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TABLEAUX VIVANTS.

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painters,* without any of the early encouragement I am recommending, but rather discouraged than otherwise, or at least without ever having had their attention directed to the imitative art, have struggled into celebrity through every disadvantage; but these are exceptions, and afford no sound reasons for leaving children unassisted in the developement of their tastes and talents.

TABLEAUX VIVANTS.

There is an amusement now much in vogue which I strongly recommend as the most refined, the most elegant, with which a knot of young persons assembled together at a Christmas party, can enliven the evening: I mean the representation of Tableaux. Viewing it in connexion with the delightful art of which I have been treating, I cannot think the introduction of it wholly misplaced here. Having, moreover, promised to point out a few of those rational recreations which may stand in lieu of mere idle dissipation, I but fulfil that promise. The age we live in, whatever be its faults or follies, is certainly too enlightened to tolerate either blind-man's-buff or hunt-theslipper. The guessing of conundrums, well enough sometimes, is also a little obsolete. Dancing and music are not always practicable, or tire through frequent repetition. With the majority, I feel

* Salvator Rosa was considered a very mischievous boy, because he persisted in sketching outlines on the walls of chapels and elsewhere.

assured that the representation of Tableaux will have all the charm of novelty. Some few may have witnessed them on the stage, but are probably not aware that they may be very easily represented in a private house, requiring nothing more than a few boards covered with green baize, a proper distribution of lamps or candles, and the usual complement of shawls and scarfs which a lady's wardrobe is capable of furnishing; not omitting, however, the most important part of the whole, the individual who, arrayed for the occasion, is to sit within the temporary frame, and personate the subject of the picture chosen for representation. Sometimes a whole group is exhibited; but this, though splendid as a spectacle, requires more space than most private houses admit of. two figures answer the purpose equally well; and let me observe, that it is always judicious to make choice of some picture familiar both to the parties representing it and the spectators. More of pictorial effect may be learnt from this charming amusement, than from fifty treatises written on the subject.

MUSIC. Music is unquestionably a more social accomplishment than painting, but less intellectual. Coleridge has defined it as “twilight between sense and intellect.” Its influence over the passions is immediate, and, in great measure, independent of the judgment. Painting, on the contrary, appeals to the judgment, without whose

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sanction its power is very imperfect. This immediate influence gives musie, viewed as an accomplishment, immense advantages over the sister art; while, as an occupation, the latter, I think, bears away the palm. Then, again, music, by the dominion it exercises over the heart, is an agent of civilization, of unquestioned, might we not say, unequalled potency? But why institute comparisons? both are excellent and delightful, and well calculated to brighten and sweeten existence, and to elevate human nature. It is only in their misuse that either can become hurtful. It were needless, however, at the present day, to recommend music as a feminine accomplishment: independent of its own intrinsic and universally acknowledged attractiveness, music being more than any other accomplishment, dancing excepted, a medium of display, it is sure not to be omitted in the education of a modern young lady.

Delightful as music is, there is some danger now of its being cultivated to excess in society. Even of good music there may be too much; while bad music, which is still more abundant, is a positive nuisance. I applaud Miss Mitford's wisdom in professing herself generally averse to music. It preserves her, as she justly observes, from the insincerity of praising against her conscience, and enacting raptures she does not feel; and has the additional advantage of enhancing the value of her approbation, when there is just cause to express it. To have succeeded in charming one, avowedly so insensible, is an achievement reflecting more than ordinary credit.

If we could so cheat ourselves as to believe that the performance was gone through solely, or even chiefly for our gratification, as it ostensibly is, then, out of sheer gratitude, both praises and thanks would be due on our part; but when we know that the fair musician is, in reality, intent on the display of her own talent, and not on pleasing us, except so far as our approbation may be necessary to gratify her vanity, the case is altered. When I see a young lady contentedly sit down to the piano-forte in some obscure corner of a room, and play quadrilles during the greater part of the evening to a party of dancers, then I entertain no doubt of the meritoriousness of her motive; and should a particle of pride in being able to perform her task well, lurk in her breast, it is allowable, nay, desirable, as tending to diminish its irksomeness.

TASTE AND IMAGINATION. The pleasures arising from the cultivation of Taste and the regulated exercise of the ImagiNATION, deserve to be ranked among the highest of those intellectual enjoyments for which education has prepared the way. So intimately connected, indeed, are taste and imagination with the pleasures afforded us by music and painting, when those delightful arts are elevated to their proper

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dignity-so inseparable, I might add, is the union between taste and imagination and every refined pursuit with which we solace our leisure, that they ought rather to be considered as the essential accompaniments, than as having a distinct character of their own. But they have a still higher office to perform; a moral purpose to answer, even nobler, and that is saying much, than the one already pointed out.

A correct knowledge of the principles of taste has, unquestionably, a tendency to quicken our perceptions of the sublime and beautiful, in the moral as well as in the physical world, and will lead us to elevated sentiments with regard to human actions. Plato seems to have recognized this great moral purpose, this necessary result of a cultivated taste, when, in reference to the works of art, he says, “In beholding daily the masterpieces of painting, sculpture, and architecture, full of grace and purity in all their proportions, we learn to observe with accuracy what is lovely or defective in the works of nature or art; and this happy rectitude of judgment will become a second nature to our souls."

Admitting this, we must also admit that it is of no trivial importance to those just entering into life to have their notions concerning the principles of taste accurately formed, otherwise they may fall into habits and opinions founded upon false taste, and inimical to virtue. This can only be attained by an habitual exercise of the judgment,

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