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had seen them do their work to-day.' Some of the field now come up, who could not live in the first flight; but as there is no jealousy here they congratulate each other on the tine day's sport, and each man turns his head towards home.
A large party dine this evening at the old club, where, of course, this fine run is discussed, and the following accurate description of it is given by one of the oldest members, a true friend to foxhunting, and to all mankind as well :- We found him,' said he, • at Ashby Pasture, and got away with him, up wind, at a slapping pace over Burrow Hill, leaving Thorpe Trussells to the right, when a trifling check occurred. He then pointed for Ranksborough gorse, which some feared, and others hoped, he might hang in a little, but he was too good to go near it. Leaving that on his right also, he crossed the brook to Whissendine, going within half a mile of the village, and then he had nothing for it but to fly. That magnificent country, in the direction of T'eigh, was open to him, and he showed that he had the courage to face it. Leaving Teigh on the right, Woolwell-head was his point, and in two more fields he would have reached it. Thus we found him in the Quorn country; ran him over the finest part of Lord Lonsdale's, and killed him on the borders of the Belvoir. Sir Bellingham Graham's hounds once gave us just such another tickler, from the same place, and in the same time, when the field were nearly as much beaten as they were to-day.
But we have left Snob in the lane, who, after casting a longing eye towards his more fortunate companions, who were still keeping well in with the hounds,-throws the reign over the neck of the good little bay horse, and, walking by his side, that he may recover his wind, enquires his way to Melton. Having no one to converse with, he thus soliliquizes as he goes :- What a dolt have I been, to spend five hundred a year on my stable, in any country but this! But stop a little : how is it that I, weighing but eleven stone four pounds with my saddle, and upon my best horse, an acknowledged good one in my own country, could neither go so fast nor so long as that heavy fellow Maxse; that still heavier Lord Alvanley; and that monster Tom Edge, who, they tell me, weighs eighteen stone, at least, in the scales. At this moment, a bridle-gate opens into the lane, and a gentleman in scarlet appears, , with his countenance pale and wan, and expressive of severe pain, It is he who had been dug out of the ditch in which Jack Stevens had left him, his horse having fallen upon him, after being suspended on the rail, and broken three of his ribs. Feeling extremely unwell, he is glad to meet with Snob, who is going his road, -to Melton,--and who offers him all the assistance in his power, Snob also repeats to him his soliliquy, at least the sum and subVOL. XLVII. NO, XCIII.
stance of it, on which the gentleman, -recovering a little from his faintness by the help of a glass of brandy and water at the village, thus makes his comment :- I think, Sir, you are a stranger in this part of the world.'-Certainly,' replied Snob, 'it is my first appearance in Leicestershire.' 'I observed you in the run, continued the wounded sportsman,' and very well you went up to the time I fell, but particularly so to the first check. You then rode to a leader, and made an excellent choice; but after that period, I saw you taking a line of your own, and anticipated the fate you have met with. If you remain with us long, you will be sure to find out that riding to hounds in Leicestershire is different from what it is in most other countries in England, and requires a little apprenticeship. There is much choice of ground; and if this choice be not judiciously made, and coupled with a cautious observance of pace, a horse is beaten in a very short time. If you doubt my creed look to the events of this memorable day.' Snob thanks him for his hints, and notes them in , his book of memory.
The fame of Snob and his little bay horse reaches Melton before he walks in himself. That provincial fellow did not go amiss to day,' says one. • Who was that rural-looking man on a neatish bay horse-all but his tail-who was so well with us at the first check ?' asks another, who himself could not get to the end, although he went ' a good one' three-parts There is no one present to answer these questions; but the next day, and the next, Snob is in the field again, and again in a good place. Further inquiries are made, and satisfactory information obtained. On the fourth day, a nod from one-a' how do you?' from another-'a fine morning,' from a third-are tokens goodhumouredly bestowed upon him by some of the leading men; and on the fifth day, after a capital half-hour, in which he had again distinguished himself, a noble bon-vivant thuis addresses him, * Perhaps, sir, you would like to dine with me to-day; I shall be happy to see you at seven.'
Covers,' he writes next day to some friend in his remote western province, “ were laid for eight, the favourite number of our late king; and perhaps his majesty never sat down to a betterdressed dinner in his life. To my surprise, the subject of foxhunting was named but once during the evening, and that was when an order was given that a servant might be sent to inquire after a gentleman who had had a bad fall that morning over some timber; and to ask, by the way, if Dick Christian came alive out of a ditch, in which he had been left with a clever young thoroughbred on the top of him.' The writer proceeds to describe an evening, in which wit and music were more thought of than wine
the way. and presenting, in all respects, a perfect contrast to the old notions of a fox-hunting society. But we have already trespassed on delicate ground, and perhaps filled as much space as an excursus of this nature should ever claim.
It is this union of the elegant repose of life with the energetic sports of the field that constitutes the charm of Melton Mowbray; and who can wonder that young gentlemen, untied by profession, should be induced to devote a season or two to such a course of existence? We must not, however, leave the subject without expressing our regret that resorting, year after year, to this metropolis of the chase should seem at all likely to become a fashion with persons whose hereditary possessions lie far from its allurements. It is all very well to go through the training of the acknowledged school of the craft;' but the country gentleman, who understands his duties, and in what the real permanent pleasure of life exists, will never settle down into a regular Meltonian. He will feel that his first concern is with his own proper district, and seek the recreations of the chase, if his taste for them outlives the first heyday of youth, among the scenes, however comparatively rude, in which his natural place has been appointed.
Arr. VIII.-- Francis the First, an Historical Drama. By
Frances Anne Kemble. London. Svo. 1832. IN N an article in our last Number, we pointed out the curious
fact, that, in the great creative days of the English national drama, so many of the most successful writers were connected with the stage. The poet and the actor met in the same personthe scenes and characters which he had conceived were represented under his own direction, and with his own personal assistance; he might suggest to his colleagues, or himself give the true tone and emphasis to his poetry; he might take care that justice should, if possible, be done to his most effective situations. Tradition, it is true, has not been so flattering to the histrionic fame, as the judgment of posterity to the unrivalled poetry of these old masters. None of them appear to have attained to firstrate eminence as actors. Shakspeare, while he stalked as the Ghost, had the modesty or the prudence to make over to a performer of greater skill or popularity, the graceful, the melancholy, the gentle, the passionate, the irresolute, the halfphrenzied, half-philosophical Prince of Denmark, a character requiring more depth of conception, more versatile and vigorous powers of execution, with greater discretion and judgment in the general tone and keeping, than any other in the whole circle of
our theatre. Nearer our own days, the actors, some of them of the highest celebrity, have not been unambitious of dramatic fame. Garrick was a successful writer, yet, unassisted, never aspired beyond clever and lively farce, or, at the highest, the lighter comedy of modern life. The late Mr. Kemble was likewise haunted with visions of dramatic glory; but his impersonations of the noblest conceptions of others so completely obscured his ineffective attempts to obtain celebrity for his own, that of the thousands who have the image of his Coriolanus or his Wolsey, in all its living freshness, upon their memory, probably very few are aware that the great actor was not content with that circle within which none could walk but he.'
From the announcement of Francis the First, it appeared, that the distinguished young actress, who has suddenly burst forth, to support the fortunes of her house, with powers of a very high order, and with indications of a depth and originality of conception rarely witnessed in a performer so unstudied and new to the stage, had likewise the high ambition of renewing the older days of our drama, and of reuniting the poet and the actor in their former close alliance. The most remarkable characteristic, however, of the tragedy before us, is its total and disdainful want of conformity to the present state of the stage. Far from accommodating itself with servile docility to the taste of the day, and displaying the nice tact, which might be acquired by familiarity with the incidents and situations—with the tone and manner of composition which produce the strongest effect on a modern audience the tragedy of Francis the First is conceived in the spirit and conducted on the plan of a far different period. We mean not that an effective tragedy may not be cut out of this poem, as out of those of our older dramatists : but, according to its original conception, instead of condensing the whole interest, and concentrating it on two or three of the leading characters,—and keeping down the subordinate parts, which must necessarily be entrusted to the dangerous hands of inferior performers, as nearly as possible to mutes ;the piece before us is crowded with characters of the greatest variety, all of considerable importance in the conduct of the piece, engaged in the most striking situations, and contributing essentially to the main design. Instead of that simple unity of interest, from which modern tragic writers have rarely ventured to depart, it takes the wider range of that historic unity, which is the characteristic of our elder drama; moulds together, and connects by some common agent employed in both, incidents which have no necessary connexion; and—what in the present tragedy strikes us as on many accounts especially noticeable--unites by a fine though less perceptible moral link, remote but highly tragic events with the im
mediate, mediate, if we may so speak, the domestic interest of the play. There is something, in our opinion, singularly bold and striking in the manner in which not only the dark intrigues of the Queen Mother and the ingratitude of the court towards the Constable de Bourbon are revenged in the battle of Pavia, but at the same time the Nemesis of the injured Françoise de Foix pursues the King to the fatal field. The double current of interest is made to flow again in one stream, if, as hereafter will appear, more languidly than might be likely to keep up the excitement of a spectator, or even of a reader, yet with so much Shakspearianism in the conception as to afford a remarkable indication of the noble school in which the young authoress has studied, and the high models, which, with courage, in the present day, fairly to be called originality, she has dared to set before her. In fact, Francis the First is cast entirely in the mould of one of Shakspeare's historical tragedies. Miss Kemble has aspired to manage all the infinite variety of character, the complication of plot, the succession of interest, which make our great dramatic poems of that class not merely full of scenic effect, but living pictures of the whole period to which their personages belong.
The secret, however, of the total dissimilarity of Miss Kemble's tragedy to the modern race of successful dramas is extremely simple. It was written, we have been informed by persons who long ago perused the work in manuscript, several years before she appeared upon the stage, and at a time when she little anticipated the probability that she herself might be called upon to impersonate the conceptions of her own imagination. We believe that we are quite safe when we state that the drama, in its present form, was written when the authoress was not more than seventeen. We do not make this statement either to deprecate the severer criticism of others, or to account for any unusual tenderness in our own, but merely as explaining the singular anomaly of a tragedy, written by a successful actress, requiring as much alteration, we fear that we may add mutilation, in order to adapt it to the stage, as one of the most lawless and irregular compositions of the days of Elizabeth or James I.
Without doubt, every work of imagination must eventually stand or fall by its own intrinsic merit. Though the adventitious circumstances under which a poem has been composed may excite a strong interest at the moment of its appearance, yet this artificial life, where there is no inherent principle of vitality, will quickly wither and expire. While, therefore, we are unwilling that the authoress should plead either youth or sex in bar of the sternest justice of criticism, it is unquestionably a remarkable phenomenon, that a youthful poetess, however nurtured in Shakspeare, should begin her dra