31 OCTOBER 1840, Page 10


ATTER being edified, and certainly much amused, by the moral lesson read to wilful woman at the Adelphi from the text of Laffarge, we pro- ceeded to Covent Garden to witness the Fashionable Arrivals there, and catch the manners living as they rise in our own country ; and we were rather startled at perceiving that the difference between English high life, and the state of society in France, as exhibited by the circumstances


disclosed at the recent trial of' Madame LAFFARGE, s rather in degree than kind. Now as the purpose of the stage is

To hold as 'Were the mirror up to nature, To show scorn his own imago, vice her own feature,"

unless the features of vice have been softened down by the flattering French plate of the Adelphi cabaret, and the image of scorn has been darkened by a clouded pier-glass iu the Covent Garden drawing-room, instead of holding up our hands at the idea of " marriage-brokers," we have reason to hide our faces at the principals themselves trading in the article. This is rather a grave preface to a notice of a pair of bur- lettas ; but the pulpit-tone in which the great moralist of the Adelphi addressed his audience—we had almost written congregation—was not without its effect even on our hardened sensibilities. The case of Madame Laffarge, as summed up by the Adelphi dramatist, sug- gests a verdict similar to that of the rustic Jury, " Guilty 1—but sarved him right" ; inasmuch as M. Laffarge is represented to be no less brutal than mercenary ; and the lady, though she mixes the dose of arsenic for herself, is tempted to give it to her husband, and lets him unwittingly drink it, for all her pretence of preventing him in the matter of the diamonds. her guilt is clearly made out—the audience see her steal

• them. This act, however, serves to display the high sense of honour entertained by her lover ; who not only refuses to take the stolen jewels, but declines running away with the thief, though his devotion to the lady had been previously shown by his sharing a suffocating tete-a-tete with her over a brazier of charcoal. Nor is this the only new incident in the Adelphi version of the affair; which abounds with various readings, and may be regarded as an epitome of the social affections and virtues of the French.

Mrs. YATES'S personation of the heroine is a fine piece of acting ; as may be guessed from the fact that it really made a serious impression : her manner of asking what way there was of destroying rats, revealed her criminal intentions to the audience as plainly as if she had given utterance to them ; and the trepidation and shame of guilt when she steals the diamonds are true to nature. Pity such talents should be no better employed. Mr. IL Hann, who personated M. Laffilrye,looks neither old nor ugly ; but he assumes the air of a French bully in order to be disagreeable enough for the part. Mr. MAYNARD, 1C110 is, "like Cerberus, three gentlemen at once "—" public writer," "mar- riage-broker," and confidential servant of M. Laffarge—has also a good stock of malevolence for his private use as an amateur of mischief, and looks the amiable character welt. Mr. LYON, the lover, has little else to do but come in and go out, with a red cloak wrapped round him. YATES, as a hawker of quack medicines and play-bills, gives capital imitations of LaronTE's acting and that of a French tragedian. BED- FORD, as a Parisian "gamin," looks a very colossus of the kennel. WRIGHT, as a belle linionadiere, burlesques the Cracovienne with the grace of a jointed doll; and WILKINSON, us a gardener, makes love from the gardener's calendar with most ludicrous effect. It is possible that ninny little delicacies of sentiment may have escaped us, for often the roar of the audience responded to some joke which had not reached our ears through the squabbling and confusion in that limbo of late-comers the box-lobby. The Adelphi box-keepers being liveried, look for vails in- stinctively: they interpret their function literally too—keeping the boxes from all whom they know not, as place-keepers only can know 3r011; and while numbers were struggling to escape the "inferno" of the slips by praying their way into the purgatory of the back-boxes, the seats in the paradise of comparative comfort below remained vacant even to the twelfth hour, waiting the arrival of those happy souls whose silver accents prevailed where prayers were vain. We essayed the silver voice on the first night, but purgatory was still our doom ; perhaps we did not speak loud enough. What is the proper pitch ? We inquire for the information of the public, who appear to be equally at a loss to reach the right note.

The three married couples constituting the Fashionable Arrivals of Covent Garden, though guiltless of suicidal propensities either by char- coal or ratsbane, and not contemplating either larceny or murder, are in their insipid way dabblers in naughtiness and disagreeableness : two of them, for very idleness, make love to each other's wives, and the third are made miserable by a suspicion so slight, that it is plain their happi- ness is tinder to the first spark ; and even the goodnatured sexage- narian baronet, who is so foolish as to suppose that married people can endure each other's company, cannot escape the imputation of intrigue. As for the servants, their duties seem to consist in robbing and deceiving their masters and mistresses, aping their manners, and wearing their clothes ; their chief sources of pleasure and profit being the promoting of intrigue, and purveying slander. This may be a true picture of fashion- able life, for aught we know ; and if it be, it only shows how little man- ners alter in two or three centuries ; for the incidents are Spanish in all but the vivacity, and the dialogue CONGREVE and FARQUHAR without the wit—though there are some smart things in it. The perfect reality of the two scenes—a breakfitst-room with the party assembling and breaking up and a conservatory with a drawing-room beyond— and the clever acting of nearly the whole strength of the company, insured the success of the piece, but made the unreality of the inci- dents the more glaring. It may be fashionable fora husband to amuse his leisure and annoy his wife by exploding percussion-caps to put out candles—lbr a wife to faint because a ribbon is found in her hus- band's cabriolet—and for two married women to bandy accusations of encouraging the attentions of each other's husbands ; but it seems ill- bred and absurd, as well as unnatural. FARREN, as the country gentle- man of the old school ; CHARLES AIATIIEWS, us an " accomplished " valet, whose motto is, "Do, and don't be done " ; Madame VESTRIS and Miss COOPER, as the would-be-frail fair ones; Mrs. Ilmeisv and Miss LEE, as two ladies' maids quarrelling for precedence ; and limermv, as the stem ard, with his one phrase, "1 am always right I" deserve especial