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effect, and in some instances possess an advantage over oil-coloured paintings, but they will not endure the scrutiny of an eye ardently awake to nature's perfections, and quick to discover a departure from truth. They must be regarded with indulgence, bearing in mind not only the real merit they possess, but also the difficulty encountered and overcome in making them what they are. The exhibition commends itself, especially to females, and no doubt affords them, as excellent specimens of needle-work, much gratification.
Among the collection are not only fruit, birds, animals, and portraits, but, also, familiar scenes and historical representations. Raphael's Madonna Delia Sedia; Carlo Marratti's Nativity, Jephtha's Rash Vow, from Opie, and David with his sling, from Carlo Dolci, are among them; together with Gainsborough's Shepherd Boy, Morland's Farmer's Stable, Barker's Woodman, Westal's Gleaner, Ruysdael's Waterfall, and many others. The Judgment upon Cain is one of the largest pieces: "When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear." Gen. iv. 12, 13. ****** I am now in the "Saloon of Arts," or Dubourg's Mechanical Theatre; and not being an admirer of wax-work generally, the first glance of the place excites within me but little emotion. The different groups of figures caged up in their several compartments, have a somewhat forbidding appearance, nor is this much relieved when motion is communicated to a part of them.
I hold it desirable to look on the bright side of every exhibition we see, and to point out its advantages rather than its defects. We may take a good-natured as well as an ill-natured glance at the world and the things it contains; and when we have a choice between a rose and a thistle, it is certainly the wiser course to choose the former. There is, however, something due to ourselves in describing a scene, and something also to those to whom we undertake to give information. Our kindly feelings should not falsify our real convictions. What we say should be truth, if not the whole truth; and to praise what our judgment condemns is not consistent with integrity.
Many of the groups are likely enough to afford pleasure to a fair proportion of visitors, and I doubt not that hundreds will gaze on Androcles and the lion with great admiration, and leave the place fully satisfied that what the catalogue says about the noble beast raising his paw, turning his head, opening his mouth, lashing his sides with his tail, rolling his eyes, and groaning as in the greatest agony, while the slave wipes the blood from his wound with his pocket-handkerchief, "proves the group to be a masterpiece of mechanism and art;" but for all this, we must not close our eyes to its defects. I will not quarrel with Androcles for being, as a slave, so well dressed and so fully armed, nor complain that he has in his possession so excellent a white pocket-handkerchief. Let him dress and arm himself as he likes, and wear the best pocket-handkerchief he can honestly procure; but what I demur at is this — though he pretends to wipe the lion's wounded paw, he never once touches it with his handkerchief. The lion roars, and well he may. Were I a lion I would roar myself at such hollow heartedness.
The group of ten of the greatest assassins and murderers that have entered Newgate prison for some years, seems to receive a large amount of public attention. Curiosity rushes on, and wonder gazes with open mouth and wide-extended eyes. Willingly would I just now look on a more pleasant sight than on the likeness of those who have defaced their Maker's image in ruthlessly destroying their fellow men.
There must be much of ingenuity in that mechanism which can give motion to the arms, heads, and eyes of figures so variously disposed as these before me; but a truce to my remarks, for something important is about to transpire.
The little man with the great spear, who "shows off" the exhibition, has explained to us the several groups; of Judith and Holofernes; the conference between the British officers and Chinese authorities; the tomb of Napoleon; the slave-market at Constantinople; Coriolanus on the walls of Rome, and the rest. And we have all, in obedience to his request, paid especial attention to the opening and shutting of the eyes and mouth, and the moving of the heads and arms, of the several figures. He has now produced a sensation, by stamping his spear heavily on the floor to arrest our attention, and announced that the car is about to move in rapid career along the centrifugal railway.
It is done. First a pail of water, next a hundred-weight piece of metal, and, lastly, a human being, one of the attendants, have in succession passed down the inclined plane, round the circle in the centre, and afterwards ascended the opposite steep. The water was unspilt, the weight unmoved, and the attendant uninjured, though he passed round the upright circle head over heels, performing a complete summerset, at the rate, as the little man tells us, of a hundred miles an hour.
After all, this is an astonishing spectacle; nor could I have believed, without witnessing the fact, that the human brain could have borne such a sudden rush and rapid whirl without being overcome with giddiness. The company are invited to perform the feat. Think of Old Humphrey accepting the invitation, andkicking up his heels in this way! No, no; it will not do. Many will have it that the world is turned upside down as it is, we need not therefore, push ourselves forward to confirm this opinion.
***** The exhibition of Madame Tussaud is certainly the best collection of wax-work ever seen in London, and the best time to see it is at night, when the room is well lighted up, and the music of the orchestra gives additional liveliness to the scene. I have exchanged a few words with Madame, who is industriously plying her needle in the lobby; and now, seated as I am, on one of the crimson benches, the whole exhibition is before me.
This scene is very arresting, for the room is large and lofty, and splendidly decorated with crimson and gold. The fluted pillars, the ornamented pedestals, the imposing groups of figures, the rich dresses and the mirrors which so largely amplify the extent of the exhibition, all have an influence over the mind of the spectator. The chamber has an appearance of life, and he who could seat himself among these mimic resemblances of humanity, and feel himself alone, must have a strange imagination. That figure to the right there—