in art; through her I learned that one must forget oneself in the service of the Supreme. No books, no men have had a better or a more ennobling influence on me as the poet, than Jenny Lind, and I therefore have spoken of her so long and so warmly here."
It is rather singular that the author also describes another acquaintance, no less a person than Mademoiselle Rachel, whose genius, as well as that of Jenny Lind happens just now to have shed its brilliant influence over the metropolis.
"I also have to thank him for my acquaintance with Rachel. I had not seen her act, when Alexander Dumas asked me whether I had the desire to make her acquaintance. One evening, when she was to come out as Phedra he led me to the stage of the Theatre Français. The representation had begun, and behind the scenes, where a folding screen had formed a sort of room, in which stood a table with refreshments, and a few ottomans, sate the young girl who, as an author has said, understands how to chisel living statues out of Racine's and Corneille's blocks of marble. She was thin and slenderly formed, and looked very young. She looked to me there, and more particularly so afterwards in her own house, as an image of mourning; as a young girl who has just wept out her sorrow, and will now let her thoughts repose in quiet. She accosted us kindly in a deep powerful voice. In the course of conversation with Dumas, she forgot me. I stood there quite superfluous. Dumas observed it, said something handsome of me, and on that I ventured to take part in the discourse, although I had a depressing feeling that I stood before those who perhaps spoke the most beautiful French in all France. I said that I truly had seen much that was glorious and interesting, but that I never yet had seen a Rachel, and that on her account especially had I devoted the profits of my last work to a journey to Paris; and as, in conclusion, I added an apology on account of my French, she smiled and said, 'When you say any thing so polite as that which you have just said to me, to a Frenchwoman, she will always think that you speak well.'
"When I told her that her fame had resounded to the North, she declared that it was her intention to go to Petersburgh and Copenhagen; and when I come to your city,' she said, you must be my defender, as you are the only one there whom I know; and in order that we may become acquainted, and as you, as you say, are come to Paris especially on my account, we must see one another frequently. You will be welcome to me. I see my friends at my house every Thursday. But duty calls,' said she, and offering us her hand, she nodded kindly, and then stood a few paces from us on the stage, taller, quite different, and with the expression of the tragic muse herself. Joyous acclamations ascended to where
the French mode of acting it appears to be nature itShe is herself the French When Rachel plays people It is in her truth and nature,
"As a Northlander I cannot accustom myself to tragedy. Rachel plays in this same style, but in her self; it is as if all the others strove to imitate her. tragic muse, the others are only poor human beings. fancy that all tragedy must be acted in this manner. but under another revelation to that with which we are acquainted in the north. "At her house every thing is rich and magnificent, perhaps too recherché. The innermost room was blue-green, with shaded lamps and statuettes of French authors. In the salon, properly speaking, the colour which prevailed principally in the carpets, curtains, and bookcases was crimson. She herself was dressed in black, probably as she is represented in the well-known English steel engraving of her. Her guests consisted of gentlemen, for the greater part artists and men of learning. I also heard a few titles amongst them. Richly apparelled servants announced the names of the arrivals: tea was drunk and refreshments handed round, more in the German than the French style.
"Victor Hugo had told me that he found she understood the German language. I asked her, and she replied in German, " ich kann es lesen; ich bin ja in Lothringen geboren; ich habe deutsche Bücher, sehn Sie hier!' and she showed me Grillparzer's Sappho,' and then immediately continued the conversation in French. She expressed her pleasure in acting the part of Sappho, and then spoke of Schiller's Maria Stuart,' which character she has personated in a French version of that play. I saw her in this part, and she gave the last act especially with such a composure and tragic feeling, that she might have been one of the best of German actresses; but it was precisely in this very act that the French liked her least.
"My countrymen,' said she, ‘are not accustomed to this manner, and in this manner alone can the part be given. No one should be raving when the heart is almost broken with sorrow, and when he is about to take an everlasting farewell of his friends.'
"Her drawing-room was, for the most part, decorated with books which were splendidly bound and arranged in handsome book-cases behind glass A painting hung on the wall, which represented the interior of the theatre in London, where she stood forward on the stage, and flowers and garlands were thrown to her across the orchestra. Below this picture hung a pretty little book-shelf, holding what I call 'the high nobility among the poets,'-Goethe, Schiller, Calderon, Shakspeare, &c.
"She asked me many questions respecting Germany and Denmark, art, and the theatre; and she encouraged me with a kind smile around her grave mouth, when I stumbled in French and stopped for a moment to collect myself, that I might not stick quite fast.
'Only speak,' said she. 'It is true that you do not speak French well. I have heard many foreigners speak my native language better; but their conversation has not been nearly as interesting as yours. I understand the sense of your words perfectly, and that is the principal thing which interests me in you.'
"The last time we parted she wrote the following words in my album: L'art c'est le vrai! J'espère que cet aphorisme ne semblera pas paradoxal à un écrivain si distingué comme M. Andersen.'
THE LITTLE COURIER OF THE HOTEL DU GRAND MONARQUE. Printed at Cologne.
TO TRAVELLERS, and many will be travellers now, this pamphlet-shaped book affords a fund of information upon German railways. Evidently the production of mine host of the famous hotel of the "Grand Monarque" at Aachen, he, of course holds forth his own hostelry to public approbation; yet as the following account may prove really useful, we do not hesitate to extract it:
Aix-la-Chapelle, founded by Charlemagne, famous for the efficacy of its mineral waters, as well as for the loveliness of its neighbourhood, affords so agreeable a sojourn to the traveller, that he would regret, not to have spent at least one day there. As there are every day five trains for Cologne and four for Belgium, travellers who are in a hurry, may on their arrival at twelve o'clock see the curiosities of the town before a quarter past one; when an excellent table d'hôte is served at Mr. Dremel's Hôtel du grand Monarque; there is another table d'hôte at five o'clock, with the best attendance. Travellers, who arrive in the afternoon, tired by a long railroad journey, may pass a most delightful evening at Aixla-Chapelle. After the table d'hôte at five o'clock, the Louisberg, a hill, about an English mile far from the town, is the rendezvous of all foreigners.-From the lofty terraces of the castle, which is built in the modern style, the most magnificent view of the town and its picturesque neighbourhood charms the visitor's eye.-Good roads pass through the whole park, which is shaded by trees, and offers every inducement for walking, or driving and riding. A band plays there every day.—On Thursday, there is great assembly and concert by the military band. It is not unusual to see two thousand visitors circulate in the spacious saloons, galleries and charming forests of the Louisberg.
Through all the season a Bal paré is given every Saturday night at the grand Redoute; every night grand opera or concert, either at the theatre, or in the large saloons of the society called Erholung; or at the salle of the grand Redoute, the pure and grand style of which is justly admired by all travellers.
Every evening there are supper á la carte and concert at the Hôtel du 'grand Monarque. After supper, society meets again at the Redoute, where Trente and Quarante and Roulette is played. An elegant reading room, with all German, English, French, Belgian and Dutch papers, affords entertainment to the visitors. A fine garden belonging to this establishment is a favourite walking-place, where shelter is to be found under covered galleries, during rainy weather.
'Concerts, balls, festivals of all kind, follow without interruption.-From seven