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Author: Hughes, Rupert, 1872-1956
Title: The Love Affairs of Great Musicians, Volume 1
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Title: The Love Affairs of Great Musicians, Volume 1

Author: Rupert Hughes

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THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF GREAT MUSICIANS

By Rupert Hughes

Illustrated

Volume I.

[Illustration]

1903



NOTE

Portions of a few of the chapters of this work appeared serially in _The
Criterion_, and the last chapter was published in _The Smart Set_.

While, so far as the author knows, this is the first book on the
subject, it is given, perhaps, especial novelty by the fact that
advantage could be taken of much new material given to the public for
the first time (with one exception) in the last few months, notably: a
revelation of the exact identity of Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved;" the
letters of Liszt to his princess; letters of Chopin long supposed to
have been burned, as well as diaries and letters gathered by an intimate
friend for a biography whose completion was prevented by death; the
publication of a vast amount of Wagneriana; the appearance of a full
life of Tschaikovski by his brother, with complete elucidation of much
that had been suppressed; the first volume of a new biography of Clara
Schumann, with a detailed account of the whole progress of her beautiful
love story, down to the day of the marriage; and numberless fugitive
paragraphs throwing new light on affairs more or less unknown or
misunderstood.

  Love it is an hatefulle pees,
  A free acquitaunce without re lees.
  An hevy burthen light to here,
  A wikked wawe awey to were.
  It is kunnyng withoute science,
  Wisdome withoute sapience,
  Bitter swetnesse and swete errour,
  Right eville savoured good savour;
  A strengthe weyked to stonde upright,
  And feblenesse fulle of myght.
  A laughter it is, weping ay;
  Reste that traveyleth nyght and day.
  Also a swete helle it is,
  And a soroufulle Paradys.

  Romaunt of the Rose.




CONTENTS

CHAPTER

     I. THE OVERTURE

    II. THE ANCIENTS

   III. THE MEN OF FLANDERS

    IV. ORLAND DI LASSUS AND HIS REGINA

     V. HENRY AND FRANCES PURCELL

    VI. THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF STRADELLA

   VII. GIOVANNI AND LUCREZIA PALESTRINA

  VIII. BACH, THE PATRIARCH

    IX. PAPA AND MAMMA HAYDN

     X. THE MAGNIFICENT BACHELOR

    XI. GLUCK THE DOMESTIC, ROUSSEAU THE CONFESSOR,
        AND THE AMIABLE PICCINNI

   XII. A FEW TUNESTERS OF FRANCE AND ITALY
        --PERI, MONTEVERDE, ET AL

  XIII. MOZART

   XIV. BEETHOVEN: THE GREAT BUMBLEBEE

    XV. VON WEBER--THE RAKE REFORMED

   XVI. THE FELICITIES OF MENDELSSOHN

  XVII. THE NOCTURNES OF CHOPIN


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PRINCESS LICHTENSTEIN (Frontispiece)

DAPHNE

HELOISE

MARY STUART

ORLAND DI LASSUS (Roland de Lattre)

HENRY PURCELL

JOHN SEBASTIAN BACH

MORNING PRAYER IN THE FAMILY OF SEBASTIAN BACH

JOSEPH HAYDN

MRS. BILLINGTON

GEORG FRIEDRICH HANDEL

CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD VON GLUCK

JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU

NICOLA PICCINNI

JEAN BAPTISTE DE LULLY

WOLFGANG MOZART

MOZART, AT VIENNA, PLAYING HIS OPERA "DON JUAN" FOR THE FIRST TIME

LUDWIG VON BEETHOVEN

BETTINA BRENTANO VON ARNIM

COUNTESS THERESE VON BRUNSWICK

CARL MARIA VON WEBER

FELIX MENDELSSOHN

FREDERICK CHOPIN

GEORGE SAND

COUNTESS POTOCKA

THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF GREAT MUSICIANS



VOLUME I.


CHAPTER I.


THE OVERTURE

Musicians as lovers! The very phrase evokes and parades a pageant of
amours! The thousand heartaches; the fingers clutching hungrily at keys
that might be other fingers; the fiddler with his eyelids clenched while
he dreams that the violin, against his cheek is the satin cheek of "the
inexpressive She;" the singer with a cry in every note; the moonlit
youth with the mandolin tinkling his serenade to an ivied window; the
dead-marches; the nocturnes; the amorous waltzes; the duets; the trills
and trinkets of flirtatious scherzi; the laughing roulades; the discords
melted into concord as solitude into the arms of reunion--these are
music's very own.

So capable of love and its expression is music, indeed, that you almost
wonder if any but musicians have ever truly loved, or loving have
expressed. And yet--! Round every corner there lurks an "and yet." And
if you only continue your march, or your reading, you always reach that
corner.

Your first thought would be, that a good musician must be a good lover;
that a broken heart alone can add the Master's degree to the usual
conservatory diploma of Bachelor of Music; that all musicians must be
sentimental, if musicians at all; and finally that only musicians can
know how to announce and embellish that primeval theme to which all
existence is but variations, more or less brilliant, more or less in
tune.

But go a little further, and closer study will prove that some of the
world's greatest virtuosos in love could neither make nor carry a tune;
and that, by corollary, some of the greatest tunesters in the world were
tyros, ignoramuses, or heretics in that old lovers' arithmetic which
begins: 1 plus 1 equals 1.

If you care to watch the cohort of musicians, good, bad, and worse, that
I shall have to deploy before you, you shall see almost every sort and
condition of love and lover that humanity can include. And
incidentally--to tuck in here a preface that would otherwise be
skipped--let me explain that in the following affairs I have preferred
to give you the people as accurately as I can make them out.

In place of the easy trick of stringing together a number of gorgeous
fairy stories founded on fact, I have preferred the long labour of
hunting down the truth and telling only what I have found and believe to
be true. Fact and not fancy; presentation and not fiction; have been the
aim throughout. Where the facts are sparse, I have not hesitated to say
so; have not stooped to pad out gaps, with graceful and romantic
imaginings; and have indeed never hazarded a guess or an inference
without frankly branding it as such.

Furthermore, as far as space permits and documents exist, the musicians
tell their own stories in their own words.

For the making of this little book, I have not been able to include all
the men who ever wrote one note after or above another; nor to read all
the books ever published in all the world's languages: and yet, that I
have been decently thorough will appear, I think, in the list of books
at the back. This does not claim to be a complete bibliography of the
subject, but, omitting hundreds of books I have ransacked in vain, it
catalogues only such works as I have consulted with profit, and the
reader could consult with pleasure.

It may be well to say that, with the exception of the occasional
necessity or seeming-necessity for taking one side or the other in a
matter of dispute, I have avoided the facility of bandying highly moral
verdicts and labelling these victors or victims of life with tags
marking their destinations in the next world. He who gets into another's
heart with understanding, will find it impossible to indulge in
wholesale blame--"_tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner_." So, without
pretending to have comprehended any of these human hearts altogether, I
have learned enough to lean almost always a little toward the defence,
and still more nearly always toward the praise of the woman in the case.
And yet, the whole effort and viewpoint of the work will be found, I
think, to be based upon a deep belief that one love is better than two,
and that earnestness and honesty and altruism are more blessed and
blissful, even with poverty and suffering, than any wealth of money, or
of fame, or of amorous experience.

As a last chapter to this series of "true stories," I have ventured to
sum up the conclusions, to which the study of all these affairs has
compelled me, and to state a general opinion as to the effect of music
on character. It might have been more exciting to some readers, if I
had started out with a hard and fast theory, and then discarded or
warped everything contradictory to it, but it would have been a
dishonest procedure for one who believes that musicians are neither
saints of exaltation nor fiends of lawless ecstasy; but only ordinary
clay ovens of fire and ashes like the rest of us. He who generalises is
lost, and yet I make bold to believe that the conclusion of this book is
true and reasonable and in accordance with such evidence as could be
collected.

And now after this before-the-curtain lecture, it is high time, as
Artemus would say, to "rise the curting."




CHAPTER II.


THE ANCIENTS

The very origins and traditions of the trade of music seem to enforce a
certain versatility of emotion and experience. Apollo, the particular
god of music, was not much of a lover, and what few affairs he had were
hardly happy; his suit was either declined with thanks, or, if accepted,
ended in the death of the lady; as for himself--being a god, he was
denied the comfortable convenience of suicide. Daphne, as every one
knows, took to a tree to escape his attentions; and Coronis, as so many
another woman, was soon blase of divine courtship, and, for variety,
turned her eyes elsewhere. She was punished with death indeed; but her
son was Aesculapius. Which explains the medicinal value music has always
claimed.

Old Boetius--who had affection enough for both a first and a second
wife--tells, in his treatise on music, many anecdotes of the art's
influence, not only upon sickness but upon wrathful mobs bent on
mischief. He quotes Plato's statement that "the greatest caution is to
be taken not to suffer any change in well-moraled music, there being no
corruption of manners in a republic so great as that which follows a
gradual declination from a prudent and modest music; for whatever
corruptions are made in music, the minds of the hearers will immediately
suffer the same, it being certain that there is no way to the affections
more open than that of hearing."

The musician proverbially both plays upon and is a lyre. This
instrument, as is well known, was first made out of a vacant
turtle-shell, by Mercury, the god of gymnastic exercises and of theft,
that is to say, of technic, and of plagiarism. Mercury was nimble with
his affections also; among his progeny was the great god Pan, who is
frequently reported, and commonly believed, to be dead. Pan was so far
from beautiful that even his nurse could not find a compliment for him,
and in fact dropped him and ran. Considering what one usually expects of
a new-born infant, Pan must have been really unattractive. His lack of
personal charm was the origin of the invention of Pan's pipes or syrinx.
Miss Syrinx of the Naiad family--one of the first families of
Arcadia--was so horrified when Pan proposed to her, that she fled. He
pursued and she begged aid of certain nymphs who lived in a houseboat
on the river Ladon. When Pan thought to seize her, he found his arms
filled with reeds. How many a lover has pursued thus ardently some
charmer, only to find that when he has her, he has but a broken reed!
But Pan, noting that the wind was sighing musically about the reeds, cut
seven of them with a knife and bound them together as a pastoral pipe. A
wise fellow he, and could profit even from a jilt.

The eminent musician Arion, the inventor of glee clubs--a fact which
should not be cherished against him--seems to have loved no one except
himself, and therein to have had no rivals. The famous fish story to the
effect that when he was compelled to leap into the sea, by certain
mariners, he was carried to shore on the back of a dolphin, is only
Jonah's adventure turned inside out.

Another early soloist was Orpheus, the beautiful love story of whose
life is common property. He was torn to pieces by frantic women, a fate
that seems always to threaten some of our prominent pianists and
violinists at the hands of the matinee Bacchantes.

The patron saint of Christian music, Saint Cecilia, had a remarkable
married life, including a platonic affair with an angel; which caused
her pagan husband a certain amount of natural anxiety. Geoffrey Chaucer
can tell you the legend of her martyrdom with the crystal charm of all
his poesy.

The early Christian Church with its elaborate vocal worship accomplished
much for the cause of music, but also, with its vast encouragement to
the monastic life and to celibacy, coerced a great number of musicians
to be monks. This banishes them from a place here--not by any means
because their being monks prevented their having love affairs, but
because it greatly prevented a record of most of them--though happily
not all. Abelard, for instance, was a monk, and his Heloise became a
nun, and their love letters are among the most precious possessions in
literature. Liszt, that Hungarian rhapsodist in amours, was he not also
an abbe? There was a priest-musician, George de la Hele, who about 1585
gave up a lucrative benefice to marry a woman dowered with the name
Madalena Guabaelaraoen. But most of them kept their benefices and their
sweethearts both, though we find it noted as worthy of mention in the
epitaph of the composer and canon, Pierre de la Rue, in the 16th
century, that as an "adorateur diligent du Tres-Haut, ministre du
Christ, il sut garder la chastete et se preserver du contact de l'amour
sensuel." But because you see it in an epitaph, it is not always
necessarily so.

Sir John Hawkins, in his delightsome though ponderous history of music,
tells of the disastrous infatuation of Angelus Politianus, who
flourished in 1460 as a canon of the Church, and the teacher of the
children of Lorenzo dei Medici.

"Ange Politien," he says, "a native of Florence, who passed for the
finest wit of his time in Italy, met with a fate which punished his
criminal love. Being professor of eloquence at Florence, he unhappily
became enamoured of one of his young scholars who was of an illustrious
family, but whom he could neither corrupt by his great presents, nor by
the force of his eloquence. The vexation he conceived at this
disappointment was so great as to throw him into a burning fever; and in
the violence of the fit he made two couplets of a song upon the object
with which he was transported. He had no sooner done this than he raised
himself from his bed, took his lute, and accompanied it with his voice
in an air so tender and affecting that he expired in singing the second
couplet."


Which reminds one of the actor Artemus Ward describes as having played
Hamlet in a Western theatre, where, there being no orchestra, he was
compelled to furnish his own slow music and to play on a flute as he
died.



CHAPTER III.


THE MEN OF FLANDERS

The Belgian historian, Van der Straeten, has illuminated the crowded
shelves of his big work, "La Musique aux Pays-Bas avant Le XIXe Siecle,"
with various little instances of romance that occurred to the numberless
minstrels and weavers of tangled counterpoint in the Netherlands of the
old time. Some of these instances are simply hints, upon which the
fervid imagination will spin imaginary love yarns in endless gossamer.
Thus of Marc Houtermann (1537--1577) "Prince of musicians" at Brussels.
All we know of his wife is from her epitaph. She died the same year he
died--so we fancy it was of a broken heart she died; and she was only
twenty-six at the time--so we can imagine how young and lithely
beautiful she must have been. Her name, too, was Joanna Gavadia--a sweet
name, surely never wasted on an ungraceful woman; and on her tombstone
she is called "pudicissima et musicis scientissima." So she was good
and she was skilful in music, like Bach's second wife; and doubtless,
like her, of infinite help and delight to her husband.

Van der Straeten's book is cluttered up with documents of musty
interest. Among them are a number that gain a pathetic interest by the
frequence of the appeals of musicians or their widows for a pittance of
charity from the hand of some royal or ducal patron. If there be in
these democratic days any musician who feels humiliated by the struggle
for existence with its necessities for wire-pulling and log-rolling and
sly advertisement, and by the difficulty of stemming the tide of public
ignorance and indifference, let him remember that at least he is a free
man, and need lick nobody's boots; and let him cast an eye upon the
chronicles of shameful humiliation, childish deference, grovelling
servility, and whimsical reward or punishment, favour, or neglect, that
marked the "golden age" when musicians found patrons from whose conceit
or ennui they might wheedle a most uncertain living.

Among the most pathetic of such instances is that of Josse Boutmy
(1680--1779), court organist at Brussels, and famous in his day,--which
was a long day. When he was at the age of eighty and the father of
twelve children, he had to stoop to appeals for charity; again at
ninety-seven he appeals. At ninety-eight he pleads to be retired with a
pension; at ninety-nine he dies. Three days after his death his son is
asking a pension for the mother of that dozen children. She also writes
a pitiful letter still preserved.

"My husband, Judocus Boutmy, had the happiness of serving, for
thirty-five years, as first organist of the chapel of Your Highness.
Infirmities, the result of old age, and twelve children raised at great
cost, to enable them to earn their bread, have left me at his death in
indigence the greater since my son Laurent Boutmy, who for many years
gave with approbation assistance to his father, in the hope of
succeeding to his post, has been deprived of this boon by others.

"The hope of finding subsistence in the heritage of my ancestors made me
go back to Germany, where unhappily the death of my brothers, my
absence, the disorder of war, of law, and a faithless administration,
have prevented, at least during my lifetime, all that I could hope. Save
for the tenderness of a daughter, who is herself hardly in easy
circumstances, having a family, I should lack the necessaries of life.
The infirmities, resulting on an age of seventy, passed in adversity and
work, prevent me from gaining my own living."

Van der Straeten says that her name was Katrina, that she came from
Westphalia. Save a few titles of his works and a few accounts of this
pathetic struggle, this is all we know of poor Josse Boutmy and his old
wife. Then there is Jacques Buus, who makes various appeals for aid for
his increasing family. A refreshing novelty in these annals of sordid
poverty is given us of H.J. De Croes, court-organist at Brussels in the
eighteenth century, who was forced to make an appeal for charity
because the son whom he had sent abroad to study did not return to
support his father, but decided to marry a woman he met at Ratisbon; it
is pleasant to add that the appeal was granted.

Adrian Couwenhoven, who died in Spain in 1592, left there a widow, Ana
Wickerslot, who implored the king to grant her money to go back home to
Flanders with her children.

The Brebos family were famous organ-builders in the fifteenth century;
they were famous marriers, too,--but one of them met his match, Jean,
called to Spain, married there a widow, Marianna Hita, with one son. The
widow outlived the husband and her son succeeded him in business. Gilles
Brebos, the best organ-builder in Europe, according to his son, who
ought to have known, married in Spain a woman who was also Flemish. When
he died she was a widow raised to the third degree, and she was
compelled to appeal to the king for charity. In her quaint appeal she
naively points with pride to the fact that in thirty years she had
married with three of his Majesty's servants. (_Casada con tres criados
de V.M._) These three were a royal mathematician, a captain in the royal
navy, killed in the Flanders rebellions, and finally a royal
organ-builder. We are not told what further royal alliances she
achieved.

Among the most famous of early Flemish musicians is Adrian Willaert
(1480?-1562), who was born in Bruges, and was counted the founder of the
Venetian school. He was a pupil of that "Prince of Music" Josquin
Despres (of whom too little is known save that the Church got him),
Willaert was the teacher of Zarlino, and of Ciprien de Rore (who from
his epitaph seems to have left a son, though nothing is known of his
marriage).

We know nothing of Willaert's life-romance, but he must have been
happily married, for he made six wills before he died, and they are all
preserved. In every one of them he mentions his wife Susana, though he
never gives her family name. In each of his wills he leaves her the bulk
of his fortune; in the fourth will he says the last word in devotion by
bequeathing his widow his fortune to enjoy whether she remarries or not.

As Van der Straeten says, "it appears that the affection the old man
vows for his wife grows greater and greater the nearer the fatal day
approaches. The most minute dispositions are made in her regard."

Strangely enough Willaert never mentions either his compositions or his
daughter Catharine, who was a composer, too. Perhaps this gifted
daughter had a little romance of her own and found herself
disinherited.

One of the darkest of the royal English tragedies concerns a musician,
one David Ricci or Rizzio, who was born at Turin, the son of a poor
music-teacher, and who, when grown, managed to join the train of the
Count de Moretto, then going as ambassador to Scotland. There, thrown
upon his own resources in a far cold country, this forlorn Italian
managed to ingratiate himself among the musicians of Mary, the unhappy
Queen of Scots. She eventually noticed him and engaged him as a singer.
He gradually rose higher in her political and personal favour till he
became secretary for French affairs, and conducted himself with such
odious pride and grew so rich and so powerful that at last he was
dragged from the very presence of the queen and slain. And this was in
the year 1566.




CHAPTER IV.


ORLAND DI LASSUS AND HIS REGINA

A contemporary of the Rizzio, so humble as a musician and so soaring in
his intrigues, was the great Roland de Lattre, better known as Orland di
Lassus or Orlandus Lassus, the "Belgian Orpheus," "_le Prince des
Musiciens_." There is as much dispute over the date of his birth as over
the early conditions of his life. But he was born in either 1520 or 1530
at Mons in Hainault, and, according to the old Annales du Hainault, he
changed his name from Roland de Lattre to Orland di Lassus because his
father had been convicted of making spurious coin and, as a "false
moneyer," had to wear a string of his evil utterances round his neck.

Rarely in history has a composer held a more lofty position than that of
this son of a criminal, and even to-day he rivals Palestrina in the
esteem of historians as one of the pillars of his art.

He was in the service of the Duke of Bavaria, who gave him as much
honour as the later King of Bavaria gave Wagner; he stood so high at
court that a year later he won the hand of a maid of honour, Regina
Weckinger. She bore him two daughters and four sons. One of the
daughters was named after her, Regina, and when she grew up married a
court painter. Two of the sons became prominent composers. The mother
was probably beautiful, since an old biographer, Van Ouickelberg,
described her children as _elegantissimi_.

There is every reason to believe that the wedded life of these two was
thoroughly happy, save that Lassus was an indefatigable fiend of work.
As his biographer Delmotte says, "His life indeed had been the most
toilsome that one could think of, and his fecund imagination, always
alert, had _enfante_ a multitude of compositions so great that their
very number astounds us (they exceeded two thousand), and forbids us
almost to believe them the work of one man. This incessant tension of
soul made imperious demands for the distraction of repose; far from
this, he redoubled his work till nature, worn out, refused to Lassus the
aid she had lavished. His mental powers abandoned him abruptly.

"Regina, one day when she returned, found him in a very precarious
state; he had lost his mind and knew her no more. In her terror, she
sent word at once to the Princess Maximilienne, sister of the Duke
William, who sent at once to the invalid her own physician, the doctor
Mermann. Thanks to his care, the health of Orland improved, but his
reason did not return. From that moment he became sad, dreamy, absorbed
in melancholy. 'He is no longer,' said Regina, 'what he was before, gay
and content; but is become sombre, and speaks always of death.'"

While Lassus was in this sad condition he grew petulant over his
imagined ill-treatment at the hands of the new duke, and wrote a letter
bitterly complaining that he had not carried out his father's promises.
In fact, Orland in his condition of semi-insanity threatened to resign,
and when the insulted Duke Maximilian showed signs of accepting the
resignation, it was the wife that saved the family from disgrace and
poverty. Regina made a fervent appeal (quoted in Mathieu's poem on
Lassus) that "his _Altesse Serenissime_ be pleased not to heap on the
poor family of Orland the wrongs that the unhappy father may have
deserved through his _fantaisies bizarres_, the result of too much
thought for his art and too incessant zeal; but that the duke deign to
continue his former treatment; for to put him out of the service of the
court chapel would be to kill him."

He was left undisturbed in his post, but, before long, death forced the
acceptance of his resignation. Over his grave was placed a tomb on which
besides the effigy of himself, are shown also his devoted wife and some
of their children.

Regina two years later founded a perpetual annual funeral service for
him. By a later intercession, she secured for her son, Ferdinand, the
succession to his father's dignities at the court of Bavaria. She died
June 5, 1600, and on her tomb she is named, "la noble et vertueuse dame
Regina de Lassin, veuve de feu Orland de Lassus." She had been a good
wife to a good husband. The sadness of her latter years with her beloved
and demented husband reminds one of the pathetic fate of Robert Schumann
and his wife.




CHAPTER V.


HENRY AND FRANCES PURCELL

If Lassus deserved the name of the Netherlandish Orpheus, Henry Purcell
deserved the name his "loveing wife Frances Purcell" gave him when she
published after his death a collection of his songs under the name of
"Orpheus Britannicus." The analogy holds good also in the devotion of
these married couples, for Henry willed to Frances the whole of his
property absolutely.

Yet the legend of the cause of his death would verify the old theory
about the joltiness of the course of true love. For Sir John Hawkins
passes along the gossip that Purcell met his death by "a cold which he
caught in the night waiting for admittance into his own house. It is
said that he used to keep late hours, and that his wife had given orders
to his servants not to let him in after midnight; unfortunately he came
home heated with wine from the tavern at an hour later than that
prescribed him, and, through the inclemency of the weather, contracted
a disorder of which he died. If this be true, it reflects but little
honour on Madam Purcell, for so she is styled in the advertisements of
his works; and but ill agrees with those expressions of grief for her
dear lamented husband which she makes use of to Lady Elizabeth Howard in
the dedication of the "Orpheus Britannicus". It seems probable that the
disease of which he died was rather a lingering than an acute one,
perhaps a consumption; and that, for some time at least, it had no way
affected the powers of his mind, since one of the most celebrated of his
compositions, the song 'From Rosy Bowers,' is in the printed book said
to have been the last of his works, and to have been set during that
sickness which put a period to his days."

Hawkins guesses that Purcell was married young, because at the age of
twenty-five he was advertising the sale of his first sonatas at his own
house; also that, musician-like, he left his family dependent upon the
favour of his benefactors, particularly upon the graciousness of his
pupil and patroness, Lady Elizabeth Howard, who placed on his tomb in
Westminster Abbey the famous inscription often credited to Dryden: "Here
lyes Henry Purcell, Esq.; who left this life, and is gone to that
blessed place, where only his harmony can be exceeded."

We now know that Purcell's marriage was either in 1680 or 1681, when he
was twenty-two or twenty-three years old. August 2d, 1682, Purcell's
father, a venerable and distinguished musician and a friend of Pepys,
the diarist, was buried in Westminster Abbey, where later his more
distinguished son was laid. A few days after the elder Purcell's burial,
Henry and his wife came to Westminster Abbey again, for the baptism of a
son new-born. He died in a few months and a third time they came to the
sad old abbey to lay their child in the cloisters there.

The next year, 1683, a second son died, and in 1687 a third boy two
months old was buried in the cloisters of the abbey. This monotonous
return of the hand of death must have embittered the life of these two,
who seem to have remained lovers always. But in May, 1688, a daughter
was born, named Frances after her mother; and she outlived both parents.
She married a poet, when she and her lover were each nineteen, and named
a child Frances after the grandmother. On Sept. 6th, 1689, Henry
Purcell's son Edward was baptised, and he also lived to attain some
distinction as an organist. In 1693 a daughter, Mary Peters, was born.

Two years later, on May 21st, 1695, the young father died--on the eve of
St. Cecilia's Day. At his bedside were his old mother, his young wife,
and the two little children. Purcell was buried under the organ of
Westminster Abbey and the anthems he had composed for the funeral of
Queen Mary were sung at his own. And there he rests near his fellow
musician, Pelham Humphries, who lies, as Runciman says, "by the side of
his younger wife in the Thames-sodden vaults of Westminster Abbey."

Purcell's will, made the very day of his death, was as follows:

"In the name of God, Amen. I, Henry Purcell, of the Citty of Manchester,
gent., being dangerously ill as to the constitution of my body, but in
good and perfect mind and memory (thanks be to God), doe by these
presents publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament.

"And I do hereby give and bequeath unto my loving Wife, Frances Purcell,
all my Estate both reall and personall of what nature and kind soever,
to her and to her assigns for ever. And I doe hereby constitute and
appoint my said loveing Wife my sole Executrix of this my last Will and
Testament, revokeing all my former Will or Wills. Witnesse my hand and
scale this twentieth first day of November, Annoq. Dni. One thousand six
hundred ninety-five, and in the seventh yeare of the Raigne of King
William the Third, &c.

H. PURCELL."

As to Hawkins's theory that Purcell left his wife in needy
circumstances, Cummings, his biographer, believes the thought refuted by
the will left by the widow herself, who outlived her husband by eleven
years, and on St. Valentine's Day, 1706, was buried at his side. In her
will she says that: "According to her husband's desire she had given
her deare son (Edward) a good education, and she alsoe did give him all
the Bookes of Musicke in generall, the Organ, the double spinett, the
single spinett, a silver tankard, a silver watch, two pair of gold
buttons, a hair ring, a mourning ring of Dr. Busby's, a Larum clock, Mr.
Edward Purcell's picture, handsome furniture for a room, and he was to
be maintained until provided for. All the residue of her property she
gave to her said daughter Frances."

Cummings also assails Hawkins's story that Purcell was dissipated and
caught his death from being locked out. But Runciman objects that if
Purcell had not been dissipated in those days, he would have been called
a Puritan, and says: "I picture him as a sturdy, beef-eating Englishman,
a puissant, masterful, as well as lovable personality, a born king of
men, ambitious of greatness, determined, as Tudway says, to excel every
one of his time."

The love Frances Purcell bore her husband was kept green by her anxiety
for his fame. She was, in her littler way, a Cosima Wagner. In 1696 she
published a collection of harpsichord lessons by her husband; three
editions being sold quickly. The next year she issued ten sonatas and a
"Collection of Ayres." In 1698 she issued (or reissued) the "Orpheus
Britannicus." In all of these she wrote dedications breathing devotion
to her husband. In an ode printed in the second volume of the "Orpheus,"
in 1704, Purcell's personality is thus limned:

  "Nor were his Beauties to his Art confin'd
  So justly were his Soul and Body join'd
  You'd think his Form the Product of his Mind.
  A conquering sweetness in his Visage dwelt,
  His Eyes would warm, his Wit like lightning melt.
  But those must no more be seen, and that no more be felt.
  Pride was the sole aversion of his Eye,
  Himself as Humble as his Art was High."

Purcell died at the age of thirty-seven--being granted only two years
more of life than Mozart and only six years more than Schubert. He is
the moon of English music and his melodies are as exquisite and as
silvery and as full of enamoured radiance as the tintinnabulations of
the moonbeams themselves. But unfortunately for English music this
beautiful moon, who is the most nearly great of all the composers
England has furnished the world, was speedily obscured in the blinding
glare of the sun of English music which came shouldering up from the
east, and which has not yet sunk far enough in the west to cease from
dazzling the eyes of English music-makers. But of Haendel as a lover, we
must postpone the gossip till we have mouthed one of the most delicious
morsels in musical scandal, a choice romance that is said to have
affected Purcell very deeply.

The story concerns the strenuous career of Alessandro Stradella, and
when you read it you will not wonder that it should have made a great
success as an opera, or that it gave Flotow his greatest popularity next
to "Martha," even though its conclusion was made tamely theatrical.




CHAPTER VI.


THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF STRADELLA

There are historians, sour and cynical, who have tried to contradict the
truth of the life story of Stradella as Bourdelot tells it in his
"Histoire de la Musique et de ses Effets," but they cannot offer us any
satisfactory substitute in its place, and without troubling to give
their merely destructive complaints, and without attempting to improve
upon the pompously fascinating English of old Sir John Hawkins, I will
quote the story for your delectation.

Certain it is that there was a composer named Stradella, and that he was
an opera composer to the Venetian Republic, as well as a frequent singer
upon the stage to his own harp accompaniments. He occupies a position in
musical history of some importance. The following story of his
adventures is no more improbable than many a story we read in the daily
newspapers--and surely no one could question the credibility of the
daily newspapers. But here is the story as Hawkins tells it. As the
cook-books say, salt it to your taste.

"His character as a musician was so high at Venice, that all who were
desirous of excelling in the science were solicitous to become his
pupils. Among the many whom he had the instruction of, was one, a young
lady of a noble family of Rome, named Hortensia, who, notwithstanding
her illustrious descent, submitted to live in a criminal intimacy with a
Venetian nobleman. The frequent access of Stradella to this lady, and
the many opportunities he had of being alone with her, produced in them
both such an affection for each other, that they agreed to go off
together for Rome. In consequence of this resolution they embarked in a
very fine night, and by the favour of the wind effected their escape.

"Upon the discovery of the lady's flight, the Venetian had recourse to
the usual method in that country of obtaining satisfaction for real or
supposed injuries: he despatched two assassins, with instructions to
murder both Stradella and the lady, giving them a sum of money in hand,
and a promise of a larger if they succeeded in the attempt. Being
arrived at Naples, the assassins received intelligence that those whom
they were in pursuit of were at Rome, where the lady passed as the wife
of Stradella. Upon this they determined to execute their commission,
wrote to their employer, requesting letters of recommendation to the
Venetian embassador at Rome, in order to secure an asylum for them to
fly to, as soon as the deed should be perpetrated.

"Upon the receipt of letters for this purpose, the assassins made the
best of their way toward Rome; and being arrived there, they learned
that on the morrow, at five in the evening, Stradella was to give an
oratorio in the church of San Giovanni Laterano. They failed not to be
present at the performance, and had concerted to follow Stradella and
his mistress out of the church, and, seizing a convenient opportunity,
to make the blow. The performance was now begun, and these men had
nothing to do but to watch the motions of Stradella, and attend to the
music, which they had scarce begun to hear, before the suggestions of
humanity began to operate upon their minds; they were seized with
remorse, and reflected with horror on the thought of depriving of his
life a man capable of giving to his auditors such pleasure as they had
just then felt.

"In short, they desisted from their purpose, and determined, instead of
taking away his life, to exert their endeavours for the preservation of
it; they waited for his coming out of the church, and courteously
addressed him and the lady, who was by his side, first returning him
thanks for the pleasure they had received at hearing his music, and
informed them both of the errand they had been sent upon; expatiating
upon the irresistible charms, which of savages had made them men, and
had rendered it impossible for them to effect their execrable purpose;
and concluded with their earnest advice that Stradella and the lady
should both depart from Rome the next day, themselves promising to
deceive their employer, and forego the remainder part of their reward,
by making him believe that Stradella and his lady had quitted Rome on
the morning of their arrival.

"Having thus escaped the malice of their enemy, the two lovers took an
immediate resolution to fly for safety to Turin, and soon arrived there.
The assassins being returned to Venice, reported to their employer that
Stradella and Hortensia had fled from Rome, and taken shelter in the
city of Turin, a place where the laws were very severe, and which,
excepting the houses of embassadors, afforded no protection for
murderers; they represented to him the difficulty of getting these two
persons assassinated, and, for their own parts, notwithstanding their
engagements, declined the enterprise. This disappointment, instead of
allaying, served to sharpen the resentment of the Venetian: he had found
means to attach to his interest the father of Hortensia, and, by various
arguments, to inspire him with a resolution to become the murderer of
his own daughter. With this old man, no less malevolent and vindictive
than himself, the Venetian associated two ruffians, and dispatched them
all three to Turin, fully inspired with a resolution of stabbing
Stradella and the old man's daughter wherever they found them. The
Venetian also furnished them with letters from Mons. l'Abbe d'Estrades,
then embassador of France at Venice, addressed to the Marquis of
Villars, the French embassador at Turin. The purport of these letters
was a recommendation of the bearers of them, who were therein
represented to be merchants, to the protection of the embassador, if at
any time they should stand in need of it.

"The Duchess of Savoy was at that time regent; and she having been
informed of the arrival of Stradella and Hortensia, and the occasion of
their precipitate flight from Rome; and knowing the vindictive temper of
the Venetians, placed the lady in a convent, and retained Stradella in
her palace as her principal musician. In a situation of such security as
this seemed to be, Stradella's fears for the safety of himself and his
mistress began to abate, till one evening, walking for the air upon the
ramparts of the city, he was set upon by the three assassins above
mentioned, that is to say, the father of Hortensia, and the two
ruffians, who each gave him a stab with a dagger in the breast, and
immediately betook themselves to the house of the French embassador as
to a sanctuary.

"The attack on Stradella having been made in the sight of numbers of
people, who were walking in the same place, occasioned an uproar in the
city, which soon reached the ears of the duchess: she ordered the gates
to be shut, and diligent search to be made for the three assassins; and
being informed that they had taken refuge in the house of the French
embassador, she went to demand them. The embassador insisting on the
privileges which those of his function claimed from the law of nations,
refused to deliver them up. In the interim Stradella was cured of his
wounds, and the Marquis de Villars, to make short of the question about
privilege, and the rights of embassadors, suffered the assassins to
escape.

"From this time, finding himself disappointed of his revenge, but not
the least abated in his ardour to accomplish it, this implacable
Venetian contented himself with setting spies to watch the motions of
Stradella. A year was elapsed after the cure of his wounds; no fresh
disturbance had been given to him, and he thought himself secure from
any further attempts on his life. The duchess regent, who was concerned
for the honour of her sex, and the happiness of two persons who had
suffered so much, and seemed to have been born for each other, joined
the hands of Stradella and his beloved Hortensia, and they were married.

"After the ceremony Stradella and his wife having a desire to visit the
port of Genoa, went thither with a resolution to return to Turin: the
assassins having intelligence of their departure, followed them close at
their heels. Stradella and his wife, it is true, reached Genoa, but the
morning after their arrival these three execrable villains rushed into
their chamber, and stabbed each to the heart. The murderers had taken
care to secure a bark which lay in the port; to this they retreated, and
made their escape from justice, and were never heard of more.

"Mr. Berenclow says that when the report of Stradella's assassination
reached the ears of Purcell, and he was informed jealousy was the motive
to it, he lamented his fate exceedingly; and, in regard of his great
merit as a musician, said he could have forgiven him any injury in that
kind; which, adds the relater, 'those who remember how lovingly Mr.
Purcell lived with his wife, or rather what a loving wife she proved to
him, may understand without farther explication.'"




CHAPTER VII.


GIOVANNI AND LUCREZIA PALESTRINA

Almost exactly a century before Purcell died in England, there died in
Italy, at Rome, a composer who has made his birthplace immortal, though
his own name has almost been lost to public recognition in the process.
That is the man whose name in English would be John Peter Lewis, or as
his father called him, Giovanni Pier Luigi, who was born at Palestrina,
at some date between 1514 and 1530, and who died in the fulness of his
fame February 2, 1594, when Shakespeare was thirty years old, and was,
it seems, just getting into print for the first time.

The man whom all posterity knows by the name of his birthplace, as
Palestrina, was the greatest composer the Catholic Church ever had. He
was a younger contemporary of Willaert's, but was born an Italian. And
all his glory belongs to Italy. Of his youth nothing is known. He first
appears as the organist and director at the chief church in Palestrina
from 1544 to 1551.

Of his early love-making nothing is known; it is only certain that he
married young, and it would seem very happily. Yet this marriage brought
him the greatest shock of his life. His wife's name was Lucrezia, "his
equal and an honest damsel" (_donzella onesta e sua para_), according to
the biographer Baini, who adds:

"With her, Giovanni divided the pleasure of seeing himself elected the
first Maestro of the Vatican; with her he suffered the most strait
penuries of his life; with her he sustained the most cruel afflictions
of his spirit, and with her also he ate the hard crust of sorrow: yet
with her again he rested in the sunlight that beamed from time to time
to his glory and to his gain. And so they passed together, these two
faithful consorts, nearly thirty years."

Lucrezia bore him four children, all sons, Angelo, Ridolfo, Silla, and
Igino. The first three died in early manhood, after showing themselves
in some sort heirs of their father's genius: in the second book of his
motets Palestrina has included some of their compositions. The last son,
Igino, outlived his parents and his own welfare; he was "_un' anima
disarmonica"_ After his father's death he attempted to complete and
market an unfinished and rejected composition of his father's, but he
was legally restrained. He lost some of his father's unpublished works,
while certain noddings of genius, better lost, and refused even by the
Pope, Palestrina dedicated them to, still remain, with a dedication to
yet another Pope, put on them by the scapegrace Igino.

A certain writer Pitoni, by a bit of careless reading, multiplied
Palestrina's wives by two, and divided his sons by the same number,
claiming that Lucrezia, the first wife of Palestrina, was the mother of
Angelo, that after her death he married one Doralice, and that she was
the mother of Igino. But Baini exposes Pitoni's carelessness, proves the
existence of Ridolfo and Silla by the inclusion of their works in the
father's book, and shows that Doralice was the wife of Palestrina's son
Angelo.

It being established, then, that Palestrina was married but once, and it
being assumed that he was happily married, it is strange to see how this
happy marriage came near proving fatal to him. Palestrina, who was, like
Michelangelo, intimate with various Popes, dedicated in 1554 his first
printed book of masses to Pope Julius III. As a reward, the careless
pontiff made him one of the singers of his Sistine Chapel, omitting the
usual severe examination, and overlooking as a small matter the fact
that Palestrina was so far from being a priest that he was very much
married and very much the father, and furthermore had no voice. But
Palestrina resigned his post as maestro at Saint Peter's and entered
the chapel. The Pope died shortly afterward and was succeeded by a
cardinal who was a patron of Palestrina's and continued his favour as
Pope Marcellus II. Three weeks later this Pope also died, and was
followed by Paul IV.

Unfortunately for Palestrina, the new Pope was a strict constructionist,
and he found it "indecent that there should be married men
(_ammogliati_) interfering in holy offices." In spite of the action of
the two previous pontificates, he determined to expel the three
Benedicks who had entered the choir, Leonardo Bare, Domenico Ferrabosco,
and Palestrina, "uomini ammogliati, e chi con grandissimo scandalo, ed
in vilipendio del divin culto, contro le disposizioni dei sagri canoni,
e contro le costituzioni e le consuetudini della cappella apostolica
cantano i medesimi tre ammogliati imitamente ai capellani cantori." He
then declares that, after mature deliberation, "cassiamo, discacciamo, e
togliamo" from the list of chappellary singers these three, and that
they ought to be "cassati, discacciati, e tolti dalla cappella," and
that after the present order they "cassino, discaccino, e tolgano." And
excommunication was threatened if any more married men (_uxorati_) were
received in the chapel.

This was on the 30th of July, 1555, just six months after Palestrina had
resigned his important post at Saint Peter's. He was a young man with a
family, and apparently keenly sensitive, for when this sonorous
thunderbolt was launched at his head, he immediately fell ill of a fever
and came nigh to death. But he recovered, and two months later found
another post as canon of the Lateran, of which by the 1st of October,
1555, he was maestro. Eleven years later, a year after he had written
his immortal Improperia, we find him begging on account of the needs of
his family to be given an increase of salary, or the acceptance of his
resignation. They gave him the acceptance. Again he found another post,
and ten years later was back again as maestro of the Vatican after his
many wanderings and vicissitudes.

In the meanwhile he had written his famous mass named after his old
friend, Pope Marcellus II. The ten years between 1561 and 1571 had
marked an epoch not merely in the life of Palestrina, but in the history
of religious music.

The reform Palestrina undertook, or was entrusted with, was the ending
of the old scandal brought upon the Church by the elaborate lengths to
which contrapuntal composers had gone in using popular melodies, and
often even street songs of an obscene nature, as a foundation melody or
cantus firmus for their vocal gymnastics. The churchmen of that day did
in a more elaborate fashion what Wesley did in his day and the
Salvation Army in ours for the popular ballad of the streets. The
trouble was that many of the congregation would think only of the
original words of these catchy tunes, and in the general uproar some of
the priests would sing the actual texts, thinking that the people would
not hear them, and forgetting that they were supposed to be for an
all-hearing ear.

I find an interesting example of this custom in the career of a
musician, a contemporary of Palestrina's mentioned by Van der Straeten;
his name was Ambrosio de Cotes. He was the Maestro de Capilla of the
King's Chapel at Grenada; he was of either Flemish or English birth,
and, though he was a churchman, was a gambler and drunkard; he kept a
mistress, who ought to have been pretty to fit her pretty name, Juana de
Espinosa. Besides, De Cotes caroused miscellaneously, he ran the streets
at night, in bad company, and singing bad songs. In 1591 he was
officially reproved for these habits, and for singing improper words to
sacred music (_y cantan muchos rezes letras profanas, yndecentes_).

So great was the scandal throughout the whole world of church music that
contrapuntal music came near being abandoned entirely. It was given a
last chance in a proposition to Palestrina to see if it were worthy and
capable of redemption. He composed three masses, and the third of them,
dedicated to the memory of Pope Marcellus II., was accepted, not only as
the rescue of the old school of vocal worship, but also as the final
word and ultimate model for future church music.

Some years later, at the very height of his glory, Palestrina's heart
suffered its final blow. In the words of Baini, "Lucrezia, _la sua dolce
consorte_, after having piously accompanied the solemn procession for
the transport of the body of Saint Gregory Nazianzeno from the church of
the monks of S. Maria Campa Marzo to the Vatican the fourth of June,
1580, was assailed by a most oppressive malady."

The attentions of her husband and the remedies of the medical art of
that day kept her alive up to the first of July. Then the sickness began
anew and "neither the tears nor the voice of the loving companion
prevailed against the inexorable scythe of death." On the 21st of July
Lucrezia died. The next day her body was received at the Vatican,
Giovanni watching in the schoolroom of the chapel.

It is easy to picture the wild grief of this man, whom a previous
anxiety had thrown into an almost mortal fever. Yet he lived fourteen
busy years, and in his old age he felt both fatigue and want, and was
compelled to join the long list of those musicians who have appealed to
their patrons for charity. But at least his life, like Bach's and that
of many another, had proved that marriage is not always and necessarily
a failure when set to music.




CHAPTER VIII.


BACH, THE PATRIARCH

The genealogy of the Bachs shows them to have been in the habit of
marrying at least two or three times apiece, and of being very prolific.

Johann Ambrosius Bach, the father of "the Father of Modern Music," had a
twin brother, Johann Cristoph. They were astonishingly alike in mind and
manner and mien. They suffered the same disorders and died nearly
together. Their wives, it is said--_horresco referens_!--could not tell
them apart. J. Christoph was sued for breach of promise by a girl whom
he said he had discussed matrimony with and exchanged rings with, but
tired of. The Consistory ordered him to marry her, but he appealed to a
higher court and was absolved from the tenacious woman whom he said he
"hated so that he could not bear the sight of her." He married another
woman four years later.

The great Bach, Johann Sebastian, was the youngest of six children. His
mother died when he was nine years old, but with Bachic haste his
father remarried; the new wife was a widow and seemed to be in the habit
of it, for she buried J. Ambrosius two months after the wedding. The boy
Sebastian was put in charge of an uncle.

At eighteen he was organist at Arnstadt--at twenty-one he went on foot
fifty miles to Luebeck to hear the great Buxtehude play the organ. He had
been given four weeks' leave and took sixteen. He was severely reproved
for this by the Consistory; and the reproof is in existence still. While
they were about it, they reproved him for his wild modulations and
variations, also for having played too long interludes, and then, when
rebuked, playing them too short. He was given eight days to answer, and
waited eight months. Then they remonstrated with him mildly again,
adding, that they "furthermore remonstrate with him on his having
latterly allowed the stranger maiden to show herself and to make music
in the choir." His answer to this was simply that he had spoken about it
to the parson. Further explanation we have none.

Spitta speculates on the identity of this "stranger maiden." In the
older church-cantata women did not sing: in the newer form they
occasionally did. She might have been a professional from the Brunswick
opera. But Spitta decides that it must have been Maria Barbara Bach, his
cousin from a neighbouring town. She is known to have had relatives and
friends in Arnstadt, and Bach married her a year later. Assuming this to
be true, Spitta notes that a delightful episode in the courtship of the
young couple is disclosed to our view. Perhaps, too, when Bach "spoke to
the parson," he confessed his love and his betrothal.

Further Spitta comments: "The plan on which Bach wished to found his own
family shows how he, too, was filled with that patriarchal feeling by
which his race was distinguished and brought to such flourishing
conditions. Without straying into foreign circles he found, in a
relation who bore his name, the person whom he felt to be the most
certain of understanding him. If we must call it a coincidence, it is,
at any rate, a remarkable one, that Sebastian, in whom the gifts of his
race reached their highest perfection, should also be the only one of
its members to take a Bach to wife. If we are right in regarding the
marriage union of individuals from families not allied in blood as the
cause of a stronger growth of development in the children, Bach's choice
may signify that in him the highest summit of a development had been
reached, so that his instinct disdained the natural way of attempting
further improvement, and attracted him to his own race. His second wife,
indeed, was not allied with him in blood, but that with the first he
found, in some respects, his more natural development may perhaps be
concluded from the fact that the most remarkable of his sons were all
the children of his first marriage."

Upton says that Bach loved Maria Barbara when he was only eighteen and
they agreed to wait till he got a better post. This was not till three
years had passed and then his salary was only eighty-five gulden (about
L7, or $35) besides a little corn and wood and some kindling-wood.

It was on October 17, 1707, that, according to the record, "the
respectable Herr J.S. Bach, the surviving lawful son of the late most
respectable Herr Ambrosius Bach, the famous town-organist and musician
of Eisenach, was married to the virtuous maiden Maria Barbara Bach, the
youngest surviving unmarried daughter of the late very respectable and
famous artist Herr Johann Michael Bach."

A little inheritance of fifty gulden (L4 or $20) aided the new couple.
But it is small wonder that we find Bach sighing later: "Modest as is my
way of life, with the payment of house-rent and other indispensable
articles of consumption, I can with difficulty live." A year after his
marriage, however, he was appointed court organist to the Grand Duke of
Weimar, a post he held nine years. Then he became musical director with
the Prince of Anhalt-Koethen. In 1720 he went to Carlsbad with his
prince. When he returned to the bosom of his family, he found that his
wife was not only dead, but buried. Spitta imagines his grief as he
stood over the grave of the woman who had followed him from humility to
success and had not been able to wish him a last Godspeed. She had borne
him seven children, three of whom died; of the sons were Wilhelm
Friedemann, the father's favourite, and Karl Philipp Emanuel, whom the
world long preferred to Sebastian himself, and whom later times
spitefully underrate.

The shock of coming home to his dead wife did not annul Bach's powers,
and his next cantata with the suggestive title, "He that exalteth
himself shall be abased," shows a larger grasp of resource and power. In
the same year he made a sensation by his playing in Hamburg, winning the
high praise of the eminent organist Reinken (whom by the way Mattheson
accused of being "a constant admirer of the fair sex, and much addicted
to the wine-cellar of the Council").

For all they may say of the superior genius of Bach's first wife's
children, it was in his second wife that he seems to have found his more
congenial and appreciative helpmeet. Bach's father had remarried after
seven months of widowering, and lived two months longer. Bach waited
from July 7, 1720, to December 3, 1721, and he lived nearly thirty years
more. His new wife bore him thirteen children, six of them sons, none of
whom were remarkable musically, though their mother was more musical
than the mother of Bach's first children. Perhaps the newcomers thought
it time to take the name out of the rut.

Anna Magdalena Wuelken was the daughter of the court trumpeter in the
ducal band at Weissenfels. She was twenty-one years old while Bach was
thirty-six. They were betrothed as early as September, 1721, and
together stood sponsor to the child of the prince's cellar-clerk. The
wedding took place at Bach's own house.

The new wife was very musical, a gifted singer and a devoted student.
She made the Bach home a little musical circle. It is evident that she
kept up her singing, for October 28, 1730, he wrote of his family, "They
are one and all born musicians, and I can assure you that I can already
form a concert, both vocal and instrumental, of my own family,
particularly as my present wife sings a very clear soprano and my eldest
daughter joins in bravely."

Soon after the marriage Sebastian and Anna started to keep a musical
book together. Her name appears in her own hand, then her husband's
cheery note that it was "_Anti-Calvinismus_ and _Anti-Melancholicus_."
In this book and another begun in 1725 are compositions by himself and
other men, copied in the handwritings of both husband and wife. There
are arias written apparently for Anna Magdalena, and when in an
unusually domestic humour he wrote in a song, "Edifying Reflections of a
Smoker" in D minor, she transposed it up to G minor in her own
hand--doubtless that she might sing it to him while he puffed
contentment in uxorious ease. Later on is a wedding-poem, gallantly
beginning,

  "Irh Diener, werthe Jungfer Braut
  Viel Gluecke zur heutgen Freude!"

and exclaiming that at the sight of her in her garland and wedding-garb
the heart laughs out in rapture;--and what wonder that lips and breast
overflow with joy. There are rules he wrote out for her instruction in
thorough-bass with a note that others must be taught orally, and there
is a love-song for soprano, which he must have written for her, to judge
from the words, "Willst du dein Herz mir schenken." Upton declares this
song to have been written during and for their first courtship. A
portrait of this ideal wife was painted by Cristofori and passed into
the keeping of her stepson, Karl Philipp Emanuel Bach, but alas, it is
lost while so many a less interesting face is repeated in endless
pictures.

Twenty-eight years after her marriage this faithful woman stood by her
husband's side in his blindness and through the two operations by the
English surgeon in Leipzig. How must she have rejoiced when on July 18,
1750, he suddenly found that he could see and endure with delight the
blessed sunshine! How her heart must have sunk when a few hours later he
was stricken with apoplexy and a high fever that gave him only ten more
days of life! At his death-bed stood his wife, his daughters, his
youngest son, a pupil, and a son-in-law. An old chorale of his was, as
Spitta says, "floating in his soul, and he wanted to complete and
perfect it." The original name had been, "When we are in the highest
need," but he changed the name by dictation now to "Before thy throne
with this I come" (_Vor deiner Thron tret ich hiemit_). The preacher
said he had "fallen calmly and blessedly asleep in God," and he was
buried in St. Thomas' churchyard; but later the grave was lost sight of,
and his bones are now as unhonoured as his memory is revered.

It is a dismal task to write the epilogue to the beautiful life and
death of this father of music. The woman who had made his life so happy
and aided him with hand and voice and heart,--what had she done to
deserve the dingy aftermath of her fidelity?

Bach left no will, and his children seized his manuscripts; what little
money remained from his salary of 87 thalers a year (L13 or $65) they
divided with the widow, now fifty years old. Her husband's salary was
continued half a year longer, but the sons all went away to other towns,
some of them to considerable success. The mother and three daughters
were left to shift for themselves. Two years later they must sell a few
musical remains and the town must aid them out of its funds.

In the winter ten years after her husband's death, on Feb. 27, 1760,
Anna Magdalena died, an alms-woman. Her only mourners were her daughters
and a fourth of the public school children, who were forced by the
custom of the day to follow to the grave the body of the very poor. In
1801 Bach's daughter Regina was still living, a "good old woman," who
would have starved had there not been a public subscription, to which
Beethoven contributed the proceeds of a composition.

Gradually the name and fame of Johann Sebastian Bach were obliterated
almost from man's memory. Half a century of oblivion was followed by the
great revival and the apotheosis of his genius. In that apotheosis some
radiance must always be vouchsafed the sweet memory of her to whom he
owed so much of his life's delight and his art's inspiration, to whom
also he dedicated his life and his music--Anna Magdalena.




CHAPTER IX.


PAPA AND MAMMA HAYDN

"Such music by such a nigger!" exclaimed one prince. Another called him
a Moor. And two others could not endure him at all. He was undersized
and slender as well; and his legs were so very short that they hardly
reached the ground. His nose was long and beaked and disfigured, with
nostrils of different shape, and he was undershot like a bulldog, and
unusually pitted with smallpox even for those ante-vaccination days,
when it was the ordinary thing to show the marks of this plague. He
always wore a wig, too; beginning when he was a child of six, "for the
sake of cleanliness"! and continuing to the day of his death, even when
wigs were out of style.

This does not read like the portrait of a man particularly successful in
his love affairs. It does not certainly read like a description of the
hero of a novel written by The Duchess or even by Miss Jane Austen. Yet
this is the picture of a man plentifully beloved, large-minded but
strangely naif; a revolutionist of childlike directness.

Everybody knows the story of the early life of Joseph Haydn, one of the
twelve children of a journeyman wheelwright, and throughout his youth a
shuttlecock of ill treatment and contempt.

Love seems to have reached his heart at a late day but with compensating
suddenness. It is nearly incredible that a man whose after life was so
heart-busy should not have felt the tender passion till he was nearly
thirty, but stranger things have happened, and the anecdote given by his
friend Griesinger of his wild agitation when at the age of twenty-seven
he was accompanying a young countess, and her neckerchief became
disarranged for a moment, would seem to indicate a remarkably
unsophisticated nature.

A year later he found himself somewhat relieved of the burden of poverty
that had always hampered him, and he remembered him of the two daughters
of a Viennese wig-maker named Keller. Keller had frequently been kind to
Haydn, and the younger daughter seems to have inspired him with an
ardent love, but she took the veil. Elise Polko has worked up an
elaborate fiction on this affair with her usual saccharinity. When the
convent closed the younger Keller from the world, her father ingeniously
suggested to Haydn that he might marry the elder sister.

As Louis Nohl says, "Whatever may have been the reason, gratitude,
ignorance, helplessness in practical matters, or wish to have a wife at
once--whatever may have been the motive, he married, and sorely
suffered for it."

Anna Keller was older than Haydn, and the family religiousness that led
the younger daughter to enter the convent, led Anna to contribute more
of money to the Church, of food and society to the churchmen, and of her
husband's compositions to the choir, than even so pious a Catholic as
Haydn could afford or endure.

An account of the married life of these two is given by Haydn's friend
Carpani, which incidentally brings up a bit of literary thievery of
unusual quaintness. Carpani wrote his "Le Haydine" in the form of
letters from Vienna; they were published in Milan. Some time after one
Marie Henri Beyle published in Paris what purported to be an original
series of "Letters written from Vienna." He published these under the
pen name of L.A.C. Bombet. Carpani exposed the theft, but a little later
the imperturbable Beyle published a second edition of his work under the
name De Stendhal. An English translation from the French work is
commonly seen, though never with credit to Carpani. Carpani, in his
account of the home life of the Haydns, says they were happy for a
honeymoon.

       *       *       *       *       *

"But soon the caprices of Mrs. Anna turned the knot to a chain, the
bliss to torment, and affairs went so far that, after suffering many
years, this new Socrates ended by separating from his Xantippe. Mrs.
Anna was not pretty, nor yet ugly. Her manners were immaculate, but she
had a wooden head, and when she had fixed on a caprice, there was no way
to change it. The woman loved her husband but was not congenial. An
excess of religious piety badly directed came to disturb this happy
harmony. Mrs. Anna wanted the house always full of priests, to whom she
furnished good dinners, suppers, and luncheons. Haydn was a bit
economical; but rather for cause than desire. At this time he had hardly
enough to live on discreetly, and he began to look with evil eye on this
endless procession of holy grasshoppers (_locuste_) who ravaged his
larder. Nor was it appropriate to the house of a studious man, this
ceaseless clatter of a numerous, genial, and lazy society; therefore,
solidly religious as he was, he could not enjoy these sacred repasts and
he had to close the door of the refectory. After that the deluge (_inde
irae_). Mrs. Anna had a religious brother. Haydn couldn't keep him from
visiting his sister.

"Monks are like cherries; if you lift one from the basket, ten come
along with it. Haydn's convent was not depopulated. Nor did the demands
decrease. Every now and then Mrs. Anna had a new request; to-day a
responsory, to-morrow a motet, the day after a mass, then hymns, then
psalms, then antiphons; and all _gratis_. If her husband declined to
write them, there appeared on the scene the great confederates of
capricious women; the effects of hysteria, spleen (_gli insulti di
stomaco_), spasms; then shrieks, then criminations, weepings, quarrels,
and bad humour unceasing. Haydn ended with having to appease the woman,
to lose his point, and pay the doctor and the druggist to boot. He had
always drouth in his purse and despair in his mind. It is a true
miracle that a genius in such a contrast could create the wonderful
works that all the world knows.

"It was at this time that, seeking solace in friendship, he contracted
that bond of sentiment which lasted till death with Boselli, a singer in
the service of Prince Esterhazy. This friendship, rousing jealous
suspicions in the mind of Mrs. Anna, ended by rendering her unendurable.
The hostile fates willed that no fruit should be borne of Haydn's
marriage." [On this point Haydn once opened his heart to Griesinger,
saying: "My wife was incapable of bearing children, and therefore I was
less indifferent to the charms of other womankind."] "Lacking its most
solid link, the marital chain could not stand such shocks, and grew
fatally weaker. The pair ceased to live together, and only that
sacramental knot remained indissoluble and strong, which Haydn had
contracted at the age of twenty-seven. Mrs. Anna lived to seventy years
on a sufficient pension which her husband faithfully paid, and she died
in 1800. These vicissitudes in great part explain why Haydn, though he
earned much, could not for a long while put aside a penny and make
himself a little ease."

It is not a pretty picture that Carpani draws of this home life, and
Anna is made out to be far from a lovable creature. She is compared to
the patron saint of shrews, Xantippe. But even Xantippe had her side of
the story to tell; and with all possible admiration for that man
Socrates, of such godlike wisdom and such great heart, it must be
remembered that Socrates had many habits which would not only cause
ostracism from society to-day, but would have tried the temper of even
such a wife as the meek Griselda of Chaucer's poem.

We constantly meet these husbands who are seemingly rich in geniality
and yet are mysteriously unhappy at home. It is the custom of the
acquaintances of these fellows to put all the blame on the wife. But
there is a distinct type of mind which always enjoys dining abroad and
appreciates a few herbs in a stranger's house more than a stalled ox at
home. These people are gentle and genial and tender only out-of-doors.
You might call them extra-mural saints.

I have a strong suspicion that Haydn, who was so dear and good a soul
that he was commonly called "Papa" by his friends and disciples, was one
of the souls that shrivel up inside the house. In any case he can never
be forgiven for publishing his domestic miseries as he did. He talked
inexcusably to his friends about his wife; he complained everywhere of
her extravagances and of her quarrelsomeness. When Griesinger wished to
make Haydn's wife a present, Haydn forbade him, saying:

"She does not deserve anything! It is little matter to her whether her
husband is an artist or a cobbler."

As he passed in front of a picture of her once, he seized the violinist
Baillot by the arm, and pointing to the picture said, "That is my wife.
Many a time she has maddened me."

In 1792 he wrote to his mistress from London:--"My wife, the infernal
beast" (_bestia infernale_--Pohl translates this _hoellische Bestie_)
"has written so much stuff that I had to tell her I would not come to
the house any more; which has brought her again to her senses."

This was thirty-two years after his marriage, and a year later he writes
again:

"My wife is ailing most of the time and is always in the same miserable
temper, but I do not let it distress me any longer. There will sometime
be an end of this torment."

Louis Nohl speaks of this as written in a gentle and almost sorrowful
tone! As his biographers find gentleness in such writing, it is easy to
see why Mrs. Haydn has had few defenders.

Heaven forbid that I should be considered as throwing all the blame for
the unhappiness upon the husband. Anna Keller had a remarkably long and
sharp tongue whose power she did not neglect; she once complained to her
husband that there was not money enough in the house to bury him in case
he died suddenly. He pointed to a series of canons which he had written
and framed. When he was in London revelling in his triumph, she sent him
a letter in which she asked him for money enough to buy a certain little
house she had set her heart on, naively adding that it was just a cosy
size for a widow.

Haydn bought it later for himself, and lived in it several years as a
widower. Carpani in his thirteenth letter draws a pleasant picture of
Haydn's life with his mistress Boselli, and incidentally describes how
various composers composed: Gluck with his piano in a summer meadow and
the bottled sunshine of Champagne on each side; Sarti in a dark room at
night with a funereal lamp pendant from the ceiling; Salieri in the
streets eating sweets; Paer while joking with his friends, gossiping on
a thousand things, scolding his servants, quarrelling with his wife and
children and petting his dog; Cimarosa in the midst of noisy friends;
Sacchini with his sweetheart at his side and his kittens playing on the
floor about him; Paesiello in bed; Zingarelli after reading the holy
fathers or a classic; Anfossi in the midst of roast capons, steaming
sausages, gammons of bacon and ragouts.

"But Haydn, like Newton, alone and obscure, voyaged the skies in his
chair; on his finger the ring of Frederick like the invisible ring of
Angelica. When he returned among mortals, Boselli and his friends
divided his time. For thirty years he led this life, _monotona ma
dolcissima_, not knowing his growing fame nor dreaming of leaving
Eisenstadt, save when he mused on Italy. Then Boselli died and he began
to feel the ennui (_le noje_) of a void in his days. It was then that he
went to London."

This mistress of Haydn's, whom Carpani and Fetis call Boselli and whom
Dies calls Pulcelli, is now generally called Polzelli, following the
spelling in Haydn's own handwriting. The pleasant legend Carpani gives
of Haydn's life with this woman, undisturbed by ambition until her
death, is as much upset by later writers as is the spelling of her name.
Pohl, closely followed by Haydn's recent biographer, Schmidt, describes
Luigia Polzelli as a Neapolitan who was nineteen when she was engaged to
sing at the theatre of the Prince Esterhazy. She was the wife of Anton
Polzelli, an insignificant and sickly violinist, with whom she was
apparently not in love. Luigia is pictured--doubtless by guesswork--as
not beautiful, but of a pleasing appearance, showing the indications of
her Italian birth in "her small slim face, her dark complexion, her
black eyes, her chestnut-coloured hair; her body of medium height and
elegant form."

"To this woman," says Schmidt, "Haydn fetched his own deep and lasting
sorrow. Polzelli was in the same position as he: she lived unhappily
with her spouse. Whether she honestly returned Haydn's love cannot be
known. Facts hint that she often abused and took advantage of his good
nature. But for all that she beautified his life, so often joyless, by
the tenderness which she awoke in him; and the woman who throughout
twenty years could do that, deserved well of the man whose friend she
was; and she earns our consideration and sympathy besides. From London
the master wrote her the tenderest letters. Both, as their
correspondence shows, only postponed their union, till the day when
'four eyes shall be closed,'

"Yet when finally both were free, Time had worked his almighty
influence; Haydn had grown gray; outwardly as well as spiritually an
estrangement had widened between them, and of their once so dear a
desire there is no more word. Yet Haydn never ceased to provide for his
friend, as well as to care for the education and the success of her
sons. The elder, Pietro, Haydn's favourite, on whom he hung with his
whole heart, died early." [Pohl quotes many allusions to him in Haydn's
letters.] "The younger, Anton, who was reported without proper
foundation to be Haydn's natural son, later became musical director of
the prince's chapel, but then gave up music and turned farmer, finally
dying of the plague in sad circumstances."

Pohl is somewhat fuller upon this alliance than Schmidt, who, in fact,
merely condenses and paraphrases him. He says that Polzelli's maiden
name was Moreschi [which, being interpreted, is "Moor," a name once
given to Haydn]; she was a mezzo-soprano, who played secondary roles in
the operas. She earned the same salary as her husband, 465 gulden a
year. The letters Haydn wrote her were always in Italian, and in one of
them he wishes her better roles, and "a good master who will take the
same interest as thy Haydn." Haydn had come to her for sympathy, since,
as Pohl says and we have seen, "thanks to his wife he had hell at home"
[_die Holle im House_].

When increasing fame took Haydn by the hand and led him away to royal
triumphs in London, he did not take jealousy along with his other
luggage. He seems to have heard that his place was promptly filled in
Polzelli's heart, but with all his geniality, he could write of the
rumoured rival as "this man, whose name I do not know, but who is to be
so happy as to possess thee." Then there was a recrudescence of the old
ardour:

"Oh, dear, dear Polzelli, thou lingerest always in my heart; never,
never shall I forget thee (_O cara Polzelli, tu mi stai sempre nel
core, mal, mal scordeo di te_)."

When some one in London told him that Polzelli had sold the piano he had
given her, he could not believe it, and only wrote her, "See how they
tease me about you" (_vedi come mi seccano per via di te_). Still less
will he believe that she has spoken ill of him, and he writes:

"May God bless thee, and forgive thee everything, for I know that love
speaks in thee. Be careful for thy good name, I beg thee, and think
often of thy Haydn, who cherishes and tenderly loves thee and to thee
will always be true."

Even to Bologna, whither Polzelli went with her two sons, says Pohl,
"followed Haydn's love--and his gold." He intended after his first
London visit to go to Italy to visit her, and wrote further:

"I cherish thee and love thee as on that first day, and am always sad
that I cannot do more for you. Yet have patience. Surely the day will
come when I can show thee how much I love thee."

Loisa's choice of a spouse had been unhappy, as so many marriages have
been where the wife is a singer on the stage, and the husband a fiddler
in the band. Haydn seems to have sympathised with Loisa in her unhappy
domestic affairs, as cordially as she had sympathised with him in his.
He had sympathy, too, for her similarly ill-matched sister, Christine
Negri, for he writes of her as--

"Already long separated from her husband, that beast, she has been as
unhappy as even you, and awakes my sympathy."

Also in March, 1791, he wrote Loisa about her husband in a manner
implying that he was a brute or a maniac: "Thou hast done well to have
him taken to the hospital to save thy life." Haydn and Loisa, being
Catholics, never thought of seeking divorce: their only hope of
celebrating a formal marriage lay in the death of both her brutish
husband and his shrewish wife--"when four eyes shall close." Loisa's
husband was the first to oblige, for in August, 1791, his death wrings a
charitable word from even Haydn:

"Thy poor husband! I tell thee that Providence has managed well in
freeing thee from thy heavy burden, for it is better to be in the other
world, than useless in this one. The poor fellow has suffered enough."

Later he writes:

"DEAR POLZELLI:--Probably that time will come which we have so often
longed for. Already two eyes are closed. But the other two--ah, well, as
God wills!" Eight years more, and the reluctant and wide-eyed Anna
Haydn was foiled of her desire to be a widow in the snug cottage of her
choice. The lovers at last were both single. But now, freed of their
shackles, why do they not rush to each other's arms? The only answer we
receive is this chill and shocking document found long after Haydn's
death; it is written in Italian and dated shortly after Frau Haydn's
death:

"I, the undersigned, promise Signora Loisa Polzelli (in case I shall be
disposed to marry again) to take no other for wife than the said Loisa
Polzelli; and if I remain a widower, I promise the said Loisa Polzelli
after my death to leave her a life pension of 300 gulden, that is 300
florins in Vienna money. Valid before every court. I sign myself,

"JOSEPH HAYDN,

"_Maestro di Cappella of his Highness, the Prince Esterhazy_.

Vienna, May 23, 1800."

On this sad and icy postscript to the ardent love affair, Schmidt
comments: "The form of this writing leaves the conclusion plain, that
Haydn was forced to this act by the Polzelli. This throws a poor light
on her character, and we dare not evade the conclusion that, for twenty
years in this love affair for life, she had in mind a business
arrangement with the master."

Thus cynically writes Schmidt of the woman who for a score of years
occupied Haydn's affections. And all of the biographers are inclined to
heap upon her more or less contempt; but as you shall see a little
later, the genial master himself was not above reproach, and Loisa's
anxiety was not unfounded, for her Joseph was casting amorous glances
elsewhere. Thus after the long ardour, the love letters have frozen into
a hard and fast negative betrothal in which Haydn promises to marry no
one else. This, Schmidt says, was dragged out of Haydn. But, if such a
bond were necessary, it speaks surely as ill for Haydn as for the woman
who had given her life and her good name to brighten his joyless heart.

Yet, dead as his love was, honour remained with him, though it was a
rather close-reckoning honour. Three months later he answered with money
her request for house-rent, and in a will dated May 5, 1801, occurs this
clause, cancelling his former agreement, and making new provisions:

"To the widow Aloysia Polzelli, formerly singer at Prince Nikolaus
Esterhazy's, payable in ready money six months after my death, 100
florins, and each year from the date of my death, for her life ... 150
florins. After her death her son, Anton Polzelli, to receive 150 florins
for one year, having always been a good son to his mother and a grateful
pupil to me. N.B.--I hereby revoke the obligation in Italian, signed by
me, which may be produced by Mme. Polzelli; otherwise so many of my poor
relations with greater claims would receive too little. Finally Mme.
Polzelli must be satisfied with the annuity of 150 florins." Two years
later we find him writing to her (and, rumour said, his) son: "I hope
thy mamma finds herself well." In a new will, dated 1809, the year of
his death, Haydn withdraws the cash gift to Loisa, and leaves her only
150 florins annuity. She still remains, however, his chief heir.
Meanwhile, without waiting for his death, she had married again to Luigi
Franci, like herself a singer and an Italian. She outlived him and Haydn
also, only to die in poverty and senility, far away in Hungary. Poor,
eighty-two year old Loisa! Her affairs had been sadly mismanaged.

Why had Loisa given up all hope of marrying Haydn, even when his wife
was dead and she was possessed of his agreement, signed, sealed, and
delivered, to marry no one but her? Awhile ago I stooped to repeating
the scandal that during Signora Polzelli's life, Haydn had been casting
sheep's eyes elsewhere. But it is such a pretty scandal! Besides, these
old contrapuntists were trained from youth to keep two or more tunes
going at once.

I am not referring to Haydn's friendship with Frau von Genzinger. It was
Karajan who discovered and published this pleasant correspondence with
her. She was the wife of a very successful physician, a "ladies' doctor"
(_Damen Doktor_). She was the daughter of the Hofrath von Kayser; her
name was Maria Anna Sabina; she was born Nov. 6th, 1750, and had been
married some seventeen years, and was the mother of five children when
Haydn began taking his every Sunday dinner with the family. Karajan says
that she was an _ausgezeichnete_ singer and pianist.

A deep friendship sprang up at once between them and they corresponded
freely. Haydn's letters to her were published by Nohl, and you may read
them in Lady Wallace's translation. They are full of the most
interesting lights upon Haydn's life and experiences, and are brimful of
affection for Frau von Genzinger. But the husband and the children are
almost always referred to in the letters, and the friendship seems to
have been entirely and only a friendship,--as Schmidt calls it, "_eine
tiefe und zugleich respectvolle Neigung_."

Mr. Upton, who accepts the friendship as "honourable," finds in Frau von
Genzinger the only true feminine inspiration Haydn ever had for
composition. "We owe much of his music to his wife; but the savage and
truculent manner in which she inspired him was not conducive to the best
work of his genius. There is no record that the Polzelli was of any
benefit to him musically; certainly she was not morally."

But there was another woman who idolised Haydn the musician, and with
Haydn the man conducted a quaint and curious love duet embalmed in many
a billet-doux fragrant with charm.

It was not, then, Frau von Genzinger that threatened Polzelli's
supremacy. Nor was it Madame Bartolozzi, for whom Haydn wrote a sonata
and three trios; nor Mrs. John Hunter, who wrote words for many of his
canzonets. Nor yet Mrs. Hodges, for whom he composed, and whom he called
"the loveliest woman I ever saw." Nor yet again the fascinating actress,
Mrs. Billington, of whom the pleasant story is told, that Haydn, when he
went to London, called on Sir Joshua Reynolds at his studio, found him
painting Mrs. Billington as "Saint Cecilia listening to the angels," and
protested gallantly that Reynolds ought to have painted the angels
listening to her. For which sprightliness he received immediately a
fervent hug and a kiss from those so sweet and promiscuous lips. The
skeptics object, that Reynolds exhibited the picture in London in 1790,
a year before Haydn reached London, but it is a shame to spoil a good
and famous story.

The true woman in the case makes her _entree_ in this innocent style:

"Mrs. Schroeter presents her complements to Mr. Haydn, and informs him
that she is just returned to town, and will be very happy to see him
whenever it is convenient to him to give her a lesson.

"James-st., Buckingham gate, Wednesday, June the 29th, 1791."

This little note was the first of a series of genuine love letters
preserved for many years by Haydn. His answers to them seem to have been
lost, though the whimsical spade of time that has recently brought to
light the works of Bacchylides, after two thousand years and more of
oblivion, may with equal speed unsod Haydn's letters to this interesting
personage. May we be there to see!

Just nineteen years before this little preludising note, Mrs. Schroeter
was an Englishwoman of wealth and aristocracy. In that year there came
to London a German musician, Johann Samuel Schroeter, a brother of
Corona Schroeter, one of that Amazonian army of beauties to whom Goethe
made love and wrote poetry. He became music-master to the English queen
as successor to that son of Sebastian Bach who is known as "the English
Bach." He speedily won pupils and esteem among the higher circles of
London society. But being welcomed as a musician was one thing and as a
son-in-law quite another. When, therefore, he made one of his most
aristocratic pupils his wife by a clandestine marriage, there was,
according to Fetis, such scandal and such a threat of legal proceedings
that he consented to the annulment of the marriage in consideration of a
pension of five hundred pounds, and retired from the city to escape
notoriety. Sixteen years after his entry into London Schroeter died of
consumption.

Three years later another German musician, Joseph Haydn, appears in
London, and is taken up by society. Mrs. Schroeter, apparently not sated
by her first experience, proceeds to repeat it pat. Just as before, she
becomes a pupil in music, and later a pupil in love of the newcomer. But
whereas her husband had died at the age of thirty-eight, her new lover
Haydn was fifty-nine when she met him.

Dies quoted Haydn's own words as saying, "In London, I fell in love with
a widow, though she was sixty years old at the time." But Mr. Krehbiel
shows good reason for believing that Dies must have misunderstood Haydn.
To me it occurs as a possibility that Haydn said to Dies, not "though
she was sixty years old," but "though I was sixty years old." I think we
are safe in assuming with Mr. Krehbiel that she was not more than
thirty-five or forty, an age not yet so great, according to statistics,
as that of Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, and Marian Delorme, at the times
of their most potent beauty.

Let us also dismiss as unauthorised and gratuitous the words of Pauline
D. Townsend, in her biography of Haydn, when she says of Mrs. Schroeter
that she was "an attractive, although, according to modern taste, a
somewhat vulgar woman, of over sixty years of age, and there is no
disguising the fact that she made violent love to Haydn. Her letters to
Haydn are full of tenderness and in questionable taste; his to her have
not been preserved, but we can have little doubt that they were warmer
in tone than they would have been had not the Channel rolled between him
and Frau Haydn in Vienna." We know how little Frau Haydn had had to do
with Haydn's life in his own town. You may judge for yourself as to the
charge of "vulgarity."

The existence of Mrs. Schroeter's veritable Love Letters of an
Englishwoman was known for many years, and Pohl in his book on "Mozart
und Haydn in London" quoted from them. But for their complete
publication in the original English, we are indebted to Mr. Krehbiel's
"Music and Manners in the Classical Period." This captivating work
contains also a note-book which Haydn kept in London; it is filled with
amusing blunders in English and vivid pictures of London life of the
time, pictures as delectable in their way as the immortal garrulity of
Pepys.

I cannot do better than let these letters speak for themselves through
such quotations as I have room to make. There are twenty-two of them in
all, in Mr. Krehbiel's book. The abbreviations are curious and explain
themselves. M.L. is "my love," D.L. is "dear love," M.D. is "my dear,"
and M. Dst. is its superlative. The abbreviations were possibly due to
the fact that the letters exist only in Haydn's own handwriting, copied
into his note-book without attention to their proper order. Or they may
have been simply the amorous shorthand of that day.

Two of them are signed R.S. and this leads me to believe that Mrs.
Schroeter's first name began with R., though we know neither that nor
her maiden name. In the first letter Mrs. Schroeter says that she
encloses him "the words of the song you desire." This letter is dated
February 8th. In his note-book there is an entry on February 13, 1792,
and just preceding it a little Italian poem in which I have been pleased
to see what was possibly this very song, its first lines being
suggestively like the first line of Mrs. Schroeter's letter.

  "Io vi mando questo foglio
  Dalle lagrime rigato,
  Sotto scritto dal cordoglio
  Dai pensieri sigillato
  Testimento del mio amore
  (Io) vi mando questo core."

Among the letters there are many anxious allusions, which may indicate
that Haydn was suffering from insomnia, unless you are inclined to give
them a more subtle significance. But to the quotations, with regrets
that they must be incomplete.

"Wednesday, Febr. 8th, 1792.

"M.D. Inclos'd I have sent you the words of the song you desire. I wish
much to know _how you do_ to day. I am very sorry to lose the pleasure
of seeing you this morning, but I hope you will have time to come
tomorrow. I beg my D you will take great care of your health and do not
fatigue yourself with too much application to business. My thoughts and
best wishes are always with you, and I ever am with the utmost sincerity
M.D. your &c."

"March the 7th 92.

"My D. I was extremely sorry to part with you so suddenly last night,
our conversation was particularly interesting and I had a thousand
affectionate things to Say to you. my heart was and is full of
_tenderness_ for you but no language can express _half_ the _Love_ and
_Affection_ I feel for you. you are _dearer_ to me _every Day_ of my
life. I am very Sorry I was so dull and Stupid yesterday, indeed my
_Dearest_ it was nothing but my being indisposed with a cold occasioned
my Stupidity. I thank you a thousand times for your Concern for me. I am
truly Sensible of your goodness and I assure you my D. if anything had
happened to trouble me, I wou'd have open'd my heart and told you with
the greatest confidence, oh, how earnestly I wish to See you. I hope you
will come to me tomorrow. I shall be happy to See you both in the
Morning and the Evening. God Bless you my love. my thoughts and best
wishes ever accompany you and I always am with the most Sincere and
invariable Regard my D,

"Your truly affectionate--

"my Dearest I cannot be happy till I see you if you Know do tell me when
you will come."

"April 4th 92.

"My D: With this you will receive the Soap. I beg you a thousand pardons
for not sending it sooner. I know you will have the goodness to excuse
me. I hope to hear you are quite well and have Slept well. I shall be
happy to See you my D: as soon as possible. I shall be much obliged to
you if you will do me the favor to send me Twelve Tikets for your
Concert. may all _success_ attend you my ever D H that Night and always
is the sincere and hearty wish of your "Invariable and Truly
affectionate--"

"James St. Thursday, April 12th

"M.D. I am so _truly anxious_ about _you_. I must write to beg to know
_how you do_? I was very sorry I _had_ not the pleasure of Seeing you
this Evening, my thoughts have been _constantly_ with you and my D.L. no
words can express half the tenderness and _affection I feel for you_. I
thought you seemed out of Spirits this morning. I wish I could always
remove every trouble from your mind, be assured my D: I partake with the
most perfect sympathy in _all your sensations_ and my regard is
_Stronger every day_. my best wishes always attend you and I am ever my
D.H. most sincerely your Faithful etc."

"M.D. I was extremely Sorry to hear this morning that you were
indisposed. I am told you were five hours at your Studys yesterday,
indeed _my D.L._ I am afraid it will hurt you. why shou'd you who have
already produced So many _wonderful_ and _Charming_ compositions Still
fatigue yourself with Such close application. I almost tremble for your
health let me prevail on you my _much-loved_ H. not to keep to your
Studys so long at _one time_, my D. love if you could know how very
precious your welfare is to me I flatter myself you wou'd endeaver to
preserve it for my sake as well as _your own_. pray inform me how you do
and how you have Slept. I hope to see you to Morrow at the concert and
on Saturday I shall be happy to See you here to dinner, in the mean time
my D: my Sincerest good wishes constantly attend you and I ever am with
the _tenderest_ regard your most &c.

"J.S. April the 19th 92"

"April 24th 1792.

"My D. I cannot leave London without Sending you a line to assure you my
thoughts, my best wishes and tenderest affections will inseparably
attend you till we meet again. the Bearer will also deliver you the
March. I am very Sorry I could not write it Sooner, nor better, but I
hope my D. you will excuse it, and if it is not passable I will send you
the _Dear_ original directly. If my H. would employ me oftener to write
Music I hope I should improve and I know I should delight in the
occupation, now my D.L. let me intreat you to take the greatest care of
your _health_. I hope to see you Friday at the concert and on Saturday
to dinner, till when and ever I most sincerely am and Shall be yours
etc."

"M.D. If you will do me the favor to take your dinner with me tomorrow I
shall be very happy to see you and _particularly_ wish for the pleasure
of _your_ company _my Dst Love_ before our other friends come. I hope to
hear you are in _good Health_. My best wishes and tenderest Regards are
your constant attendants and I _ever_ am with the _firmest_ Attachment
my Dst H most sincerely and Affectionately yours,

"R.S."

"James S. Tuesday Ev. May 22d."

"M.D. I can not close my eyes to sleep till I have return'd you ten
thousand thanks for the inexpressible delight I have received from _your
ever Enchanting_ compositions and your _incomparably Charming_
performance of them, be assured my D.H. that among _all_ your numerous
admirers no one has listened with more profound attention and no one can
have Such high veneration for your most _brilliant Talents_ as I _have_,
indeed my D.L. no tongue _can express_ the gratitude I _feel_ for the
infinite pleasure your Musick has given me. accept then my repeeted
thanks for it and let me also assure you with heart felt affection that
I Shall ever consider the happiness of your acquaintance as one of the
_Chief_ Blessings of my life, and it is the _Sincer_ wish of my heart to
preserve to cultivate and to merit it more and more. I hope to hear you
are quite well. Shall be happy to see you to dinner and if you _can_
come at three o'Clock it would give me a great pleasure as I shou'd be
particularly glad to see you my D. befor the rest of our friends come.
God Bless you my h: I ever am with the firmest and most perfect
attachment your &c.

"Wednesday night, June the 6th 1792."

"My Dst, Inclosed I send you the verses you was so Kind as to lend me
and am very much obliged to you for permitting me to take a copy of
them, pray inform me _how you do_, and let me know my _Dst L_ when you
will dine with me; I shall be _happy_ to _See_ you to dinner either
tomorrow or tuesday whichever is most Convenient to you. I am _truly
anxious_ and _impatient_ to _See you_ and I wish to have as much of
_your company_ as possible; indeed _my Dst H_. I _feel_ for you the
_fondest_ and _tenderest_ affection the human Heart is capable of and I
ever am with the _firmest_ attachment my Dst Love

"most Sincerely, Faithfully

"and most affectionately yours

"Sunday Evening, June 10, 1792"

"M.D.

"I was _extremely sorry_ I had not the pleasure of _seeing you to-day,_
indeed my Dst Love it was a very great disappointment to me as every
moment of your company is _more_ and _more precious_ to me now your
_departure_ is so near. I hope to hear you are _quite well_ and I shall
be very happy to see you my Dst Hn. any time to-morrow after one
o'clock, if you can come; but if not I shall hope for the pleasure of
Seeing _you_ on _Monday_. You will receive this letter to-morrow
morning. I would not send it to-day for fear you should not be at home
and I _wish_ to have your answer. God bless you my Dst. Love, once more
I repeat let me See you as _Soon_ as possible. I _ever_ am with the most
_inviolable attachment_ my Dst and most beloved H.

"most faithfully and most

"affectionately yours

"R.S."


"I am just returned from the concert where I was very much Charmed with
your _delightful_ and enchanting _Compositions_ and your Spirited and
interesting performance of them, accept ten thousand thanks for the
great pleasure I _always_ receive from your _incomparable_ Music. My D:
I intreat you to inform me how you do and if you get any _Sleep_ to
Night. I am _extremely anxious_ about your health. I hope to hear a good
account of it. god Bless you my H: come to me to-morrow. I shall be
happy to See you both morning and Evening. I always am with the
tenderest Regard my D: your Faithful and Affectionate

"Friday Night, 12 o'clock."


This is the last of these letters to which one could apply so fitly the
barbarous word "yearnful," once coined by Keats. After Haydn's return to
London, in 1794, there are no letters to indicate a continuance of the
acquaintance, but it doubtless was renewed, judging from the sagacious
guess based upon the fact that Haydn did not come back to his old
lodgings but took new ones at No. 1 Bury Street, St. James's.

This much more pleasantly situated dwelling, he probably owed to the
considerate care of Mrs. Schroeter, who, by the same token, thus brought
him nearer to herself. A short and pleasant walk of scarcely ten minutes
through St. James's Palace and the Mall (a broad alley alongside of St.
James's Park) led him to Buckingham Palace, and near at hand was the
house of Mrs. Schroeter. Perhaps he preferred the walk to
letter-writing. When he went away from London for ever, he left behind
him the scores of his six last symphonies "in the hands of a lady,"
probably Mrs. Schroeter. It was this same woman to whom Haydn
dedicated three trios, his first, second, and sixth. It was undoubtedly
she to whom he referred when he made that little speech which Dies
probably misquoted, in telling the answer Haydn gave him when he was
asked what the letters were. "They are letters from an English widow in
London who loved me; she was, though she already counted her sixty
years, still a pretty and lovely woman, whom I would very probably have
married had I then been single."

Let us remember that these old love letters, so fragrant with faded
affections, were being received by Papa Haydn even while he was writing
to Polzelli, rejoicing in the closing of two of those four baleful eyes
that forbade their union. And let us not judge too harshly the Italian
woman who had given this unbeautiful Austrian of such beautiful genius
so much of her sunshine and tenderness. Nor let us judge too harshly the
enamoured English widow. Why indeed need we judge harshly at all?

When Haydn died he had no child to leave his wealth to--even the fable
that Anton Polzelli was his natural son is taken away from us by Pohl,
who points out how small and temporary was the provision made for him in
Haydn's will.

Among the heirlooms left by Haydn was a watch given to him by that
Admiral of Admirals, Lord Nelson--and that points to us as a by-path,
which it were pleasant, though forbidden now, to wander, the story of
Nelson's fervent amour with Lady Hamilton, that beautiful work of art,
that pet of artists.

As a postscript to Haydn's story we may tag on here a concise statement
in his note-book, of the domestic affairs of one whom we do not think of
now as a musician.

"On June 15th, I went from Windsor to Slough to Doctor Herschel, where I
saw the great telescope. It is forty feet long and five feet in
diameter. The machinery is vast, but so ingenious that a single man can
put it in motion with ease. There are also two smaller telescopes, of
which one is twenty-two feet long and magnifies six thousand times. The
king had two made for himself, of which each measures twelve Schuh. He
gave him one thousand guineas for them. In his younger days Doctor
Herschel was in the Prussian service as an oboe player. In the seven
years' war he deserted with his brother and came to England. For many
years he supported himself with music, became organist at Bath, turned,
however, to astronomy. After providing himself with the necessary
instruments he left Bath, rented a room not far from Windsor, and
studied day and night. His landlady was a widow. She fell in love with
him, married him, and gave him a dowry of L100,000. Besides this he has
L500 for life, and his wife, who is forty-five years old, presented him
with a son this year, 1792. Ten years ago he had his sister come; she is
of the greatest service to him in his observations. Frequently he sits
from five to six hours under the open sky in the severest cold."




CHAPTER X.


THE MAGNIFICENT BACHELOR

Two young and flamboyant musickers, boon companions, one twenty-two and
the other eighteen, strike the town of Luebeck in 1703. They are drawn
thither by a vacancy in the post of town-organist. And their competition
is to be friendly.

Two flamboyant young musickers leave the town of Luebeck as soon as can
be. For they have learned that the successful candidate must marry the
daughter of the man in whose shoes they would fain have trodden the
pedals. One look at the daughter was enough. She was not fair to see,
and her years were thirty-four--just six years less than the total years
of the two young candidates.

Back to Hamburg the two friends go, and the next year their friendship
suffers a serious strain. The elder, now aged twenty-three, is producing
"Cleopatra," an opera of his own composition, and incidentally playing
the role of Antony. The younger of the friends is the conductor, and
presides, as is the custom of the time, at the clavecin. There is
another custom in the performance of that opera, a curious one, too. For
it is the wont of the composer-singer, when he has died as Antony, to
come to life again and conduct the rest of his opera at the clavecin.

But the younger friend, now full of the importance of nineteen years,
and being the successor to the great Reinhard Keiser, is not disposed to
yield the clavecin, even to his versatile friend. A quarrel that
narrowly escapes ruining the melodious swan-song of Cleopatra, is
postponed till after the final curtain. Then it takes the form of a
duel. The composer manages at last to elude the parry of the conductor;
he throws all his weight and venom into a lunge that must prove
fatal,--but a large brass button sheds the point of the sword and saves
its wearer for a better fate.

By the strange medicinal virtue of duels, the wound in the friendship is
healed, honour is poulticed, and the friendship begins again, lasting
with healthful interruptions until the younger musician goes his way
toward the fulness of his glory; the elder his way along the lines of
versatility--which leave him in the eyes of posterity rather valued as a
writer than aught else.

The old organist whose death had brought these two younkers on their
wild-goose chase was Dietrich Buxtehude, the famous man whom Johann
Sebastian Bach walked fifty miles on foot to hear, and whose
compositions he studied and profited from. Old Buxtehude, himself the
son of an organist, had himself married the daughter of the organist who
had preceded him. The daughter he left behind to frighten away aspiring
candidates did not languish long. According to Chrysander, a certain
J.C. Schieferdecker, who is famous for nothing else, wed the daughter,
and "got the pretty job" ("_erhielt den schoenen Dienst_").

The elder of the two young men was Johann Mattheson (1681--1764), a sort
of "Admirable Crichton," who married in 1709 Catherine Jennings,
daughter of an English clergyman and the relative of a British admiral.
That is all of his story that belongs here.

The younger man, whose life hung on a button, was that great personage
whose name has been spelled almost every way imaginable between Hendtler
and Handel--the later form being preferred by the English, who, as
somebody said, love to speak learnedly of "Handel and Glueck." It is not
needful here to tell the story of his brilliant life and the big events
it crowded into the four and seventy years between 1685 and 1759. His
friend Mattheson, like Beethoven, spent his later years in the dungeon
of deafness. Haendel, like his great rival Bach (who was born the same
year), spent seven years in almost total blindness, three operations
having failed. In almost every other respect the careers of these two
men were unlike, particularly in the obscure and prolific married life
of the one and in the almost royal prominence of the other's
bachelorhood.

Haendel never married, and seems never even to have been in love, though
he was an unusually pious son and a fond brother.

The only time on record when he took a woman into his arms was the
occasion when the great singer, Cuzzoni, refused to sing an air of his
the way he wished it. He seized her, and, dragging her to a window,
threatened to throw her out, thundering, "I always knew you were a
devil, but I'll show you that I am Beelzebub, the prince of devils."

Haendel's greatest love seems to have been for things to eat. In the
memoirs of him, published anonymously [by Doctor Mainwaring] in 1760,
the author says that Haendel was "always habituated to an uncommon
portion of food and nourishment," and accuses him of "excessive
indulgence in this lowest of gratifications."

"He certainly paid more attention to it than is becoming in any man; but
it is some excuse that Nature had given him so vigorous a constitution,
so exquisite a palate, so craving an appetite, that fortune enabled him
to obey these calls, and to satisfy these demands of nature.... Had he
hurt his health or fortune by indulgences of this kind, they would have
been vicious; as he did not, they were at the most indecorous."

A story is told of him that he once ordered up enough dinner for three.
Noting that the servant dawdled about, Haendel demanded why; the servant
answered that he was waiting for the company to come, whereupon Haendel
stormed, in his famous broken English, "Den pring up der tinner
prestissimo. I am de gombany."

In his later years Haendel was not so beautiful as he might have been,
and Queen Anne, alluding to his bulk, said that his hands were feet and
his fingers toes. Mrs. Bray, however, says that "in his youth he was the
most handsome man of his time."

Handel resembles Lully somewhat in his reputation for being a lover of
the table and a neglecter of womankind. Schoelcher in his biography
states "that not one woman occupies the smallest place in the long
career of his life." And yet contradicts himself in his very next
sentence, for he adds:

"When he was in Italy a certain lady named Vittoria fell in love with
him and even followed him from Florence to Venice. Burney describes
Vittoria as 'a songstress of talent.' Fetis calls her the Archduchess
Vittoria, but both agree that she was beautiful and that she filled the
part of the prima donna in 'Roderigo,' his first Italian score. At that
period, and even later, it was not uncommon to find princes and
princesses singing in the pieces which were produced at their courts.
Artist or archduchess, either title was enough to turn the head of a
young man twenty-four years old; but Haendel disdained her love. All the
English biographers say that he was too prudent to accept an attachment
which would have been ruin to both. This is calumny, for he was never
prudent."

This Vittoria is an interesting problem in romance. Doctor Mainwaring
says that Haendel was Apollo and she Daphne. Chrysander in his great
biography properly notes that the legend has been twisted, and
represents here the god as fleeing from the nymph. Coxe says that
Vittoria was "an excellent singer, the favourite mistress of the Grand
Duke of Tuscany"--which gives a decidedly different look to Haendel's
"prudence."

Chrysander tries to prove that this Vittoria was no other than the
famous singer, Vittoria Tesi, "a contralto of masculine strength," as
one listener describes her voice. She was very dramatic, and made her
chief success in men's roles, singing bass songs transposed an octave
higher. She was born at Florence in 1690, and would have been seventeen
years old when Haendel's "Roderigo" was produced there in 1707. That she
should be capable of so ardent a love at that age need hardly be
mentioned when we remember that Romeo's Juliet was only twelve at the
time of her immortal amour. Love _a l'Italienne_ is precocious.

Wild stories are told of the escapades of this brilliant singer, whom
Haendel never brought to London among all his importations--and with
good reason, if she had once pursued him as legend tells. No stranger
account is given than that of Doctor Burney, who describes her peculiar
method of escaping the proposals of a certain nobleman who implored her
to marry him. She had no prejudices against the nobleman, but strong
prejudices against marriage. Finally, to quiet her lover's conscientious
appeals, she went out into the street and bribed the first labouring man
she met with fifty ducats to marry her. Her new husband sped from
dumbfounded delight to amazed regret, for he found that with her money
she bought only his name and a marriage document, as a final answer to
the count when next he came whimpering of conventional marriage.

In London Haendel reigned as never musician reigned before or since. He
is still reigning to the lasting detriment of English musical
independence.

He was a lordly man in his day was Haendel; and dared to cut that
terrible Dean Swift, whose love affairs are perhaps the chief riddle of
all amorous chronicle. Dean Swift is said to have said: "I admire Haendel
principally because he conceals his petticoat peccadillos with such
perfection." This statement may be taken as only a proof either that the
dean had so tangled a career of his own that he could not see any other
man's straight; or that Haendel was really more of a flirt than
tradition makes him out.

Rockstro said that Haendel was engaged more than once; once to the
aforementioned Vittoria Tesi--this in spite of the tradition that woman
proposed and man disposed; and later to two other women. Rockstro bases
this last doubtless on the account given in that strangely named book,
"Anecdotes of Haendel and J.C. Smith, with compositions by J.C. Smith."
This was published anonymously in London, in 1799, but it is known to
have been written by Dr. William Coxe. Smith _(ne_ Schmidt) was Haendel's
secretary and assistant. He was something of a composer himself, and on
his death-bed advised his widow to consult Doctor Coxe in every
emergency; whereupon, to simplify matters and have the counsellor handy,
in due time she married him.

Doctor Coxe indignantly denies Hawkins' statement that Haendel lacked
social affection; he says that two rich pupils loved him. The first
would have married him, but her mother said she should never marry a
fiddler. After the mother's death, the father implied that all obstacles
were now removed, but too late. He never saw the girl again, and she
fell into a decline, which soon terminated her existence. The second
woman was a personage of high estate, and offered to marry Haendel if he
would give up his career. But when he declined, she also declined, and
died after the fashion of the eighteenth century.

In his will Haendel left money to two cousins, also to two widows, and
one other woman.

He brought many singers to London for his operas, and their romances
would fill ten volumes. There is the famous tenor, Beard, for instance,
the creator of "Samson." He created Samsonian scandal by marrying Lady
Henrietta Herbert, the only daughter of the Earl of Waldegrave; she died
fourteen years later, and he built her a fine monument. Six years later
he married the daughter of a harlequin.

Then there was the singer Senesino, and Farinelli, whose heart and brain
were real though his voice was artificial. He became finally a sort of
vocal prime minister to Spain. To start one of these romances of singers
would be like throwing a match in a fireworks factory.




CHAPTER XI.


GLUCK THE DOMESTIC, ROUSSEAU THE CONFESSOR, AND THE AMIABLE PICCINNI

While Haendel was in London at the height of his autocracy, he was
visited by a composer named Gluck, whom we think of to-day as a
revolutionist in music, and a man of the utmost historical importance.
To the lordly Haendel, however, he was more or less contemptible, and
people who know nothing else of either genius, know that Haendel said,
"Gluck understood about as much counterpoint as my cook."

Gluck did not make a success on his London visit, and began to criticise
both his own work and contemporary schools of opera, with a thoroughness
that resulted in a determination to "reform it altogether." From London
he went to Vienna in 1748, and there he was soon a figure of importance,
moving in the best families, and entertained at the best homes. Among
the homes in which he was most cordially received, was that of the rich
banker and wholesale merchant, Joseph Pergin, who had a large business
with Holland. Both daughters of the house were, according to Reissman's
not particularly novel expression, "passionately fond of music." Gluck
was soon made thoroughly at home there.

"Soon also he was bound in most intimate affection to the elder
daughter, Maria Anne. She reciprocated the feelings, and the mother gave
her consent to the betrothal. Gluck dared to deem the year 1749, in
which this change took place, the happiest of his life; but it also
turned out to be his saddest, for the father refused his consent. This
man, haughty with his wealth, rejected the honoured artist, since he was
only a musician, and since, besides, his art offered no sufficient
promise or surety for the proper support of a young woman. The lovers
accepted the separation thus enforced, with patience, promising
themselves that it should not be for long, and that they would preserve
unbroken fidelity."

Gluck was called to Rome the next year, and there he had the news that
the stern father was dead. Accordingly, as soon as he could release
himself from his engagements, he hastened back to Vienna--as Schmid puts
it--"_auf dem Fluegeln der Liebe nach Wien zurueck_" On the 15th of
September, he was married to his Maria Anne, "with whom to his death he
dwelt in the happiest wedlock, and who went with him on his triumphal
journeys four years later." In 1754 the Pope knighted him; made him
Cavaliere, and henceforth this once poverty-smitten street fiddler and
strolling singer was known as Ritter von Gluck, the friend and protege
of his countrywoman, Marie Antoinette.

No children were born to the couple, but they took into their home a
niece, and Gluck's wife devoted much of her time to the poor.

"He left his wife the chief heir. He even left it to her pleasure
whether his brothers and sisters should have anything or not, and said
in his will, 'Since the fundamental principle of every testament is the
appointment of an heir, I hereby appoint my dear wife, M. Anne von
Gluck, _nee_ Pergin, as my sole and exclusive heir; and that no doubts
may arise, as to whether the silver and other personal property be mine
or my wife's, I hereby also declare all the silver and other valuables
to be the sole property of my wife, and consequently not included in my
previous bequests,'"

None of the letters of Gluck, that I have been able to find, concern his
married life, though many of them are in existence concerning his
operatic warfare.

Burney met him in 1773 in Paris, where he was living with his wife and
niece. In 1775, on his way back home from Paris, he stopped off at
Strasburg to meet the poet Klopstock. D.F. Strauss quotes a description
by a merchant of Karlsruhe of this scene: "Old Gluck sang and played,
_con amore_, many passages from the 'Messiah' set to music by himself;
his wife accompanying him in a few other pieces." On the 15th of
November, 1787, when Gluck was seventy-three years old, he was at his
home in Vienna under doctor's care. After dinner, it was his custom to
take coffee out-of-doors, in the free, fresh air and the golden
sunlight, where he used to have his piano placed when he would compose.
Two old friends from Paris had dined with him, and they were soon to
leave. Frau von Gluck left the guests for a moment, to order the
carriage. While she was gone, one of the guests declined the liqueur set
before him. Now Gluck was always addicted to looking upon the champagne
when it was yellow; in fact, he used always to have a bottle at each
wing of his piano, when he composed, and was wont to end his
compositions, his bottles, and his sobriety in one grand _Fine_. But now
he was forbidden to take wine, for fear of heating his blood.

On this day, however, he pretended to be angry at his guest for refusing
the choice liqueur. In a burlesque rage, he seized the glass, drained it
at a gulp, and jokingly begged the guests not to tell his wife. She came
back to the room to say that the carriage was ready. Frau von Gluck and
the guests left him for half an hour, and he bade them a cheerful
farewell. Fifteen minutes later his third stroke of apoplexy attacked
him, and his horrified wife returning found him unconscious. In a few
hours he was dead. This wife, with whom he lived so congenially, and
whose money gave him even more luxury than his operatic success could
have procured,--indeed, the very house he died in she had bought for
eleven thousand florins,--outlived him less than three years, dying
March 12, 1800, at the age of seventy-one. She was buried near him, and
her tomb, built by her nephew, has the following epitaph:

"Here rests in peace, near her husband, Maria Anne, Edle von Gluck, born
Pergin. She was a good Christian, and without ostentation a mother to
the poor. She was loved and cherished by all who knew her."


ROUSSEAU THE CONFESSOR

During the fierce battles Gluck fought in Paris, one of his most ardent
partisans was Jean Jacques Rousseau, who was a musician in a small way,
wrote songs, an enormously successful opera, "Le Devin du Village," and
other musical works, besides making an attempt to reform musical
notation, and writing a dictionary of music. The world, however, does
not accept him as a musician but as a writer, and his numerous and
curious love affairs are told in so much detail in his immortal
"Confessions," that I cannot attempt to treat them here. Vandam, in his
book on "Great Amours," dissects Rousseau's heart ruthlessly. For his
ability to do this, he must thank Rousseau most, for the unequalled
frankness of his own biography, Francis Greble, dissecting "Rousseau's
first love," has neatly dubbed him "the Great High Priest of those who
kiss and tell."


THE AMIABLE PICCINNI

In this same war of operatic schools and composers which raged in Paris
upon the reforms of Gluck, the Italian composer Piccinni was haled to
the front as an unwilling opponent of Gluck.

The world is needlessly cruel to those who happen to interfere in any
way with the favourites of posterity, and Piccinni's name is a byword in
the history of music. We hear much of the unscrupulous opposition that
his partisans made to the reforms of Gluck, but we should also take into
consideration the unscrupulous opposition that the partisans of Gluck
made to the prosperity and honest endeavours of Piccinni, a man of no
mean talent, whose misfortune and not whose fault it was, that he was
not a genius of the first order.

But we are not concerned here with the history of music, only with the
intimate history of musicians. Piccinni's domestic life was so
beautiful, that it makes it all the more pitiable that he should have
been dragged willy-nilly into a contest for which he had neither
inclination nor ability. Piccinni fell in love with a pupil, like him an
Italian, Vicenza Sibilla. When he was twenty-eight he married her. His
biographer Ginguene says: "She joined to the charms of her sex, a most
beautiful and touching voice. All that happy disposition, assiduous
study under so good a master could accomplish, especially when teacher
and pupil loved each other passionately, and were equally impassioned
for the art, which one taught, and the other learned, it is all that
which you must imagine, to get an idea of the talent of Mme. Piccinni.
He did not wish her to go on the stage, where everything promised her
the greatest success and the most brilliant fortune; but at home almost
every evening, at the private concerts, or, as the Italians say, in all
the 'academies' where one is glad to be invited, she sang only her
husband's music. She rendered it with the true spirit of the master; and
I have it from him, that he never heard his works, especially his 'Cara
Cecchina' sung with such perfect art, and what would put it above art,
so much soul, and expression, as by his wife."

In 1773 Piccinni found himself suddenly deprived of the fickle support
of the Roman public. Worst of all, it was his own pupil and protege,
Anfossi, who supplanted him. The tender-hearted Piccinni, like
Palestrina, was so overcome with this humiliation, that he fell ill, and
kept his bed for several months. Two years later, the Prince of
Brunswick's younger brother went to Naples to visit him, and there he
happened upon a domestic scene which gives us a pretty notion of
Piccinni's home life.

"He surprised Piccinni in the midst of his family, and was amazed at the
tableau. Piccinni was rocking the cradle of his youngest child, born
that same year; another of his children tugged at his coat to make him
tip over the cradle; the mother revelling in the spectacle. She fled in
dismay at seeing the stranger, who stood at the door, enjoying the scene
himself. The young prince made himself known, begged pardon for his
indiscretion, and said with feeling, 'I am charmed to see that so great
a man has so much simplicity, and that the author of "The Good Daughter"
[one of his most successful operas] can be so good a father.'"

The next year, 1776, Piccinni was called to Paris as an unwilling
conscript in the musical revolution, which was raging no less fiercely
than the American Revolution of the same time. It was a bitter December
day when Piccinni arrived in Paris with his wife, and his eldest
daughter, aged eighteen. "Devoted to his art, foreign to all intrigue,
to all ambition, to the morals, tastes, customs, and language of the
country, Piccinni lived in his family circle, and devoted himself
quietly to his work, in oblivion of the efforts that the Gluckists made
to thwart the success, and even to prevent the representation, of his
work. It must be said that Gluck himself stooped to be the instigator of
these intrigues."

In spite of all, the day came for the presentation of Piccinni's opera,
"Roland," and the family broke into tears when he went to the theatre.
He alone was calm in the midst of this desolation, reassured his wife,
and departed with his friends. He returned home in a triumph, which was
perhaps greater than the work deserved, but certainly not greater than
so good a man merited.

Piccinni was large-hearted enough to cherish no malice against either of
his rivals, Sacchini or Gluck. When Sacchini died, Piccinni delivered
the funeral oration, and when, a year later, Gluck died in Vienna,
Piccinni made a vain effort to organise a fitting memorial festival.

He remained upon the field of battle, and the victory for the time must
be granted him, in spite of certain defeats. Then the French Revolution
broke out, and he lost his favour with the public, and the friendship of
the aristocracy became a danger to his very life. He went to Naples,
where he found some success, and was well received by the court. But
everything seemed now to conspire against him. The Republicans of Paris
had driven him to Italy, into the arms of the aristocracy there;
whereupon, in 1792, his daughter married a French Republican. This
brought him into such disgrace with the Italian court that he did not
dare leave his house, and fell into neglect and poverty.

In 1798 he made his way back to Paris, and there his reunited family
gave little operas, sung by his wife and daughters. Here "one heard with
pleasure always new airs taken from his Italian operas, sung by Mme.
Piccinni, with a voice that age had rendered more grave and less light,
without making it less beautiful or touching, and with a method as wise
as it was learned, and well opposed to these pretentious displays, these
eternal embroideries which disfigure Italian song to-day, and which
Piccinni never admitted into his school, but which he always detested."
So says Ginguene of the theories of Piccinni, which are not, as we see,
so opposed to the theories of Gluck as we are sometimes urged to
believe. In the course of time Napoleon took up Piccinni, but he was too
old to revive under this new favour, and Ginguene has this last picture
of him:

"It was in this state that he had the courage to give a concert at his
home. The small number of amateurs who gathered there will long remember
the impression of that which one may call the last song of the swan.
They were profoundly moved to hear Mme. Piccinni sing with due
expression the beautiful air from 'Zendia,' _Lasciami, o ciel pietoso_!
composed in all the vigour of youth, by this illustrious man, now old
and unfortunate. He accompanied it now with a languishing hand, but with
eyes relighted by this beautiful production of his genius. They will not
forget the admirable 'Sommeil d'Atys,' nor the trio from 'Iphigenia in
Aulis' executed, as it had been in Naples, by the mother and the two
daughters, grouped behind a husband and father who seemed, in
accompanying them, to be reborn in the touching accord of those voices,
so tender and so dear, and to feel again some spark of that fire which
had animated him when he produced those sublime works."

Poor old Piccinni died in 1800 at the age of seventy-two, and his tomb
said that he was "_Cher aux Arts et a l'Amitie_." He left to his widow
and six children no property but the memory of his genius. Madame
Piccinni was given a pension, but she proudly declined to accept it
purely as a charity, and asked that four pupils of the Conservatoire be
assigned to her for instruction, which was done. Piccinni left two
sons; the younger had some success as an opera writer, and the elder had
a natural son, who was quite successful as a composer of operas.

Of the other participants in the Gluck-Piccinni feud there is not much
to say. Sacchini was a man of notoriously luxurious and voluptuous life,
but I do not find that he married. Salieri--whom Gluck assisted in the
most generous manner, even to the extent of having one of Salieri's
operas produced under his own name, and declaring the true author when
it was a success--was married, and had many daughters, who lavished upon
him much affection. Mehul was befriended by a Doctor Gastoldi, and
married a daughter of his benefactor. They had no children, but adopted
a nephew.

It may be well here, while we are in the midst of opera composers, to
take a glance at some of the predecessors of these men, beginning with
the first of all opera composers, who, in his declaration of what opera
should be and do, very curiously foreshadowed almost the exact words of
Gluck and Wagner, revolutionists, who were really reactionists.




CHAPTER XII.


A FEW TUNESTERS OF FRANCE AND ITALY--PERI, MONTEVERDE, ET AL.

Though it sounds strange to speak of the "invention" of opera, that is
the word which may be applied to the work of Jacopo Peri and his
friends. They, however, thought of it rather as a revival of the manner
of the ancient Greek tragedy, which was, in a sense, a crude form of
Wagnerian recitation, with musical accompaniment.

As the English novel owes its origin to the commission given to Mr.
Samuel Richardson to prepare a Ready Letter Writer, which he decided to
put in the form of a story told in letters, so grand opera, which has
almost rivalled the novel in the world's favour, found its origin in a
conference among certain aristocratic gentlemen, of the city of
Florence, concerning the possibility of reviving part of Greek tragedy.
As an experiment, they prepared a small work called "Dafne" for private
presentation at the palace of the Corsi. Rinuccini was the first of a
long and usually incompetent lineage of librettists. The music was
written by Peri and Caccini. It was appropriate that they should have
chosen the love affairs of the first musician Orpheus and the coy
Daphne, seeing what a vast amount of love-making, pretended and real,
the school of opera has handed down upon the world. Reissman has
reckoned it out that twenty thousand lovers are joined or are parted
every night in the world's theatres.

Peri played the part of Apollo, and he was fitted to play the sun-god by
his aureole of notoriously ardent hair. According to Fetis, Peri was
very avaricious. Of noble birth himself, he grew rich on the favour of
the Medicis, and added to his wealth by marrying a daughter of the house
of Fortini, who incidentally brought with her a very handsome dot. She
bore him a son, who won an early fame by his mathematics, his temper,
and his dissipations, which led his tutor, the famous Galileo, to call
him his demon. And this is all I know of the love affairs of the father
of modern opera.

His collaborator, Caccini, who was more famous among his contemporaries
than Peri, states in the preface to a book of his, that he was married
twice, both times to pupils. His former wife was a well-known singer,
and his daughters were musicians, the elder, Francesca, being also a
composer.

The name of Monteverde is immortal in the history of music, because,
although no one sings his songs now, or hears his operas, even the
strictest composers make constant use of certain musical procedures,
which were in his time forbidden, and which he fought for tooth and
nail. Irisi says that he entered the Church after the death of his wife,
and as he entered the priesthood in 1633, it would seem that she died
when he was about sixty-five years of age. He had two sons, the elder of
whom became a priest, and a tenor in his father's church; the younger
son became a physician--a good division of labour, for those patients
whom the doctor lost could send for the priest.

Monteverde's successor at St. Mark's was Heinrich Schuetz, a great
revolutionist in German music, whose chief work, and the first German
opera, was "Dafne," written to a libretto by Rinuccini, possibly the
same one used by Peri. When he was thirty-four, he married on June 1,
1619, a girl named Magdalena, who is described as "Christian Wildeck of
Saxony's land steward's bookkeeper's daughter," which description
Hawkins compares to that of "Pontius Pilate's wife's chambermaid's
sister's hat." She died six years later, having borne him two daughters.
He lived the rest of his eighty-seven years as a widower, and joined
the pathetic line of musicians who have gone deaf.


LULLY THE IMP

French opera, which was reformed by the Austrian Gluck, had been created
by the Italian Signor Lulli, who later, as Monsieur Lully, became most
French of the French. Though he was the son of a gentleman of Florence,
he was not gifted with wealth, and was taken to France to serve in the
kitchen of Mlle. de Montpensier, the chief princess of the French court.
The impishness which characterised his whole career inspired him to turn
a highly improper couplet on an accident that happened in public to
Mademoiselle,--and worst of all, he set it to music. She did not see the
fun of the joke, and dismissed him, but the king laughed so much at his
wit, that he had him presented, and interested himself in his musical
career.

The kitchen lad was a born courtier and revelled in the "atmosphere of
passion, love, and pleasure, that radiant aurora." He was always a very
dissipated man, but in July, 1662, "regularised" his life by marrying
Madeleine Lambert, daughter of the music-master of the court. "The
honour of the new family, and the dot of twenty thousand francs which he
received, made Lully a personage, and the second phase of his life
commenced." His wife bore him three sons and three daughters, who are
said to have shared his stinginess, though they built him a magnificent
monument.

It was a brilliant circle Lully moved in. He had the honour of being
hated by Boileau and La Fontaine, and of being first the friend and
collaborator, and later the enemy, of Moliere. His contract of marriage
was signed by the king, queen, and the queen-mother. Of his marriage,
Fetis says: "Never was a union better arranged, for if Lully was quick
to procure riches, his wife knew how to fructify them by the order and
the economy that reigned in her house. Lully reserved for his _menus
plaisirs_ only the price of the sale of his works, which amounted
annually to seven or eight thousand francs."

His dissipations, like those of Haendel, were chiefly confined to
excesses in eating and drinking, but for all his doubtful fidelity to
his wife, he cannot have been an ideal husband, for he was of a miserly
disposition, and his temper was enforced by a ruthless brutality. On one
occasion the singer Rochis, being in a condition that compelled a
postponement of "Armide," he demanded, angrily, "_Qui t'a fait cela_?"
and gave her a kick _qui lui fit faire une fausse couche_. This poor
woman was revenged upon him by his own temper, for at the age of
fifty-four, while conducting his orchestra, he grew indignant, and in
wildly brandishing his baton struck his own foot so fierce a blow that
gangrene set in and he died of the wound. While he was on his death-bed,
he was called upon by one of his old friends, whom his wife reproached
with having been the last to get him drunk. Whereupon the dying man
spoke up with the gaiety for which he was famous, "That's true, my dear,
and when I get well he shall be the first to get me drunk again."

In his will he named his wife as executrix, and took great care that she
and the children should preserve the royal monopoly in the Academy of
Music. Lully had been reconciled only eight days before his death, with
his son, whom he had previously disinherited. His wife outlived him
twenty-three years, and died May 3, 1720, at the age of seventy-seven.

When the superb mausoleum was built for Lully by his widow, some unknown
poet, who hated him for his _moeurs infames_, scrawled on his tomb these
terrific lines:

  "Pourquoi, par un faste nouveau,
  Nous rappeler la scandaleuse histoire
  D'un libertin, indigne de memoire,
  Peut-etre meme indigne du tombeau."

It was in some of his operas, I believe, that certain roles were sung by
Mlle. de Maupin, whose incredibly wild, scandalous, and ambiguous love
affairs, and duels in male costume, made the material for Gautier's
famous romance.


THE TACITURN RAMEAU

The next great master in French opera was Rameau (1683--1764), who
resembled Lully in his stinginess, but not in his brilliant social
qualities. As a boy he neglected his lessons in language for his
music-books. His parents' efforts were in vain, and his teachers gave
him up as hopeless; but at the age of sixteen or seventeen he fell in
love with a young widow, who was a neighbour of his. His letters to her,
brought from her the crushing statement:

"You spell like a scullion."

This rebuke woke him to his senses as far as orthography was concerned,
but his father did not approve of the widow as a teacher, and sent him
to Italy to break off the relation. Some years later he returned to the
town, but as he remained only a short time, he evidently did not
reillumine his first flame.

He did not wed until he was forty-three years old, and then on February
25, 1726, he married the eighteen-year-old Marie Louise Mangot. Of her
Maret says: "Madame Rameau is a virtuous woman, sweet and amiable, and
she has made her husband very happy. She has much talent for music, a
very pretty voice, and good taste in song." They had three children,
one a son, who became equerry to the king, a daughter who became a nun,
and another who married a musketeer.

Baron Grimm accuses Rameau of being "a savage, a stranger to every
sentiment of humanity." The great Diderot, in a book called "The Nephew
of Rameau," referred caustically to Rameau's experiments and theories in
acoustics, and added:

"He is a philosopher in his way; he thinks only of himself, and the rest
of the universe is as the puff of a bellows. His daughter and his wife
have only to die when they please; provided the bells of the parish
which toll for them continue to sound the 12th and the 17th overtones,
all will be well."

Fetis credits these feelings to men who loved neither Rameau nor French
music. He paid a pension to his invalid sister. "Sombre and unsociable
he fled the world, and kept, even amid his family, a silence almost
absolute." I do not know whether or not Rameau's wife survived him.


PERGOLESI

In his old age Rameau said that if he were twenty years younger, he
would go to Italy and take Pergolesi for his master in harmony. This
brilliant genius, Pergolesi, died in 1736, at the age of twenty-six. It
was consumption that carried him off, and I find no record of any love
of his. The saccharine romance-monger, Elise Polko, has a rather
mawkish story which she connects with his name, though on what
authority, I am ignorant. As Lincoln said, "For those that like that
sort of thing, it is about the sort of thing they'll like."


KEISER

A contemporary of his was Reinhard Keiser, who died three years later at
the age of sixty-six, and who wrote one hundred and sixteen operas for
the German stage. Like his contemporary, Haendel, he attempted
management, and like Haendel went into a magnificent bankruptcy, but
quite unlike the woman-hater Haendel, he married his way out of poverty.
In 1709 he entered into a matrimonial and financial partnership with the
daughter of an aristocratic town musician of Oldenburg, Hamburg. She was
a distinguished singer, and her talent brought new charm to the
production of his works, and restored prosperity. She seems to have died
before him, for twenty years after his marriage he went to Moscow with
his daughter, who was a prominent singer, and had an engagement there.
She married a Russian violinist, Verocai, and her father spent his last
years at her home.

BONONCINI AND THE SCARLATTIS

Of that exquisite and elegant scamp Bononcini, who was the great rival
of Haendel in the London operatic war, I find no amorous gossip, though
Hawkins says he was the favourite of the Duchess of Marlborough, who
gave him a pension of L500 per year, and had him live in her home until
he was compelled to leave London, by various scandals attached to his
repute as an honest gentleman. He had been in his youth a great admirer
of the style of Alessandro Scarlatti, an eminent composer, both in opera
and sacred music, of whom little is known, except his work; he left a
son, Domenico, who was hardly less famous. But he was a confirmed
gambler, and left his family in great destitution, from which the famous
artificial soprano, Farinelli, rescued them.




CHAPTER XIII.


MOZART

As we come nearer to our own day, the documents concerning the personal
lives of composers begin to multiply. Of the love of Bach we have only
that tantalising allusion to the "stranger maiden." Of Haydn we have
amorous documents enough to make a brochure. When we reach Mozart, his
letters alone fill two comfortable volumes. Of Beethoven there are still
more numerous possessions. By Wagner and Liszt we are fairly
overwhelmed.

Search not for the artist's self in his works of art. This is good
cautious advice. But there are occasional exceptions, and of these
Mozart is the most radiant. The qualities of eternal youth and of
juventine gaiety; of intimate tenderness; of swagger that winks while it
swaggers; of love that is ever deep but sunlit to the depth; and of
tragedy with a touch of fatalistic horror,--all those qualities that are
found scattered through his sonatas and symphonies and his various
operas--all the qualities that are combined in "Don Giovanni," are the
qualities of Mozart's own nature, always excepting the ruthlessness and
the fanatic libertinism of his Don Juan.

Schopenhauer says that the genius is he who never quite outgrows the
childhood of his attitude toward the world. Mozart was always the
sublime child.

All the qualities of youth give life and personality to his letters, and
place them consequently among the most delightful letters in existence.
Ludwig Nohl collected most of them into two volumes, and Lady Wallace
has translated them into English, with a certain amount of inaccuracy,
but a surprising amount of spirit withal. They may be picked up without
much difficulty, though they are out of print; and any one interested in
musicians or in lovers or in letters, should make haste to add these two
golden volumes to his library.

As the first letter was written in his thirteenth year and the last in
the thirty-fifth and final year of his life, and as they constitute two
volumes of the size of this one, it is manifest that I am here empowered
only to make a skimming summary of his heart-history--woe's me!

The human affections grow by exercise. Mozart was so devoted and so
enthusiastic in his fondness for his father and mother and his sister
that his heart was graduated early for any demand. The most unmusical
people know that Mozart stands unrivalled among infant prodigies, that
he was a pocket-Paderewski, at a period when most children cannot even
trundle a hoop, and that he was deep in composition before the usual
child is out of kilts. Everybody has seen the pictures of the littler
Mozart and his little sister perched like robins on a piano stool and
giving a concert before crowned heads, with the assistance of the father
and the mother, themselves musicians.

The elder Mozart made a life-work out of the career of his children,
though he was a gifted musician and a shrewd and intelligent man on his
own account. He was in no sense one of your child-beating brutes who
make an easy livelihood by turning their children into slaves. He
believed that his son was capable of being one of the world's greatest
musicians, and he gave a splendid and permanent demonstration of his
theory. Through all his vicarious ambition he kept his son's love and
kept it almost to the point of idolatry. Indeed the boy once wrote,
"Next to God comes papa."

The domestic relations of the family were indeed as happy as they well
could be. Mozart's letters to his sister, Maria Anna, who was nicknamed
"Nannerl," are brimful of cheerful affection and of sprightly interest
in her own love affairs. His relations with his mother and father were
full, not only of filial piety, but of that far better proof of real
affection, a playful humour.

Mozart's mother died in Paris when her son and she were there alone
together. He wrote the news of her death to a friend of his father's and
bade him tell the father only that she was seriously ill but would
probably recover, and gradually to prepare him for the worst. This
letter he wrote at two o'clock in the morning; the same night he wrote
his father a long letter full of news, incidentally saying that his
mother was very ill, but that he hoped for the best, and that, in any
case, resignation to the will of God was imperative. A few days later he
wrote another letter telling the bitter truth, and telling it with most
devout concern for his father's health and reconciliation with the
divine dispensation. In this letter he seems rather the father to his
own father than the young gallant of twenty-two. It was a good heart the
boy had.

Mozart had been so much caressed and flattered by court beauties as a
child that he was precocious in flirtation. His sister was the
confidante and messenger of all sorts of boyish amours. There is a fine
mysteriousness in the letters he wrote his mother while he was making a
musical conquest of Milan like a veteran musician, and betraying his
fourteen-year-old boyishness only in such phrases as this: "I kiss
your hand a thousand times, and have a great deal to say to my sister;
but what? That is known only to God and myself. Please God I hope soon
to be able to confide it to her verbally."

This does not sound like the writing of a composer who was adding in a
letter a few days later, "Pray to God that my opera may be successful."
The opera was successful, and the Pope gave him a knighthood; and he was
only fourteen years old!

Perhaps this mysterious sweetheart is the same one he alludes to later
as Annamindl, and concerning whom he sends his sister such solemn
messages as these:

"Don't, I entreat, forget about _the one other_, where no other can ever
be."

"Say to Fraulein W. von Moelk that I rejoice at the thought of Salzburg,
in the hope that I may again receive the same kind of present, for the
minuets which was bestowed on me at a similar concert. She knows all
about it."

"Carissima Sorella,--Spero che voi sarete stata dalla Signora, che voi
gia sapete."

"My dearest Sister,--I entreat you not to forget before your journey, to
perform your promise, that is, to make a certain visit. I have my
reasons for this. Pray present my kind regards in that quarter, but in
the most impressive and tender manner,--the most tender; and, oh,--but I
need not be in such anxiety. I beg my compliments to Roxalana, who is to
drink tea this evening with the Sultan. All sorts of pretty speeches to
Madlle Mizerl; she must not doubt my love. I have her constantly before
my eyes in her fascinating _neglige_. I have seen many pretty girls
here, but not one whose beauty can be compared with hers." The
daughter of Doctor Barisani, the family physician, was for a time his
heart's queen. Later Rosa Cannabich was "the magnet." And Wendling's
daughter paid her visit to his heart's best room.

These instances of puppy-love can have given little anxiety to the
father and mother; but soon old Leopold began to fear that this amorous
activity might interfere with his son's wedlock to his art. When,
therefore, he was sixteen years old and began to take a solemn interest
in an opera singer at Munich, to weep over the beauty of her singing,
and to seek her acquaintance, the father began to protest. This was
Mlle. Keiserin, the daughter of a cook, and Mozart was later a little
ashamed of his easy enthusiasm.

There seems to be an implied affair, perhaps more serious, in this
letter to his father, dated 1777--he was born in 1756:

"As to the baker's daughter, I have no objection to make; I foresaw all
this long ago. This was the cause of my reluctance to leave home, and
finding it so difficult to go. I hope the affair is not by this time
known all over Salzburg. I beg you, dear papa, most urgently to keep the
matter quiet as long as possible, and in the meantime to pay her father
on my account any expense he may have incurred by her entrance into the
convent, which I will repay gladly when I return to Salzburg."

Meanwhile he was well immersed in his dalliance with his Baesle, or
cousin. In 1777, when Mozart was twenty-one and travelling on a
concert-tour with his mother, he met, at Augsburg, Marianne Mozart, the
daughter of his uncle, a book-binder. His experience at Augsburg with
certain impertinent snobs disgusted him with the place, and he wrote his
father that the meeting with his fair cousin was the only compensation
of visiting the town. He found her "pretty, intelligent, lovable,
clever, and gay," and, like him, "rather inclined to be satirical."

They struck up a correspondence which shows him in most hilarious moods.
His letters are full of that _possenhaften Jargon_ with which he
sprinkled his letters to his sister. He calls his cousin by the pet name
of Baesle, with which he rhymes "Haesle," a colloquial word for "rabbit."
His first letter to her overflows with nonsense and meaningless rhymes,
puns, and quibbles, such as:

"Ich hoffe, Sie werden auch meinen Brief--trief, welchen
ich Ihnen aus Mannheim geschrieben erhalten haben--schaben.
Desto besser, besser desto!"

Lady Wallace has made a translation which reproduces well the nonsense
if not literally the sense. This is a sample:

"My dear Coz-Buzz:--I have safely received your precious
epistle--thistle, and from it I perceive--achieve, that my
aunt--gaunt, and you--shoe, are quite well--bell. I have
to-day a letter--setter, from my papa--ah-ha, safe in my
hands--sands."

A week later he writes her a letter beginning:

"My dear niece, cousin, daughter! mother, sister, and wife!--Potz
Himmel! Croatians, demons, witches, hags, and cross batteries! Potz
Element! air, earth, fire and water! Europe, Asia, Africa, and America!
Jesuits, Augustines, Benedictines, Capucins, Minorites, Franciscans,
Dominicans, Carthusians, and Knights of the Cross! privateers, canons
regular and irregular, sluggards, rascals, scoundrels, imps, and
villains all! donkeys, buffaloes, oxen, fools, blockheads, numskulls,
and foxes! What means this? Four soldiers and three shoulder-belts! Such
a packet and no portrait!"

It seems that she had promised him her picture! She sends it later, and
it is still in the Mozart Museum, showing her, as Jahn declares, to have
a good-natured and cheerful face, and rather a stocky figure; he adds,
"Without being beautiful she seems right pleasing." It is certain that
in whatever butterfly humour Mozart regarded her, she took him and his
kisses and his flowery declarations seriously. Had he not said in this
very letter, "love me as I love you, and then we shall never cease
loving each other?" Had he not thence broken into French?

"Je vous baise vos mains,--votre visage--afin, tout ce que vous me
permettez de baiser. Je suis de tout mon coeur," etc.

His sister later had a target painted for a club of Salzburg friends who
met for crossbow practice, and the target represented "the melancholy
farewell of two persons dissolved in tears, Wolfgang and the Baesle."

His flirtations with his cousin seemed to have angered his father, who
was eager for him to go to France and conquer Paris. The father was the
more indignant as Mozart was at the same time becoming entangled with
Aloysia Weber--of whom more later. Mozart loved his father and treated
him with the utmost respect, but he could rise to a sense of his own
dignity when the occasion demanded, and he wrote him:

"The bitter way in which you write about my merry and innocent
intercourse with your brother's daughter, makes me justly indignant; but
it is not as you think. I require to give you no answer on the subject."

A few days later he writes to his cousin with all the old hilarity, his
letter being mostly in doggerel rhyme beginning:

"You may think or believe that I have croaked (_crepirt_)
or kicked the bucket (_verreckt_). But I beg you not to think
so, for how could I write so beautifully if I were dead?"

Nearly a year later he writes to her regretting that he could not have
her visit him at Kaisersheim, and begging her to meet him in Munich.

In Munich it was Mozart's fate to find a tragedy awaiting him, for
Aloysia (whom he had loved as solemnly as he had loved his cousin
frivolously, and to whom he looked forward longingly after his long
absence) showed herself indifferent. He had planned that his cousin
should "have a great part to play in this meeting with Aloysia." This I
would rather interpret as evidence that Mozart was quite ignorant of any
deep affection in his cousin. There is nothing in his life that shows
him as anything other than the most tender-hearted of men, and it is
inconceivable that he should have brought his cousin to Munich simply to
drag her at the chariot of his triumph with Aloysia.

And yet his flirtation with the Baesle certainly went past mere bantering
and repartee. She stayed several weeks in Munich and must have furnished
Mozart grateful diversion from his humiliation. She went with him to
Salzburg and later, when she returned to her own home, we find him
writing with the same exuberance, addressing her as--

"Dearest, best, lovingest, fairest, enticingest,
by-an-unworthy-cousin-to-harness-broken."

With her name he puns on _Baesle_ and _Bass_, thence, "_Baeschen oder
Violoncellchen_"--a little bass-viol or violoncelline. He writes, as he
says, to appease her "alluring beauty (_visibilia et invisibilia_)
heightened by wrath to the height of your slipper-heel." Then he writes
her a passionate parody on a poem of Klopstock's, and writes it in
circular form around his own sketch of her portrait, which implies
neither beauty on her part nor art on his.

This is the last letter he seems ever to have written her excepting a
business letter two years later. And this marks the end of a flirtation
which he seems to have regarded as sheer frivolity. But this was not her
mood. Biographer Jahn says:

"The Baesle seems to have taken her cousin's courtship seriously; at
least all the neighbours thought from the way she spoke of him that
there was something of deluded expectation in her tone. She spoke
neither gladly nor often of this time. She was not musical and could not
have had a proper appreciation of Mozart's artistic value. His vivacity
and velocity of musical performance seemed comical to her. Of her later
life nothing is known to me; she lived later with the Postmaster Streite
in Bayreuth and died there Jan. 25, 1841, at the great age of
eighty-three."

So much for the Baesle. Poor girl! But while the hollyhock was taking the
bee's fickleness so solemnly, a rose was revenging her upon him. A more
serious--for Mozart a very serious--affair, was his infatuation with
Aloysia Weber, a fifteen-year-old girl with much beauty and little
heart.

When Mozart was in Manheim in 1778, writing flowery letters to the
Baesle, he had occasion to have certain music copied, to be sung before
the Princess of Orange, who had become interested in his work. The
copyist was also a prompter in the theatre and a very poor, but
hospitable man. His name was Weber, and his brother became the father
of Carl Maria von Weber, the composer.

The fact that Weber was poor was the first recommendation to Mozart.
Another magnet was, that Weber had a daughter fifteen years old who was
gifted with a voice and seemed capable of a great artistic career. It
was this vicarious ambition that had interested him in the young singer
Keiserin some years before. And now we find him writing to his father on
Jan. 17, 1778, the following description of the Weber family:

"He has a daughter who sings admirably, and has a lovely pure voice; she
is only fifteen. She fails in nothing but in stage action; were it not
for that, she might be the prima donna of any theatre. Her father is a
downright honest German who brings up his children well, for which very
reason the girl is persecuted here. He has six children,--five girls and
a son. He and his wife and children have been obliged to live for the
last fourteen years on an income of 200 florins, but as he has already
done his duty well, and has lately provided a very accomplished singer
for the Elector, he has now actually 400 florins. My aria for De' Amicis
she sings to perfection with all its tremendous passages."

He and his mother had been living with the Wendlings. Frl. Wendling, who
had engaged Mozart's interest for a time, turned out to be a
disreputable character and the father to be devoid of all religion. The
deeply pious Mozart writes in the same letter to his father, "Friends
who have no religion cannot long be our friends." Then, with man's usual
consistency, he outlines the white lie by which he is going to break
off the association with the Wendlings; and goes on to say that he
wishes to form a similar connection with the Weber family. The daughter
Aloysia is improving vastly in her singing under his tuition; he has
written an aria especially for her, and he plans a trip to Italy
principally for her benefit. They could live very comfortably, he says,
because Aloysia's eldest sister could cook. The father Weber reminds him
greatly of his own father, and Aloysia will be, he is sure, a congenial
friend for Nannerl.

Mozart is so much in love with Aloysia that in this long letter to his
father he declares:

"I am so deeply touched with this oppressed family that my greatest wish
is to make them happy, and perhaps I may be able to do so.... I will be
answerable with my life for her singing, and her doing credit to my
recommendation.... I will gladly write an opera for Verona for thirty
zeccini, solely that Madlle. Weber may acquire fame by it; for if I
don't, I fear she may be sacrificed.... I have now written you of what
is in my heart; my mother is satisfied with my plans."

How well the mother was satisfied with the plans is evident from the
postscript in her own hand, added secretly to the letter and displaying
a slight touch of motherly jealousy:

"No doubt you perceive by the accompanying letter that when Wolfgang
makes new friends he would give his life for them. It is true that she
does sing incomparably; still, we ought not to lose sight of our own
interests. I write this quite secretly while he is at dinner, for I
don't wish him to know it."

Five days afterwards Mozart recurs to the subject, referring to a friend
who married for money and commenting:

"I hope never to marry in this way; I wish to make my wife happy, but
not to become rich by her means.... The nobility must not marry from
love or inclination, but from interest, and all kinds of other
considerations. It would not at all suit a grandee to love his wife
after she had done her duty, and brought in to the world an heir to his
property. But we poor humble people are privileged not only to choose a
wife who loves us, and whom we love, but we may, can, and do take such a
one, because we are neither noble, nor high-born, nor rich, but, on the
contrary, lowly, humble, and poor; we therefore need no wealthy wife,
for our wealth, being in our heads, dies with us, and these no man can
deprive us of, unless he cut them off, in which case we need nothing
more."

Next week he writes again asking his father to concern himself for the
Webers. The poor father had been imploring Wolfgang to go to Paris for
fame and fortune's sake. Now he finds him so far from being willing to
pursue his own promising career, that he wishes to give up all thought
of Paris and subordinate his genius to the task of boosting into fame
the daughter of a poverty-stricken music-copyist!

Leopold answers in the violent tone he could adopt on occasions, and
tries to distract his son's attention by appealing to his ambition. He
asks him to decide whether he wishes to become "a commonplace artist
whom the world will forget, or a celebrated capellmeister of whom
posterity will read years after in books,--whether, infatuated with a
pretty face you one day breathe your last on a straw sack, your wife and
children in a state of starvation, or, after a well-spent Christian
life, you die in honour and independence and your family well provided
for.... Get to Paris without delay, take your place by the side of
really great people. _Aut Caesar ant nihil_."

Little the father could have realised how much truth there was to be in
the dark side of his prophecy; and that, too, in spite of the fact that
his son took his advice. Leaving Aloysia behind, the son and his mother
went to Paris.

He landed there in the very midst of the tempest raging around Gluck.
Paris did not at all please Mozart, and the French people disgusted him.
For this Paris was not entirely to blame, seeing that Mozart had gone
there unwillingly and was parted from his beloved Aloysia. It was in
Paris, too, that his mother died. And now, while he was so deeply
concerned for Aloysia's career and was trying so desperately to secure
her an engagement in Paris, she was blandly forgetting him. Of this,
however, he had no suspicion until he reached Munich, where she, the
star of his heart and of his ambition, was waiting for him.

What the change was that had come over Aloysia it is impossible to tell.
The first thought is that, having risen to prominence by Mozart's
tuition and assistance, she spurned the ladder that had uplifted her.
But Nohl's theory that her head was turned by her admission to the
favour that quickly surrounds the successful prima donna is hardly to be
held, in view of the fact that in rejecting a man of Mozart's prominence
she took the actor Lange, who had little, if any, more prominence. It
was doubtless simply the old story of the one who loves and the other
who lets herself be loved, just to keep up practice, until she learns to
love elsewhere.

When Mozart reached Munich, he was still in mourning for his mother, and
dressed according to the French custom of the time, in red coat with
black buttons. He hurried to meet Aloysia and felt at once the chill of
her jilt. The lips once so warm under his gave him merely the formal
German kiss. She seemed scarcely to recognise the one for whose sake
once she shed so many tears. Whereupon Mozart immediately flung himself
upon the piano stool and sang, in a loud voice, with forced gaiety, "Ich
lass das Maedel gern das mich nicht will,"--which you might translate,
"Gladly I give up the girl that gives up me." It was on Christmas Day
that Mozart had hastened to the presence of his beloved. For the
Christmas gift she gave him back his heart! and right gallantly he took
it. But his gaiety was hollow, and when he went to the house of a friend
he locked himself in a room and wept for days.

Still he continued to live with the Webers and to brave out his despair
before them all. He feared to turn to his father for full sympathy, and
his fears were apparently justified, for his father seemed only to have
answered with rebuking him for his foolish "dreams of pleasure." To this
ill-timed reproof Mozart answered:

"What do you mean by dreams of pleasure? I do not wish to give up
dreaming, for what mortal on the whole compass of the earth does not
often dream? above all, dreams of pleasure--peaceful dreams, sweet,
cheering dreams, if you will--dreams which, if realised, would have
rendered my life (now far rather sad than happy) more endurable."

In a few weeks, however, he returned home to Salzburg, and there his
cousin the Baesle, who had brightened a part of his trial in Munich,
followed him. And this was in the month of January of the year 1779.

As for Aloysia, she had cause enough to regret jilting one of the
greatest, as well as one of the most gentle, souls in the world. She
married the actor Lange and lived unhappily with him. According to
Jahn, each both gave and received cause for jealousy. Years after,
Mozart drifted back into her vicinity under curious circumstances. The
lovers became good friends, and such friends, that for him, at least,
Lange could not feel jealousy, according to Jahn, who adds, "Otherwise
he would hardly have taken the role of Pierrot in the pantomime in which
his wife played Columbine and Mozart the Harlequin."

Nohl thus sums up the whole affair: "Neither happiness nor riches
brightened Aloysia's path in life, nor the peace of mind arising from
the consciousness of purity of heart. Not till she was an aged woman,
and Mozart long dead, did she recognise what he had really been; she
liked to talk about him and his friendship, and in thus recalling the
brightest memories of her youth, some of that lovable charm seemed to
revive that Mozart had imparted to her and to all with whom he had any
intercourse. Every one was captivated by her gay, unassuming manner, her
freedom from all the usual virtuoso caprices in society, and her
readiness to give pleasure by her talent to every one, as if a portion
of the tender spirit with which Mozart once loved her had passed into
her soul and brought forth fresh leaves from a withered stem. But years
of faults and follies intervened for Aloysia. Meanwhile, he parted from
her with much pain, though the esteem with which he had hitherto
regarded her was no longer the same."

       *       *       *       *       *

Of all strange things in the strange history of lives upon this earth,
there cannot be many more strange than this, that Mozart, after being so
sadly treated by this woman, should have his next love affair with her
youngest sister. A novelist would not dare tax the credulity of his
readers with such a plot. But such impossibilities and implausibilities
belong exclusively to the historian.

The Webers moved to Vienna where Aloysia was highly successful as a
prima donna. In March, 1781, the Archbishop, to whom Mozart played the
part of musical lackey, summoned him to the same city. The Archbishop
was one whose petty malicious and grinding temper almost drove the pious
Mozart to contempt of all churchmen. At least he drove him finally to a
declaration of independence which, in our modern eyes, he was very long
in reaching. The Archbishop's brother, Count Arco, was so infuriated at
the impertinence of a mere musical flunkey, like Mozart, daring to
present a formal resignation, that he heaped abuse upon him and finally
kicked him out of the room. Everybody knows about this kick, but
seemingly ignores the fact that Mozart was restrained from retaliation
only by the fact that he was in the apartment of the prince, and that
it was the dream of his life and his very definite plan to meet Count
Arco and return the kick with interest. But the Archbishop and the count
went back to Salzburg and the opportunity did not occur.

The portrait usually presented of Mozart meekly accepting the
humiliation is of a piece with the legend that Keats died of a broken
heart because of a bitter review of his poetry. The fact being, of
course, that Keats' death was due to constitutional weakness, and that
the emotion inspired by the attack upon his art was a burning desire to
punch the critic's head.

Strange to say, Mozart could not convince his pusillanimous father that
he did not owe an apology to the Archbishop for being kicked. But he was
so deeply offended that he never returned to Salzburg. So much for those
who cherish the pathetic belief that the days of patrons were of benefit
to the artist and his art.

Mozart did not starve upon being left positionless in Vienna. The
emperor desired to establish a national opera, and Mozart took up the
composition of his "Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail." In the first moment
of his quarrel with the Archbishop Mozart had left the retinue and
sought rooms outside. Where could he go for a home but back to the
household of the Webers?--now more than ever in poverty since the good
father had died and Aloysia had married soon after obtaining her new
engagement.

The very name of Weber was a red rag to Leopold Mozart, and he began a
series of bitter rebukes, which the son answered with ample dignity and
gentleness.

"What you write about the Webers, I do assure, is not the fact. I was a
fool about Madame Lange, I own; but what is a man not when he is in
love? But I did love her truly, and even now I feel that she is not
indifferent to me; it is perhaps, therefore, fortunate that her husband
is a jealous booby and never leaves her, so that I seldom have an
opportunity of seeing her. Believe me when I say that old Madame Weber
is a very obliging person, and I cannot serve her in proportion to her
kindness to me, for indeed I have not time to do so."

A little later one of Mozart's letters is interrupted and is finished in
a strange hand as follows:

  "Your good son has just been summoned by Countess
  Thun, and he has not time to finish the letter to his dear
  father, which he much regrets, and requests me to let you
  know this, for, being post-day, he does not wish you to be
  without a letter from him. Next post he will write again.
  I hope you will excuse my P.S., which cannot be so agreeable
  to you as what your son would have written. I beg
  my compliments to your amiable daughter. I am your
  obedient friend,

  "CONSTANZE WEBER."


This is the first appearance in Mozart's correspondence of this name.
Constanze Weber was the younger sister of Aloysia. She had no dramatic
or vocal ambition, though she had musical taste and sang and played
fairly well, especially at sight. Strangely enough, she had an unusual
fondness for fugues and made Mozart write down many of his
improvisations.

The gossips of Vienna lost no time in construing his renewal of
friendship with the Webers. The buzz became so noisy that it reached the
alert ears of the father in Salzburg, and he wrote demanding that
Wolfgang should move at once.

Mozart answered that he had been planning to move, but only to quiet the
gossip that he is to marry Constanze--ridiculous gossip, he calls it.

"I will not say that, living in the same house with the young lady to
whom people have married me, I am ill-bred and do not speak to her, but
I am not in love with her. I banter and jest with her when time permits
(which is only in the evenings when I chance to be at home, for in the
morning I write in my room, and in the afternoon am rarely in the
house), but nothing more. If I were obliged to marry all those with whom
I have jested, I should have at least two hundred wives."

Among the rooms elsewhere offered to Mozart was one at Aurnhammer's. The
daughter of the family threw herself at Mozart's head with a vengeance.
According to his picture of her, she was so ugly and untidy that even
Mozart could not flirt with her. He draws an amusing picture of his
predicament--a sort of Venus and Adonis affair, with a homely Venus:

"She is not satisfied with my being two hours every day with her,--I am
to sit there the livelong day while she tries to be agreeable. But,
worse still, she is seriously smitten with me. I thought at first it was
a joke, but now I know it to be a fact. When I first observed it--by her
beginning to take liberties, such as reproaching me tenderly if I came
later than usual, or could not stay long, and similar things--I was
obliged, to prevent her making a fool of herself, to tell her the truth
in a civil manner. This, however, did no good, and she became more
loving than ever. At last I was always very polite, except when she
began any of her pranks, and then I snubbed her bluntly; but one day she
took my hand and said, 'Dear Mozart, don't be so cross; you may say what
you please I shall always like you.' All the people here say that we are
to be married, and great surprise is expressed at my choosing such a
face. She told me that when she heard anything of the sort she always
laughed at it. I know, however, from a third person, that she confirms
it, adding that we are to travel immediately afterwards. This did enrage
me. I told her my opinion pretty plainly, and warned her not to take
advantage of my good nature. Now I no longer go there every day, but
only every two days, so the report will gradually die away. She is
nothing but an amorous fool."

Life in Vienna has always been gay enough. In those days it was far from
prudish and Mozart was always of unusual fascination for women. He loved
frivolity and went about much, but he seems by no means to have deserved
the reputation given him by the gossip of that time and this, that he
was a confirmed rake. It is impossible for any one acquainted with
Mozart's career and letters to accuse him of studious hypocrisy, and
this accusation is necessary to support the theory that he was anything
but a serious-minded toiler, and for his time and surroundings a
well-behaved and conscientious man.

He finally left the home of the Webers and had previously written his
father, as we have seen, that he was not at all in love with Constanze.
But he was either in love with her without knowing it, or he soon
tumbled headlong in love with her; for, soon after leaving the house, he
plighted his troth with her.

He was some time, however, in mustering courage enough to break the news
to his father. To a letter dated December 5, 1781, he added a vague hint
of new ideas. This was enough to provoke his father's curiosity. It was
satisfied in Mozart's long reply of December 15th:

"My very dearest father, you demand an explanation of the words in the
closing sentence of my last letter. Oh! how gladly long ago would I have
opened my heart to you; but I was deterred, by the reproaches I dreaded,
from even thinking of such a thing at so unseasonable a time, although
merely thinking can never be unseasonable. My endeavours are directed at
present to securing a small but certain income, which, together with
what chance may put in my way, may enable me to live--and to marry! You
are alarmed at this idea; but I entreat you, my dearest, kindest father,
to listen to me. I have been obliged to disclose to you my purpose; you
must therefore allow me to disclose to you my reasons also, and very
well-grounded reasons they are.

"My feelings are strong, but I cannot live as many other young men do.
In the first place, I have too great a sense of religion, too much love
for my neighbour to do so, and too high a feeling of honour to deceive
any innocent girl. My disposition has always inclined me more to
domestic life than to excitement; I never have from my youth upward been
in the habit of taking any charge of my linen or clothes, etc., and I
think nothing is more desirable for me than a wife. I assure you I am
forced to spend a good deal owing to the want of proper care of what I
possess. I am quite convinced that I should be far better off with a
wife (and the same income I now have), for how many other superfluous
expenses would it save! An unmarried man, in my opinion, enjoys only
half of life.

"But now, who is the object of my love? Do not be startled, I entreat
you. Not one of the Webers, surely? Yes, one of the Webers,--not
Josepha, not Sophie, but the third daughter, Constanze. I never met with
such diversity of dispositions in any family. The eldest is idle,
coarse, and deceitful--crafty and cunning as a fox; Madame Lange
(Aloysia) is false and unprincipled, and a coquette; the youngest is
still too young to have her character defined,--she is merely a good
humoured, frivolous girl; may God guard her from temptation!

"The third, however, namely, my good and beloved Constanze, is the
martyr of the family, and, probably on this very account, the kindest
hearted, the cleverest, and, in short, the best of them all; she takes
charge of the whole house, and yet does nothing right in their eyes. Oh!
my dear father, I could write you pages were I to describe to you all
the scenes I have witnessed in that house. She is not plain, but at the
same time far from being handsome; her whole beauty consists of a pair
of bright black eyes and a pretty figure. She is not witty, but has
enough of sound good sense to enable her to fulfil her duties as a wife
and mother. Her dress is always neat and nice, however simple, and she
can herself make most of the things requisite for a young lady. She
dresses her own hair, understands housekeeping, and has the best heart
in the world. I love her with my whole soul, as she does me. Tell me if
I could wish for a better wife. All I now wish is, that I may procure
some permanent situation (and this, thank God, I have good hopes of),
and then I shall never cease entreating your consent to my rescuing this
poor girl, and thus making, I may say, all of us quite happy, as well as
Constanze and myself; for, if I am happy, you are sure to be so, dearest
father, and one-half of the proceeds of my situation shall be yours.
Pray, have compassion on your son."


This news was answered by a simoom of rage from Salzburg. The father had
a partial justification for his wrath in the fact that a busybody had
carried to him all manner of slander about Mozart and, likewise, slander
about Constanze. He writes reminding Wolfgang of his mistake about
Aloysia, and mentions a rumour that Wolfgang had been decoyed into
signing a written contract of marriage with Constanze. To this Mozart
writes very frankly and in a manner that shows Constanze in a beautiful
light:


"You are well aware that, her father being no longer alive, a guardian
stands in his place. To him (who is not acquainted with me) busybodies
and officious gentlemen must have no doubt brought all sorts of reports,
such as, that he must beware of me, that I have no fixed income, that I
would perhaps leave her in the lurch, etc., etc. The guardian became
very uneasy at these insinuations. We conversed together, and the result
was (as I did not explain myself so clearly as he desired) that he
insisted on the mother putting an end to all intercourse between her
daughter and myself until I had settled the affair with him in writing.
What could I do? I was forced either to give a contract in writing or
renounce the girl. Who that sincerely and truly loves can forsake his
beloved? Would not the mother of the girl herself have placed the worst
interpretation on such conduct? Such was my position. The contract was
in this form:

"'I bind myself to marry Madlle. Constanze Weber in the course of three
years, and if it should so happen, which I consider impossible, that I
change my mind, she shall be entitled to draw on me every year for 300
florins.'

"Nothing in the world could be easier than to write this, for I knew
that the payment of 300 florins never would be exacted, because I could
never forsake her; and if unhappily I altered my views, I would only be
too glad to get rid of her by paying the 300 florins; and Constanze, as
I knew her, would be too proud to let herself be sold in this way.

"But what did the angelic girl do when her guardian was gone? She
desired her mother to give her the written paper, saying to me, 'Dear
Mozart, I require no written contract from you. I rely on your promise.'
She tore up the paper. This trait endeared Constanze still more to me."


The correspondence between father and son waxed fast and furious. Mozart
does not attempt to defend Madame Weber or the guardian, but he will not
have a word said against the devotion and honour of his Constanze.
Jealous perhaps of the activity of the prospective father-in-law, Madame
Weber now began to go into training for a traditional rendition of the
role of mother-in-law. She made the life of her daughter and of Mozart
as miserable as possible, and fixed in them the determination that,
whatever happened, they would not live with her after they were married.
Mozart and his sweetheart made a determined combination to win the
affection of Mozart's sister, and Constanze sent to Nannerl many a
little present, apologising because she was too poor to send anything
worth sending. Finally she was bold enough to enclose a letter to
Nannerl. The composition of such a letter under such circumstances is,
at best, no easy matter, and I cannot help thinking that Constanze has
evolved a little model:

"MY DEAR AND VALUED FRIEND:--I never should have been so bold as to
yield to my wish and longing to write to you direct, if your brother had
not assured me that you would not take amiss this step on my part. I do
so from my earnest desire to make acquaintance, by writing at least,
with a person who, though as yet unknown to me, bears the name of
Mozart, a name so precious to me. May I venture to say that, though I
have not had the pleasure of seeing you, I already love and esteem you
as the sister of so excellent a brother? I therefore presume to ask you
for your friendship. Without undue pride I think I may say that I partly
deserve it, and shall wholly strive to do so. I venture to offer you
mine, which, indeed, has long been yours in my secret heart. I trust I
may do so, and in this hope I remain your faithful friend, CONSTANZE
WEBER.

"My compliments to your papa."

With so much quarrelling going on around them and concerning them, it is
small wonder that the two lovers were finally nagged into the condition
of such nervousness that they fell to quarrelling with each other. One
feud adds spice to the very first of these letters to Constanze, which
she so carefully guarded,--Aloysia Weber seems never to have preserved
any of Mozart's correspondence. It throws also a curious light on the
social diversions of Vienna society at that time.

"VIENNA, April 29, 1782.

"MY DEAR AND BELOVED FRIEND:--You still, I hope, allow me to give you
this name? Surely you do not hate me so much that I may no longer be
your friend, nor you mine? And even if you do not choose henceforth to
be called my friend, you cannot prevent my thinking of you as tenderly
as I have always done. Reflect well on what you said to me to-day. In
spite of my entreaties, you have met me on three occasions with a flat
refusal, and told me plainly that you wished to have no more to do with
me. It is not, however, a matter of the same indifference to me that it
seems to be to you, to lose the object of my love; I am not, therefore,
so passionate, so rash, or so reckless, as to accept your refusal. I
love you too dearly for such a step. I beg you then once more to weigh
well and calmly the cause of our quarrel, which arose from my being
displeased at your telling your sisters (N.B., in my presence) that at a
game of forfeits you had allowed the size of your leg to be measured by
a gentleman. No girl with becoming modesty would have permitted such a
thing. The maxim to do as others do is well enough, but there are many
things to be considered besides,--whether only intimate friends and
acquaintances are present,--whether you are a child, or a girl old
enough to be married,--but, above all, whether you are with people of
much higher rank than yourself. If it be true that the Baroness
[Waldstaedten] did the same, still it is quite another thing, because she
is a _passee_ elderly woman (who cannot possibly any longer charm), and
is always rather flighty. I hope, my dear friend, that you will never
lead a life like hers, even should you resolve never to become my wife.
But the thing is past, and a candid avowal of your heedless conduct
would have made me at once overlook it; and, allow me to say, if you
will not be offended, my dearest friend, will still make me do so. This
will show you how truly I love you. I do not fly into a passion like
you. I think, I reflect, and I feel. If you feel, and have feeling,
then I know I shall be able this very day to say with a tranquil mind:
My Constanze is the virtuous, honourable, discreet, and faithful darling
of her honest and kindly disposed,

"MOZART."

This letter seems to have ended the quarrel--the only one we know of
their having. For, a week later in a letter to his father, Mozart
implies that Constanze and he are once more on excellent terms; also
that Nannerl had answered Constanze's letter with appropriate courtesy.

Meanwhile, in spite of the excitement of producing his opera and
fighting the strong opposition to it, Mozart is still more deeply
absorbed in gaining his father's consent to his marriage. He briefly
dismisses his account of his opera's immense success and bends all his
ardour to winning over his father. The agony of his soul quivers in
every line. Vienna is alive with gossip. Some say that he and Constanze
are already married. He fears to compromise the woman he loves. He hints
that if he cannot wed her with his father's blessing he will wed her
without it.

Meanwhile, the young woman's mother had by this time, got the bit fast
in her teeth. Now, the Baroness Waldstaedten had been touched by the
troubles of the young lovers and had invited Constanze to visit her for
some weeks. This excited the mother's apprehension, perhaps not unwisely
in view of the levity of the baroness' standards of conduct, and she
insisted upon Constanze cutting her visit short.

When Constanze refused this, Frau Weber sent word that if she did not
return immediately, the law would be sent for her. This threat drove
Mozart to desperation, and the marriage degenerated into a race between
the priest and the policeman. Fortunately the priest won. The baroness
wrote in person to the father for his consent, advancing Mozart 1,000
gulden to cover the 500 gulden which Constanze would have as a marriage
portion; and secured their release from the delayful necessity of
publishing the banns.

Romeo and his Juliet were married on August 4, 1782. Shortly after the
wedding the father's consent arrived. It was a rather stingy consent
however, and warned Mozart that he could not expect pecuniary assistance
and that he ought to tell Constanze of this fact.

There was an implied insult to the girl's love in this ungracious
remark, and it stung Mozart deeply. For Constanze, who had torn up the
contract of betrothal on a previous occasion, had not been the girl to
take money into account.

Three days after the wedding Mozart wrote to his father a long account
of it with a promise that he and his bride would take the first
opportunity of asking forgiveness in person. "No one attended the
marriage but Constanze's mother and youngest sister, Herr von Thorwarth
in his capacity of guardian, Herr von Zetto (Landrath) who gave away the
bride, and Gilofsky, as my best man. When the ceremony was over, both my
wife and I shed tears; all present (even the priest) were touched on
seeing the emotion of our hearts. Our sole wedding festivities consisted
of a supper, which Baroness Waldstaedten gave us, and indeed it was more
princely than baronial. My darling is now one hundred times more joyful
at the idea of going to Salzburg; and I am willing to stake--ay, my very
life, that you will rejoice still more in my happiness when you really
know her; if, indeed, in your estimation, as in mine, a high-principled,
honest, virtuous, and pleasing wife ought to make a man happy."

Now we enter upon the test of this romantic devotion--this wedlock of
the twenty-six year old musician and the maiden of nineteen, who married
in spite of the opposition of both families and in spite of the poverty
that awaited them. There are many accounts of the domestic career of
these two, written in a tone of patronage or cynicism. But this tone is
gratuitous on the part of those who assume it. As thorough a study of
the facts and documents as I can make, shows no ground whatsoever for
refusing to accept this love-match as an ideal wedding of ideal
congeniality, and mutual and common devotion.

Poverty came with all its vicissitudes and settled upon the hearth, but
we ought not to forget that both Wolfgang and Constanze had always been
poor; that they were used to poverty, and were light-hearted in its
presence. When they had no money to buy fuel, they were found dancing
together to keep warm. Surely, for two such hearts, poverty was only a
detail, and could in no sense be counted of sufficient weight to
counterbalance the affection each found in each.

As for Mozart's career we must feel that no amount of wealth would have
availed against his improvidence and his extravagance in the small way
in which fate permitted him to be extravagant. Nor could a life of
bachelorhood or a life with some woman married for money conceivably
have made him produce greater compositions--for no greater compositions
than those he produced during his married life have ever been produced
by any composer under any circumstances. Let us then read without
conviction such accounts as we may find tending to belittle the goodness
or cheapen the virtues of Constanze or of Mozart.

The Webers had lived at Vienna in a house called Auge Gottes, and Mozart
used to refer to his elopement as "Die Entfuehrung aus dem Auge Gottes,"
as a pun on the name of the opera that had made his marriage possible,
"Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail." It is a curious coincidence that the
name of the principal character of this opera was Constanze, and that
she was a model of devotion through all trials. Once away from the
wrangling mother-in-law, the young couple enjoyed domestic bliss to the
height. Later, mother Weber seems to have reformed and to have become a
welcome guest in Mozart's house, where Aloysia herself became also a
cherished friend.

Nothing could exceed the tenderness of the lovers for each other. It
continued to the last. Constanze was so watchful of him that she cut up
his meat at dinner when his mind was on his compositions, lest he might
cut himself. She used to read aloud to him and tell him stories and hear
his improvisations and insist upon their being written out for
permanence. While the wife was showing all this solicitude, the husband,
genius though he was, was showing equal tenderness to the wife.

All Vienna gossiped about his devotion. When she was ill, he was the
most assiduous of nurses, and on one occasion got so into the habit of
putting his fingers to his lips and saying "Psst!" to any one who
entered the room where she was sleeping, that, on one occasion, on being
spoken to in the street, he involuntarily placed his finger on his lips
and gave the warning signal. When he was called away from home early,
before she was awake, he would leave such a note for her as this:
"_Guten Morgen, liebes Weibchen, Ich wuensche, dass Du gut geschlafen
habest_" etc., or, as it runs in English: "Good morning, my darling
wife! I hope that you slept well, that you were undisturbed, that you
will not rise too early, that you will not catch cold, nor stoop too
much, nor overstrain yourself, nor scold your servants, nor stumble over
the threshold of the adjoining room. Spare yourself all household
worries till I come back. May no evil befall you! I shall be home
at--o'clock punctually."

Two weeks after the marriage we find Mozart writing to his father in
this tone:

"Indeed, previous to our marriage we had for some time past attended
mass together, as well as confessed and taken Holy Communion; and I
found that I never prayed so fervently nor confessed so piously, as by
her side; and she felt the same. In short, we were made for each other,
and God, who orders all things, and consequently this also, will not
forsake us."

They looked forward with great eagerness to visiting Salzburg, and it is
not the least evidence of the kindness of Constanze's heart that one of
her chief ambitions seems to have been the winning over of the father
and the sister. The visit home was to be in November, 1782, but the
weather grew very cold, and the wife's condition forbade. Mozart writes
to his father that his wife "carries about a little silhouette of you,
which she kisses twenty times a day at least." His letters are full of
little domestic joys, such as a ball lasting from six o'clock in the
evening until seven in the morning,--a game of skittles of which
Constanze was especially fond,--a concert where Aloysia sang with great
success an aria Mozart wrote for her,--and financial troubles of the
most petty and annoying sort.

In June, 1783, Mozart writes his father asking him to be godfather to
the expected visitor, who was to be named after the grandfather, either
"Leopold" or "Leopoldine," according as fate decided. Fate decided that
the first-born should be a son, and the young couple started gaily to
Salzburg, for a visit.

But fate also decided that the visit should not be in any sense a
success. Even as they set forth, they were stopped at the carriage by a
creditor who demanded thirty gulden [about $15], a small sum, but not in
Mozart's power to pay. At Salzburg, Mozart's father and sister seemed
not to have outdone themselves in cordiality, and, worst of all, "the
poor little fat baby" died after six months of life.

There is little profit and less pleasure in describing the financial
troubles of the young couple. They are generally blamed for extravagance
and bad management, for which Constanze is chiefly held responsible; but
there are many reasons for disbelieving this charge, perhaps the chief
of all being old Leopold Mozart's own statement that when he visited
them he found them very economical. That was praise from Sir Hubert.

Of Mozart's devotion to his wife in the depths of his heart, there can
be no doubt. But the circle he moved in, and his volatile, mischievous,
beauty-idolising nature played havoc with his good intentions, though
not to the extent implied by some critics who have pictured him as a
reckless voluptuary. But just herein is the final proof of Constanze's
devotion and her understanding of him, for, while there never was a
breath of slander against herself, she found heart to forgive Mozart's
ficklenesses. He actually made her the confessional of his excursions
from the path of rectitude, and found forgiveness there! "He loved her
dearly, and confided everything to her, even his little sins, and she
requited him with tenderness and true solicitude."

She always said, "One had to forgive him, one had to be good to him,
since he was himself so good."

Four children were born to the devoted couple, all sons; the first child
lived, as we have seen, only six months; the second was named Carl; the
third was named Leopold; the fourth, Wolfgang Amadeus. Nohl says, "His
wife's recovery on these occasions was always very tedious."

In 1787 Mozart's father died, and his letters to his sister show the
depth of his grief. Nannerl had married three years before. Her first
lover had relinquished her on account of her poverty, but she had
captured a widower of means and position.

Mozart's letters to Constanze are not very numerous, because he was
away from home neither often nor long. But they make up in tenderness
and radiant congeniality what they lack in numbers. In 1789 he decided
that a concert tour was necessary to replenish his flattened resources
and to take him out of the rut in which the emperor was gradually
dropping him as a mere composer of dance music for masked balls at the
court. Mozart travelled in the carriage of his friend and pupil, Prince
Carl Lichnowsky; and those who consider railroad travelling unpoetical
will do well to read in Mozart's and Beethoven's letters the vivid
pictures of the downright misery and tedium of the traveller of that
time, even in a princely carriage, to say nothing of the common
diligence. Mozart wrote to his wife frequently, and always in the most
loverly fashion. He ends his first letter on this journey as follows:

"At nine o'clock at night we start for Dresden, where we hope to arrive
to-morrow. My darling wife, I do so long for news of you! Perhaps I may
find a letter from you in Dresden. May Providence realise this wish! [_O
Gott! mache meine Wuensche wahr!_] After receiving my letter, you must
write to me Poste Restante, Leipzig. Adieu, love! I must conclude, or I
shall miss the post. Kiss our Carl a thousand times for me, and [_ich
bin Dich von ganzem Herzen kuessend, Dein ewig getreuer Mozart_] I am,
kissing you with all my heart, your ever faithful,

MOZART."

_"Adieu! aime-moi et gardez votre sante, si precieuse a votre epoux."_
In his next, three days later, he says:

"MY DARLING WIFE:--Would that I had a letter from you! If I were to tell
you all my follies about your dear portrait, it would make you laugh.
For instance, when I take it out of its case, I say to it, God bless
you, my Stanzerl! God bless you Spitzbub, Krallerballer, Spitzignas,
Bagatellerl, schluck, und druck! and when I put it away again, I let it
slip gently into its hiding-place, saying, Now, now, now, now!
[_Nu--nu--nu--nu!_] but with an appropriate emphasis on this significant
word; and at the last one I say, quickly, 'Good night, darling mouse,
sleep soundly!' I know I have written something very foolish (for the
world at all events), but not in the least foolish for us, who love each
other so fondly. This is the sixth day that I have been absent from you,
and, by heavens! it seems to me a year. Love me as I shall ever love
you. I send you a million of the most tender kisses, and am ever your
fondly loving husband."

Again three days, and we find him writing at midnight to his "_liebstes
bestes Weibchen_" an account of his activities:

"After the opera we went home. Then came the happiest of all moments to
me; I found the long ardently wished-for letter from you, my darling, my
beloved! I went quickly in triumph to my room, and kissed it over and
over again before I broke it open, and then rather devoured than read
it. I stayed a long time in my room, for I could not read over your
letter often enough, or kiss it often enough.

"Darling wife, I have a number of requests to make of you:

"1st. I beg you not to be melancholy. 2d. That you will take care of
yourself, and not expose yourself to the spring breezes. 3d. That you
will not go out to walk alone,--indeed, it would be better not to walk
at all. 4th. That you feel entirely assured of my love. I have not
written you a single letter without placing your dear portrait before
me. 5th. I beg you not only to be careful of your honour and mine in
your conduct, but to be equally guarded as to appearances. Do not be
angry at this request; indeed, it ought to make you love me still
better, from seeing the regard I have for my honour. 6th. Lastly, I wish
you would enter more into details in your letters. Now farewell, my best
beloved! Remember that every night before going to bed I converse with
your portrait for a good half-hour, and the same when I awake. O _stru!
stru!_ I kiss and embrace you 1,095,060,437,082 times (this will give
you a fine opportunity to exercise yourself in counting), and am ever
your most faithful husband and friend."

Some of his letters are apparently lost, for one dated May 23d gives a
list of the letters he had written to his wife--eleven in all (one of
them in French)--between April 8th and May 23d. He complains bitterly
that in this same time he had only six from her. There is worse news yet
to add, seeing how poor they were:

"My darling little wife, when I return, you must rejoice more in me than
in the money I bring. 100 Friedrichs-d'or don't make 900, but 700,
florins,--at least so I am told here. 2d. Lichnowsky being in haste left
me here, so I am obliged to pay my own board (in that expensive place,
Potsdam). 3d.----borrowed 100 florins from me, his purse being at so
low an ebb. I really could not refuse his request--you know why. 4th. My
concert at Leipzig turned out badly, as I always predicted it would; so
I went out of my way nearly a hundred miles almost for nothing. You must
be satisfied with me, and with hearing that I am so fortunate as to be
in favour with the king. What I have written to you must rest between
ourselves."

His disappointment at the meagre financial returns from his tour was
embittered by the serious illness of his Constanze and the drain upon
his sympathy, his time, and his money. It was necessary for him to
despatch in various directions a series of those pathetic begging
letters that make up so much of his later correspondence.

Shortly after the failure of his concert tour, desperation goaded him to
set forth again. He writes again to his _Herzens Weibchen_ or his
_Herzaller-liebstes_ with renewed hope:

"I am quite determined to do the best I can for myself here, and shall
then be heartily glad to return to you. What a delightful life we shall
lead! I will work, and work in such a manner that I may never again be
placed by unforeseen events in so distressing a position. Were you with
me, I should possibly take more pleasure in the kindness of those I meet
here, but all seems to me so empty. Adieu, my love! I am ever your
loving Mozart.

"P.S.--While writing the last page, many a tear has fallen on it. But
now let us be merry. Look! Swarms of kisses are flying about--Quick!
catch some! I have caught three, and delicious they are."

This tour was again unsatisfactory. He came back almost poorer than he
went.

In March, 1791, Constanze had to go to Baden to take the waters for her
health. Mozart wrote a letter in advance engaging rooms for her, and
taking great care that they were on the ground floor. While Constanze
was at Baden, Mozart was getting deeper and deeper into financial hot
water, but his letters betrayed great anxiety that she should not be
worried, especially as she was about to become a mother again. One of
his letters to her was as follows; part of it is French, which I have
not translated, and the rest in German, part of which also it seems more
vivid to leave in the original:

"MA TRES-CHERE EPOUSE:--J'ecris cette lettre dans la petite chambre au
Jardin chez Leitgeb [a Salzburg horn-player]; ou j'ai couche cette nuit
excellement--et j'espere que ma chere epouse aura passe cette nuit aussi
bien que moi. J'attend avec beaucoup d'impatience une lettre que
m'apprendra comme vous avez passe le jour d'hier; je tremble quand je
pense au baigne de St. Antoine; car je crains toujours le risque de
tomber sur l'escalier en sortant--et je me trouve entre l'esperance et
la crainte--une situation bien desagreable! Si vous n'eties pas grosse,
je craignerais moins--mais abandonons cette idee triste!--Le ciel aura
eu certainement soin de ma chere Stanza Maria!...

"I have this moment received your dear letter, and find that you are
well and in good spirits. Madame Leitgeb tied my neck-cloth for me
to-day--but how? Good heavens! I told her repeatedly, 'This is the way
my wife does it,' but it was all in vain. I rejoice to hear that you
have so good an appetite;... You must walk a great deal, but I don't
like you taking such long walks without me. Pray do all I tell you, for
it comes from my heart. Adieu, my darling, my only love! I send you
2,999 and 1/2 kisses flying about in the air till you catch them. Nun
sag ich dir etwas ins Ohr--du nun mir--nun machen wir dass Maul auf und
zu immer mehr--und mehr--endlich sagen wir;--es ist wagen
Slampi--Strampi, du kannst dir nun dabei denken was du willst das ist
ebben die Comoditaet. Adieu, 1,000 tender kisses. Ever your Mozart."

It is evident that during her stay in Baden some person attempted
familiarity with Constanze and was rewarded with a box on the ears.
Mozart wrote playfully to her advising her to be even more generous with
her punishment, and suggesting that the man's wife would probably assist
her if informed.

It was about this time that Mozart was implicated by the gossips in a
domestic tragedy. Frau Hofdaemmel was a pupil of Mozart's whose husband
grew fiendishly jealous of her, attacked her with a razor, wounded her
almost to death, and then committed suicide. The story gradually grew up
that Mozart was the cause of the man's jealousy, and Otto Jahn, in his
first edition of his monumental biography, accepted the story, which he
later discarded after Koechel, another biographer, had succeeded in
proving that the assault and suicide took place five days after Mozart's
death. Hofdaemmel seems to have been so far from jealousy of Mozart that
he was one of the elect to whom Mozart applied for a loan. There was,
however, a young and beautiful singer, Henriette Baranius, in Berlin,
who seems to have woven a stray web around Mozart while he was there in
1789--90. She sang in his "Entfuehrung," and it was said that his friends
had to help him out of his entanglement with her. But Jahn scouts the
idea.

Among the most dramatic, and therefore the most familiar incidents of
Mozart's life, is the strange story of the anonymous commission he
received to write a Requiem Mass. We are sure now that it was Count
Walsegg who wished to palm off the composition as one of his own. To
Mozart, however, there was something uncanny in the whole matter, and he
could not work off the suspicious dread that the death-music he was
writing was an omen of his own end. Shortly before his father had died,
Mozart had written him a letter begging him to be reconciled to death
when it should come, and speaking of death as "this good and faithful
friend of man," and adding: "I never lie down at night without thinking,
young as I am, that I may be no more before the morning dawns."

Constanze, having been away for the cure at Baden, returned to find him
suddenly declining in health. To divert him, she took him for a drive,
but he could talk only of his death and of his morbid conviction that he
had been poisoned. Constanze, greatly alarmed, called in the family
physician, Doctor Closset. He blamed Mozart's state to overwork and
overabsorption in the composition of the Requiem Mass, which he toiled
at and brooded over until he swooned away in his chair.

After a brief recovery of spirits, he sank rapidly again and could not
leave his bed. Constanze attended him devoutly, and her younger sister,
Sophie, and her mother, now much endeared to Mozart, were very
solicitous and attentive. It is Sophie who described in a letter the
last hours of this genius, who died at the age of thirty-five. Mozart,
even in his ultimate agonies, was most solicitous for his wife, and said
to Sophie that she must spend the night at the house and see him die.
When she tried to speak more cheerfully, he would only answer:

"I have the taste of death on my tongue; I smell the grave. And who can
comfort my Constanze if you do not stay here?"

Sophie went home to tell her mother, and Constanze followed her to the
door, begging her, for God's sake, to go to the priests at St. Peter's
and ask one of them to call, as if by chance. But the priests hesitated
for some time, and she had great difficulty in persuading one of "these
unchristian Fathers" to do as she wished.

After a long search the family doctor was found at the theatre, but he
would not come until the end of the piece, and then ordered cold
applications to Mozart's feverish head, which shocked him into
unconsciousness. He died at one o'clock in the morning of November 5,
1791, and the last movement of his lips was an effort to direct where
the kettledrums should be sounded in his Requiem. The ruling passion!

Crowds, the next day, passed the house of Mozart and wept before his
windows. As for Constanze, her grief was boundless, and she stretched
herself out upon his bed in the hope of being attacked by his disease,
thought to be malignant typhus. She wished to die with him. Her grief
was indeed so fierce that it broke her health completely. She was taken
to the home of a friend, and by the time of his funeral she was unable
to leave the house. On that day so furious a tempest raged that the
friends decided not to follow the coffin through the driving rain and
sleet. So the body went unattended to the cemetery and was thrust into a
pauper's grave, three corpses deep.

It was some time before Constanze was strong enough to leave the house.
She then went to the cemetery to find the grave. It could not be
identified, and never since has it been found. No one had tipped the old
sexton to strengthen his memory of the resting-place, and it was a new
and ignorant sexton that greeted the anxious Constanze.

There are those who speak ill of this devoted wife, and even Mr.
Krehbiel, whose book of essays I have quoted from with such pleasure,
speaks of Constanze as "indifferent to the disposition of the mortal
remains of her husband whose genius she never half appreciated."

For this and other slighting allusions to Constanze in other
biographies, there exists absolutely no supporting evidence. But for the
highest praise of her wifely devotion, her patience and unchanging
love, and for her lofty admiration of Mozart, both as man and musician,
there is a superfluity of proof.

After his death she found herself in the deepest financial distress and
was compelled to appeal to the emperor for a small pension, which he
granted. Her nobility of character can be seen also in the concert of
her husband's works, which she arranged, and with such success that she
paid all Mozart's debts, some three thousand gulden ($1,500). Thus she
took the last stain from his memory. She also interested herself, like
Mrs. Purcell, in the publication of her husband's compositions. She was
only twenty-seven when he died, and her interest in his honour, as well
as the conspicuous motherliness she showed to the children he had left
her, were all the more praiseworthy. Neimtschek, who published a
biography of Mozart in 1798, emphasises her fidelity to "our Raphael of
Music," her grief still keen for him, and her devotion to the children
he left fatherless and penniless.

For eighteen years Constanze mourned her husband. Indeed, she never
ceased to mourn him. But, after nearly a score of years, in 1809, when
she had reached the age of forty-five, she was sought in marriage by a
councillor from Denmark, George Nicolaus von Nissen. He undertook the
education of her two boys, and won her hand. She lived with him in
Copenhagen till 1820, when she returned to Salzburg. The quaintness of
this affair should not blind us to the unusual depth of affection it
revealed. Constanze inspired even her new husband with such devotion to
Mozart's fame that Nissen wrote a biography of his predecessor in her
affections.

There cannot be many instances of a second husband writing a eulogistic
biography of the first, but Nissen wrote his with a candour and
enthusiasm that spoke volumes for his goodness and for that of
Constanze. He died, however, before the biography was completed, and
Constanze finished it herself. She includes in the publication a
portrait of Nissen and a tender tribute to his memory. Many of the most
beautiful anecdotes of Mozart's life we owe to Nissen's gentle
unjealousy, and Constanze could frankly sign herself "widow of
Staatsrath Nissen, previously widow of Mozart."

She includes an anonymous poem on Mozart's death, beginning:

"Wo ist dein Grab? Wo duften die Cypressen?"

Which is in its way evidence enough that she did not hold herself, or
her "indifference," responsible for the dingy entombment of this genius,
and the disappearance of his grave. As her last words to the public she
says: "May the reader accept this apologetic, this intimate
love-offering, in the spirit in which it is given. Salzburg, 1828."
What reader can refuse this sympathy to one who felt and gave so much to
one who craved sympathy as the very food of his soul?

When Constanze was elderly and the second time widowed, she was,
according to Crowest, visited by an English lady and her husband--an
eminent musician--both of whom were anxious to converse with the relict
of the great master. Notwithstanding the years that had passed, Frau
Nissen's enthusiasm for her first husband was far from extinguished. She
was much affected at the regard which the visitors showed for his
memory, and willingly entered into conversation about him.

"Mozart," she said, "loved all the arts and possessed a taste for most
of them. He could draw, and was an excellent dancer. He was generally
cheerful and in good humour; rarely melancholy, though sometimes
pensive. Indeed," she continued, "he was an angel on earth, and is one
in heaven now."

Constanze outlived her second husband by sixteen years, and died in
March, 1842, at the age of seventy-eight. Composers' widows live long.

Taken in the entirety, in shine and shade, footlights and firelights,
for poorer, for richer, for all that could torment or delight a
sensitive artist, a great gentle-souled creative genius, as well as a
tender and sympathetic woman, the married life of Wolfgang and Constanze
Mozart must be placed among the most satisfactory in the catalogue of
the relations of man and woman. They were lovers always.




CHAPTER XIV.


BEETHOVEN: THE GREAT BUMBLEBEE

"No artist has ever penetrated further, for none has ever thrust the
thorn of life deeper into his own heart, and won, by the surrender of
it, his success and his immortality."

So says the profuse Ludwig Nohl in his reprint of the diary of a young
Spanish-Italian woman, Fanny Giannatasio del Rio, who knew Beethoven
well and loved him well, and as mutely as "a violet blooming at his feet
in utter disregard."

Beethoven the man would be voted altogether impossible either as friend
or as lover, if he had not had so marvellous, so compulsive, a genius.
He was short, pock-marked, ugly, slovenly, surly to the point of
ferocity, whimsical to the brink of mania, egotistic to the environs of
self-idolatry, diseased and deaf, embittered, morose--all the brutal
epithets you wish to hurl at him. But withal he had the majesty of a
Prometheus chained to the rocks; like Prometheus, he had stolen the very
fires of heaven; like Prometheus, he did not suffer in silence, but
roared or moaned his demigodlike anguishes in immortal rhythms.

A strange contrast he made with the versatile, the catholic, the elegant
and cheerful Goethe, his acquaintance, and his rival in collecting
women's loves into an encyclopaedic emotional life.

Beethoven, unlike his fellow giant Haendel, despised the pleasures of the
table; he substituted a passion for nature. "No man on earth can love
the country as I do!" he wrote; and proved it in his life. His mother
died when he was young, and he found a foster-mother in Frau von
Breuning, of Bonn. Her daughter Eleonore, nicknamed "Lorchen," seems to
have won his heart awhile; she knitted him an Angola waistcoat and a
neckcloth, which brought tears to his eyes; they spatted, and he wrote
her two humbly affectionate notes which you may read with much other
intimate matter in the two volumes of his published letters. He still
had her silhouette in 1826, when he was fifty-six.

Three years before, he had succumbed, at the age of twenty, to the
charms of Barbara Koch, the daughter of a widow who kept the cafe where
Beethoven ate; she made it almost a salon of intellectual conversation.
Barbara later became a governess in the family of Count von Belderbusch,
whom eventually she married. Next was the highborn blonde and coquettish
Jeannette d'Honrath, who used to tease him by singing ironical love
ditties. Then came Fraeulein Westerhold, whom he loved vainly in the
Wertherlike fashion.

Doctor Wegeler, who married Eleonore von Breuning, said that "In Vienna,
at all events while I was there, from 1794 to 1796, Beethoven was always
in love with some one, and very often succeeded in making a conquest
where many an Adonis would have found it most difficult to gain a
hearing. I will also call attention to the fact that, so far as I know,
each of Beethoven's beloved ones was of high rank."

To continue the catalogue. There is a picture extant of a Cupid singeing
Psyche's wings with a torch; it is inscribed: "A New Year's gift for the
tantalising Countess Charlotte von Brunswick, from her friend,
Beethoven."

There was Magdalena Willmann, a singer, whom he as a youth befriended
and proposed to in later days, only to be refused, "because he was very
ugly and half crazy," as she told her niece.

An army captain cut him out with Fraeulein d'Honrath; his good friend
Stephan von Breuning won away from him the "schoene und hochgebildete"
Julie von Vering, whom Beethoven loved and by whom he was encouraged;
she married Stephan in 1808, and died eleven months later, after
Beethoven had dedicated to her part of a concerto. He wrote a letter
beautiful with sympathy to poor Stephan. Then he loved Fraeulein Therese
von Malfatti and begged her in vain to marry him. He called her the
"volatile Therese who takes life so lightly." She married the Baron von
Droszdick. We have a letter wherein Beethoven says: "Farewell, my
dearest Therese; I wish you all the good and charm that life can offer.
Think of me kindly, and forget my follies." She had a cousin
Mathilde--later the Baroness Gleichenstein--who also left a barb in the
well-smitten and accessible target of his heart. Even Hummel, the
pianist, was his successful rival in a love affair with Fraeulein
Roeckel.

The Hungarian Countess Marie Erdoedy (_nee_ Countess Niczky) is listed
among his flames, though Schindler thinks it "nothing more than a
friendly intimacy between the two." Still, she gave Beethoven an
apartment in her house in 1809, and he writes that she had paid a
servant extra money to stay with him--a task servants always required
bribing to achieve. But Thayer says that such a menage could not last,
as Beethoven was "too irritable, too freakish and too stubborn, too
easily injured and too hardly reconciled." Beethoven dedicated to her
certain trios, and she erected in one of her parks in Hungary a handsome
temple in his honour, with an inscription of homage to him. In his
letters he calls her his "confessor," and in one he addresses her as
"Liebe, liebe, liebe, liebe Graefin," showing that she was his dearie to
the fourth power.

Also there was Amalie Sebald, "a nut-brown maid of Berlin," a
twenty-five-year-old singer, of beauty and brain. In a letter to Tiedge
in 1812, Beethoven says:

"Two affectionate words for a farewell would have sufficed me; alas! not
even one was said to me! The Countess von der Recke sends me a pressure
of the hand; it is something, and I kiss her hands as a token of
gratitude; but Amalie has not even saluted me. Every day I am angry at
myself in not having profited by her sojourn at Teplitz, seeking her
companionship sooner. It is a frightful thing to make the acquaintance
of such a sweet creature, and to lose her immediately; and nothing is
more insupportable than thus to have to confess one's own
foolishness.... Be happy, if suffering humanity can be. Give, on my
part, to the countess a cordial but respectful pressure of the hand, and
to Amalie a right ardent kiss--if nobody there can see."

In Nohl's collection of Beethoven's letters is an inscription in the
album of the singer, Mine. "Auguste" Sebald (a mistake for "Amalie").
The inscription reads, as Lady Wallace ungrammatically Englishes it:

  "Ludwig van Beethoven:
  Who even if you would
  Forget you never should."

In another work, Nohl mentions the existence of a mass of short notes
from Beethoven to her, showing "not so much the warm, effervescent
passion of youth, as the deep, quieter sentiment of personal esteem and
affection, which comes later in life, and, in consequence, is much more
lasting." One of the letters he quotes. It runs:

"What are you dreaming about, saying that you can be nothing to me? We
will talk this over by word of mouth. I am ever wishing that my presence
may bring peace and rest to you, and that you could have confidence in
me. I shall hope to be better to-morrow, and that we shall be able to
pass a few hours together in the enjoyment of nature while you remain
here. Good night, dear Amalie; many, many thanks for the proof you give
me of your attachment to your friend,

"BEETHOVEN."

There are other of these notes in Thayer's biography. She seems to have
called the composer "a tyrant," and he has much playfulness of allusion
to the idea, and there is much about the wretchedness of his health.
Amalie Sebald seems to have been of great solace to him, but, like all
the rest, she married some one else, Justice-councillor Krause.

It was for her that Beethoven composed his cycle of songs, "To the
far-away love" _[An die ferne Geliebte],_ according to Thayer; and of
her that he wrote to Ries: "All good wishes to your wife. I, alas, have
none; I have found but one, and her I can never possess."

Years later he said to his friend Giannatasio that five years before he
had loved unhappily; he would have considered marriage the happiness of
his life, but it was "not to be thought of for a moment, almost an utter
impracticability, a chimera." Still, he said, his love was as strong as
ever; he had never found such harmony, and, though he never proposed, he
could never get her out of his mind.

In 1812 Carl Maria von Weber was in Berlin, and became ever after a
devoted admirer of Amalie's virtues, her intellect, and her beauty.

Five years later we learn of Beethoven's receiving letters and presents
from "a Bremen maiden," a pianist, Elise Mueller. And there was a poetess
who also annoyed him.

In this same year, 1817, he was much in the society of "the beautiful
and amiable" Frau Marie L. Pachler-Koschak, of Gratz. He had met her in
1812, and admired her playing. As late as 1826 we have letters from her,
inviting him to visit her in Gratz. But in 1817--he being then
forty-seven years old--the acquaintance was so cordial that Schindler,
who observed it, called it an "autumnal love," though the woman's son
later asserted that it was only a kinship of "artistic sympathy,"--in
fact, Beethoven called her "a true foster-mother to the creations of his
brain." Thayer says, however, that Beethoven never met her till after
she married. Beethoven is implicated in the riddle of the letters of
Bettina Brentano von Arnim. This freakish young woman had some
acquaintance with Goethe, and after his death published letters alleged
to have been sent to her by him. She also gave the world certain letters
said to have come to her from Beethoven. It has been pretty well proved
that the naive Bettina was an ardent and painstaking forger on a large
scale. She included a series of sonnets which were written to another of
Goethe's "garden of girls" before he ever met Bettina. But she appears
to have vitiated her clever forgeries by a certain alloy of truth, and
it may be that her Beethoven letters are, after all, fictions founded on
fact. The language of these letters is somewhat overstrained, but
Beethoven could rant on occasion, and Ludwig Nohl believed the letters
to be genuine, since a friend of his said he had seen them and
recognised Beethoven's script. Thayer accepts the entanglement with
Bettina as a fact, and thinks it was, at that crisis in Beethoven's
life, "a happy circumstance that Bettina Brentano came, with her beauty,
her charm, and her spirit, to lead his thoughts in other paths."

Wegeler has alluded to the fact that Beethoven's love affairs were
always with women of high degree. But others have called him a
"promiscuous lover," because he once used to stare amorously at a
handsome peasant girl and watch her labouring in the garden, only to be
mocked by her; and more especially because of a memorandum of his pupil
Ries, who wrote: "Beethoven never visited me more frequently than when I
lived in the house of a tailor with three very handsome but thoroughly
respectable daughters." In 1804 Beethoven wrote him a twitting allusion
to these girls. But such a flirtation means little, and besides they
were beauties, these daughters of the tailor. And Beethoven's own mother
was a cook.

Ries describes him as a sad flirt. "Beethoven had a great liking for
female society, especially young and beautiful girls, and often when we
met out-of-doors a charming face, he would turn round, put up his glass,
and gaze eagerly at her, and then smile and nod if he found I was
observing him. He was always falling in love with some one, but
generally his passion did not last long. Once when I teased him on his
conquest of a very beautiful woman, he confessed that she had enchanted
him longest, and most seriously of all--namely, seven whole months!"

Ries also records a humourous scandal of an occasion when he found
Beethoven flirting desperately with a fair unknown; Ries sat down at the
piano and improvised incidental music to Beethoven's directions--
"_amoroso," "a malinconico_" and the like.

Once a devoted admirer, wife of a Vienna pianist, longed for a lock of
the composer's outrageously unkempt hair, and asked a friend to get her
one. At his suggestion, Beethoven, who was a practical joker of boorish
capabilities, sent her a tuft from the chin of a goat. The trick was
discovered, and the scorned woman vented her fury in a letter; the
repentant Beethoven made ample apology to her, and spent his wrath on
the head of the suggester of the mischief.

Crowest spins a pretty yarn of Beethoven's acting as _"postillon
d'amour"_ by carrying love letters for a clandestinely loving couple.

Many of his own love-longings were couched in the form of the
dedications prefixed to his compositions. The piano sonata, Op. 7, was
inscribed to the Countess Babette von Keglevics, later the Princess
Odeschalchi, and is called for her sake "der Verliebte." Other
"gewidmets" were to the Princesses Lichtenstein and von Kinsky, to the
Countesses von Browne, Lichnowsky, von Clary, von Erdoedy, von Brunswick,
Wolf-Metternich, the Baroness Ertmann (his "liebe, werthe, Dorothea
Caecilia"), and to Eleonora von Breuning.

All these make a fairly good bead-roll of love-affairs for a busy, ugly,
and half-savage man. It is not so long as Leporello's list of Don
Juan's conquests, "but, marry, t'will do, t'will serve." I find I have
catalogued twenty-six thus far (counting the tailor's three daughters as
one). And more are to come.

And yet, in the face of such a directory of desire, you'll find Von
Seyfried and Haslinger venturing the statement, that "Beethoven was
never married, and, what was more marvellous still, never had any love
passages in his life," while Francis Hueffer can speak of "his grand,
chaste way." On this latter point there is room for debate. Crowest
adopts both sides at once by saying: "In the main, authorities concur in
Beethoven's attachments being always honourable. There can be no doubt,
however, that he was an impetuous suitor, ready to continue an
acquaintance into a more serious bond on the slenderest ground, and
without the slightest regard to the consequences on either side." Thayer
takes a middle ground,--that, in the Vienna of his time and his social
grade, it was impossible that Beethoven should have been a Puritan,
while he was, however, a man of distinctly clean mind. He could not
endure loose talk, and he once boxed the ears of a barmaid who teased
him. All his life he had a horror of intrigue with another man's wife,
and he once snubbed a man who conducted such an affair.

Why, then, thus warm-hearted and clean-hearted, thus woman-loving, did
he never marry? Ah, here is one of the sombrest tragedies of art. To
say, "Poor Beethoven!" is like pitying the sick lion in his lair. Yet
what is more pitiful? Love was the thorn in this lion's flesh, and there
was no Fraeulein Androcles to take it away.

Beethoven was born to the humblest station and the haughtiest
aspirations, was left to a sot and a slave-driver for a father, and was
early orphaned of his mother. In the first letter we have of his, he
says: "She was a good and tender mother to me; she was my best friend.
Ah, who was more happy than I when I could still breathe the sweet name
of 'mother!' to ears that heard? Whom now can I say it to? Only to the
mute image of her that my fancy paints."

This same letter, written when he was seventeen, tells three other of
his life-long griefs--lack of funds, ill health, and melancholia. He had
no childhood; his salad days were bitter herbs; his later life was one
wild tempest of ambition frustrated, of love unsated or unreturned, of
friendship misprized or thought to be misprized.

And then his deafness! When he was only thirty, the black fog of silence
began to sink across his life; two years later he was stone-deaf, and
nearly half his days were spent in the dungeon of isolation from real
communion with man or with his own great music. He lived, indeed, as he
said, _inter lacrimas et luctum_.

The blind are usually placid and trustful; it is the major affliction of
the deaf that they grow suspicious of their intimates and abhorrent of
themselves. There is nothing in history more majestic than the battle of
this giant soul against his doom; nothing more heartrending than his
bitter outcries; nothing loftier than his high determination to serve
his turn on earth in spite of all. He was the very King Lear of music,
trudging his lonely way with heart broken and hair wild in the storms
that buffeted him vainly toward the cliffs of self-destruction.

To such a man a home was a refuge pitifully needed, and for a while
longingly sought. I have mentioned various women to whom he offered the
glorious martyrdom that a life with him must needs have been. There were
two others whom he deeply loved. One of these was the famous Italienne,
whose very name is honey and romance as he writes it in the dedication
of his "Moonlight Sonata" (Op. 27, No. 2)--"_alla damigella contessa
Giulietta Guicciardi."_ It was in 1802, when he was thirty-two and she
eighteen, that he wrote her so luscious name on the lintel of that
sonata, so deep with yearning, so delicious in its middle mood, and so
passionately despairing in its close. She had been his pupil. She told
Otto Jahn long years after, when she was sixty-eight years old, that
Beethoven had first inscribed to her the Rondo, Op. 51, No. 2, but, in
his fickle way, he transcribed it to the Countess Lichnowsky, and put
her own name over the "Moonlight Sonata" instead.

It was probably the beauty and tender reciprocation of Giulietta that
inspired Beethoven to write to Wegeler in 1801:

"Life has been a little brighter to me of late, since I have mingled
more with my fellows. I think you can have no idea, how sad, how
intensely desolate, my life has been during the last two years. My
deafness, like a spectre, appears before me everywhere, so that I flee
from society, and am obliged to act the part of a misanthrope, though
you know I am not one by nature. This change has been wrought by a dear,
fascinating girl, whom I love, and who loves me. After two years, I bask
again in the sunshine of happiness, and now, for the first time, I feel
what a truly happy state marriage might be. Unfortunately, she is not of
my rank in life. Were it otherwise, I could not marry now, of course; so
I must drag along valiantly. But for my deafness, I should long ago have
compassed half the world with my art--I must do it still. There exists
for me no greater happiness than working at and exhibiting my art. I
will meet my fate boldly. It shall never succeed in crushing me."

But Giulietta went over to the great majority of Beethoven's
sweethearts, and married wisely otherwise. Three years after, at her
father's behest, she wedded a writer of ballet music, the Count
Gallenberg, to whom Beethoven later advanced money. Twenty years
afterward, in 1823, Beethoven wrote in one of those conversation-books
which his deafness compelled him to use: "I was well beloved of her,
more than ever her husband was loved. She came to see me and wept, but I
scorned her." (He wrote it in French, "J'etais bien aime d'elle, et plus
que jamais son epoux.... Et elle cherche moi pleurant, mais je la
meprisais"), and he added: "If I had parted thus with my strength as
well as my life, what would have remained to me for nobler and better
things?"

Giulietta was long credited with being the woman to whom he wrote those
three famous letters, or rather the one with the two postscripts, found
in the secret drawer of an old cabinet after his death, and addressed to
his "unsterbliche Geliebte." They were written in pencil, and either
were copies or first draughts, or were never sent. They show his Titanic
passion in full flame, and are worth quoting entire. Thayer gives them
in an appendix, in the original, but I quote Lady Wallace's translation,
with a few literalising changes:

"My angel, my all, my self--only a few words to-day, and they with a
pencil (with yours!). My lodgings cannot be surely fixed until
to-morrow. What a useless loss of time over such things! Why this deep
grief when Necessity decides?--can our love exist without sacrifices,
and by refraining from desiring all things? Can you alter the fact that
you are not wholly mine, nor I wholly yours? Ah, God! contemplate the
beauties of Nature, and reconcile your spirit to the inevitable. Love
demands all, and rightly; so it is with me toward you and with you
toward me; but you forget so easily that I must live both for you and
for myself. Were we wholly united, you would feel this sorrow as little
as I should.

"My journey was terrible. I did not arrive here till four o'clock
yesterday morning, as no horses were to be had. The drivers chose
another route; but what a dreadful one it was! At the last stage I was
warned not to travel through the night, and to beware of a certain wood,
but this only incited me to go forward, and I was wrong. The carriage
broke down, owing to the execrable roads, mere deep rough country lanes,
and had it not been for the postilions I must have been left by the
wayside. Esterhazy, travelling the usual road, had the same fate with
eight horses as I with four. Still I felt a certain degree of pleasure,
which I invariably do when I have happily surmounted any difficulty. But
I must now pass from the outer to the inner man. We shall soon meet
again; to-day I cannot impart to you all the reflections I have made,
during the last few days, on my life; were our hearts closely united for
ever, none of these would occur to me.

"My breast is overflowing with all I have to say to you. Ah! there are
moments when I find that speech is nothing at all. Take courage!
Continue to be ever my true and only love, my all! as I am yours. The
rest the gods must ordain--what must and shall become of us.

"Your faithful LUDWIG."

"Monday Evening, July 6th.

"You grieve! My dearest being! I have just heard that the letters must
be sent off very early. Mondays and Thursdays are the only days when the
post goes to K----from here.

"You grieve! Ah! where I am, there you are also with me; how earnestly
shall I strive to pass my life with you, and what a life will it be!!!!
Now!!!! without you and persecuted by the kindness of people here and
there, which I as little wish to deserve as they do deserve--the
servility of man towards his fellow man--it pains me--and when I regard
myself as a part of the universe, what am I? what is he who is called
the greatest?--and yet herein is shown the godlike part of humanity! I
weep in thinking that you will receive no intelligence from me till
probably Saturday. However dearly you may love me, I love you more
fondly still. Never disguise yourself from me. Good night! As a patient
at these baths, I must now go to rest." [A few words are here effaced by
Beethoven himself.] "Oh, God, so near! so far! Is not our love a truly
celestial mansion, but firm as the vault of heaven itself?"


"Good Morning, July 7th.

"Even in my bed, still my thoughts throng to you, my immortal
Beloved!--now and then full of joy, and yet again sad, waiting to see
whether Fate will hear us. I must live either wholly with you, or not at
all. Indeed, I have resolved to wander far from you till I can fly into
your arms, and feel that they are my home, and send forth my soul in
unison with yours into the realm of spirits. Alas! it must be so! You
will take courage, for you know my fidelity. Never can another possess
my heart--never, never! Oh, God! why must one fly from what he so fondly
loves? and yet my existence in W----was as miserable as here. Your love
made me at once the most happy and the most unhappy of men. At my age,
life requires a uniform equality; can this be found in our mutual
relations? Angel! I have this moment heard that the post goes every day,
so I must conclude, that you may get this letter the sooner. Be calm!
for we can only attain our object of living together by the calm
contemplation of our existence. Be calm--love me--to-day--yesterday--
what longings with tears for you--you! you!--my life!--my all! Farewell!
Oh! love me well--and never doubt the faithful heart of your beloved L.

"Ever thine.

"Ever mine.

"Ever each other's."

These impassioned letters to his "immortal beloved" were believed by
Schindler to have been intended for Giulietta, and dated by him at first
in 1803 and then in 1806. But Thayer, after showing how careless
Beethoven was of dates, and how inaccurate, decides that these letters
could not have been written before 1804. Since Giulietta was married
Nov. 3, 1803, to Count Gallenberg, she could not have been the one whose
life he hoped to share.

Who then remains? Thayer suggests that the woman thus honoured may have
been another Therese, the Countess Therese von Brunswick. She was the
cousin of Giulietta, whose husband said of Beethoven that Therese
"adored him." About the time of these letters, he wrote to her brother,
"Kiss your sister Therese," and later he dedicated to her his sonata,
Op. 78. Some months after this he gave up his marriage scheme. Of
Therese, Thayer says that she lived to a great age--"_ca va sans
dire_!--" and was famed for a noble and large-hearted, but eccentric
character. As for remembrance of Beethoven, one may apply to her the
words of Shakespeare, 'She died and gave no sign.' Was it perhaps that
she did not dare?

Even after seeing the above words in type, I am able to add something
more definite to Thayer's argument--if one is to believe a book I
stumbled on in an old bookshop, and have not found mentioned in any of
the Beethoven bibliographies. The book bears every sign of telling the
truth, as it makes no effort at the charms of fiction. It is by Miriam
Tenger, who claims to have known the Countess Therese well for many
years, and who describes the adoration with which her friends regarded
her, the painter Peter von Cornelius calling her "the most remarkable
woman I have ever known."

"She was a scholar in the classics, a piano pupil of Mozart and
Beethoven," he went on, "and a woman who must have been rarely beautiful
in her youth. Only a perfectly pure spirit could give the gentle look in
her large, dark eyes. She spoke with inimitable beauty and clearness,
because she was inwardly so transparent and beautiful, almost like a
beatified spirit."

He told Fraeulein Tenger the story of an early encounter of Therese and
Beethoven. She was a pupil who felt for him that mingled love and terror
he instilled in women. One bitterly cold and stormy day he came to give
the young countess her lesson; she was especially eager to please him,
but grew so anxious that her playing went all askew. He was under the
obsession of one of his savageries. He grew more and more impatient with
her, and finally struck her hand from the keys, and rushed out
bareheaded into the storm.

Her first horror at his brutality faded before her fear for his health.
"Without hat! Without cloak! Good heavens!" she cried. Seizing them,
she rushed after him--she, the countess, pursued the music-teacher like
a valet! A servant followed her, and took the things from her hand to
give to Beethoven, while she unseen returned; her mother rebuked her and
ordered her to her room. But the lessons continued, and in Therese's
diary Beethoven appeared constantly as "mon maitre," "mon maitre cheri."

She was doomed to a long jealousy. She saw Beethoven fall in love with
her cousin Giulietta Guicciardi. Giulietta came to her for advice,
saying that she longed to throw over Count Gallenberg for "that
beautiful horrible Beethoven--if it were not such a come-down." She did
not condescend, as we have seen, and lived to regret it bitterly.

The idolatry of the pupil finally seized the teacher. Beethoven came to
dote upon the large heart, the pure soul, and the serene mind of
Therese. One night, as he extemporised as only he could, he sang a song
of love to her. One day he said, suddenly:

"I have been like a foolish boy who gathered stones and did not observe
the flower growing by the way."

It was in the spring of 1806 that they became engaged. Only her brother
Franz, who revered Beethoven, was in the secret. They dared not tell
Therese's mother, but Beethoven took up life and art with a new and
thorough zest. Of course, being Beethoven, he waxed wroth often at the
delay and the secrecy. But the sun broke through again. For four years
of his life the engagement endured. Beethoven, it seems, at last grew
furious. He quarrelled with Franz, and in 1810 one day in a frenzy
snapped the bond with Therese. As she herself told Fraeulein Tenger, "The
word that parted us was not spoken by me, but by him. I was terribly
frightened, turned deadly pale, and trembled."

Even after this, the demon in him might have been exorcised, but Therese
had grown afraid of the lightnings of his wrath, and fear outweighed
love in the girl's heart. Sometimes she felt ashamed, in later years, of
her timidity; at other times she was glad that she had not hampered his
art, as any wife must have done. But now she returned him his letters.
He destroyed them all, evidently, except the famous letter to his
"immortal beloved," which he had written in July, 1806, soon after the
betrothal; and with it he kept a portrait she had given him. As for
Therese, she, too, had kept a copy of this letter, and as she told
Fraeulein Tenger:

"I have read it so often that I know it by heart--like a poem--and was
it not a beautiful poem? I can only humbly say to myself, 'That man
loved thee,' and thank God for it."

She also showed a sheet of old paper, with a spray of immortelles, and
on it an inscription from Ludwig:

"L'immortelle a son Immortelle. LUIGI."


These immortelles she sewed into a white silk cushion, with a request
that it be placed under her head in her coffin.

When Fraeulein Tenger had first met the countess as a child she had been
asked to go every year on March 27th and lay a wreath of immortelles on
Beethoven's grave. The acquaintance continued, and they met again at
long intervals till the countess's death in 1861. Fraulein Tenger wrote
her book in her old age when she had lost her diaries, but enough of her
reminiscences remain to prove Thayer's ingenious guesses correct.

Therese von Brunswick was Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved," and the
picture found with the letter was her portrait. It was painted by Lampi,
when Therese was about twenty-eight; and on the frame can be seen still
the words:

"To the rare genius, to the great artist, to the good man, from

T.B."

The picture is in the Beethoven Museum at Bonn, and in the National
Museum at Pesth is a bust of Therese in her later years, erected in her
honour because she organised out of her charity the first infants'
school in the Austrian empire, and did many other good works. It is both
pity and solace that the noble woman did not wed Beethoven. She was his
muse for years. That was, as she said, something to thank God for. She
was also a beautiful spiritual influence on him.

Once the Baron Spaun found Beethoven kissing Therese's portrait and
muttering: "Thou wast too noble--too like an angel." The baron withdrew
silently, and returning later found Beethoven extemporising in heavenly
mood. He explained: "My good angel has appeared to me."

In 1813 he wrote in his diary:

"What a fearful state to be in, not to be able to trample down all my
longings for the joys of a home, to be always revelling in these
longings. O God! O God! look down in mercy upon poor, unhappy Beethoven,
and put an end to this soon; let it not last much longer!"

And so Beethoven never married. The women, indeed, whom he loved, whom
he proposed to, always awoke with a shock to the risk of joining for
life a man of such explosive whims, of such absorption in his own self
and art, of such utter deafness, untidiness, and morose habit of mind.

But Beethoven himself was not always eager to wed. He could write to
Gleichenstein:

"Now you can help me get a wife. If you find a pretty one--one who may
perhaps lend a sigh to my harmonies, do the courting for me. But she
must be beautiful; I cannot love anything that is not beautiful; if I
could, I should fall in love with myself."

One feels here a touch of disdain and frivolity. Yet he could grow
fervid in such an outcry as that of his forty-sixth year:

"Love, and love alone, can give me a happy life. O God! let me find her
who will keep me in the path of virtue, the one I may rightly call my
own."

Again, he could coldly rejoice that he had not sacrificed any of his
individuality, or any of his devotion to music, to Giulietta Guicciardi.
And the diary of Fanny Giannatasio, whose father took care of
Beethoven's nephew, quotes a conversation Beethoven held on the subject
of wedlock. According to this, he said that marriage should not be so
indissoluble, liberty-crushing a bond; that a marriage without love was
best, but that no marriages were happy. He added:

"For himself he was excessively glad that not one of the girls had
become his wife, whom he had passionately loved in former days, and
thought at the time it would be the highest joy on earth to possess."

To this cynic wisdom, the poor Fanny Giannatasio del Rio, whose love for
Beethoven would never have been known had not her diary enambered it for
publication after her death, adds the words: "I will not repeat my
answer, but I think I know a girl who, beloved by him, would not have
made his life unhappy."

Ay, there's the rub! Could any one have woven a happiness about the life
of that ferocious master of art, that pinioned, but struggling, victim
of fate?




CHAPTER XV.


VON WEBER--THE RAKE REFORMED

  "Though thou hast now offended like a man.
  Do not persever in it like a devil;
  Yet, yet, thou hast an amiable soul,
  If sin by custom grow not into nature."

  Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus"


Few novels are so brilliantly written, or so variously absorbing, as the
life of Von Weber, written by his son, the Baron Max Maria von Weber.
For years the son had resisted the urgence of his mother to undertake
the work, fearing that partiality would warp, and indelicacy stain, any
such memorial of a father who had lived so lively a life. When at last
the work was begun and done, it was a miracle of impartiality, of
frankness which seems complete, of sins confessed and expiated in their
confession, and of trenchant characterisation, which one will hardly
find surpassed outside of Dickens.

The Von Webers are the most numerous musical dynasty after the Bachs. We
have already seen something of the fortunes of the family into which
Mozart married. The father of Mozart's wife was the older brother of
Franz Anton von Weber, father of Carl Maria. This Franz Anton was a
strange mixture of stalwart and shiftless qualities. He gave up his
orchestral position to fight against Frederick the Great, and brought
home a red badge of courage. It is wonderful, by the way, how many
musicians have earned distinction as soldiers--what, indeed, would the
soldiers do without music?

Later Franz Anton entered civil service, and succeeded to the position
of Court Financial-Councillor Fumetti, and married his beautiful
daughter, Maria Anna. But Franz Anton was so rabid a fiddler that he
used to be seen playing his violin in public places, followed by his
large family of children, or even sawing away in the open fields, to the
neglect of his work and finally the loss of his position. Thereupon he
decided that his large family should help in its own support, and
dragged them one and all upon the stage. The proud mother saw her
fortune squandered, and her pride massacred. She died some years later.
Franz Anton's heart was too industrious to remain idle long, and, though
he was now fifty years of age, he somehow won the hand of Genofeva von
Brenner, who was only sixteen years old. It is gratuitous to say that
the young girl was not happy. In 1786 she bore him the child who was to
realise the father's one great and vicarious ambition: to bring a
musical genius into the world.

While Carl Maria von Weber was still a babe, Franz Anton started once
more after the will-o'-the-wisp of theatrical fame, with his "Weber's
Company of Comedians." Genofeva, sickly and melancholy, dragged herself
about with the troupe until Carl Maria was ten years old, when her
health gave way, and the travel was discontinued. Poverty and
consumption ended her days two years later. Within a year Franz Anton
was betrothed to a widow, whom, strange to say, he never married.

Again Franz Anton, the Bedouin that he was, dragged his son back into
the nomad life. The boy seemed astonishingly stupid in learning music,
though the father encouraged him with intemperate zeal. Meanwhile Carl's
character was forming, and he was becoming as brilliant as the mercurial
life he was leading, and at the same time as irresponsible. Like his
relative, Mozart, he was precocious at falling in love. Perhaps his
first flame was Elise Vigitill, in whose autograph album he wrote:

"Dearest Elise, always love your sincere friend, Carl von Weber; in the
sixth year of his age; Nueremberg, the 10th of September, 1792." We
hear of no more sweethearts for eleven long years. When Carl Maria was
seventeen, Franz Anton left him in Vienna, where he plunged into
dissipation at a tempo presto appassionato. As his son writes, "through
carolling, kissing, drinking Vienna, he wandered with a troop of choice
spirits, drinking, kissing, carolling." The intoxicating draught of
pleasure quaffed in the lively capital fevered the lad's blood, and the
ardent imaginative temperament burst forth in that adoration of female
beauty which strewed his life's path with roses, not without thorns. His
teacher, Abbe Vogler, however, secured him a position as conductor at
the Breslau opera, and he was compelled to tear himself away from a
sweetheart of rank, who was somewhat older than he. His father went with
him, and by his bumptiousness brought the boy many enemies, and, through
his speculations, many debts in addition to those he acquired for
himself. Here another entanglement awaited him. His son tells it thus:

"Many a female heart, no doubt, both within the theatre and without its
walls, was allured by the sweet smile and seductive manners of the pale,
slender, languishing, but passionately ardent young conductor; whilst
his own heart seems to have been more seriously involved in an
unfortunate and misplaced attachment for a singer in the theatre. This
woman was married to a rough drunkard who mishandled her. The couple
were daily falling more and more into an abject state of poverty. Young
Carl Maria pitied the woman; and pity was soon transformed in the
feeling next akin."

"That she was an unworthy object of either pity or affection is very
clear: she misused his goodness of heart, gnawed incessantly at his
slender purse, and quickly plunged him into a slough of difficulties
nigh equal to her own."

Various misfortunes and indiscretions brought Von Weber to the loss of
his post. But a woman intervened to save him from disaster. This was a
Fraeulein von Belonda, maid of honour to the Duchess of Wuertemberg, who
took a deep interest in Carl, and persuaded the duke to make him musical
director. The continual successes of the French armies overrunning
Europe forbade the duke to keep up his retinue of artists. But he
secured Weber a post at Stuttgart as private secretary to his brother,
Ludwig, another younger brother of the King of Wuertemberg, a monster of
corpulence, who had to have his dining-table made crescent-wise that he
might get near enough to eat. Into the circle of these two unlovable
figures and their ugly court Weber was thrust.

"Thus then the fiery young artist, his wild oats not yet fully sown,
plunged into a new world, where no true sense of right or wrong was
known; where virtue and morality were laughed to scorn; where, in the
chaotic whirlpool of a reckless court, money and influence at any price
were the sole ends and aims of life; where, in the confusion of the
times, the insecurity of conditions, and the ruthless despotism of the
government, the sole watchword of existence, from high to low, was
'Apres moi, le deluge!'" The Prince Ludwig was a great spendthrift,
and was continually appealing to his brother for funds. It was poor
Weber's pleasant task to be the go-between, and to receive on his head
the rage of Behemoth. Again to quote the vivid language of the Baron
Max:

"The stammering, stuttering, shrieking rage of the hideously corpulent
king, who, on account of his unwieldy obesity, was unable to let his
arms hang by his side, and who thus gesticulated wildly, and perspired
incessantly, and had the habit, moreover, of continually addressing his
favourite, generally present on these occasions, with the appeal, 'Pas
vrai, Dillen?' after each broken sentence,--would have been
inexpressibly droll, had not the low-comedy actor of the scene been an
autocrat who might, at a wink, have transformed laughter into tears. But
there was a demoniacal comicality about the performance, which, if it
did not convulse the spectator, made him shudder to his heart's core.

"Weber hated the king, of whose wild caprice and vices he witnessed
daily scenes, before whose palace-gates he was obliged to slink
bareheaded, and who treated him with unmerited ignominy. He was wont, in
thoughtless levity of youth, to forget the dangers he ran, and to answer
the king with a freedom of tone which the autocrat was all unused to
hear. In turn he was detested by the monarch.

"The royal treatment roused young Carl Maria's indignation to the
utmost; and his irritation led him one day to a mad prank, which was
nigh resulting in some years' imprisonment in the fortress of
Hohenasberg, or of Hohenhaufen. Smarting under some foul indignity, he
had just left the private apartment of the king, when an old woman met
him in the passage, and asked him where she could find the room of the
court washerwoman. 'There!' said the reckless youth, pointing to the
door of the royal cabinet. The old woman entered, and was violently
assailed by the king, who had a horror of old women; in her terror, she
stammered out that a young gentleman who had just come out had informed
her that there she would find the 'royal washerwoman,' The infuriated
monarch guessed who was the culprit, and despatched an officer on the
spot to arrest his brother's secretary, and throw him into prison.

"To those who have any idea how foul a den was then a royal prison, it
must appear almost marvellous that Carl Maria should have possessed
sufficient equanimity to have occupied himself with his beloved art
during his arrest. But so it was. He managed to procure a dilapidated
old piano, put it in tune with consummate patience, by means of a common
door-key, and actually, then and there, on the 14th of October, 1808,
composed his well-known beautiful song, 'Ein steter Kampf ist unser
Leben.'

"The storm passed over. Prince Ludwig's influence obtained the young
man's pardon and release. But the insult was never forgotten by the
king: he took care to remember it at his own right time. Nor had prison
cured Carl Maria of his boyish desire to play tricks upon the hated
monarch, when he conceived that he could do so without danger to
himself."

Carl proceeded to make himself an appropriate graduate of such a
university of morals, and devoted himself to wine, women, and debts,
with a small proportion of song. He belonged to a society of young men,
who called themselves by the gentle name of "Faust's Ride to Hell." He
now began also the composition of an opera, "Sylvana." This brought him
into acquaintance with operatic people, and he fell under the charm of
that "coquettish little serpent Margarethe Lang."

"To stem such a passion, or even to have given it a legal form, would
have been merely ridiculous and absurd in the eyes of the demoralised
circle by which he was surrounded. Gretchen possessed a little plump
seductive form, was about twenty years of age, and, in addition to her
undoubted musical talent, was endowed with a fund of gay, sprightly
humour, wholly in sympathy with the youth's own joyous nature. She
became the central point of all his life and aspirations."

Thus the biographer describes the new dissipation, which carried Carl
away from his old riots; the new magnet that dragged from him all the
money he could earn, and more than he could borrow. It was a wild and
reckless crew and addicted to such entertainments as the travesty on
Marc Antony, with music by Carl, who played Cleopatra, while Gretchen
played Antony.

The last straw upon Carl's breaking back was the arrival of his father,
who descended upon him with a bass viol, an enormous basket-bed for his
beloved poodles, and a large bundle of debts, as well as an increased
luggage of eccentricities. While Weber was trying to secure loans to pay
off one of his father's debts, he was innocently implicated in a scandal
of bribery, by which it was made to seem that he had offered a post in
the prince's household, in return for an advance of money. The king had
been driven to despair by the disasters of the German army, and the
increase of discontent of the German people, and desired to gain a
reputation for virtue by the comfortable step of reforming his brother's
household. Learning of the proffered bribe, in which Weber seemed to be
concerned, but of which he was perfectly innocent, the king had him
arrested during a rehearsal of his opera "Sylvana," and had him thrown
into prison for sixteen days. When at last he was examined, there was
nothing found to justify the accusation of dishonesty, he was released
from the prison for criminals, and transferred to the prison for debt,
and then a little later he and his father were placed into a carriage
and driven across the border to exile.

This sudden plunge from the froth of dissipation to the dregs of
disgrace was a fall that Weber could never thereafter think or speak of,
and every mention of it was forbidden.

Almost from this moment Weber's life is one of seriousness, with an
occasional relapse into some of his old qualities, but never a complete
laying aside of earnestness. He gained friends elsewhere, and finally
settled in Darmstadt, where he still found women's hearts susceptible,
in spite of his small, weak frame, his great long neck, and his calfless
legs, of which he writes: "And, oh, my calves, they might have done
honour to a poodle!"

Eight months after his banishment, his opera "Sylvana" was produced at
Frankfort, the first soprano being Gretchen Lang, and the part of
Sylvana being taken by Caroline Brandt, of whom much more later. At
Munich the next year, he found himself in high favour with two singers.
They were vying with each other for him, while two society beauties
exerted their rival charms. Weber was kept busy with his quadruple
flirtation. He was driven into cynicism, and his motto became "All women
are good for nothing" ("_Alle Weiber taugen nichts_"), which he used so
often that he abbreviated it to "A.W.T.N." In the columns of his
account-book he was provoked to write: "A. coquettes with me, though she
knows I am making love to her friend. B. abuses N., tells me horrid
stories of her, and says I must not go home with her." He took a journey
to Switzerland, where the beautiful Frau Peyermann occupied his heart
long enough to inspire him to the scene in "Athalie," and to his song,
"The Artist's Declaration of Love." He wandered here and there, for
about three years, and his biographer, Spitta, thus portrays him:

"Roving restlessly from place to place, winning all hearts by his sweet,
insinuating, lively melodies, his eccentricities making him an imposing
figure to the young of both sexes, and an annoyance to the old, exciting
the attention of everybody, and then suddenly disappearing, his person
uniting in the most seductive manner aristocratic bearing and tone with
indolent dissipation, his moods alternating between uproarious spirits
and deep depression,--in all ways he resembled a figure from some
romantic poem, wholly unlike anything seen before in the history of
German art."

In 1813 he found himself at Prague, with the post of musical director to
the opera. In the company were two women who took hold of his heart;
one, a spirit of evil, the other an angel of good. The former was
Theresa Brunetti, wife of a ballet-dancer, and mother of several
children, the acquisition of which had robbed her of neither her fine,
plump figure, nor her devotion to the arts of coquetry. There is no
improving upon the description of Max von Weber as given of this
entanglement, so here it is at length, with all its frankness of
exposure and its writhing humiliation:

"He soon conceived for the handsome seductive woman a passion, which
seemed to have deprived his otherwise clear mind of all common sense and
reason, and which neither the flood of administrative affairs nor the
cold breath of duty could extinguish. Vain were all his efforts to
conceal it. In a very short time it became the topic of general remark;
excited the ridicule or grave anxieties of his friends; involved him in
a thousand disagreeable positions; lowered his character, without the
slightest compensating advantage to his artistic career; and nigh
dragged him down into an abyss beyond hope of rescue.

"The new opera-director was soon lodged in the house of the careless
husband of the light woman. She herself may have had some inclination
for the man. But as soon as she felt her true power over him, she held
out her fair hand only to lead him into a life of torment.

"The woman's power over her poor victim was immense. He was dragged in
her train, against his better reason, to country excursions, suppers,
balls, at which, whilst he watched her every look, her every breath, to
discover her slightest wish, although nigh dead with fatigue, she would
be bestowing her attention on other men, wholly regardless of her slave.
Now again he would scour the town, in scorching heat or drenching rain,
frequently sacrificing the only moments he could snatch from business
for his dinner, to procure a ribbon, a ring, or some dainty, which she
desired, and which was difficult to obtain; and on his return she would
receive him perhaps with coldness and toss the prize aside. Sometimes,
when the proof became too evident that she had duped, deceived, betrayed
him, the scenes between the two were fearful; and then she would
cleverly find means of asserting that it was she who had the best right
to be jealous, and thus turn the tables on him. By every thought, in
every action, in every moment of his life, there was but one feeling
ever present--'How will she receive me?'

"Even in his account-book, now so often neglected, are to be found the
lamentations of his despairing heart over her unworthiness; and again,
but a few hours later, expressions of delight that she had smiled on
him. There is something terrible in the bitter slavery to which his
better nature was condemned by this wild passion. One day he writes: 'A
fearful scene.... The sweetest dream of my life is over. Confidence is
lost for ever. The chain is broken,' On the next: 'A painful
explanation. I shed the first tears my grief has wrung from me.... This
reconciliation has cleared the thunder from the air. Both of us felt
better,' And then again: 'My dream is over! I shall never know the
happiness of being loved. I must for ever be alone! ... She can sit near
me, hours long, and never say one word; and when some other man is
mentioned, burst out in ecstasy. I will do all I can to please her; but
I must withdraw within myself, bury all my bitter feelings in my own
heart, and work--work--work!'" It was in the fall of 1813--_prosit
omen!_--that Von Weber met the Brunetti. In the next year he was still
clinging to her whom the biographer calls "the rotten plant," and wrote
in a note-book: "I found Calina with Therese, and I could scarcely
conceal the fearful rage that burned in me." Or an elegy like this: "No
joy without her, and yet with her only sorrow."

Cupid has always been jealous of the cook. On Therese's birthday, Carl
presented her with a double gift, first a gold watch with a cluster of
trinkets, each of them a symbol of love; with this cluster of trinkets,
something very rare and costly in Prague--oysters. Therese
glanced--merely glanced--at the jewelry; she fairly gobbled the oysters.
Carl's love had survived his jealousy of Calina, but he could not endure
a rivalry with mollusks. As his son explains: "On a sudden the scales
fell from his eyes." Ought he not rather have said, the shells?

Lacking even this ogress for an idol, poor Carl was lonely indeed. Even
music turned unresponsive, and success was only ashes on his tongue.
Then faith gave him, unsought, ability to revenge himself on the
Brunetti. She had despised him as a mere genius toddling after the
frou-frou of her skirts, but she began to prize him when she saw him
casting interested looks in another direction. Now it was her turn to
writhe with jealousy, and to writhe in vain. Her storms and tirades had
more effect upon him than his pleas had had upon her. But whereas she
had formerly been _insouciante_ and amused at his pain, her pain hurt
him to distraction, broke down his health, and drove him to ask for a
leave of absence, that he might recover his strength. When he went away,
he carried with him in his heart a new regret, sweetened, or perhaps
embittered, by a tinge of new hope. But he could not know that he had
reached the end of the worthless pages of his life, and that the new
leaf was to be inscribed with a story of happiness, which was by no
means untroubled, but yet was constructive happiness, worth-while
happiness.

In the year 1810 his opera "Sylvana" had been sung, as I have said, with
Caroline Brandt in the title role. When, in 1813, he was given the
direction of the opera at Prague, though he fell into the clutches of
the Brunetti, he had unconsciously prepared himself a better, cleaner
experience by engaging for the very first member of his new company this
same Caroline Brandt, who happened to write him that she happened to be
"at liberty," as they say.

Like Carl himself, she had known stage-life from childhood, being the
daughter of a tenor, and appearing on the stage at the age of eight.
She is described as "small and plump in figure, with beautiful,
expressive gray eyes and fair wavy hair, and a peculiar liveliness in
her movements." She was a woman of large and tender heart, electrified
with a temper incisive and immediate. She was an actress of genuine
skill, "her sense of grace and beauty in all things infallible." She did
not appear at the theatre in Prague until the first day of January,
1814. She bore a curious resemblance to Therese Brunetti in a fresher
edition, and was not long in giving that lady a sense of uneasiness. The
oysters, as we have seen, had given the Brunetti the _coup de disgrace_.

Caroline won the poor director's gratitude first by being quick to adopt
suggestions, and to rescue him from the embarrassments buzzing about the
head of an operatic manager. She was glad to undertake tasks, and slow
to show professional jealousy. She lived in seclusion with her mother,
and received no visits. Even the young noblemen could not woo her at the
stage door, though the Brunetti advised her to accept the advances of a
certain banker, saying: "He is worth the trouble, for he is rich."

Having failed to drag Caroline into her own game, the Brunetti tried to
keep Von Weber from breathing the better air of her presence. As we
have seen, she drove him almost to distraction, and sent him a wreck to
the baths in Friedland.

Caroline's mother had permitted Von Weber to pay his court to her, and
her father and brother had found his intentions worthy. Caroline had not
hesitated to confess that her affection was growing with Carl's. But
what she had seen of his life with the Brunetti, and what she must have
heard of his magnificent dissipations, gave her pause. Therefore, when
Carl went away for his health, he took with him a riddle, and left
behind "a sweet, beloved being who might--who may--make me happy." "The
absence of three months shall test our love." They wrote each other long
and daily letters; his were all of yearning, while hers were mingled
with fear, lest he be, as she wrote him, "a sweet poison harmful to the
soul."

After taking the baths, he went on to Berlin, arriving there August 3d
in the very ferment of rapture over the downfall of Napoleon at Prague.
He was moved to write a number of patriotic songs from Koerner's "Leier
und Schwert." These choruses for men were sung throughout the
Fatherland, as they still are sung.

But from the height of glory to which he was now borne, as the living
voice of the nation, he was dragged back to the depths by the little
hand and the little finger-nails of Caroline, who could be jealous
enough to suspect that not all the adoration Von Weber was receiving
from the women of Berlin was pure and impersonal patriotism.

Von Weber had from the first insisted that no marriage of theirs could
have hope of success, unless she left the stage. This sacrifice of
herself and her career and her large following among the public was a
deal to ask, and a deal to grant. Her combined reluctance to sacrifice
her all, and her jealous fears that he would not find her all in all, at
last led her to write him that they would better give up their dream,
and break their troth.

In his first bitterness at this inopportune humiliation, coming like a
drop of vinegar in the honey of royal favour, he wrote furiously to
Gansbacher, "I see now that her views of high art are not above the
usual pitiful standard--namely, that art is but a means of procuring
soup, meat, and shirts." To another friend, Lichtenstein, he wrote more
solemnly:

"All my fondest hopes are vanishing day by day. I live like a drunken
man who dances on a thin coating of ice, and spite of his better reason
would persuade himself that he is on solid ground. I love with all my
heart and soul; and if there be no truth in her affection, the last
chord of my whole life has been struck. I shall still live on,--marry
perhaps some day,--who knows? But love and trust again, never more."

In September he returned to Prague with an anxious heart, and took up in
person a new battle for Caroline's hand. They were agreed upon the
subject of affection, but wrangled upon the clauses in the treaty of
marriage. While this debate was waging, Weber took care of her money and
her mother's. A benefit being given her, he announced that he himself
would sell the tickets at the box-office, and he spent a whole day
bartering his quick wit and his social influence, for increased prices.
Such public devotion brought scandal buzzing about the ears of the two.
But still Caroline would not give up her career, nor Weber his opinion
of stage marriages.

Even his patriotic songs, "The Lyre and the Sword," were a cause of
disagreement, for Caroline, like so many women, deified Napoleon, and
her lover's lyric assaults upon him were so much sacrilege; while to him
her adoration of that personified prairie-fire, who had devastated the
Fatherland, was treason. The Brunetti, being well out of the running,
Caroline found new cause of jealousy in the newly engaged actress,
Christine Bohler. Indeed, Carl and Caroline did little but fight and
make up for months, until even Caroline was convinced that one of the
two must leave Prague, at least for a period of probation. It was Carl
who left, and in a condition of almost complete spiritual collapse.

How little music has to do with one's state of mind, may be seen from
the fact that in his weak and complaining despair, he composed one of
his sturdiest works, "Kampf und Sieg." He settled in Munich, and
continued to correspond with Caroline, writing her the most minute
descriptions of his life and his lodgings, and begging her to write him
with equal fulness. His loneliness, however, at length told upon his
spirits, and gradually stifled his creativeness.

At length it became time for him to return to Prague again, and on the
eve of his home-going he received a letter from Caroline, which she said
she had been for weeks trying in vain to write. She was now convinced
that they must absolutely give up all thought of love and marriage. This
blow smote him to the ground. He had no strength even for wrath; he
could only write in abject meekness, as if thanking her for delaying the
blow so long:

"Be not angry, my beloved one, that I repeat my words of love and sorrow
again and again. They flow from a pure heart, that knows no other wish
than your happiness. When time shall have gone by, and you can look back
in peace and quiet on the broken tie between us, you will then
acknowledge that never was a truer heart than mine. Thanks, my dearest
life, my never-to-be-forgotten love, for the many sweet flowers you have
woven into the garland of my life, for all your love, for all your care.
Forgive me for my excess of love--forgive the passion that may have torn
many a wound, when it should have soothed and healed--forgive me all
the sorrow I have caused you, though Heaven knows it was through no will
of mine--forgive me for having stolen one whole sweet year of your
precious life, for which I would willingly give ten of my own, could I
but buy it back for you.... Farewell--farewell."


On the 7th of September he arrived in Prague. His first view of Caroline
was as she sang the Cinderella on the stage. The sight of her was too
much; he broke down and ran home. But still, as director, he must
frequently meet her in more or less familiar situations. And as for her,
she later confessed that she was suffering even more than Carl.

Her every strength and resolution melted away one afternoon in the
autumn, at a reception, where the lovers met face to face. Their gaze
blended; their hands blended; the war was over.

Instantly, with the resumption of his love-life, his interest in music
began again. Caroline, apparently alarmed at the condition of his
health, never robust, persuaded her mother to let him board at her
house. New health and old-time gaiety began again. But he was tired of
Prague, and determined to find a larger field elsewhere. While he was
hunting for a place for himself, he secured a starring engagement for
Caroline at the then high salary of ten gold louis, per performance.
Before he left Prague, he announced his engagement publicly. By a
curious coincidence, the engagement was announced at a reception, just
after a total eclipse of the sun. When the daylight came out of the
darkness, Carl rose and proclaimed his conquest.

On Christmas morning he received a costly ring from the King of Hanover,
a splendid snuff-box from the King of Bavaria, and an appointment as
Kapellmeister to the King of Saxony.

At Dresden there were honours enough and jealousies more. But Carl
assailed them with new strength. And now, he took up an opera on a
subject he had thought of but discarded, fortunately for himself and the
world. He wrote Caroline that a friend of his was writing a libretto
based on the old national legend, "Der Freischuetz." Kind, the
librettist, wrote night and day for ten days, and Carl, in great
enthusiasm, forwarded the libretto for Caroline's opinion. She sent it
back with violent criticisms, based upon her long stage experience and
her intuition of stage effects. We can never thank her sufficiently for
cutting out endless pages of songs and recitative by the melancholious
old Hermit who, in the original version, was to commence the opera, and
wander in and out of it incessantly. Caroline wrote, like Horace:

"Away, with all these scenes.... Plunge at once into the popular
element. Begin with the scene before the tavern." This seemed
outrageous mutilation at first to the composer, and the librettist took
it with still more violence; threatening for a time to withdraw his book
completely. But often, thereafter, did Carl express his gratitude to
her, whom he called his "Public with two eyes." Would to heaven, that
there had been some Caroline Brandt to give similar advice to Wagner
concerning his Wotan and his King Mark!

Meanwhile, during the composition of "Der Freischuetz," which was to mean
so much for the happiness of Germany and the betterment of opera
generally, Carl, the genius who struck out the magnificent work, was
spending almost less time upon the details of composition and scoring
than upon the purchase of articles for the home he was making for his
bride-to-be. He wrote her long letters, describing his purchases of
"chairs, crockery, curtains, knives, forks, spoons, pails, brooms, and
mustard-pot."

She had ceased to be in his mind the brilliant and fascinating
soubrette, and had become in the silly lover's-Latin, his "pug, his
duck, his bird." He answered a letter she wrote him describing her
success in the "Magic Flute:"

"I was amused with your account of the 'Zauberfloete,' but you know I
hope soon to see you lay by all your pretty Papagena feathers. All your
satins and ermines must give place to a coarse apron then. You will be
only applauded by my hungry stomach, called out before the cook-wench,
and saluted with 'da capo' when you kiss your Carl. It is very shocking,
I know. What will my own pearl say to be dissolved in the sour vinegar
of domestic life, and swallowed by a bear of a husband?"

In March, 1817, Weber was called to Prague, on business connected with
his opera company; he was overjoyed at the thought of seeing Caroline,
who was still singing there. Just as he was stepping into the
travelling-carriage, a letter was handed him, saying that the firm in
Prague, with which he had deposited all his savings and those of
Caroline, was about to go into bankruptcy. There was indeed, of his long
and careful hoardings only as much left as Caroline had deposited on his
advice. Her savings were quite swept away.

But, without saying a word to her, he transferred the last penny he had
in the world to her name, and left himself, except for his strength and
fame, a pauper. It was many years after, and then only by chance, that
Caroline learned the beautiful sacrifice he had made from his great love
for her. When he reached Prague, he concealed from her all the distress
he had suffered, and there was nothing but happiness in their reunion.

Returning to Dresden, he took up more seriously the composition of "Der
Freischuetz." The first note of it that he wrote was the second act duet
between Agathe and Aennchen; he took Caroline as his ideal. Indeed,
through the whole composition of the work, he declared that he saw
Caroline always presiding. He seemed to hear her voice singing every
note, and saw her fingers playing it on the piano; now smiling, over
what she liked; now shaking her head over what displeased her. This
spirit he took as the critic and judge of the whole work. There have
rarely been such instances of actual personal inspiration in any work of
art, and certainly none which do more credit to the absorption of the
artist-mind in the worship of its idol. Furthermore, much of the
composition was done at the home preparing for Caroline's actual
presence, and he wrote those suave and optimistic pages of music to an
accompaniment of hammers and saws, the wrangling of carpenters,
painters, upholsterers, and scrub-women; sleeping at nights in the
kitchen, and glad to find a kitchen-table to compose upon. The
longed-for marriage could not take place until a court wedding for which
he was writing music. This was postponed and postponed, until he was
driven to distraction. But at last, when the royal bridegroom was sent
on his way the composer fled toward Prague. Caroline surprised him by
coming part way to meet him. On November 4, 1817, they were married.
Carl gave Caroline's mother a pension of nine hundred thalers, though
her husband and son were living. The honeymoon was paid for by concerts
here and there, in which both took part, and by a benevolent royal
commission to hunt for artists. Caroline, though her matrimonial treaty
forbade her singing on the stage, was allowed to sing at concerts, and
at some of them she sang duets, with Carl at the piano, while she played
the guitar.

Carl had often told Caroline that she must expect a chaos in her new
home in Dresden. When she arrived, and found everything beautiful and in
perfect order, she wept with rapture. Late on the last night of the year
1817, Carl wrote in a diary these words; they show what depths there
were in the soul and what heights in the ambition of one whose youth and
training and early recklessness had promised so little of solidity and
solemnity.

"The great important year has closed. May God still grant me the
blessing He has hitherto so graciously accorded me; that I may have the
power to make the dear one happy; and, as a brave artist, bring honour
and advantage to my Fatherland! Amen!"

As for Caroline, who had been so volatile a soubrette and so happy in
the footlight glitter, she turned out to be even a greater success as a
_Haus-frau._ She began to win a more limited, but an equally profound,
reputation for her perfect dinners and receptions, and for the minute
care with which she kept all her "account-books, housekeeping-books,
cellar-books." Finally, she even learned to cook, and the household
became a dove-cote!

The instinct of jealousy is one that is not easily uprooted, and
Caroline did not permit Carl's life to grow too monotonous. His high
favour at court kept her in subjects for uneasiness. He finally
attempted a violent cure. He began to absent himself from the house with
unusual frequence, but would not explain where he had been, even though
Caroline wept and wailed. At length he wrought her to the pitch of
desperation by his heartless indifference; then, one day, he brought
home a portrait bust which a sculptor friend had made and with it a
signed record of every hour and minute of his absence. This, if not a
permanent cure, was at least a partial remedy.

Weber's home became a proverb of hospitality and good cheer. The two
sang duets, or Caroline recited poems, while Carl improvised
accompaniments; excursions to the fields, and water parties, and
hilarious reunions of the opera-troupe kept life busy. Later, he took a
country home, where he surrounded himself with the dumb animals whose
society he so enjoyed; these included a large hound, a raven, a
starling, an Angora cat, and an ape.

On December 22, 1818, the first child, a girl, was born. Caroline was
dangerously ill; the child was not strong, and Carl's own health,
always at the brink of wreckage, broke down. Caroline, hardly able to be
about, nursed her husband and concealed from him the serious condition
of the child. Just as he was beginning to recover, in April, his
firstborn died. The news could not be kept from him, and he was sent
into delirium. Caroline's health gave way completely, and "the unhappy
couple lay in neighbouring rooms, where they could only cry 'Comfort!'
to each other through the wall; and where, in the still hours of night,
each smothered the sobs of grief in the pillows, that the other might
not hear."

Caroline was the first to recover. Carl's health and strength were on
the final ebb--the long, slow ebb that made of his last years one dismal
tragedy, which only his superb devotion to his wife and his immitigable
optimism could brighten. In July, 1820, they decided to take a tour.
They met with great success, but he found his weakness almost
unbearable. At Hanover, he and Caroline were both prostrated, and could
not join in the concert planned. On the road to Bremen, the postilion
fell asleep and the coach was overturned into the ditch. The driver was
stunned and the sick Carl had himself to revive the man, untie the
baggage from the roof, unharness the horses, put everything in place
again, and drive the postilion to the next station. At Hamburg,
Caroline was too ill to continue the tour; she was about to become a
mother, and Carl was compelled to go on without her, but he wrote her
daily letters full of devotion. It was the first separation of their
married life.

Later she rejoined him, and at Hamburg, the oyster entered once more
into Weber's domestic career. The Brunetti had cured him of his love for
her by her inordinate fondness for bivalves. Caroline, on the other
hand, hated them. But Weber said:

"There can be no true sympathy between us while you detest a food I
relish. For the love of me, swallow this oyster."

The first three were a severe trial, but, as the French might say, "Ce
n'est pas que la premiere huitre qui coute." Afterward Weber would
groan, "Alas, why did I ever teach you the trick?"

In 1821, there rose a famous operatic war between Spontini and Weber at
Berlin. Caroline was prostrated with terror. Spontini's "Olympic" was
given first with enormous success, and "Der Freischuetz," in which
Caroline had had so large a share, and which meant so much to the two,
was forced into a dramatic comparison. In spite of a somewhat dubious
beginning, the first night was one of the greatest ovations a musician
has ever lived to see. In the midst of the tempestuous applause, every
one looked for the composer, who was "sitting in a dark corner of his
wife's box and kissing away her tears of joy."

When they returned to Dresden in July, Caroline's health was undermined
by the emotions of the Berlin triumph, and it was necessary for her to
be taken to Switzerland, where Carl was compelled to leave her. An
accident in crossing the Elbe led him to write his will, leaving
Caroline everything without reserve, and his dying curse upon any one
who should disturb his wishes.

Now consumption began to fasten its claws more deeply on him, and when
his wife returned she found him constantly racked with cough and fever.
One day he saw the first fatal spot of blood upon his handkerchief; he
turned pale and sighed: "God's will be done."

From that moment neither his conviction that he was doomed to an early
death, nor his courage to die pluckily, ever left him. When "Der
Freischuetz" was given in Dresden, Caroline was ill at home. Carl
arranged a courier service by which he received, after every scene, news
of his wife. In February of the next year, he was compelled to leave
Dresden; he placed in his wife's hands a sealed letter only to be opened
in case of his death. This letter gave a complete account of all his
affairs, and a last expression of his immense love for her. On his many
tours, he met almost uninterrupted triumph, but as he wrote to Caroline:

"I would rather be in my still chamber with you, my beloved life.
Without you all pride is shorn of its splendour; my only real joy can be
in that which gives you joy too."

From now on he spent a large part of his time away from her, always
tormented to the last degree by homesickness, always harrowed by the
fear that he might die out of the reach of his adored wife and two
children, and never feeling that he had laid by money enough to leave
them free of the danger of want, after he should have drifted into the
grave that yawned just before his weary feet.

It is hard to find in story or history a more pitiful struggle against
fate and the frustration of every deep desire than the last days of Carl
Maria von Weber, hurrying from triumph to triumph, and dying as he
jolted along his way, or stood bowing with hollow heart before
uproarious multitudes. Homesickness grew to be a positive frenzy with
him.

"They carry me in triumph," he wrote to Caroline: "they watch for every
wink to do me kindnesses. But I feel I can only be happy there, where I
can hear my lambs bleat, and their mother low, and can beat my dog, or
turn away my maids, if they are at all too troublesome."

In 1825, Christmas found him at a distance, and he could not reach home.
"I shall think of you all on Christmas-eve," he wrote, "But that I
never cease to do. All my labours are for you--all my joy is with you."
"Can I but be with you on New Year's eve," he wrote again, with that
tinge of superstition which always more or less pervaded his character,
"I shall be with you all the year."

Now London beckoned to him, as she had to so many German musicians, to
whom she always has stood for the city of gold and of rescue from
pauperdom. Ghastly as Von Weber looked in the clutches of his disease;
hungry as his heart and body were for a long, an eternal rest, he felt
that he must not shrink from this final goal. As his son writes with
aching heart in the biography:

"To Gublitz, who doubted of his ability to undertake the journey to
London, he replied, in a tone of melancholy irony: 'Whether I can or no,
I must. Money must be made for my family--money, man. I am going to
London to die there. Not a word! I know it as well as you.' The bright,
cheery, lively Weber, who revelled in the triumph of his 'Freischuetz,'
was already dead and gone.

"Before his departure, Weber regulated all his affairs in the most
punctilious manner. The presentiment of the fast-approaching end
rendered him doubly careful that all should be in order; and, in his
last conferences with his legal friends, he was always anxious to insure
the presence of his wife, whose strong practical good sense he knew.
During these painful duties his personal appearance became so fearfully
changed, that most of his friends began to fear he would no longer find
strength sufficient for his journey. His form sank together: his voice
was almost totally gone: his cough was incessant.

"In the circle of intimates who still visited him at that tea-table, of
which his wit, and pleasantry, and genial humour had so long made the
charm, he would often murmur, with a faint smile, 'Don't take it ill,
good people, if I drop asleep: indeed I cannot help it.'

"And his head would fall upon his breast. His poor wife suffered cruel
agonies: she could not but feel that he was really spending the small
remaining breath of life for the sake of her and the children. She
manoeuvred in secret to induce friends to persuade him that he ought to
renounce his fearful journey, when all her own affectionate efforts to
this intent had failed. But the response was ever the same sad one.

"'Whether I undertake this journey, or no, it is all one! Within a year
I am a dead man. But if I go, my children will have bread, when their
father is gone: if I do not, want may stare them in the face. What is to
be done?' On one occasion he added, 'I should like to come back once
more and see my dear ones' faces again: and then, in God's name, let
God's will be done! But to die there, it would be hard, very hard!'

"The morning of the 7th of February had not yet dawned, after a night of
bitter tears, when Weber's travelling-carriage drove up to his door. The
time was come for the separation of the husband, who scarcely hoped to
see his home again, from the loving wife, who felt that he was a dying
man. Another tear upon the forehead of his sleeping children--another
long lingering kiss--the suffering man dragged his swollen feet into the
carriage, huddled feverishly in his furs--the door was closed--and he
rolled away from home, on that cold winter's morning, sobbing till the
shattered chest might almost burst at once.

"Caroline rushed back to her room, and sank on her knees, with the cry:
'It is his coffin I have closed upon him!'

"At the first post, Weber parted with his own coachman and his own
horses. It was the last wrench from home and its remembrances. His
voluminous correspondence with his wife was the only tie left to Weber;
and nothing can be more touching than these letters, amounting in all to
fifty-three, in which the sufferer was always trying to conceal, as far
as he could, his sufferings; the anxious woman left behind, always
repressing her own bitter anguish lest it should increase the other's
sorrow."

Carl had been lured to London by reports of the enormous craze of the
whole people over his work. It was his fate to reach there just after
the tide of enthusiasm had turned, and was lapsing into the ebb of
weariness and impatience. After the first rapturous curiosity of
personal greeting, he found that the public would take little of him but
"Der Freischuetz," and of this opera he had grown weary, as composers
always grow of their spoiled children of fortune.

His health, too, was in tragic state. Frightful spasms and hemorrhages
seemed to tear him asunder. At a dinner given him, two of the guests had
to carry him up the stairs. He was hardly strong enough to stand during
the cheers that greeted him when he came before his audience. But the
worst disease of all, the one that would not cease gnawing at his heart,
was his homesickness. To a doctor who offered him a new remedy, he
cried:

"Go! go! no doctor's tinkering can help me now. The machine is
shattered. But, ah, would but God in His mercy grant that it might hold
together till I could embrace my Lina and my boys once more!" His
effort to keep Caroline from knowing his illness was kept up. When she
wrote him that the children were begging to know why he remained so long
away, he answered:

"Yes, the father is long, long away; ah, and how long is the time to
him! how every day is counted! Patience! patience! Day crawls after
day."

"God bless you, my deeply beloved ones!" he wrote once more. "I count
days, hours, minutes, until we meet again. We have often been parted
before, and loved each other dearly, God knows. But this terrible
yearning I have never known before."

At last he grew so desperately sad that he broke his rule and wrote his
wife full details of his suffering; he had given up hope of ever seeing
his home again.

At this time, a singer wished to bring out a new song of his, and
furnished him with words. His once alert fancy groped long for a melody,
but, as his son writes:

"At last on the morning of the 18th of May, the great artist's flitting
genius came back to him, and for the last time gave him a farewell kiss
upon that noble forehead now bedewed with the cold sweat of death--for
the last time! But the trembling hands were unable to write down more
than the notes for the voice."

Fate had still reserved a bitter blow for him. He had fastened his hopes
upon a farewell concert, and grew morbid upon the importance of it to
his future.

"This day week is my concert," he wrote on the 19th of May. "How my poor
heart beats when I think of it! What will be the result? The last
chances left me are this concert and my benefit. When I think on all
they cost me, should they not turn out so as to meet my modest
expectations, it were hard indeed. But I must not let my courage fail
me. I will rely on Him, who has already been so infinitely merciful to
us. You will think, my beloved life, that I lay far too much stress on
this. But remember that my hope of fortune for us was the only purpose
of this weary journey. Can you not comprehend, then, why I now hold for
so important that which has always played but a subordinate part in my
life? Pray, dearest heart, pray that poor old papa's wishes, which are
all for your dear sakes, may yet be fulfilled."

To complete the mockery of his last days, fashion declined to interest
itself in his concert, and, to keep even the common public away, the
skies poured down floods of rain. The house was almost empty. The
enthusiasm of the few good hearts there were Job's consolation. At the
end of the concert he was led to his room, where he sank down, a
complete wreck in mind and hope, muttering:

"What do you say to that? That, that is 'Weber in London'!"

His hand trembled so that he could hardly write any more to his wife;
still, in a quivering scrawl, he bade her address her answer not to
London, but to a city on the way home, for he is starting
homeward--homeward at last! But he is not coming home through Paris, as
he had planned. He writes:

"What should I do there? I cannot walk--I cannot speak. I will have
nothing more to do with business for years to come. So it is far better
I should take the straight way home by Calais, through Brussels,
Cologne, Coblenz, and thus by the Rhine to Frankfort. What a charming
journey! I must travel very slowly, however, and probably rest for half
a day now and then. I shall gain a good fortnight thus; and by the end
of June I hope to be in your arms.

"How will you receive me? In Heaven's name, alone. Let no one disturb my
joy of looking again upon my wife and my children, my dearest and my
best... Thank God! the end of all is fast approaching."

The end of all was fast approaching. He sent his friends out to purchase
souvenirs of unhappy London, as gifts for his family. He was so
impatient to be off that he would listen to no advice to postpone his
starting.

"I must go back to my own, I must!" he sobbed incessantly. "Let me see
them once more--and then God's will be done." The attempt appeared
impossible to all. With great unwillingness he yielded to his friend's
request to have a consultation of physicians. "Be it so," he answered.
"But come of it what may, I go!"

His only thought, his only word, was "Home!" On the 2d of June he wrote
his last letter to his beloved,--the last lines his hand ever traced.
"What a joy, my own dear darling, your letter gave me! What a happiness
to me to know that you are well! ... As this letter requires no answer,
it will be but a short one. What a comfort it is not to have to
answer... God bless you all and keep you well! Oh, were I but amongst
you all again! I kiss you with all my heart and soul, my dearest one!
Preserve all your love for me, and think with pleasure on him who loves
you above all, your Carl."

He was to leave London on the 6th of June; on the night of the 4th he
could talk to his friends only of their kindness and of his eagerness to
be home. To a friend, who stayed to help him through the painful ordeal
of undressing, he murmured his thanks and said, "Now let me sleep."

The next morning, when they came to his room, he had been dead for
hours. London was full of words of regret for the man whose music had
added so much to the beauty and cheerfulness of the world. A great
benefit for his family was arranged, but fate would not cease mocking
him in his grave,--the receipts hardly equalled the expenses!

A committee petitioned the Dean of Westminster to allow the funeral to
be held in the Abbey. The courteous answer of regret reminded the
committee that Von Weber was a Roman Catholic! The musicians
volunteered, however, to give him a splendid funeral, and at least music
was not wanting when his body was lowered into the grave in an alien
land. Von Weber's son, Max, describes how the news was sent to
Caroline by Von Weber's devoted friend, Fuerstenau:

"It was the death-warrant of the purest wedded bliss that had ever made
two mortals happy; it was nigh a fatal cup of poison to one of the
noblest hearts of womankind: it told two little blooming boys that they
were orphaned. No wonder that Fuerstenau had not the courage to address
Caroline von Weber herself: his letter had been sent to her dearest
friend, Fraeulein von Hanmann. The sad messenger of death went down to
Kosterwitz, the letter in hand.

"But she, too, had not the courage to break the fearful news to the
impulsive little woman, unaided and alone. She stopped her carriage at a
little distance from the house, to beg the support of Roth, who lived
close by. But Caroline had heard the carriage-wheels--had looked
out--had seen her friend descend on that unaccustomed spot, and
disappear into Roth's house. A fearful presentiment seized her--she
rushed toward the spot--she saw the two standing in the little garden,
wringing their hands and weeping--she knew all--and she lay senseless at
their feet. Her little boy Max had followed her in childish alarm. Nigh
forty years have gone by since then; but he has never forgotten the
sound of that terrible cry, when his mother, slowly recovering from her
swoon, clasped him convulsively in her arms, and wetted his face with a
flood of tears."

Nearly twenty years later it was before Von Weber's body at last reached
the Fatherland. The agonies of homesickness he had endured seemed to
haunt even the cold clay. In 1841, a writer made an ardent appeal for
the restoration of this glory of German song, to the German soil. The
idea became a crusade. But it was not until 1844, and then chiefly by
the aid of Wagner, then conductor in Dresden, and a close friend of
Caroline and her children, that success was attained. The younger son,
Alexander, had already been buried; on December 14, 1844, the father's
body was placed by his side. It had been carried through the streets of
Dresden behind a black banner, on which were inscribed words which once
would have meant so much: "Weber in Dresden."

"In the richly decorated chapel of the cemetery, all the ladies of the
theatre, with Schroeder-Devrient at their head, awaited the body, and
covered the coffin with their laurels. The ceremony was at an end. The
torches were extinguished; the crowd dispersed. But, by the light of two
candles still burning on the altar, might be seen the form of a small,
now middle-aged woman who had flung herself upon the bier, whilst a pale
young man knelt praying by her side."

This pale young man was the Baron Max Maria von Weber, to whose pen we
owe a wonderful portrait of a wonderful man. It was the son's love,
strangely tempered with wisdom, that showed us all the phases of this
character, which, by revealing its worser side, made the better side
convincing, complete, alive.

Weber had lived hardly more than half of the allotted three score and
ten, but he had lived life in all its phases, from riotous dissipation
amid royal splendour and insolence to a brave and whole-souled battle
for the welfare of his home. It is futile to attempt judging the effect
of music upon life, and of life upon music. Too many sorts of man have
written too many sorts of music and lived too many sorts of life. But,
if you wish to use Von Weber's life as an example of the influence of
music, surely, you would write Von Weber's name on the credit side of
the ledger, for he reached his best music when his life was best
managed. He took a musician for his wife, and her high ideals of art and
life made him a man and a soldier against Fate.

Home they brought his body, a pride to his Fatherland, and the greater
Wagner who owed the great Weber so much, spoke over his grave these
words:

"Here rest thee, then! ... Wherever thy genius bore thee, to whatsoever
distant lands, it stayed for ever linked by a thousand tendrils to the
German people's heart; that heart with which it wept and laughed, a
child believing in the tales and legends of his country. And though the
Briton may yield thee justice; the Frenchman, admiration; yet, the
German alone can love thee. His thou art; a beautiful day in his life, a
warm drop of his own blood, a morsel of his heart--and who shall blame
us that we wished thy ashes, too, to mingle with this earth, to form a
part of our dear German soil."




CHAPTER XVI.


THE FELICITIES OF MENDELSSOHN

Happy, they say, is the country that hath no history. Happy, too, the
man whose love affairs make tame reading.

It is not often that people live up to their names so thoroughly as
Mendelssohn lived up to his. His parents were prophets when they called
him Felix, for his life was happy, though he enjoyed it only
thirty-eight years, and though it was not without its disappointments
and rebuffs,--being a Christianised Jew, he was acceptable to neither
the Jews nor the Gentiles. None the less, Mendelssohn's life was, as
human lives go, one of complete felicity.

Well begun is half done, and half the struggle for happiness is achieved
if one's childhood years are made pleasant. Mendelssohn's home life was
so brilliantly joyous, and so busy with artistic and domestic comforts,
that it has almost passed into proverb as ideal. Mendelssohn is
described as having been "enthusiastically, almost fanatically, fond of
his father," who, without possessing musical technic, possessed a
remarkable spiritual grasp of it. His mother was something of a pianist,
and a woman of great sweetness and firmness of character, to whom the
children were devoted and with whom they were confidential to the utmost
degree. In this atmosphere the flower of Mendelssohn's genius bore early
fruit, and we find him in 1826, at the age of seventeen, writing his
Overture to "A Midsummer-Night's Dream," a wonderful fabric of harmony
and instrumentation, which sounds like Wagner at his best, though it was
written when Wagner was only thirteen years old, and had never dreamed
of writing music, nor had even turned out that old-fangled and empty
sonata which is beautiful only because it was his first and last offence
of the sort.

Mendelssohn, like Mozart, gave his heart first to his sister; who was
like him a prodigy at the piano, and so thoroughly congenial, that when
she died suddenly the shock shortened his own life. Some of her
compositions were published with his, and he took her advice in many
things. At the age of twenty-four she married the painter Hensel, and at
the age of forty-two she died.

Mendelssohn was a man of many friends among men; he was small and
excitable, but was counted handsome. He was versatile to an unusual
degree, being an adept at painting, as well as billiards, chess,
riding, swimming, and general athletics. He was also something of a
scholar in Greek and Latin, and his correspondence was so
enthusiastically kept up that his published letters take a high place in
such literature, overflowing as they are with comment of all kinds on
the people and things he saw in his wide travels. As an aunt of his once
wrote his mother: "If God spare him, his letters will in long, long
years to come create the deepest interest. Take care of them as of a
holy relic; indeed, they are sacred already as the effusion of so pure
and childlike a mind."

His heart was indeed remarkably clean. Stratton says of him: "He was
always falling in love, as his letters show, but no breath of scandal
bedimmed the shining brightness of his character." "He wore his heart
upon his sleeve," says Stratton. He also wore it on the tip of his pen,
and one who wishes to know how possible it is to be both a good and
joyous man and a great, busy musician can find such an one in
Mendelssohn's published letters, though the most personal family matters
have been omitted from them as printed, and his wife before her death
burned all the letters he had written her.

We, however, are concerned only in his amours. When he was twenty years
old, he went to England and thence to Scotland and Wales, where he
spent a time composing, sketching, and exercising his fascinations; he
wrote home: "Yes, children, I do nothing but flirt, and that in
English." Wherever he went, he saw something beautiful in nature or in
womankind, and at Munich, in 1830, he was, as his sister wrote, "the
darling in every house, the centre of every circle." The
fifteen-year-old Josephine or "Peppi" Lang and Delphine von Schauroth
seem to have touched his heart most deeply; to the latter he dedicated a
piano composition; to the former he taught double counterpoint, a
forbidding subject which the two doubtlessly found gay enough. In Italy,
in 1831, he found his heart captured easily, and, as once in Schumann's
case, it was an English girl who entangled him. She was a beauty whom he
first met at a ball at Torlonia's; he danced with her again at the
Palazzo Albani. But music held him fast through all, though he could on
occasion impatiently vow that he would be more serious and no longer
alter his compositions to suit the whims of pretty girls.

Mendelssohn's life flowed on in smoothness, in thorough contrast with
the violent ups and downs of Beethoven's mind and music, for he was, as
Stratton says, "on the most excellent terms with himself," as with the
world in general. He was extremely sensitive to criticism and to false
friendship, but he was never stung into those virulent humours which
poisoned Beethoven's career. So placid a life his was, indeed, that some
of his admirers have wished that he had met with more tragedy, in order
that he might have written more poignant music. Against this view, Grove
wisely protested, comparing Schubert's words: "My music is the product
of my genius and my misery; and that which I have written in my greatest
distress is that which the world seems to like best." Grove moralises
thus on Mendelssohn with sane philosophy:

"He was never tried by poverty, or disappointment, or ill-health, or a
morbid temper, or neglect, or the perfidy of friends, or any of the
other great ills which crowded so thickly around Beethoven, Schubert, or
Schumann. Who can wish that he had been? that that bright, pure,
aspiring spirit should have been dulled by distress or torn with agony?
It might have lent a deeper undertone to his songs or have enabled his
Adagios to draw tears where now they only give a saddened pleasure. But
let us take the man as we have him. Surely there is enough of conflict
and violence in life and in art. When we want to be made unhappy we can
turn to others. It is well in these agitated modern days to be able to
point to one perfectly balanced nature, in whose life, whose letters,
and whose music alike, all is at once manly and refined, clever and
pure, brilliant and solid. For the enjoyment of such shining heights of
goodness we may well forego for once the depths of misery and sorrow."

In November, 1835, Mendelssohn's father died, among his last wishes
being the wish that his son should marry, as the two sisters already
had. The blow to Mendelssohn was exceedingly severe, and his condition
alarmed his sister, who urged upon him his father's advice. Mendelssohn
told her that he would look about him on the Rhine next summer.

In 1836 he visited Frankfort, and made the acquaintance of the widow of
a French clergyman who had preached at the French Reformed Church. The
widow was Madame Jeanrenaud (_nee_ Souchay); she was so well preserved
and handsome that she was credited with having won Mendelssohn's love.
But it was her second daughter, Cecile Charlotte Sophie, who had stuck
the first pin of permanence through his butterfly heart. She was
seventeen and he twenty-seven; he loved beauty, and she was beautiful.

The hyper-romantic Elise Polko often saw Cecile, and described her:

"To the present hour she has always remained my beau ideal of womanly
fascination and loveliness. Her figure was slight, of middle height, and
rather drooping, like a flower heavy with dew; her luxuriant gold-brown
hair fell in rich curls on her shoulders, her complexion was of
transparent delicacy, her smile charming, and she had the most
bewitching deep blue eyes I ever beheld, with dark eyelashes and
eyebrows.... Her whole aspect had a Madonna air, what Berthold Auerbach
so beautifully calls _Marienhaft_. Her manner was generally thought too
reserved; indeed she was considered cold, and called 'the fair Mimosa,'
In music we have an expressive term, 'calm but impassioned,' and this I
deem an appropriate conception for the portrait of Cecile."

Mendelssohn was so surprised at the depth of the impression the young
girl had made upon him that he was worried. To make sure that he was
really at last in love, he went away for a month to take sea-baths at
Scheveningen, near The Hague. But salt water would not wash away his
emotion, and after a month's absence he returned, proposed, and on the
9th of September, 1836, was betrothed. He wrote his mother at once:

"My head is quite giddy from the events of the day; it is already late
at night and I have nothing else to say; but I must write to you, I feel
so rich and happy."

It is a proof of the fondness the people cherished for Mendelssohn that,
when the engagement became noised abroad, the directors of the
Gewandhaus in Leipzig put on the programme the second finale in
"Fidelio," "He who has gained a charming wife" ("_Wer ein holdes Weib
errungen_"). The audience saw the meaning at once and shouted in its
enthusiasm, until Mendelssohn was forced to seat himself at the piano
and extemporise upon the theme.

Felix and Cecile were married March 28, 1837, at the Walloon French
Reformed Church in Frankfort, and his friend Hiller surprised them with
a new bridal chorus. The wedding tour lasted nearly a month, and the
honeymooners kept a journal, in which they both sketched and wrote
humourous nothings. The home they chose was in Leipzig, where Fanny
Hensel visited them, and found Cecile possessed not only of "the
beautiful eyes" Felix had raved over so much, "but possessed also of a
wonderfully soothing temperament, that calmed her husband's whims and
promised to cure him of his irritability."

The married life of the two was interrupted by the journeys the husband
had to make for his important engagements, till he growled vigorously,
and regretted being a conductor at all.

In February, 1838, the first child was born, and Cecile was dangerously
ill. On other tours of his, even to England, she accompanied him. She
bore him five children, three boys and two girls. Their life together
was almost perfect. He writes, in 1841, to a friend who is to be
married:

"If I have still a wish to form it is that your blissful betrothal-mood
may be continued in marriage, that is, may you be like me, who feel
every day of my life that I cannot be sufficiently thankful to God for
my happiness."

In another letter he thus pictures his private paradise: "Eating and
sleeping, without dress coat, without piano, without visiting-cards,
without carriage and horses, but with donkeys, with wild flowers, with
music-paper and sketch-book, with Cecile and the children." Again, in
1844, he writes of a return home:

"I found all my family well, and we had a joyful meeting. Cecile looks
so well again,--tanned by the sun, but without the least trace of her
former indisposition; my first glance told this when I came into the
room, but to this day I cannot cease rejoicing afresh every time I look
at her. The children are as brown as Moors, and play all day long in the
garden. And so I am myself again now, and I take one of the sheets of
paper that Cecile painted for me, to write to you.

"I am sitting here at the open window, looking into the garden at the
children, who are playing with their 'dear Johann.' The omnibus to
Koenigstein passes here twice every day. We have early strawberries for
breakfast, at two we dine, have supper at half-past eight in the
evening, and by ten we are all asleep. The country is covered with
pear-trees and apple-trees, so heavy with fruit that they are all
propped up; then the blue hills, and the windings of the Main and the
Rhine; the confectioner, from whom you can buy thread and shirt-buttons;
the list of visitors, which comes out every Saturday, as _Punch_ does
with you; the walking-post, who, before going to Frankfort, calls as he
passes to ask what we want, and next day brings me my linen back; the
women who sell cherries, with whom my little four-year-old Paul makes a
bargain, or sends them away, just as he pleases; above all, the pure
Rhenish air,--this is familiar to all, and I call it Germany!"

Grove makes this sketch of the blissful circle:

"The pleasure in his simple home life, which crops out now and then in
these Frankfort letters, is very genuine and delightful. Now, Marie is
learning the scale of C; he has actually forgotten how to play it, and
has taught her to pass her thumb under the wrong finger! Now, Paul
tumbles the others about so as to crack their skulls as well as his
own. Another time he is dragged off from his letter to see a great tower
which the children have built, and on which they have ranged all their
slices of bread and jam--'A good idea for an architect,' At ten Carl
comes to him for reading and sums, and at five for spelling and
geography--and so on. 'And,' to sum up, 'the best part of every pleasure
is gone if Cecile is not there,' His wife is always somewhere in the
picture."

Even when Mendelssohn went to England and was cordially received by the
young Queen Victoria, and when she asked him what she could grant him
for his pleasure, he asked to see the royal nursery. Stratton describes
the strange reward of his art as follows:

"Delighted beyond everything, the Queen led the way, and the two were
soon deep in the mysteries of children's clothing, dietary, ailments,
and all that appertains to the duties of the heads of a family.
Perchance he inspected the juvenile wardrobe of the future Empress of
his own Germany."

On one of the home festivals, Cecile and her sister gave and acted a
comic dialogue between two ladies' maids, in Frankfort dialect.
Gradually, however, Mendelssohn's overbusy musical enthusiasm wore down
his health, and at thirty-seven he was nearing the end of his marvellous
vitality and vivacity. In May, 1847, his sister Fanny was conducting a
rehearsal of her choir; she sat at the piano till suddenly her hands
dropped from the keys, and she was dead. The news was told to
Mendelssohn without any preparation; with a scream he dropped senseless;
it was said that a blood-vessel had broken in his brain. From this time
on he was a changed man, weary of everything. He sank gradually until,
the evening of November 4, 1847, he died, painlessly, in the presence of
his wife, his brother, and three friends.

His funeral was a fitting close to his splendid life; six years later
Cecile died at Frankfort of consumption.

Of Mendelssohn's character there is no need to speak further here; it
was strangely summed up in his own words, in a letter he wrote to a man
who had told him that he was spoken of as a veritable saint. How few
saints are canonised in their own time, and how few deserve it ever! But
let us take Mendelssohn's own words for his own epitaph:

"So I am said to be a saint! If this is intended to convey what I
conceive to be the meaning of the word, and what your expressions lead
me to think you also understand by it, then I can only say that, alas! I
am not so, though every day of my life I strive with greater
earnestness, according to my ability, more and more to resemble this
character. I know indeed that I can never hope to be altogether a saint,
but if I ever approach to one, it will be well. If people, however,
understand by the word 'saint' a Pietist, one of those who lay their
hands on their laps and expect that Providence will do their work for
them, and who, instead of striving in their vocation to press on
towards perfection, talk of a heavenly calling being incompatible with
an earthly one, and are incapable of loving with their whole hearts any
human being, or anything on earth,--then God be praised! such a one I am
not, and hope never to become, so long as I live; and though I am
sincerely desirous to live piously, and really to be so, I hope this
does not necessarily entail the other character. It is singular that
people should select precisely _this_ time to say such a thing, when I
am in the enjoyment of so much happiness, both through my inner and
outer life, and my new domestic ties, as well as my busy work, that I
really know not how sufficiently to show my thankfulness. And, as you
wish me to follow the path which leads to rest and peace, believe me, I
never expected to live in the rest and peace which have now fallen to my
lot."




CHAPTER XVII.


THE NOCTURNES OF CHOPIN

He wrote to his parents:

"I have made the acquaintance of an important celebrity, Mme. Dudevant,
well known as George Sand; but I do not like her face; there is
something in it that repels me."

And then, of course, he fell in love with her, for she leaned on his
piano and improvised flatteries across the strings to him and turned
full on him the luminous midnight of her ox-eyed beauty. A punster would
say that he was oxidised, at once. The two lovers were strangely
unlike--of course. She was masculine, self-poised, and self-satisfied;
she had taken excellent care of herself at a time when the independent
woman had less encouragement than now. So more than masculinely coarse
she was in some ways, indeed, that Henry James once insinuated that,
while she may have been to all intents and purposes a man, she was
certainly no gentleman. Heine raved over her beauty, but, judging from
her portrait, she later had a face as homely as that of George Eliot,
who, as Carlyle said, looked like a horse. The poet De Musset, one of
Sand's later lovers, said her dark complexion gave reflections like
bronze; therefore De Musset found her very beautiful. Chopin was--well,
some say he was not effeminate; and he could break chairs when he was
angry at a pupil. But they also speak of his frail, fairylike, ethereal
manner, and those qualities I, for one, have never known in any
non-effeminate man--outside of books.

The first meeting of Chopin and Sand was a curious proof of the value of
presentiments, and should interest those who have such things and
believe them. Chopin, according to Karasovski, went to the salon of the
Countess de Custine. As he climbed the stairs he fancied that he was
followed by a shadow odorous of violets; he wanted to turn back, but
resisted the superstitious thrill. Those violets were the perfumery of
George Sand. She snared him first with violet-water, and thereafter
surrounded him with her multitudinous wreaths of tobacco--though he
neither made nor liked smoke. She, however, puffed voluminously at
cigarettes, and even, according to Von Lenz, at long black cigars--as
did Liszt's princess.

Other accounts are given of the first meeting, and Liszt claims the
credit for arranging it all at her request, in spite of Chopin's desire
not to meet her. But, be that as it may, he came, he saw, and she
conquered. The two were alike chiefly in their versatility as lovers.

Chopin's first loves were his family, on whom he doted with Polish
fervour. George Sand once exclaimed that his mother was his only love.
She was a Polish woman whose name was Krzyzanovska--a good name to
change for the shorter tinkle of "Chopin." It was from her that Chopin
took that deep-burning patriotism which characterised him and gave his
music a national tinge. And at that time Polish patriotism was bound to
be all one elegy. But Chopin's father was a Frenchman, and when finally
the composer reached Paris, he found himself instantly at home, and the
darling of the salons. How different this feeling was from the
loneliness and disgust that Paris filled Mozart's soul withal!

As we found Mozart's first serious wound in the heart coming from a
public singer, so Chopin (unless we except his pupil, the Princess Elisa
Radziwill) seems to have been caught very young by Constantia
Gladkovska. She made a great success at Warsaw in the year which was
Chopin's twentieth. He had previously indulged in a mild flirtation with
a pretty little pianist and composer, Leopoldine Blahetka, but in her
case he seems less to have loved than to have graciously permitted
himself to be loved. When he fell under the witchery of Gladkovska,
however, he was genuinely pierced to the heart, and his letters are as
full of vague morose yearning as his Preludes. He left Warsaw for
Vienna, but the memory of her pursued him. She had sung at his farewell
concert in Warsaw, and made a ravishing success as a picture and as a
singer. In Vienna he longed for her so deeply that he went about wearing
the black velvet mantle of gloom which was so effective on the musicians
and poets of that day.

To-day we will hardly permit an artist an extra half-inch of hair, and
he must be very well groomed, very prosperous, businesslike, and, in
appearance at least, athletic--even if he must ask his tailor to furnish
the look of brawn. Personally, I prefer the mode of to-day, but with
to-day's fashion we should not have had Chopin, such music as he drew
from his familiar and daemon, the piano, and such letters as he wrote
about the Gladkovska to his friend Matuszynski:

"God forbid that she should suffer in any way on my account. Set her
mind at rest, and tell her that as long as my heart beats I shall not
cease to adore her. Tell her that even after my death my ashes shall be
strewn under her feet."

While Chopin was thus mooning over her memory, she seems to have been
finding consolation elsewhere than in her music, even as Mozart's
Aloysia had done. This letter was sent on New Year's Day, 1831. After a
few more references to her, her name vanishes from his letters, and the
incident is closed. It may best be summed up in the words of James
Huneker, who is one of the few writers who has kept his sanity on the
subject of Chopin:

"He never saw his Gladkovska again, for he did not return to Warsaw. The
lady was married in 1832--preferring a solid merchant to nebulous
genius--to Joseph Grabovski, a merchant at Warsaw. Her husband, so saith
a romantic biographer, Count Wodzinski, became blind; perhaps even a
blind country gentleman was preferable to a lachrymose pianist. Chopin
must have heard of the attachment in 1831. Her name almost disappears
from his correspondence. Time as well as other nails drove from his
memory her image. If she was fickle, he was inconstant, and so let us
waste no pity on this episode, over which lakes of tears have been shed
and rivers of ink have been spilt."

This same year, 1831, brought Chopin to Paris, thenceforward his
residence and home. His great elegance of manner, as well as of music,
brought him into the most aristocratic dove-cotes, or salons, as they
called them, and it is small wonder that he found himself unable to
avoid accepting and buttonholing for a while some of the countless
hearts that were flung like roses at his feet. Even George Sand was
amazed at his dexterity in juggling with hearts, and, in this matter,
praise or blame from George Sand was praise from Lady Hubert. It seems
that he could modulate from one love affair to another as fleetly and as
gracefully as from one key to its remotest neighbour. She says he could
manage three flirtations of an evening, and begin a new series the very
next day. Apparently even distance was no barrier, for George Sand
declares that he was at the same moment trying to marry a girl in Poland
and another in Paris. The Parisienne he cancelled from his list because,
says Sand, when he called on her with another man, she offered the other
man a chair before she asked Chopin to be seated. Chopin conducted
himself in Paris very much _en prince_, according to Von Lenz, and such
a sacrilege to the laws of precedence naturally was unpardonable.

The Polish woman whom Sand refers to may have been the one woman with
whom Chopin is definitely known to have planned marriage. This was Maria
Wodzinska. Her two brothers had boarded years before at the pension
which Chopin's father kept at Warsaw. The acquaintance with the brothers
was renewed in Paris, and when, in 1835, Chopin visited Dresden after a
long journey to see his parents, he met the sister, Maria, then nineteen
years old, and fell deeply and seriously in love with her. According to
her brother, who wrote a biographical romance on "Chopin's Three Love
Affairs," Maria, while not classically a beauty, had an indefinable
charm.

"Her black eyes were full of sweetness, reverie, and restrained fire; a
smile of ineffable voluptuousness played around her lips, and her
magnificent hair was as dark as ebony and long enough to serve her as a
mantle."

They flirted at the piano and behind a fan, and he dedicated her a
little waltz, and she drew his portrait. As usual, the different
biographers tell different stories, but from them the chief biographer
of all, Frederick Neicks, decides that Chopin proposed and Maria
deposed. And here endeth the second of Chopin's three romances. So this
brings us back to Paris and George Sand, and the year 1837, when Chopin
was twenty-eight and George Sand thirty-three.

Thus far we have followed the standard authorities, but the year 1903
has done much in the way of unveiling Chopin's life. His letters to his
family, and their letters to him, were believed to have perished. They
were in the possession of his sister Isabella Barcinska, and she was
living in the palace of Count Zamoyski at Warsaw, in 1863, when a bomb
was thrown from a window as the Russian lieutenant-general was passing.
In revenge the soldiers sacked the palace, and burned what they did not
carry off. Chopin's portrait by Ary Scheffer, his piano, and his Paris
furniture perished, and his papers were believed to be among the lost.

But all the while the family was keeping their very existence secret
until, after forty years, it was thought proper to give them to the
public.

M. Karlovicz was entrusted with this honour, and _La Revue Musicale_ of
Paris chosen as the medium. The letters are said to make a large bulk,
but I have been able to see only the first three instalments, of which
two are family letters to him. They are exuberant with tenderness,
admiration, and of hope for his great fame; the father constantly
pleading with the son to lay up his sous against a rainy day,--advice
which met the usual fate of good advice.

Karlovicz says, with some exaggeration: "In his letters to his family,
Chopin, as if he wished to avoid pronouncing the name of George Sand,
always calls her 'My hostess,' sometimes even employing, strange to say,
the plural, for instance, 'Elles si cheres, elles rirent pour tous,' or,
'Here the vigil is sad, because _les malades_ do not wish a doctor.'"

The first letter, signed "Fritz," is a most cordial welcome to a man
about to marry his sister. The third is a double letter from George Sand
and Chopin to Louise, who had just visited the two lovers at Nohant in
1844. Sand tells her that her visit has been the best tonic he has ever
had, and writes to the whole family: "Tell them all that I love them,
too, and would give my life to unite them with him one day under my
roof." Chopin refers to Sand as "My hostess," and signs himself "Ton
vieux." In his next he details with much amusement a scandalous escapade
of Victor Hugo's, a husband's discovery, and Madame Hugo's forgiving
manner. He announces (July 20, 1845) that "le telegraphe
electro-magnetique entre Baltimore et Washington, donne des resultats
extraordinaires." He revels in puns and gossip.

Karlovicz mentions the existence of a despairing letter in which Chopin
called his sister Louise to Paris where he was dying; she came in 1849,
with her husband and daughter, and remained till the end, giving him the
last tendernesses in her power.

This is all I have gleaned from Karlovicz. More immediate help has come
from a new biography published in Warsaw in 1903 by Ferdinand Hoesick,
and, according to Alfred Nossig, destined to upset the supremacy of
Nieck's biography. This latest work is really the carrying out of the
plans of Chopin's friend and fellow student, Julian Fontana, who shared
joy and sorrow with him in Paris, and collected letters and data for a
biography. On Chopin's death Liszt sprang into print with a rhapsody
which led Fontana to defer his work. At his death in 1869 he left it
unfinished, bequeathing his documents to his son, who permitted Hoesick
the use of them.

Hoesick blames Chopin's notable melancholy to early experiences of love
requited, indeed, but not united in marriage. His love was as rathe as
his music.

Alfred Nossig, reviewing the biography, says of Chopin: "As his talent,
so did his heart mature early." It was at Warsaw, in his early youth,
that he found his first ideal. Although his father, a Frenchman who had
married a Polish woman, did not occupy a foremost position in society,
Frederic moved in the highest circles. In addition to his genius he had
always the princely way with him.

One of his admirers was the Duchess Ludvika Czetvertynska, whose
majestic figure and aureole of hair reminded one of the pictures of
Giorgione. Her friend, the Governor of Poland, the Grand Duke
Konstantin, through her introduction accepted Chopin as one of his most
welcome guests; he was musical, and greatly admired Chopin's music.
Whenever his violent temper carried him away, the grand duchess would
send secretly for Chopin, who would seat himself at the piano, and at
the first notes the grand duke would appear in the drawing-room with his
temper cured. Thus was Chopin another David to a latter-day Saul. Chopin
was an intimate friend of the grand duke's son, Paul, whose instructor
was a Count Moriolles. It was his daughter, the Comtesse Alexandra, in
whose eyes Chopin found inspiration; he improvised never so beautifully
as when she sat next to him at the piano. His adoration was no secret.
He was often teased on account of the beautiful "Mariolka," as he called
her. In his letters to his friends, we find many allusions that prove
that the young comtesse loved him in turn. But both knew that this love
was hopeless, and therefore Chopin's musical expressions of his dreams
for her are melancholy. One remembrance of this attachment is the Rondo
_a la Mazur_, Op. 5, which he dedicated to the Comtesse de Moriolles.

In 1830 Chopin toured the continent. As in his later relation to George
Sand, the passion of a poet, Alfred Musset, rivalled his, so at this
time he found a rival in the Polish poet, Julius Slovaki. The pretty,
vivacious, and perhaps somewhat flirtatious girl, Comtesse Maria
Wodzinska, was the bone of contention, or, rather, the "rag and the bone
and the hank of hair" of contention.

It chanced that Chopin and Slovaki, whose works showed most startling
similarity, were also much alike in looks, in slenderness, dreaminess of
feature, and even in expression of countenance. Their very fates were
like: both left their country never to return. In their wandering
through Europe, they stopped in the same capitals; both at last took up
their residence in Paris, where both died of consumption. It was these
twins of fate whom fate put in love with the same teasing girl.

The "black-eyed demoiselle," as she was called by the poet and the
musician, managed so well, that her two admirers never met at the same
time. She travelled through Europe with her mother and brothers, and
found an opportunity to meet Chopin in one, and Slovaki in another town,
and to pass several weeks with each.

It was Slovaki's turn to meet her in Geneva. Here she inspired him to
much verse, especially his "In der Schweiz." But all this while the
little vixen corresponded with Chopin. He improvised in Paris on themes
she composed, and then she repeated his inspirations to keep Slovaki
hovering at her piano.

When Chopin met the Wodzinskis in Dresden, he composed for Maria his
F-minor Etude which he called "the soul-portrait" of the comtesse. A
year later he passed a month with the family at Marienbad, where he
proposed for her hand and was accepted. In his bridegroom mood he
composed the graceful F-minor Waltz, and later the C-sharp minor
Nocturne.

In the meantime, Slovaki travelled on in blissful ignorance, glorifying
Chopin's fiancee in poetic songs full of passionate admiration. The
distant Slovaki finally learned that Chopin had won his muse, and he
wrote to his mother:

"They say that Chopin and 'my Maria' are to be a pair. How sentimental
to marry a person who is the image of one's first love. Swedenborg says
that in a case of this kind, after death, not out of two of the souls
but out of all three only one angel can be created."

But this tripartite angel died unborn, for in 1837 Chopin found himself
deserted by her. So much we learn from Hoesick. And now we may return to
Chopin's immortal, if immoral, affair with George Sand.

George Sand will be remembered for the famous love affairs she has
contributed to history long after her books have lost their last reader.
It has been my habit in these papers to take the woman's side, and even
for George Sand there is much to be said in praise and in palliation.
For her peculiar views of life her peculiar husband may be largely
blamed, along with the peculiar ideals of the literary circle into which
her unhappy married life drove her. That she showed good taste in either
the management or the publication of her amorous entanglements one could
hardly maintain, and yet the men in the case seem to have been at least
as caddish as she was unwomanly. But it would take volumes to recount
what volumes have already recounted, and bewilderment and contradiction
would still be the chief result. Since so much of the story is familiar,
I can be brief with it here.

George Sand's relations with Chopin have been accepted in almost every
conceivable manner. There have even been writers of such intelligence as
Hadow who have maintained that she was entirely and solely a mother to
him. Before a trust in humanity as bland as this, before a credulity
that can deny itself to certain records and stretch itself to certain
others, there is nothing to say except to express gratitude that in some
hearts, at least, the belief in fairy stories is not left behind in the
nursery.

On the other hand, it is not necessary to fly to the opposite extreme,
and condemn the years that Chopin and Sand spent together as years
devoid of very earnest sympathy, intellectual and artistic communion,
and of mutual advantage. The relations were irregular, and were harrowed
by the temperaments of each. Sand was masculine, energetic, restless,
and by nature--for which she was surely not thoroughly to blame--a
voluptuary. Chopin, while not the whining mooncalf some have painted
him, was never of truly virile character. He was a man whose genius was
as limited in scope as a diamond's lustre, even while it had the
brilliance, the firmness, and the solitariness of that jewel. And, most
of all, he was that most pathetic of wretches, a sick man. He was
drifting down the current of that stream which had carried off his
gifted and adored sister when she was half his present age.

Sand was the former of the two to fall in love, and the earlier to fall
out. After the first meeting, there was little delay in beginning that
form of unchurched marriage so fashionable in the art world of that day.
In 1838 they went to Majorca with Sand's two children, a son and
daughter, who had been born to her husband. The weather was atrocious,
the accommodations primitive, and Chopin's health wretched. He was beset
by presentiments and fierce anxieties, and tormented by a hatred of the
place and the clime. In June of the next year they went back to Nohant,
her chateau. We owe to Sand herself the account of Chopin's manner of
life, his petulance, his self-inflicted torments, and the agonies of his
art and his disease. We owe to her, also, the picture of her devotion
both to his health and to his music.

The tendency, of course, is to take her praises of herself with a
liberal sprinkling of salt, and to feel that Chopin was not the
"detestable invalid" she painted him. But need we withdraw charity from
one, to give to the other? Need we rob Pauline to pay Peter? There
should be easily a plenty of sympathy for both, for the woman
infatuated with a strange, exotic genius, gathering him into her heart
and home, only to find that she had taken upon herself the role of nurse
as well as mistress; and to find her time and her vitality devoted to an
invalid, while her own life-work as a famous writer was making demands
on her as wild as those of a sick musician her junior in years as in
fame.

After granting her this justice, there should still be no stint of
sympathy for the poor Chopin, wrought to a frenzy with the revolutions
he was so gorgeously effecting, not only in the music of the piano, but
in all harmony; racked with pain and unmanned with the weakening effects
of his disease; struggling vainly against the chill and clammy Wrestler
who was to drag him to his grave before his life was half complete.

Our feeling, again, should not be wrath at George Sand because she did
not eternally resist the centrifugal forces of such a life, but rather a
deep sense of gratitude that she gave Chopin some sort of home and
mental support for ten long years.

George Sand's books are full of allusions to Chopin, and from the many
that are quoteworthy, the following may be cited from her "Histoire de
ma Vie," as throwing a few flecks of light on the woman's attitude in
the affair:

"He was the same in friendship (as in love), becoming enthusiastic at
first sight, getting disgusted and correcting himself (_se reprenant_)
incessantly, living on infatuations full of charm for those who were the
object of them and on secret discontents which poisoned his dearest
affections."

"Chopin accorded to me, I may say, honoured me with, a kind of
friendship which was an exception in his life. He was always the same to
me."

"The friendship of Chopin was never a refuge for me in sadness. He had
enough of his own ills to bear."

"We never addressed a reproach to each other, except once, which, alas,
was the first and the final time."

"But if Chopin was with me devotion, kind attention, grace,
obligingness, and deference in person, he had not for all that abjured
the asperities of character towards those who were about me. With them
the inequality of his soul, in turn generous and fantastic, gave itself
full course, passing always from infatuation to aversion, and vice
versa."

"Chopin when angry was alarming, and, as, with me, he always restrained
himself, he seemed almost to choke and die."


It is generally believed that in the character of _Prince Karol_ in her
novel, "Lucrezia Floriani," published in 1847, Sand used that lethal
weapon of revenge novelists possess, and portrayed or caricatured
Chopin. It is only fair to give her disclaimer, though Liszt repeated
the charge in his "Life of Chopin," and though Karasovski says that
Sand's own children told Chopin that he was pictured as Prince Karol.
None the less, hearken to the novelist's own defence:

"It has been pretended that in one of my romances I have painted his
(Chopin's) character with a great exactness of analysis. People were
mistaken, because they thought they recognised some of his traits; and,
proceeding by this system, too convenient to be sure, Liszt himself, in
a life of Chopin, a little exuberant as regards style, but nevertheless
full of very good things and very beautiful pages, has gone astray in
good faith. I have traced in _Prince Karol_ the character of a man
determined in his nature, exclusive in his sentiments, exclusive in his
exigencies. Chopin was not such. Nature does not design like art,
however realistic it may be. She has caprices, inconsequences, probably
not real, but very mysterious. Art only rectifies these inconsequences,
because it is too limited to reproduce them.

"Chopin was a resume of these magnificent inconsequences which God alone
can allow himself to create, and which have their particular logic. He
was modest on principle, gentle by habit, but he was imperious by
instinct and full of unlegitimate pride, which was unconscious of
itself. Hence sufferings which he did not reason out and which did not
fix themselves on a determined object.

"However, _Prince Karol_ is not an artist. He is a dreamer and nothing
more; having no genius, he has not the right of genius. He is therefore
a personage more true than amiable, and the portrait is so little that
of a great artist that Chopin, in reading the manuscript every day on my
desk, had not the slightest inclination to deceive himself,--he who,
nevertheless, was so suspicious.

"And yet, afterwards, by reaction, he imagined, I am told, than this was
the case. Enemies (he had such about him who call themselves his
friends; as if embittering a suffering heart was not murder), enemies
made him believe that this romance was a revelation of his character. At
that time his memory was no doubt enfeebled; he had forgotten the book,
why did he not re-read it?

"This history is so little ours--It was the very reverse of it. There
were between us neither the same raptures _(envirements)_, nor the same
sufferings. Our history had nothing of a romance; its foundation was too
simple and too serious for us ever to have had occasion for a quarrel
with each other _a propos_ of each other."

As to the final separation, following my principle of letting the people
tell their own stories so far as possible, I may turn again to George
Sand's own version:

"After the last relapse of the invalid, his mind had become extremely
gloomy, and Maurice [her son], who had hitherto tenderly loved him, was
suddenly wounded by him in an unexpected manner about a trifling
subject. They embraced each other the next moment, but the grain of sand
had fallen into the tranquil lake, and little by little the pebbles fell
there, one after another--all this was borne; but at last, one day,
Maurice, tired of the pin-pricks, spoke of giving up the game. That
could not be, and should not be. Chopin would not stand my legitimate
and necessary intervention. He bowed his head and said that I no longer
loved him.

"What blasphemy after these eight years of maternal devotion! But the
poor bruised heart was not conscious of its delirium. I thought that
some months passed at a distance and in silence would heal the wound,
and make his friendship again calm and his memory equitable. But the
revolution of February came, and Paris became momentarily hateful to
this mind incapable of yielding to any commotion in the social form.
Free to return to Poland, or certain to be tolerated there, he had
preferred languishing ten (and some more) years far from his family,
whom he adored, to the pain of seeing his country transformed and
deformed (_denature_). He had fled from tyranny, as now he fled from
liberty.

"I saw him again for an instant in March, 1848. I pressed his trembling
and icy hand. I wished to speak to him, he slipped away. Now it was my
turn to say that he no longer loved me. I spared him this infliction,
and entrusted all to the hands of Providence and the future.

"I was not to see him again. There were bad hearts between us. There
were good ones, too, who were at a loss what to do. There were frivolous
ones who preferred not to meddle with such delicate matters.

"I have been told that he had asked for me, regretted me, and loved me
filially up to the very end. It was thought fit to conceal from him that
I was ready to hasten to him. It was thought fit to conceal this from me
till then."

This, then, is George Sand's story, which has not been granted very much
credence.

The cause of their--"divorce," one might call it--is blurred by the
usual discrepancies of gossip. The most probable account seems to be
that according to which Chopin mortally wounded Sand by receiving her
daughter and her son-in-law when they were out of Sand's favour. All
accounts agree that this was to her only a pretext for breaking shackles
that had begun to be irksome. All are agreed that it was Sand and not
Chopin who ended the relationship, and that she, as Niecks bluntly puts
it, "had recourse to the heroic means of kicking him, metaphorically
speaking, out-of-doors."

The woman seems easily to have forgotten the man who had proved, at
best, of little joy to her, for, as she says, she could never go to him
with her troubles, since he had always a plenty of his own. It was a
relief, then, to her, being a far busier woman than he a man, to find
herself free.

But Chopin was robbed of his last support. The strong woman he had
leaned upon was gone, and he was alone with the consumption that was
eating his life away. He started forth upon a concert tour, but the
chill climates of England and Scotland were not refuges from his
haunting disease. He died slowly and in poverty, though he was
unconscious of want, thanks to the generosity of a Russian countess and
a Scotch woman. Dependent upon women to the last! In his dying hours it
is said that George Sand called at his house, but was not admitted to
see him, though, as he wailed two days before his death, "She said I
should die in no other arms than hers" (_Que je ne mourrais que dans ses
bras_).

But even the story of her visit is denied. Turgeniev said that fifty
countesses had claimed that he died in their arms. Among the number was
the Countess Potocka, who is cherished traditionally as one of Chopin's
loves, and who was much with him during his last days, and sang for him,
at his request, as he lay dying. Poor genius! he must even have a woman
sing his swan-song for him! Potocka is best known by a familiar portrait
that you will find in a thousand homes. But how the higher criticism
undermines the gospel of tradition! The truth is that Chopin denied ever
having been in love with her or she with him, and Huneker even claims
that the famous portrait of her is not of her at all.

But however attended, visited, caressed, Chopin died at the threshold of
his prime, his life, lighted at most with a little feverish twinkling of
stars, one nocturne.

END OF VOLUME I.





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