TRAVELING IN BELGIUM: MISS ADELAIDE JUMBLE. TO THE EDITOR OP
Aix la Chapelle, 12th October 1841.
The railroad from Brussels brought me to Liege in about five hours. Nobody can fail to remark the inferiority which prevails in respect of system and arrange-
ment, in Belgian undertakings, as compared with English ones. The men at the station seemed absolutely at a loss how to get our carriage off the rails and on to the road; and it was half an hour before we were in motion towards the town, after reaching the terminus. Liege is immensely increased since my last visit, in 1834; and is said to comprise, now, above 70,000 inhabitants. The air of bustling, thriving existence, which pervades its population, would remind one of the English hive, if it were not for the omen's clean caps and the square yards of cabbages, carrots, and other green-grocery, which occupy the open spaces of the town. These said snowy caps, you must know, are my delight, and often rise to my memory when I pass through the suburbs of London and behold the medley of battered ruins which perform the part of bonnets on our lower-class women's heads,—straw, which is become worse than rotten ; silk, heedless of colour; beaver, sans nap ; stuff, only fit to stop a hole in an Irish cabin ; all and every one serving but to stamp the wearer with an appearance of beggary, which a clean cap would perhaps redeem. But in Eng- land no class will endure to proclaim itself the lower class, whilst Continental peasants have no horror whatever of doing so.
But to continue my journey. I heard a vast number of vehicles clattering about Liege in the evening ; and on asking the cause, learned that M. LiszT and Miss KEHRLE were giving a concert, in the new Casino, said to contain from 1,200 to 1,500 persons. Our waiter assured me many were unable to procure admittance notwithstanding; the citizens of Liege being famous for their musical taste, and M. LISZT a general favourite here. I came on to Aix la Chapelle, post ; and dismal work it was—the road badly paved and hilly, and the weather stormy and wet all the way, thirty-five miles. The first thing I saw on arriving here was an affiche of another concert by N. LISZT and Miss REMBLE j and I resolved to " assist " as the French phrase has it, wishing to hear my young countrywoman, highly lauded as she has been by the German con- noisseurs. The performance took place in the Theatre, (a remarkably beautiful structure, on the Grecian model,) and an audience of about 500 people were pre- sent, a great many of whom were ladies. An orchestra was provided to open the concert with an overture; at the conclusion of which the curtain drew up and disclosed a pianoforte in the centre of the stage. Presently Liszr appeared, leading on Miss ADELAIDE K.EMBLE ; and they were cordially welcomed. Liss's arranged his desk, and, seating himself at his instrument, preluded awhile on the keys in his peculiar magical manner; whilst Miss KEMBLE stood, with her sheet of music in her band, near him, a shawl on her shoulders, perfectly plainly dressed, and her hair braided on her forehead, also without ornament. During these few moments, numberless ideas suggested by her name, the arduous nature of her profession, her youth, her indomitable resolu- tion to become an artiste of the highest class as a means to independence, her long, toilsome, almost unaided course of study, and her spotless reputation—all passed across ray mind, and produced within me a feeling of deep interest to- wards her. As she proceeded with her song, the admiration of the audience became manifest, and she was saluted with hearty salvoes of applause repeated several times. I must own that her style of singing surprised me not a little; and such was the charm of loth her tones and her expression, that, unless the English public be "deaf adders," I augur a brilliant success to Miss KEMBLE'S coming performances in London. Few of the existing female gingers of note would have ventured on such a performance as this, accompanied only by a pianoforte, although that were Liszr's ; for the effect was certainly meagre : the ear, accustomed to the full harmonics of an orchestral score, finds the absence of this, in the theatre, unsatisfactory ; and one could not but feel that the effort undergone by the singer must have been far greater than if a fuller accompaniment had been there to sustain her through the difficult passages. However, Miss liEsinxes singing really is so charming, that, with or without accompaniment, it is worth going far to listen to. She has made a prodigious impression in Frankfort and Cologne. Be sure to watch for her coming out in London ; which, I regret, I shall not be there to witness ; but shall look for some account of her debfit in the Spectator columns. As I go forwards to Munich, you shall hear more of any musical and artistic observatione,ls occa- sions arise. r. D.