Handel and Music 131 of making a whole scene, act or even drama into a single, unbroken movement without subdivision is like making a book without chapters, or a picture, like Bernardino Luini's great Lugano fresco in which a long subject is treated within the compass of a single piece. Better advised, as it seems to me, Gaudenzio Ferrari broke up a space of the same shape and size at Varallo into many compartments, each more or less complete in itself, grouped round a central scene. The subdivision of books into chapters, each with a more or less emphatic full close in its own key, is found to be a help as giving the attention halting places by the way. Everything that is worth attending to fatigues as well as delights, much as the climbing of a mountain does so. Chapters and short pieces give rests during which the attention gathers renewed strength and attacks with fresh ardour a new stretch of the ascent. Each bar is, as it were, a step cut in ice and one does not see, if set pieces are objected to, why phrases and bars should not be attacked next. At the Opera Jones and I went last Friday to Don Giovanni, Mr. Kemp * putting us in free. It bored us both, and we like Narciss^ls better. We admit the beauty of many of the beginnings of the airs, but this beauty is not maintained, in every case the air tails off into something that is much too near being tire- some. The plot, of course, is stupid to a degree, but plot has very little to do with it; what can be more uninteresting than the plot of many of Handel's oratorios ? We both believe the scheme of Italian opera to be a bad one; we think that music should never be combined with acting to a greater extent than Is done, we will say, in the Mikado; that the oratorio form is far more satisfactory than opera ; and we agreed that we had neither of us ever yet been to an opera (I mean a Grand Opera) without being bored by it. I am not sorry to remember that Handel never abandoned oratorio after he had once fairly taken to it. * Mr. Kemp lived in Barnard's Inn on my staircase. He was in the box-office at Drury Lane Theatre. See a further note about him on p. 153 post.