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the Schlafrock and slippers, to resume the mighty meerschaum, and to join in deep, heavy German choruses, which float away over still Kensington Gardens, and cause the Bayswaterian neighbours to think that the solemn German professor must have gone mad. In a far lower scale in life German Mossoo is still to the fore. Show me, if you please, the fore-cabins of Hamburg steamers, which I know are just now crammed with Handwerksburschen, journeymen of all crafts and trades, knowing fellows, not caring one jot about pleasure, but coming over to the Austellung to pick up “wrinkles” in their various lines,-men who, since the first announcement of our Exhibition have been saving up their groschen and their kreuzers, who have stinted themselves of their accustomed " noch ein Glas Bier,” who have been absentees from the skittle-playing, the popinjay-shooting, and the other harmless amusements of German rustic-life, intent upon accumulating the means to the one end—a visit to the London Exhibition,--and that only as a means of self-improvement.
Room for Italian Mossoo, if you please; by no means the light, airy, and volatile youth that guide-books and novelists have led you to dream of,—the light and airy Italian, who is always browsing himself in the sun, and playing at “buck, buck," and stilettoing his rival at the foot of a flight of steps, with gondola in the distance; the brigand Italian, who wears thirty-two watches, and one steeple-crowned hat, and ribands twisted round his legs, and who lives generally within a short distance of Terracina; the priestly Italian, who wears a shovel-hat like a mining implement, and who, according to operatic tradition, is so disinclined to take leave, and will come back to wish every body “buona sera," —where are they? Italian Mossoo represented among us as visitor to Fowke's Folly in '62 is stout and oleaginous, deep-chested, and dressed invariably in evening-black; in the centre of his shirt-front blazes a diamond, or a square bit of mosaic like a priest's ephod, and his little polished leather boots are fat and splay. Italian Mossoo haunts the shop of Cramer and Beale before he goes to the Exhibition, trying pianos, and humming over songs, and fraternising in the cheeriest manner with every body about. Liberal people, with a belief in Signora Jessie White Mario, and a hatred of King Bomba, want to know him, and try to get him to expound his country's wrongs, and even hint at a monster tea-drinking, a platform, and Exeter Hall; but Italian Mossoo will none of this. Give him his paper cigarette, his music, and his lounge, and he will do well enough until he return back to Italy, where, among the vineyards, and the olives, and the staring white-faced houses, far up in country parts, or among the arcades and cathedrals of the towns, he will take a quiet laze, and think kindly of Inghilterra, though not without intense wonder at the preposterous flurry and excitement of its inhabitants.
What need to push the question further,—to speak of Spanish Mossoo, go much akin to the Italian, but a trifle less lively ;-of Dutch Mossoo, square-built and essentially commercial, wearing a little hat like a child's, and speaking English like a native with a cold;—of Greek Mossoo, who is always “on the lay,” sly, cunning, and treacherous, and who would rob you of your shirt if you gave him the chance ;-of outlandish Mossoo, -Japanese to wit, with two short swords, semi-Roman-centurion-ish, semi-theatrical-super-ish, stuck in his belt, combs in his hair, and umbrella over his head? Suffice it to say, that from every country he is here ; I have seen him blocking up the thoroughfare on Ludgate Hill, and ruthlessly backing off the kerbstone among the Pickford's vans to get a good look at Newgate. I have seen him leaning over the rails in Rotten Row, speechless with wonder at the Amazons and the horses (the cobs astonish him more than any thing else; Mossoo horse is generally a lanky, weedy, leggy screw, and Mossoo cannot understand these compact bits of perfection). I have seen him at Richmond, "swellin' wisibly" under an accumulation of cider-cup. But what need to go so far afield? Do I not see him now, at this very instant? Into this window at which I am writing, and, mingling with the delicious scent of the lilac and the May, comes a gush of odour which at once recalls the common-room of an estaminet, and which is a compound of caporal and tabac de Strasbourg; over the adjacent wall I catch glimpses of the tops of outlandish headgear, and I grow conscious of the fact that my neighbour has three Mossoos staying with him, and that they are smoking in the garden.
And now, having got him, what are we to do to amuse him? That is my point, that is what I want to know? Every British householder possessing a spare bedroom which is occupied from time to time by friends, by bis own or his wife's relations, by old schoolfellows resident in the country, by men with whom he has business connexions, and to whom he is obliged to show civility, -knows the trouble of catering for the amusement of his temporary inmates. He must study their peculiar idiosyncrasies, their views and feelings. The brougham must be at the door at two p.m. punctually, to take Aunt Tabitha to the Grand Réunion of the Primitive Howlers at Exeter Hall, where the Earl of Starchington takes the chair, and at which Reverends Choker, Gills, Tighe, Rhysbands, and others, are expected to address the meeting; and you must devote yourself to Welsh rarebits at Evans's, and indigestion the next day, for the sake of your young brother-in-law just back from Eton; Old Philharmonic, and a glass of cold water before going to bed, with Reredos, who has gone into the Church ; standard comedy at the Haymarket, with Stickney, the Conservative Lawyer from the country; burlesque at the Strand, and supper at the “Fly-by-Nights” (literary club), with Burjoice, proprietor of the Devon paper, for which you write the weekly leaders.
And if you have all this trouble in arranging for the amusement of private friends, who are not accustomed to gaiety, what are we to do with Mossoo, who is steeped in amusement to his very lips, and who, indeed, lives for little else? You know what he does in his own country, and that a little delights him there, -his café-frequenting and dominoplaying, his shouts of “ verseur” when he wants milk in his coffee, his ecstatic delight when the bass-voiced waiter of the Mille Colonnes shouts
“Bau-u-um !" in reply; you know his promenades during the entr'acte in the foyer; you know the gardens he visits,—the Closerie des Lilas, the Asnières, the Mabille, &c.,—and you know what he does there,-his cancan and his gyrations, the long-drawn-out inspiration of his “en avant deux," the bounding limb-recklessness of his “cavalier seul.” You know German Mossoo's guinguettes, Dutch Mossoo's Lust-häuser, Italian Mossoo's lazy lounges ; Mr. John Phillip, R.A., has shown you in what orange-groves, and in what large-eyed, fan-flirting, mad-driving company, Spanish Mossoo spends bis leisure hours. And now, what do you propose
. to these various Mossoos as an equivalent?
By my faith, I am sorely beaten for a reply. I know well enough how Mossoo will amuse himself in the daytime, when he is not at the Exhibition,—by going to the shabbiest and dreariest places, where no Londoner is ever seen.
His little hat and his big head shall be seen among the Waxworks of Baker Street, his little brown-paper-soled boots shall tread that apparently interminable flight of steps leading down to the Thames Tunnel, and his stertorous, plethoric panting shall be beard far up in mid-air, outside the railing of the Monument. But what shall we do with him at night? Of course the theatres rise first in my mind; but how will they amuse him? His knowledge of the English language is limited, consequently he cannot be expected to follow such a hash of that language as is given by the inimitable and never-to-be-sufficientlypraised Lord Dundreary-who, by the way, may be called a “cawickachaw," or any thing else, but who is a most accomplished artist. He won't care to see the Phantom, for “two scenes of this drama are by M. Alexandre Dumas” (I quote the advertisement), and he has probably already seen them in Paris. You might take him to Peep o' Day, were it only to frighten him out of any notion of a probable future rebellious connexion with Ireland; for Mossoo would fight dreadfully shy of amicable relations with a people who carried on “les combats du ‘faction,'” and who murdered unprotected women in desolate stone-quarries. I don't think a burlesque would amuse him, even when prepared with all the word-torturing ingenuity of Messrs. Brough, Byron, and Buckingham, or acted with all the cleverness of Mr. Rogers and Mr. Clark; and we could not show him Mr. Robson, if he had—as in all probability be would have-seen M. Bouffé.
Mossoo is, as we know, devoted to music; and here we can offer him the two handsomest Opera Houses perhaps in the world, with instrumental and vocal performers selected from every country, and each most renowned in his degree. Here, too, can we take him to Morning and Evening Concerts of fabulous duration,—to oratorios and other perforriances of the Sacred Harmonics in Exeter Hall,—to private Pianoforte Recitals, and snug little Chamber Concerts, where the fugues of Sebastian Bach have their dreary worshipers. But Mossoo knows all about this; two-thirds of general Mossoodom now here are on speaking or bowing terms with professionally fiddling or singing Mossoo; to them the pene
tralia of the Opera Houses are as patent as the Boulevard du Gand: they have been into the green-room, and marked the great maestri seated on the red velvet couches, the basses clearing their mighty throats with more energy than delicacy, and the tenors sucking their lozenges. To him the back-room at the concert-hall, where the singers congregate when not on the platform, is no novelty ; and though he shall be seen occasionally standing in the pit, and gazing with blazing eyes at the beauty of the blondes meess anglaises in the boxes, or grinding his teeth savagely and hissing “sh-sh” between his teeth, if any one presume to whisper while his favourite air is being sung,-yet these experiences are all old, and we must take him elsewbere for novelty.
Whither, then, but to the Music-Halls, those wonderful institutions, which, springing up within the last two years, have already secured an enormous public of their own, and have gone far towards ruining the theatrical managers. Fifteen years ago the singing-rooms of London were small, choky, inconvenient rooms, where ribaldry and filth were openly chanted, with many leers and winks, amidst the boisterous applause of old and young. It is to the credit of Mr. Green, the proprietor of Evans's Hotel, that he banished the disgusting practice, and first introduced part-singing of a very high order, those portions of the music which would ordinarily fall to females being undertaken by young boys. For in the matter of the admission of women Mr. Green was a perfect monk, and would have none of them—will not to this day; whereby he has undoubtedly injured his own interest while upholding his principle. For, profiting by Mr. Green's example, other men have built great gorgeous halls in every part of London, fitted with all the ginshop magnificence of glass chandelier, paneled wall, and veneered mahogany table and rail. They have orchestras with regular conductors, bâtons, white kids, and all; they have stages, and regular companies, male and female, some of whom make very large incomes and flit in their broughams from one to the other of the-well, music-halls, if you will, but I call them publichouses-at which they are engaged. You may argue from this last remark, perhaps, that I don't like the music-balls, and I honestly confess I don't. To me they are most music-hall, most melancholy. I do not "go in" with great heart for the education of the masses ; I don't hold with Avonswan that the people, in their pleasant hours, should never be regaled with any thing but Shakespeare's plays; I don't myself particularly admire sensation dramas,—and therefore, when I was told that these places were exactly what we had long required in England,—that they were crowded every night with men and their wives, that the working-classes were refreshed with concerted pieces, and salmis from our best operas, well-executed, which they listened to with the very greatest attention, -I thought that,-from circumstances, having given up such entertainments for some years, and being rather rococo and behind the time in such matters, — I would constitute myself a Special Commission, and examine into the truth of what I had heard. I did so; and “went
the rounds,” in the stalls and the dearer places. I saw men to the fall extent as slangy, and, indeed, precisely of the same stamp, as those one recollected at the old singing-houses; and women, bold, flashy, and insolent -the Casino traviata in another place. In the body of the room I found working-men certainly, and their wives and sisters apparently with them, drinking beer and smoking pipes, after their usual stolid fashion. But I am bound to say that I did not find that the concerted pieces, ard the opera morceaux, were listened to with the greatest attention. Certainly, when the singers appeared upon the stage (the ladies were more gorgeous in apparel than any thing I have ever seen out of a valentine), a solemn dread seemed to fall upon the working-people at the unwonted grandeur of the sight; but by the time the singing began, they had recovered themselves and were in full chat. I heard one man express to his wife bis opinion that the soprano (“that-un in blue," he called ber) was a "wonner;” and an old woman next me was apparently disappointed with the figure of another of the ladies, whom she declared to be as “fat as fat." Speculation was rife as to the salaries of various of the professionals, and as to what some of the dresses had cost; and there was quite a lively discussion as to whether a gentleman in more curiously crumpled black trousers than I have ever seen in my life did or did not wear a wig. But they chattered and chaffed all through the selection from the Trovatore, and only subsided into silence when “Leonardo, the Flying Bat from Brazil,” or some such person, in tight fleshings and with a fillet round his head, began swinging himself from rope to rope across the hall. I dare say what he did was very wonderful, and quite justified the plaudits it received; but I am bound to say that I shut my eyes at his first bound, and did not open them again until a roar of laughter announced the arrival of another genius. I looked, and saw a man in 'something like a striped Pierrot dress, with a high conical cap, and, by his appearance, and from the tune which the band struck up, I recognised one of the most popular personages of the day, known as “ The Perfect Cure.” He sang what was, I think, the most soul-depress ing ballad I ever listened to, jumping up and down all the time in a very agile manner; but, dreary and monotonous as his performance was to me, it delighted the audience, who raved and shouted and screeched their applause, and who, when the poor man was breathless (he jumped without ceasing for two minutes and one second—the period is generally exag. gerated, but I timed him by my watch), wanted him to do it all over again. I don't think it was at the same place, but it was during the same evening, that I saw equal delight exhibited at the performance of a man who sang a song about Aunt Sally, with a chorus which began, “Oh,-ho-i-ho! what a comical girl am I!" and as he asserted his comicality he sprang round and showed us his back, made up to represent the heroine of the distinguished pastime. A man dressed up like su old maid, and leading a stuffed dog by a string; a dreadful individual who made a mock stump oration of the direst nonsense, but the introduction