4 SEPTEMBER 1852, Page 12


EUROPA. is summoned to the Westminster Police Court by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to account for her escapade in riding off on the bull. Cremorne is the scene of the offence. The poor beast, it appears, is suspended by girths ; on it sits the Europa of the hour; and a balloon supplies the motive power. The less classic Poitevin had mounted skywards on a pony. A veterinary surgeon is ready to swear that the position of the beast is unnatural and painful ; and it certainly needed no veterinary surgeon to disclose that truth. But the spirit of Dick Martin survives, and the animals will be rescued fromtheir wretched labours.

It is sorry work, however, when coercive police is the substitute for sense and good feeling in the public. The position of the bull is unnatural and painful, but what 26 that of Madame Poitevin ? We say nothing of her nymphiean costume, since art possesses its licen- ces. But where was the art to hallow that dismal scene ? Ima- gine the cruelty to the tradition. The bull, that ought to be ex- ulting in his victory—Jove himself converted to the king of the pastures and eloping with the fair nymph—is represented by a poor beast slung as beasts are at sea, in helpless suffering ; in- stead of "floating o'er the .Argolic floods," they are carried through the smoke over Chelsea, hanging to the balloon which quite eclipses the poor Europa of Cremorne. It is a helpless farce, with all the machinery that ought to be "behind the scenes" ex- posed. A more beggarly and bungling burlesque could not be devised. The whole thing was odious and ridiculous, and ought to have been hooted for its ugly absurdity. But what must be the condition of the poor audience? These exhibitions, it is said, are the things that "draw." While theatres are empty, while the National Gallery is 041 vacuity, the places that collect delighted audiences are precisely these, where Mr. Green goes up "positively the last time," with a brass band ; where Poitevin hangs on a pony, or his wife on a bull, and goes dangling about the suburbs; where a postnremaker performs his feats on a poll beneath the car, till he is out of sight. In the last case, in- deed, there is something admirable, in the display of human vigour, of skill, and nerve ; only it is preposterously out of place. By attending these exhibitions, the London audience confesses its miserable estate. It is so effete in its sensations that it cannot get up an interest even in a balloon, unless the veteran of two genera- tions go up "positively the last time" with a brass band, or unless a woman be hanged with a bull to the apparatus ! That will at- tract.

Politicians should take this hint. In the reviving season, the British public, which cannot get up the slightest interest in its own political rights, might be attracted to the soirees of the Par- liamentary Reform Association by engaging Mademoiselle Vander- meersch and her birds. Lord John Russell might muster a larger attendance to go with him into the lobby, if he were to make his speech of No-Confidence dressed in the real armour of Edward the Black Prince, and head the procession into the lobby seated on the back of a donkey. Possibly the leader of the House of Commons might antagonize that formidable combination, by riding to the House, round by Oxford Street, St. Paul's, and the Strand, on an ostrich, and making his speech on a tight rope, in recitative, to the accompaniment of ten Ethiopian serenaders led by M. Jullien ori the bones. The English public is recalled to consciousness by such appeals to its understanding; and thus aroused, "the two great parties in the state" might awake, arise, and not be for ever fallen.

The necessity, however' for stimulants so coarse, shows the de- bilitated condition of the Londoners, sesthetically. There lies the root of the evil. One can understand how the poor Parisians may have been perverted to a toleration, or even to an enjoyment of Poitevin, after Louis Napoleon, who is a perpetual Jupiter Towns ex =chin ; but that Londoners should have come to the same psi, bodes ill for our institutions. To rescue the particular bull, however meritorious a mission is but a small part of the cure, when the public mind is depraved. To follow the lunatic in his rambles, and rehabilitate the victims of his morbid caprices, is poor regimen : the aim should be, to rescue the lunatic himself, and to cure his diseased motive. It occurs to us that some processes of education already going on may help in such case, with time. Perhaps, the Church has not done all it might, if, instead of terri- fying congregations with threats of eternal perdition, through mis- conception of a microscopic doctrinal distinction, it had more simply and practically expounded the eternal laws of life and divine government. Perhaps a more profitable "observance of the Sab- bath " may help. At all events, it is in the better training of the people that these idle cruelties are to be cured. Meanwhile, al- though a sorry one, the Police Magistrate is the legitimate substi- tute for right feeling. If the English heart is not, at present, altogether in the right place, there is the Policeman at the station- house.