Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/A Few Friends to Tea, and a Lyttle Mvsyck.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 6.

A Few Friends to Tea and a Lyttle Mvsyck


A Few Friends to Tea, and a Lyttle Mvsyck.

[Tueſday, April 17, 1849.]

TO Mr. Jiggins's, where my Wife and I were invited to Tea and a little Muſique, but we had much Muſique and little Tea, though the Muſique was like the Tea in Quality, and I do prefer a ſtronger Kind of Muſique as well as Liquor. Yet it was pleating enough to the Far to hear the Faſhionable Ballads, and the Airs from all the New Italian Operas ſung by the young Ladies; which, though they expreſſed Nothing but common-place Love and Sentiment, yet were a pretty Sing-Song. But to ſee the young Fellows whilſt a Beauty was ſinging crowd round her, and bend over her Shoulders, and almoſt scramble to turn over the Leaves of her Muſique Book! Beſides the Singing, there was Playing of the Piano Forte, with the Accompaniment of a Fiddle and Baſs Violl, the Piano being played by a ſtout fat Lady with a Dumpling Face; but for all her being ſo fat it did amaze me to ſee how nimbly she did fillip the Keys. They did call this Piece a Concerto, and I was told it was mighty brilliant; but when I aſked what Fancy, Paſſion, or Deſcription there was in it, no one could tell; and I verily thought the Brilliancy like that of a Parte Buckle. It had not even an Air to carry away and whittle, and would have pleaſed me juſt as well if I had ſtopped my Ears, for I could discern Nothing in it but Muſical Sleight of Hand. But good Lack! to think how, in theſe Days, Execution is Everything in Muſique, and Compoſition little or Nothing: for almoſt no Account is made of the Maſter, and a prepoſterous Value put upon the Player, or Artiſte, as the Frenchified Phraſe now is! After the Concerto, ſome Polkas and Waltzes, which did better pleaſe me; for they were a lively Jingle certainly, and not quite unmeaning. Strange, to find how rare a Thing good Muſique is in Company; and by good Muſique I mean ſuch as do ſtir up the Soul, like the Flowers and Sunſhine in Spring, or Storms and Tempeſts, or ghoſtly Imaginations, or the Thought of great Deeds, or tender or terrible Paſſages in Poetry. My Wife do play ſome brave Pieces in this Kind, by Mynheer Van Beethoven and I would rather hear her perform one of them, than all I did hear to-Night put together; and ſo I did tell her when we got Home, which did content her well. But every one to his Taſte; and they who delight in the trivial Style of Muſique to theirs, as I to mine, not doubting that the Engliſh, that have but juſt begun to be ſenfible to Muſique at all, will be awake to the nobler Sort of it by and by. And, at any Rate, an Evening of inſipid Muſique and weak Tea is better than fitting toping and guzzling after Dinner.