« VorigeDoorgaan »
you can whistle an air, by the mere ing I went to Herr Veitch at the apforce of the mental faculty. You can pointed time and found him alone, not form a more mistaken notion. playing over set of old Italian The variation of the thirty-secondth of sonatas. He seemed to have been an inch in the sudden movement of the much put out by the Professor's refinger on the string will cause the note marks of the day before, and to regard to be out of tune; and the man who me with kindliness as having been puts his finger on the right spot at apparently on the opposite side ; but the right second of time, though he when he came to talk to me I did not may have no more mental instinct see much difference between his advice than a pig, will produce in the utmost and that of the Professor. perfection the chords of the most an “ The Professor is so far right,” he gelic composer."
said, “in that of all instruments the “ I deny it !” cried the master, in a violin needs the most careful study, kind of fury, walking up and down the most practised fingering, the most the long room, “I deny it! There is instinctive aptitude of ear and touch. true sympathy and co-operation in the It is all very well to talk of expression, nerves and tissues of this faithful de but expression with faulty execution spised servant, the material human is fatal on the violin. It is true that frame, even to the finger-tips, with some of the most entrancing players the informing, teaching spirit. There have been self-taught amateurs, but is a tremor, a shading, a trill of mean they were such because they had ing, given by the spirit to the nerves musical genius by birth, and it was and tissues, that no instinctive touch therefore possible to them to be of harmony will ever give. The amateurs and to be self-taught. In ancient Greeks (as you ought to
concerted music no amount of expresknow, Herr Professor, for you speak sion will enable a performer to take of them often enough) had no music his part or to be tolerated. What worthy of the name, for they had no pleases me in your playing is that instruments; but had they had our you are able to produce smooth and instruments they would have produced sweet notes: the scrapy, scratchy the most ravishing music, for the spirit period with you has apparently been taught them what music was apart short.
What you want is greater from outward sound, and they talked certainty of touch and ear.
This can as beautifully as you talk in your only be obtained by patient labour lecture-room of the divine laws of and study.” motion and of number, and of the I set to work to play lessons, and harmonies of sound and of the mind.” while we were thus engaged the door
The Professor seemed rather taken opened and a young lady entered acaback by this onslaught, and turning companied by a tall and imposing to me, said: “Well, Herr von Saale, domestic in the royal livery. I did you had better come with me: I will not need to be told that this was the show you some of the sights of our Professor's daughter, the Fraülein kingly city. You shall come to Herr Adelheid, the reader to the Princess. Veitch to-morrow, when perhaps you She appeared to me on this, the first will see my daughter.”
time that my eyes rested upon her, a He seemed to me strangely willing handsome, stately girl, with a steady that I should see his daughter.
fixed look, and grave solemn eyes and He took me into the great cathedral mouth, which seldom changed their and showed me the gigantic mailed expression or smiled. She was rather figures that guarded the tombs of above the common height, with fair the kings, talking very learnedly upon
brown hair and eyes, and was richly heraldry, about which he seemed to dressed in white, with a lace kerchief know a great deal. The next morn across her shoulders, and a broad white
hat with a crimson feather. She child ; and after a few moments I seemed to me a true German girl seemed, indeed, once again to be a with earnest, steadfast truth and feel child beside the lance-like waving ing; but I did not fall in love with rushes with their sunny dance-music, her at first sight.
by the pool, or beneath the solemn “This is Otto von Saale, Fraülein," poplars with the weird and awful said the master, “whom your father notes that sounded amid their distant introduced to me yesterday, and of branches high above me in the sky. whom he may have spoken to you. When I stopped I fancied that the He is very fond of music and the brown
looked at me with a softer violin, and your father seemed much and more kindly gaze. taken with him. His forte is expres
“He will do,” said the master: "he sion.”
will play the trio before the Princess The Fraulein regarded me without anon, if he will be good.” embarrassment, with her steady brown For several days I was very good : I eyes.
you play in concert, Herr practised continually notes and scales von Saale ? ” she said.
and bars and shades of pitch, both “He is not quite equal to that yet," with the master and in
chamber said Herr Veitch. “The prospect of at the Three Roses, where, had I not playing with you will, I am confident, been in Germany, I should no doubt inspire him with resolve to practise have been thought a nuisance.
I saw with the necessary patience.”
the Fraülein Adelheid almost every “That will be very well timed,” day, and was allowed once or twice to she said serenely,
we want to play in a simple piece. So everything perform a trio before the Princess.” seemed to prosper, when one fatal day
“He must work some time before I broke waywardly loose from this he can do that," observed Herr Veitch virtuous and regular course.
It was decisively.
after this manner that it came about. They set to work to play, and I One morning in the late summer I confess that I felt indescribable mortifi woke up with a sudden surprising cation in being unable to take a part. sense of a crisp freshness, of a sudden All my beautiful fantasias and wind strain of livelier colour shot through music seemed at the moment nothing sky and woodland, of a change beto the power of joining in a concerted ginning to work through masses of piece. The beauty of the playing, how brown foliage and cloudless summer ever, soon soothed my ruffled vanity sky. The touch was that of the angel and banished every thought save that of decay: but the first signs of his of delight. The master and pupil were coming were gentle and gracious, with playing in perfect accord both in feel sense even of life-giving in that ing and sympathetic touch—the old new feeling of a change. The first
and the stately, beautifully day of autumn had dawned. As I dressed girl—it was a delicious ban rose, intending to go to the master, quet of sight and sound.
the city lay in a wonderful golden After they bad played some time, mist through which the old streets Herr Veitch said, to my great delight: and gables and spires seemed strange “Otto will play you a lesson of his to the sight, with the romantic vision, which the whispering woodlands of his almost, of
An intense mountains have taught him.
longing possessed me for the woods will like it."
and hills. It seemed to me as if I took the bow with a tremor of a far-off voice from the long past delight and excitement. I played my
hours of childhood was calling me to I endeavoured only to the distant rocks and forests: a faint, listen to-to think only of the wood low voice, like that strange whisper land voices that had spoken to the through the short grass, to bear which
at all you must lay your ear very close nearest to me, close to two men of indeed to the ground : a note untuned, distinguished appearance some paces uncertain, untrammelled, but with a in advance of the rest, stood the most strange alluring power, making itself beautiful creature that I had ever felt amid the smooth, cultured, artistic
She was dressed as a huntress sounds to which I had given myself
had given myself of romance, in green trimmed with up, and saying, as in the old har. white, and a hat fringed with white monic thirds which as a child I had • feathers, and a small silver bugle hung used to pick out, “ Come back to me." by her side. But it was not her dress, I was engaged to Herr Veitch, but or her figure, that gave her the inde. it was uncertain whether the Fraülein scribable charm that made her so would be able to come.
There was lovely : it was the bewitching expressome talk that the Princess would sion of her face. Her features might make an excursion with a guest of possibly have been described as large, distinction into the mountains, and but this, as her complexion was of perher reader might possibly be required fect delicacy and freshness, only into accompany her. The Princess was creased the subduing charm of the understood to be very shy, and to sur shy, fleeting, coy expression about her round herself as much as possible with eyes and mouth. Two ladies stood her ladies and women.
close behind her, neither of whom The irresistible impulse was too was the Fraulein, but I knew at once strong for me. I sent a message to that this could be none other than Herr Veitch, and hastened out of the the Princess. No family of pure confining streets, past the crumbling German origin could have produced gates and towers, into the valley and such a face : she sprang, doubtless, as the fields. I wandered down the banks is becoming to a daughter of kings, of the stream, by which the road ran, from a mixed race. for some hours, until the sun was high in A perfect stillness and hush, as of the heavens, and every sound and leaf expectation, pervaded the scene : even was hushed in the noontide stillness the well-trained horses made no move. and heat. Then crossing the river at ment as I passed by them. One of a ferry, where a little village and some the grooms caught a glimpse of me mills stayed its current for a time, I and made a slight sign : then, just as ascended a steep path into the wooded the group had settled itself on my meadows, whence the seductive voice sight, a slight, scarcely perceptible seemed still to come.
In a broad up
rustle was heard in the wood, and a lard valley that sloped downwards stag of full age and noble bearing to the plain and to the river, I came came out into the meadow and stood upon a wide open meadow skirting the at gaze, startled but not alarmed. wild, pathless wood. Here, at a One of the gentlemen in front raised a corner of the outstanding copse, I saw short hunting piece, and the Princess, to my surprise a number of horses in a soft sweet undertone that penepicketed and apparently deserted by trated all the listening air and left an their grooms, and turning the corner imperishable memory upon the heart, of the wood I saw in the centre of exclaimed : “Oh, do not kill it! How the meadow an unexpected and most beautiful it is !” beautiful sight.
A short, sharp crack, a puff of In the midst of the meadow, only, smoke, and the stag leaped suddenly as it seemed, a few paces
into the air and fell lifeless, shot a group of gentlemen in hunting cos
between the eyes. tume, some with long curved horns There was a sudden outbreak of slung at their backs. Some servants exclamation and talk, a rush of the and grooms were collected a few paces hunters towards the fallen beast. Two bebind them, but a littlo to the side or three of the gentlemen drew around
the Princess and her ladies, as if to “Let us have a rehearsal," said protect her, and in the excitement no Adelheid, with her grave, gentle smile : one noticed me. I stood for a moment “let us have a rehearsal to-morrow in or two, my eyes fixed on this changing, Das Vergnügen, in the garden-valley sensitive, inexpressibly beautiful face.
of the palace.” Then the beaters and foresters came Below the palace, on the side farthest out of the wood: some remained with from the city, the wooded valley formed the fallen stag, and the rest of the • a fairy garden of terraces and of party moved on farther up into the streams flowing down from the hills. forest followed by the grooms and In the bottom of the valley were buildhorses. I returned at once, silent and ings, somewhat, on a small scale, after fancy-struck, to the city, and passed the fashion of the French gardenthe rest of the day and the entire palaces of Trianon and Marly, and in night in a dream.
these little houses some of the courtThe next morning I made my best officials had rooms. The Professor and excuses to Herr Veitch, and tried to his daughter occupied one of the most settle to my work, but I found that charming suites of apartments opening this was impossible until I had made a upon a wide lawn beneath the terraced full confession. He took it very
garden leading up to the palace, broken quietly and as a matter of course : up by clipped hedges and rows of not so, however, did the Fraülein, a statues. I had never seen this garden day or two afterwards, when he re of romance until the afternoon of the vealed the whole story to her. She rehearsal. In the excitement and nerlooked at me strangely with her great vousness of the hour I was dimly conbrown eyes as one who foresaw some scious of a solemn blue sky overhead, great danger awaiting me; and I of the dark foliage of the dying summer wondered, in vain, from what quarter rising on the steep hill-sides on every it would come.
hand, of a still afternoon full of sombre I made great progress under her tints and sleeping sunlight, of the latetuition. In playing with her in uni- flowering china-roses and the tall asters, son I learned more in a few minutes of massive wreaths of clematis, of a than in any other way. The instinct sense of finished effort and growth, of fingering seemed to come naturally and of a hush and pause before decay by her means, by her gentle guidance, set in and brought the end of life and by her placid rule. Here again out of the year: the little stone palace ward harmonies of nature and of art with its carved pilasters and wreaths of corresponded in its contrast with the fruit and flowers, the weather-stained, life of the spirit; with the rapt, en moss-tinted statues and urns,—of all thralling passion of love which had this I was dimly conscious as in a come upon me by the vision in the dream. forest, and with the calm sympathy The Herr Professor was more than which was growing up in my heart usually spruce in his apparel. I had with the Fraulein, smooth, broad, tran- purchased, boy-like, a new dress for quil, as the full harmonious chords the occasion. It was the period of which she taught me to play. But frizzled, powdered hair, and lace and with all this I confess that the pre- embroidery. A man who wore plain vailing thought of my mind was that clothes and his hair au naturel was I should some day, and that soon, considered eccentric and of doubtful take my part in this music before the character. We formed a group on the lovely Princess; that I should see little inclosed grass-plot outside the again that indescribable, enchanting windows of the Professor's sittingface.
room, separated from the great lawns “We are getting on,” said Herr by the low clipped hedges and the Veitch : “ we shall be ready soon.” wreathed urns. I noticed that the
Fraülein seemed anxious and almost strangers here, Fraulein,” she said, and expectant, and was continually turn stopped. ing her head in the direction of the " This, Royal Highness," " said palace-gardens. At last she said to Adelheid, bowing very low, “is a her father : “I fear that I have com young gentleman, Otto von Saale, mitted a blunder. I begged to be ex who is to play in the trio. It did not cused from attending the Princess, and occur to me to mention him to the I told her that I was going to practise Royal Highness." with the master here, but I said The Princess looked very disconnothing of Otto, or that he would be certed and mortified, but her emhere. It is quite possible that the barrassment only made the unique Princess may come down through the expression of her face gardens to hear the master play.” quisitely piquant and enchanting. I
The Professor shrugged his shoul would willingly have risked untold ders. “ It is too late, now," he said : penalties to such a sight. the sight of Otto will not kill her.” The young lady who accompanied
"No," said his daughter, doubtfully; her regarded me with an expression but she shook her head as though a of loathing animosity and contempt, catastrophe was very imminent.
as much as to say,
" What do you A tremor of excitement and of sup mean by using your miserable expressed delight passed through my istence to get us into this scrape ? frame. If the mere thought of the re The Professor came to the rescue hearsal had excited me, what must I with great aplomb. Herr Veitch have felt at such a possibility as this? evidently regarded the whole matter
We began to practise the trio with with lofty contempt. the violoncello and two violins. The “If the Royal Highness will deign violin-parts were very lively and to take a seat," said the Professor, quick ; but the great charm of the “she may still hear the trio rehearsed. piece lay in some perfectly modulated We will regard Otto as second violin chords of great beauty distributed merely. One violin is much like through all the parts in a sustained, another." broad, searching tone on the fourth Oh, sit down, my Princess !” said string. Herr Veitch played the vio the young lady, coaxingly: “I should loncello with consummate skill. We so like to hear the violins." had played the piece nearly through The Princess hesitated, and looked when Adelheid suddenly ceased, and still more enchantingly confused and turned in the direction of the wider shy, but she sat down at last. It was lawns to which was access between the reported that, as a boy, her brother, urns; and the next moment the same the Crown Prince, had been mortally lovely creature I had seen some days be in dread of the Professor. It is possifore, but now very differently dressed, ble that his sister may have conceived came through the opening in the low something of a similar feeling. hedge, accompanied by a beautiful We played the trio through. In young lady, evidently of high rank,
spite of my excitement I had the sense whom I also recognised as one of the to take the greatest pains. I kept my ladies I had seen in the wood. The attention perfectly fixed upon my playPrincess looked for a moment serenely ing, and the clear notes in unison came at the group, who drew backward à in perfectly true and in time. When step or two and bowed very low; but we had finished there was
a short the next moment, eyes
Then Adelheid me, she flushed suddenly, and her face whispered to me: “Play that lesson assumed an expression of embarrass of yours of the woodland breeze.” ment and even reproof.
Scarcely knowing what I did I “I did not understand that you had began to play ; but I had not finished