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element of a maigre diet. Again, if they only knew how valuable the more or less fluid extracts of meat already referred to are in certain exceptional conditions of great prostration, mental or physical, they ought not to be absolutely compelled to reject them, at least when their use is enforced by medical advice.
I now take leave of the subject. For the great body of the Vegetarian Society throughout our country I cherish, as heretofore, feelings of sympathy and respect for their attachment to a simple diet, and humane consideration for animal life, so abundantly existing everywhere. For the few, as I hope and in charity believe them to be, who have perverted my meaning and misrepresented my views, I cannot altogether regret the opportunity they have afforded me of exposing the tactics of the sectarian who, whether he be only narrorminded or unscrupulous, exercises a mischievous influence always and wherever he is found.
P.S.-Since this article went to press I have seen a prominent reference (Vegetarian, 14th of May) to a statement of mine made in 1879—that the value of the product of an acre of land cropped with cereals and legumes would support a much larger population than an acre of pasturage devoted to cattle-feeding. My critic omits the context which immediately follows-being one of the reasons given for the extra value referred to—namely, that the corn-land will produce, almost without extra cost, a considerable quantity of animal food in the form of pigs and poultry, from the offal or coarser parts of vegetable produce, which is unsuitable for human consumption.
But the two paragraphs of 1898 from my recent article, quoted for comparison, differ mainly because in 1879 I held the belief, then generally accepted, that proteid elements obtained by chemical analysis from legumes might be regarded as equal in nutritious value to those obtained by digestion in man's stomach from beef and mutton. Carefully conducted experiments since made prove that the leguminous proteids do not yield to the human stomach anything like the amount of nutritive matter which the animal proteids impart. Thus, also, the consumer might well feel lighter' after his dish of legumes than after meat, because only a bare moiety of the nutritive matter in the former case is taken up into the system. Hence the statement of nearly twenty years ago, like many others in the progress of research for truth, is found untenable to-day. And thus it is, or should be, that as we grow older we grow wiser. If our opinions are not modified with the progress of the age, we are learning nothing, and have lived to very little purpose,' a maxim I have thus often had occasion to enforce in the course of my professional teaching at University College."
• See Clinical Lectures, eighth edition, p. 55; Churchill, London, 1888.
That some people are never contented will inevitably be the thought suggested to many readers by the title of this paper. For a space of more than ten years opera has been once again the rage in London society; it has returned to the place of supremacy among fashionable amusements which it held from the time of Handel until early in the present century; and it has proved its claims to popularity by a wise catholicity in the matter of the music represented, so that what used to be called the Royal Italian Opera has now dropped the middle word from this famous name, as all the principal languages in which operatic librettos exist have in turn been heard upon the Covent Garden stage, sometimes two or three of them at once. Under the late Sir Augustus Harris a tradition grew up that operas must be presented with due regard to the general effect, and he taught Londoners to expect the same care in the preparation of an opera and in its presentment as they were accustomed to demand in the non-operatic theatres. The old practice of pitch-forking the works of the great masters upon the stage, on the strength of one prima donna, whose fee for a single appearance swallowed up nearly the whole sum taken in payment for seats, has now disappeared, happily for music and the public, and there is little chance of any return being made to the old system, for the successors to Sir Augustus Harris, the members of the energetic triumvirate known as the Grand Opera Syndicate, are fully aware of what is wanted by the public for which opera exists in London.
And two large sections of the public are perfectly contented with things as they are. One is composed of the wealthy, few who are not too particular about the selection of the operas given as long as they can be assured that the music they hear is really fashionable; the other class contains the multitude of unmusical people, who do not wish to go to the opera at all, and who have and profess no interest whatever in music. There is a considerable space between these two, and it is filled by a large and ever-growing class of people who take à more or less intelligent interest in music, who habitually go to concerts, and in whose lives music of one sort or another plays a prominent part. These belong to a very great variety of sects in the musical world; for it is one of the peculiarities of London that its musical inhabitants do not form one great body, as they do in the majority of the continental cities, but are subdivided into many small classes or cliques, so that the musical aristocrats of the Richter concerts are hardly ever to be seen at concerts conducted by Lamoureux, Mottl, or Wood, each of whom has his own enthusiastic following, while the patrons of the Popular Concerts remain for the most part contented with chamber music, and rarely hear orchestral works at all. Lower down the scale we get to the numerous less cultivated amateurs who patronise the concerts of one favourite performer, or those alone in which he takes part. But all, or almost all, of these, divided though they may be in the objects of their admiration, unite in viewing the opera as a thing lying entirely outside their ordinary experience. Even those who throng any concert hall where a Wagner selection' is announced as a special attraction, do not display any particular anxiety to be present at operatic performances of the music dramas as a whole; and although in the present season an extraordinary effort has been made, and with an altogether astounding amount of success, to convert the Wagnerian public into habitual opera-goers, by introducing the conditions in which they delight at Bayreuth into the ordinary course of London life at the height of the season, the performances of the Nibelungen trilogy will stand, as it were, by themselves, and as an exceptional thing, not as part of the regular course of an operatic season. Putting aside this special feature of the present series of productions, the great majority of concert-goers are pretty sure to return one or two answers to any friend who refers in their presence to matters operatic. Either they will allege that the operas they care for are never given, or they will confess, what is likely to be the truth in any case, that they cannot afford the cost of the entertainment.
Here we encounter the central difficulty of the situation. The very large class of well-to-do people who at present support numberless concerts are, or consider themselves, excluded from regular attendance at the opera by the cost of comfortable seats. Even if the price of a guinea stall were never exceeded, it is only natural that a great many among even musical people should prefer going to the play twice to a single visit to the opera. And we must remember that the section of the public for which the cheaper kinds of reserved seats are intended at the other theatres is practically not considered at all at the opera. The balcony stalls at Covent Garden are, it is true, as comfortable as dress circle seats elsewhere, but they are issued at precisely double their price. It is impossible to get a really convenient place for less than fifteen shillings, as the glare of the chandelier, even if the lights are turned down during the performance, makes the long entr’actes extremely disagreeable to those who occupy the ten-shilling seats; and even supposing the
average amateur of moderate means to be contented with a gallery place, in order that he may see as many operas as possible, he must put up with a great deal of discomfort ; while to elderly people, or to those who are busy in the daytime, the necessary early attendance makes unreserved seats an impossibility. Now the opera, as an occasional treat to be enjoyed once or twice in the season, is of very little real use from an educational point of view; yet the educational aspect of the opera is one that should not be ignored. In one of his famous rules for young musicians, Schumann, the one composer who might have been expected to set least store by anything connected with theatrical display, laid it down that the student must never neglect to hear good operas.' In England the greater part, and those the best, of musical amateurs are compelled to spend their lives in an assiduous transgression of this injunction; and even the rich subscribers to the opera of the fashionable world can only obey it for a space of three months in the year, or less. In all parts of the continent, the intellectual value of the opera is recognised, just as much as that of non-theatrical music or of the other arts. In England alone there still survives the curious impression that music, and more especially the opera, has some element of dissipation about it. That this impression will some day die down, as we become more cosmopolitan, there is no reason to doubt; and with the gigantic strides which musical culture has taken in quite recent years, it is certain that before long the nation will insist on having an opera, not as the exclusive enjoyment of the few for ten weeks in the year, but as a permanent institution, affording to the great bulk of educated people proper opportunities for the study and enjoyment of operatic masterpieces; not merely for the contemplation of the latest Paris fashions, whether in millinery or music.
At different times in the history of the Carl Rosa Company it has seemed as if a really national opera were just on the brink of getting itself established, and the energetic manager from which it is named had sufficient foresight to recognise that such an institution must be really national, and that the English tongue must be the vehicle in which music should make its appeal to the English people. Unfortunately, although he and his successors have always had the lower middle classes in their favour, the influence of this section of the public has kept alive certain traditions which sadly hindered the cause of opera in English. The silly dialogue of the days of the poet Bunn is still relished by the kind of audience to which English opera is at present supposed to appeal; and any educated person, not especially musical, who should find himself present at a performance of The Bohemian Girl or Maritana, would very naturally wonder at the tolerance of a West-end public towards a style of declamation that would disgrace the transpontine theatres. This state of things will account, to his mind, for the widespread impression that English is not a good language for serious operatic purposes. Yet even supposing that operas with spoken dialogue were to come back into fashion again, there is no possible reason why the dialogue should not be given with the same care and precision that Mr. Gilbert insisted on in the early days of the Savoy operas. It is a strange thing, but only one of many anomalies beloved by English people, that their own language should be considered quite suitable on the one hand to comic operas, and on the other to sacred oratorios, but that for serious dramatic music it is viewed with disdain. Surely a language which is good enough for The Messiah or Elijah cannot be so contemptible that its use in Faust or Lohengrin need be prohibited. After all, in objecting to their own language as a vehicle for serious art, the English are only following the lead of nearly all nations that have gradually emerged from a state of barbarism. It is not a satisfactory reflection, but it is one that must be made, that this preference for foreign languages is the mark of all nations that have not completed their civilisation. In the Italian Renaissance, those writers who gave up Latin for Italian were at first thought extremely vulgar by their contemporaries; in Germany, the gallicisms, which have so comic an effect upon modern ears in reading the historical documents of past centuries, were in fashion more or less into the present day. In matters of literature, science, and the graphic arts we have long ago passed the stage in which culture came to us from without, and so have reached a condition in which we have, in these things, a definite national existence. In music alone a bastard cosmopolitanism prevails among us even now, and has doubtless much to say to the failure of English opera as a permanent and self-supporting institution. The state of London at the present day, in regard to operas, may best be illustrated by an analogy with the nonoperatic theatre. Imagine a state of things in which no theatre in London should devote itself to serious drama, the admirers of which were compelled to derive their instruction in the great dramas of the world from an annual visit of ten weeks, arranged by the combined forces of the Théâtre Français and the Meiningen Court Theatre; and that during this short season the prices of seats in all parts of the house should be doubled or more than doubled. Such a condition is incredible in the dramatic world, yet it is precisely analogous to that which we complacently accept in regard to the opera. As the taste for opera improves, deepening in the educated classes, and spreading more and more widely throughout the nation, there will be more and more clear demands for a regular, continuous, and, in one word, national institution, such as all other capitals of the world possess. In ordinary affairs the law of supply and demand is a good enough working principle, but here there is one very serious consideration