« הקודםהמשך »
His biographer says of him, “ His musical being seemed to have lived a previous existence, and to find all earthly things only reminiscences of that former life. To such an extent, at least, the poet's words seem to be verified in Mozart
"Our birth is but a sleep, and a forgetting;
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
And cometh from afar.
From God, who is our home.'” One is almost awe-struck by the grandeur of the definition of the meaning of music which is here ascribed to Mozart; “ Music is the melody to which the world is but words.” Whether this sentiment be really Mozart's, we know not, but it accords with the nature of the man, and if it be his biographer's, he is blessed in having such an interpreter.
To Herr Rau also belongs the following expression of an idea, which may not be altogether new, yet is presented in such happy form as to attract attention : “ To young genius the finite is infinite. The eye takes in the distance, the height, the depth, but not the boundaries and limitations. The blue sky and the blue ocean seem alike fathomless; the momentary woe appears an eternity, and joy and beauty are immortal.”
One or two stories in connection with the first performance of Don Giovanni are good illustrations of some of Mozart's peculiar traits. In the rehearsal, the prima donna who was to take the part of Zerlina, did not utter her
cry for help, when Don Juan leads her out of the banquet room, in a manner to please Mozart. He made her repeat it several times and it was still no nearer right. At last “stepping from his platform on to the stage, as if out of patience, he placed himself behind the preity little woman, and over her shoulder, gave the signal to begin once more. When the moment came for Zerlina to utter her cry for help, he suddenly embraced her with such force and boldness that she gave a terrified shriek with the utmost naturalness." Madame Bondini was for a moment inclined to be offended with him, but his good nature and sincerity restored her confidence.
Several red and black devils with horns and tail had been provided to carry off Don Juan ; but this part of the performance did not please Mozart. “He is man enough,” said the musician, “ to go to the Devil when he is called.” After the rehearsal, as Mozart turned to go away, “he nearly ran over a small man in red and black tights. It was one of the devils who had removed his mask, and stood looking at the maestro with a mournful visage. Well,' said Mozart, you don't mean to seize me, do you, in revenge for not getting hold of Don Juan !' •N-n-no!' stammered the devil ; certainiy not,but can't we play then at all in the
opera a ?' Oh; it's your wages, is it?' and he felt after his purse.
• No!” he exclaimed ; “ the devil take the few pennies; I mean we don't care about them, poor as we are ; but we can't hear the music any more!' Yes,' broke in Crispin, emerging from the shadow of the side-scenes and removing his horns and tail as he came. • Herr von Mozart, you will pardon my speaking to you, but,' and the tears stood in the poor fellow's eyes, 'I shall be remembering that music when I die!' Then Mozart's eyes grew suddenly moist also. It was the sweetest praise which he had heard to-day. Shaking both their hands cordially, he said : “At every performance of Don Giovanni while I am in Prague, you shall have free admittance. Only come to my house always the day before.' And the devils departed rejoicing."
Of one who, pretending friendship, had greatly injured him he said ; “ If you love me say no more about the matter. Schikaneder is a man as we all are.
The bad is not in him, but on him ; it is the foul garment of an originally pure soul. The poor devils of humans are mostly good, if one only looks at them right. All these discords and jangles in them resolve at last into eternal divine harmony."
“ Mozart," says his biographer, “ was a religious man, Outwardly he was a Catholic; but he often said, that for him the rites and ceremonies of the church were a waste of time. He was in the largest sense a Christian. The life of the man Jesus was in his estimation the noblest human life the world has known, and only those who have traced the composer's steps in the minutest details of his existence can appreciate with what child-like simple. heartedness and self-sacrifice he followed that ideal. If he failed of perfection, which of us shall cast the first stone ?”
Mozart was a great worker, he worked unreasonably; at first in the divine enthusiasm of youth which knows no limitations to its possibilities of performance, and afterward still more unreasonably, pushed on by poverty and care and responsibility, which were relentless in their demand. His health began early to give way under such pressure, for he wrote late in the night, heedless of hunger and fatigue, almost unconscious of bodily existence while filled with this higher life.
He began to find relaxation necessary, and his warm social nature prompted him to seek it in the society of congenial companions, where mirth was often boisterous, and sociability became carousing. Then when the night was far spent he would go home to his anxious wife, and in spite of her entreaties that he should rest, would work till dawn. Notwithstanding his vagaries and short-comings his heart was always innocent and child-like. He respected innocence and goodnesss, and the unscrupulous indulgences of his one-time friend Schikaneder filled him with indignation.
This book, although open to some of the same criticisms, is not so sensational and morbid as Miss Muhlbach's novels, which have almost disgusted sensible people by their high-colored and over-drawn pictures. It is certain, we think, with most thoughtful people, to be the introduction to a more careful study of Mozart's life, carrying with it an assurance that such a life must be a very gospel to those who read it aright.
However inspiring may be the contemplation of perfection, we can find wondrous comfort and strength in living over again the struggles and victories and defeats of a soul at the same time so divinely strong and so humanly weak. A man so self-sacrificing in his friendships, so faithful to his highest ideal in his work, so devoted, in spite of his short-comings, to the welfare of the dear ones at home ; cannot fail to find acceptance in the hearts of men and in the arms of the Infinite.
Truly, those who love most, to them shall most be forgiven.
NTO Elsie Glendenning's sick and laid her head back upon the
The weary hours of her anguish wore the door and whispered incautiously slowly away, and as the storm beat loud, furiously against the window panes “ Miss Vaughan is safe.” her pitiful cries, “ My husband! my “ Eloise Vaughan,” exclaimed Elsie husband! where can he be ?” touched starting up. " What has sbc to do the hearts of her attendants more with my husband?” Her eyes glis deeply than the throes of her labor. tened fearfully; and the physician But towards morning there came a after enjoining total silence upon whisper ; she caught its first accent. every attendant in regard to events
“What did you say of Richard " outside, gently quieted the sufferer, she asked, “ Is there any news of and put an end to her excitement him?"
by the free use of anesthetics. But “Calm yourself, Mrs. Glenden- the mischief was done, the scandal ning," said the physician in attendance. was blown. Before morning it was “The Doctor is quite safe ; he will be known to half Brackendale, not only home soon."
that Dr. Glendenning and Miss VaugBut she read the white and startled han had been carried off on the bridge, faces about her truly. “ You have not and narrowly escaped death by going told me all,” she said. “Some acci over the falls; the Doctor having dent has happened to him ; I must had both his legs broken, while Miss know the worst."
Vaughan had marvellously escaped “ If you will proniise to control injury by her long garments catching yourself,” the physician said “I will in the branches of an uprooted tree, tell
you that he has met with an acci- which the food had swept away, but dent occasioned by the storm, and is also that there was something wrong somewhat injured, though not serious. in the domestic relations at Briar Cotly, we hope. He will be at home tage. In short, that Mrs. Glendenning soon, so quiet yourself and wait pati- was jealous of Miss Vaughan. ently. Remember how much depends As the day brcke Dr. Glendenning upon your good sense and self-con
was laid upon a bed in his own house, trol.”
and the news was brought to him Elsie closed her eyes submissively that his wife had borne a fine daugh.
ter. He received the announcement They brought him the babe, and very quietly.
he soothed her to sleep upon his arm. “Tell Elsie” he said, “that I am Oh! the solemn mystery of Father. sorry she suffered alone. I would have hood! God at his best and greatest been with her if I could. When I am is simply Our Father! Richard, lying rested a trifle bring my little daughter there with the weak, wee, helpless to me The omens are sad for her; her thing upon his arm, felt an inflow father has failed her at the very outset, upon his soul of deep momentous but thanks to the good people of Wa. thought. He saw how, in the Divine terford Mills he is safe now, and will order, Love is the only true source make it all up to her by and by.” of life. Out of infinite love the worlds
Elsie's recovery was not rapid, but were first peopled; out of a love in a few weeks she was sitting up and which is the truest possible reflection able with assistance to get into her of the Divine impulse in its purity husband's room and show him the and unselfishness, should they be rebaby with all motherly pride and ten. peopled ? He who fails of a love as derness. The Doctor was stiil a
pure as that first inspiration of life, feeble and helpless sufferer ; the bro- has he any right to take upon himself ken bones were doing as well as
the office of the re-creator? could be expected, while the face looked steadily into the face of these kept thin and haggard and bore deep great first principles of life, until they lines of mental suffering and unrest, blinded him by their perfect whitebut at this rate the attending surgeon ness. Then the tender appealing saw that it must be many months be. face of his first-born drew his gaze fore the Doctor would be his old self downwards, and he felt that somehow again. His keen eye was not to be his human sin with all its fruits of deceived, and one morning after feel- terror and of beauty, must be made to ing the pulse and looking critically clasp hand with the divine principles into the eye of his patient, he ex- of order and harmony, and so be claimed :
lifted out of its earth-born estate into “Glendenning, do you know what the higher life of the spirit. So by I am going to do next?”
patient working and waiting must each “ I'm sure I don't,” said Richard human life be regenerated and made sadly.
at last to stand before the Father in a “ Send for Father Dunne to confess beauty and purity which shall be its you.”
own and perfect in itself. The Doctor closed his eyes for a “ Little one,” was Richard's inmoment in silence
ward vow, written upon his soul in “ That will do for my wife," he most enduring characters, “if your said at length, “she is half a Catholic father has wronged you in making already."
you the offspring of a love which “Very well, my man ; if you can. represented his lower and not at all not confess to Father Dunne, you his higher nature, there is only one must make up your mind what you reparation possible, and that shail will do with your trouble, and that be yours. Whatever influence shall right quickly, or I shall lose a patient henceforth flow from him to you, by and by, which, under the circum- shall be untainted by any impure act, stances, would be an unreasonable so that when you shall read the record marring of my reputation."
of these future years by the light of “ Thank you, Doctor,” said Rich. eternity, you shall confess that henceard after another momentary silence. forth, at least, he has lived true to “As you go out bid them bring me my the solemn obligations of his fatherlittle daughter; she shall confess me.” hood.”
The Doctor rallied and soon began Soon after her return not feeling well to improve, and between him and his one day, she sent for Dr. Glenden. little child there grew up a love that ning. The Doctor was nervous that was tender and beautiful as the dawn. morning. The last year had aged It was nearly spring before he was him more than the ten which preable to resume the labors of his pro. ceded it. The fresh, placid look of fession, and when he and Elsie were his face was gone and there were again seen in public together, sharp seams and furrows, and sallow tints sighted crones discovered a shadow instead. upon the lady's brow. Strange hints “I wish Mrs. Vaughan's megrims were thrown out, too, by the domes were at the devil,” he thought as he tics, that the separation enforced dur- drove slowly up the hill towards her ing the Doctor's illness, now that the house. “I am in no mood to talk necessity for it was removed, still re. with her. She will keep me gossiping mained. The truth was simply this, an hour, and will say things in that Richard Glendenning was conscious calm, sensible, excellent way of hers of being inwardly divorced from his that will torture me for weeks. A wife. The marriage to which the woman who has judgement but no law held him was to his inner sense insight is a nuisance, a monstrosity.” plainly a lie. He felt therefore that Suddenly he remembered that Mrs. to continue to recognize Elsie as his Vaughan was after all, the last woman wife in the intimate relations of mar- whom in his present circumstances he riage was to wrong her purity as well should desire to gift with more than as his own. No husband in all Brack. common penetration, and tried to reendale was outwardly more kind to strain his grumbling. But there was his wife than he to Elsie, but beyond indeed a severe trial in store for him. these outward observances nature had Richard," said Mrs. Vaughan placed a deep and wide chasm be. after he had written his usual pretween them, a chasm which never scriptions of harmless medicaments could be naturally bridged, and which with imposing names, “ I am troubied he therefore no longer endeavored to about Eloise. I am really afraid the ignore.
poor child is going into a decline.” At first Elsie strove with graces and The Doctor felt a swift flush overblandishments to win him back to his spread his forehead, but kept his lips allegiance. He was proof against shut for an instant. them all. Her small arts, so available “ Indeed,” he said at length, “ I in small dilemmas, proved power- am pained to hear it. What are the less in the face of a great emergency. symptoms which alarm you.” Then her native shrewishness made “ She has grown so thin since last itself manifest. But her weak repin. summer, and her face is as whi:e as the ings, her unjust reproaches, her jeal- wall. I really think, Richard, that ous accusations, only steeled him terrible event last fall was too great a against himself. Not for a woman shock for her constitution.” like this would he yield principle to Richard was silent for a moment, a passion.
silence upon which Mrs. Vaughan Then Eisie meditated whether or put a professional interpretation. She not should she use the scorpions of went on: society lash her husband back to « You didn't her I believe after his duty. An event occurred which that night, but for the few days she turned the nearly even scale of her remained here after the accident she pros and cons.
seemed like another creature. She is June came again, and Mrs. Abner never like other women you know, Vaughan went down to Philadelphia. but she seemed then more like a spirit