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description applied to me by a dear and
intimate friend on my taking the trouble to
display my dexterity before him and his
volunteer company at drill. Again, I am
to "Mind that 'ere pony does not run away
with me!" while the statements that I
have "given that hoss of mine too much
corn;" that I shall "bust up like fireworks
if I don't mind!" are flashes of humour,
giving their utterers acute delight, and
which I hear with great regularity every
time I go out. He who can confer these
simple pleasures on his fellow-man is a
philanthropist; and it is astonishing how your
benevolence increases as your digestion
improves. You laugh at worries which once
seemed crushing, and you become tolerant,
patient, and amiable. You have safely
and surely emancipated yourself from the
penal regimen you dreaded, and can live
like other people and prosecute your work
with impunity. Let others speak of the
utility of the bicycle as a means of locomotion,
of the enormous distances to be traversed
on it, of the vast speed to be attained
by it. My recommendations are based on
sanitary grounds alone, and I maintain it
to be infinitely easier than a strict regimen,
and incomparably more restorative than
tonic, potion, or pill.


"MY dear sir," said Horace Walpole to
Hogarth, when the latter began to hold forth
about his system in painting, "you grow too
wild;—I must take leave of you." Those
who venture to speak of periods in music,
may as well make up their minds, without
self-compassion, or needless irritation, to
be pilloried as pedants by the flippant and
thoughtless. Yet if the past history and
present state of the art (especially as regards
the stage) come to be considered, unless
we have some such references by way of
landmarks, we shall only drift about and not arrive
at any understanding of our pleasure, beyond
that which is involved in idle and aimless sensation.

Let us see what three musical periods of the
past century have comprised; in regard to
such opera composers of France, Italy, and
Germany, as have enjoyed a European reputation.

First period. Beethoven, Cherubini, Spontini,
Weber, Simone Mayer, Zingarelli, Paer,
Rossini, Boieldieu, M. Auber.

Second period. Marschner, Meyerbeer, M.
Auber, Halévy, Hérold, Adolphe Adam,
Rossini, Bellini, Mercadante, Donizetti.

Third period. Signor Verdi, M. Auber,
M. Thomas, M. Gounod, M. Felicien David,
M. Offenbach, Herr Wagner.

It is only fair to add that the last half
century has, in Germany, produced a goodly
number of second-class composers, who might
justifiably be matched against those of the
second-rate writers of the last century. But
in France there has been little or nothing
analogoussave the appearance of M. Mermetet,
the author and composer of the already
forgotten Roland. The Hamlet of M. Thomas
(the most ambitious work of late produced
in Paris) lives by favour of the popularity
of its Ophelia, Mademoiselle Nilsson, and
by a carpenter's device in the last act. In
Italy, the brothers Ricci seem to be already
forgotten. So that, so long as M. Gounod
continues silent, or, if speaking, shall prove
unable to put forward another Faust or
Mireille, the composers who may be said,
for better for worse, to excite the greatest
curiosity on the Continent at the time being,
are M. Offenbach and Herr Wagner: the first,
offering a signal example of success won by
licentious frivolity; the second, overawing the
ignorant, the thoughtless, the jaded, and the
rebellious, by the arrogance and obscurity of his
bombast. The phenomenon would be a sad
one, had not the alternate ebb and flow of
creation in music amounted to one of the most
remarkable and special peculiarities of the

M. Offenbach made himself originally known
in London as in Paris, some forty years ago,
as a graceful but not vigorous violoncello-
player, who wrote pleasant music, not merely
for his instrument, but for the voice. Nothing
much more meek, nothing much less marked
than his playing and his music, is in the writer's
recollection. His was the appearance of a
slender talentif there was ever such a thing
a talent which for many after seasons could
make but a languid assertion of its existence
in the concert-rooms and theatres of Europe.
The composer's life was advancing; and such
success as artists love appeared as far distant
as ever, when some demon whispered in the
musician's ear that there was a field yet to be
trodden, because heretofore disdained by any
artist of repute. There had been coarse comic
singers without voices at the cafés, there had
been comic actors of no less value than Verner
and Odry, who could condescend to such
coarse travesties as Madame Gibou and Madame
Pochet; but for an artist of any pretension to
turn their unmanly and unwomanly vulgarities
to account by setting questionable stories to
music which could be eked out by their
unquestionable pranks, was left to the gently
insipid writer under notice, who had been
just, and only just, able to keep his name
before the public. To-day the name commands
Europe, and commands, too, such gains as in
his prime the composer of II Barbiere, II Turco,
Corradino, La Cenerentola, Otello, Le Comte
Ory, Moïse, Guillaume Tell, and many another
serious and sentimental opera, never dreamed of.
The iron age has come; the exchange of mirth