25 JULY 1846, Page 9


The limit of six nights set to Mademoiselle Rachel's performances has already been broken through. The Queen ordered a representation of Andromague on Monday—when she did not come, and a repetition of Phedre on Wednesday—when she did come; and the engagement is there- fore extended to another week at least, that the plays originally promised may be performed. In the list of these plays, we cannot think that Corneille's Cid was judi- ciously inserted, bearing in mind that the grand object of the representa- tions is to exhibit the genius of Mademoiselle Rachel. That her imper- sonation of the character of Chimene is as perfect as any of her performances —nay, that she has not uttered anything finer than the suppressed con- fession "J0 adorel"—we willingly admit: but the part itself is not capable of being brought out into very high relief, and we regret to see an artist whose great characteristic is variety forced into monotony. Racine's Andromague was not in the original list; and the lover of the French drama has reason to thank her Majesty for having added a piece so well adapted to Mademoiselle Rachel, and so worthy of her genius. Her- salons, as represented by her, is a combination of ardent love, deep resent- ment, and overpowering grief, such as is attained by no other artist on the modern stage. The grief, pressing down the energies and plainly written on the countenance, steals irresistibly into the heart of an audience; and when it swells into reproval, or bursts forth into angry expostulation, the effect is indescribable. The irony with which she clothes some of her speeches is withering in the extreme, and exactly what indignant irony should be—calm, dignified, and given with the appearance of a hardly- purchased command over the violent struggles of some strong emotion. In all these exhibitions of Mademoiselle Rachel, however, it must be as- sumed that the spectator puts himself in the position of feeling the French classic drama. If he is disposed to laugh at its conventionalities and yawn at the set speeches, so contrary to the English school, even the genius of a Rachel will be exerted in vain.