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Title: Music-Study in Germany - from the Home Correspondence of Amy Fay
Author: Fay, Amy, 1844-1928
Language: English
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[Illustration: colophon]












"The light that never was on sea or land."


"Pour admirer assez il faut admirer trop, et un peu d'illusion
est necessaire au bonheur."




_All rights reserved_



Printed August, 1896; reprinted June, 1897;
September, 1900; February, 1903; March, 1905;
June, 1908; July, 1909; August, 1913; April, 1922.

Norwood Press:
Berwick & Smith, Norwood, Mass., U. S. A.


Comparatively few books on music have enjoyed the distinction of
reissue. Twenty-one editions is an amazing record for a book of so
narrow a subject as "Music Study in Germany." The case of Miss Amy Fay's
volume becomes all the more unusual, if one considers that her letters
were written only for home, not for a public audience and further that
within twenty years from the year of first publication, her observations
had become more or less obsolete.

The Germany of the years 1869-1875 was quite different from the Germany
of 1900 and certainly of 1912, even down to German table-manners. The
earlier "Spiessbürgertum" of which Miss Fay gives such entertaining
glimpses even in high quarters with their pomp and circumstance, was
rapidly being replaced, at least outwardly, by the more cosmopolitan
culture of the _fin de siècle_, not to mention the ambition for
political, industrial and commercial "Weltmacht" in a nation thitherto
known, perhaps too romantically, as a nation of "Denker und Dichter."

Most of the heroes of the book are long since dead, Miss Fay included,
who died in 1921. While even as late as 1890, Miss Fay's volume could
have been used as a guide of orientation by the would-be student of
music in Germany, certainly it could no longer serve such a purpose
during the years just prior to the war, when the lone American student
of her book who despised Germany and everything German was definitely in
the ascendency. In other words, her personal observations had ceased to
be applicable except in certain details of ambient and had passed into
the realm of autobiography valuable for historical reading. As a piece
of historical literature proper, I doubt that the book would have
survived the war, because it is lamentably true that the average
American music-student or even cultured lover of music is not
particularly interested in musical history as such.

To this must be added the indisputable fact that "music study in
Germany" or in France, for that matter, had become a mere matter of
personal taste and predilection, and was not a necessity as in the days
of Miss Fay's amusing experiments with this or that German teacher of
renown. An endless stream of excellent European artists and teachers had
poured into America since then, augmented by the equally broad stream of
native Americans who had learned their _métier_ abroad. Music study in
America thus became an easy matter and many an aspiring virtuoso would
have done more wisely by staying and studying at home, instead of
venturing to a European country with its different language, its
different temperament, its different mode of living, customs and so
forth. Germany, in particular, is still a "marvellous home of music," to
quote an editorial remark of Miss Fay's sister, but it is no longer the
"only real home of music," thanks precisely to such artists as Miss Amy
Fay herself.

To point out the radical change in conditions in that respect is one
thing, quite another to deny, as some rather zealotic patriots do, that
Europe, Germany included, can still give the American music-student
something which he does not have at home quite in the same manner.
Debate on that subject is futile. Let the American music-student at some
time in his career, but only when he is ripe for further study in a
foreign country, sojourn a few years in Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Munich,
Vienna, Rome, London, and he will profitably encounter, whether it be to
his taste or not, that indefinable something which the old world in
matters of life, art, and art-life possessed as peculiarly its own in
1870, still possesses to-day, and will possess for many, many years to

What, then, gives to Miss Fay's book its vitality? What is it that
justifies the publisher in keeping the book accessible for the benefit
of those who wish to study music in Germany instead of elsewhere or of
those even who study music in America?

Of course, there is first of all the charm of Miss Fay's own
personality, the charm of her observations intimately, entertainingly,
and shrewdly expressed. That makes for good reading. Incidentally, it
teaches a student-reader to be observant, which unfortunately many
musicians are not, even in matters of technique on their chosen
instrument. Secondly, the seriousness of purpose of the authoress, the
determination to improve her understanding of art and technique to the
very limit of her natural ability, will act as a stimulating tonic for
him or her who despairs of ever conquering the often so forbidding
difficulties of music. The book will teach patience to Americans,
patience and endurance in endeavor, qualities which are none too
frequent in us. Young America forgets too often that the _Gradus ad
Parnassum_ is not only steep; it is long and rough.

There is furthermore in these letters that respect for solid
accomplishment of others, that reverential attitude toward the great in
art and toward art itself, without which no musician, however talented,
will ever reach the commanding heights of art. There permeates these
letters the enthusiasm of youth, that perhaps sometimes overshoots its
mark but for which most of us would gladly exchange the more critical
attitude of maturer years. For we learn to appreciate sooner or later
that enthusiasm is the propelling force and the refreshing source of
inspiration. Finally, born of all these elements there appear on the
pages of Miss Fay's letters such fascinating pen-portraits as that of
her revered master, Franz Liszt, the incomparable. Turning the pages of
the volume to refresh my memory and impression of it, I confess that I
skipped quite a few because their interest seemed so remote and
personal, but I found myself absorbing every word Miss Fay had to say in
her chapters about Liszt and his Weimar circle. An enjoyable experience
which one may safely recommend to those who desire first-hand
impressions of the golden days of pianism in Germany, of the romantic,
indeed almost legendary figure of Franz Liszt, and consequently a touch
of the stuff out of which art-novels are made, into the bargain.



In preparing for the public letters which were written only for home, I
have hoped that some readers would find in them the charm of style which
the writer's friends fancy them to possess; that others would think the
description of her masters amid their pupils, and especially Liszt,
worth preserving; while piano students would be grateful for the
information that an analysis of the piano technique has been made, such
as very greatly to diminish the difficulties of the instrument.

How much of Herr Deppe's piano "method" is original with himself,
pianists must decide. That he has at least made an invaluable _résumé_
of all or most of their secrets, my sister believes no student of the
instrument who fairly and conscientiously examines into the matter will


CHICAGO, Dec., 1880.



Miss Fay's little book has been so popular in her own country as to have
gone through half a dozen editions, and even in German, into which it
was translated soon after its first appearance, it has had much success.
It is strange that it has not been already published in England, where
music excites so much attention, and where works on musical subjects are
beginning to form a distinct branch of literature. This is the more
remarkable because it is thoroughly readable and amusing, which books on
music too rarely are. The freshness and truth of the letters is not to
be denied. We may laugh at the writer's enthusiasm, at the readiness
with which she changes her methods and gives up all that she has already
learnt at the call of each fresh teacher, at the certainty with which
every new artist is announced as quite the best she ever heard, and at
the glowing and confident predictions--not, alas, apparently always
realised. But no one can laugh at her indomitable determination, and the
artistic earnestness with which she makes the most of each of her
opportunities, or the brightness and ease with which all is described
(in choice American), and each successive person placed before us in his
habit as he lives. Such a gift is indeed a rare and precious one. Will
Miss Fay never oblige us with an equally charming and faithful account
of music and life in the States? Hitherto musical America has been
almost an unknown land to us, described by the few who have attempted it
in the most opposite terms. Their singers we already know well, and in
this respect America is perhaps destined to be the Italy of the future,
if only the artists will consent to learn slowly enough. But on the
subject of American players and American orchestras, and the taste of
the American amateurs, a great deal of curiosity is felt, and we commend
the subject to the serious attention of one so thoroughly able to do it


December, 1885.



Die vorliegenden Briefe einer Amerikanerin in die Heimath, die im
Original bereits in zweiter Auflage erschienen sind, werden, so hoffen
wir, auch dem deutschen Leser nicht minderes Vergnügen, nicht geringere
Anregung als dem amerikanischen gewähren, da sie in unmittelbarer
Frische niedergeschrieben, ein lebendiges Bild von den Beziehungen der
Verfasserin zu den hervorragendsten musikalischen Persönlichkeiten, wie
Liszt, v. Bülow, Tausig, Joachim u. s. w. bieten.

Wir geben das Buch in wortgetreuer Uebersetzung und haben es nur um
diejenigen Briefe gekürzt, die in Deutschland Allzubekanntes behandeln.
Hingegen glaubten wir die Stellen dem Leser nicht vorenthalten zu
dürfen, welche zwar nicht musikalischen Inhalts sind, uns aber zeigen,
wie manche unserer deutschen Zu-oder Mißstände von Amerikanern
beurtheilt werden.

    Robert Oppenheim, Publisher.

Berlin, 1882.




TAUSIG'S CONSERVATORY.                                                13




GERMAN RADICAL.                                                       37


RUDENESS. CONSERVATORY CHANGES. EASTER.                               51







TAUSIG'S PLAYING. GERMAN ETIQUETTE.                                   95


BERLIN.                                                              111


PARIS.                                                               123


HEIDELBERG. TAUSIG'S DEATH.                                          131






GRANTZOW, THE DANCER.                                                163


FUNERAL. WILHELMI'S CONCERT. A COURT BEAUTY.                         174


DANCING.                                                             182





HIS OWN HOUSE.                                                       205


TEACHING.                                                            218


OF LISZT'S LESSONS. LISZT'S KINDNESS.                                227


NEW MUSIC MASTER.                                                    235




BERLIN AGAIN. LISZT AND JOACHIM.                                     263


RUBINSTEIN, VON BÜLOW AND TAUSIG.                                    272









GIVING A CONCERT. FRÄULEIN TIMM.                                     328


A CONCERT DEBUT. POSTSCRIPT.                                         331




     A German Interior in Berlin. A German Party. Joachim. Tausig's

    BERLIN, _November 3, 1869_.

Behold me at last at No. 26 Bernburger Strasse! where I arrived exactly
two weeks from the day I left New York. Frau W. and her daughter,
Fräulein A. W., greeted me with the greatest warmth and cordiality, and
made me feel at home immediately. The German idea of a "large" room I
find is rather peculiar, for this one is not more than ten or eleven
feet square, and has one corner of it snipped off, so that the room is
an irregular shape. When I first entered it I thought I could not stay
in it, it seemed so small, but when I came to examine it, so ingeniously
is every inch of space made the most of, that I have come to the
conclusion that it will be very comfortable. It is not, however, the
apartment where "the last new novel will lie upon the table, and where
my daintily slippered feet will rest upon the velvet cushion." No!
rather is it the stern abode of the Muses.

To begin then: the room is spotlessly clean and neat. The walls are
papered with a nice new paper, grey ground with blue figures--a cheap
paper, but soft and pretty. In one corner stands my little bureau with
three deep drawers. Over it is a large looking-glass nicely framed. In
the other corner on the same side is a big sofa which at night becomes a
little bed. Next to the foot of the sofa, against the wall, stands a
tiny square table, with a marble top, and a shelf underneath, on which
are a basin and a minute soap-dish and tumbler. In the opposite corner
towers a huge grey porcelain stove, which comes up to within a few feet
of the ceiling. Next is one stiff cane-bottomed chair on four stiff
legs. Then comes the lop-sided corner of the room, where an upright
piano is to stand. Next there is a little space where hangs the
three-shelved book-case, which will contain my _vast_ library. Then
comes a broad French window with a deep window-seat. By this window is
my sea-chair--by far the most luxurious one in the house! Then comes my
bureau again, and so on _Da Capo_. In the middle is a pretty round
table, with an inlaid centre-piece, and on it is a waiter with a large
glass bottle full of water, and a glass; and this, with one more stiff
chair, completes the furniture of the room. My curtains are white, with
a blue border, and two transparencies hang in the window. My towel-rack
is fastened to the wall, and has an embroidered centre-piece. On my
bureau is a beautiful inkstand, the cover being a carved eagle with
spread wings, perched over a nest with three eggs in it. It is quite
large, and looks extremely pretty under the looking-glass.

After I had taken off my things, Frau W. and her daughter ushered me
into their parlour, which had the same look of neatness and simplicity
and of extreme economy. There are no carpets on any of the floors, but
they have large, though cheap, rugs. You never saw such a primitive
little household as it is--that of this German lawyer's widow. We think
our house at home small, but I feel as if we lived in palatial
magnificence after seeing how they live here, _i. e._, about as our
dressmakers used to do in the country, and yet it is sufficiently nice
and comfortable. There are two very pretty little rooms opposite mine,
which are yet to be let together. If some friend of mine could only take
them I should be perfectly happy.

At night my bed is made upon the sofa. (They all sleep on these sofas.)
The cover consists of a feather bed and a blanket. That sounds rather
formidable, but the feather bed is a light, warm covering, and looks
about two inches thick. It is much more comfortable than our bed
coverings in America. I tuck myself into my nest at night, and in the
morning after breakfast, when I return to my
room--_agramento-presto-change!_--my bed is converted into a sofa, my
basin is laid on the shelf, the soap-dish and my combs and brushes are
scuttled away into the drawer; the windows are open, a fresh fire
crackles in my stove, and my charming little bed-room is straightway
converted into an equally charming sitting-room. How does the picture
please you?

This morning Frau and Fräulein W. went with me to engage a piano, and
they took me also to the conservatory. Tausig is off for six weeks,
giving concerts. As I went up the stairs I heard most beautiful playing.
Ehlert, Tausig's partner, who has charge of the conservatory, and
teaches his pupils in his absence, examined me. After that long voyage I
did not dare attempt anything difficult, so I just played one of Bach's
Gavottes. He said some encouraging words, and for the present has taken
me into his class. I am to begin to-morrow from one o'clock to two. It
is now ten P. M., and tell C. we have had five meals to-day, so Madame
P.'s statement is about correct. The cooking is on the same scale as the
rest of the establishment--a little at a time, but so far very good. We
know nothing at all about rolls in America. Anything so delicious as the
rolls here I never ate in the way of bread. In the morning we had a cup
of coffee and rolls. At eleven we lunched on a cup of bouillon and a
roll. At two o'clock we had dinner, which consisted of soup and then
chickens, potatoes, carrots and bread, with beer. At five we had tea,
cake and toast, and at nine we had a supper of cold meat, boiled eggs,
tea and bread and butter. Fräulein W. speaks English quite nicely, and
is my medium of communication with her mother. I begin German lessons
with her to-morrow. They both send you their compliments, and so you
must return yours. They seem as kind as possible, and I think I am very
fortunate in my boarding place.

Be sure to direct your letters "Care Frau Geheimräthin W." (Mrs.
Councillor W.), as the German ladies are very particular about their

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _November 21, 1869_.

Since I wrote to you not much of interest has occurred. I am delighted
with Berlin, and am enjoying myself very much, though I am working hard.
I am so thankful that all my sewing was done before I came, for I have
not a minute to spare for it, and here it seems to me all the dresses
fit so dreadfully. It would make me miserable to wear such looking
clothes, and as I can't speak the language, the difficulties in the way
of giving directions on the technicalities of dressmaking would be
terrific. Tell C. he is very wise to continue his German conversation
lessons with Madame P. Even the few that I took prove of immense
assistance to me, as I can understand almost everything that is said to
me, though I cannot answer back. He ought to make one of his lessons
about shopping and droschkie driving, for it is very essential to know
how to ask for things, and to be able to give directions in driving. I
had a very funny experience with a droschkie the other day, but it would
take too long to write it. Frau W. cannot understand English, and she
gets dreadfully impatient when Fräulein A. and I speak it, and always
says "_Deutsch_" in a sepulchral tone, so that I have to begin and say
it all over again in German with A.'s help.

When I got fairly settled I presented myself and my letters at the
Bancrofts, the B's. and the A's., and was very kindly and cordially
received by them all. Mrs. Bancroft and Mrs. B. have since called in
return, and I have already been to a charming reception at the house of
the latter, and to the grand American Thanksgiving dinner at the Hotel
de Rome, at which Mr. Bancroft presided, and made very happy speeches
both in English and German. I enjoyed both occasions extremely, and made
some pleasant acquaintances. I have also been to one German tea-party
with Frau W. and A., and there I had "the jolliest kind of a time."
There were only twelve invited, but you would have supposed from the
clatter that there were at least a hundred. At the American dinner there
was nothing like the noise of conversation that this little handful kept
up. Before supper it was rather stupid, for the men all retired to a
room by themselves, where they sat with closed doors and played whist
and smoked. It is not considered proper for ladies to play cards except
at home, and I, of course, did not say much, for the excellent reason
that I _couldn't_! At ten o'clock supper was announced, and the
gentlemen came and took us in. Herr J. was my partner. He is a
delightful man, though an elderly one, and knows no end of things, as he
has spent his whole life in study and in travelling. He looks to me like
a man of very sensitive organization, and of very delicate feelings. He
is a tremendous republican, and a great radical in every respect, and
has an unbounded admiration for America.

As soon as every one was seated at the table with due form and ceremony,
all began to talk as hard as they could, and you have no idea what a
noise they made, and how it increased toward the end with the potent
libations they had. The bill of fare was rather curious. We began with
slices of hot tongue, with a sauce of chestnuts, and it was extremely
nice, too. Then we had venison and boiled potatoes! Then we had a
dessert consisting of fruit, and some delicious cake. There were several
kinds of wine, and everybody drank the greatest quantity. The host and
hostess kept jumping up and going round to everybody, saying: "But you
drink nothing," and then they would insist upon filling up your glass. I
don't dare to think how many times they filled mine, but it seemed to be
etiquette to drink, and so I did as the rest. The repast ended with
coffee, and then the gentlemen lit their cigars, and were in such an
extremely cheerful frame of mind that they all began to sing, and I even
saw two old fellows kiss each other! The venison was delicious, and
nicer than any I ever ate. Herr J. was the only man in the room who
could speak any English, and since then he takes a good deal of interest
in me, and lends me books. Every Sunday Fran W. takes me to her sister's
house to tea. I like to go because I hear so much German spoken there,
and they all take a profound interest in my affairs. They know to a
minute when I get a letter, and when I write one, and every incident of
my daily life. It amuses them very much to see a real live wild Indian
from America. I am soon going to another German party, and I look
forward to it with much pleasure; not that the parties here give me the
same feeling as at home, but they are amusing because they are so
entirely different.

There is so much to be seen and heard in Berlin that if one has but the
money there is no end to one's resources. There are the opera and the
Schauspielhaus every night, and beautiful concerts every evening, too.
They say that the opera here is magnificent, and the scenery superb,
and they have a wonderful ballet-troupe. So far, however, I have only
been to one concert, and that was a sacred concert. But Joachim
played--and Oh-h, what a tone he draws out of the violin! I could think
of nothing but Mrs. Moulton's voice, as he _sighed_ out those
exquisitely pathetic notes. He played something by Schumann which ended
with a single note, and as he drew his bow across he produced so many
shades that it was perfectly marvellous. I am going to hear him again on
Sunday night, when he plays at Clara Schumann's concert. It will be a
great concert, for she plays much. She will be assisted by Joachim,
Müller, De Ahna, and by Joachim's wife, who has a beautiful voice and
sings charmingly in the serious German style. Joachim himself is not
only the greatest violinist in the world, but one of the greatest that
ever lived. De Ahna is one of the first violinists in Germany, and
Müller is one of the first 'cellists. In fact, this quartette cannot be
matched in Europe--so you see what I am expecting!

Tausig has not yet returned from his concert tour, and will not arrive
before the 21st of December. I find Ehlert a splendid teacher, but very
severe, and I am mortally afraid of him. Not that he is cross, but he
exacts so much, and such a hopeless feeling of despair takes possession
of me. His first lesson on touch taught me more than all my other
lessons put together--though, to be sure, that is not saying much, as
they were "few and far between." At present I am weltering in a sea of
troubles. The girls in my class are three in number, and they all play
so extraordinarily well that sometimes I think I can never catch up with
them. I am the worst of all the scholars in Tausig's classes that I have
heard, except one, and that is a young man. I know that Ehlert thinks I
have talent, but, after all, talent must go to the wall before such
_practice_ as these people have had, for most of them have studied a
long time, and have been at the piano four and five hours a day.

It is very interesting in the conservatory, for there are pupils there
from all countries except France. Some of them seem to me splendid
musicians. On Sunday morning (I am sorry to say) once in a month or six
weeks, they have what they call a "Musical Reading." It is held in a
piano-forte ware-room, and there all the scholars in the higher classes
play, so I had to go. Many of the girls played magnificently, and I was
amazed at the technique that they had, and at the artistic manner in
which even very young girls rendered the most difficult music, and all
without notes. It gave me a severe nervous headache just to hear them.
But it was delightful to see them go at it. None of them had the least
fear, and they laughed and chattered between the pieces, and when their
turn came they marched up to the piano, sat down as bold as lions, and
banged away so splendidly!

You have no idea how hard they make Cramer's Studies here. Ehlert makes
me play them tremendously _forte_, and as fast as I can go. My hand gets
so tired that it is ready to break, and then I say that I cannot go on.
"But you _must_ go on," he will say. It is the same with the scales. It
seems to me that I play them so loud that I make the welkin ring, and he
will say, "But you play always _piano_." And with all this rapidity he
does not allow a note to be missed, and if you happen to strike a wrong
one he looks so shocked that you feel ready to sink into the floor.
Strange to say, I enjoy the lessons in _Zusammenspiel_ (duet-playing)
very much, although it is all reading at sight. Four of us sit down at
two pianos and read duets at sight. Lesmann is a pleasant man, and he
always talks so fast that he amuses me very much. He always counts and
beats time most vigorously, and bawls in your ear, "_Eins--zwei!
Eins--zwei!_" or sometimes, "_Eins!_" only, on the first beat of every
bar. When, occasionally, we all get out, he looks at us through his
glasses, and then such a volley of words as he hurls at us is wonderful
to hear. I never can help laughing, though I take good care not to let
him see me.

But Weitzmann, the Harmony professor, is the funniest of all. He is the
dearest old man in the world, and it is impossible for him to be cross;
but he takes so much pains and trouble to make his class understand, and
he has the most peculiar way of talking imaginable, and accents
everything he says tremendously. I go to him because Ehlert says I must,
but as I know nothing of the theory of music (and if I did, the names
are so entirely different in German that I never should know what they
are in English) it is extremely difficult for me to understand him at
all. He knew I was an American, and let me pass for one or two lessons
without asking me any questions, but finally his German love of
thoroughness has got the better of him, and he is now beginning to take
me in hand. At the last lesson he wrote some chords on the blackboard,
and after holding forth for some time he wound up with his usual
"_Verstehen Sie wohl--Ja?_ (Do you understand--Yes?)" to the class, who
all shouted "_Ja_," except me. I kept a discreet silence, thinking he
would not notice, but he suddenly turned on me and said, "_Verstehen_
Sie _wohl--Ja?_" I was as puzzled what to say as the Pharisees were when
they were asked if the baptism of John were of heaven or of men. I knew
that if I said "_Ja_," he might call on me for a proof, and that if I
said "_Nein_," he would undertake to enlighten me, and that I should not
understand him.

After an instant's consideration I concluded the latter course was the
safer, and so I said, boldly, "_Nein_." "_Kommen Sie hierher!_ (Come
here!)" said he, and to my horror I had to step up to the blackboard in
front of this large class. He harangued me for some minutes, and then
writing some notes on the bass clef, he put the chalk into my hands and
told me to write. Not one word had I understood, and after staring
blankly at the board I said, "_Ich verstehe nicht_ (I don't
understand.)" "_Nein?_" said he, and carefully went over all his
explanation again. This time I managed to extract that he wished me to
write the succession of chords that those bass notes indicated, and to
tie what notes I could. A second time he put the chalk into my hands,
and told me to write the chords. "Heaven only knows what they are!"
thinks I to myself. In my desperation, however, I guessed at the first
one, and uttered the names of the notes in trembling accents, expecting
to have a cannon fired off at my head. Thanks to my lucky star, it
happened to be right. I wrote it on the blackboard, and then as my wits
sharpened I found the other chords from that one, and wrote them all
down right. I drew a long breath of relief as he released me from his
clutches, and sat down hardly believing I had done it. I have not now
the least idea what it was he made me do, but I suppose it will come to
me in the course of the year! As he does not understand a word of
English, I cannot say anything to him unless I can say it in German, and
as he is determined to make me learn Harmony, it would be of no use to
explain that I did not know what he was talking about, for he would
begin all over again, and go on _ad infinitum_. I have got a book on the
Theory of Music, which I am reading with Fräulein W. She has studied
with Weitzmann, also, and when I have caught up with the class I shall
go on very easily. I quite adore Weitzmann. He has the kindest old face
imaginable, and he hammers away so indefatigably at his pupils! The
professors I have described are all thorough and well-known musicians of
Berlin, and I wonder that people could tell us before I came away, and
really seem to believe it, "that I could learn as well in an American
conservatory as in a German one." In comparison with the drill I am now
receiving, my Boston teaching was mere play.


     Clara Schumann and Joachim. The American Minister's. The Museum.
     The Conservatory. The Opera. Tausig. Christmas.

    BERLIN, _December 12, 1869_.

I heard Clara Schumann on Sunday, and on Tuesday evening, also. She is a
most wonderful artist. In the first concert she played a quartette by
Schumann, and you can imagine how lovely it was under the treatment of
Clara Schumann for the piano, Joachim for the first violin, De Ahna for
the second, and Müller for the 'cello. It was perfect, and I was in
raptures. Madame Schumann's selection for the two concerts was a very
wide one, and gave a full exhibition of her powers in every kind of
music. The Impromptu by Schumann, Op. 90, was exquisite. It was full of
passion and very difficult. The second of the Songs without Words, by
Mendelssohn, was the most fairy-like performance. It is one of those
things that must be tossed off with the greatest grace and smoothness,
and it requires the most beautiful and delicate technique. She played it
to perfection. The terrific Scherzo by Chopin she did splendidly, but
she kept the great octave passages in the bass a little too subordinate,
I thought, and did not give it quite boldly enough for my taste, though
it was extremely artistic. Clara Schumann's playing is very objective.
She seems to throw herself into the music, instead of letting the music
take possession of her. She gives you the most exquisite pleasure with
every note she touches, and has a wonderful conception and variety in
playing, but she seldom whirls you off your feet.

At the second concert she was even better than at the first, if that is
possible. She seemed full of fire, and when she played Bach, she ought
to have been crowned with diamonds! Such _noble_ playing I never heard.
In fact you are all the time impressed with the nobility and breadth of
her style, and the comprehensiveness of her treatment, and oh, if you
_could_ hear her _scales_! In short, there is nothing more to be desired
in her playing, and she has every quality of a great artist. Many people
say that Tausig is far better, but I cannot believe it. He may have more
technique and more power, but nothing else I am sure. Everybody raves
over his playing, and I am getting quite impatient for his return, which
is expected next week. I send you Madame Schumann's photograph, which is
exactly like her. She is a large, very German-looking woman, with dark
hair and superb neck and arms. At the last concert she was dressed in
black velvet, low body and short sleeves, and when she struck powerful
chords, those large white arms came down with a certain splendor.

As for Joachim, he is perfectly magnificent, and has amazing _power_.
When he played his solo in that second Chaconne of Bach's, you could
scarcely believe it was only one violin. He has, like Madame Schumann,
the greatest variety of tone, only on the violin the shades can be made
far more delicate than on the piano.

I thought the second movement of Schumann's Quartette perhaps as
extraordinary as any part of Clara Schumann's performance. It was very
rapid, very _staccato_, and _pianissimo_ all the way through. Not a note
escaped her fingers, and she played with so much magnetism that one
could scarcely breathe until it was finished. You know nothing can be
more difficult than to play staccato so very softly where there is great
execution also. Both of the sonatas for violin and piano which were
played by Madame Schumann and Joachim, and especially the one in A
minor, by Beethoven, were divine. Both parts were equally well
sustained, and they played with so much fire--as if one inspired the
other. It was worth a trip across the Atlantic just to hear those two

The Sing-Akademie, where all the best concerts are given, is not a very
large hall, but it is beautifully proportioned, and the acoustic is
perfect. The frescoes are very delicate, and on the left are boxes all
along, which add much to the beauty of the hall, with their scarlet and
gold flutings. Clara Schumann is a great favorite here, and there was
such a rush for seats that, though we went early for our tickets, all
the good parquet seats were gone, and we had to get places on the
_estrade_, or place where the chorus sits--when there is one. But I
found it delightful for a piano concert, for you can be as close to the
performer as you like, and at the same time see the faces of the
audience. I saw ever so many people that I knew, and we kept bowing away
at each other.

Just think how convenient it is here with regard to public amusements,
for ladies can go anywhere alone! You take a droschkie and they drive
you anywhere for five groschen, which is about fifteen cents. When you
get into the concert hall you go into the _garde-robe_ and take off your
things, and hand them over to the care of the woman who stands there,
and then you walk in and sit down comfortably as you would in a parlour,
and are not roasted in your hat and cloak while at the concert, and
chilled when you go out, as we are in America. Their programmes, too,
are not so unconscionably long as ours, and, in short, their whole
method of concert-giving is more rational than with us. I always enjoy
the garde-robe, for if you have acquaintances you are sure to meet them,
and you have no idea how exciting it is in a foreign city to see anybody
you know.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _December 19, 1869_.

I suppose you are muttering maledictions on my head for not writing, but
I am so busy that I have no time to answer my letters, which are
accumulating upon my hands at a terrible rate. This week I have been out
every night but one, so that I have had to do all my practicing and
German and Harmony lessons in the day-time; and these, with my daily
hour and a half at the conservatory, have been as much as I could

On Monday I went to a party at the Bancroft's, which I enjoyed
extremely. It was a very brilliant affair, and the toilettes were
superb. At the entrance I was ushered in by a very fine servant dressed
in livery. A second man showed me the dressing-room, where my bewildered
sight first rested on a lot of Chinamen in festive attire. I could not
make out for a second what they were, and I thought to myself, "Is it
possible I have mistaken the invitation, and this is a masquerade?"
Another glance showed me that they were Chinese, and it turned out that
Mr. Burlingame, the Chinese Minister, was there, and these men were part
of his suite. The ladies and gentlemen had the same dressing-room, which
was a new feature in parties to me, and as we took off our things the
servant took them and gave us a ticket for them, as they do at the
opera. I should think there were about a hundred persons present. There
were a great many handsome women, and they were beautifully dressed and
much be-diamonded and pearled. Corn-colour seemed to be the fashion, and
there were more silks of that colour than any other.

Mr. Burlingame seemed to be a very genial, easy man. I was not presented
to him, but stood very near him part of the time. He looks upon the
introduction of the Chinese into our country as a great blessing, and
laughs at the idea of it being an evil. He says that the reason
railroads can't be introduced into China is because the whole country is
one vast grave-yard, and you can't dig any depth without unearthing
human bones, so that there would be a revolution on the part of the
people if it were done now, but it will gradually be brought about. He
travels with a suite of forty attendants, and says he has got all his
treaties here arranged to his wishes, and that Prussia has promised to
follow the United States in everything that they have agreed on with
China. He is going to resign his office in a year and go back to
America, where he wants to get into politics again. Mr. Bancroft
introduced many of the ladies to the Chinese, one of whom could speak
English, and he interpreted to the others. It was very quaint to see
them all make their deep bows in silence when some one was presented to
them. They were in the Chinese costume--Turkish trousers, white silk
coats, or blouses, and red turbans, and their hair braided down their
backs in a long tail that nearly touched their heels.

On Thursday I went to Dr. A.'s to dinner. He seems to be a very
influential man here, and is a great favorite with the Americans. He has
a great big heart, and I suspect that is the reason of it. Mrs. A., too,
is very lovely. I saw there Mr. Theodore Fay, who used to be our
minister in Switzerland, and who is also an author. He is very
interesting, and the most earnest Christian I ever met. He has the
tenderest sympathies in the world, and in a man this is very striking.
He has a high and beautiful forehead, and a certain spirituality of
expression that appeals to you at once and touches you, also. At least
he makes a peculiar impression on _me_. There is something entirely
different about him from other men, but I don't know what it is, unless
it be his deep religious feeling, which shines out unconsciously.

Last week I made my first visit to the Museum. It is one of the great
sights of Berlin, but it is so immense that I only saw a few rooms. In
fact there are two Museums--an old and a new. I was in the new one. It
is a perfect treasure house, and the floors alone are a study. All are
inlaid with little coloured marbles, and every one is different in
pattern. One of the most beautiful of the rooms was a large circular
dome-roofed apartment round which were placed the statues of the gods,
and in the centre stood a statue in bronze of one of the former German
kings in a Roman suit of armour. Half way up from the floor ran round a
little gallery in which you could stand and look down over the railing,
and here were placed on the walls Raphael's cartoons, which are
fac-similes of those in the Vatican, and are all woven in arras. They
are very wonderful, and you feel as if you could not look at them long
enough. The contrast is impressive as you look down and see all the
heathen statues standing on the marble floor, each one like a separate
sphinx, and then look up and see all the Christian subjects of Raphael.
The statues are so cold and white and distant, and the pictures are so
warm and bright in colour. They seem to express the difference between
the ancient and the modern religions. We went through the rooms of Greek
and Roman statues, of which there is an immense number, and on the walls
are Greek and Italian landscapes, all done by celebrated painters.

We had to pass through these rooms rather hastily in order to get a
glimpse of the "Treppen Halle," which is the place where the two grand
stair-cases meet that carry you into the upper rooms of the Museum.
This is magnificent, and is all gilding and decoration. An immense
statue stands by each door, and on the wall are six great pictures by
Kaulbach, three on each side. "The Last Judgment," of which you're seen
photographs, is one of them. I ought to go to the Museum often to see it
properly, but it is such a long distance off that I can't get the time.
Berlin is a very large city, and the distances are as great as they are
in New York.

At the last "Reading" at the conservatory the four best scholars played
last. One of them was an American, from San Francisco, a Mr. Trenkel,
but who has German parents. He plays exquisitely, and has just such a
poetic musical conception as Dresel, but a beautiful technique, also. He
is a thorough artist, and he looks it, too, as he is dark and pale, and
very striking. I always like to see him play, for he droops his dark
eyes, and his high pale forehead is thrown back, and stands out so well
defined over his black brows. His expression is very serious and his
manner very quiet, and he has a sort of fascination about him. He is a
particular favorite of Tausig's.

After he played, came a young lady who has been a pupil of Von Bülow for
two years. She plays splendidly, and I could have torn my hair with envy
when she got up, and Ehlert went up to her and shook her hand and told
her before the whole school that she had "_real_ talent." After her came
_my_ favorite, little Fräulein Timanoff, who sat down and did still
better. She is a little Russian, only fifteen, and is still in short
dresses. She has almost white hair, it is so light, and she combs it
straight back and wears it in two long braids down her back, which makes
her look very childish. It is really wonderful to see her! She takes her
seat with the greatest confidence, and plays with all the boldness of an

Almost all the scholars in Tausig's class are studying to play in
public, and I should think he would be very proud of all those that I
have heard. There are many scholars in the conservatory, but he teaches
only the most advanced. He only returned to Berlin on Saturday, and I
have not yet seen him, though I am dying to do so, for all the Germans
are wild over his playing. The girls in his class are mortally afraid of
him, and when he gets angry he tells them they play "like a rhinoceros,"
and many other little remarks equally pleasing.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _January 11, 1870_.

Since my last letter I have been quite secluded, and have seen nothing
of the gay world. I have been to the opera twice--once to "_Fantaska_,"
a grand ballet, and the second time to "_Trovatore_." The opera house
here is magnificent, and I would that I could go to it every week. It is
extremely difficult to get tickets to it, as the rich Jews manage to get
the monopoly of them and the opera house is crowded every night. It is
the most brilliant building, and so exquisitely painted! All the heads
and figures of the Muses and portraits of composers and poets which
decorate it, are so soft and so beautifully done. The curtain even is
charming. It represents the sea, and great sea monsters are swimming
about with nymphs and Cupids and all sorts of things, and one lovely
nymph floats in the air with a thin gauzy veil which trails along after
her. The scenery and dresses are superb, and I never imagined anything
to equal them. The orchestra, too, plays divinely.

The singing is the only thing which could be improved. The Lucca, who is
the grand attraction, is a pretty little creature, but I did not find
her voice remarkable. The Berlinese worship her, and whenever Lucca
sings there is a rush for the tickets. Wachtel and Niemann are the star
singers among the men. Niemann I have not heard, but Wachtel we should
not rave over in America. I am in doubt whether indeed the Germans know
what the best singing is. They have most wonderful choruses, but when it
comes to soloists they have none that are really great--like Parepa and
Adelaide Phillips; at least, that is my judgment after hearing the best
singers in Berlin, though as the voice is not my "instrument," I will
not be too confident about it. Everything else is so far beyond what we
have at home that perhaps I unconsciously expect the climax of all--the
solo singing, to be proportionally finer also.

They have beautiful ballet-dancers here, though. There is one little
creature named Fräulein David, who is a wonderful artist. She does such
steps that it turns one's head to see her. She is as light as down, and
so extremely graceful that when you watch her floating about to the
enchanting ballet music, it is too captivating. There were four other
dancers nearly as good, who were all dressed exactly alike in white
dresses trimmed with pink satin. They would come out first, and dance
all together, sometimes separately and sometimes forming a figure in the
middle of the stage. Then suddenly little David, who was dressed in
white and blue, would bound forward. The others would immediately break
up and retire to the side of the stage, and she would execute a
wonderful _pas seul_. Then _she_ would retire, and the others would come
forward again, and so it went. It was perfectly beautiful. Finally they
all danced together and did everything exactly alike, though little
David could always bend lower, and take the "positions" (as we used to
say at Dio Lewis's,) better than all the rest.

On Friday I am going to hear Rubinstein play. I suppose he will give a
beautiful concert, as he and Bülow, Tausig and Clara Schumann are the
grand celebrities now on the piano, Liszt having given up playing in
public. After our lesson was over yesterday, Ehlert took his leave, and
left us to wait for TAUSIG--my dear!--who was to hear us each play. He
came in very late, and just before it was time to give his own lesson.
He is precisely like the photograph I sent you, but is very short
indeed--too short, in fact, for good looks--but he has a remarkably
vivid expression of the eyes. He came in, and, scarcely looking at us,
and without taking the trouble to bow even, he turned on me and said,
imperiously, "_Spielen Sie mir Etwas vor_. (Play something for me.)" I
got up and played first an _Etude_, and then he asked for the scales,
and after I had played a few he told me I "had talent," and to come to
his lessons, and I would learn much. I went accordingly the next
afternoon. There were two girls only in the class, but they were both
far advanced. I had never heard either of them play before. The second
one played a fearfully difficult concerto by Chopin, which I once heard
from Mills. It is exquisitely beautiful, and she did it very well. From
time to time Tausig would sweep her off the stool, and play himself, and
he is indeed a perfect wonder! If, as they say, Liszt's trill is "like
the warble of a bird," his is as much so. It is not surprising that he
is so celebrated, and I long to hear him in concert, where he will do
full justice to his powers. He thrills you to the very marrow of your
bones. He is divorced from his wife, and I think it not improbable that
she could not live with him, for he looks as haughty and despotic as
Lucifer, though he has a very winning way with him when he likes. His
playing is spoken of as _sans pareil_.

I spent a very pleasant Christmas. The family had a pretty little tree,
and we all gave each other presents. It was charming to go out in the
streets the week before. The Germans make the greatest time over
Christmas, and the streets are full of Christmas trees, the shops are
crammed with lovely things, and there are little booths erected all
along the sidewalks filled with toys. They have special cakes and
confections that they prepare only at this season.


     Tausig and Rubinstein. Tausig's Pupils. The Bancrofts. A German

    BERLIN, _February 8, 1870_.

I have heard both Rubinstein and Tausig in concert since I last wrote.
They are both wonderful, but in quite a different way. Rubinstein has
the greatest power and _abandon_ in playing that you can imagine, and is
extremely exciting. I never saw a man to whom it seemed so easy to play.
It is as if he were just sporting with the piano, and could do what he
pleased with it. Tausig, on the contrary, is extremely restrained, and
has not quite enthusiasm enough, but he is absolutely _perfect_, and
plays with the greatest expression. He is pre-eminent in grace and
delicacy of execution, but seems to hold back his power in a concert
room, which is very singular, for when he plays to his classes in the
conservatory he seems all passion. His conception is so very refined
that sometimes it is a little too much so, while Rubinstein is
occasionally too precipitate. I have not yet decided which I like best,
but in my estimation Clara Schumann as a whole is superior to either,
although she has not their unlimited technique.

This was Tausig's programme:

    1.     Sonate Op. 53,                  Beethoven.

    2. a.  Bourrée,                        Bach.
       b.  Presto Scherzando,              Mendelssohn.
       c.  Barcarole Op. 60,         }
       d.  Ballade    Op. 47,        }     Chopin.
       e.  Zwei Mazurkas Op. 59 u 33,}
       f.  Aufforderung zum Tanz,          Weber.

    3.     Kreisleriana Op. 16, 8 Phantasie Stücke,          Schumann.
    4. a.  Ständchen von Shakespeare nach Schubert,     }     Liszt.
       b.  Ungarische Rhapsodie,                        }

Tausig's octave playing is the most extraordinary I ever heard. The last
great effect on his programme was in the Rhapsody by Liszt, in an octave
variation. He first played it so _pianissimo_ that you could only just
hear it, and then he repeated the variation and gave it tremendously
_forte_. It was colossal! His scales surpass Clara Schumann's, and it
seems as if he played with velvet fingers, his touch is so very soft. He
played the great C major Sonata by Beethoven--Moscheles' favorite, you
know. His conception of it was not brilliant, as I expected it would be,
but very calm and dreamy, and the first movement especially he took very
_piano_. He did it most beautifully, but I was not quite satisfied with
the last movement, for I expected he would make a grand climax with
those passionate trills, and he did not. Chopin he plays divinely, and
that little Bourrée of Bach's that I used to play, was magical. He
played it like lightning, and made it perfectly bewitching.

Altogether, he is a great man. But Clara Schumann always puts herself
_en rapport_ with you immediately. Tausig and Rubinstein do not sway you
as she does, and, therefore, I think she is the greater interpreter,
although I imagine the Germans would not agree with me. Tausig has such
a little hand that I wonder he has been able to acquire his immense
virtuosity. He is only thirty years old, and is much younger than
Rubinstein or Bülow.

The day after Tausig's concert I went, as usual, to hear him give the
lesson to his best class of girls. I got there a little before the hour,
and the girls were in the dressing-room waiting for the young men to be
through with their lesson. They were talking about the concert. "Was it
not beautiful?" said little Timanoff, to me; "I did not sleep the whole
night after it!"--a touch of sentiment that quite surprised me in that
small personage, and made me feel some compunctions, as I had slept
soundly myself. "I have practiced five hours to-day already," she added.
Just then the young men came out of the class-room and we passed into
it. Tausig was standing by the piano. "Begin!" said he, to Timanoff,
more shortly even than usual; "I trust you have brought me a study
_this_ time." He always insists upon a study in addition to the piece.
Timanoff replied in the affirmative, and proceeded to open Chopin's
_Etudes_. She played the great A minor "Winter Wind" study, and most
magnificently, too, starting off with the greatest brilliancy and "go."
I was perfectly amazed at such a feat from such a child, and expected
that Tausig would exclaim with admiration. Not so that Rhadamanthus. He
heard it through without comment or correction, and when Timanoff had
finished, simply remarked very composedly, "So! Have you taken the
_next_ Etude, also?" as if the great A minor were not enough for one
meal! It is eight pages long to begin with, and there is no let-up to
the difficulty all the way through. Afterward, however, he told the
young men that he "could not have done it better" himself.

Tausig is so hasty and impatient that to be in his classes must be a
fearful ordeal. He will not bear the slightest fault. The last time I
went into his class to hear him teach he was dreadful. Fräulein H.
began, and she has remarkable talent, and is far beyond me. She would
not play _piano_ enough to suit him, and finally he stamped his foot at
her, snatched her hand from the piano, and said: "_Will_ you play
_piano_ or not, for if not we will go no farther?" The second girl sat
down and played a few lines. He made her begin over again several times,
and finally came up and took her music away and slapped it down on the
piano,--"You have been studying this for weeks and you can't play a note
of it; practice it for a month and then you can bring it to me again,"
he said.

The third was Fräulein Timanoff, who is a little genius, I think. She
brought a Sonata by Schubert--the lovely one in A minor--and by the way
he behaved Tausig must have a particular feeling about that particular
Sonata. Timanoff began running it off in her usual nimble style, having
practiced it evidently every minute of the time when she was not
asleep, since the last lesson. She had not proceeded far down the first
page when he stopped her, and began to fuss over the expression. She
began again, but this time with no better luck. A third time, but still
he was dissatisfied, though he suffered her to go on a little farther.
He kept stopping her every moment in the most tantalizing and
exasperating manner. If it had been I, I should have cried, but Timanoff
is well broken, and only flushed deeply to the very tips of her small
ears. From an apple blossom she changed to a carnation. Tausig grew more
and more savage, and made her skip whole pages in his impatience. "Play
here!" he would say, in the most imperative tone, pointing to a half or
whole page farther on. "This I cannot hear!--Go on farther!--It is too
bad to be listened to!" Finally, he struck the music with the back of
his hand, and exclaimed, in a despairing way, "_Kind, es liegt eine
Seele darin. Weiss du nicht es liegt eine_ SEELE _darin_? (Child,
there's a soul in the piece. Don't you know there is a _soul_ in it?)"
To the little Timanoff, who has no soul, and who is not sufficiently
experienced to counterfeit one, this speech evidently conveyed no
particular idea. She ran on as glibly as ever till Tausig could endure
no more, and shut up the music. I was much disappointed, as it was new
to me, and I like to hear Timanoff's little fingers tinkle over the
keys, "Seele" or no "Seele." She has a most accurate and dainty way of
doing everything, and somehow, in her healthy little brain I hardly wish
for _Seele_!

Last of all Fräulein L. played, and she alone suited Tausig. She is a
Swede, and is the best scholar he has, but she has such frightfully ugly
hands, and holds them so terribly, that when I look at her I cannot
enjoy her playing. Tausig always praises her very much, and she is
tremendously ambitious.

Tausig has a charming face, full of expression and very sensitive. He is
extremely sharp-sighted, and has eyes in the back of his head, I
believe. He is far too small and too despotic to be fascinating,
however, though he has a sort of captivating way with him when he is in
a good humor.

I was dreadfully sorry to hear of poor Gottschalk's death. He had a
golden touch, and equal to any in the world, I think. But what a
romantic way to die!--to fall senseless at his instrument, while he was
playing "_La Morte_." It was very strange. If anything more is in the
papers about him you must send it to me, for the infatuation that I and
99,999 other American girls once felt for him, still lingers in my

On Saturday night I went for the first time to hear the Berlin Symphony
Kapelle. It is composed only of artists, and is the most splendid music
imaginable. De Ahna, for instance, is one of the violinists, and he is
not far behind Joachim. We have no conception of such an orchestra in
America.[A] The Philharmonic of New York approaches it, but is still a
long way off. This orchestra is so perfect, and plays with such
precision, that you can't realize that there are any performers at all.
It is just a great wave of sound that rolls over you as smooth as glass.
As the concert halls are much smaller here, the music is much louder,
and every man not only plays _piano_ and _forte_ where it is marked, but
he draws the _tone_ out of his violin. They have the greatest pathos,
consequently, in the soft parts, and overwhelming power in the loud.
Where great expression is required the conductor almost ceases to beat
time, and it seems as if the performers took it _ad libitum_; but they
understand each other so well that they play like one man. It is _too_
ecstatic! I observed the greatest difference in the horn playing.
Instead of coming in in a monotonous sort of way as it does at home, and
always with the same degree of loudness, here, when it is solo, it
begins round and smooth and full, and then gently modulates until the
tone seems to sigh itself out, dying away at last with a little tremolo
that is perfectly melting. I never before heard such an effect. When the
trumpets come in it is like the crack of doom, and you should hear the
way they play the drums. I never _was_ satisfied with the way they
strike the drums in New York and Boston, for it always seemed as if they
thought the parchment would break. Here, sometimes they give such a
sharp stroke that it startles me, though, of course, it is not often.
But it adds immensely to the accent, and makes your heart beat, I can
tell you. They played Schubert's great symphony, and Beethoven's in B
major, and I could scarcely believe my own ears at the difference
between this orchestra and ours. It is as great as between---- and

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _March 4, 1870_.

Tausig is off to Russia to-day on a concert tour, and will not return
until the 1st of May. Out of six months he has been in Berlin about two
and a half! However, as I am not yet in his class it doesn't affect me
much, but I should think his scholars would be provoked at such long
absences. That is the worst of having such a great artist for a master.
I believe we are to have no vacation in the summer though, and that he
has promised to remain here from May until November without going off.
Ehlert and Tausig have had a grand quarrel, and Ehlert is going to leave
the conservatory in April. I am very sorry, for he is an admirable
teacher, and I like him extremely.

We had another Musical Reading on Sunday, at which I played, but all the
conservatory classes were there, and all the teachers, with Tausig,
also, so it was a pretty hard ordeal. The girls said I turned deadly
pale when I sat down to the piano, and well I might, for here you cannot
play any thing that the scholars have not either played themselves or
are perfectly familiar with, so they criticise you without mercy. Tausig
plays so magnificently that you know beforehand that a thing can never
be more than comparatively good in his eyes. Fräulein L. is the only one
of his pupils that plays to suit him. I do not like her playing so much
myself, because it sounds as if she had tried to imitate him
exactly--which she probably does. It does not seem spontaneous, and she
is an affected creature. They all think 'the world' of her at the
conservatory, and I suppose she _is_ quite extraordinary; but I prefer
Fräulein Timanoff--"_die kleine Person_," as Tausig calls her--and she
is, indeed, a "little person." On Sunday Fräulein L. played the first
part of a Sonata by Chopin, and Tausig was quite enchanted with her
performance. I thought he was going to embrace her, he jumped up so
impetuously and ran over to her. He declared that it could not be better
played, and said he would not hear anything else after that, and so the
school was dismissed, although several had not played that expected to
do so.

Tausig has one scholar who is a very singular girl--the Fräulein H. I
mentioned to you before, who has studied with Bülow. She is half French
and half German, and speaks both languages. She is full of talent and
cannot be over eighteen, but she is the most intense character, and is a
perfect child of nature. One can't help smiling at everything she does,
because she goes at everything so hard and so unconsciously. When the
other girls are playing she folds her arms and plays with her fingers
against her sides all the time, and when her turn comes she seizes her
music, jumps up, and rushes for the piano as fast as she can. She hasn't
the least timidity, and on Sunday when Tausig called out her name he
scarcely got the words out before she said, "_Ja_," to the great
amusement of the class (for none of us answered to our names) and ran to
the piano.

She sat down with the chair half crooked, and almost on the side of it,
but she never stopped to arrange herself, but dashed off a prelude out
of her own head, and then played her piece. When she got through she
never changed countenance, but was back in her seat before you could say
"Jack Robinson." She is as passionate as Tausig, and so they usually
have a scene over her lesson. He is always either half amused at her or
very angry, and is terribly severe with her. When he stamps his foot at
her she makes up a face, and the blood rushes up into her head, and I
believe she would beat him if she dared. She always plays as impetuously
as she does everything else, and then he stops his ears and tells her
she makes too much "_Spectakel_" (his favorite expression). Then she
begins over again two or three times, but always in the same way. He
snatches the music from the piano and tells her that is enough. Then the
class bursts out laughing and she goes to her seat and cries. But she is
too proud to let the other girls see her wipe her eyes, and so she sits
up straight, and tries to look unconcerned, but the tears trickle down
her cheeks one after the other, and drop off her chin all the rest of
the hour. By the time she has had a piece for two lessons she comes to
the third, and at last she has managed to tone down enough, and then she
plays it splendidly. She is a savage creature. The girls tell me that
one time she sat down to the piano (a concert-grand) with such violence
as to push the instrument to one side, and began to play with such
vehemence that she burst the sleeve out of her dress behind! She is
going to be an artist, and I told her she must come to America to give
concerts. She said "_Ja_," and immediately wanted to know where I lived,
so she could come and see me. I think she will make a capital concert
player, for she is always excited by an audience, and she has immense
power. I am a mere baby to her in strength. Perhaps when she is ten
years older she will be able to restrain herself within just limits, and
to put in the light and shade as Fräulein L. does.

Since I last wrote I have been to hear Rubinstein again. He is the
greatest sensation player I know of, and, like Gottschalk, has all sorts
of tricks of his own. His grand aim is to produce an _effect_, so it is
dreadfully exciting to hear him, and at his last concert the first piece
he played--a terrific composition by Schubert--gave me such a violent
headache that I couldn't hear the rest of the performance with any
pleasure. He has a gigantic spirit in him, and is extremely poetic and
original, but for an entire concert he is too much. Give me Rubinstein
for a few pieces, but Tausig for a whole evening. Rubinstein doesn't
care how many notes he misses, provided he can bring out his conception
and make it vivid enough. Tausig strikes _every_ note with rigid
exactness, and perhaps his very perfection makes him at times a little
cold. Rubinstein played Schubert's Erl-König, arranged by Liszt,
_gloriously_. Where the child is so frightened, his hands flew all over
the piano, and absolutely made it shriek with terror. It was enough to
freeze you to hear it.

Last week I went to a party at Mrs. Bancroft's in honour of Washington's
birthday, and had a lovely time, as I always do when I go there.
Bismarck was present, and wore a coat all decorated with stars and
orders. He is a splendid looking man, and is tall and imposing. No one
could be kinder than Mr. Bancroft. He and Mrs. Bancroft live in a
beautiful house, furnished in perfect taste and full of lovely pictures
and things, and they entertain most charmingly. They seem to do their
utmost for the Americans who are in Berlin, and I am very proud of our
minister. His reputation as our national historian, together with his
German culture and early German associations, all combine to render him
an admirable representative of our country to this haughty kingdom, and
I hear that he is very popular with its selfsatisfied citizens. As for
Mrs. Bancroft, one could hardly be more elegant, or better suited to the
position. Mr. Bancroft is passionately fond of music, and knows what
good music is,--which is of course an additional title to _my_ high

The other day Herr J. called for me to go and take a walk through the
Thier-Garten, and see the skating. It was the first time I had been
there, though it is not far from us, and I was delighted with it. It is
the natural forest, with beautiful walks and drives cut through it, and
statues here and there. We went to see the skating, and it was a lovely
sight. The band was playing, and ladies and gentlemen were skating in
time to the waltz. Many ladies skate very elegantly, and go along with
their hands in their muffs, swaying first to one side and then to the
other. It is grace itself. Carriages and horses pranced slowly around
the edge of the pond, and at last the Prince and Princess Royal came
along, drawn by two splendid black horses.

The carriage stopped and they got out to walk. "Now," said I to Herr J.,
"you must take off your hat"--for everybody takes off his hat to the
Crown Prince. As they passed us he did take it off, but blushed up to
his ears, which I thought rather odd, until he said, in a half-ashamed
tone, "That is the first time in my life that I ever took off my hat to
a Prince." "Well, what did you do it for?" said I. "Because you told me
to," said he. He is such a red hot republican, that even such a little
act of respect as this grated upon him! I only told him in fun, any way,
but I was very much amused to see how he took it. He always raves over
the United States, and says we are the greatest country in the world. He
is a strange man, and you ought to hear his theory of religion. He sets
the Bible entirely aside--like most German cultivated men. We were
talking of it one night, and he said, "We won't speak of that
_blockhead_ Peter, stupid fisherman that he was! but we will pass on to
Paul, who was a man of some education." David, he calls "that rascal
David, etc." Of course, I hold to my own belief, but I can't help
laughing to hear him, it sounds so ridiculous. The world never had any
beginning, he says, and there is no resurrection. We live only for the
benefit of the next generation, and therefore it is necessary to lead
good lives. We inherit the result of our father's labours, and our
children will inherit ours. So we shall go on until the human race comes
to a state of perfection. "And then what?" said I. Oh--then, he didn't
know. Perhaps the world would explode, and go off in meteors. "We _do_
know," said he, "that there are lost stars. Occasionally a star
disappears and we can't tell what has become of it; and perhaps the
earth will become a wandering star, or a comet. The intervals between
the stars are so great as to admit of a world wandering about--and there
is no police in those regions, I fancy," concluded he, with a shrug of
his shoulders. "Do you really _believe_ that, Herr J.?" I asked. "Oh,"
said he, "we won't speak about _beliefs_. Now we are _speculating_!" He
is a delightful companion, and I think he is scrupulously conscientious.
Though he does not profess the Christian faith, he acts up to Christian


     Opera and Oratorio in Berlin. A Typical American. Prussian
     Rudeness. Conservatory Changes. Easter.

    BERLIN, _March 20, 1870_.

On Wednesday the Bancrofts most kindly called for me to go to the opera
with them. They came in their carriage, with two horses and footmen, so
it was very jolly, and we bowled rapidly through Unter den Linden (the
Broadway of Berlin), in rather a different manner from the pace I
usually crawl along in a droschkie. They had fine opera glasses, of
course, and we took our seats just as the overture was about to begin,
so that everything was charming except that instead of Lohengrin, which
we had expected to hear, they had changed the opera to Faust, which I
had heard the week before. Faust is, however, a fascinating opera, and
it is beautifully given here, albeit the Germans stick to it that it is
Gounod's Faust and not Goethe's.

Since I have come here I have a perfect passion for going to the opera,
for everything is done in such superb fashion, and they have the
orchestra of the Symphony Kapelle, which is so splendid that it could
not be better. It is a pity the singers are not equally good, but I
don't believe Germany is the land of great voices. However, the men sing
finely, and the prima donnas have much talent, and _act_ beautifully.
The prima donna on this occasion was Mallinger, the rival of Lucca. She
is especially good as Margaretta. Niemann and Wachtel are the great men
singers. Wachtel was formerly a coachman, but he has a lovely voice. His
acting is not remarkable, but Niemann is superb, and he sings and acts
delightfully. He is very tall and fair, with light whiskers, and golden
hair crowning a noble head, in truth a regular Viking. When he comes out
in his crimson velvet mantle and crimson cap, with a white plume, and
begins singing these delicious love songs to Margaretta, he is perfectly
enchanting! He and Mallinger throw themselves into the long love scene
which fills the third act, and act it magnificently. It was the first
time I ever saw a love scene well done. The fourth act is most
impressive. The curtain rises, and shows the interior of a church. The
candles are burning on the altar, and the priests and acolytes are
standing in their proper order before it. The organ strikes up a fugue
and all the peasants come in and kneel down. Then poor Margaretta comes
in for refuge, but when she kneels to pray a voice is heard which tells
her that for her there is no refuge or hope in heaven or earth.

This scene Mallinger does so well that it is nature itself. When the
voice is heard she gives a shriek, totters for a moment, and then falls
upon the floor senseless, and O, _so_ naturally that one is entirely
carried away by it. The organ takes up the fugue, and the curtain drops.
The contrast between the two acts makes it all the more effective, for
in the third it is all love and flowers and languishing music, and in
the fourth one is suddenly recalled to the sanctity and severity of the
church; also, after the orchestra this subdued fugue on the organ makes
a very peculiar impression. In the fifth act Margaretta is in prison,
and Faust and Mephistopheles come to rescue her. This is a powerful
scene, for at first she hesitates, and thinks she will go with them, and
then her mind wanders, and she recalls, as in a vision, the happy scenes
of earlier days. They keep urging her, and try to drag her along with
them, but at last she breaks free from them and cries, "To Thee, O, God,
belongs my soul," and falls upon her straw pallet, and dies. Then the
scene changes, and you see four angels gradually floating up to heaven,
supporting her dead body, while the chorus sings:

    "Christ ist erstanden
    Aus Tod und Banden
    Frieden und Heil verkeisst
    Aller Welt er, die ihn preist."[B]

This ends the opera, which is very exciting throughout. I am going to
read the original as soon as I know a little more German, so that I
shan't have to read with a dictionary. I am just getting able to read
Goethe without one, and think he is the most entrancing writer. There
never could have been a man who understood women so well as he! His
female characters are perfectly captivating, but he is not very
flattering to his own sex, and generally makes them, in love, (what they
are) weak and vacillating.

I met a very agreeable young countryman at a dinner the other day--a Mr.
P.--and a great contrast to any of Goethe's ill-regulated heroes. He was
the typical American, I thought. Wide awake, bright, with a sharp eye
to business, very republican, with a hearty contempt for titles and a
great respect for women, practical and clear-headed. When the wine was
passed round he refused it, and said he had never drunk a glass of wine
or touched tobacco in his life. I was so amused, for he looked so young.
I said to myself, "probably you are just out of college, and are
travelling before you settle down to a profession." After a while he
said something about his wife. I was a little surprised, but still I
thought "perhaps you have only been married a few months." A little
further on he mentioned his children. I was still more surprised, but
thought he couldn't have more than two; but when Mrs. B. asked him how
many he had, and he said "three living and two dead," adding very
gravely, "I have been twice left childless," I could scarcely help
bursting out laughing, for I had thought him about twenty-one, and these
revelations of a wife and numerous family seemed too preposterous!--But
it was very nice to see such a model countryman, too. It is such men
that make the American greatness.

After dinner I went with my hostess to hear Mendelssohn's Oratorio of
St. Paul. It is a great work, a little tedious as a whole, but with
wonderfully beautiful numbers interspersed through it. There are several
lovely chorales in it. I was disappointed in the performance, though,
for in the first place there is no organ in the Sing-Akademie, and I
consider the effect of the organ and the drums indispensable to an
oratorio; and in the second, the solos all seemed to me indifferently
sung. The choruses were faultless, however. They understand how to
drill a chorus here! Next Friday I am going to Haydn's "Jahreszeiten,"
which I never happened to hear in Boston.

Germany is a great place for birds and flowers. All winter long we have
quantities of saucy-looking little sparrows here, and they have the most
thievish expression when they fly down for a crumb. I sometimes put
crumbs on my window-sill, and in a short time they are sure to see them.
Then they stand on the edge of a roof opposite, and look from side to
side for a long time, the way birds do. At last they make up their
minds, swoop down on the sill, stretch their heads, give a bold look to
see if I am about, and then snatch a crumb and fly off with it. They
never can get over their own temerity, and always give a chirp as they
fly away with the crumb; whether it is a note of triumph over their
success, or an expression of nervousness, I cannot decide. One cold day
I passed a tree, on every twig of which was a bird. They were holding a
political meeting, I am sure, for they were all jabbering away to each
other in the most excited manner, and each one had his breast bulged
out, and his feathers ruffled. They were "awfully cunning!"

On Tuesday I went out to Borsig's greenhouse. He is an immensely rich
man here, who makes a specialty of flowers. He lives some way out of
Berlin, and has the largest conservatories here. The inside of the
portico which leads into them is all covered with ivy, which creeps up
on the inside of the walls, and covers them completely. When we came
within, the flowers were arranged in perfect _banks_ all along the
length of the greenhouse, so that you saw one continuous line of
brilliant colours, and oh--the perfume! The hyacinths predominated in
all shades, though there were many other flowers, and many of them new
to me. Camelias were trained, vine fashion, all over the sides of the
greenhouse, and hundreds of white and pink blossoms were depending from
them. All the centre of the greenhouse was a bed of rich earth covered
with a little delicate plant, and at intervals planted with azalea
bushes so covered with blossoms that one could scarcely see the leaves.
At one end was a very large cage filled with brilliant birds, and at the
other was a lovely fountain of white marble--Venus and Cupid supported
on three shells. But I was most struck by the tree ferns, which I had
never before seen. They were perfectly magnificent, and were arranged on
the highest side of the greenhouse with many other rare plants most
artistically mingled in. After we had finished looking at the flowers we
went into a second house, where were palm trees, ferns, cacti and all
sorts of strange things growing, but all placed with the same taste. It
was a beautiful sight, and I never had any idea of the garden of Eden
before. I must try and bring home a pot of the "Violet of the Alps." It
is the most delicate little flower, and looks as if it grew on a high,
cold mountain.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _April 1, 1870_.

To-day is April Fool's day, and the first real month of spring is begun.
I have not fooled anybody yet, but as soon as dinner is ready, I shall
rush to the window and cry, "There goes the king!" Of course they will
all run to see him, and then I shall get it off on the whole family at
once. I shall wait until the "kleiner Hans," Frau W.'s son, comes home.
I call him the "Kleinen" in derision, for in reality he is immense. I
have been very much struck with the height of the people here. As a rule
they are much taller than Americans, and sometimes one meets perfect
giants in the streets. The Prussian men are often semi-insolent in their
street manners to women, and sometimes nearly knock you off the
sidewalk, from simply not choosing to see you. I suppose this arrogance
is one of the benefits of their military training! They _will_ have the
middle of the walk where the stone flag is laid, no matter what _you_
have to step off into!

I went to hear Haydn's Jahreszeiten a few evenings since, and it is the
most charming work--such a happy combination of grave and gay! He wrote
it when he was seventy years old, and it is so popular that one has
great difficulty in getting a ticket for it. The _salon_ was entirely
filled, so that I had to take a seat in the _loge_, where the places are
pretty poor, though I went early, too. The work is sung like an
oratorio, in arias, recitatives and choruses, and is interspersed with
charming little songs. It represents the four seasons of the year, and
each part is prefaced by a little overture appropriate to the passing
of each season into the next. The recitatives are sung by Hanna and
Lucas, who are lovers, and by Simon, who is a friend of both,
apparently. The autumn is the prettiest of the four parts, for it
represents first the joy of the country people over the harvests and
over the fruits. Then comes a splendid chorus in praise of Industry.
After that follows a little love dialogue between Hanna and Lucas, then
a description of a hunt, then a dance; lastly the wine is brought, and
the whole ends with a magnificent chorus in praise of wine. The dance is
too pretty for anything, for the whole chorus sings a waltz, and it is
the gayest, most captivating composition imaginable. The choruses here
are so splendidly drilled that they give the expression in a very vivid
manner, and produce beautiful effects. All the parts are perfectly
accurate and well balanced. But the solo singers are, as I have remarked
in former letters, for the most part, ordinary.

I took my last lesson of Ehlert yesterday. I am very sorry that he and
Tausig have quarrelled, for he is a splendid teacher. He has taught me a
great deal, and precisely the things that I wanted to know and could not
find out for myself. For instance, those twists and turns of the hands
that artists have, their way of striking the chords, and many other
little technicalities which one must have a master to learn. He always
seemed to take great pleasure in teaching me, and I am most grateful to
him for his encouragement. I think Tausig behaves very strangely to be
off for such a long time. He does not return until the first of May, and
all this month we are to be taught by one of his best scholars until he
comes back and engages another teacher. He has just given concerts at
St. Petersburg, and I am told that at a single one he made six thousand
rubles. They are in an immense enthusiasm there over him.

Last night I went with Mr. B. to hear Bach's Passion Music. Anything to
equal that last chorus I never heard from voices. I felt as if it ought
to go on forever, and could not bear to have it end. That chorale, "O
Sacred Head now wounded," is taken from it, and it comes in twice; the
second time with different harmonies and without accompaniment. It is
the most exquisite thing; you feel as if you would like to die when you
hear it. But the last chorus carries you straight up to heaven. It

    "We sit down in tears
    And call to thee in the grave,
    Rest soft--rest soft."

It represents the rest of our Saviour after the stone had been rolled
before the tomb, and it is _divine_. Everybody in the chorus was dressed
in black, and almost every one in the audience, so you can imagine what
a sombre scene it was. This is the custom here, and on Good Friday, when
the celebrated "Tod Jesu" by Graun, is performed, they go in black
without exception.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _April 24, 1870_.

I thought of you all on Easter Sunday, and wondered what sort of music
you were having. I did not go to the English church, as is my wont, but
to the Dom, which is the great church here, and is where all the court
goes. It is an extremely ugly church, and much like one of our old
Congregational meeting-houses; but they have a superb choir of two
hundred men and boys which is celebrated all over Europe. Haupt (Mr. J.
K. Paine's former master) is the organist, and of course they have a
very large organ. I knew, as this was Easter, that the music would be
magnificent, so I made A. W. go there with me, much against her will,
for she declared we should get no seat. The Germans don't trouble
themselves to go to church very often, but on a feast day they turn out
in crowds.

We got to the church only twenty minutes before service began, and I
confess I was rather daunted as I saw the swarms of people not only
going in but coming out, hopeless of getting into the church. However, I
determined to push on and see what the chances were, and with great
difficulty we got up stairs. There is a lobby that runs all around the
church, just as in the Boston Music Hall. All the doors between the
gallery and the lobby were open, and each was crammed full of people. I
thought the best thing we could do would be to stand there until we got
tired, and listen to the music, and then go. Finally, the sexton came
along, and A. asked him if he could not give us two seats; he shrugged
his shoulders and said, "Yes, if you choose to pass through the crowd."
We boldly said we would, although it looked almost hopeless, and then
made our way through it, followed by muttered execrations. At last the
sexton unlocked a door, and gave us two excellent seats, and there was
plenty of room for a dozen more people; but I don't doubt he frightened
them away just as he would have done us if he could. He locked us in,
and there we sat quite in comfort.

At ten the choir began to sing a psalm. They sit directly over the
chancel, and a gilded frame work conceals them completely from the
congregation. They have a leader who conducts them, and they sing in
most perfect time and tune, entirely without accompaniment. The voices
are tender and soft rather than loud, and they weave in and out most
beautifully. There are a great many different parts, and the voices keep
striking in from various points, which produces a delicious effect, and
makes them sound like an angel choir far up in the sky. After they had
finished the psalm the organ burst out with a tremendous great chord,
enough to make you jump, and then played a chorale, and there were also
trombones which took the melody. Then all the congregation sang the
chorale, and the choir kept silence. You cannot imagine how easy it is
to sing when the trombones lead, and the effect is overwhelming with the
organ, especially in these grand old chorales. I could scarcely bear it,
it was so very exciting.

There was a great deal of music, as it was Easter Sunday, and it was
done alternately by the choir and the congregation; but generally the
Dom choir only sings one psalm before the service begins, and therefore
I seldom take the trouble to go there. The rest of the music is entirely
congregational, and they only have trombones on great occasions. We sat
close by the chancel, and the great wax candles flared on the altar
below us, and the Lutheran clergyman read the German so that it sounded
a good deal like Latin. I was quite surprised to see how much like Latin
German _could_ sound, for it has these long, rolling words, and it is
just as pompous. Altogether it made a strange but splendid impression. I
thought if they had only had their choir in the chancel, and in white
surplices, it would have been much more beautiful, but perhaps the music
would not have sounded so fine as when the singers were overhead. The
Berlin churches all look as if religion was dying out here, so old and
bare and ill-cared for, and so few in number. They are only redeemed by
the great castles of organs which they generally have; and it is a
difficult thing to get the post of organist here. One must be an
experienced and well-known musician to do it. They sing no chants in the
service, but only chorales.

To-night is the last Royal Symphony Concert of this season, and of
course I shall go. This wonderful orchestra carries me completely away.
It is too marvellous how they play! such expression, such _élan!_ I
heard them give Beethoven's Leonora Overture last week in such a fashion
as fairly electrified me. This overture sums up the opera of Fidelio,
and in one part of it, just as the hero is going to be executed, you
hear the post-horn sound which announces his delivery. This they play so
softly that you catch it exactly as if it came from a long distance, and
you cannot believe it comes from the orchestra. It makes you think of
"the horns of elf-land faintly blowing."

Tausig is expected back this week, and he has indeed been gone long
enough. He is going to give a lesson every Monday to the best scholars
who are not in his class, and as I stand at the head of these I hope to
have a lesson from him every week. This would suit me better than two,
as he is so dreadfully exacting, and it will give me time to learn a
piece well. Then I should have my regular lesson beside from Mr.
Beringer, or whoever he appoints to take Ehlert's place. Beringer, who
is a young man about twenty-five years old, has turned out a capital
teacher, and I am learning much with him. He plays beautifully himself,
and is a great favorite of Tausig's. He has been with him so long that
he teaches his method excellently, and gives me pieces that he has
studied with him. I believe he is to come out at the Gewandhaus, in
Leipsic, in October, and after that he will settle in London.


     The Thier-Garten. A Military Review. Charlottenburg. Tausig. Berlin
     in Summer. Potsdam and Babelsberg.

    BERLIN, _June 5, 1870_.

We've had the vilest possible weather this spring, but Berlin looks
perfectly lovely now. There are a great many gardens attached to the
houses here. Everything is in bloom, and is laden with the scent of
lilacs and apple blossoms. The streets are planted with lindens and
horse chestnut trees, and on the fashionable street bordering on the
Thier-Garten, all the houses have little lawns in front, carpeted with
the most dazzling green grass, and rising out of it are solid banks of
flowers. The shrubs are planted according to their height, close
together, and one behind the other, and as they are all in blossom you
see these great masses of colour. It is like a gigantic bouquet growing
up before you.

The Thier-Garten is perfectly beautiful. It is so charming to come upon
this unfenced wood right in the heart of an immense city, with roads and
paths cut all through it, and each over-arched with vivid green as far
as the eye can reach. When you see the gay equipages driving swiftly
through it, and ladies and gentlemen glancing amid the trees on
horseback, it is very romantic.

Frau W.'s brother, "Uncle S." as I call him, announced the other day
that he was going to take us to Charlottenburg. I had often been told
that I must go there and see the "Mausoleum," but as you know I never
ask for explanations, this did not convey any particular idea to my
mind, and I started out on this excursion in my usual state of blissful
ignorance. We took two droschkies for our party, and meandered slowly
through the Thier-Garten and along the Charlottenburg road till we
arrived at our point of destination. This was announced from afar by an
absurd statue poised on one toe on the top of the castle which stands in
front of the park containing the Mausoleum.

The first thing we did on alighting was to go into a little beer garden
close by to take coffee. It was a perfect afternoon, and the trees and
flowers were in all their June glory. We sat down around one of those
delightful tables which they always have under the trees in Germany. The
coffee was soon served, hot and strong, and Uncle S. took out a cigar to
complete his enjoyment. Then we began to stroll. We went through a gate
into the grounds surrounding the castle, and after passing through the
orangery emerged into a garden, which soon spread into a beautiful park
filled with magnificent trees, and with beds of flowers cut in the
smooth turf for some distance along the borders of the avenues. We
turned to the right (instead of to the left, which would have brought us
directly to the Mausoleum) in order to see the flowers first, then the
river, and then come round by the pond where the carp are kept.

The Germans certainly understand laying out parks to perfection. They
are not _too_ rigidly kept, and there is an air of nature about
everything. This Charlottenburg park is a particularly fascinating one.
A dense avenue borders the River Spree, which is broad at this point,
and flows gloomily and silently along. The branches of the trees
overhang the stream, and also lock together across the walk, forming a
leafy avenue before and behind you. We met very few people, scarcely any
one, in fact, and the songs of the birds were the only sounds that broke
the all-pervading calm. The path finally left the river, and we came out
on an open spot, where was a pretty view of the castle through a little
cut in the trees. We sat down on a bench and looked about us for awhile,
and then went up on the bridge which crosses the pond where the carp are
kept. The Germans always feed these carp religiously, and that is a
regular part of the excursion. The fish are very old, many of them, and
we saw some hoary old fellows rise lazily to the surface and condescend
to swallow the morsels of cake that we threw them. They were evidently
accustomed to good living, and, like all swells, considered it only
their due!

At last we came gradually round towards the Mausoleum. An avenue of
hemlocks led to it--"Trauer-Bäume (mourning-trees)," as the Germans call
them, and it was an exquisite touch of sentiment to make _this_ avenue
of these dark funereal evergreens. At first you see nothing, for the
avenue is long, and you turn into it gay and smiling with the influence
of the birds, the trees, and the flowers fresh upon you. But the
drooping boughs of the sombre hemlocks soon begin to take effect, and
the feeling that comes over one when about half way down it is certainly
peculiar. It seems as if one were passing between a row of tall and
silent _sentinels_ watching over the abode of death!

Involuntarily you begin repeating from Edgar Poe's haunting poem:

    "Then I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
    And conquered her scruples and gloom,
    And banished her scruples and gloom,
    And we passed to the end of the vista
    Till we came to the door of a tomb;
    And I said, 'What is written, sweet sister,
    On the door of this legended tomb?'
    And she said, 'Ulalume, Ulalume,
    'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume."

And so, too, does _your_ eye become fixed upon a door at the end of
_this_ vista, which comes nearer and nearer until finally the Mausoleum
takes form round it in the shape of a little Greek temple of polished
brown marble. A small flower garden lies in front of it, and it would
look inviting enough if one did not know what it was. Two officials
stand ready to receive you and conduct you up the steps.

Within these walls a royal pair lie buried--King Friedrich Wilhelm III.
and his beautiful wife, Luisa, who so calmly withstood the bullying of
Napoleon I. and for whom the Prussians cherish such a chivalrous
affection. They are entombed under the front portion of the temple, and
two slabs in the pavement mark their resting places. These are lit from
above by a window in the roof filled with blue glass, which throws a
subdued and solemn light into the marble chamber. You walk past them to
the other end of the temple, which is cruciform in shape, go up one step
between pillars, and there, in the little white transept, lie upon two
snowy marble couches the sculptured forms of the dead king and queen
side by side. Though this apartment is lit by side windows of plain
glass high up on the walls, so that it is full of the white daylight,
yet the blueish light from the outer room is reflected into it just
enough to heighten the delicacy of the marble and to bestow on
everything an unearthly aspect.

Queen Luisa was celebrated for her beauty, and the sculptor Rauch, who
knew and adored her, has breathed it all into the stone. There she lay,
as if asleep, her head easily pressing the pillow, her feet crossed and
the outlines of her exquisite form veiled but not concealed by the thin
tissue-like drapery. It covered even the little feet, but they seemed to
define themselves all the more daintily through the muslin. There is no
look of death about her face. She seems more like a bonny "Queen o' the
May," reclining with closed eyes upon her flowery bed. The statue has
been criticised by some on account of this entire absence of the
"_beauté de la mort_." There is no transfigured or glorified look to it.
It is simply that of a beautiful woman in deep repose. But it seems to
me that this is a matter of taste, and that the artist had a perfect
right to represent her as he most felt she was. The king's statue is
clothed in full uniform, and he looks very striking, too, lying there
in all the dignity of manhood and of kingship, with the drapery of his
military cloak falling about him. His features are delicate and regular,
and he is a fit counterpart to his lovely consort. Against the back wall
an altar is elevated on some steps, and there is an endless fascination
in leaning against it and gazing down on those two august forms
stretched out so still before you. On either side of the statues are
magnificent tall candelabra of white marble of very rich and beautiful
design, and appropriate inscriptions from the German Bible run round the
carved and diapered marble walls. Altogether, this garden-park, with its
river, its Mausoleum, its avenue of hemlocks, and its glorious statues
of the king and queen, is one of the most exquisite and ideal
conceptions imaginable. As we returned it was toward sunset. The evening
wind was sighing through the tall trees and the waving grasses. An
indefinable influence hovered in the air. The supernatural seemed to
envelop us, and instinctively we hastened a little as we retraced our

When we emerged from the hemlock avenue Uncle S., I thought, seemed
rather relieved, for the contemplation of a future life is not
particularly sympathetic to him! After he had asked me if I did not
think the Mausoleum "_sehr schön_ (very beautiful)," and had ascertained
that I _did_ think so, he restored his equilibrium by taking out another
cigar, which he lighted, and we leisurely made our way through the
garden to our droschkies and drove home. It was quite dark as we were
coming through the Thier-Garten, and it seemed like a forest. The stars
were shining through the branches overhead, and their soothing light
gave the last poetic touch to a lovely day.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _June 26, 1870_.

Last week the Emperor of Austria was here, and they had a parade in his
honour. The B.'s took me in their carriage to see it. We drove to a
large plain outside the city, and there we saw a mock battle, and all
the manœuvers of an army--how they advance and retreat, and how they
form and deploy. There was a continual fire of musketry and artillery,
and it was very exciting. The enemy was only imaginary, but the
attacking party acted just as if there were one, and at last it ended
with the taking by storm, which was done by the attacking party rushing
on with one continued cheer, or rather yell, from one end of the lines
to the other. Then they all broke up, the bands played the Russian Hymn,
the King and the Emperor mounted horses and led off a great body of
cavalry, and away we all clattered home--carriages and horses all
together. It was a great sight, and I enjoyed it very much.

I am going to play before Tausig next Monday, and have been studying
very hard. He praised me very much the last time, and said he would soon
take me into his regular class; but he is such a whimsical creature that
one can't rely on him much. Two of the girls have almost finished their
studies with him, and soon are going to give concerts. I am playing
Scarlatti, which he is _awfully_ particular with, and expect to have my
head taken off. Two of his scholars are playing the same pieces that I
am, and he told one of them that she played "like a nut-cracker." He is
very funny sometimes. The other day one of the young men played the
Pastoral Sonata to him. Tausig gave a sigh, and said, "This _should_ be
a garden of roses, but, as you play it, I see only potato plants."
Scarlatti is charming music. He writes _en suite_ like Bach, and is
still more quaint and full of humour.

I find Berlin very pleasant, even in summer. Most of the better houses
are made with balconies or bow windows, and around each one they will
have a little frame full of earth in which is planted mignonette,
nasturtiums, geraniums, etc., which trail over the edge, and as you look
up from the street it seems as if the houses were festooned with
flowers. On many of them woodbine is trained so that every window is set
in a deep green frame. All the nice streets have pretty little front
yards in which roses are planted, and I never saw anything like them.
The branches are cut to one thick, straight stem, which is tied to a
stick. They grow very tall, and each one is crowned with a top-knot of
superb roses. Every yard looks like a little orchard of roses, and they
are of every imaginable shade of colour. Every American who comes here
must be struck with the want of beauty in the cities he has left at
home; and it is really shameful, that when our people are so much better
off, and when such immense numbers of them see this European culture
every year, still they do not introduce the same things into our
country. Take Fifth Avenue or Beacon Street, for example, and one won't
see anything the whole length of them but a little green grass and an
occasional woodbine, whereas here they would be adorned with flowers and
all sorts of contrivances to make them beautiful.

On Thursday a little party of three, including myself, was made up to
take me out to Potsdam. The Museum, Charlottenburg and Potsdam, are, as
Mr. T. B. says, "the three sights of Berlin." I have written you of the
first two, and you shall now have the third. Potsdam is sixteen miles
from here, and it took about as long to go there by train as it does
from Boston to Lynn. It is the royal summer residence. On arriving we
bought a large quantity of cherries and then seated ourselves in a
carriage to drive through the city to Charlottenhof. Here we got out and
walked into a superb park, filled with splendid old trees. The first
thing we saw was a beautiful little building in the Pompeian style. This
was where Humboldt used to stay with the last king and queen in summer.
We went into it and found it the sweetest little place you can imagine.
When we opened the door, instead of a hall was a little court with a
fountain in it and two low, broad staircases (of marble, I think)
sweeping up to the main story. The walls were delicately tinted and
frescoed all round the borders with Pompeian devices. The windows were
of some sort of thin transparent stained glass, through which the light
could penetrate easily, and were also in the Pompeian fashion, with
chariots, and horses, and goddesses, etc. The rooms all opened into
each other, but we were obliged to go through them so hastily that I
could not look at them much in detail. The walls were covered with
lovely pictures, and there were tables inlaid with precious marbles and
all sorts of beautiful things. We saw the table and chair where the king
always sat, just as he had left it, with his papers and drawings; and
the queen's boudoir, with her writing materials and her sewing
arrangements. From her window one looked out on a fountain at the right,
and on the left was a long arcade covered with vines which led to a
garden of roses.

We opened a door and passed through this arcade, and, after looking at
the flowers, went on through the park until we came to another house,
which was Pompeian, also, or Greek, I couldn't exactly tell which. It
was built only to bathe in. The floors were all of stone, and it was as
cool and fresh as could be. The bath itself was a large semi-circular
place into which one went down by steps. It was large enough to swim in.
Those old peoples understood pretty well how to make themselves
comfortable, didn't they? There was an ancient bath-tub there, set upon
a pedestal, made of some precious stone, which Humboldt had appraised at
half a million of thalers. Outside was a lovely little garden, of
course, and one of the prettiest things I saw was a quantity of those
flowers which only grow in cool, moist places, sheltered under an
awning. The awning was circular, and stretched down to the ground on
three sides, so that one could only see the flowers by standing just in
front. There were any number of lady-slippers of every shade, each
mottled exquisitely with a different colour, and behind them rose other
flowers in regular gradation, and all of brilliant tints. It seemed as
if they were all nestling under a great shaker bonnet, and they looked
as coy and bewitching as possible. I thought it was a charming idea.

After we left this place we went on until we came to Sans Souci, which
was built simply for the benefit of the orange trees--to give them a
shelter in winter. At least, this was the pretext. It has a most
dazzling effect in the sunshine as you look at it from below. Terrace
rises above terrace, and at the top is this airy white building rising
lightly into the sky, with galleries and towers, groups of statuary,
colonnades, fountains, flowers, and every device one can imagine to make
it look as much like a fairy palace as possible. The great burly orange
trees stand in rows in the gardens in large green pots. Many of them
were in blossom, and cast their heavy perfume on the air. You couldn't
turn your eyes any where that _something_ was not arranged to arrest and
surprise them. Here I saw another way of training roses. Running along
on the green turf was a certain low growing variety, the branches of
which they pin to the earth with a kind of wooden hair-pin, so that it
does not show. They thus lie perfectly flat, and the grass is
_literally_ "carpeted" with them. It was lovely. After we had
sufficiently admired the exterior of the palace, we ascended the flights
of steps which lead up the terraces, and went into it. Outside were the
long galleries where the orange trees stand, and then we passed into
the large and noble rooms. First came the one which is devoted to
Raphael's pictures. Copies of them all hang upon the walls. After we had
gazed at them a long time, we looked at the other apartments, all of
which were furnished in some extraordinary way, but I glanced at them
too hastily to retain any recollection of them. I only remember that one
was all of malachite and gold.

The next thing we did was to go over the palace originally named "Sans
Souci," where Frederick the Great lived. We saw the benches--ledges
rather--on which his poor pages had to sit in the corridor, and which
were purposely made so narrow in order to prevent their falling asleep
while on duty. The armchair in which he died is there, and the bust of
Charles XII still stands on the floor at the foot of the statue of
Venus, where Frederick placed it in derision, because Charles was a
woman-hater. I think it was a very small piece of malice on Frederick's
part, and in fact he had such a bad heart that none of his relics
interested me in the least.

After we had seen everything we went to a little restaurant at the foot
of Sans Souci, where we drank beer and coffee and ate cake seated round
a little table under the trees. This fashion that the Germans have of
eating out of doors in summer is perfectly delightful, I think. I laid
in a fresh stock of cherries, though I had already eaten an immense
quantity, but they looked so nice, piled in little pyramids upon a vine
leaf, like the cannon balls at the Cambridge arsenal, that there was no
resisting them. I've thought of you ever since the cherry season began.
They are so extremely cheap here, that two groschens (about six cents)
will buy as many as two persons can eat at one time. We drove from Sans
Souci to Fingstenberg, which is only a place to see a view of the
country. The landscape was perfectly flat, but it had the charm of quiet
cultivation. It was green with beautiful trees, and the river wound
along dotted with white sails, and there were wind-mills turning in
every direction. After we left Fingstenberg we drove down to an inn
where we ordered dinner, and this also was served out of doors. It was
about six o'clock in the evening, and we were all very hungry, so we
enjoyed this part of the programme very much.

When we had finished our cutlet and green peas we got into the carriage
again, and drove to Babelsberg. This is a little retreat which belongs
to the queen, and where the royal family sometimes passes a few weeks in
summer. We walked through a noble park where the ground swelled upward
on our left and sloped downward on our right. After following the
windings of the road for a long distance, we at last arrived at the
little castle, perched upon a hill-side and embowered in trees. A smart
looking maid showed us through it, and I was more impressed here than by
all I had previously seen. As Balzac says, "People who talk about a
house 'being like a palace' should see one first,"--although, as Herr J.
observed, "Babelsberg is not a palace, but is more like the home of an
English nobleman." It is just a quiet little retreat, but the beauty
with which everything is arranged is quite indescribable. Every window
is planned so that you cannot look out without having something
exquisite before you. Here it will be a little mosaic of rare flowers;
there a fountain, etc. And then the bronzes, the pictures, the rare old
pieces of glass and china, the thousand curious and beautiful objects of
art that one must see over and over again to be able really to take in.
In these castles, too, there are no end of little nooks and crannies
where two or three persons, only, can sit and talk. Dainty little
recesses made for enjoyment.

I walked into the grand salon and imagined an elegant assemblage of
people in it, with all the means of entertainment at hand. It was a
circular room, and large enough to dance the German in very comfortably.
We went up stairs and through the different apartments. I went into the
Princess Royal's room, and "surveyed my queenly form" in the superb
mirror, and arranged my veil by her toilette glass--which I envied her,
I assure you, for it shone like silver. We saw the cane of Frederick the
Great, with a lion couchant on it--the one which he shook on some
occasion and frightened somebody--(now you know, don't you?) Last of all
we went up into the tower, and after climbing the dizzy staircase, we
stood on the balconies for a long time, and looked over the splendid
park about the country. Altogether, I was enchanted with Babelsberg, and
nothing will suit me now but to have it for the retreat of my old age. I
think I shall apply to be a servant there, for it must be a delightful
situation. The royal family is only a short time there, and the servants
have this exquisite habitation, which is always kept in perfect order,
all the rest of the year, and have nothing to do but show visitors over
it and take in half thalers!

After we left Babelsberg we took a carriage and drove to the station,
where we got into the cars about half-past nine, and went back to
Berlin. Herr J. had made himself extremely agreeable, and had exerted
himself the whole day on our behalf. We had a most perfect time of its
kind, and I enjoyed every minute of it, but came back in the worst of
spirits, as I generally do. It seems so hard that one can never get
together _all_ the elements of perfect happiness! Here in Babelsberg
everything was so lovely that one could scarcely believe that there had
ever been a "Fall." It seemed as if people _must_ be happy there, and
yet I'm told that the queen is very unhappy. I suppose because she has
such a faithless old husband.


     The War. German Meals. Women and Men. Tausig's Teaching. Tausig
     Abandons his Conservatory. Dresden. Kullak.

    BERLIN, _July 23, 1870_.

Just now the grand topic of course is this dreadful war that has just
been declared between Prussia and France, and everybody is in the
wildest state of excitement over it. It broke out so very suddenly that
it is only just one week since it has been decided upon, and ever since,
the drafting has been going on, and the streets are filled with
regiments and with droves of horses, cannon, and all the implements of
war. The trains are going out all the time packed with soldiers, and the
railroad stations are the constant scene of weeping women of all
classes, come to see the last of their dear ones. There is such a storm
of indignation against Napoleon that one hears nothing but curses
against him. I am entirely on the German side, and am anxious to see the
result, for between two such great nations, and with so much at stake,
it will be a tremendous struggle.

We are promised a holiday soon, when I shall have a let-up from
practicing, and only practice three hours a day, instead of five or six.
Don't think I am making extraordinary progress because I practice so
much. I find that the strengthening and equalizing of the fingers is a
terribly slow process, and that it takes much more time to make a step
forward than I expected. You may know how a thing _ought_ to be played,
but it is another matter to get your hands into such a training that
they obey your will. Sometimes I am very much encouraged, and feel as if
I should be an artist "immediately, if not sooner," and at others I fall
into the blackest despair. I don't know but that S. J. was in the right
of it, not to attempt anything, for it is an awful pull when you _do_
once begin to study!

I wish S. could come here and spend a winter. I am sure it would be
capital for her health. The Germans have a great idea that you must
"_stärken_ (strengthen)" yourself. So they eat every few hours. When you
first arrive you feel stuffed to bursting all the time, for you
naturally eat heartily at every meal, because, as we only eat three
times a day in America, we are accustomed to take a good deal at once.
Here they have five meals a day, and one has to learn how to take a
little at a time. But it is a pretty good idea, for you are continually
repairing yourself, and you never have such a strain on your system as
to get hungry! The German women are plump roly-polies, as a general
rule, and it is probably in consequence of this continual
"strengthening." One has full opportunity to observe their condition,
for they generally have their dress "_aus-geschnitten_ (square neck),"
as they call it, in order to save collars, and you will see them
strolling along the streets with their dresses out open in front. They
are not handsome--irregular features and muddy complexions being the
rule. The way they neglect their teeth is the worst. They are always
complimenting Americans on what they call our "fine Grecian noses," and,
in fact, since they have said so much about it, I have noticed that
nearly all Americans _have_ straight and reasonably proportioned
noses.--One sees a great many handsome _men_ on the street,
however--many more than we do at home. Perhaps it is because the
Prussian uniform sets them off so, and then their blonde beards and
moustaches give them a _distingué_ air.

From what you tell me of the shock of our respected friend---- over B.'s
travelling from the West under Mr. S.'s escort, I think the
"conventionalities" are taking too strong a hold in America, and it will
not be many years before they are as strict there as they are here,
where young people of different sexes can never see anything of each
other. I regard it as a shocking system, as the Germans manage it. Young
ladies and gentlemen only see each other in parties, and a young man can
never call on a girl, but must always see her in the presence of the
whole family. I only wonder how marriages are managed at all, for the
sexes seem to live quite isolated from each other. The consequence is,
the girls get a lot of rubbish in their heads, and as for the men, I
know not what they think, for I have not seen any to speak of since I
have been here. You can imagine that with my co-education training and
ideas, I have given Fräulein W.'s moral system a succession of shocks.
She has been fenced up, so to speak, her whole life, and, consequently,
was dumbfounded at the bold stand I take. I cannot resist giving her a
sensation once in a while, so I come out with some strong expression. Do
you know, since I've seen so much of the world I've come to the
conclusion that the New England principle of teaching daughters to be
independent and to look out for themselves from the first, is an
excellent one. I've seen the evil of this German system of never
allowing children to think for themselves. It _does_ make them so
mawkish. A girl here nearly thirty years old will not know where to buy
the simplest thing, or do without her mother any more than a baby. The
best plan is the old-fashioned American one, viz.: Give your children a
"stern sense of duty," and then throw them on their own resources.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _August 6, 1870_.

Until yesterday I have had no holiday, for I got into Tausig's class
finally, so I had to practice very hard. He was as amiable to me as he
ever can be to anybody, but he is the most trying and exasperating
master you can possibly imagine. It is his principle to rough you and
snub you as much as he can, even when there is no occasion for it, and
you can think yourself fortunate if he does not hold you up to the
ridicule of the whole class. I was put into the class with Fräulein
Timanoff, who is so far advanced that Tausig told her he would not give
her lessons much longer, for that she knew enough to graduate. You can
imagine what an ordeal my first lesson was to me. I brought him a long
and difficult Scherzo, by Chopin, that I had practiced carefully for a
month, and knew well. Fancy how easy it was for me to play, when he
stood over me and kept calling out all through it in German, "Terrible!
Shocking! Dreadful! O Gott! O Gott!" I was really playing it well, too,
and I kept on in spite of him, but my nerves were all rasped and excited
to the highest point, and when I got through and he gave me my music,
and said, "Not at all bad" (very complimentary for him), I rushed out of
the room and burst out crying. He followed me immediately, and coolly
said, "What are you crying for, child? Your playing was not at all bad."
I told him that it was "impossible for me to help it when he talked in
such a way," but he did not seem to be aware that he had said anything.

And now to show how we all have our troubles, and that blow falls upon
blow--I will tell you that at our last lesson Tausig informed us that he
was _not going to give another lesson to anybody_, and that the
conservatory would be shut up on the first of October!! This is the most
_awful_ disappointment to me, for just as I have worked up to the point
where I am prepared to profit by his lessons, he goes away! I suppose
that he has left Berlin by this time, or that he will very soon, but he
wouldn't tell when or where he was going, and only said that he was
going off, and did not know when he was coming back, or what would
become of him. Of course he _does_ know, but he does not want to be
plagued with applications from scholars for private lessons. I heard
that he was only going to retain two of his scholars, and that one was a
princess and the other a countess.

He is a perfect rock. I went to his house to see if I could persuade him
to give me private lessons. He came into the room and accosted me in his
sharpest manner, with "_Nun, was ist's?_ (Well, what is it?)" I soon
found that no impression was to be made on him. He only said that when
he happened to be in Berlin, if I would come and play to him, he would
give me his judgment. But I never should venture to do this, for as
likely as not he would be in a bad humour, and send me off--he is such a
difficult subject to come at. I told him I thought it was very hard
after I had come all this way, and had been at so much expense only to
have lessons from him, that I should have to go back without them. He
said he was very sorry, but that most of his scholars came from long
distances, and that he could not show any special favor to me. He asked
me why I insisted upon having lessons from him, and said that Kullak or
Bendel both teach as well as he does. The fact is, he is a capricious
genius, entirely spoiled and unregulated, and the conservatory is a mere
plaything to him. He amused himself with it for a while, and now he is
tired of it, and doesn't like to be bound down to it, and so he throws
it up. Money is no consideration to him.

It really seems almost as difficult to get a _great_ teacher in Europe
as in America. Tausig is the only celebrity who teaches, and now he has
given up. He rather advised my taking lessons of Bendel, who is a
resident artist here, and a pupil of Liszt's.

I suffered terribly over Tausig's going off. I heard of it first two
weeks ago, and couldn't sleep or anything. The only consolation I bare
is that I should have been "worn to the bone," as H. C. says, if I had
kept on with him, for all his pupils except little Timanoff, who is at
the age of plump fifteen, look as thin as rails. However--"the
bitterness of death is past!" When one is stopped off in one direction,
there is nothing for it but to turn in another. But it seems as if the
more one tried to accomplish a thing, the thicker hindrances and
difficulties spring up about one, like the dragon's teeth. I suppose I
shall end by going to Kullak. He used to be court pianist here before
Tausig and has had immense experience as a teacher. Indeed, Professor J.
K. Paine recommended me to go to him in the first place, you remember.
If I do, I hope I shall have a better fate than poor young N., whom,
also, Professor Paine recommended to go to Kullak. He could not
stand--or else _under_stand the snubbing and brow-beating they gave him
in Kullak's conservatory, and from being deeply melancholy over it, he
got desperate, and actually committed suicide!

Germans cannot understand blueness. They are never blue themselves, and
they expect you always to preserve your equanimity, and torment you to
death to know "what is the matter?" when there is nothing the matter,
except that you are in a state of disgust with everything. Moods are
utterly incomprehensible to them. They feel just the same every day in
the year.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _August 21, 1870_.

I suppose that C. has described to you in full our Dresden visit, and
what a lovely time we had. It was really a poetic five days, as
everything was new to both of us. We were a good deal surprised at many
things in Dresden. In the first place, the beauty of the city struck us
very forcibly, and we both remarked how singular it was that of all the
people we know who have been there no one should have spoken of it. The
Brühl'sche Terrasse is the most lovely promenade imaginable. It runs
along the bank of the Elbe River, which is here quite broad and
handsome, and I always felt myself under a species of enchantment as
soon as we had ascended the broad flight of steps that lead to it. We
always took tea in the open air, and listened to a band of music
playing. The Germans just live in the open air in summer, and it is
perfectly fascinating. They have these gardens everywhere, filled with
trees, under which are little tables and chairs and footstools; and
there you can sit and have dinner or tea served up to you. At night they
are all lighted up with gas.

It seemed like fairy land, as we sat there in Dresden. The evenings were
soft and balmy, the very perfection of summer weather. The terrace is
quite high above the river, and you look up and down it for a long
distance. The city lies to the left, below you, and the towers rise so
prettily--precisely as in a picture. This air of the culture of
centuries lies over everything, and the soft and lazy atmosphere lulls
the soul to rest. We used to walk until we came to the Belvidere, which
is a large restaurant with a gallery up-stairs running all round it.
There was a band of music, and here we sat and took our tea, and spent
two or three hours, always. The moonlight, the river flowing along and
spanned with beautiful bridges, the thousands of lamps reflected in it
and trembling across the water and under the arches, the infinity of
little steamers and wherries sailing to and fro and brilliantly lighted
up, the music, and the throngs of people passing slowly by, put one into
a delicious and bewildered sort of state, and one feels as if this world
were heaven!

The day after we arrived we went, of course, to the picture gallery, and
here I was entirely taken by surprise. Nothing one reads or hears gives
one the least idea of the magnificence of the pictures there. I never
knew what a picture was before. The softness and richness of the
colouring, and their exquisite beauty, must be seen to be understood.
The Sistine Madonna fills one with rapture. It is perfectly glorious,
and one can't imagine how the mind of man could have conceived it. One
sees what a flight it was after looking at all the other Madonnas in the
Gallery, many of which are wonderful. But this one soars above them all.
Most of the Madonnas look so stiff, or so old, or so matronly, or so
expressionless, or, at best, as in Corregio's Adoration of the Shepherds
(a magnificent picture), the rapture of the mother only is expressed in
the face. In the Sistine Madonna the virgin looks so young and
innocent--so virgin-like--not like a middle-aged married woman. The
large, wide-open blue eyes have a dewy look in them, as if they had
wept many tears, and yet such an innocence that it makes you think of a
baby whom you have comforted after a violent fit of crying. The majesty
of the attitude, and the perfect repose of the face, upon which is a
look of _waiting_, of ineffable expectancy, are very striking. Mr. T. B.
says it looked to him as though she had been overwhelmed at the
tremendous dignity that had been put upon her, and was yet lost in the
awe of it--which I think an exquisite idea. St. Sixtus, who is kneeling
on the right of the virgin, has an expression of anxious solicitude on
his features. He is evidently interceding with her for the congregation
toward whom his right hand is outstretched, for this picture was
intended to be placed over an altar. The only fault to be found with the
picture, I think, is in the face of Santa Barbara, who kneels on the
left. She looks sweetly down upon the sinners below, but with a slight
self-consciousness. The two cherubs underneath are exquisite. Their
little round faces wear an exalted look, as if their eyes fully took in
the august pair to whom they are upturned. The background of the
picture--all of the faces of angels cloudily painted--gives the
finishing touch to this astounding creation. But you must see it to
realize it.

Since my return I have finally decided to take private lessons of
Kullak. Kullak is a very celebrated teacher, and plays splendidly
himself, I am told, though he doesn't give concerts any more. He used to
be court pianist here, and has had so much experience in teaching that
I hope a good deal from him, though I don't believe he will equal our
little Tausig, capricious and ill-regulated though he is. Never shall I
forget the _iron_ way he used to stand over those girls, his hand
clenched, determined to _make_ them do it! No wonder they played so!
They didn't dare not to. He told one of the class that "it was _in_ me,
and he could knock it out of me if he had chosen to keep on with me."
And I know he could--and that is what distracts me!

But just think what a way to behave--to leave his conservatory so, at a
day's notice, in holiday time, without even informing his teachers! He
left everything to be attended to by Beringer. Many of the scholars are
very poor, and have made a great effort to get here in order to learn
his method. Off he went like a shot, because he suddenly got disgusted
with teaching, and he hasn't told a soul where he was going, or how long
he intended to remain away. He wrote to Bechstein, the great piano-maker
here, "I am going away--away--away." He wouldn't condescend to say more.
Mr. Beringer has been to his house to see him on business connected with
the conservatory, but he was flown, and his housekeeper told Beringer
that both letters and telegrams had come for Tausig, and she did not
know where to send them. Did you ever hear of such a capricious
creature? I was so provoked at him that after the first week I ceased to
grieve over his departure. One cannot rely on these great geniuses, but
I hope that, as Kullak makes a business of teaching, and not of playing,
more is to be gained from him. At any rate, he will not be off on these
long absences.

I am just studying my first concerto. It is Beethoven's C minor, and it
is extremely beautiful. Mr. Beringer tells me that two years is too
short a time to make an artist in; and indeed one does not know how
extremely difficult it is until one tries it. He plays splendidly
himself, and is to make his _début_ in the Gewandhaus in Leipsic, this
October. The best orchestra in Germany is there. Tausig has turned out
five artists from his conservatory this summer. Time will show if any of
them become first class.

Aunt H. was right in thinking that this would be one of the most
dreadful wars that ever was, though she needn't be anxious on my
account. The Prussians are winning everything, and are pushing on for
Paris as hard as they can go. They have just taken Chalons. The battles
have been _terrible_, and immense numbers have been killed and wounded
on both sides. They have really fought to the death. The spirit of the
two peoples seems to me entirely different. The French seem only to be
possessed by a mad thirst for glory, and manifest a blood-thirstiness
which is perfectly appalling. One reads the most revolting stories in
the papers about their creeping around the battle-field after the battle
is over, and killing and robbing the wounded Prussians, cutting out
their tongues and putting out their eyes. The Prussians are so on the
alert now, however, that I hope few such things can take place. One
Prussian writes that he was lying wounded upon the field of battle, and
another man was not far off in the same helpless condition, when an old
Frenchman came up and clove this other man's head with a hatchet. The
first screamed loudly for help, when a party of Prussians rushed up and
rescued him, and overtook the old man, and shot him. We hear every day
of some dreadful thing. O.'s cousin, who is just my age, and is three
years married, has lost her husband, her favorite brother is fatally
wounded with three balls and lies in the hospital, and her second
brother has a shot in each leg and they don't know whether he will ever
be able to walk again. He is a young fellow nineteen years old.

In the first days after the war was declared, I felt as if no punishment
could be too hot for Napoleon. The people just gave up everything, and
stood in the streets all day long on each side of the railroad track.
The trains passed every fifteen minutes, packed with the brave fellows
who were going off to lose their lives on a mere pretext. Then there
would be one continual cheering all along as they passed, and all the
women would cry, and the men would execrate Napoleon. The Prussians
don't seem to have any feelings of revenge, but regard the French as a
set of lunatics whom they are going to bring to reason. The hatred of
Napoleon is intense. They regard him as the leader of a people whom he
has willfully blinded, and are determined to make an end of him, if
possible. The Prussian army is such a splendid one that it is difficult
to imagine that it can be overcome. You see everybody under a certain
age is liable to be drafted, and no one is allowed to buy a substitute.
So everybody is interested. Bismarck has two sons who are common
soldiers, and all the ministers together have twelve sons in the war.
Then the King and the Crown Prince being with the army, gives a great
enthusiasm. The Crown Prince has distinguished himself, and seems to
have great military ability. The King was very angry with Prince
Friedrich Carl, because in the last battle he exposed one regiment so
that it was completely mowed down. Only two or three men escaped. But it
makes one groan for the poor Frenchmen when one sees these terrible
great cannon passing by. The largest-sized ones were ordered for the
storming of Metz, and each one requires twenty-four horses to draw it!



     Moving. German Houses and Dinners. The War. The Capture of
     Napoleon. Kullak's and Tausig's Teaching. Joachim. Wagner. Tausig's
     Playing. German Etiquette.

    BERLIN, _September_ 29, 1870.

I must request you in future to direct your letters to No. 30
Königgrätzer Strasse, as we move in three days. The people who live on
the floor under us wouldn't bear my practicing for five or six hours
daily, and so Frau W. has looked up another lodging. The German houses
are about as uncomfortable as can be imagined. Only the newest ones have
gas and water-works, or even the ordinary conveniences that _every_
house has with us. No carpets on the floors, stiff, straight-backed
chairs, precious little fire in cold weather, etc. The rooms have no
closets, and one always has to have a great clumsy wardrobe with wooden
pegs in it, instead of hooks, so that when you go to take down one dress
all the others tumble down, too. In short, the Germans are fifty years
behind us. Of course the rich people have superb houses, but I speak now
of people in ordinary circumstances. I often look back upon the solid
comfort of the Cambridge houses. I think people understand there pretty
well how to live. I shall relish a good dinner when I come home, for
this is the land where what we call "family dinners" are unknown. They
have _parts_ of meals five times a day, but never a complete one. The
meat is dreadful, and I never can tell what kind of an animal it grows
on. They give me two boiled eggs for supper, so I manage to live, but O!
_has_ beefsteak vanished into the land of dreams? and _is_ turkey but
the figment of my disordered imagination? They have delicious bread and
butter, but "man cannot live by bread alone." Mr. F. says that where
_he_ boards they give him "pear soup, and cherry soup, and plum soup!"

Everything here is saddened by this fearful war. You have no idea how
frightful it is. The men on both sides are just being slaughtered by
thousands. Haven't the Prussians made a magnificent campaign I declare,
I think it is marvellous what they have done. The French haven't had the
smallest success, and have had to give up one tremendous stronghold
after another. It is expected that Metz will surrender in about eight
days. It is a terrific place, and was believed to be impregnable. Over
and over again the poor French have tried to cut through the Prussian
army, and just so often they have been beaten back into the city.
Finally they will have to give over. Their generals must be shameful,
for they have fought to the death, but they can't make any headway
against these formidable Prussians. The German papers say that the
French fire too high, for one thing. They are not such practiced
marksmen as the Germans, and their balls fly over the enemy's heads. The
French are a savage people, however, and cruelty runs in their veins.
One reads the most awful things, but for the credit of human nature it
is to be hoped that the worst of them are not true.

I believe I have not written to you since the capture of the Emperor
Napoleon, which of course you heard of as soon as it happened. The
Germans, as you may imagine, were completely carried away with the
glorious news, and could scarcely believe in their own good fortune. On
the 3d of September, when I came out to breakfast, Frau W. called out to
me from behind the newspaper, with a face all ablaze with triumph and
excitement, "_Der Kaiser Napoleon ist gefangen_. (The Emperor Napoleon
is taken.)" "_No!_" said I, for it did not seem possible that anything
so great and unexpected _could_ have happened. "It is _true_" said she;
"look at this paper, which I just sent out for." The instant I saw that
Frau W. had been guilty of the unwonted extravagance of purchasing the
morning paper, it became clear to me that Napoleon _must_ have been
taken prisoner. Generally we do not get the paper till it is a day old,
when Frau W. brings it carefully home from her brother's in her
capacious bag. He subscribes for it, and after his family have perused
it, she borrows it for our benefit--an economical arrangement upon which
she frequently congratulates herself.

I fancy there was little work done or business transacted _that_ day in
Berlin! After I had finished my coffee, I went and stood by the window
and watched the people pour through the streets. Everybody streamed up
Unter den Linden past the palace, their faces full of joy. The street
boys took an active part in the general jollification, and were as
ubiquitous as boys always are when anything extraordinary is going on.
They conceived the brilliant idea of climbing up on the equestrian
statue of Frederick the Great, which is just opposite the palace
windows. The Crown Princess, who was looking out, immediately had it
announced to them that he who got to the top first should receive a
silver cup and some pieces of money. That was all the boys needed. Away
they went, struggling and tumbling over each other like a swarm of bees.
At last one little urchin secured the coveted position, and was
afterward called up to the palace window to receive the prize.--If the
Crown Princess, by the way, were more given to such little acts of
generosity, she would be more popular by far, for the Germans sniff at
her for being too economical. They are the closest possible economisers
themselves, but they despise the trait in foreigners!

At night there was a grand illumination in honour of the victory, and of
course we all went to see it. Such a time as we had! The whole city was
blazing with light, and all the large firms had put up something
brilliant and striking before their places of business. Stars, eagles,
crosses (after the celebrated "iron cross" of Prussia), beside countless
tapers, were burning away in every direction, and all the carriages and
droschkies in Berlin were slowly crawling along the streets, much
impeded by the dense throng of pedestrians crowding through. All the
private houses were lit up with tapers, and thousands of flags were
flying. Over every public building and railroad station, and on all the
public squares were transparencies in which the substantial form of
_Germania_ flourished extensively, leaning upon her shield, and gazing
sentimentally into vacancy. But I always enjoy "Germania." It seems a
sort of recognition of the feminine element.

We were in a droschkie, like other people, taking the prescribed tour
round by the Rath-Haus (City-Hall), and were frequently brought to a
stand-still by the crush. At such times we were the target for all the
small boys standing in our neighbourhood. The "Berlinger Junge" is
almost as famous for his talent for repartee as the Paris "Gamin." "Do
be careful!" said one to me; "you will certainly tumble out, your
carriage is going so fast." This was intended as a double sarcasm, for
in the first place we were not in a carriage at all, but in a
second-class droschkie, and in the second place we had been standing
stock still for half an hour, and there was no prospect of getting
started for half an hour more. Many more such little speeches were
addressed to us which we pretended not to hear, though we were secretly
much amused.--It was a strange sort of feeling to be put in the streets
at night with this glare of light, these crowds of people, and this
suppressed excitement in the air. I thought it gave some idea of the Day
of Judgment.

The women are tremendously patriotic and self-sacrificing, and they seem
to be throwing themselves heart and soul into the war. With the
catholicity of the female sex, however, they could not help taking a
peep at the _French_ prisoners when they came on, but went to the
station to see them arrive, and bestowed many little hospitalities upon
them in the way of cigars, luncheon, etc., at all of which the papers
were patriotically indignant, and indulged in many sarcasms on the "warm
and sympathetic" reception given by the German women to their enemies.
Quite as many women go into nursing as was the case in our own war. I
know one young lady who spends her whole time in the hospitals among the
wounded soldiers, who are all the time being sent on in ambulances. Her
name is Fräulein Hezekiel, and she has received a decoration from the

Just after I wrote you last I went to Kullak, as I told you I should,
and engaged him to give me one private lesson a week. He looks about
fifty, and is charming. I am enchanted with him. He plays magnificently,
and is a splendid teacher, but he gives me immensely much to do, and I
feel as if a mountain of music were all the time pressing on my head. He
is so occupied that I have to take my lesson from seven to eight in the

Tausig's conservatory closes on the first of October, and I feel very
sorry, for my three grand friends, Mr. Trenkel, Mr. Weber and Mr.
Beringer, are all going away, and I shall be awfully lonely without
them. Weber is very handsome, and has the most splendid forehead I think
I ever saw. He composes like an angel, besides being remarkably clever
in every way. He will be famous some day, I know, and he belongs to the
Music of the Future. Beringer is poetic, passionate and vivid. He has
golden hair and golden eyes, I may say, for they are of a peculiar light
hazel, almost yellow, but with a warmth and sunniness, and often a
tenderness of expression that is extremely fascinating. Weber cannot
speak English, and as he is from Switzerland, he speaks an entirely
different dialect from the Berlinese, so that it took me some time to
understand him. He is a perfect child of nature, and has a great deal of
humour. He and Beringer are devoted friends, and are about my age.
Trenkel is older. He has the blackest hair and eyes, and a dark Italian
skin. He is intellectual and highly cultured, and at the same time such
a very peculiar character that he interested me greatly. Most of his
life has been spent in America: first in Boston, where he seems to know
everybody, and afterwards in San Francisco, whither he is about to
return. He has been studying with Tausig for two years, and is a
heavenly musician, though he hasn't Beringer's great technique and
passion. His conception is more of the Chopin order, extremely finely
shaded and "filed out," as the Germans have it.

It was so pleasant to have these three musical friends, who all play so
much better than I, as they often met and made lovely music in my little
room. Weber and Beringer took tea with us only yesterday evening. Weber
was in one of his good moods, and played to Beringer and me his most
beautiful compositions for ever so long. We settled ourselves
comfortably, one in two chairs, the other on the sofa, and enjoyed it.
The Andante out of a great sonata he is composing, is perfectly lovely.
It is entirely original, and different from any music I have ever heard.
Then he played the second movement of his symphony, and it is the most
exquisite _morceau_ you can imagine. I asked him to compose a little
piece for me, and so yesterday morning he sat down and wrote seven
mazurkas, one after the other. Whether he actually gives me one is
another matter, for, like all geniuses, he is not very prodigal with his
gifts, and is not very easy to come at. But I would like to have even
four bars written by him, for he is so individual that it would be worth

Weber looks perfectly charming when he plays. He never glances at the
keys, but his large blue eyes gaze dreamily into vacancy, and his noble
brow stands out white and lofty. His conception is extremely musical,
but as he only practices when he feels like it (as he does everything
else), he doesn't come up to the other two. Tausig burst out laughing at
him at his last lesson. That individual, by the way, came back as
suddenly as he went off, but announced that he would give no more
lessons except to these favoured three. All the rest of us had to go
begging. It didn't make so much difference to me, as I had already gone
to Kullak, who is now the first teacher in Germany, as all the greatest
virtuosi have given up teaching.

Kullak himself is a truly splendid artist, which I had not expected. He
used to have great fame here as a pianist, but I supposed that as he had
given up his concert playing he did not keep it up. I found, however,
that I was mistaken. His playing does not suffer in comparison with
Tausig's even, whom I have so often heard. Why in the world he has not
continued playing in public I can't imagine, but I am told that he was
too nervous. Like all artists, he is fascinating, and full of his whims
and caprices. He knows everything in the way of music, and when I take
my lessons he has two grand pianos side by side, and he sits at one and
I at the other. He knows by heart everything that he teaches, and he
plays sometimes with me, sometimes before me, and shows me all sorts of
ways of playing passages. I am getting no end of ideas from him. I have
enjoyed playing my Beethoven Concerto so much, for he has played all the
orchestral parts. Just think how exciting to have a great artist like
that play second piano with you! I am going to learn one by Chopin next.

Kullak is not nearly so terrible a teacher as Tausig. He has the
greatest patience and gentleness, and helps you on; but Tausig keeps
rating you and telling you, what you feel only too deeply, that your
playing _is_ "awful." When Tausig used to sit down in his impatient way
and play a few bars, and then tell me to do it just so, I used always to
feel as if some one wished me to copy a streak of forked lightning with
the end of a wetted match. At the last lesson Tausig gave me, however,
he entirely changed his tone, and was extremely sweet to me. I think he
regretted having made me cry at the previous lesson, for just as I sat
down to play, he turned to the class and made some little joke about
these "_empfindliche Amerikanerinnen_ (sensitive Americans)." Then he
came and stood by me, and nothing could have been gentler than his
manner. After I had finished, he sat down and played the whole piece
for me, a thing he rarely does, introducing a magnificent trill in
double thirds, and ending up with some peculiar turn in which he allowed
his virtuosity to peep out at me for a moment. Only for a moment though,
for he is much too proud and has too much contempt for _Spectakel_ to
"show off," so he suppressed himself immediately. It was as if his
fingers broke into the trill in spite of him, and he had to pull them up
with a severe check. Strange, inscrutable being that he is!

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _October 13, 1870_.

My room in our new lodging is a charming one. Quite large, and a front
one, and there is no _vis-á-vis_. We look right over across the street
into Prince Albrecht's Garden. It is very uncommon to have such a nice
outlook, particularly in Berlin. But it is so long since I have lived
among trees that at first it affected my spirits dreadfully. As I sit by
my window and hear the autumn wind rushing through them, and see all the
leaves quivering and shaking, and think that they have only a few short
weeks more to sway in the breeze, it makes me wretched. I suppose that
we shall now have two months of dismal weather.

I wish you were here to counsel me over my dresses. I have just bought
two--one for a street dress, and the other for demi-evening toilette,
but heaven only knows when they will be done, or how they will fit! You
ought to see the biases of the dresses here! They all go zig-zag. The
Berlin dressmakers are abominable. Mrs.----, of the Legation, told me
that when she first came here she cried over every new dress she had
made, and I could not sufficiently rejoice last winter that I had got
all my things before I sailed. M. E., too, who gets all her best things
from Paris, told M. she was never so happy as when her mother sent her
over an "American dress."--"They are _so_ comfortable and _so_
satisfactory," said she.

Yesterday I took my fourth lesson of Kullak. He plays much more to me
than Tausig did, and I am surprised to see how much I have got on in
four weeks. Tausig didn't deign to do more than play occasional
passages, and we had only one piano in the room where he taught. But at
Kullak's there are two grand pianos side by side. He sits at one and I
at the other, and as he knows everything by heart which he teaches, as I
told you, he keeps playing with me or before me, so that I catch it a
great deal better. Sometimes he will repeat a passage over and over, and
I after him, like a parrot, until I get it _exactly_ right. He has this
excessively finished and elegant fantasia style of playing, like
Thalberg or De Meyer. He has great fame as a teacher, and is perhaps
more celebrated in this respect than Tausig, but I was with Tausig too
short a time to judge personally which teaches the best.

This war is perfectly awful. The men are simply being slaughtered like
cattle. New regiments are all the time being sent on. The Prussians have
taken over two hundred thousand prisoners, to say nothing of the killed
and wounded. But they lose fearful numbers themselves also. It is
expected in a few days that Metz will surrender. It is a tremendous
stronghold, and contains an army of fifty thousand men. But isn't it
extraordinary how disastrous the war has been to the French? They had an
immense army of several hundred thousand men. And then they had all the
advantages of position. The Prussians have had to fight their way
through all these strong defences one after another. They will soon
bombard Paris. As Herr S. says, this war is a disgrace to the
governments. He says that they ought to have united against it (America
included), and to have said that on such an unjust pretext they would
not permit it. I read the other day a most touching letter that was
found on the dead body of a common soldier from his old peasant father.
He said, "What have we poor people done that the _lieber Gott_ visits us
with such fearful judgments? When I got thy letter, my dear son, saying
that thou art safe come out of the last battle with thy brother, I fell
on my knees and thanked God for His goodness." Then he goes on to
describe the joy of his mother and sister and sweetheart, and how he
read his letter to all the neighbours, "who rejoiced much at thy
safety," and his hope and confidence that his son would return alive to
his old father. But in a few days his son fell in another battle,
desperately wounded. He was carried to the house of a lady who did all
she could for him, but he died, and she sent this letter to the paper.
Do you get many of the anecdotes in the American papers? Such as that of
the three hundred and two horses which, at the usual signal after the
battle that called the regiments together, came back riderless? I think
that was very touching in the poor things.[C] Or have you heard of the
Frenchman who, when informed that the Emperor was taken prisoner, coolly
replied: "_Moi aussi!_" But these are already old stories, and you have
doubtless heard them. I think one of the worst incidents of the war is
that bomb that fell into a girls' school at Strasbourg. When one thinks
of innocent young girls having their eyes torn out, and being killed and
wounded, it seems too terrible.--I always pity the poor horses so much.
At the surrender of Sedan, the French forgot to detach them from the
cannon, and to give them food and drink. Finally, frantic with thirst,
they broke themselves loose and rushed wildly through the streets. It
was said that any body could have a horse for the trouble of catching

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _November 25, 1870_.

I went last week to hear Joachim, who lives here, and is giving his
annual series of quartette soirees. Oh! he is a wonderful genius, and
the sublimest artist I have yet heard. I am amazed afresh every time I
hear him. He draws the most extraordinary _tone_ from his violin, and
such a powerful one that it seems sometimes as if several were playing.
Then his expression is so marvellous that he holds complete sway over
his audience from the moment he begins till he ceases. He possesses
magnetic power to the highest degree.

On Saturday night I went to a superb concert given for the benefit of
the wounded. The royal orchestra played, and as it was in the
Sing-Akademie, where the acoustic is very remarkable, the orchestral
performance seemed phenomenal. Generally, this orchestra plays in the
opera house, which is so much larger that the effect is not so great.
The last thing they played was the "Ritt der Walküren," by Wagner. It
was the first time it was given in Berlin, and it is a wonderful
composition. It represents the ride of the Walküre-maidens into
Valhalla, and when you hear it it seems as if you could really see the
spectral horses with their ghostly riders. It produces the most
unearthly effect at the end, and one feels as if one had suddenly
stepped into Pandemonium. I was perfectly enchanted with it, and
everybody was excited. The "bravos" resounded all over the house. Tausig
played Chopin's E minor concerto in his own glorious style. He did his
very best, and when he got through not only the whole orchestra was
applauding him, but even the conductor was rapping his desk with his
bâton like mad. I thought to myself it was a proud position where a man
could excite enthusiasm in the hearts of these old and tried musicians.
As a specimen of his virtuosity, what do you say to the little feat of
playing the running passage at the end, two pages long, and which was
written for both hands in unison, in octaves instead of single
notes?--Gigantic! [Later Kullak gave this great concerto to my sister to
study, and as she was struggling with its difficulties he said: "Ah yes,
Fräulein, when I think of the time and labour I spent over that concerto
in my youth, I could weep _tears of blood_!"]--ED.

Yesterday evening I went to a party at the house of a relative of the
M.'s. Madame de Stael was right in saying that etiquette is terribly
severe in Germany. It is downright law, and everybody is obliged to
submit to it. What other people in the world, for example, would insist
on your coming at eight and remaining until nearly four in the morning,
when the party consists of a dozen or twenty people, almost all of them
married and middle-aged, or elderly? I nearly expire of fatigue and
ennui, but they would all take it so ill if I didn't go, that there is
no escape. Last night I came home with such a dreadful nervous headache
from sheer exhaustion, that I could scarcely see. You know in a dancing
party the excitement keeps one up, and one doesn't feel the fatigue
until afterward. But to sit three mortal hours before supper, and keep
up a conversation with a lot of people much older than yourself in whom
you have not the slightest interest, and in a foreign language, when you
wouldn't be brilliant in your own, and then another long three hours at
the supper table, and then _still_ an hour or so afterwards, to an
American mind is terrible! I always groan in spirit when I think how
comfortably I used to jump into the carriage at nine o'clock, in
Cambridge, go to the party, and come home at half-past eleven or
twelve. These long parties are what the Germans call being "_gemüthlig_
(sociable and friendly)." The French would call them "_assommant_," and
they would be entirely in the right.


     Concerts. Joachim again. The Siege of Paris. Peace Declared.
     Wagner. A Woman's Symphony. Ovation to Wagner in Berlin.

    BERLIN, _December 11, 1870_.

I haven't been doing much of anything lately, except going to concerts,
of which I have heard an immense number, and all of them admirable.--I
wish you _could_ hear Joachim! I went last night to his third soiree,
and he certainly is the wonder of the age. Unless I were to _rave_ I
never could express him. One of his pieces was a quartette by Haydn,
which was perfectly bewitching. The adagio he played so wonderfully, and
drew such a pathetic tone from his violin, that it really went through
one like a knife. The third movement was a jig, and just the gayest
little piece! It flashed like a humming bird, and he played every note
so distinctly and so fast that people were beside themselves, and it was
almost impossible to keep still. It received a tremendous encore.

Joachim is so bold! You never imagined such strokes as he gives the
violin--such tones as he brings out of it. He plays these great _tours
de force_, his fingers rushing all over the violin, just as Tausig
dashes down on the piano. So free! And then his conception!! It is like
revealing Beethoven in the flesh, to hear him.

I heard a lady pianist the other day, who is becoming very celebrated
and who plays superbly. Her name is Fräulein Menter, and she is from
Munich. She has been a pupil of Liszt, Tausig and Bülow. Think what a
galaxy of teachers! She is as pretty as she can be, and she looked
lovely sitting at the piano there and playing piece after piece. I
envied her dreadfully. She plays everything by heart, and has a
beautiful conception. She gave her concert entirely alone, except that
some one sang a few songs, and at the end Tausig played a duet for two
pianos with her, in which he took the second piano. Imagine being able
to play well enough for such a high artist as he to condescend to do
such a thing! It was so pretty when they were encored. He made a sign to
go forward. She looked up inquiringly, and then stepped down one step
lower than he. He smiled and applauded her as much as anybody. I thought
it was very gallant in him to stand there and clap his hands before the
whole audience, and not take any of the encore to himself, for his part
was as important as hers, and he is a much greater artist. I was charmed
with her, though. She goes far beyond Mehlig and Topp, though Mehlig,
too, is considered to have a remarkable technique.

I regret so much that M. will have to go back to America without seeing
Paris--the most beautiful city in the world! Nobody knows how long the
war is going to last. The Prussians have so surrounded Paris that it is
cut off from the country, and can't get any supplies. They have eaten up
all their meat, and now the French are living upon rats, dogs and cats!
Just think how horrid! They catch the rats in the Paris sewers, and
cook them in champagne and eat them. (At least that is the story.) It
seems perfectly inconceivable. The poor things have no milk, no salt, no
butter and no meat. I wonder what they do with all the little babies
whose mothers can't nurse them, and with young children. They will not
give up, however, for they have bread and wine enough to last all
winter, and they declare that Paris is too strong to be taken. Of course
if the Prussians remain where they are, eventually Paris will be starved
out, and will be obliged to surrender.

It is a difficult position for the Prussians, for they must either
bombard the city, or starve it out. If they bombard it, they must be in
a situation to begin it from all sides, or else the French will break
through their lines, and establish a communication with the rest of
France. Now the circle round Paris is twelve miles long, so that it
would take an enormous army to keep up such a bombardment, and although
the Prussian army _is_ enormous, I don't know whether it is equal to
that, for the French have so much the advantage of position that they
can fire down on the Prussians, and kill them by thousands. On the other
hand, if they starve Paris out, the poor soldiers will have to lie out
in the cold all winter, and many of them will die from the exposure.

The men are getting very restless from so many weeks of inactivity.
Nobody knows how it is to end. The King is opposed to bombardment, for
aside from the terrible loss of life it would cause, it seems too
inhuman to lay such a splendid city in the dust. Fresh troops are sent
on all the time, and every day the trains pass my windows packed with
soldiers. It seems as if every man in Germany were being called out, and
that looks like bombardment. It is a terrible time, and everybody feels
restless and disturbed. One sees few soldiers on the streets except
wounded ones. I often meet a young man who is wheeled about in a chair,
who has had both legs cut off. The poor fellow looks so sad--and I know
of another who has lost both hands and both feet.

It is curious to note the condescending attitude taken by people here
toward the French in this war. They never for a moment speak of them as
if they were antagonists on equal ground, but always as if they were a
set of fools bent on their own destruction, who must be properly
chastised and restored to their equilibrium by the Germans. "_Ja!--die
Franzosen!_" the Germans will say with a shrug which implies the deepest
conviction of their entire imbecility. They admit, however, that the
French are an "amusing people," and that "_Paris ist_ DOCH _die
Welt-Stadt_. (Paris is _the_ city of the world.)"

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _February 26, 1871_.

I am going to send you a song out of the Meistersänger, which I think is
one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. It is called Walther's
Traumlied (Walter's Dream Song). The idea of it is that he sees his love
in a dream or vision as she will be when she is his wife. You must
begin to sing in a dreamy way, as if you were in a trance, and then you
must gradually become more and more excited until you end in a grand
gush of passion. You will be quite in the music of the future if you
sing out of the Meistersänger. It is one of Wagner's greatest operas,
and is very beautiful, in my opinion. It caused a grand excitement when
it came out last winter.

The whole musical world is in a quarrel over Wagner. He is giving a new
direction to music and is finding out new combinations of the chords.
Half the musical world upholds him, and declares that in the future he
will stand on a par with Beethoven and Mozart. The other half are
bitterly opposed to him, and say that he writes nothing but dissonances,
and that he is on an entirely false track. I am on the Wagner side
myself. He seems to me to be a great genius.--Pity he is such a moral

Since I began this letter Paris has capitulated, and PEACE has been
declared. The anxiety and suspense have lasted so long, however, that
the news did not cause much excitement or enthusiasm. Nothing like that
with which the capture of Napoleon was received. But that was decidedly
_the_ event of the war. The politic Bismarck would not allow the troops
to march triumphantly through Paris, but only permitted them to pass
through as small a corner of it as was consistent with the national
honour. This has caused a good deal of murmuring and discontent among
the Germans.--"Our poor soldiers! after all their fatigues and
hardships, they ought have been allowed the satisfaction of marching
through the city!"--is the general opinion I hear expressed. However,
they will probably acquiesce in Bismarck's wisdom in not triumphing over
a fallen foe when they come to think it over. We are now to have six
weeks of mourning for those who have been killed in the war, and then in
May the army will come back in triumph. The King is to meet them at the
Brandenburger Gate, and lead them up the Linden. All Berlin will be wild
with excitement, and I expect it will be a great sight. The windows on
Unter den Linden are already selling at enormous prices for the

The Germans, by the way, "take no stock" at all in the King's pious
expressions throughout the campaign. They laugh at him greatly for
calling himself victorious "by the grace of God." "Such a nonsense!"
Herr J. says, contemptuously.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _April 22, 1871_.

I haven't a mortal thing to say, for all the little I have done I
communicated in a letter to N. S. Kullak has been praising my playing
lately, but I cannot believe in it myself. I have been learning a
Ballade of Liszt's. It is beautiful but very hard, and with some
terrific octave passages in it. It has the double roll of octaves in it,
and this is the first time I ever learned how it was done. I am now
studying octaves systematically. Kullak has written three books of them,
and it is an exhaustive work on the subject, and as famous in its way as
the Gradus ad Parnassum. The first volume is only the preparation, and
the exercises are for each hand separately. There are a lot of them for
the thumb alone, for instance. Then there are others for the fourth and
fifth fingers, turning over and under each other in every conceivable
way. Then there are the wrist exercises, and, in short, it is the most
minute and complete work. Kullak himself is celebrated for his octave
playing. That I knew when I was in Tausig's conservatory, as Tausig used
to tell his scholars that they must study Kullak's Octave School.

Wagner has come to Berlin for a visit, and next week he will have a
grand concert, when some of his compositions are to be brought out, and
he will, himself, conduct. Weitzmann says that he is a great conductor.
I heard his opera of Tannhaüser the other day, and I was perfectly
carried away with the overture, which I had not heard for a long time.
The orchestra played it magnificently, and I think it quite equal to
Beethoven. Wagner's theory is that music is a cry of the mind, and his
compositions certainly illustrate it. All other music pales before it in
passion and intensity.

Did you read my letter to N. S. in which I told her about Alicia Hund,
who composed and conducted a symphony? That is quite a step for women in
the musical line. She reminded me of M., as she had just such a
high-strung face. All the men were highly disgusted because she was
allowed to conduct the orchestra herself. I didn't think myself that it
was a very _becoming_ position, though I had no prejudice against it.
Somehow, a woman doesn't look well with a bâton in her hand directing a
body of men.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _May 18, 1871_.

Wagner has just been in Berlin, and his arrival here has been the
occasion of a grand musical excitement. He was received with the
greatest enthusiasm, and there was no end of ovations in his honour.
First, there was a great supper given to him, which was got up by Tausig
and a few other distinguished musicians. Then on Sunday, two weeks ago,
was given a concert in the Sing-Akademie, where the seats were free. As
the hall only holds about fifteen hundred people, you may imagine it was
pretty difficult to get tickets. I didn't even attempt it, but luckily
Weitzmann, my harmony teacher, who is an old friend of Wagner's, sent me

The orchestra was immense. It was carefully selected from all the
orchestras in Berlin, and Stern, who directed it, had given himself
infinite trouble in training it. Wagner is the most difficult person in
the world to please, and is a wonderful conductor himself. He was highly
discontented with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipsic, which thinks
itself the best in existence, so the Berlinese felt rather shaky. The
hall was filled to overflowing, and finally, in marched Wagner and his
wife, preceded and followed by various distinguished musicians. As he
appeared the audience rose, the orchestra struck up three clanging
chords, and everybody shouted _Hoch!_ It gave one a strange thrill.

The concert was at twelve, and was preceded by a "greeting" which was
recited by Frau Jachmann Wagner, a niece of Wagner's, and an actress.
She was a pretty woman, "fair, fat and forty," and an excellent speaker.
As she concluded she burst into tears, and stepping down from the stage
she presented Wagner with a laurel crown, and kissed him. Then the
orchestra played Wagner's Faust Overture most superbly, and afterwards
his Fest March from the Tannhäuser. The applause was unbounded. Wagner
ascended the stage and made a little speech, in which he expressed his
pleasure to the musicians and to Stern, and then turned and addressed
the audience. He spoke very rapidly and in that child-like way that all
great musicians seem to have, and as a proof of his satisfaction with
the orchestra he requested them to play the Faust Overture under _his_
direction. We were all on tiptoe to know how he would direct, and indeed
it was wonderful to see him. He controlled the orchestra as if it were a
single instrument and he were playing on it. He didn't beat the time
simply, as most conductors do, but he had all sorts of little ways to
indicate what he wished. It was very difficult for them to follow him,
and they had to "keep their little eye open," as B. used to say. He held
them down during the first part, so as to give the uncertainty and
speculativeness of Faust's character. Then as Mephistopheles came in, he
gradually let them loose with a terrible crescendo, and made you feel as
if hell suddenly gaped at your feet. Then where Gretchen appeared, all
was delicious melody and sweetness. And so it went on, like a succession
of pictures. The effect was tremendous.

I had one of the best seats in the house, and could see Wagner and his
wife the whole time. He has an enormous forehead, and is the most
nervous-looking man you can imagine, but has that grim setting of the
mouth that betokens an iron will. When he conducts he is almost beside
himself with excitement. That is one reason why he is so great as a
conductor, for the orchestra catches his frenzy, and each man plays
under a sudden inspiration. He really seems to be improvising on his

Wagner's object in coming here was to try and get his Nibelungen opera
performed. It is an opera which requires four evenings to get through
with. Did you ever hear of such a thing? He lays out everything on such
a colossal scale. It reminded me of that story they tell of him when he
was a boy. He was a great Shakespeare enthusiast, and wanted to write
plays, too. So he wrote one in which he killed off forty of the
principal characters in the last act! He gave a grand concert in the
opera house here, which he directed himself. It was entirely his own
compositions, with the exception of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which he
declared nobody understood but himself. That rather took down Berlin,
but all had to acknowledge after the concert that they had never heard
it so magnificently played. He has his own peculiar conception of it.
There was a great crowd, and every seat had been taken long before. All
the artists were present except Kullak, who was ill. I saw Tausig
sitting in the front rank with the Baroness von S. There must have been
two hundred players in the orchestra, and they acquitted themselves
splendidly. The applause grew more and more enthusiastic, until it
finally found vent in a shower of wreaths and bouquets. Wagner bowed and
bowed, and it seemed as if the people would never settle down again. At
the end of the concert followed another shower of flowers, and his
Kaiser March was encored. Such an effect! After the tempest of sound of
the introduction the drums came in with a sharp tat-tat-tat-tat-tat!
Then the brass began with the air and came to a crescendo, at last
_blaring_ out in such a way as shivered you to the very marrow of your
bones. It was like an earthquake yawning before you.

The noise was so tremendous that it was like the roaring of the surf. I
never conceived of anything in music to approach it, and Wagner made me
think of a giant Triton disporting himself amid the billows and tossing
these great waves of sound from one hand to the other. You don't see his
face, of course--nothing but his back, and yet you know every one of his
emotions. Every sinew in his body speaks. He makes the instruments
prolong the tones as no one else does, and the effect is indescribably
beautiful, yet he complains that he never _can_ get an orchestra to
_hold_ the tone as they ought. His whole appearance is of arrogance and
despotism personified.

By the end of the concert the bouquets were so heaped on the stage in
front of the director's desk, that Wagner had no place left big enough
to stand on without crushing them. Altogether, it was a brilliant
affair, and a great triumph for his friends. He has a great many bitter
enemies here, however. Joachim is one of them, though it seems
unaccountable that a man of his musical gifts should be. Ehlert is also
a strong anti-Wagnerite, and the Jews hate him intensely.--Perhaps his
character has something to do with it, for he has set all laws of
honour, gratitude and morality at defiance all his life long. It is a
dreadful example for younger artists, and I think Wagner is depraving
them. In this country everything is forgiven to audacity and genius, and
I must say that if Germany can teach _us_ Music, we can teach _her_


Difficulties of the Piano. Triumphal Entry of the Troops. Paris.

    BERLIN, _June 25, 1871_.

I have been learning Beethoven's G major Concerto lately, and it is the
most horribly difficult thing I've ever attempted. I have practiced the
first movement a whole month, and I can't play it any more than I can
fly. If you hear Miss Mehlig play it, I trust you will take in what a
feat it is. Kullak gave me a regular rating over it at my last lesson,
and told me I must stick to it till I _could_ play it. It requires the
greatest rapidity and facility of execution, and I get perfectly
desperate over it. Kullak took advantage of the occasion to expand upon
all the things an artist must be able to do, until my heart died within
me. "What do you know of double thirds?" said he. I had to admit that I
knew nothing of double thirds, and then he rushed down the piano like
lightning from top to bottom in a scale in double thirds, just as if it
were a common scale.

In one respect Kullak is a more discouraging teacher than Tausig, for
Tausig only played occasionally before you, where it was absolutely
necessary, and contented himself with scolding and blaming. Kullak, on
the contrary, doesn't scold much, but as he plays continually before and
with you, with him you see how the thing _ought_ to be done, and the
perception of your own deficiencies stands out before you mercilessly.
My constant thought is, "When _will_ my passages pearl? When _will_ my
touch be perfectly equal? When _will_ my octaves be played from a
lightly-hung wrist? When _will_ my trill be brilliant and sustained?
When _will_ my thumb turn under and my fourth finger over without the
slightest perceptible break? When _will_ my arpeggios go up the piano in
that peculiar _roll_ that a genuine artist gives?" etc., etc. All this
gives a heavy heart, and so disinclines me to write that you must excuse
my frequent silences.

We are having such a horrid cold summer that I sit and shiver all the
time. I wish we could have a little of the hot weather you speak of. I
have put on a muslin dress only once. Berlin is a very severe climate, I

The week before last was the triumphal entry or "Einzug" of the troops.
They all went past my window, so I had a full view of them. The Emperor
had made immense preparations, for he is very proud of his army. All
along the Königgrätzer Strasse (the street we live in), to the
Brandenburger Gate, a distance of two or three miles, were set tall
poles at intervals of a few feet, connected by wreaths of green. These
were painted red and white, and had gilded pinnacles; they were
surmounted by the Prussian flag, which is black and white, with a black
eagle in the centre. About half way down the poles was set a coat of
arms, with the flags of the older German States grouped about it. As
they were of different colours, the effect was very gay, and they made
a triumphal path of waving banners for the troops to pass under. All
along the last part of the Königgrätzer Strasse, before you come to the
Linden, were set the French cannon which were captured, and on them was
printed the name of the place where the battle was, and one read on them
"Metz, Sedan, Strasburg," etc. All up the Linden, too, the way for the
soldiers was hemmed in on each side with cannon. The mitrailleuses
interested me the most, because they had thirty bores in each one, and
could fire as many balls in succession. In this way, you see, a single
cannon could _rain_ shot. Luckily the French aim so badly that they
couldn't have killed half so many Prussians as they expected. On every
Platz (as the Germans call the squares), were columns and statues set
up, and enormous scaffolds for people to sit on, all decked out with
flags and coloured cloth. In short, the whole city was got up in gala
array, and looked as gay as possible.

Of course there were thousands of strangers who had come on to see it,
and the streets were crowded. For about a week beforehand there was one
continual stream of people going by our house, and a long line of
carriages and droschkies as far as one could see, creeping along at a
snail's pace behind each other. I got worn out with the noise and
confusion long before the eventful day came. When it _did_ arrive,
already at six o'clock in the morning, when I looked out of my window,
the walls of Prince Albrecht's garden opposite were covered with boys
and men, and there they had to sit until nearly twelve o'clock, with
their legs dangling down, and nothing to eat or drink, before the
procession came by, and _then_ it took four hours to pass! Such is
German endurance, and a still more striking instance of it was shown by
an orchestra stationed on the sidewalk opposite my window. There were no
seats or awnings for them, and there they stood on the stones in the hot
sun for fully six hours, playing every little while on those heavy
French horns and trumpets. Just imagine it! I was astonished that there
was no scaffold erected for them to sit on, and wondered how the poor
fellows could _stand_ it.

Just before eleven o'clock the gate of Prince Albrecht's garden flew
open, and out he rode, accompanied by a large suite, and they remained
there awaiting the Emperor, who was to ride by on his way to meet the
troops. I wish you could have seen them in their superb uniforms, seated
on their magnificent horses. They looked like knights of the olden time,
with their embroidered saddle-cloths and gay trappings. Preceding the
Emperor came the Empress and all the ladies of the royal family in about
ten carriages, each one with six horses and the Empress's with eight.
The ladies were gorgeously dressed, of course, in light coloured silks
with lace over-dresses. Then came the Emperor and his escort, riding
slowly and majestically along. The enthusiasm was immense as they passed
by, and they were indeed a proud sight. Bismarck, Moltke and Von Roon
rode in one row by themselves. Bismarck looked very imposing in his
uniform entirely of white and silver, with enormous top-boots, and a
brazen helmet surmounted by a silver eagle. There was every variety of
uniform, and the Crown Prince looked very handsome in his. He is a
splendid-looking man, with a very soldierly bearing, and he rides to

The royal party went out to the parade ground, where they met the army,
and then returned at the head of it, riding very slowly. Then, for four
hours, the soldiers poured by at a very quick step. If you could have
seen that _river_ of men roll along, you would have some idea of the
strength of this nation. They were tall for the most part, and their
helmets and guns glittered in the sun. They were dressed in their old
uniforms, just as they came from the field of battle. The people
showered wreaths and bouquets upon them as they passed, and every man
presented a festal appearance with his helmet crowned, a bouquet on the
point of his bayonet, and flowers in his button hole. The Emperor's way
was literally carpeted with flowers, and his grooms rode behind him
picking them up, and hanging the wreaths upon their saddle-bows.
Bismarck, Moltke and Von Roon and all the men of mark during the war
were similarly favoured.

The army marched along at an astonishingly quick pace. I was surprised
to see them walk so fast, heavily laden as they were with their guns and
knapsacks and blankets, etc. Many of them had been marching a good part
of the night to get to the place of rendezvous, and they had had a
parade early in the morning. A good many of them fainted and had to be
carried out of the ranks, and eight of them died! It was the hottest day
we have had this summer.--I was the most interested in the Uhlanen. They
were the greatest terror of the French, and were light cavalry with no
arms except a large pistol and a lance. Just below the head of the
lance was a little Prussian flag attached, and nearly every one was
splashed with the blood of some poor Frenchman. When one looked at those
terrible spikes, it seemed a most dreadful death, and I don't wonder
that the French lost all courage at the sight of them. You see, being on
horseback and so lightly armed, the Uhlanen could go about like
lightning, and were able to appear suddenly at the most unexpected
points. As I was not on the Linden I did not see the army received at
the Brandenburger Gate by the four hundred young ladies dressed in
white, so I can't give you any account of _that_. Bismarck, who always
knows what to do, took a handful of wreaths from his saddle-bow, and
flung them smilingly over among the welcoming maidens. He is a courtly
creature. I was nearly dead from just looking out of my window, and
listening to the continual music of the bands, and I did not get over
the fatigue and nervous excitement for several days; but I was very
fortunate to be able to see it from the house, for many persons who had
to sit on the scaffolds were dreadfully burned, and were thrown into a
fever by it. You see they weren't allowed to put up their parasols, as
that obscured the view of the people behind them. I had one friend who
suffered awfully with her face, and did not sleep for three nights. She
said it was as if she had been burnt by fire, and the whole skin peeled

July 4th.--As usual, it is over a week since I began this letter, and I
have just decided to start at once on a summer journey with Mrs. and
Miss V. N., Mr. P. and Mrs., Mr. and Miss S. Kullak is away for his
vacation, so I shall lose no lessons. We shall go first to Cologne and
then to Bonn and Coblentz and down the Rhine. Perhaps we shall get as
far as Heidelberg. We got one of those return tickets, which makes the
journey very cheap; only you are limited to a certain time. We expect to
be gone until the 1st of August. I intend to walk a great deal between
the different points. Where the scenery is picturesque we shall
occasionally walk from station to station. We take no baggage except a
little bag (which we sling over our backs with straps), containing a
change of linen and a brush and comb and tooth brush. We shall wear the
same dress all the time and have our linen washed at the hotel. I
thought it was a good chance for me, and as we shall be a party of
embryo artists, we expect to go along in the Bohemian and happy-go-lucky
style of our class. I think of writing a novel on the way! Won't it be
romantic? Only, unluckily for Miss S. and myself, we shall have no
adorers, as Mr. P. and Miss V. G. are engaged, and Mr. S. is only about

Just before the Einzug I was at a party at the Bancroft's, and was
standing near a doorway talking to one of N.'s class-mates in Harvard,
when a portly gentleman pushed very rudely between us and stood there
talking to Mr. Bancroft, who was on the other side of me. We gazed at
him for a minute before we went on with our conversation. Presently the
gentleman took his leave and bustled away. "That was the Duke of
Somerset," said Mr. Bancroft to me. I was rather surprised, for I had
just been thinking to myself, "What an unmannerly creature you are!"--I
suppose he had come on to the Einzug.

Triumphant Berlin, by the way, is rather a contrast to Paris under the
Commune. Such a horrible time as they have been having there! It is
enough to make one's blood run cold to think of it. What insane
barbarians they are--and the worst of it is the part the women take in
it. I saw a picture of Thiers' house which they burnt down. It was a
magnificent mansion, and crammed full of exquisite works of art. Mr.
Bancroft grieved over it, for he had dined there, and knew what
treasures it contained. He said it was one of the most beautiful houses
he had ever been in.--And then the idea of pulling down the column of
the Place Vendome! Napoleon had built it from cannon which he had
captured in his great battles and melted down, so that in a special
manner it was a monument of their victories over other nations. There is
a stupidity about them which makes them perfectly pitiable.

[In 1848 Saint Beuve wrote the following almost prophetic words:
"Nothing is swifter to decline in crises like the present (the
Revolution of 1848) than civilization. In three weeks the result of many
centuries are lost. Civilization, life, is a thing learned and invented.
* * * * After years of tranquility men are too forgetful of this truth;
they come to think that culture is innate, that it is the same thing as
nature. But in truth barbarism is but a few paces off and begins again
as soon as our hold is slackened."]--ED.


     A Rhine Journey. Frankfort. Mainz. Sail down the Rhine. Cologne.
     Bonn. The Seven Mountains. Worms. Spire. Heidelberg. Tausig's

ROLANDSECK AM RHEIN, _July 14, 1871_.

You will be surprised to get this letter, dated from a little village on
the Rhine, and I shall proceed to tell you how I came here, if the
vilest of vile paper and pens will permit. I wrote a letter to L. just
before I left Berlin, in which I informed her that I meant to go on a
little trip with a party of friends, as Berlin in summer is malarious,
and I felt the need of a change.

Thursday a week ago we left Berlin and rode straight through to
Frankfort. It was a long journey, and lasted from six o'clock in the
morning until ten at night. I got up at four in the morning in a most
halcyon frame of mind. In fact, I felt as if I were going to get
married, owing to my putting on everything new from top to toe! The
laundress had made such ravages upon my linen that I found myself
suddenly obliged to replenish throughout, and consequently I arrayed
myself with great satisfaction in new stockings, new under-clothes, new
flannel, new skirts, new hat, new veil and new shoes to _boot_! I put on
my black silk short suit, took my bag and shawl, and sallied to the
station, where I found the others waiting for me.

It was a lovely ride from Berlin to Frankfort, and having been shut up
in a city for nearly two years, the country appeared perfectly charming
and new to me, and every little smiling tuft of daisies had a special
significance. I don't know whether you stopped at Frankfort on your
travels. I fell dead in love with it, and liked it better than any part
of Germany I have seen. It is such a quiet town and has such an air of
elegance, and there are such lovely walks all about. Everything looks so
clean, and the streets are so handsomely laid out, and then there are no
_smells_, as there are in Berlin. The river flows all along the outside
of the city, and the promenade along it is delightful. I went to see the
house where my adorable Goethe was born, and afterward walked over the
bridge over which he used to go to school. There was a gilded cock
perched upon it, which he used to be very fond of as a child. We saw his
statue, and then visited the Museum where was Danecker's great
masterpiece, Ariadne sitting on the Panther. It is the most exquisite
thing, and it is cut out of one solid block of Carrara marble. Through a
pink curtain a rosy light is thrown on it from above, which gives the
marble a delicious tinge. Strange that he should have risen to such a
poetic conception, and never done anything afterwards of importance.

We went into a great room where life-size pictures of all the Emperors
of Germany were. Some of them are very handsome men, and the Latin
mottoes underneath are very funny. One of them was: "If you don't know
how to hold your tongue, you'll never know the right place to speak." I
hope P. will keep L. well at her Latin and her history, and teach her
something about architecture and mythology, for these one needs to know
when one travels abroad. We only stayed one day in Frankfort, for there
isn't a great deal to be seen there. The afternoon we spent in walking
about and in sitting on logs by the river-side. Oh, what a sweet place
one of those beautiful villas by the swiftly flowing river would be to
live in!

We left Frankfort at seven P. M., and rode to Mainz, which is only a
ride of two hours, I believe. As we came over the railroad bridge into
the town, we got our first glimpse of the Rhine, and it was a splendid
sight. Our hotel was very near the river, and as our rooms were front
rooms, and three stories up, we had a magnificent view of it. In the
evening it was so fascinating to watch the lights on the water and the
boats plying up and down, that it was long before we could make up our
minds to leave the windows and go to bed. At Mainz we saw our first
cathedral. It is six hundred years old, and had suffered six times by
fire, but it was very fine, notwithstanding. We spent a long time
studying it out. Afterwards we visited another church and ascended a
tower which was built 30, B. C. It seemed almost as firm as the day it
was finished. The view from it is magnificent, and the top of it is all
overgrown with harebells, golden rod and grass. It was very picturesque.

On Sunday evening we took the boat for Cologne which we reached at four
o'clock in the afternoon. Oh, that sail down the Rhine was too
delicious! The weather was perfect, and everything seemed to me like a
fairy tale. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the Rhine, and it
was too lovely to see those old castles in every degree of ruin, jutting
out over the steep rocks, so high in the air, and then the vineyards
sloping down the hillsides to the water's edge. The whole lay of the
land was so exquisite. I didn't wonder that it is so celebrated, and
that so much has been written about it. A funny old Englishman came and
sat beside me, and we had a long conversation, pretty much as follows:

Englishman.--"England is no doubt the finest country in the world. You
know the people there are so enormous rich, they can do as they please."
"Ah, indeed," said I, "have you travelled much in Germany?" "O yes! I've
been all over Germany. I come up the Rhine every year," said he. "It's
all very pretty when you've never seen it before, but it's nothing to me
now." "Have you been to Berlin?" asked I. "O yes," said he. "Shouldn't
want to live there. Your Prussians are so confounded arrogant. They
think they're the greatest people in the world." "How did you like
Dresden?" said I. "Stupid hole," said he. "Leipsic?" "Dull town."
"Stuttgardt?" "Quite pretty." "Kissingen?" "'Orrible place, nothing but
fanatics; every other day a Saint's day, and the shops shut up."
"Wiesbaden?" "Very fine place." "Ems?" "Never been to Hems." "Mainz?"
"Nasty hole." "Cologne?" "Stinking place." "Munich?" "Dreadful
unhealthy. They have fevers there, typhus, etc. _I_ call 'em fevers."
"How do you like the Rhine wines?" "Don't like them at all. It's very
seldom a man gets to drink a decent glass of wine here. I don't drink
'em at all. I like a glass of port." "Beer?" "O, the German beer isn't
fit to drink. The English beer is the best in the world. German beer is
'orrible bad stuff. Nothing but slops,--slops!" Here I burst out
laughing, for his flattering descriptions were too much for me. He gave
me a quizzical look and said, "Well, I'm glad I made you laugh. You're
from America, aren't you?" "Yes," said I. "Very unhealthy place, I'm
told." "Indeed? I never heard so," said I. "O yes, _very_!" said he.
Then he went off, and after a long while he returned. "I've been
asleep," said he, "I've slept two hours and a half, all through the fine
scenery." "_What!_" said I, "don't you enjoy it?" "No, I don't enjoy it
at all." Then he told me he lived in Rotterdam, and that I must come to
Holland. He was very complaisant over the Dutch, whom he said were
"nice, decent people, like the English. There's nothing of the German in
them," said he, "they're quite another people--not so
en-_thu_si-_as_tic,"--with a contemptuous air. We got out at Cologne,
and he went on to his dear Rotterdam. So I saw him no more.

Oh! isn't the Cologne Cathedral magnificent? It quite took my breath
away as I entered it. The priests were just having vespers as we went
in, and there was scarcely a person in the cathedral beside. It was so
solemn and so touching to see them all by themselves intoning the
prayers, their voices swelling and falling in that vast place. And when
the superb organ struck up, and they began to sing a hymn, so wildly
sweet, with an interlude most beautifully worked up at the end of each
line by the organist--as we sat there under those great arches which
soar up to such an immense height, I felt as if I were in Heaven.

     *     *     *

    ANDERNACH, _July 16, 1871_.

I believe I left off in my last with our arrival at Cologne, of which I
saw very little, as I was extremely tired, and remained at the hotel.
The Cathedral was, of course, the main point of interest, and that I saw
thoroughly, as I went to it twice, and spent a number of hours each
time. I was entirely carried away by its beauty and grandeur, as
everybody must be. The descriptions I had heard and the photographs I
had seen of it didn't prepare me at all. The _height_ of the great pile
is one of the most astounding things, I think. The three and four story
houses about it look like huts beside it. Beside the Cathedral I only
saw the church where the eleven thousand virgins are buried, but that
was more curious than beautiful.--I was much taken down by the shops in
Cologne, which I think much finer than the Berlin ones, and saw no end
of things in the windows I should like to have bought. The cravats alone
quite turned my head!

We only spent two days in Cologne, and then sailed for Bonn, which is
but a very short distance. Here we were in a hotel directly upon the
river, and I had a sweet little room quite to myself. The view up and
down the river was superb, and we could see the Seven Mountains most
beautifully. Bonn is the most quiet, sleepy little town you can imagine,
and just the place to study, I should think. We saw the house where
Beethoven was born, a little yellow, two-story house, and then we
visited the Minster, which is nine hundred years old. We saw there a
tomb devoted to the memory of the first architect of the Cologne
Cathedral, with his statue lying upon it. He had a severely beautiful
face, and I could very well imagine him capable of such a great
conception. We had great difficulty in getting a dinner at Bonn, as,
being a university town, the students gobble up everything. Finally, we
found a little restaurant where they got us up one, consisting of steak
and potatoes. After dinner I went to walk with Mr. S. and we ate
cherries all the way, and finally sat down on a bench by the river's
side, where we had an enchanting view. Then we went back to the hotel,
and I went directly to bed. It was delicious to lie there and hear the
little waves washing up outside my window. It is just the place for a
honey-moon--so out of the world as it seems, and with none of the
activity and bustle of other cities.

At six o'clock the next morning we took the boat, and in about half an
hour we landed at a little town on the side of the river opposite to
Bonn, and began our pedestrian tour through the Seven Mountains, of
which we ascended and descended four. They were all very steep and
difficult to climb, and it reminded me of my trip to Mount Mansfield,
years ago, only _then_ we had horses. We spent the night on one of
them, the Löwenberg (Lion-mountain). This was a funny experience, as all
we five ladies had to sleep in one room, and in one great bed of straw
made up on the floor. The fleas bit us all night, so we did not sleep
_too_ much. I mentioned the little fact to the servant next day, to
which she replied, "Yes, when you aren't used to fleas and bed-bugs, it
_is_ hard to sleep!" I agreed with her perfectly!--Our walk was
enchanting in spite of the difficulty of the ascent, and of the fact
that all of us had satchels slung over our shoulders, and a shawl and
umbrella to carry, which made locomotion rather difficult. We were in
the sylvan shades, following delicious footpaths scented with flowers,
and with the birds singing and trilling as loud as they could over our

It was heavenly on the Löwenberg, for the view was glorious on every
side, and it seemed as if we were on the highest peak in the universe. I
sat for hours looking over the lovely country and following the
meanderings of the Rhine. The atmospheric effects produced by the sunset
were wonderful, and when it got to be nine o'clock we saw the lights
twinkle up one by one from the distant villages below like little
earth-stars--reflections of the heavenly ones above. The last mountain
we ascended was the Drachenfels (Dragon-rock), and a fearful pull it
was. The three others had been so easy, comparatively, that we none of
us knew what we were in for. Soon found out, though! It was like trying
to go up a wall, it was so steep. But when we got up we were rewarded,
for the view was superb, and there was an interesting old Roman ruin up
there. We wandered all about, and got an excellent dinner, and then
came down late in the afternoon, took a row boat and rowed across the
Rhine to Rolandseck--a fashionable watering place, and as charming as
German towns have a way of being.

     *     *     *

    GOTHA, _July 27, 1871_.

Since I wrote you from Andernach I have been travelling steadily. The
whole party except Mrs. V. N. and myself made a pedestrian tour along
the Rhine from Rolandseck to Bingen, a distance of sixty miles. I
started to walk, but when I had gone fifteen miles I gave out, and was
glad to take the boat. Mrs. V. N. was an invalid and couldn't walk, so I
took charge of her, and we would travel on together. When we got to the
station where we had agreed to wait for the others, I would seat her
somewhere with the bags of the party piled up around her, and then I
would make a sortie, look at the hotels, and engage our rooms.

We saw the Rhine from Cologne to Worms very thoroughly--for we kept
stopping all along. It is truly magnificent, and nothing can be more
interesting and picturesque than those old ruined castles which look as
if they had grown there. Bingen is the sweetest place, and just the spot
to spend a summer. We travelled from there to Worms, which is a
delightful old city. We were there only an hour or two, but the walk
from the boat to the cars was through the prettiest part of it, I should
judge, and was very romantic, through winding walks overshadowed with
trees. We saw that great Luther monument there, which is most imposing.
The exterior of the Cathedral is splendid, and in quite another style
of architecture from the Cologne Cathedral. From Worms we went to Spire,
in order to see the Cathedral there, which is superb, and very
celebrated. It was founded in 1030 by Conrad the Second, as a burial
place for himself and his successors. It has no stained windows at all,
even in the chancel, which surprised me, but the frescoes and the whole
interior colouring are gorgeous in the extreme. It is in the Romanesque
style of architecture, and is so entirely different from the Cologne
Cathedral that it was very interesting, but there's nothing equal to the
Gothic, after all.

From Spire we went to Heidelberg. I was enchanted with Heidelberg. It is
the most romantic and beautiful place I was ever in. The Castle is the
prince of ruins. I had made up my mind all along that I was going to
enjoy myself at Heidelberg, for my friend Dr. S. was studying there, and
I knew I should have him to go about with. So I had been urging the
party to go there from the first. As soon as we arrived, off I went to
find him, which I soon accomplished. He was very glad to see me, and put
himself at once at my disposal. You know the S.'s used to live at
Heidelberg, among other places, so he knows it all by heart. After
dinner we all went up to the Castle, of course. I was very sorry that I
had never read Hyperion. We had to ascend a long hill before we got to
it, but the weather was perfect, so we didn't mind. It is so high up
that the view of the town and of the Neckar winding through it, with the
wooded hills on the opposite shore, is panoramic.

The Castle itself is an enormous ruin, and very richly ornamented. Ivy
two hundred years old climbs over it in great luxuriance. We passed
through a gateway over which stand two stone knights which are said to
change places with each other at midnight, and there are all sorts of
charming stories like that connected with the place. We saw a
beautifully carved stone archway which was put up in a single night, in
honour of somebody's birthday, and a monument with an inscription over
it stood in one corner of the grounds, stating that here had stood some
distinguished personage (I always forget all the names, unluckily, but
"the _principle_ remains the same"), when the Castle was being besieged
by the French. Two balls came from opposite directions, passed close by
him, and struck against each other, miraculously leaving him unharmed!

After we had walked around the outside of the Castle sufficiently we
went inside. It took us a long time to go over it, it was so large. We
saw the stone dungeon, which was called the "Never Empty," because
somebody was always confined there--a dreadful hole, and it must have
been in perfect darkness--and we saw the great Heidelberg cask which had
a scaffolding on the top of it big enough to dance a quadrille on. But
the finest of everything was the ascending of the tower. Just as we got
to the top of it, and had begun to take in the magnificent scenery, an
orchestra at a little distance below struck up Wagner's "Kaiser March."
It was the one touch which was needed to make the _ensemble_ perfect. On
one side the landscape lay far below us, with the silver river winding
through it; on the other the hills rose behind the Castle to an immense
height, and with the greatest boldness of outline. The tops were thickly
wooded, and lower down the trees were beautifully grouped, and the
velvety turf rolled and swelled to the foot of the Castle. The sun was
just setting in a clear sky, and cast long shadows athwart the scene,
and I thought I had never seen anything more striking. Then to hear
Wagner's Kaiser March by a well-trained orchestra come soaring up, made
a combination such as one gets perhaps not more than once in a

The march is superb, so pompous and majestic, and with delicious
melodies occasionally interwoven through it. Wagner's melodies are so
heavily and intoxicatingly sweet, that they are almost narcotic. His
music excites a set of emotions that no other music does, and he is a
great original. It has the power of expressing longing and aspiration to
a wonderful degree, and it always seems to me as if two impulses were
continually trying to get the mastery. The one is the embodiment of all
those vague yearnings of the soul to burst its prison house, and the
other is the cradling of the body in the lap of pleasure. I always feel
as if I should like to swoon away when I hear his compositions. Then his
harmonies are so strangely seductive, so complicated, so "grossartig,"
as the Germans say, and so peculiar! Oh, I have an immense admiration
for him! He thinks that music is not the impersonation of an idea, but
that it _is_ the idea.

But to return to the Castle.--We stayed up in the tower for some time,
and then we made the tour of the interior. Afterwards we walked and sat
about until all the party thought it was time to go back to the hotel
Dr. S. and I thought we would stay up there to supper. So we went where
the orchestra was playing, which was in an enclosed space near the
Castle. We took our seats at a little table in the open air, and ordered
a delicious little supper, also

    "A bottle of wine
    To make us shine"

in _conversation!_--and so glided by the most ideal evening, as far as
surroundings go, that I ever spent.

In our hotel at Heidelberg I kept hearing a man play splendidly in the
room below us, and every time we passed his door it was open, and we
could partly see the interior of a charming room with a grand piano in
it, at which he was seated. A pretty woman was always lying back in the
corner of the sofa listening to him, apparently. The presence of a large
wax doll indicated that there must be a child about, and the perfume of
flowers stole through the open doorway. My interest was at once excited
in these people, and I said to myself as I heard this gentleman practice
every day, "This must be some artist passing the summer here and getting
up his winter programme." Accordingly, on Sunday afternoon when he was
playing beautifully, I roused myself up and enquired of a servant who he
was. "Nicolai Rubinstein, from St. Petersburg," replied she. He is the
brother of the great Anton Rubinstein, and is nearly as fine a pianist.
I know a scholar of Tausig's who had studied with him, and Tausig had a
high opinion of him.

Oh, isn't it _dreadful_? When we were at Bingen we saw the news of
Tausig's DEATH in the paper! He died at Leipsic, on the 17th of July, of
typhus fever, brought on by over-taxing his musical memory. It was a
dreadful blow to me, as you may imagine, and when I think of his
wonderful playing silenced forever, and comparatively in the beginning
of his career, I cannot get reconciled to it. If you could have heard
those matchlessly trained fingers of his, you would be able to
sympathize with me on the subject. I had counted so on hearing him next
winter, for he gave no concerts in Berlin last winter. He was only
thirty-one years old!


Eisenach. Gotha. Erfurt. Andernach. Weimar. Tausig.

    BERLIN, _August 15, 1871_.

Well, here I am back in smelly old Berlin! I really hated to leave
Heidelberg, it was such a paradisiacal spot, but we saw so much that was
beautiful afterwards, that my impression of it has become a little
dimmed. From Heidelberg we went to Eisenach, its rival in a different
way, for here we went over the Wartburg--the Castle famous for having
been the dwelling of the holy St. Elizabeth, and where Luther translated
the Bible and spent ten months of his life disguised as a knight. I saw
his room, a bare and comfortless hole, but with a splendid view from the
windows. The Castle is in good repair, and is a noble pile. I suppose
the Duke of Weimar spends some time there every summer, as it looks as
if it were lived in. It is endlessly interesting. There is a lovely
little chapel in it where Luther used to preach, with everything left in
just as it was in his time--a little gem. The Wartburg is on a very high
hill, and the views from it are superb. Among other things to be seen
from it is the Venusberg, which is the mountain Wagner has introduced in
his famous opera of Tannhäuser. He was so carried away by the Wartburg
when he concealed himself near it, as he was being pursued by the
government to be arrested as a revolutionary, twenty years ago, that he
never rested until he had united the legends of St. Elizabeth and of the
Venusberg in his opera. Liszt, also, wrote an oratorio on St. Elizabeth
as _his_ tribute to the Wartburg.

From Eisenach we went to Gotha, a lovely place, all shaded with trees,
and surmounted by a very imposing castle, with two immense towers. It is
an enormous edifice, and is surrounded by a magnificent park, through
which goes the slowly winding river. I believe that Gotha belongs to the
Duke of Saxe-Coburg, brother of the Queen of England, or something. At
all events, in the middle of this river is an island where the ducal
family is buried, and it is so thickly planted with trees whose boughs
hang over the water, that their graves are quite shrouded from the
vulgar eye. Pretty idea! The river laps lazily against the grassy slope
which covers the princely ones, and the wind rushing through the trees,
sings their dirge.

From Gotha we went to Erfurt, where we only spent one night, in order to
see the Cathedral. Erfurt is an Undine of a place, full of running
streams and bridges and mills roaring all about you. I saw one street
with a brook rippling down the very middle of it at a most rattling
pace, and at every little distance two or three stepping stones by which
to cross it. Just think how fascinating for children! I longed to stay
and have a good play there myself. The Erfurt Cathedral is much smaller
than those of Spire and Cologne, but the exterior is wonderfully
beautiful. The transept is a masterpiece, and has fifteen enormous
windows of rich old stained glass going round it. The nave did not
please me so well, because in addition to its not being very rich, the
side aisles were of equal height with the main body of the Cathedral,
and were not sufficiently marked off from it to prevent the roof's
looking like a ceiling. I believe the side aisles were of equal height
with the main aisle in the Cologne Cathedral, but the archways and
pillars cut them off more, so that it had a different effect.--I am more
interested in cathedrals than anything else, and should like to travel
all over Europe and see all the different ones. There is a lovely old
church at Andernach, Roman Catholic, as most of the churches on the
Rhine are. I went there to church one Sunday morning, and stayed through
the service. They had the most powerful church music I've ever heard.
There was an excellent boy choir which sang in unison and led the
congregation, _every person_ of which joined in. The organ was fine, as
was also the organist, and the singing was so universal that the old
church walls rang again. The priest preached an excellent sermon,
too--the best I have heard in Germany.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _August 31, 1871_.

Germany is a most lovely country, and perfectly delicious to travel
through. I believe I have described all the places we went to excepting
Weimar. Weimar is delightful, and so interesting, because Goethe and
Schiller, Wieland and Herder lived there, and everything is connected
with them, and especially with the first two. There are many fine
statues in the little city, and a delicious great park along the river
which was laid out under Goethe's superintendence.--One group of Goethe
and Schiller standing together in front of the theatre is magnificent.
One hardly knows which to admire the most, Goethe, with his courtly mein
and commanding features, or Schiller, with his extreme ideality and his
head a little thrown back as if to take in inspiration direct from the
sky. It is a most striking conception.

The palace of the Grand Duke of Weimar is the principal "show" of the
place. It is filled with the richest works of art, and is beautifully
frescoed in rooms devoted each to a particular author, and representing
his most celebrated works. There is the Goethe room, and the Wieland
room, etc. The Wieland room is the most charming thing. The frescoes on
the walls are all illustrative of his "Oberon," which is his most
celebrated work, and one picture represents what happened when Oberon
blew his horn. You must know that when Oberon blows his horn everybody
is obliged to dance. So in this picture he is represented blowing it in
a convent, and all the fat friars and nuns are dancing away like mad.
They look so serious, and as if they didn't want to do it at all, but
their feet _will_ fly up in the air in spite of them. The nuns' slippers
scarcely stick on, and it looks so absurd! I was as highly amused at it
as the mischievous Oberon himself must have been, so delicately has the
artist touched it off. There was another design representing a band of
nymphs dancing in the sky, hand in hand in the twilight, and it was the
most graceful thing!--Their delicate little bare feet with every pretty
turn a foot could have, their clothes and hair streaming in the breeze,
and every attitude so airy. It was _lovely_! The Goethe frescoes were by
another painter, and not so fine, but I prefer pictures to frescoes.
Only one suite of the ducal rooms was frescoed. The others had superb
pictures by the old masters, many of them originals.

The Duke is an artist himself, and designs a great many pretty things.
For instance, he designed the large candelabra which stood on each side
of one of the doorways,--Cupid peeping through a wreath of thistles and
nettles. He was kneeling on one knee, and pushing them aside with each
hand. It was all done in gilt metal and made a very dainty conceit,
beside being a good illustration of the pains of love! I think the Duke
probably designed some of the picture frames, for they were peculiarly
rich and artistic; for instance, the frames of the original cartoons of
Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper were entirely composed of the leaves and
flowers of the calla lily. The leaves lapped one over the other, and
here and there a lily was laid between. The flowers were done in a
different coloured gilding from the leaves. They were _very_ beautiful.
The pictures were not all hung together, so as to confuse your eye, but
here a gem and there a gem--and O, I saw the most bewitching little
statue there that ever I saw in my life! The subject was "Little Red
Riding Hood," and it stood in the corner of one of the great salons. It
was about two feet high, and represented the most fascinating little
girl you can imagine, clothed in the wolf's skin, which hung down behind
and had formed the little hood. The child herself was quite
indescribable--the daintiest little creature, with the most captivating
expression of innocence and roguishness. If she looked like that I
should have followed the wolf's example and eaten her up! It was really
a perfect little _pearl_ of a statue. I would give anything to possess
it. In short, I wish the Duke of Weimar were my intimate friend, for he
must be a man worth knowing. Now, if I could only play like Liszt!--I
don't wonder Liszt spends so much of his time in Weimar. I am getting
perfectly crazy to hear him, by the way, for everybody says there is
nobody in the world like him, and that he is the only artist who
combines _everything_. He does not play in public any more, but
Weitzmann says that he is amiability itself, and that it would probably
not be difficult for me to get an opportunity to hear him in private.

In the palace I also saw the little boudoir of the Duchess. It was all
panelled in white satin, and the furniture was of the richest white
brocaded silk. The window frames were of malachite, and one looked out
through the single great plate of glass on to the beautiful park, and
the winding river spanned by a bridge which suggests immediately to your
mind, "Walk over me into the Garden of Paradise, for I was made for your
express benefit!" The park lies on each side of this little river Ilm,
and Goethe's exquisite taste has given it more a look of nature than of
art. It seems as if you were walking in a delicious meadow, the trees
being sometimes grouped together, sometimes growing thickly along the
water's edge. You go in and out of sunshine and shadow, and here and
there are dusky little retreats, and, to borrow Goldsmith's elegant
style,--"the winding walks assume a natural sylvage." Some distance up
the river, on the side of a gentle hill, was a small house in the woods
where Goethe used to live in summer. Here he slept sometimes, and
farther up the hill was a summer house where he took his coffee after
dinner. To the left of this summer house he had had made a long
alley-way or vista of trees whose tops met overhead and formed a leafy
ceiling. It was like a cloister, and here he could pace up and down and
muse. It was a delightful idea. To the right of the summer house was a
small garden, and beyond that was a path which wound through the wood
down to the path below. In one of the rocks there Goethe had had a
little poem cut. I was sorry afterward that I hadn't copied it, it was
so pretty.--But it was such a charming place to read and study, and it
seemed to give me a better impression of him than anything else.

I saw a piano in the Duke's palace upon which Beethoven had played. It
was a funny little instrument of about five octaves, but it was so
wheezy with age that there wasn't much tone to be got out of it. After
we had finished looking at the palace, we went over to see the ducal
library. Here I saw a superb bust of Goethe as a young man. It was so
handsome that it spurns description. He must have been a perfect Apollo.
I also saw a likeness of him painted upon a cup by some great artist,
for which he sat thirty-four times! The old librarian, who had known
Goethe, said that it was _exactly_ like him, and the miniature painting
was so wonderful that when you looked at it with a magnifying glass it
was only finer and _more_ accurate instead of less so! There was also a
most noble bust of the composer Glück. The face was all scarred with
small-pox, so that the cast must have been moulded from his features
after death, but I never saw such a living, animated, likeness in
marble. It looked as if it were going to speak to you. There was a funny
toy there, nearly three hundred years old. It was a drummer boy, with a
little baby strapped on his back. The librarian wound him up, and then
he beat his drum lustily, rolled his eyes from side to side, and wagged
his head, while the baby on his back hopped up and down. Whenever little
children see it, it scares them, and they begin to cry. It had on a red
flannel coat, and hasn't had a new one since it was made.--"Nearly three
hundred years old, and never had a new coat," is worse than when C. P.
bought himself a trunk, and went round the house saying, "Twenty-seven
years old, and been in twenty-three states of the Union, and _never_ had
a new trunk before!"

Goethe's house is not exhibited, which I think highly inexcusable in the
Goethe family, but Schiller's is. So we saw that, and what a contrast it
was to the ducal palace!--You go to a small yellow house on one of the
principal streets, enter a little hall by a little door, go up two
flights of a little stair-case, and in the very low-ceilinged third
story was Schiller's home--"home" I say, and the _whole_ of it, so
please take it in! The first room you enter is a sort of ante-room where
photographs are now sold. The next room was the parlour, and of late
years it has been comfortably furnished by the ladies of Weimar in the
usual cheap German taste. The third room was Schiller's study, with an
infinitesimal fourth room, or large closet, opening from it, which was
his sleeping apartment. The study is precisely as he left it, and
nothing could be more bald and bare. No carpet on the floor, the three
windows slightly festooned at the top with a single breadth of Turkey
red, his own portrait and a few wretched prints on the walls--in short,
such a sordid habitation for such a soaring nature as seemed almost
incredible! His writing table, with a globe, inkstand, and pens upon it,
stands at one window, and his wife's tiny little piano with her guitar
on top, is against the wall. There are two or three chairs, and a
wash-stand with a minute washing apparatus. In one corner is the tiny
unpainted wooden bedstead on which he died; a bed not meant to stretch
out in, but to lie, as Germans do, half reclining, and so low, narrow,
plain and mean that I never saw anything like it. In it and hanging on
the wall over it are wreaths which leading German actresses have brought
there as votive offerings to their great national dramatist, their white
satin ribbons yellowing by time. At the foot of the stair-case as you go
out, you see the little walled-up garden at the back of the house where
the poet loved to sit.

After getting through with the abodes of the living, we visited the
ducal vault where Goethe and Schiller are buried. It is the crypt of a
sort of temple built in the old secluded cemetery in Weimar, and in it
all the coffins are laid in rows on supporters. Goethe and Schiller lie
apart from the others, side by side, near the foot of the stair-case
leading down into the crypt. Their coffins, especially Schiller's, are
covered with wreaths and bouquets brought by strangers and laid there.
Schiller's had on it a garland of silver leaves presented by the women
of Hamburg, and another of leaves of green gauze or crape, on every one
of which was worked in gold thread the name of one of his plays. A great
actress had made it herself as her tribute to his genius. From all I
observe, I should judge that the German people love Schiller much more
than they do Goethe. The dukes and duchesses lie farther back in the
vault in their red velvet coffins, quite unnoticed. So much better is
genius than rank! Hummel is buried also in the cemetery, which is the
most beautiful I ever saw--not stiff and "arranged" like ours, but so
natural! with over-grown foot-paths, and with much fewer and simpler
grave-stones and monuments, and many more vines and flowers and roses
creeping over the graves. We went to Hummel's grave, and had I been
Goethe and Schiller I should much rather have been buried out of doors
like him, amid this sweet half-wild, half-gentle nature, than in that
dismal vault.

Speaking of Hummel reminds me of Tausig's death. Was it not terrible
that he should have died so young! Such an enormous artist as he was! I
cannot get reconciled to it at all, and he played only twice in Berlin
last winter.

He was a strange little soul--a perfect misanthrope. Nobody knew him
intimately. He lived all the last part of his life in the strictest
retirement, a prey to deep melancholy. He was taken ill at Leipsic,
whither he had gone to meet Liszt. Until the ninth day they had hopes of
his recovery, but in the night he had a relapse, and died the tenth day,
very easily at the last. His remains were brought to Berlin and he was
buried here. Everything was done to save him, and he had the most
celebrated physicians, but it was useless. So my last hope of lessons
from him again is at an end, you see! I never expect to hear such
piano-playing again. It was as impossible for him to strike one false
note as it is for other people to strike right ones. He was absolutely
infallible. The papers all tell a story about his playing a piece one
time before his friends, from the notes. The music fell upon the keys,
but Tausig didn't allow himself to be at all disturbed, and went on
playing through the paper, his fingers piercing it and grasping the
proper chords, until some one rushed to his aid and set the notes up
again. Oh, he was a wonder, and it is a tragic loss to Art that he is
dead. He was such a _true_ artist, his standard was so immeasurably
high, and he had such a proud contempt for anything approaching
clap-trap, or what he called _Spectakel_. I have seen him execute the
most gigantic difficulties without permitting himself a sign of effort
beyond an almost imperceptible compression of one corner of his
mouth.--And then his touch! Never shall I forget it!--that _rush_ of
silver over the keys. However, he entirely overstrained himself, and his
whole nervous system was completely shattered long before his illness.
He said last winter that the very idea of playing in public was
unbearable to him, and after he had announced in the papers that he
would give four concerts, he recalled the announcement on the plea of
ill health. Then he thought he would go to Italy and spend the winter.
But when he got as far as Naples, he said to himself, "_Nein, hier
bleibst du nicht_ (No, you won't stay here);" and back he came to
Berlin. He doesn't seem to have known what he wanted, himself; his was
an uneasy, tormented, capricious spirit, at enmity with the world.
Perhaps his marriage had something to do with it. His wife was a
beautiful artist, too, and they thought the world of each other, yet
they couldn't live together. But Tausig's whole life was a mystery, and
his reserve was so complete that nobody could pierce it. If I had only
been at the point in music two years ago that I am now, I could have
gone at once into his class. His scholars were most of them artists
already, or had got to that point where they had pretty well mastered
the technique. A number of them came out last winter, and the little
Timanoff played duets with Rubinstein for two pianos, at St. Petersburg.

Since my return I have gone into the first class in Kullak's
conservatory, instead of taking private lessons of him. I think it will
be of use to me to hear his best pupils play.


     Dinner-Party and Reception at Mr. Bancroft's. Auction at Tausig's
     House. A German Christmas. The Joachims.

    BERLIN, _October 2, 1871_.

This week I have been to a dinner-party at the Bancroft's. There were
several eminent Germans there, and I was taken out by Bötticher, the
Herr who has arranged all the casts in the Museum, and who knows
everything about Art. He couldn't speak a word of English, so we
_Germaned_ it. We talked about Sappho all through dinner, and he gave me
several details about that young woman which I did not know before. As
C. used to say, we had one of those dinners "such as you read about in
the Arabian Nights," topping off with a glass of my favourite Tokay,
which, I regret to say, I so prolonged the pleasure of drinking, that
finally the signal was given to adjourn to the drawing-room, and I was
obliged to leave my glass standing half full, to be swallowed by the
waiter as soon as my back was turned. Sad, but true!

On another evening, at a Bancroft reception, I talked with a Miss R.,
who was charming. She is twenty-two or three, I should think, very
pretty and extremely elegant, and with the most delicious way of
speaking you can imagine. Such softness of manner and such a
delightfully pitched voice, and then along with this perfect repose,
such a vivid way of describing things! I was immensely taken with her,
and was delighted to have her for a countrywoman. She gave me a
wonderful account of the Island of Java. I had a lot of questions to ask
her, for you remember how persistently I read that book by a naturalist
(Wallace) who went to Java in search of the Bird of Paradise. Miss R. is
so extremely intelligent, and yet so unassuming; and then this high-bred
manner.--I did not have time to hear her talk half enough, and,
unfortunately, her party went away the next day.

The other day was an auction in poor little Tausig's house, and all his
furniture was sold. It was very handsome, all of solid oak, beautifully
carved. He had spent five thousand thalers on it. His wardrobe was sold,
too, and I don't know how many pairs of his little boots and shoes were
there, his patent leather concert boots among others. His little velvet
coat that he used to wear went with the rest. I saw it lying on a chair.
I came home quite ill, and was laid up two days. It was the fatigue, I
suppose, and miserable reflections. I wanted to buy a picture, but they
were all sold in a lot. He had excellent ones of all the great
composers, down to Liszt and Wagner, hanging over his piano in the room
where he always played. Kullak deplores Tausig's death very deeply. He
had visited him in Leipsic two days before he was taken ill, and said no
one would have dreamed that Tausig was going to die, he looked so well.
Kullak said Tausig was one of the three or four great _special_
pianists. "Who will interpret to us so again?" said he; and I echoed,
sadly enough, "Who, indeed?"

Kullak, by the way, is a wonderfully _finished_ teacher. He is a great
friend of Liszt's, and Liszt has taught him a good many things. I doubt,
however, how M. will fare with him, if she is only going to be here a
year. My experience is that it takes fully a year to get started under a
first class master. These great teachers won't take a pupil raw from
America, still less trouble themselves with a scholar who cannot
immediately comprehend. I have written her to-day a three-sheet letter
in which I have set forth the disadvantages of Germany in a sufficiently
forcible manner to prevent her feeling disappointed if she still insists
upon the journey. I have come to the conclusion that I am no criterion
as to other people's impressions. Unless people have an enthusiasm for
art I don't see the least use in their coming abroad. If they cannot
appreciate the _culture_ of Europe, they are much better off in America.
There is no doubt whatever that as to the _comfort_ of every-day life,
we are a long way ahead of every nation, unless perhaps the English,
whom, however, I have not seen.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _December 25, 1871_.

To-day is Christmas-day, and I have thought much of you all at home, and
have wondered if you've been having an apathetic time as usual. I think
we often spend Christmas in a most shocking fashion in America, and I
mean to revolutionize all that when I get back. So long a time in
Germany has taught me better. Here it is a season of universal joy, and
_everybody_ enters into it. Last night we had a Christmas tree at the
S.'s, as we always do. We went there at half past six, and it was the
prettiest thing to see in every house, nearly, a tree just lighted, or
in process of being so. As a separate family lives on each floor, often
in one house would be three trees, one above the other, in the front
rooms. The curtains are always drawn up, to give the passers-by the
benefit of it. They don't make a fearful undertaking of having a
Christmas tree here, as we do in America, and so they are attainable by
everybody. The tree is small, to begin with, and nothing is put on it
except the tapers and bonbons. It is fixed on a small stand in the
centre of a large square table covered with a white cloth, and each
person's presents are arranged in a separate pile around it. The tree is
only lighted for the sake of beauty, and for the air of festivity it
throws over the thing.--After a crisp walk in the moonlight (which I
performed in the style of "Johnny-look-up-in-the-air," for I was engaged
in staring into house-windows, so far as it was practicable), we sat
down to enjoy a cup of tea and a piece of cake. I had just begun my
second cup, when, Presto! the parlour doors flew open, and there stood
the little green tree, blossoming out into lights, and throwing its
gleams over the well-laden table. There was a general scramble and a
search for one's own pile, succeeded by deep silence and suspense while
we opened the papers. Such a hand shaking and embracing and thanking as
followed! concluding with the satisfactory conviction that we each had
"just what we wanted." Germans do not despise the utilitarian in their
Christmas gifts, as we do, but, between these and their birthday
offerings, expect to be set up for the rest of the year in the
necessaries of life as well as in its superfluities. Presents of
stockings, under-clothes, dresses, handkerchiefs, soaps--nothing comes
amiss. And every one _must_ give to every one else. That is LAW.

I have just heard a young artist from Vienna who made a great impression
on me. His name is Ignaz Brühl. He is quite exceptional, and has not
only a brilliant technique, but also a peculiar and beautiful
conception.--But the best concert I have heard this season was one given
by Clara Schumann a week ago last Monday. She was assisted by Joachim
and his wife, and _that_ galaxy is indeed unequalled. Frau Joachim sings
deliciously. Not that her voice is so remarkable. You hear such voices
all the time. But she manages it consummately, and sings German songs as
no one but a German _could_ sing them. Indeed I never heard any woman
approach her in unobtrusive yet perfect art. She does not take you by
storm, and when I first came here I did not think much of her, but every
time I hear her I am struck with how exquisite it is. Every word takes
on a meaning, and on this account I think you have to understand the
language before you can realize the beauty of it. One of her songs was
Schumann's "Spring Song," with that rapid _agitato_ accompaniment, you
know.--She came out and started off in it with a half breath and a
tremor just like a bird fluttering up out of its nest, and then went up
on a portamento with _such_ abandon!--like the bird soaring off in its
flight. I never _shall_ forget that effect! Of course it carried you
completely away.

Beside singing so admirably she is a beauty--a sort of baby beauty--and
when she comes out in a pale pink silk, contrasting with her dark hair
and revealing her imperial neck and arms, she is ravishing. I've been
told she wasn't anything remarkable when Joachim married her. No doubt
dwelling with such a genius has developed her. They say that Joachim has
had such a happy life that he wants to live forever! He certainly does
overtop everything. On this occasion he played Beethoven's great
Kreutzer Sonata for violin and piano, with Clara Schumann, and I thought
it the _most magnificent performance I ever heard_! I perfectly adore
Joachim, and consider him the wonder of the age. It is simple ecstasy to
listen to him.


     Visit to Dresden. The Wiecks. Von Bülow. A Child Prodigy. Grantzow,
     the Dancer.

    BERLIN, _February 10, 1872_.

A week ago last Monday I went to Dresden with J. L. to visit B. H. We
got there at about five in the afternoon, and were met at the station by
B.'s maid, who conducted us straightway to their house in Christian
Strasse. B. and Mrs. H. received us with the greatest cordiality, and we
had a splendid time. I came home only the day before yesterday, and J.
is still there. The H.'s have a charming lodging, and Mrs. H. is a
capital housekeeper. The _cuisine_ was excellent, and you can imagine
how I enjoyed an American breakfast once more, after nothing but "rolls
and coffee" for two years. B. did everything in her power to amuse us,
and she is the soul of amiability. She kept inviting people to meet us,
and had several tea-parties, and when we had no company she took us to
the theatre or the opera. She invited Marie Wieck (the sister of Clara
Schumann) to tea one night. I was very glad to meet her, for she is an
exquisite artist herself, and plays in Clara Schumann's style, though
her conception is not so remarkable. Her touch is perfect. At B.'s
request she tried to play for us, but the action of B.'s piano did not
suit her, and she presently got up, saying that she could do nothing on
that instrument, but that if we would come to _her_, she would play for
us with pleasure.

I was in high glee at that proposal, for I was very anxious to see the
famous Wieck, the trainer of so many generations of musicians. Fräulein
Wieck appointed Saturday evening, and we accordingly went. B. had
instructed us how to act, for the old man is quite a character, and has
to be dealt with after his own fashion. She said we must walk in (having
first laid off our things) as if we had been members of the family all
our lives, and say, "Good-evening, Papa Wieck,"--(everybody calls him
Papa). Then we were to seat ourselves, and if we had some knitting or
sewing with us it would be well. At any rate we must have the apparent
intention of spending several hours, for nothing provokes him so as to
have people come in simply to call. "What!" he will say, "do you expect
to know a celebrated man like me in half an hour?" then (very
sarcastically), "perhaps you want my autograph!" He hates to give his

Well, we went through the prescribed programme. We were ushered into a
large room, much longer than it was broad. At either end stood a grand
piano. Otherwise the room was furnished with the greatest simplicity. My
impression is that the floor was a plain yellow painted one, with a rug
or two here and there. A few portraits and bas-reliefs hung upon the
walls. The pianos were of course fine. Frau Wieck and "Papa" received us
graciously. We began by taking tea, but soon the old man became
impatient, and said, "Come! the ladies wish to perform (_vortragen_)
something before me, and if we don't begin we shan't accomplish
anything." He _lives_ entirely in music, and has a class of girls whom
he instructs every evening for nothing. Five of these young girls were
there. He is very deaf, but strange to say, he is as sensitive as ever
to every musical sound, and the same is the case with Clara Schumann.
Fräulein Wieck then opened the ball. She is about forty, I should think,
and a stout, phlegmatic-looking woman. However, she played superbly, and
her touch is one of the most delicious possible. After hearing her, one
is not surprised that the Wiecks think nobody can teach touch but
themselves. She began with a nocturne by Chopin, in F major. I forgot to
say that the old Herr sits in his chair with the air of being on a
throne, and announces beforehand each piece that is to be played,
following it with some comment: _e. g._, "This nocturne I allowed my
daughter Clara to play in Berlin forty years ago, and afterward the
principal newspaper in criticising her performance, remarked: 'This
young girl seems to have much talent; it is only a pity that she is in
the hands of a father whose head seems stuck full of queer new-fangled
notions,'--so new was Chopin to the public at that time." That is the
way he goes on.

After Fräulein Wieck had finished the nocturne, I asked for something by
Bach, which I'm told she plays remarkably. She said that at the moment
she had nothing in practice by Bach, but she would play me a _gigue_ by
a composer of Bach's time,--Haesler, I think she said, but cannot
remember, as it was a name entirely unknown to me. It was very
brilliant, and she executed it beautifully. Afterward she played the
last movement of Beethoven's Sonata in E flat major, but I wasn't
particularly struck with her conception of that. Then we had a pause,
and she urged me to play. I refused, for as I had been in Dresden a week
and had not practiced, I did not wish to sit down and not do myself
justice. My hand is so stiff, that as Tausig said of himself (though of
him I can hardly believe it), "When I haven't practiced for fourteen
days I can't do anything." The old Herr then said, "Now we'll have
something else;" and got up and went to the piano, and called the young
girls. He made three of them sing, one after the other, and they sang
very charmingly indeed. One of them he made improvise a _cadenza_, and a
second sang the alto to it without accompaniment. He was very proud of
that. He exercises his pupils in all sorts of ways, trains them to sing
any given tone, and "to skip up and down the ladder," as they call the

After the master had finished with the singing, Fräulein Wieck played
three more pieces, one of which was an exquisite arrangement by Liszt of
that song by Schumann, "_Du meine Seele_." She ended with a _gavotte_ by
Glück, or as Papa Wieck would say, "This is a gavotte from one of
Glück's operas, arranged by Brahms for the piano. To the superficial
observer the second movement will appear very easy, but in _my_ opinion
it is a very hard task to hit it exactly." I happened to know just how
the thing ought to be played, for I had heard it three times from Clara
Schumann herself. Fräulein Wieck didn't please me at all in it, for she
took the second movement twice as quickly as the first. "Your sister
plays the second movement much slower," said I. "_So?_" said she, "I've
never heard it from her." She then asked, "So slow?" playing it slower.
"Still slower?" said she, beginning a third time, at my continual
disapproval. "_Streng im Tempo_ (in strict time)", said I, nodding my
head oracularly. "_Väterchen_." called she to the old Herr, "Miss Fay
says that Clara plays the second movement _so_ slow," showing him. I
don't know whether this correction made an impression, but he was then
_determined_ that I should play, and on my continued refusal he finally
said that he found it very strange that a young lady who had studied
more than two years in Tausig's and Kullak's conservatories shouldn't
have _one_ piece that she could play before people. This little fling
provoked me, so up I jumped, and saying to myself, "_Kopf in die Höhe,
Brust heraus,--vorwärts!_" (one of the military orders here), I marched
to the piano and played the fugue at the end of Beethoven's A flat
Sonata, Op. 110. They all sat round the room as still as so many statues
while I played, and you cannot imagine how dreadfully nervous I was. I
thought fifty times I would have to stop, for, like all fugues, it is
such a piece that if you once get out you never can get in again, and
Bülow himself got mixed up on the last part of it the other night in his
concert. But I got well through, notwithstanding, and the old master was
good enough to commend me warmly. He told me I must have studied a
great deal, and asked me if I hadn't played a great many _Etuden_. I
informed him in polite German "He'd better believe I had!"

I should like to study with the Wiecks in my vacation next summer if
they would take me. Perhaps I may. They are considered somewhat
old-fashioned in their style, and I shouldn't wish to exchange Kullak
for them, but they are _such_ veterans that one could not help getting
many valuable ideas from them. Papa Wieck used to be Bülow's master
before he went to Liszt.

Did I tell you how carried away with Bülow I was? He is magnificent, and
just between Rubinstein and Tausig. I am going to hear him again on
Saturday, and then I'll write you my full opinion about him. He is
famous for his playing of Beethoven, and I wish you could have heard the
Moonlight Sonata from him. One thing he does which is entirely peculiar
to himself. He runs all the movements of a sonata together, instead of
pausing between. It pleased me very much, as it gives a _unity_ of
effect, and seems to make each movement beget the succeeding one.

BERLIN, _May 30, 1872_.

I wish L. were here studying piano with Kullak's son. He has one little
fairy of a scholar ten years old. Her name is Adele aus der Ohe--(isn't
that an old knightly name?)--and it is the most astonishing thing to
hear that child play! I heard her play a concerto of Beethoven's the
other day with orchestral accompaniment and a great cadenza by
Moscheles, absolutely _perfectly_. She never missed a note the whole way
through. I suppose she will become, like Mehlig, a great artist. But
perhaps, like her, she won't have a great conception, but will do
everything mechanically. One never can tell how these child-prodigies
will turn out.--Please don't form any exalted ideas of _my_ playing! I'm
a pretty stupid girl, and go forward slowly. I never expect to play as
Miss Mehlig does. If I can ever get up to Topp, I shall be satisfied.
You wouldn't believe how long it takes to get to be a virtuoso unless
you tried it. Mehlig, you know, studied steadily for ten years, under
the _best_ of teaching all the time, and she had probably more talent to
start with than I have. Miss V. and Mr. G. have been here _five_ years
studying steadily, and they are no farther than I am now. Not so far. It
makes all the difference in the world what kind of hand and wrist a
person has. Mine, you know, were pretty stiff, and then it is a great
disadvantage to begin studying after one is grown up. One ought to be
learning while the hand is forming.

I am just now learning that A minor concerto of Schumann's that Topp
played at the Handel and Haydn Festival in Boston. The cadenza is tough,
I can tell you. That is the worst of these concertos. There is always a
grand cadenza where you must play all alone and "make a splurge." I
don't know how it feels to be left all at once without any support from
the orchestra. It is bad enough when Kullak lies back in his chair and
ceases accompanying me. He plays with me on two pianos, and I get so
excited that my wrists tremble. He is a magnificent pianist, and his
technique is perfect. There's nothing he can't do. Like all artists, he
is as capricious and exasperating as he can be, and, as the Germans say,
he is "_ein Mal im Himmel und das nächste Mal im Keller_ (one time in
heaven and the next time in the cellar)!" He has a deep rooted prejudice
against Americans, and never loses an opportunity to make a mean remark
about them, and though he has some remarkably gifted ones among his
scholars, he always insists upon it that the Americans have no real
talent. As far as I know anything about his conservatorium just now, his
_most_ talented scholars are Americans. There is a young fellow named
Sherwood, who is only seventeen years old, and he not only plays
splendidly but composes beautifully, also. In my own class Miss B. and I
are far ahead of all the others. Kullak will praise us very
enthusiastically, and then when some one plays particularly badly in the
class he will say to them, "Why, Fräulein, you play exactly as if you
came from America." It makes Miss B. and me so indignant that we don't
know what to do. Of course we can't say anything, for he addresses this
remark in a lofty way to the whole class. Miss V. couldn't bear Kullak,
and the other day, when she and Mr. G. were taking leave of him to go to
America, she let him see it. He said to her, "And when shall I see you
again?" "_Never_," exclaimed she! We have only one way of revenging
ourselves, and that is when he gives us the choice of taking one of his
compositions or a piece by some one else, always to take the other
person's. For instance, he said to me, "Fräulein, you can take
Schumann's concerto or _my_ concerto." I immediately got Schumann's.

The other night I went to see a great ballet-dancer. Her name is
Fräulein Grantzow, and she is the court dancer at St. Petersburg, where
I've heard that the ballet surpasses everything of the kind in the
world. This danseuse is a wonder, and they say there has never been such
dancing since the days of Fanny Ellsler. She has the figure of a Venus,
and the most expressive face imaginable. When she dances, it is not only
dancing, but a complete representation of character, for she plays a
rôle by her motions just the same as if she were an actress. I have seen
many a ballet, but I never conceived what an art dancing is before. I
saw her in "Esmeralda," a ballet which is arranged from Victor Hugo's
romance and modified for the stage. Fräulein Grantzow took the part of
Esmeralda. In the first act a man is condemned to death, but is pardoned
on condition that one of the women present will promise to marry him.
The women, represented by about fifty ballet dancers, come up one after
the other, contemplate the poor victim, pirouette round him, and reject
him in turn with a gesture of contempt. At last Esmeralda (a gypsy)
comes dancing along, asks what is the matter, and on being told, has
compassion on the poor wretch, and promises to marry him in order to
save him from his fate.

When the time came for Grantzow to appear, the crowd of dancers
suddenly divided, and she bounded out from the back of the stage. _Such_
an apparition as she was! In the first place her toilettes surpassed
everything, and she appeared in a fresh dress in every act. In this
first one she had on a most dazzling shade of green gauze for her skirt.
From her waist fell a golden net-work, like a cestus, with little golden
tassels all round. She wore a little scarlet satin jacket all fringed
with gold coins, and a broad golden belt, pointed in front, clasped her
waist. On her head was a tiny scarlet cap, also fringed with coins, and
she had some golden bangles round her neck. In her hand was a tambourine
from which depended four knots of coloured ribbons with long ends.
Shaking her tambourine high in the air, out she sprang like a panther,
made one magnificent circuit all round the stage, and after executing an
immensely difficult _pas_ with perfect ease, she suddenly posed to the
audience in the most ravishing and impossible attitude and with the most
captivating grace conceivable. Anything like her _élan_, her _aplomb_, I
never saw. Such a daring creature! Well, I cannot tell you all the
things she did. She is a perfect Terpsichorean genius. All through the
first act she danced very slowly, merely to show her wonderful grace,
and the beauty and originality of her positions. She had a way of
folding her arms over her breast and dancing with a dreamy step that was
quite different from anybody else, and it produced an entrancing effect.
Through the second and third acts she made a regular crescendo, just to
display her technique and show what she could do. All the other dancers
seemed like blocks of wood in comparison with her.--Fräulein Grantzow is
said to be between thirty-five and thirty-eight years old. As the papers
said, her art shows the perfection that only maturity can give. The men
are all crazy over her, as you may imagine, and she was showered with
bouquets as large as the top of a barrel. The play of her features was
as extraordinary as the play of her muscles. Her whole being seemed to
be the soul of motion.


     A Rising Organist. Kullak. Von Bülow's Playing. A Princely Funeral.
     Wilhelmj's Concert. A Court Beauty.

    BERLIN, _July 1, 1872_.

Since I have been here X. has gradually developed into a great organ
player, and I fancy he is now one of the first organ virtuosi in the
world. His musical activity is immense, and I don't doubt he will be one
of the great musical authorities here by the time he is a few years
older. He is a good-hearted little demon, the incarnation of German dirt
and good humour, and he pretends to be desperately devoted to me. Last
Sunday he was at M.'s and went home with us afterward. Generally I go in
front with A. or Herr J. and let X. give his arm to M., but this time I
accorded him the honour of taking it myself. He is about a foot shorter
than I am, but he trotted along by my side in a state of high
satisfaction, and asked me what he should play at this concert. I told
him he might play the G Minor Prelude and Fugue, as I had just taken it,
"_but_," said I, "mind you play it well, for I shall study it very hard
during the next fortnight, and I shall know if you strike one false
note. I'll allow you six faults, but if you make one more I'll beat
you." This amused him highly, but he said, "It is a very complicated
fugue, and it isn't so easy to play it perfectly, with all the pedal
passages. What will you do for me if I come off without making _one_
fault?" I told him there was plenty of time to think about that, and I
didn't believe he could. I have no doubt that he _will_ play it
magnificently, but I love to plague him. I wish that his department were
secular rather than church music, for if he were only a conductor of an
orchestra, or something of that sort, he could give me many a lift. He
doesn't dare play the piano any more since I played to him a few times.
He used nearly to kill me with his extemporizations, for he has no
memory, and so he always had to extemporize. I generally went off into a
secret convulsion of laughter when he went bang! bang! Donner and
Blitz!--splaying all over the key-board. It was the funniest thing I
ever heard, and when I heard him burst forth in such grand style on the
organ, I was perfectly amazed, and couldn't reconcile it with his piano
playing at all. He is a great reader, of course, and can transpose at
sight, and all that sort of thing. I've known him to play accompaniments
at sight in a great concert in the Dom and transpose them at the same

July 6.--You ask me why I gave up going to the Wiecks in Dresden this
summer.--Because they make everybody begin at the very beginning of
their system and go through it before they give them a piece, and at my
stage of progress that would be losing time. They think nobody can teach
touch but themselves, but Kullak is a much greater musician, and I
should not be willing to exchange him for Fräulein Wieck, who does not
begin to equal him in reputation. Much as Kullak enrages me, I have to
admit that he is a great master, and that he is thoroughly capable of
developing artistic talent to the utmost. He makes Miss B. so provoked
that she had very strong thoughts of going to Stuttgardt. The Stuttgardt
conservatorium is so crowded that it is very difficult to get admission.
Lebert (Mehlig's master,) sent word on her writing to enquire, that he
would only take her on condition that she brought him a letter from
Kullak authorizing her leaving him, as Kullak was a personal friend of
his own, and so great an artist, that only the most important reasons
could justify her giving up his instructions! Of course that put the
stopper on any such movement.

I've always forgotten to describe Bülow's playing to you, and it is now
so long since I heard him that my impressions of it are not so vivid. He
has the most forcible style I ever heard, and phrases wonderfully. It is
like looking through a stereoscope to hear him. All the points of a
piece seem to start out vividly before you. He makes me think of
Gottschalk a little, for he is full of his airs. His expression is proud
and supercilious to the last degree, and he looks all round at his
audience when he is playing. He always has two grand pianos on the
stage, one facing one way, and one the other, and he plays alternately
on both. His face seems to say to his audience, "You're all cats and
dogs, and I don't care what you think of my playing." Sometimes a look
of infinite humour comes over it, when he is playing a rondo or anything
gay. It is very funny. He has remarkable magnetic power, and you feel
that you are under the sway of a tremendous will. Many persons find
fault with his playing, because they say it is pure intellect (_der
reine Verstand_) but I think he has too much passion to be called purely
intellectual. Still, it is always passion controlled. Beethoven has been
the grand study of his life, and he plays his sonatas as no one else

If he goes to America next winter, you _must_ hear him thoroughly,
_coûte que coûte_. So I advise you to be saving up your pennies, and be
sure to get a place near the piano so that you can see his face, for it
is a study. I always sit in the second or third row here.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _October 27, 1872_.

This week has been quite an eventful one. It began on Monday with the
funeral of Prince Albrecht, the youngest brother of the Emperor, and it
was a very imposing spectacle. I was in hopes that Mr. B. would send me
a card of admission to the Dom, where the services were to be held, but
as he didn't, I was obliged to content myself with a sight of the
procession and general arrangement outside. I took my stand on a wagon
with H., and we got an excellent view. There was a roadway built of wood
from the royal Castle to the Dom, carpeted with black, over which the
procession was to pass. We waited about an hour before it came along,
but we were pretty well amused by the gorgeous equipages and liveries of
the different diplomatic corps which dashed past.

We were on the opposite side of the canal which separated us from the
square in front of the Dom. On the right of the Dom is the Castle, and
the Museum is on the left. All this square was surrounded by military,
for as Prince Albrecht was a Field-Marshal, the funeral had a military
character. They were beautifully arranged, the cavalry on one side and
the infantry on the other, and the different uniforms were contrasted
with each other so as to make the best effects in colour. Both horses
and men stood as if they were carved out of marble, with the greatest
precision of position. A little before eleven the royal carriages rolled
past from the palace to the Castle, with their occupants. Presently the
bells began to toll, and exactly at eleven the procession started. The
Gardes du Corps, which is the Crown Prince's regiment, preceded the
coffin, dressed in white and silver uniforms, with glittering brass
helmets surmounted by silver eagles. The coffin itself was borne on a
catafalque, and drawn by eight horses covered with black velvet
trappings. It was yellow, and was surmounted by a crown of gold. On it
was laid the Prince's sword, helmet, etc., and some flowers. I was too
far away to distinguish the personages that followed. Of course the
Emperor was nearest, and all were on foot. Behind the coffin the
Prince's favorite horse was led, saddled and bridled. All the servants
of his household walked together in silver liveries and with large
triangular hats with long bands of crape hanging down behind. The band
played a chorale, "Jesus, my Refuge," and the bells kept tolling all the
while. At the door of the Dom, the procession was received by the
clergy officiating. The coffin was so heavy that it was rolled down a
platform of boards put up for the purpose. Then it was lifted by sixteen
bearers, the glittering cortége closed round it, and they all swept it
at the open portal.

We waited until the end of the service, as it was a short one, in order
to hear the eight rounds of firing by the artillery. It was interesting
to see how exactly they all fired the instant the signal was given.
First the musketry on one side, and then the musketry on the other, in
answer to it. The officers galloped and curveted about on their fiery
steeds, and finally, the cannon went boom--boom. The sharp crack of the
rifles made you start, but the sullen roar of the cannon made you
shudder. It gave you some idea of a battle.

Tuesday night I went to a concert given by a new star in the musical
world, a young violinist named Wilhelmj. He is only twenty-six years
old, and is already said to be one of the greatest virtuosi living,
perhaps _the_ greatest of the romantic school, for Joachim belongs to
the severe classic. All the artists and critics and many of the
aristocracy turned out to hear him. It was his first appearance in
Berlin, and as I looked round the audience and picked out one great
musician after another, I fairly trembled for him. Joachim and de Ahna
were both present, among others, and my adorable Baroness von S. swept
in late, looking more exquisite than ever in black lace over black silk,
with jet ornaments, and her lovely hair curled and done up high on her
aristocratic little head. She was all in mourning for the Prince, even
to a black lace fan with which she occasionally shaded her eyes, so that
her peach-bloomy cheek was just to be discerned through it. She is a
charming pianist herself, I've heard, and is a great patroness of music
and musicians, especially of the "music of the future," and its
creators. I see her at all the concerts. When her face is in perfect
repose she has the most charming expression and a sort of celestial look
in her deep-set blue eyes. She is what the French call _spirituelle_,
and the Germans _geistreich_, but we've no word in our language that
just describes her.

Well, as I was saying, my head got quite dizzy with thinking what a
trial it was to play before such an audience, but Wilhelmj seemed to
differ from me, for he came confidently down the steps with the
dignified self-poise of an artist who is master of his instrument, and
who knows what he can do. He is extremely handsome, with regular
features, massive overhanging forehead, and with an expression of power
and self-containment. He looked a perfect picture as he stood there so
quietly and played. He hadn't gone far before he made a brilliant
cadenza that took down the house, and there was a general burst of
applause. His _tone_ (which is the grand thing in violin-playing) was
magnificent, and his technique masterly. He didn't play with that
tenderness of feeling and wonderful variety of expression that Joachim
does, but it was as if he didn't care to affect people in that way. It
made me think of Tausig on the piano. He played with the greatest
intensity and _aplomb_, and the strings seemed actually to seethe.
People were taken by storm. The second piece was a concerto by Raff.
Wilhelmj was in the midst of the Andante, and was sawing our hearts with
every saw of his bow, when suddenly a string snapped under the strain of
his passionate fingers. He instantly ceased playing, and retired up the
steps to the back of the stage to put on another string. Unfortunately
he had not brought along an extra one in his pocket, and had to borrow
one from one of the orchestra. Weitzmann, who in his youth was himself
an eminent concert violinist, was amazed at Wilhelmj's temerity. "What
_rashness_," exclaimed he, "and the G string, too!" (one of the most
important). After a pause Wilhelmj came down and began again, but the
string was so out of tune that he retired a second time. He must have
been furious inwardly, one would think, and at his _Berlin_ début, too!
but he came down the third time with the utmost imperturbability, and
got through the concerto. The whole effect of the concert was spoiled,
though, and he had also to change the solos he had intended playing, so
as to avoid the G string as much as possible. Instead of the lovely
Chopin Nocturne in D flat (his own arrangement), he played an Aria by
Bach. He did it so wonderfully that I was really startled.--I never
shall forget the _nuances_ he put into his trill. But at his second
concert, where he _did_ give the Nocturne, it was evident that the
romantic is his great forte, and on a first appearance, and before his
large and critical audience, he should have been heard in that


     The Boston Fire. Aggravations of Music Study. Kullak. Sherwood.
     Hoch Schule. A Brilliant American. German Dancing.

BERLIN, _November 24, 1872_.

All the papers over here have been ringing with the Boston fire, the
horse pestilence, shipwrecks, explosions, etc., until I feel as if all
America were going to the bad. What an awful calamity that fire is! I
can't take it in at all. All the Germans are wondering what our fire
companies are made of that such conflagrations _can_ take place. They
say it would be an impossibility _here_, where the organization is so
perfect. The men are trained to the work for years, and are on the spot
in a twinkling, knowing just what to do. They are as fully convinced of
their super-excellence in the Fire Department as in every other, and
nothing can make them believe that if two or three of their little
fire-engines had been there, and worked by _their_ firemen, the Chicago
and Boston fires could not have been put out! You know their machines
are pumped by _hand_, too, instead of by steam, as ours are, which makes
the assumption all the more ludicrous. It reminds me of a German party I
was at once, where our war was the subject of conversation. "Oh, you
don't know anything about fighting over there," said one gentleman,
nodding at me patronizingly across the table. "If you had had two or
three of _our_ regiments, with one of _our_ generals, your war would
have been finished up in no time!"

I've had _such_ a vexation to-day that I'm really quite beside myself! I
was to play the first movement of my Rubinstein Concerto in the
conservatory with the orchestra. I've been straining every nerve over it
for several weeks, practicing incessantly, and had learned it perfectly.
When I played it in the class the other day it went beautifully, and I
think even Kullak was satisfied. Well, of course I was anticipating
playing it with the orchestra before an audience, with much pleasure,
and hoped I was going to distinguish myself. Music-director Wuerst and
Franz Kullak always take charge of these orchestra lessons, sometimes
one directing and sometimes the other. I got up early this morning, and
practiced an hour and a half before I went to the conservatory, and I
was there the first of all who were to play concertos. I spoke to Wuerst
and told him what I was to play, and he said "All right." Wouldn't you
have thought now, that he would have let me play first? Not a bit of it.
He first heard the orchestra play a stupid symphony of Haydn's, which
they might just as well have left out. Then he began screaming out to
know if Herr Moszkowski was there? Herr Moszkowski, however, was _not_
there, and I began to breathe freer, for he is a finished artist, and
has been studying with Kullak for years, and plays in concerts. Of
course if he had played first, it would have been doubly hard for me to
muster up my courage, and you would have thought that Wuerst would have
taken that into consideration. As Moszkowski was absent, I thought I
certainly should be called up next, but another girl received the
preference. She played extremely well, and Wuerst paid her his
compliments, and then took his departure, leaving Franz Kullak to
conduct. Then one of my class played Beethoven's G major concerto most
wretchedly. Poor creature, she was nervous and frightened, and couldn't
do herself any sort of justice. At last it was over, and at last Franz
Kullak sung out, "We will now have Rubinstein's concerto in D minor."

I got up, went to the piano, wiped off the keys, which were completely
_wet_ from the nervous fingers of those who had preceded me, and was
just going to sit down, when a young fellow approached from the other
side with the same intention. "O, Fräulein Fay, you have the same
concerto? Very well, you can play it the _next_ time. To-day Herr
So-and-So plays it!" Now, did you ever know anything so provoking? I
hoped at least that the young fellow would play it well, and that I
should learn something, but he perfectly _murdered_ it, and there I had
to sit through it all, with the piece tingling at my fingers ends--and
now there's no knowing _when_ I shall play it, as the orchestra lessons
are so seldom and so uncertain. I hope there will be one two weeks from
to-day, but even so I probably shan't do half so well as I should have
done to-day, for the freshness will be all out of the piece, and I've
practiced it so much _now_ that I hate the sound of it, and can't bear
to waste any more time over it. Such is life! I thought this time that I
had taken every precaution to ensure success, for I had risen early
every day, and eaten no end of the "bread of carefulness," and the
result is--nothing at all! Not even a failure. It is the more to be
regretted as to-day was the first Sunday of the month, and I wanted to
go to church, especially as the bad weather kept me at home for two
Sundays. However, I'm determined I _will_ play the concerto _yet_, if I
stake "_Kopf und Kragen_ (head and collar)" on it, as the Germans
say.--But oh, the difficulty of doing _anything_ at all in this world!

December 18, 1872.--_At last_ I played my Rubinstein concerto a week ago
Sunday with the orchestra, and had the pleasure of being told by
Scharwenka that I had had a brilliant success. Franz Kullak said that my
octave passages were superbly played, and Moszkowski (who, to my
surprise, was playing first violin) applauded. So I was complimented by
the three of whom I stood most in awe. Scharwenka and Moszkowski are
both finished artists and exquisite composers, and play a great deal in
concerts this winter. Scharwenka is very handsome. He is a Pole, and is
very proud of his nationality. And, indeed, there _is_ something
interesting and romantic about being a Pole. The very name conjures up
thoughts of revolutions, conspiracies, bloody executions, masked balls,
and, of _course_, grace, wit and beauty! Scharwenka certainly sustains
the traditions of his race as far as the latter qualification is
concerned. I never talked with him, as I have but a bowing acquaintance
with him, so I don't know what sort of a _mind_ he has, but I find
myself looking at him and saying to myself with a certain degree of
satisfaction, "He is a Pole." Why I should have this feeling I know not,
but I seem to be proud of knowing Poles!--Scharwenka has a clear olive
complexion, oval face, hazel eyes (I _think_) and a mass of brown silky
hair which he wears long, and which falls about his head in a most
picturesque and attractive fashion. He always presides over the piano at
the orchestral lessons in the conservatory on Sunday mornings, and
supplies those parts which are wanting. When concertos are performed he
accompanies. He has a delightful serenity of manner, and sits there with
quiet dignity, his back to the windows, and the light striking through
his fluffy hair. He plays beautifully, and composes after Chopin's
manner. Perhaps he will do greater things and develop a style of his own
by and by. Every winter he gives a concert in Berlin in the

By the way, I would not advise your paying any attention to what G. says
about music. She is incapable of forming a correct judgment on the
subject, and she used to provoke me to death with her ignorant and
sweeping criticisms. I continually set her right, but to hear her go on
about music and musicians is much like hearing S. R. and the M. crowd
talk about art. What _can_ be easier or more absurd, than to set
yourself up and say that "nobody satisfies you." _Stuff!_--As for
Kullak, I think a master must be judged by the number of players he
turns out. In the two years that I have studied with him he has formed
six or eight artists to my knowledge, beside no end of pupils who play
extremely well. People come to him from all over the world, and as an
artist himself he ranks first class.

I must tell you about a new acquaintance I've just made, a Mr. P., a
Harvard man, very fascinating, very brilliant, a great swell, and the
most perfect _dancer_ I ever saw. I first met this phœnix at a
dinner, when he fairly sparkled. He seemed to have the history of all
countries at his tongue's end, and went through revolutions and reigns
in the most rapid way. We had an animated discussion over the Germans,
whom he loathes and despises, and he brought up all the historical
events he could to justify his disgust. I was on the defensive, of
course. "They've no _delicacy_," said P., in his emphatic way, and I had
to give in there. Indeed, I can imagine that to a fastidious creature
like him, imbued, too, with all the Southern chivalry, the Germans would
be startling, to say the least. "Why," he cried, "they help you at table
with their own forks after they've been eating with them! What do you
think my host did to-day? He took a piece of meat that he had begun to
eat, from _his own plate!_ and put it on to mine with _his own fork!!_
saying, 'Try this, this is a good piece!'--His intentions were
excellent, but it never occurred to him that I shouldn't be delighted to
eat after him."--P. can't bear it when the waiters at the restaurants
pretend to think him a lord and address him as "Herr Graf." "I'll teach
them to _Herr Graf_ me," he said between his teeth, lowering his head,
his eyes flashing dangerous fire. But it is quite likely that they do
suppose him a lord, for he looks it, "every inch."

I met him again at a reception, and was having a most charming
conversation with him about Goethe, whom he was dissecting in his keen
way, when in came Mr. and Mrs. N. I knew at once that there was an end
of our delightful talk, for though Mrs. N. has a most fascinating and
high-bred husband herself, and is, moreover, extremely jealous of him,
she is never content unless the most agreeable man in the room is
devoted to her, also. Sure enough, she came straight toward us, and took
occasion to whisper some senseless thing in my ear. Of course Mr. P. had
to offer her his seat. She was, however, not quite bare-faced enough to
take it, but she had succeeded in breaking the tête-à-tête and in
distracting his attention. Soon after another gentleman came up to speak
to me, Mr. P. bowed, and for the rest of the evening he was pinned to
Mrs. N.'s side. Such are the satisfactions of parties! Either one does
not meet any one worth talking to, or the conversation is sure to be
interrupted. It takes these women of the world, like Mrs. N., to get the
plums out of the pudding.

However, seeing him dance gave me almost as much pleasure as talking
with him. He has this air of having danced millions of Germans, and is
grace and elegance incarnate. Just at the end of the party, he asked me
for a turn, and we took three long ones. I never enjoyed dancing so
much. He manages to annihilate his legs entirely, and his arm, though
strong, is so light that you feel yourself borne along like a bubble,
and are only conscious that you are sustained and guided. He inspired me
so that I danced really well, but when he complimented me, I basely
refrained from letting him know it was all owing to him! By a funny
coincidence he is the son of that elegant Mrs. P. who was on the steamer
with me, and his father is very prominent in politics. I remember
perfectly the pride with which Mrs. P. spoke to me of this son, and how
slightly interested I was. He accompanied her to the steamer, and in
fact the first time I saw her was when Mr. T., who was standing by me on
the deck, said, "That was a _mother's_ kiss," as she rapturously
embraced him on taking leave. I didn't notice Mr. P. at all, though he
says he remembers me perfectly standing there. He is going, or has gone,
to Russia, and from there he will rejoin his family in Paris. That is
the worst of being abroad. Charming people pass over your path like
comets and disappear never to be seen again.

By the way, I now feel equal to anything in the shape of a German dance.
Perhaps that may seem to you a trifling statement; but little do you
know on the subject if it does. If you've ever read "Fitz Boodle's
Confessions," you will remember that he represents the German dancing as
a thing fearful and wonderful to the inexperienced, and how the match
between him and Dorothea was broken off by his falling with her during
the waltz, and rolling over and over. Here _everybody_ dances, old and
young, and you'll see fat old married ladies waddle off with their gray
and spindle-shanked husbands. Declining doesn't help you in the least,
and you are liable to be whisked off without notice by some old fellow
who revolves with you like lightning on the tips of his toes, his
coat-tails flying at an angle of considerably _more_ than forty-five
degrees. Reversing is unknown, and consequently you see the room go
spinning round with you.

I always thought, though, that if one _could_ take their steps, it might
be pretty good fun. So, after a pause of three years, I finally
concluded this winter to go to some German balls and try it again. The
first one I attended was an artists' ball. There was first a little
concert (at which I played), then a supper at ten o'clock, and then the
dancing began. The dancing cards were handed round at supper, and my
various acquaintances came up to ask me for different dances. The first
one asked me for the Polonaise. "Delighted!" said I;--not that I had the
remotest idea what a "polonaise" was, but I was determined not to
flinch. The second engaged me for the "Quadrille à la Cour," and the
third for the "Rheinlaender," etc., etc. I assented to everything with
outward alacrity, but with some inward trepidation, for I thought it
rather a bold stroke to get up at a large ball and attempt to dance a
string of things I had never heard of! However, I was in luck. The
Polonaise turned out to be merely walking, but in different figures, and
this, before the conclusion of it, makes you continually change partners
until you have promenaded and spoken with every one of the opposite sex
in the room. This is to get the whole party acquainted. When you finally
get back to your own partner, it breaks up with a waltz, and so ends.

My partner was a young artist, half painter, half musician, and a very
intelligent and in fact charming talker. Like most artists, his dress
was rather at sixes and sevens. He had on a swallow-tailed coat, but it
did not fit him, so I conclude it was borrowed or hired for the
occasion. It was so wide, and so long, that when I saw him dancing with
some one else, I thought I must have made a laughable figure with him,
for he was small into the bargain. However, he had that sunny,
happy-go-lucky way about him that all artists have when they're in good
humour, and he was a capital dancer. When I came back to him at the end
of the Polonaise I started off with a mental "Now for it," for the waltz
was the thing I was most afraid of; but to my surprise, I got on most
beautifully. Emboldened by success, I went on recklessly. "Rheinlaender"
turned out to be the schottisch, and "Quadrille à la Cour" the lancers,
so I was all right. They had to be danced in the German sense of the
word, of course, but with courage it is possible to do it. Since this
ball I have been to two others, and am now pronounced by the gentlemen
to be a finished dancer. I don't know how I learned, but it seemed to
come to me with a sudden inspiration.


     A German Professor. Sherwood. The Baroness von S. Von Bülow. A
     German Party. Joachim. The Baroness at Home.

    BERLIN, _February 25, 1873_.

At Mr. P.'s we had a charming dinner the other day, which was as
sociable as possible, though we sat thirteen at table. Think what an
oversight! I believe though, that I was the only one who perceived it. I
sat next to a German professor, who is said to speak sixty-four
languages! He had a little compact head, which looked as if it were
stuffed and crammed to the utmost. I reflected a long time which of his
sixty-four languages I should start him on, but finally concluded that
as I spoke English with tolerable fluency we would confine ourselves to
that! He was perfectly delightful to talk to, as all these German
_savans_ are, and I got a lot of new ideas from him. He had been writing
a pamphlet on the subject of love, as considered in various ancient and
modern languages, and in it he proves that the passion of love used to
be quite a different thing from what it is now. All this ideality of
sentiment is entirely modern.

My friend Miss B. is playing exquisitely now, and Sherwood is going
ahead like a young giant. To-day Kullak said that Sherwood played
Beethoven's E flat major concerto (the hardest of all Beethoven's
concertos) with a perfection that he had rarely heard equalled. So much
for being a genius, for he is still under twenty, and has only been
abroad a year or two. But he studied with our best American master,
William Mason, and played like an artist before he came. But, then,
Sherwood has one enormous advantage that no master on earth can bestow,
and that is, perfect confidence in himself. There's nothing like having
faith in yourself, and I believe _that_ is the kind of faith that "moves

At Mr. Bancroft's grand party for Washington's birthday, last Friday, he
presented me to the Baroness von S., but without telling her that I was
the person who wrote that letter about her and Wilhelmj that M.
published without my knowledge in _Dwight's Journal_. She was as
exquisite as I thought she would be, and is the most bewitching
creature! She is just such a woman as Balzac describes--like Honorine,
for instance. She has "_l'oeil plein de feu_," etc., and is grace and
sentiment personified.

She was dressed in white silk, cut square neck and trimmed with a lot of
little box-plaited ruffles round the bottom. Round her throat was a
black velvet ribbon, with a necklace of magnificent pearls fastened to
it in festoons and a diamond pendant in the middle. She greeted me with
a ceremonious bow, and began the conversation by complimenting me on an
accompaniment I had been playing. I told her I was studying music here,
and that I had been in Tausig's conservatory a year. As soon as I
mentioned him we got on delightfully, for she was his favourite pupil,
and we talked a good deal about him and Bülow. She said she had heard
Tausig play everything he ever learned, she thought, and that only a
fortnight before his death, he was at her house and played Chopin's
first Sonata. The last movement comes after the well-known Funeral March
(which forms the Adagio) and is very peculiar. It is a continual running
movement with both hands in unison, and it is played all muffled, and
with the soft pedal. Kullak thinks that Chopin meant to express that
after the grave all is dust and ashes, but the Baroness said that Tausig
thought Chopin meant to represent by it the ghost of the departed
wandering about. On this occasion, when Tausig had finished playing it,
he turned and said to her, "That seems to me like the wind blowing over
my grave." A fortnight later he was dead! I asked her if it were not
dreadful that such an artist should have died so young. The most pained
look came into her beautiful eyes, and she said, "I have _never_ been
able to reconcile myself to it."

The conversation continued in the most charming manner until von Moltke
came up to speak to her on one side and Mr. Bancroft on the other
offered his arm to lead her into the supper-room. "Did you tell her?"
whispered Mr. Bancroft. "No; how could I?" said I. "_You_ ought to tell
her." So I imagine he did tell her, as they went into supper, that I was
the young lady who had described her in the paper. I did not have a
chance to approach her again until just as I was going home. She was
standing in the door-way of an ante-room with Mr. Bancroft, wrapped in
her opera cloak and waiting for her carriage to be announced. I bade Mr.
Bancroft good-night, and as I passed her she put out her hand and said
to me with a meaning look, in her little hesitating English, "I am so
happy to have met you." I told her I owed her an apology, which I hoped
to make another time. "Oh, no," said she, smilingly, "I am very
thankful."--I suppose she meant "very much flattered," or something of
that kind.

I heard two tremendous concerts of Bülow's lately. Oh, I do hope you'll
hear him some day! He is a colossal artist. I never heard a pianist I
liked so well. He has such perfect mastery, and yet such comprehension
and such sympathy. Among other things, he played Beethoven's last
Sonata. Such a magnificent one as it is! I liked it better than the

The other night I went to a party at a General von der G.'s. It was a
"dreadfully" elegant set of people--all countesses, Vons and generals'
wives. Stiff, oh, _how_ stiff! I felt as if the ladies did me a personal
favor every time they spoke to me. They were very handsomely dressed,
and wore their family jewels. There was a great deal of music, and a
certain old Herr von K. sat on a sofa and nodded his head _à la_
connoisseur, while the officers stood round and scarcely dared to wink.
The formality did not abate till we adjourned to the supper-room, when,
as is always the case in German parties, everybody's tongue suddenly
became loosed.--Germans are the happiest people _at_ supper, and the
most wretched before it, that you ever saw. Their parties are _always_
"just so." So many hours of propriety beforehand,--the ladies all by
themselves round a centre-table in one room, the young girls discreetly
sandwiched in between with their embroidery, and talking on the most
limited subjects in the most "papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism"
manner--and the men in the other room playing cards. On this occasion,
when we went into supper, there was one large central table covered with
the feast, and then there were little tables standing about, whither you
could retire with your prey when you had once secured it. I got
something, and betook myself to a table in the corner, whither a young
artist, also Miss B. and an officer, the son of the celebrated General
von W., who won the battle of something, speedily followed me. The
artist, Herr Meyer, sat opposite me, and I began to jabber with him,
unmindful of the officer, as I had previously tried him on every subject
in the known world without being able to extract a reply. We gradually
collected a miscellaneous array of plates full of things, when I dropped
one of my spoons on the floor. I picked it up, laid it aside, and began
eating out of one of my other plates. Presently the officer, who had
been glaring at me all the while out of his uniform, rose solemnly and
went to the centre-table and returned. Suddenly I became aware, by my
light being obscured, that he was standing opposite me on the other side
of the table. I glanced up, and remarked that he had a spoon in his
thumb and finger. As he did not offer it, however, it did not occur to
me that it was for me, so I went on eating. After a minute I looked up
again, and he was still standing as if he were pointing a gun, the spoon
between thumb and finger. At last it dawned upon me that he had brought
it for me, so I took it out of his hand and thanked him, whereupon he
resumed his seat. I was so overcome by this unheard-of act of gallantry
on the part of an aristocrat! and an officer!! that I felt I must say
something worthy of the occasion. So after a few minutes I remarked to
him, "Everything tastes very sweet out of _this_ spoon!"--Total silence
and impassibility of countenance on his part.--Miss B., who was sitting
opposite, remarked mischievously, "That was entirely lost, my dear," and
I was so depressed by my failure that I subsided and did not try to
kindle him again.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _April 14, 1873_.

Colonel B. told me some weeks ago, that Kullak had told him I was ready
for the concert room, and that he would like to have me play at court.
If this is his real opinion _I_ have no evidence of it, for he knows I
am anxious to play in concert before I leave Germany, and yet he does
nothing whatever to bring me forward. It is very discouraging. In this
conservatory there is no stimulus whatever. One might as well be a

I propose to go to Weimar the last of this week. It seems very strange
that I shall actually know Liszt at last, after hearing of him so many
years. I am wild to see him! They say everything depends upon the humour
he happens to be in when you come to him. I hope I shall hit upon one
of his indulgent moments. Every one says he gives no lessons. But I hope
at least to play to him a few times, and what is more important, to hear
_him_ play repeatedly. Happy the pianist who can catch even a faint
reflection of his wonderful style!

Not long ago Mr. Bancroft invited me to drive out to Tegel, Humboldt's
country-seat, near here, with the Joachims, and so I had a three hours
conversation with _that_ idol! He is the most modest, unpretending man
possible. To hear him talk you wouldn't suppose he could play at all.
I've always said to myself that if anything would be heaven, it would be
to play a sonata with Joachim, but have supposed such a thing to be
unattainable--these master-artists are so proud and unapproachable. But
I think now it might not have been so difficult after all, he is so
lovely. Joachim was very quiet during the first part of the excursion,
and I couldn't think how I could get him to talk. At last I mentioned
Wagner, whom I knew he hated. His eyes kindled, and he roused up, and
after that was animated and interesting all the rest of the time! He
said that "Wagner was under the delusion that he was the only man in the
world that understood Beethoven; but it happened there _were_ other
people who could comprehend Beethoven as well as he,"--and indeed, it is
difficult to conceive of any one understanding Beethoven any better than

Joachim is quite as noble and generous to poor artists as Liszt is, and
constantly teaches them for nothing. He has the greatest enthusiasm for
his class in the Hoch Schule, and I shouldn't think that any one who
wishes to study the violin would _think_ of going any where else. They
say that Joachim possesses beautiful social qualities, also, and has the
faculty of entertaining in his own house charmingly. He brings out what
there is in every one without apparently saying anything himself.

The Baroness von S. had seemed so cordial and friendly at Mr. Bancroft's
on account of the letter you had published in _Dwight's Journal of
Music_, that I finally made up my mind to the daring act of calling on
her in order to ask her for a letter of introduction to Liszt. She lives
in a palace belonging to the Empress. There is a deep court in front of
it, with lions on the gateway. Before the door stood a soldier on guard.
As I approached, one of the Gardes du Corps (the Crown Prince's
regiment) emerged from the entrance. He was dressed all in white and
silver, with big top boots, and his helmet surmounted by a silver eagle.
He was an officer, and of course all the officers in this regiment
belong to the flower of the nobility. I was rather awed by his imposing
appearance, and advanced timidly to the doors, which were of glass, and
pulled the bell. A tall phantom in livery appeared, as if by magic, and
signed to me to ascend the grand staircase. The walls of it were all
covered with pictures. I went up, and was received by another tall
phantom in livery. I asked him "if the Frau Excellency was to be
spoken." He took my card, and discreetly said, "he would see," at the
same time ushering me into an immense ball-room, where he requested me
to be seated. It was furnished in crimson satin, there were myriads of
mirrors, and the floor was waxed. I took refuge in a corner of it,
feeling very small indeed. Those few minutes of waiting were extremely
uncomfortable, for I didn't know what she would say to my request, as I
had only seen her that one time at Mr. Bancroft's, and was not sure that
she would not regard my coming as a liberty. People are so severe in
their ideas here.

At last the servant returned and said she would receive me, and led the
way across the ball-room to a door which he opened for me to enter. I
found myself in a large, high room, also furnished in crimson, and in
the centre of which stood two pianos nestled lovingly together. The
Baroness was not there, however, and I saw what seemed to be an endless
succession of rooms opening one out of the other, the doors always
opposite each other. I concluded to "go on till I stopped," and after
traversing three or four, I at last heard a faint murmur of voices, and
entered what I suppose is her _boudoir_. There my divinity was seated in
a little crimson satin sofa, talking to an old fellow who sat on a chair
near her, whom she introduced as Herr Professor Somebody. He had a
small, well-stuffed head, and a pale, observant eye that seemed to say,
"I've looked into everything"--and I should think it _had_ by the way he

The Baroness was attired in an olive-coloured silk, short, and
fashionably made. She was leaning forward as she talked, and toying with
a silver-sheathed dagger which she took from a table loaded with costly
trifles next her. She rose as I came in, and greeted me very cordially,
and asked me to sit down on the sofa by her. I explained to her my
errand, and she immediately said she would give me a letter with the
greatest pleasure. We had a very charming conversation about artists in
general, and Liszt in particular, in which the little professor took a
leading part. He showed himself the connoisseur he looked, and gradually
diverged from the art of music to that of speaking and reading, which he
said was the most difficult of all the arts, because the tone was not
there, but had to be made. He said he had never heard a perfect speaker
or reader in his life. He descanted at great length upon the art of
speaking, and finally, when he paused, the Baroness took my hand and
said, "Where do you live?" I gave her my address, and she said she would
send me the letter. I then rose to go, and she assured me again she
would say all she could to dispose Liszt favourably towards me. I
thanked her, and said good-bye. She waited till I was nearly half across
the next room, and then she called after me, "I'll say lots of pretty
things about you!" That was a real little piece of coquetry on her part,
and she knew that it would take me down! She looked so sweet when she
said it, standing and smiling there in the middle of the floor, the
door-way making a frame for her. A few days afterward I met her in the
street, and she told me she had enjoined it upon Liszt to be amiable to
me, "but," she added, with a mischievous laugh, "I didn't tell him you
wrote so well for the papers." Oh, she is too fascinating for
anything!--She seems just to float on the top of the wave and never to
think. Such exquisite perception and intelligence, and yet lightness!

The last excitement in Berlin was over the wedding of Prince Albrecht
(the son of the one whose funeral I saw) with the Princess of Altenburg.
When she arrived she made a regular entry into the city in a coach all
gold and glass, drawn by eight superb plumed horses. A band of music
went before her, and she had an escort all in grand equipages. As she
sat on the back seat with the Crown Princess, magnificently dressed, and
bowing from side to side, you rubbed your eyes and thought you saw



     Arrives in Weimar. Liszt at the Theatre. At a Party. At his own

    WEIMAR, _May 1, 1873_.

Last night I arrived in Weimar, and this evening I have been to the
theatre, which is very cheap here, and the first person I saw, sitting
in a box opposite, was Liszt, from whom, as you know, I am bent on
getting lessons, though it will be a difficult thing I fear, as I am
told that Weimar is overcrowded with people who are on the same errand.
I recognized Liszt from his portrait, and it entertained and interested
me very much to observe him. He was making himself agreeable to three
ladies, one of whom was very pretty. He sat with his back to the stage,
not paying the least attention, apparently, to the play, for he kept
talking all the while himself, and yet no point of it escaped him, as I
could tell by his expression and gestures.

Liszt is the most interesting and striking looking man imaginable. Tall
and slight, with deep-set eyes, shaggy eyebrows, and long iron-gray
hair, which he wears parted in the middle. His mouth turns up at the
corners, which gives him a most crafty and Mephistophelean expression
when he smiles, and his whole appearance and manner have a sort of
Jesuitical elegance and ease. His hands are very narrow, with long and
slender fingers that look as if they had twice as many joints as other
people's. They are so flexible and supple that it makes you nervous to
look at them. Anything like the polish of his manner I never saw. When
he got up to leave the box, for instance, after his adieux to the
ladies, he laid his hand on his heart and made his final bow,--not with
affectation, or in mere gallantry, but with a quiet courtliness which
made you feel that no other way of bowing to a lady was right or proper.
It was most characteristic.

But the most extraordinary thing about Liszt is his wonderful variety of
expression and play of feature. One moment his face will look dreamy,
shadowy, tragic. The next he will be insinuating, amiable, ironical,
sardonic; but always the same captivating grace of manner. He is a
perfect study. I cannot imagine how he must look when he is playing. He
is all spirit, but half the time, at least, a mocking spirit, I should
say. I have heard the most remarkable stories about him already. All
Weimar adores him, and people say that women still go perfectly crazy
over him. When he walks out he bows to everybody just like a King! The
Grand Duke has presented him with a house beautifully situated on the
park, and here he lives elegantly, free of expense, whenever he chooses
to come to it.

     *     *     *

    WEIMAR, _May 7, 1873_.

There isn't a piano to be had in Weimar for love or money, as there is
no manufactory, and the few there were to be disposed of were snatched
up before I got here. So I have lost an entire week in hunting one up,
and was obliged to go first to Erfurt and finally to Leipsic, before I
could find one--and even that was sent over as a favour after much
coaxing and persuasion. I felt so happy when I fairly saw it in my room!
As if I had taken a city! However, I met Liszt two evenings ago at a
little tea-party given by a friend and _protégée_ of his to as many of
his scholars as have arrived, I being asked with the rest. Liszt
promised to come late. We only numbered seven. There were three young
men and four young ladies, of whom three, including myself, were
Americans. Five of the number had studied with Liszt before, and the
young men are artists already before the public.

To fill up the time till Liszt came, our hostess made us play, one after
the other, beginning with the latest arrival. After we had each
"exhibited," little tables were brought in and supper served. We were in
the midst of it, and having a merry time, when the door suddenly opened
and Liszt appeared. We all rose to our feet, and he shook hands with
everybody without waiting to be introduced. Liszt looks as if he had
been through everything, and has a face _seamed_ with experience. He is
rather tall and narrow, and wears a long abbé's coat reaching nearly
down to his feet. He made me think of an old time magician more than
anything, and I felt that with a touch of his wand he could transform us
all. After he had finished his greetings, he passed into the next room
and sat down. The young men gathered round him and offered him a cigar,
which he accepted and began to smoke. We others continued our nonsense
where we were, and I suppose Liszt overheard some of our brilliant
conversation, for he asked who we were, I think, and presently the lady
of the house came out after Miss W. and me, the two American strangers,
to take us in and present us to him.

After the preliminary greetings we had some little talk. He asked me if
I had been to Sophie Menter's concert in Berlin the other day. I said
yes. He remarked that Miss Menter was a great favourite of his, and that
the lady from whom I had brought a letter to him had done a good deal
for her. I asked him if Sophie Menter were a pupil of his. He said no,
he could not take the credit of her artistic success to himself. I heard
afterwards that he really had done ever so much for her, but he won't
have it said that he teaches! After he had finished his cigar, Liszt got
up and said, "America is now to have the floor," and requested Miss W.
to play for him. This was a dreadful ordeal for us new arrivals, for we
had not expected to be called upon. I began to quake inwardly, for I had
been without a piano for nearly a week, and was not at all prepared to
play to him, while Miss W. had been up since five o'clock in the
morning, and had travelled all day. However, there was no getting off. A
request from Liszt is a command, and Miss W. sat down, and acquitted
herself as well as could have been expected under the circumstances.
Liszt waved his hand and nodded his head from time to time, and seemed
pleased, I thought. He then called upon Leitert, who played a
composition of Liszt's own most beautifully. Liszt commended him and
patted him on the back. As soon as Leitert had finished, I slipped off
into the back room, hoping Liszt would forget all about me, but he
followed me almost immediately, like a cat with a mouse, took both my
hands in his, and said in the most winning way imaginable,
"_Mademoiselle, vous jouerez quelque-chose, n'est-ce-pas?_" I can't give
you any idea of his _persuasiveness_, when he chooses. It is enough to
decoy you into anything. It was such a desperate moment that I became
reckless, and without even telling him that I was out of practice and
not prepared to play, I sat down and plunged into the A flat major
Ballade of Chopin, as if I were possessed. The piano had a splendid
touch, luckily. Liszt kept calling out "Bravo" every minute or two, to
encourage me, and somehow, I got through. When I had finished, he
clapped his hands and said, "Bravely played." He asked with whom I had
studied, and made one or two little criticisms. I hoped he would shove
me aside and play it himself, but he didn't.

Liszt is just like a monarch, and no one dares speak to him until he
addresses one first, which I think no fun. He did not play to us at all,
except when some one asked him if he had heard R. play that afternoon.
R. is a young organist from Leipsic, who telegraphed to Liszt to ask him
if he might come over and play to him on the organ. Liszt, with his
usual amiability, answered that he might. "Oh," said Liszt, with an
indescribably comic look, "he improvised for me a whole half-hour in
this style,"--and then he got up and went to the piano, and without
sitting down he played some ridiculous chords in the middle of the
key-board, and then little trills and turns high up in the treble, which
made us all burst out laughing. Shortly after I had played I took my
leave. Liszt had gone into the other room to smoke, and I didn't care to
follow him, as I saw that he was tired, and had no intention of playing
to us. Our hostess told Miss W. and me to "slip out so that he would not
perceive it." Yesterday Miss W. went to see him, and he asked her if she
knew that Miss "Fy," and told her to tell me to come to him. So I shall
present myself to-morrow, though I don't know how the lion will act when
I beard him in his den.

     *     *     *

    WEIMAR, _May 21, 1873_.

Liszt is so _besieged_ by people and so tormented with applications,
that I fear I should only have been sent away if I had come without the
Baroness von S.'s letter of introduction, for he admires her extremely,
and I judge that she has much influence with him. He says "people fly in
his face by dozens," and seem to think he is "only there to give
lessons." He gives _no_ paid lessons whatever, as he is much too grand
for that, but if one has talent enough, or pleases him, he lets one come
to him and play to him. I go to him every other day, but I don't play
more than twice a week, as I cannot prepare so much, but I listen to the
others. Up to this point there have been only four in the class besides
myself, and I am the only new one. From four to six P. M. is the time
when he receives his scholars. The first time I went I did not play to
him, but listened to the rest. Urspruch and Leitert, the two young men
whom I met the other night, have studied with Liszt a long time, and
both play superbly. Fräulein Schultz and Miss Gaul (of Baltimore), are
also most gifted creatures.

As I entered Liszt's salon, Urspruch was performing Schumann's Symphonic
Studies--an immense composition, and one that it took at least half an
hour to get through. He played so splendidly that my heart sank down
into the very depths. I thought I should never get on _there_! Liszt
came forward and greeted me in a very friendly manner as I entered. He
was in very good humour that day, and made some little witticisms.
Urspruch asked him what title he should give to a piece he was
composing. "_Per aspera ad astra_," said Liszt. This was such a good hit
that I began to laugh, and he seemed to enjoy my appreciation of his
little sarcasm. I did not play that time, as my piano had only just
come, and I was not prepared to do so, but I went home and practiced
tremendously for several days on Chopin's B minor sonata. It is a great
composition, and one of his last works. When I thought I could play it,
I went to Liszt, though with a trembling heart. I cannot tell you what
it has cost me every time I have ascended his stairs. I can scarcely
summon up courage to go there, and generally stand on the steps awhile
before I can make up my mind to open the door and go in!

This day it was particularly trying, as it was really my first serious
performance before him, and he speaks so very indistinctly that I
feared I shouldn't understand his corrections, and that he would get out
of patience with me, for he cannot bear to explain. I think he hates the
trouble of speaking German, for he mutters his words and does not half
finish his sentences. Yesterday when I was there he spoke to me in
French all the time, and to the others in German,--one of his funny
whims, I suppose.

Well, on this day the artists Leitert and Urspruch, and the young
composer Metzdorf, who is always hanging about Liszt, were in the room
when I came. They had probably been playing. At first Liszt took no
notice of me beyond a greeting, till Metzdorf said to him, "Herr Doctor,
Miss Fay has brought a sonata." "Ah, well, let us hear it," said Liszt.
Just then he left the room for a minute, and I told the three gentlemen
that they ought to go away and let me play to Liszt alone, for I felt
nervous about playing before them. They all laughed at me and said they
would not budge an inch. When Liszt came back they said to him, "Only
think, Herr Doctor, Miss Fay proposes to send us all home." I said I
could not play before such great artists. "Oh, that is healthy for you,"
said Liszt, with a smile, and added, "you have a very choice audience,
now." I don't know whether he appreciated how nervous I was, but instead
of walking up and down the room as he often does, he sat down by me like
any other teacher, and heard me play the first movement. It was
frightfully hard, but I had studied it so much that I managed to get
through with it pretty successfully. Nothing could exceed Liszt's
amiability, or the trouble he gave himself, and instead of frightening
me, he inspired me. Never was there such a delightful teacher! and he is
the first sympathetic one I've had. You feel so _free_ with him, and he
develops the very spirit of music in you. He doesn't keep nagging at you
all the time, but he leaves you your own conception. Now and then he
will make a criticism, or play a passage, and with a few words give you
enough to think of all the rest of your life. There is a delicate
_point_ to everything he says, as subtle as he is himself. He doesn't
tell you anything about the technique. That you must work out for
yourself. When I had finished the first movement of the sonata, Liszt,
as he always does, said "Bravo!" Taking my seat, he made some little
criticisms, and then told me to go on and play the rest of it.

Now, I only half knew the other movements, for the first one was so
extremely difficult that it cost me all the labour I could give to
prepare that. But playing to Liszt reminds me of trying to feed the
elephant in the Zoological Garden with lumps of sugar. He disposes of
whole movements as if they were nothing, and stretches out gravely for
more! One of my fingers fortunately began to bleed, for I had practiced
the skin off, and that gave me a good excuse for stopping. Whether he
was pleased at this proof of industry, I know not; but after looking at
my finger and saying, "Oh!" very compassionately, he sat down and played
the whole three last movements himself. That was a great deal, and
showed off all his powers. It was the first time I had heard him, and I
don't know which was the most extraordinary,--the Scherzo, with its
wonderful lightness and swiftness, the Adagio with its depth and pathos,
or the last movement, where the whole key-board seemed to "_donnern und
blitzen_ (thunder and lighten)." There is such a vividness about
everything he plays that it does not seem as if it were mere music you
were listening to, but it is as if he had called up a real, living
_form_, and you saw it breathing before your face and eyes. It gives
_me_ almost a ghostly feeling to hear him, and it seems as if the air
were peopled with spirits. Oh, he is a perfect wizard! It is as
interesting to see him as it is to hear him, for his face changes with
every modulation of the piece, and he looks exactly as he is playing. He
has one element that is most captivating, and that is, a sort of
delicate and fitful mirth that keeps peering out at you here and there!
It is most peculiar, and when he plays that way, the most bewitching
little expression comes over his face. It seems as if a little spirit of
joy were playing hide and go seek with you.

On Friday Liszt came and paid me a visit, and even played a little on my
piano.--Only think what an honour! At the same time he told me to come
to him that afternoon and play to him, and invited me also to a matinee
he was going to give on Sunday for some countess of distinction who was
here for a few days. None of the other scholars were asked, and when I
entered the room there were only three persons in it beside Liszt. One
was the Grand Duke himself, the other was the Countess von M. (born a
Russian Princess), and the third was a Russian minister's wife. They
were all four standing in a little knot, speaking in French together. I
had no idea who they were, as the Grand Duke was in morning costume, and
had no star or decoration to distinguish him. I saw at a glance,
however, that they were all swells, and so I didn't speak to any of
them, luckily, though it was an even chance that I had not said
something to avoid the awkwardness of standing there like a post, for I
had been told beforehand that Liszt never introduced people to each
other. Liszt greeted me in a very friendly manner, and introduced me to
the countess, but she was so dreadfully set up that it was impossible to
get more than a few icy words out of her. I was thankful enough when
more people arrived, so that I could retire to a corner and sit down
without being observed, for it was a very uncomfortable situation to be
standing, a stranger, close to four fashionables and not dare to speak
to _any_ of them because they did not address me.

After the company was all assembled, it numbered eighteen persons,
nearly all of whom were titled. I was the only unimportant one in it.
Liszt was so sweet. He kept coming over to where I sat and talking to
me, and promised me a ticket for a private concert where only his
compositions were to be performed. He seemed determined to make me feel
at home. He played five times, but no _great_ work, which was a
disappointment to me, particularly as the last three times he played
duetts with a leading Weimar artist named Lassen, who was present. He
made me come and turn the leaves. Gracious! how he _does_ read! It is
very difficult to turn for him, for he reads ever so far ahead of what
he is playing, and takes in fully five bars at a glance, so you have to
guess about where you _think_ he would like to have the page over. Once
I turned it too late, and once too early, and he snatched it out of my
hand and whirled it back.--Not quite the situation for timorous me, was

May 21.--To-day being my birthday, I thought I must go to Liszt by way
of celebration. I wasn't really ready to play to him, but I took his
second Ballade with me, and thought I'd ask him some questions about
some hard places in it. He insisted upon my playing it. When we came in
he looked indisposed and nervous, and there happened to be a good many
artists there. We always lay our notes on the table, and he takes them,
looks them over, and calls out what he'll have played. He remarked this
piece and called out "_Wer spielt diese grosse mächtige Ballade von
mir?_ (Who plays this great and mighty ballad of mine?)" I felt as if he
had asked "Who killed Cock Robin?" and as if I were the one who had done
it, only I did not feel like "owning up" to it quite so glibly as the
sparrow had, for Liszt seemed to be in very bad humour, and had roughed
the one who had played before me. I finally mustered up my courage and
said "_Ich_," but told him I did not know it perfectly yet. He said, "No
matter; play it." So I sat down, expecting he would take my head off,
but, strange to say, he seemed to be delighted with my playing, and said
that I had "quite touched him." Think of that from Liszt, and when I was
playing his own composition! When I went out he accompanied me to the
door, took my hand in both of his and said, "To-day you've covered
yourself with glory!" I told him I had only _begun_ it, and I hoped he
would let me play it again when I knew it better. "What," said he, "I
must pay you a still greater compliment, must I?" "Of course," said I.
"_Il faut vouz gâter?_" "Oui," said I. He laughed.


     Liszt's Drawing-room. An Artist's Walking Party. Liszt's Teaching.

    WEIMAR, _May 29, 1873_.

I am having the most heavenly time in Weimar, studying with Liszt, and
sometimes I can scarcely realize that I am at that summit of my
ambition, to be _his_ pupil! It was the Baroness von S.'s letter that
secured it for me, I am sure. He is so overrun with people, that I think
it is a wonder he is civil to anybody, but he is the most amiable man I
ever knew, though he _can_ be dreadful, too, when he chooses, and he
understands how to put people outside his door in as short a space of
time as it can be done. I go to him three times a week. At home Liszt
doesn't wear his long abbé's coat, but a short one, in which he looks
much more artistic. His figure is remarkably slight, but his head is
most imposing.--It is _so_ delicious in that room of his! It was all
furnished and put in order for him by the Grand Duchess herself. The
walls are pale gray, with a gilded border running round the room, or
rather two rooms, which are divided, but not separated, by crimson
curtains. The furniture is crimson, and everything is so
_comfortable_--such a contrast to German bareness and stiffness
generally. A splendid grand piano stands in one window (he receives a
new one every year). The other window is always wide open, and looks
out on the park. There is a dove-cote just opposite the window, and the
doves promenade up and down on the roof of it, and fly about, and
sometimes whirr down on the sill itself. That pleases Liszt. His
writing-table is beautifully fitted up with things that all match.
Everything is in bronze--ink-stand, paper-weight, match-box, etc., and
there is always a lighted candle standing on it by which he and the
gentlemen can light their cigars. There is a carpet on the floor, a
rarity in Germany, and Liszt generally walks about, and smokes, and
mutters (he can never be said to _talk_), and calls upon one or other of
us to play. From time to time he will sit down and play himself where a
passage does not suit him, and when he is in good spirits he makes
little jests all the time. His playing was a complete revelation to me,
and has given me an entirely new insight into music. You cannot
conceive, without hearing him, how poetic he is, or the thousand
_nuances_ that he can throw into the simplest thing, and he is equally
great on all sides. From the zephyr to the tempest, the whole scale is
equally at his command.

But Liszt is not at all like a master, and cannot be treated like one.
He is a monarch, and when he extends his royal sceptre you can sit down
and play to him. You never can ask him to play anything for you, no
matter how much you're dying to hear it. If he is in the mood he will
play, if not, you must content yourself with a few remarks. You cannot
even offer to play yourself. You lay your notes on the table, so he can
see that you _want_ to play, and sit down. He takes a turn up and down
the room, looks at the music, and if the piece interests him, he will
call upon you. We bring the same piece to him but once, and but once
play it through.

Yesterday I had prepared for him his _Au Bord d'une Source_. I was
nervous and played badly. He was not to be put out, however, but acted
as if he thought I had played charmingly, and then he sat down and
played the whole piece himself, oh, _so_ exquisitely! It made me feel
like a wood-chopper. The notes just seemed to ripple off his fingers'
ends with scarce any perceptible motion. As he neared the close I
remarked that that funny little expression came over his face which he
always has when he means to surprise you, and he suddenly took an
unexpected chord and extemporized a poetical little end, quite different
from the written one.--Do you wonder that people go distracted over him?

Weimar is a lovely little place, and there are most beautiful walks all
about. Ascension being a holiday here, all we pianists made up a walking
party out to Tiefurt, about two miles distant. We went in the afternoon
and returned in the evening. The walk lay through the woods, and was
perfectly exquisite the whole way. As we came back in the evening the
nightingales were singing, and I could not help wishing that P. were
there to hear them, as he has such a passion for birds. There are
cuckoos here, too, and you hear them calling "cuckoo, cuckoo." Metzdorf
and I danced on the hard road, to the edification of all the others. In
Tiefurt we partook of a magnificent collation consisting of a mug of
beer, brown bread and sausage! Some of the party preferred coffee, among
whom was Metzdorf, who made us laugh by sticking the coffee-pot into his
inside coat pocket as soon as he had poured out his first cup, in order
to make sure that the others didn't take more than their share; he would
coolly take it out, help himself, and put it back again. The servant who
waited got frightened, and thought he was going to steal it. Afterwards
when we were playing games and wanted the door shut, the host came and
opened it, and would not allow us to shut it, because he said we might
carry off something! How's that!

     *     *     *

    WEIMAR, _June 6, 1873_.

When I first came there were only five of us who studied with Liszt, but
lately a good many others have been there. Day before yesterday there
came a young lady who was a pupil of Henselt in St. Petersburg. She is
immensely talented, only seventeen years old, and her name is Laura
Kahrer. It is a very rare thing to see a pupil of Henselt, for it is
very difficult to get lessons from him. He stands next to Liszt. This
Laura Kahrer plays everything that ever was heard of, and she played a
fugue of her own composition the other day that was really vigorous and
good. I was quite astonished to hear how she had worked it up. She has
made a grand concert tour in Russia. I never saw such a hand as she had.
She could bend it backwards till it looked like the palm of her hand
turned inside out. She was an interesting little creature, with dark
eyes and hair, and one could see by her Turkish necklace and numerous
bangles that she had been making money. She played with the greatest
_aplomb_, though her touch had a certain roughness about it to my ear.
She did not carry me away, but I have not heard many pieces from her.

However, all playing sounds barren by the side of Liszt, for _his_ is
the living, breathing impersonation of poetry, passion, grace, wit,
coquetry, daring, tenderness and every other fascinating attribute that
you can think of! I'm ready to hang myself half the time when I've been
to him. Oh, he is the most phenomenal being in every respect! All that
you've heard of him would never give you an idea of him. In short, he
represents the whole scale of human emotion. He is a many-sided prism,
and reflects back the light in all colours, no matter how you look at
him. His pupils _adore_ him, as in fact everybody else does, but it is
impossible to do otherwise with a person whose genius flashes out of him
all the time so, and whose character is so winning.

One day this week, when we were with Liszt, he was in such high spirits
that it was as if he had suddenly become twenty years younger. A student
from the Stuttgardt conservatory played a Liszt Concerto. His name is
V., and he is dreadfully nervous. Liszt kept up a little running fire of
satire all the time he was playing, but in a good-natured way. I
shouldn't have minded it if it had been I. In fact, I think it would
have inspired me; but poor V. hardly knew whether he was on his head or
on his feet. It was too funny. Everything that Liszt says is so
striking. For instance, in one place where V. was playing the melody
rather feebly, Liszt suddenly took his seat at the piano and said, "When
_I_ play, I always play for the people in the gallery [by the gallery he
meant the cock-loft, where the rabble always sit, and where the places
cost next to nothing], so that those persons who pay only five groschens
for their seat also hear something." Then he began, and I wish you could
have heard him! The sound didn't seem to be very _loud_, but it was
penetrating and far-reaching. When he had finished, he raised one hand
in the air, and you seemed to see all the people in the gallery drinking
in the sound. That is the way Liszt teaches you. He presents an _idea_
to you, and it takes fast hold of your mind and sticks there. Music is
such a real, visible thing to him, that he always has a symbol,
instantly, in the material world to express his idea. One day, when I
was playing, I made too much movement with my hand in a rotatory sort of
a passage where it was difficult to avoid it. "Keep your hand still,
Fräulein," said Liszt; "_don't make omelette_." I couldn't help
laughing, it hit me on the head so nicely. He is far too sparing of his
playing, unfortunately, and, like Tausig, only sits down and plays a few
bars at a time, generally. It is dreadful when he stops, just as you are
at the height of your enjoyment, but he is so thoroughly _blasé_ that he
doesn't care to show off, and doesn't like to have any one pay him a
compliment. Even at the court it annoyed him so that the Grand Duchess
told people to take no notice when he rose from the piano.

On the same day that Liszt was in such high good-humour, a strange lady
and her husband were there who had made a long journey to Weimar, in the
hope of hearing him play. She waited patiently for a long time through
the lesson, and at last Liszt took compassion on her, and sat down with
his favourite remark that "the young ladies played a great deal better
than he did, but he would try his best to imitate them," and then played
something of his own so wonderfully, that when he had finished we all
stood there like posts, feeling that there was _nothing_ to be said. But
he, as if he feared we might burst out into eulogy, got up instantly and
went over to a friend of his who was standing there, and who lives on an
estate near Weimar, and said, in the most commonplace tone imaginable,
"By the way, how about those eggs? Are you going to send me some?" It
seems to be not only a profound bore to him, but really a sort of
sensitiveness on his part. How he can bear to hear _us_ play, I cannot
imagine. It must grate on his ear terribly, I think, because everything
_must_ sound expressionless to him in comparison with his own marvellous
conception. I assure you, no matter how beautifully we play any piece,
the minute Liszt plays it, you would scarcely recognize it! His touch
and his peculiar use of the pedal are two secrets of his playing, and
then he seems to dive down in the most hidden thoughts of the composer,
and fetch them up to the surface, so that they gleam out at you one by
one, like stars!

The more I see and hear Liszt, the more I am lost in amazement! I can
neither eat nor sleep on those days that I go to him. All my musical
studies till now have been a mere going to school, a preparation for
him. I often think of what Tausig said once: "Oh, compared with Liszt,
we other artists are all blockheads." I did not believe it at the time,
but I've seen the truth of it, and in studying Liszt's playing, I can
see where Tausig got many of his own wonderful peculiarities. I think he
was the most like Liszt of all the army that have had the privilege of
his instruction.--I began this letter on Sunday, and it is now Tuesday.
Yesterday I went to Liszt, and found that Bülow had just arrived. None
of the other scholars had come, for a wonder, and I was just going away,
when Liszt came out, asked me to come in a moment, and introduced me to
Bülow. There I was, all alone with these two great artists in Liszt's
_salon_! Wasn't _that_ a situation? I only stayed a few minutes, of
course, though I should have liked to spend hours, but our conversation
was in the highest degree amusing while I _was_ there. Bülow had just
returned from his grand concert tour, and had been in London for the
first time. In a few months he had given one hundred and twenty
concerts! He is a fascinating creature, too, like all these master
artists, but entirely different from Liszt, being small, quick, and airy
in his movements, and having one of the boldest and proudest foreheads I
ever saw. He looks like strength of will personified. Liszt gazed at
"his Hans," as he calls him, with the fondest pride, and seemed
perfectly happy over his arrival. It was like his beautiful courtesy to
call me in and introduce me to Bülow instead of letting me go away. He
thought I had come to play to him, and was unwilling to have me take
that trouble for nothing, though he must have wished me in Jericho. You
would think I paid him a hundred dollars a lesson, instead of _his_
condescending to sacrifice his valuable time to _me_ for nothing.


     Liszt's Expression in Playing. Liszt on Conservatories. Ordeal of
     Liszt's Lessons. Liszt's Kindness.

    WEIMAR, _June 19, 1873_.

In Liszt I can at last say that my ideal in _something_ has been
realized. He goes far beyond all that I expected. Anything so perfectly
beautiful as he looks when he sits at the piano I never saw, and yet he
is almost an old man now.[E] I enjoy him as I would an exquisite work of
art. His personal magnetism is immense, and I can scarcely bear it when
he plays. He can make me cry all he chooses, and that is saying a good
deal, because I've heard so much music, and _never_ have been affected
by it. Even Joachim, whom I think divine, never moved me. When Liszt
plays anything pathetic, it sounds as if he had been through everything,
and opens all one's wounds afresh. All that one has ever suffered comes
before one again. Who was it that I heard say once, that years ago he
saw Clara Schumann sitting in tears near the platform, during one of
Liszt's performances?--Liszt knows well the influence he has on people,
for he always fixes his eyes on some one of us when he plays, and I
believe he tries to wring our hearts. When he plays a passage, and goes
_pearling_ down the key-board, he often looks over at me and smiles, to
see whether I am appreciating it.

But I doubt if he feels any particular emotion himself, when he is
piercing you through with his rendering. He is simply hearing every
tone, knowing exactly what effect he wishes to produce and how to do it.
In fact, he is practically two persons in one--the listener and the
performer. But what immense self-command that implies! No matter how
fast he plays you always feel that there is "plenty of time"--no need to
be anxious! You might as well try to move one of the pyramids as fluster
_him_. Tausig possessed this repose in a technical way, and his touch
was marvellous; but he never drew the tears to your eyes. He could not
wind himself through all the subtle labyrinths of the heart as Liszt

Liszt does such bewitching little things! The other day, for instance,
Fräulein Gaul was playing something to him, and in it were two runs, and
after each run two staccato chords. She did them most beautifully, and
struck the chords immediately after. "No, no," said Liszt, "after you
make a run you must wait a minute before you strike the chords, as if in
admiration of your own performance. You must pause, as if to say, 'How
nicely I did that.'" Then he sat down and made a run himself, waited a
second, and then struck the two chords in the treble, saying as he did
so "Bra-_vo_," and then he played again, struck the other chord, and
said again "Bra-_vo_," and positively, it was as if the piano had softly
applauded! That is the way he plays everything. It seems as if the piano
were speaking with a _human_ tongue.

Our class has swelled to about a dozen persons now, and a good many
others come and play to him once or twice and then go. As I wrote to L.
the other day, that dear little scholar of Henselt, Fräulein Kahrer, was
one, but she only stayed three days. She was a most interesting little
creature, and told some funny stories about Henselt, who she says has a
most violent temper, and is very severe. She said that one day he was
giving a lesson to Princess Katherina (whoever that is), and he was so
enraged over her playing that he snatched away the music, and dashed it
to the ground. The Princess, however, did not lose her equanimity, but
folded her arms and said, "Who shall pick it up?" And he had to bend and
restore it to its place.

I've never seen Liszt look angry but once, but then he was terrific.
Like a lion! It was one day when a student from the Stuttgardt
conservatory attempted to play the Sonata Appassionata. He had a good
deal of technique, and a moderately good conception of it, but still he
was totally inadequate to the work--and indeed, only a _mighty_ artist
like Tausig or Bülow ought to attempt to play it. It was a hot
afternoon, and the clouds had been gathering for a storm. As the
Stuttgardter played the opening notes of the sonata, the tree-tops
suddenly waved wildly, and a low growl of thunder was heard muttering in
the distance. "Ah," said Liszt, who was standing at the window, with his
delicate quickness of perception, "a fitting accompaniment." (You know
Beethoven wrote the Appassionata one night when he was caught in a
thunder-storm.) If Liszt had only played it himself, the whole thing
would have been like a poem. But he walked up and down the room and
forced himself to listen, though he could scarcely bear it, I could see.
A few times he pushed the student aside and played a few bars himself,
and we saw the passion leap up into his face like a glare of sheet
lightning. Anything so magnificent as it was, the little that he _did_
play, and the startling individuality of his conception, I never heard
or imagined. I felt as if I did not know whether I were "in the body or
out of the body."--GLORIOUS BEING! He is a two-edged sword that cuts
through everything.

The Stuttgardter made some such glaring mistakes, not in the notes, but
in rhythm, etc., that at last Liszt burst out with, "You come from
Stuttgardt, and play like _that_!" and then he went on in a tirade
against conservatories and teachers in general. He was like a
thunder-storm himself. He frowned, and bent his head, and his long hair
fell over his face, while the poor Stuttgardter sat there like a beaten
hound. Oh, it was awful! If it had been I, I think I should have
withered entirely away, for Liszt is always so amiable that the contrast
was all the stronger.--"_Aber das geht Sie nichts an_ (But this does not
concern you)," said he, in a conciliatory tone, suddenly stopping
himself and smiling. "_Spielen Sie weiter_ (Play on)."--He meant that it
was not at the student but at the conservatories that he had been angry.

Liszt hasn't the nervous irritability common to artists, but on the
contrary his disposition is the most exquisite and tranquil in the
world. We have been there incessantly, and I've never seen him ruffled
except two or three times, and then he was tired and not himself, and it
was a most transient thing. When I think what a little savage Tausig
often was, and how cuttingly sarcastic Kullak could be at times, I am
astonished that Liszt so rarely loses his temper. He has the power of
turning the best side of every one outward, and also the most marvellous
and instant appreciation of what that side is. If there is _anything_ in
you, you may be sure that Liszt will know it. Whether he chooses to let
you think he does, may, however, be another matter.

     *     *     *

    WEIMAR, _July 15, 1873_.

Liszt is such an immense, inspiring force that one has to try and stride
forward with him at double rate, even if with double expenditure, too!
To-day I'm more dead than alive, as we had a lesson from him yesterday
that lasted four hours. There were twenty artists present, all of whom
were anxious to play, and as he was in high good-humour, he played ever
so much himself in between. It was perfectly magnificent, but exhausting
and exciting to the last degree. When I come home from the lessons I
fling myself on the sofa, and feel as if I never wanted to get up again.
It is a fearful day's work every time I go to him. First, four hours'
practice in the morning. Then a nervous, anxious feeling that takes away
my appetite, and prevents me from eating my dinner. And then several
hours at Liszt's, where one succession of concertos, fantasias, and all
sorts of tremendous things are played. You never know before whom you
must play there, for it is the musical headquarters of the world.
Directors of conservatories, composers, artists, aristocrats, all come
in, and you have to bear the brunt of it as best you can. The first
month I was here, when there were only five of us, it was quite another
matter, but now the room is crowded every time.

Liszt gave a matinee the other day at which I played a "Soirée de
Vienne," by Tausig--awfully hard, but very brilliant and peculiar. I
don't know how I ever got through it, for I had only been studying it a
few days, and didn't even know it by heart, nor had I played it to
Liszt. He only told me the evening before, too, about eight
o'clock--"To-morrow I give a matinee; bring your Soirée de Vienne." I
rushed home and practiced till ten, and then I got up early the next
morning and practiced a few hours. The matinee was at eleven o'clock.
First, Liszt played himself, then a young lady sang several songs, then
there was a piece for piano and flute played by Liszt and a flutist, and
then I came. I was just as frightened as I could be! Metzdorf (my
Russian friend) and Urspruch sat down by me to give me courage, and to
turn the leaves, but Liszt insisted upon turning himself, and stood
behind me and did it in his dexterous way. He says it is an art to turn
the leaves properly! He was _so_ kind, and whenever I did anything well
he would call out "_charmant!_" to encourage me. It is considered a
great compliment to be asked to play at a matinee, and I don't know why
Liszt paid it to me at the expense of others who were there who play far
better than I do--among them a young lady from Norway, lately come, who
is a most _superb_ pianist. She was a pupil of Kullak's, too, but it is
four years since she left him, and she has been concertizing a good
deal. Yesterday she played Schumann's A minor concerto magnificently. I
was surprised that Liszt had not selected her, but one can never tell
what to expect from Liszt. With him "nothing is to be presumed on or
despaired of"--as the proverb says. He is so full of moods and phases
that you have to have a very sharp perception even to begin to
understand him, and he can cut you all up fine without your ever
guessing it. He rarely mortifies any one by an open snub, but what is
perhaps worse, he manages to let the rest of the class know what he is
thinking while the poor victim remains quite in darkness about it!--Yes,
he can do very cruel things.

After all, though, people generally have their own assurance to thank,
or their own want of tact, when they do not get on with Liszt. If they
go to him full of themselves, or expecting to make an impression on
_him_, or merely for the sake of saying they have been with him, instead
of presenting themselves to sit at his feet in humility, as they ought,
and learn whatever he is willing to impart--he soon finds it out, and
treats them accordingly. Some one once asked Liszt, what he would have
been had he not been a musician. "The first diplomat in Europe," was the
reply. With this Machiavellian bent it is not surprising that he
sometimes indulges himself in playing off the conceited or the obtuse
for the benefit of the bystanders. But the real _basis_ of his nature is
compassion. _The bruised reed he does not break, nor the humble and
docile heart despise!_

Fräulein Gaul tells a characteristic story about the "Meister," as we
call Liszt. When she first came to him a year or two ago, she brought
him one day Chopin's B flat minor Scherzo--one of those stock pieces
that every artist _must_ learn, and that has also been thrummed to death
by countless tyros. Liszt looked at it, and to her fright and dismay
cried out in a fit of impatience, "No, I _won't_ hear it!" and dashed it
angrily into the corner. The next day he went to see her, apologized for
his outburst of temper, and said that as a penance for it he would force
himself to give her not one, but two or three lessons on the Scherzo,
and in the most minute and careful manner--which accordingly he did!
Fancy any music teacher you ever heard of, so humbling himself to a
little girl of fifteen, and then remember that Tausig, the greatest of
modern virtuosi, said of Liszt, "No mortal can measure himself with
Liszt. He dwells upon a solitary height."

But you need not fear that I am "giving up American standards" because I
reverence Liszt so boundlessly. Everything is topsy-turvy in Europe
according to _our_ moral ideas, and they don't have what we call "men"
over here. But they _do_ have artists that we cannot approach! It is as
a Master in Art that I look at and write of Liszt, and his mere presence
is to his pupils such stimulus and joy, that when I leave _him_ I shall
feel I have left the best part of my life behind!


     Liszt's Compositions. His Playing and Teaching of Beethoven. His
     "Effects" in Piano-playing. Excursion to Jena. A New Music Master.

    WEIMAR, _July 24, 1873_.

Liszt is going away to-day. He was to have left several days ago, but
the Emperor of Austria or Russia (I don't know which), came to visit the
Grand Duke, and of course Liszt was obliged to be on hand and to spend a
day with them. He is such a grandee himself that kings and emperors are
quite matters of course to him. Never was a man so courted and spoiled
as he! The Grand Duchess herself frequently visits him. But he never
allows anyone to ask him to play, and even she doesn't venture it. That
is the only point in which one sees Liszt's sense of his own greatness;
otherwise his manner is remarkably unassuming.

Liszt will be gone until the middle of August, and I shall be thankful
to have a few weeks of repose, and to be able to study more quietly.
With him one is at high pressure all the time, and I have gained a good
many more ideas from him than I can work up in a hurry. In fact, Liszt
has revealed to me an entirely new idea of piano-playing. He is a
wonderful _composer_, by the way, and that is what I was unprepared for
in him. His oratorio of _Christus_ was brought out here this summer, and
many strangers and celebrities came to hear it, Wagner among others. It
was magnificent, and one of the noblest, and decidedly the grandest
oratorio that I ever heard. I've never had time to write home about it,
for I felt that it required a dissertation in itself to do it justice. I
wish it could be performed in Boston, for his orchestral and choral
works, I am sorry to say, make their way very slowly in Germany. "Liszt
helped Wagner," said he to me, sadly, "but who will help Liszt? though,
compared with Opera it is as much harder for Oratorio to conquer a place
as it is for a pianist to achieve success when compared to a singer." So
he feels as if things were against him, though his heart and soul are so
bound up in sacred music, that he told me it had become to him "the only
thing worth living for." He really seems to care almost nothing for his
piano-playing or for his piano compositions.

And yet, what beauty is there in those compositions! In Berlin I had
always been taught that Liszt was a would-be composer, that he could not
write a melody, that he had no originality, and that his compositions
were merely glitter to dazzle the eyes of the public. How unjust and
untrue have I found all these assertions to be! Here I have an
opportunity of hearing his piano works _en masse_, and day by day (since
all the young artists are playing them), and my previous ideas have been
entirely reversed. If Liszt is _anything_, he is _original_. One can see
that at a glance, simply by imagining his music taken out. Where is
there anything that would fill its place? When artists wish to make an
"effect" and stir up the public--"to fuse the leaden thousands," as
Chopin expressed it--what do they play? LISZT!--Not only is his music
brilliant--not only does he pour this wealth of pearls and diamonds down
the key-board, but his pieces rise to great climaxes, are grandiose in
style, overleap all boundaries, and whirl you away with the vehemence of
passion. Then what lightness of touch in the lesser _morceaux_, where he
is often the acme of tenderness, grace and fairy-like sportiveness,
while in the melancholy ones, what subtle feeling after the emotions
curled up in the remote corners of the heart! They are so rich in
harmony, so weird, so wild, that when you hear them you are like a
sea-weed cast upon the bosom of the ocean. And then what could be more
deep and poetic than Liszt's transcriptions of Schubert's and Wagner's
songs? They are altogether exquisite. Finally, Liszt's compositions
stand the severest test of merit. They _wear_ well. You can play them a
long time and never weary of them. In short, they embrace every element
_except_ the classic, and the question is, whether these airy or intense
ideas that appeal to you through their veils of shimmer and sheen are
not a sort of classics in their own way!

Liszt's Christus is arranged for piano for four hands, and I wish I had
it, and also Bülow's great edition of Beethoven's sonatas--Oh! you
cannot _conceive_ anything like Liszt's playing of Beethoven. When _he_
plays a sonata it is as if the composition rose from the dead and stood
transfigured before you. You ask yourself, "Did _I_ ever play that?" But
it bores him so dreadfully to hear the sonatas, that though I've heard
him teach a good many, I haven't had the courage to bring him one. I
suppose he is sick of the sound of them, or perhaps it is because he
feels obliged to be conscientious in teaching Beethoven!

When one of the young pianists brings Liszt a sonata, he puts on an
expression of resignation and generally begins a half protest which he
afterward thinks better of.--"Well, go on," he will say, and then he
proceeds to be very strict. He always teaches Beethoven with notes,
which shows how scrupulous he is about him, for, of course, he knows all
the sonatas by heart. He has Bülow's edition, which he opens and lays on
the end of the grand piano. Then as he walks up and down he can stop and
refer to it and point out passages, as they are being played, to the
rest of the class. Bülow probably got many of his ideas from Liszt. One
day when Mr. Orth was playing the Allegro of the Sonata Op. 110, Liszt
insisted upon having it done in a particular way, and made him go back
and repeat it over and over again. One line of it is particularly hard.
Liszt made every one in the class sit down and try it. Most of them
failed, which amused him.--"Ah, yes," said he, laughing, "when I once
begin to play the pedagogue I am not to be outdone!" and then he related
as an illustration of his "pedagogism" a little anecdote of a former
pupil of his, now an eminent artist. "I liked young M. very much," said
he. "He played beautifully, but he was inclined to be lazy and to take
things easily. One morning he brought me Chopin's E minor concerto, and
he rather skimmed over that difficult passage in the middle of the first
movement as if he hadn't taken the trouble really to study it. His
execution was not clean. So I thought I would give him a lesson, and I
kept him playing those two pages over and over for an hour or two until
he had mastered them. His arms must have been ready to break when he got
through! At the next lesson there was no M. I sent to know why he did
not appear. He replied that he had been out hunting and had hurt his arm
so that he could not play. At the lesson following he accordingly
presented himself with his arm in a sling. But I always suspected it was
a stratagem on his part to avoid playing, and that nothing really ailed
him. He had had enough for one while," added Liszt, with a mischievous

On Monday I had a most delightful tête-à-tête with Liszt, quite by
chance. I had occasion to call upon him for something, and, strange to
say, he was alone, sitting by his table and writing. Generally all sorts
of people are up there. He insisted upon my staying a while, and we had
the most amusing and entertaining conversation imaginable. It was the
first time I ever heard Liszt really talk, for he contents himself
mostly with making little jests. He is full of _esprit_. We were
speaking of the faculty of mimicry, and he told me such a funny little
anecdote about Chopin. He said that when he and Chopin were young
together, somebody told him that Chopin had a remarkable talent for
mimicry, and so he said to Chopin, "Come round to my rooms this evening
and show off this talent of yours." So Chopin came. He had purchased a
blonde wig ("I was very blonde at that time," said Liszt), which he put
on, and got himself up in one of Liszt's suits. Presently an
acquaintance of Liszt's came in, Chopin went to meet him instead of
Liszt, and took off his voice and manner so perfectly, that the man
actually mistook him for Liszt, and made an appointment with him for the
next day--"and there I was in the room," said Liszt. Wasn't that

Another evening I was there about twilight and Liszt sat at the piano
looking through a new oratorio, which had just come out in Paris upon
"Christus," the same subject that his own oratorio was on. He asked me
to turn for him, and evidently was not interested, for he would skip
whole pages and begin again, here and there. There was only a single
lamp, and _that_ rather a dim one, so that the room was all in shadow,
and Liszt wore his Merlin-like aspect. I asked him to tell me how he
produced a certain effect he makes in his arrangement of the ballad in
Wagner's _Flying Dutchman_. He looked very "_fin_" as the French say,
but did not reply. He never gives a direct answer to a direct question.
"Ah," said I, "you won't tell." He smiled, and then immediately played
the passage. It was a long arpeggio, and the effect he made was, as I
had supposed, a pedal effect. He kept the pedal down throughout, and
played the beginning of the passage in a grand _rolling_ sort of manner,
and then all the rest of it with a very pianissimo touch, and so
lightly, that the continuity of the arpeggios was destroyed, and the
notes seemed to be just _strewn_ in, as if you broke a wreath of flowers
and scattered them according to your fancy. It is a most striking and
beautiful effect, and I told him I didn't see how he ever thought of it.
"Oh, I've invented a great many things," said he,
indifferently--"_this_, for instance,"--and he began playing a double
roll of octaves in chromatics in the bass of the piano. It was very
grand, and made the room reverberate. "Magnificent," said I. "Did you
ever hear me do a storm?" said he. "No." "Ah, you ought to hear me do a
storm! Storms are my _forte_!" Then to himself between his teeth, while
a weird look came into his eyes as if he could indeed rule the blast,
"_Da_ KRACHEN _die Bäume_ (Then _crash_ the trees!)"

How ardently I wished he _would_ "play a storm," but of course he
_didn't_, and he presently began to trifle over the keys in his _blasé_
style. I suppose he couldn't quite work himself up to the effort, but
that look and tone told how Liszt _would_ do it.--Alas, that we poor
mortals here below should share so often the fate of Moses, and have
only a glimpse of the Promised Land, and that without the consolation of
being Moses! But perhaps, after all, the vision is better than the
reality. We see the _whole land_, even if but at a distance, instead of
being limited merely to the spot where our foot treads.

Once again I saw Liszt in a similar mood, though his expression was this
time _comfortably_ rather than _wildly_ destructive. It was when
Fräulein Remmertz was playing his E flat concerto to him. There were two
grand pianos in the room, and she was sitting at one, and he at the
other, accompanying and interpolating as he felt disposed. Finally they
came to a place where there were a series of passages beginning with
both hands in the middle of the piano, and going in opposite directions
to the ends of the key-board, ending each time in a short, sharp chord.
"_Alles zum Fenster hinaus werfen_ (Pitch everything out of the
window)," said he, in a cozy, easy sort of way, and he began playing
these passages and giving every chord a whack as if he _were_ splitting
everything up and flinging it out, and that with such enjoyment, that
you felt as if you'd like to bear a hand, too, in the work of general
demolition! But I never shall forget Liszt's look as he so lazily
proposed to "pitch everything out of the window." It reminded me of the
expression of a big tabby-cat as it sits and purrs away, blinking its
eyes and seemingly half asleep, when suddenly--!--! out it strikes with
both its claws, and woe be to whatever is within its reach! Perhaps,
after all, the secret of Liszt's fascination is this power of intense
and wild emotion that you feel he possesses, together with the most
perfect control over it.

Liszt sometimes strikes wrong notes when he plays, but it does not
trouble him in the least. On the contrary, he rather enjoys it. He
reminds me of one of the cabinet ministers in Berlin, of whom it is said
that he has an amazing talent for making blunders, but a still more
amazing one for getting out of them and covering them up. Of Liszt the
first part of this is not true, for if he strikes a wrong note it is
simply because he chooses to be careless. But the last part of it
applies to him eminently. It always amuses him instead of disconcerting
him when he comes down squarely _wrong_, as it affords him an
opportunity of displaying his ingenuity and giving things such a turn
that the false note will appear simply a key leading to new and
unexpected beauties. An accident of this kind happened to him in one of
the Sunday matinees, when the room was full of distinguished people and
of his pupils. He was rolling up the piano in arpeggios in a very grand
manner indeed, when he struck a semi-tone short of the high note upon
which he had intended to end. I caught my breath and wondered whether he
was going to leave us like that, in mid-air, as it were, and the harmony
unresolved, or whether he would be reduced to the humiliation of
correcting himself like ordinary mortals, and taking the right chord. A
half smile came over his face, as much as to say--"Don't fancy that
_this_ little thing disturbs me,"--and he instantly went meandering down
the piano in harmony with the false note he had struck, and then rolled
deliberately up in a second grand sweep, _this_ time striking true. I
never saw a more delicious piece of cleverness. It was so quick-witted
and so exactly characteristic of Liszt. Instead of giving you a chance
to say, "He has made a mistake," he forced you to say, "He has shown how
to get out of a mistake."

Another day I heard him pass from one piece into another by making the
finale of the first one play the part of prelude to the second. So
exquisitely were the two woven together that you could hardly tell where
the one left off and the other began.--Ah me! _Such_ a facile grace!
_Nobody_ will ever equal him, with those rolling basses and those
flowery trebles. And then his Adagios! When you hear him in one of
_those_, you feel that his playing has got to that point when it is
purified from all earthly dross and is an exhalation of the soul that
mounts straight to heaven.

     *     *     *

    WEIMAR, _August 8, 1873_.

The other day we all made an excursion to Jena, which is about three
hours' drive from here. We went in carriages in a long train, and pulled
up at a hotel named The Bear. There we took our second breakfast. There
was to be a concert at five in a church, where some of Liszt's music was
to be performed. After breakfast we went to the church, where Liszt met
us, and the rehearsal took place. After the rehearsal we went to dinner.
We had three long tables which Liszt arranged to suit himself, his own
place being in the middle. He always manages every little detail with
the greatest tact, and is very particular never to let two ladies or two
gentlemen sit together, but always alternately a lady and a gentleman.
"_Immer eine bunte Reihe machen_ (Always have a little variety)," said
he. The dinner was a very entertaining one to me, because I could
converse with Liszt and hear all he said, as he was nearly opposite me.
I was in very high spirits that day, and as Kellerman, Bendix and
Urspruch were all near me, too, we had endless fun. We had new potatoes
for dinner, boiled with their skins on, and Liszt threw one at me, and I
caught it. There was another young artist there from Brussels named
Gurickx, whom I didn't know, because he spoke only French, and as I do
not speak it, we had never exchanged words in the class. I wasn't paying
any attention to him, therefore, when suddenly my left-hand neighbour
touched my arm. I looked round and he handed me a flower made of bread
"from Monsieur Gurickx." I wish you could have seen it! It had the
effect of a tube rose. Every little leaf and petal was as delicately
turned as if nature herself had done it. The bread was fresh, and
Gurickx had worked it between his fingers to the consistency of clay,
and then modelled these little flowers which he stuck on to a stem. It
was so artistically done, and it was such a dainty little thing to do,
that I saw at once that he was interesting and that he possessed that
marvellous French taste.

Since then we have become very good friends, and he is teaching me to
speak French. He plays beautifully, and was trained in the famous
Brussels conservatory, of which Dupont is the head. Servais also got his
musical education there. They both advise me to go there for a year, as
Dupont is a very great master indeed, and Brussels is the very home and
centre of art and taste of every description--a "little Paris"--but more
earnest, more German. Gurickx went through the art-school in Brussels as
well as the conservatory, so that he paints as well as plays, and he had
quite a struggle with himself to decide to which art he should devote
himself. His style is the grandiose and fiery. Rubinstein is his model,
and he plays Liszt's Rhapsodies as I never heard any one else. He brings
out all their power, brilliancy and careering wildness, and makes the
greatest sensation of them. Such tremendous sweeping chords! Liszt
himself doesn't play the chords as well as Gurickx;--perhaps because he
does not care now to exert the strength.

But to return to Jena. After dinner Liszt said, "Now we'll go to
Paradise." So we put on our things, and proceeded to walk along the
river to a place called Paradise, on account of its loveliness. We
passed the University, on one corner of which is a tablet with "W. von
Goethe" written against the wall of the room which Goethe occupied. It
seemed strange to me to be passing the room of my beloved Goethe, with
our equally beloved Liszt!--This walk along the river was enchanting.
The current was very rapid, and the willows were all blowing in the
breeze. There is an odd triangular-shaped hill that rises on one side
very boldly and abruptly, called the Fox's Head. The way was under a
double row of tall trees, which met at the top and formed a green arch
over our heads. It was all breeze and freshness, and the sunlight struck
picturesquely aslant the hill-sides. I started to walk with Liszt, but
he was so surrounded that it was difficult to get near him, so I walked
instead with an interesting young artist named O., who was at once
extraordinarily ugly and extremely clever.

After our walk we went to the concert, which was lovely, and then at
seven we were all invited to tea at the house of a friend of Liszt's. He
was a very tall man, and he had a very tall and hospitable daughter,
nearly as big as himself, who received us very cordially. The tea was
all laid on tables in the garden, and the sausages were cooking over a
fire made on the grounds. We sat down pell-mell, anywhere, I next to
Liszt, who kept putting things on my plate. When supper was over he
retreated to a little summer house with some of his friends, to smoke.
We sauntered round the grass plat in front of it until Liszt called us
to come in and sit by him, which we did until he was ready to go.

I've heard of a new music master lately. When my friend Miss B. was
here, she told me that she had met a "Herr Director Deppe" in Berlin,
after I left, and had told him all about me and my struggle to conquer
the piano. He seemed very much interested and said, "O, if she had only
come to me! _I_ would have helped her," and from all I can hear I think
he must be the man for me. He is interested in Sherwood, who used to
talk to me about him last winter. Sherwood says he is wholly
disinterested and devoted to art, and lives entirely in music, and that
he is a noble-hearted man, and the "most musical person he ever met."
Sherwood often wavers between him and Kullak, and Deppe would like to
teach Sherwood if he could, simply out of interest for him.--Deppe has a
pupil whom he has trained entirely himself, and whom he is going to
bring out next winter. Sherwood says he never heard anything so
beautiful as her playing. She is spending the summer near Deppe, and he
hears her play the programme she is going to give in Berlin next winter,
every day. Think what immense certainty that must give!


     Liszt's Playing. Tausig. Excursion to Sondershausen.

    WEIMAR, _August 23, 1873_.

Liszt has returned from his trip, and I have played to him twice this
week, and am to go again on Monday. He praised me very much on Tuesday,
and said I played admirably. I knew he was pleased, because whenever he
corrected me he would say, "_Nein, Kindchen_" in such a gentle way!
"_Kind_" is the German for child, and "_Kindchen_" is a diminutive, and
whenever he calls you that you can tell he has a leaning toward you.

This week is the first time that I have been able to play to him without
being nervous, or that my fingers have felt warm and natural. It has
been a fearful ordeal, truly, to play there, for not only was Liszt
himself present, but such a crowd of artists, all ready to pick flaws in
your playing, and to say, "She hasn't got much talent." I am so glad
that I stayed until Liszt's return, for now the rush is over, and he has
much more time for those of us who are left, and plays a great deal more
himself. Yesterday he played us a study of Paganini's, arranged by
himself, and also his Campanella. I longed for M., as she is so fond of
the Campanella. Liszt gave it with a velvety softness, clearness,
brilliancy and pearliness of touch that was inimitable. And oh, his
grace! _Nobody_ can compare with him! Everybody else sounds heavy
beside him!

However, I have felt some comfort in knowing that it is not Liszt's
genius alone that makes him such a player. He has gone through such
technical studies as no one else has except Tausig, perhaps. He plays
everything under the sun in the way of _Etuden_--has played them, I
mean. On Tuesday I got him talking about the composers who were the
fashion when he was a young fellow in Paris--Kalkbrenner, Herz,
etc.--and I asked him if he could not play us something by Kalkbrenner.
"O yes! I must have a few things of Kalkbrenner's in my head still," and
then he played part of a concerto. Afterward he went on to speak of
Herz, and said: "I'll play you a little study of Herz's that is
infamously hard. It is a stupid little theme," and then he played the
theme, "but _now_ pay attention." Then he played the study itself. It
was a most hazardous thing, where the hands kept crossing continually
with great rapidity, and striking notes in the most difficult positions.
It made us all laugh; and Liszt hit the notes every time, though it was
disgustingly hard, and as he said himself, "he used to get all in a heat
over it." He had evidently studied it so well that he could never forget
it. He went on to speak of Moscheles and of his compositions. He said
that when between thirty and forty years of age, Moscheles played
superbly, but as he grew older he became too old-womanish and set in his
ways--and then he took off Moscheles, and played his Etuden in his
style. It was very funny. But it showed how Liszt has studied
_everything_, and the universality of his knowledge, for he knows
Tausig's and Rubinstein's studies as well as Kalkbrenner and Herz. There
cannot be many persons in the world who keep up with the whole range of
musical literature as he does.

Liszt loved Tausig as his own child, and is always delighted when we
play any of his music. His death was an awful blow to Liszt, for he used
to say, "He will be the inheritor of my playing." I suppose he thought
he would live again in him, for he always says, "Never did such talent
come under my hands." I would give anything to have seen them together,
for Tausig was a wonderfully clever and captivating man, and I can
imagine he must have fascinated Liszt. They say he was the naughtiest
boy that ever was heard of, and caused Liszt no end of trouble and
vexation; but he always forgave him, and after the vexation was past
Liszt would pat him on the head and say, "_Carlchen, entweder wirst du
ein grosser Lump oder ein grosser Meister_ (You'll turn out either a
great blockhead or a great master)." That is Liszt all over. He is so
indulgent that in consideration of talent he will forgive anything.

Tausig's father, who was himself a music-master, took him to Liszt when
he was fourteen years old, hoping that Liszt would receive the little
marvel as a pupil and protégé.

But Liszt would not even hear the boy play. "I have had," he declared
positively, "enough of child prodigies. They never come to much."
Tausig's father apparently acquiesced in the reply, but while he and
Liszt were drinking wine and smoking together, he managed to smuggle the
child on to the piano-stool behind Liszt, and signed to him to begin to
play. The little Tausig plunged into Chopin's A flat Polonaise with such
fire and boldness that Liszt turned his eagle head, and after a few bars
cried, "I take him!" I heard Liszt say once that he could not endure
child prodigies. "I have no time," said he, "for these artists _die_
WERDEN _sollen_ (that _are_ to be)!"

     *     *     *

    WEIMAR, _September 9, 1873_.

This week has been one of great excitement in Weimar, on account of the
wedding of the son of the Grand Duke. All sorts of things have been
going on, and the Emperor and Empress came on from Berlin. There have
been a great many rehearsals at the theatre of different things that
were played, and of course Liszt took a prominent part in the
arrangement of the music. He directed the Ninth Symphony, and played
twice himself with orchestral accompaniments. One of the pieces he
played was Weber's Polonaise in E major, and the other was one of his
own Rhapsodies Hongroises. Of these I was at the rehearsal. When he came
out on the stage the applause was tremendous, and enough in itself to
excite and electrify one. I was enchanted to have an opportunity to hear
Liszt as a concert player. The director of the orchestra here is a
beautiful pianist and composer himself, as well as a splendid conductor,
but it was easy to see that he had to get all his wits together to
follow Liszt, who gave full rein to his imagination, and let the _tempo_
fluctuate as he felt inclined. As for Liszt, he scarcely _looked_ at the
keys, and it was astounding to see his hands go rushing up and down the
piano and perform passages of the utmost rapidity and difficulty, while
his head was turned all the while towards the orchestra, and he kept up
a running fire of remarks with them continually. "You violins, strike in
_sharp_ here." "You trumpets, not too loud there," etc. He did
everything with the most immense _aplomb_, and without seeming to pay
any attention to his hands, which moved of themselves as if they were
independent beings and had their own brain and everything! He never did
the same thing twice alike. If it were a scale the first time, he would
make it in double or broken thirds the second, and so on, constantly
surprising you with some new turn. While you were admiring the long roll
of the wave, a sudden spray would be dashed over you, and make you catch
your breath! No, never was there such a player! The nervous intensity of
his touch takes right hold of you. When he had finished everybody
shouted and clapped their hands like mad, and the orchestra kept up such
a _fanfare_ of applause, that the din was quite overpowering. Liszt
smiled and bowed, and walked off the stage indifferently, not giving
himself the trouble to come back, and presently he quietly sat down in
the parquet, and the rehearsal proceeded. The concert itself took place
at the court, so that I did not hear it. Metzdorf was there, however,
and he said that Liszt played fabulously, of course, but that he was
not as inspired as he was in the morning, and did not make the same

     *     *     *

    WEIMAR, _September 15, 1873_.

The other day an excursion was arranged to Sondershausen, a town about
three hours' ride from Weimar in the cars. There was to be a concert
there in honour of Liszt, and a whole programme of his music was to be
performed. About half a dozen of the "Lisztianer"--as the Weimarese dub
Liszt's pupils--agreed to go, I, of course, being one. Liszt himself,
the Countess von X. and Count S. were to lead the party. The morning we
started was one of those perfect autumnal days when it is a delight
simply to _live_.

After breakfast I hurried off to the station, where I met the others,
everybody being in the highest spirits. Liszt and his titled friends
travelled in a first class carriage by themselves. The rest of us went
second class, in the next carriage behind. We were very gay indeed, and
the time did not seem long till we arrived at Sondershausen, where we
exchanged our seats in the cars for seats in an omnibus, and drove to
the principal hotel. There were not sufficient accommodations for us
all, owing to the number of strangers who had come to the festival, so
Mrs. S. and I went to a smaller hotel in a more distant part of the town
to engage rooms, intending to return and dine with Liszt and the rest.
Just as our noisy vehicle clattered up to the inn and some of the
gentlemen jumped out to arrange matters, the solemn strains of a chorale
were heard from a church close by, with its grand and rolling organ
accompaniment. Somehow it made me feel sad to hear it, and a sense of
the _transitoriness_ of things came over me. It seemed like one of those
voices from the other world that call to us now and then.

After we had engaged our rooms, we drove back to the hotel where Liszt
was staying, and where we were to dine immediately. It was in the centre
of the town, and directly opposite the palace, which rose boldly on a
sort of eminence with great flights of stone steps sweeping down to the
road on each side. It looked quite imposing. An avenue wound up the hill
to the right of it. In the dining-room of the hotel a long table was
spread and all the places were carefully set. My place was next Count S.
and not far from Liszt. So I was very well seated. Everybody began
talking at once the minute dinner was served, as they always do at table
in Germany. Toward the close of it were the usual number of toasts in
honour of Liszt, to which he responded in rather a bored sort of way. I
don't wonder he gets tired of them, for it is always the same thing. He
did not seem to be in his usual spirits, and had a fatigued air.

After dinner he said, "Now let us go and see Fräulein Fichtner."
Fräulein Fichtner was the young lady who was going to play his concerto
in A major at the concert that evening. She is a well-known pianist in
Germany, and is both pretty and brilliant. We started in a procession,
which is the way one always walks with Liszt. It reminds me of those
snow-balls the boys roll up at home--the crowd gathers as it proceeds!
When we got to the house we entered an obscure corridor and began to
find our way up a dark and narrow staircase. Some one struck a wax
match. "Good!" called out Liszt, in his sonorous voice. "_Leuchten Sie
voraus_ (Light us up)." When we got to the top we pulled the bell and
were let in by Fräulein Fichtner's mother. Fräulein Fichtner herself
looked no ways dismayed at the number of her guests, though we had the
air of coming to storm the house. She gaily produced all the chairs
there were, and those who could not find a seat had to stand! She was in
Weimar for a few days this summer. So we had all met her before, and I
had once heard her play some duets by Schumann with Liszt, who enjoyed
reading with "Pauline," as he calls her. It is to her that Raff has
dedicated his exquisite "_Maerchen_ (Fairy story)." She is a sparkling
brunette, with a face full of intelligence. They say she writes charming
little poems and is gifted in various ways. Not to tire her for the
concert we only stayed about twenty minutes.

Going back, Liszt indulged in a little graceful _badinage_ apropos of
the concerto. You know he has written two concertos. The one in E flat
is much played, but this one in A very rarely. It is exceedingly
difficult and is one of the few of his compositions that it interests
Liszt to know that people play. "I should write it otherwise if I wrote
it now," he explained to me as we were walking along. "Some passages are
very troublesome (_haecklig_) to execute. I was younger and less
experienced when I composed it," he added, with one of those
illuminating smiles "like the flash of a dagger in the sun," as Lenz

When we reached the hotel everybody went in to take a siesta--that
"Mittags-Schlaf" which is law in Germany. I did not wish to sleep and
felt like exploring the old town. So Count S. and I started on a walk.
Sondershausen is a dreamy, sleepy place, with so little life about it
that you hardly realize there are any people there at all. It is
pleasantly situated, and gentle hills and undulations of land are all
about it, but it seems as if the town had been dead for a long time and
this were its grave over which one was quietly walking. We took the road
that wound past the castle. It was embowered in trees, and behind the
castle were gardens and conservatories. The road descended on the other
side, and we followed it till we came unexpectedly upon a little
circular park. Such a deserted, widowed little park it seemed! Not a
soul did we encounter as we wandered through its paths. Bordering them
were great quantities of berry-laden snow-berry bushes, of which I am
very fond. The park had a sort of rank and unkempt aspect, as if it were
abandoned to itself. The very stream that went through it flowed
sluggishly along, and as if it hadn't any particular object in life.--I
enjoyed it very much, and it was very restful to walk about it. One felt
there the truth of R.'s favourite saying, "It doesn't make any
difference. _Nothing_ makes any difference."

Count S. rattled on, but I didn't hear more than half of what he said.
He is a pleasure-loving man of the world, fond of music, but a perfect
materialist, and untroubled by the "_souffle vers le beau_" which
torments so many people. At the same time he is appreciative and very
amusing, and one has no chance to indulge in melancholy with _him_. We
sauntered about till late in the afternoon, and then returned to the
hotel for coffee before going to the concert, which began at seven. The
concert hall was behind the palace and seemed to form a part of it.
Liszt, the Countess von X., and Count S. sat in a box, aristocratic-fashion.
The rest of us were in the parquet. I was amazed at the orchestra, which
was very large and played gloriously. It seemed to me as fine as that of
the Gewandhaus in Leipsic, though I suppose it cannot be.--"Why has no
one ever mentioned this orchestra to me?" I asked of Kellermann, who sat
next, "and how is it one finds such an orchestra in such a place?" "Oh,"
said he, "this orchestra is very celebrated, and the Prince of
Sondershausen is a great patron of music." This is the way it is in
Germany. Every now and then one has these surprises. You never know when
you are going to stumble upon a jewel in the most out-of-the-way corner.

We were all greatly excited over Fräulein Fichtner's playing, and it
seemed very jolly to be behind the scenes, as it were, and to have one
of our own number performing. We applauded tremendously when she came
out. She was not nervous in the least, but began with great _aplomb_,
and played most beautifully. The concerto made a generally dazzling and
difficult impression upon me, but did not "take hold" of me
particularly. I do not know how Liszt was pleased with her rendering of
it, for I had no opportunity of asking him. She also played his
Fourteenth Rhapsody with orchestral accompaniment in most bold and
dashing style. Fräulein Fichtner is more in the bravura than in the
sentimental line, and she has a certain breadth, grasp, and freshness.
The last piece on the programme was Liszt's Choral Symphony, which was
magnificent. The chorus came at the end of it, as in the Ninth Symphony.
Mrs. S. said she was familiar with it from having heard Thomas's
orchestra play it in New York.--That orchestra, by the way, from what I
hear, seems to have developed into something remarkable. It is a great
thing for the musical education of the country to have such an
organization travelling every winter. And what a revelation is an
orchestra the first time one hears it, even if it be but a poor
one!--Music come bodily down from Heaven! And here in their musical
darkness, the Americans in the provinces are having an orchestra of the
very highest excellence burst upon them in full splendour. What _could_
be more American? They always have the best or none!

At nine o'clock in the evening the concert was over, and we all returned
to the hotel for supper. We were all desperately hungry after so much
music and enthusiasm. Everybody wanted to be helped at once, and the
waiters were nearly distracted. Count S. sat next me and was very funny.
He kept rapping the table like mad, but without any success. Finally he
exclaimed, "_Jetzt geh'_ ICH _auf Jagd_ (Now _I'm_ going hunting)!" and
sprang up from his chair, rushed to the other end of the dining-room,
possessed himself of some dishes the waiters were helping, and returned
in triumph. I couldn't help laughing, and he made a great many jokes at
the expense of the waiters and everybody else. I could not hear any of
Liszt's conversation, which I regretted, but he seemed in a quiet mood.
I do not think he is the same when he is with aristocrats. He must be
among _artists_ to unsheathe his sword. When he is with "swells," he is
all grace and polish. He seems only to toy with his genius for their
amusement, and he is never serious. At least this is as far as _my_
observation of him goes on the few occasions I have seen him in the
_beau monde_. The presence of the proud Countess von X. at Sondershausen
kept him, as it were, at a distance from everybody else, and he was not
overflowing with fun and gayety as he was at Jena. She, of course, did
not go with us to see Fräulein Fichtner, which was fortunate. After
supper one and all went to bed early, quite tired out with the day's

This haughty Countess, by the way, has always had a great fascination
for me, because she looks like a woman who "has a history." I have often
seen her at Liszt's matinees, and from what I hear of her, she is such a
type of woman as I suppose only exists in Europe, and such as the
heroines of foreign novels are modelled upon. She is a widow, and in
appearance is about thirty-six or eight years old, of medium height,
slight to thinness, but exceedingly graceful. She is always attired in
black, and is utterly careless in dress, yet nothing can conceal her
innate elegance of figure. Her face is pallid and her hair dark. She
makes an impression of icy coldness and at the same time of tropical
heat. The pride of Lucifer to the world in general--entire abandonment
to the individual. I meet her often in the park, as she walks along
trailing her "sable garments like the night," and surrounded by her four
beautiful boys--as Count S. says, "each handsomer than the other." They
have such romantic faces! Dark eyes and dark curling hair. The eldest is
about fourteen and the youngest five.

The little one is too lovely, with his brown curls hanging on his
shoulders! I never shall forget the supercilious manner in which the
Countess took out her eye-glass and looked me over as I passed her one
day in the park. Weimar being such a "_kleines Nest_ (little nest)," as
Liszt calls it, every stranger is immediately remarked. She waited till
I got close up, then deliberately put up this glass and scrutinized me
from head to foot, then let it fall with a half-disdainful,
half-indifferent air, as if the scrutiny did not reward the trouble.--I
was so amused. Her arrogance piques all Weimar, and they never cease
talking about her. I can never help wishing to see her in a fashionable
toilet. If she is so _distinguée_ in rather less than ordinary dress,
what _would_ she be in a Parisian costume? I mean as to grace, for she
is not pretty.--But as a psychological study, she is more interesting,
perhaps, as she is. She always seems to me to be gradually going to
wreck--a burnt-out volcano, with her own ashes settling down upon her
and covering her up. She is very highly educated, and is preparing her
eldest son for the university herself. What a subject she would have
been for a Balzac!

We stayed over the next day in Sondershausen, as there was to be another
orchestral concert--this time with a miscellaneous programme. Fräulein
Fichtner had already departed, but the first violinist played
Mendelssohn's famous concerto for violin.--Not in Wilhelmj's masterly
style, but extremely well. We took the train for Weimar about five P. M.
Going back I was in the carriage with Liszt. He sat opposite me, and
gradually began to talk. The conversation turned upon Weitzmann, my
former harmony teacher, who, you remember, was so determined to make me
learn. Liszt remarked upon the extent of his knowledge and said, "If I
were not so old I should like to go to school again to Weitzmann." He
was talking to Weitzmann one day, he said, and Weitzmann proposed to him
that he should write a canon. "I sat down and worked over it a good
while, but finally gave it up.--I know not why, but I never had any
success in writing canons. Weitzmann then sat down, and in half an hour
had produced two excellent ones." He gave this as an instance of
Weitzmann's readiness.--A canon, you know, is a sort of musical puzzle.
The right hand plays the theme. The left hand takes it up a little later
and imitates the right. The two interweave, and the theme forms the
melody and the accompaniment at the same time, according as it is played
by the right or left hand--something on the principle of singing rounds.
The difficulty consists in avoiding monotony with this continual
iteration of the theme, which can be brought on at different intervals,
inverted, etc., at will. It seems to be more a mathematical than a
musical style of composition. I should suppose that _Bach_ could fire
off canons without end! He developed it in every imaginable
form.--Liszt, however, is of rather a different school!

We got back to Weimar about eight in the evening, and this delicious
excursion, like all others, _had to end_. But the quiet old town, with
its musical name and its great orchestra, will long remain in my memory.

Adieu, Sondershausen!


     Farewell to Liszt! German Conservatories and their Methods. Berlin
     Again. Liszt and Joachim.

    WEIMAR, _September 24, 1873_.

We had our last lesson from Liszt a few days ago, and he leaves Weimar
next week. He was so hurried with engagements the last two times that he
was not able to give us much attention. I played my Rubinstein concerto.
He accompanied me himself on a second piano. We were there about six
o'clock P. M. Liszt was out, but he had left word that if we came we
were to wait. About seven he came in, and the lamps were lit. He was in
an awful humour, and I never saw him so out of spirits. "How is it with
our concerto?" said he to me, for he had told me the time before to send
for the second piano accompaniment, and he would play it with me. I told
him that unfortunately there existed no second piano part. "Then, child,
you've fallen on your head, if you don't know that at least you must
have a second copy of the concerto!" I told him I knew it by heart.
"Oh!" said he, in a mollified tone. So he took my copy and played the
orchestra part which is indicated above the piano part, and I played
without notes. I felt inspired, for the piano I was at was a magnificent
grand that Steinway presented to Liszt only the other day. Liszt was
seated at another grand facing me, and the room was dimly illuminated
by one or two lamps. A few artists were sitting about in the shadow. It
was at the twilight hour, "_l'heure du mystère_," as the poetic Gurickx
used to say, and in short, the occasion was perfect, and couldn't happen
so again. You see we always have our lessons in the afternoon, and it
was a mere chance that it was so late this time. So I felt as if I were
in an electric state. I had studied the piece so much that I felt
perfectly sure of it, and then with Liszt's splendid accompaniment and
his beautiful face to look over to--it was enough to bring out
everything there was in one. If he had only been himself I should have
had nothing more to desire, but he was in one of his bitter, sarcastic
moods. However, I went rushing on to the end--like a torrent plunging
down into darkness, I might say--for it was the end, too, of my lessons
with Liszt!

In answer to your musical questions, I don't know that there is much to
be told about conservatories of which you are not aware. The one in
Stuttgardt is considered the best; and there the pupils are put through
a regular graded method, beginning with learning to hold the hand, and
with the simplest five finger exercises. There are certain things,
studies, etc., which _all_ the scholars have to learn. That was also the
case in Tausig's conservatory. First we had to go through Cramer, then
through the Gradus ad Parnassum, then through Moscheles, then Chopin,
Henselt, Liszt and Rubinstein. I haven't got farther than Chopin,
myself, but when I went to Kullak I studied Czerny's School for
Virtuosen a whole year, which is the book he "swears by." I'm going on
with them this winter. It takes years to pass through them all, but when
you _have_ finished them, you are an artist.

I think myself the "Schule des Virtuosen" is indispensable, much as I
loathe it. First, there is nothing like it for giving you a technique.
It consists of passages, generally about two lines in length, which
Czerny has the face to request you to play from twenty to thirty times
successively. You can imagine at that rate how long it takes you to play
through one page! Tedious to the _last_ degree! But it greatly equalizes
and strengthens the fingers, and makes your execution smooth and
elegant. It teaches you to take your time, or as the Germans call it, it
gives you "_Ruhe_ (repose)," the _grand sine qua non_! You learn to
"play out" your passages ("_aus-spielen_," as Kullak is always saying);
that is, you don't hurry or blur over the last notes, but play clearly
and in strict time to the end of the passage. I saw Lebert, the head of
the Stuttgardt conservatory, here this summer, and had several long
conversations with him, and he told me he considered Bach the best
study, and put the Well-Tempered Clavichord at the foundation of
everything. The Stuttgardters study Bach every day, and I think it a
capital plan myself. I have begun doing it, too. It was a great thing
for me, that quarter of Bach that I took with Mr. Paine in Cambridge,
and was one of your inspirations, when you "builded better than you
knew."--I never _saw_ a person with such an instinct to find out the
right thing as you have! If it hadn't been for that, I should never
have got so familiarized with Bach, or got into the way of studying him
for myself, as I have done a great deal. It is as great for the fingers
as it is "good for the soul." Lenz, in his sketch of Chopin, says that
Chopin told him when he prepared for a concert he never studied his own
compositions at all, but shut himself up and practiced Bach!

However, I suppose it comes to the same thing in the end if one studies
Bach, Czerny, or Gradus, only you must _keep at_ one of them all the
while. The grand thing is to have each of your five fingers go "dum,
dum," an equal number of times, which is the principle of all three!
Tausig was for Gradus, you know, and practiced it himself every day. He
used to transpose the studies in different keys, and play just the same
in the left hand as in the right, and enhance their difficulties in
every way, but _I_ always found them hard enough as they were written!
Bach strengthens the fingers and makes them independent. Czerny
equalizes them and gives an easy and elegant execution, and Gradus is
not only good for finger technique--it trains the arm and wrist also,
and gives a much more powerful execution.

I think that in all conservatories they have at least six lessons a
week, two solo, two in reading at sight, and two in composition. Then
there are often lectures held on musical subjects by some of the
Professors, or by some one who is engaged for that purpose. All large
conservatories have an orchestra, composed generally out of the scholars
themselves, with a few professionals hired to eke out deficiencies. With
this the best piano scholars play their concertos once a month, or once
in six weeks. The number of public representations varies in every
conservatory. In the Hoch Schule in Berlin they have two yearly in the
Sing-Akademie. Kullak _professes_ to have _one_, but he has so little
interest in his scholars that he omits it when it suits his convenience.
In Stuttgardt I believe they have four. I don't know much about the
interior arrangements of Kullak's conservatory, because I only went to
his own class. I lived too far away to attempt the theory and
composition class. Liszt says that Kullak's pupils are always the best
schooled of any, which rather surprised me, because there is a certain
intimacy between him and Stuttgardt, and he always recommends scholars
to the Stuttgardt conservatory.

The Stuttgardters do have immense technique, and I think they are better
taught how to study. It strikes me as if Stuttgardt were the place to
get the machine in working order, but I rather think that Kullak trains
the head more. There is a young American here named Orth, who studied
two years with Kullak, then he spent a year in Stuttgardt, and now he is
going to return to Kullak. He says he thinks that not Lebert, but
Pruckner, is the real backbone of the Stuttgardt conservatory, but that
even with _him_ one year is sufficient. Fräulein Gaul, on the contrary,
with whom Lebert has taken the greatest possible pains, thinks him a
magnificent master, and certainly he has developed her admirably. It is
probably with him as with them all. If they take a fancy to you, they
will do a great deal for you; if not, _nothing_! Liszt is no exception
to this rule. I've seen him snub and entirely neglect young artists of
the most remarkable talent and virtuosity, merely because they did not
please him personally.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _October 8, 1873_.

_Voilà!_ as Liszt always says. Here I am back again in old Berlin, and
if I ever felt "like a cat in a strange garret," I do now. I left dear
little Weimar two days ago, and parted from our adored Liszt a week ago
to-day. He has gone to Rome. _Never_ did I feel leaving anybody or any
place so much, and Berlin seems to me like a great roaring wilderness.
The distances are so _endless_ here. You either have to kill yourself
walking, or else spend a fortune in droschkies. The houses all seem to
me as if they had grown. There is an immense number of new ones going up
on all sides, and the noise, and the crowd, and the confusion are enough
to set one distracted, after the idyllic life I've been leading. Ah,
well! _Es war eben_ ZU _schön!_ (It was _too_ beautiful!)

Yesterday and to-day I've been looking about for a new boarding-place.
I've had two invitations to dinner since my return, but everybody and
everything seems so dull and stupid, prosaic and tedious to me, that I
declined them both, and haven't given any of my friends my address until
I have had a little time to let myself down gradually from the delights
of Weimar.

Liszt was kindness itself when the time came to say good-bye, but I
could scarcely get out a word, nor could I even thank him for all he had
done for me. I did not wish to break down and make a scene, as I felt I
should if I tried to say anything. So I fear he thought me rather
ungrateful and matter-of-course, for he couldn't know that I was feeling
an excess of emotion which kept me silent. I miss going to him
inexpressibly, and although I heard my favourite Joachim last night,
even _he_ paled before Liszt. He is on the violin what Liszt is on the
piano, and is the only artist worthy to be mentioned in the same breath
with him.

Like Liszt, he so vitalizes everything that I have to take him in all
over again every time I hear him. I am always astonished, amazed and
delighted afresh, and even as I listen I can hardly believe that the man
_can_ play so! But Liszt, in addition to his marvellous playing, has
this unique and imposing personality, whereas at first Joachim is not
specially striking. Liszt's face is all a play of feature, a glow of
fancy, a blaze of imagination, whereas Joachim is absorbed in his
violin, and his face has only an expression of fine discrimination and
of intense solicitude to produce his artistic effects. Liszt never looks
at his instrument; Joachim never looks at anything else. Liszt is a
complete actor who intends to carry away the public, who never forgets
that he is before it, and who behaves accordingly. Joachim is totally
oblivious of it. Liszt subdues the people to him by the very way he
walks on to the stage. He gives his proud head a toss, throws an
electric look out of his eagle eye, and seats himself with an air as
much as to say, "Now I am going to do just what I please with you, and
you are nothing but puppets subject to my will." He said to us in the
class one day, "When you come out on the stage, look as if you didn't
care a rap for the audience, and as if you knew more than any of them.
That's the way I used to do.--Didn't that provoke the critics though!"
he added, with an ineffable look of malicious mischief. So you see his
principle, and that was precisely the way he did at the rehearsal in the
theatre at Weimar that I wrote to you about. Joachim, on the contrary,
is the quiet gentleman-artist. He advances in the most unpretentious
way, but as he adjusts his violin he looks his audience over with the
calm air of a musical monarch, as much as to say, "I repose wholly on my
art, and I've no need of any 'ways or manners.'" In reality I admire
Joachim's principle the most, but there is something indescribably
fascinating and subduing about Liszt's willfulness. You feel at once
that he is a great genius, and that you _are_ nothing but his puppet,
and somehow you take a base delight in the humiliation! The two men are
intensely interesting, each in his own way, but they are extremes.

[Beside his playing and his compositions, what Liszt has done for music
and for musicians, and why, therefore, he stands so pre-eminently the
greatest and the best beloved master in the musical world, may appear to
the general reader in the following extract taken from a translation in
_Dwight's Journal_, Oct. 23, 1880, of "Franz Liszt, a Musical Character
Portrait" by La Mara, in the _Gartenlaube_: "We must count it among the
exceptional merits of Liszt, that he has paved the way to recognition
for innumerable aspirants, as he always shows an open heart and open
hands to all artistic strivings. He was the first and most active
furtherer of the immense Bayreuth enterprise, and the chief founder of
the Musical Societies or Unions that flourish throughout Germany. And
for how many noble and philanthropic objects has he not exerted his
artistic resources! If, during his earlier virtuoso career, he made his
genius serve the advantage of others far more than his own--saving out
of the millions that he earned only a modest sum for himself, while he
alone contributed many thousands for the completion of Cologne
Cathedral, for the Beethoven monument at Bonn, and for the victims of
the Hamburg conflagration--so since the close of his career as a pianist
his public artistic activity has been exclusively consecrated to the
benefit of others, to artistic undertakings, or to charitable objects.
Since the end of 1847, not a penny has come into his own pocket either
through piano-playing and conducting, or through teaching. All this,
which has yielded such rich capital and interest to others, has cost
only sacrifice of time and money to himself."]--ED.


     Kullak as a Teacher. The Four Great Virtuosi, Clara Schumann,
     Rubinstein, Von Bülow, and Tausig.

    BERLIN, _November 7, 1873_.

I've been in a sort of mental apathy since I got back--the result, I
suppose, of so much artistic excitement all summer. Of course I am
practicing very hard, and I am taking private lessons of Kullak again. I
played him my Rubinstein concerto two weeks ago and told him I wanted to
play it in a concert. He says I need more power in it in many places,
and by practicing it every day I hope I shall at last work up to it, as
I've conquered the technical difficulties in it. There were two pages in
it I thought I never _could_ master. It is the same with all concertos.
They are fearfully difficult things to play, and far more difficult, _I_
think, than solos are, because the effort is so sustained. They are to
me the most interesting things to listen to of all, and I can't imagine
how you can think that piano and orchestra are "not made to go
together." However, I never myself appreciated concertos until I came to
Germany. Kullak is the most awfully discouraging teacher that can be
imagined. When you play to him, it is like looking at your skin through
a magnifying glass. All your faults seem to start out and glare at you.
I don't think, though, that I ever fairly do myself justice when I play
to him, because he has a sort of benumbing effect on me, and I feel to
him something the way that Owen did to old Peter in Hawthorne's story of
"The Artist of the Beautiful." I can't help acknowledging the truth of
his observations even when I am wincing under them, and I yet feel at
the same time that he does not wholly get at the soul of the thing.
Kullak is _so_ pedantic! He _never_ overlooks a technical imperfection,
and he ties you down to the technique so that you never can give rein to
your imagination. He sits at the other piano, and just as you are
rushing off he will strike in himself and say, "Don't hurry, Fräulein,"
or something like that, and then you begin to think about holding back
your fingers and playing every note even, etc. Now I never expect to get
that perfection of technique that all these artists have who have been
training throughout their childhood while their hand was forming.
Kullak's own technique is magnificent, but now that I've graduated, as
it were, he ought to let me play my own way, and not expect me to play
as _he_ does, and then I could produce my own effects. That is just the
difference between him and Liszt. Liszt's grand principle is, to leave
you your freedom, and when you play to him, you feel like a Pegasus
caracoling about in the air. When you play to Kullak, you feel as if
your wings were suddenly clipped, and as if you were put into harness to
draw an express wagon! However, I don't think it would be well to go to
Liszt without having been through such a training first, for you want to
know what you are about when you study with _him_. You must have a good
solid _basis_ upon which to raise his airy super-structures. Kullak I
regard as the basis.

You ask me in your letter to write you a comparison--a summing
up--between Clara Schumann, Bülow, Tausig and Rubinstein, but I don't
find it very easy to do, as they are all so different. Clara Schumann is
entirely a classic player. Beethoven's sonatas, and Bach, too, she plays
splendidly; but she doesn't seem to me to have any _finesse_, or much
poetry in her playing. There's nothing subtle in her conception. She has
a great deal of fire, and her whole style is grand, finished, perfectly
rounded off, solid and satisfactory--what the Germans call _gediegen_.
She is a _healthy_ artist to listen to, but there is nothing of the
analytic, no Balzac or Hawthorne about her. Beethoven's Variations in C
minor are, perhaps, the best performance I ever heard from her, and they
are immensely difficult, too; I thought she did them better than Bülow,
in spite of Bülow's being such a great Beethovenite. I think she repeats
the same pieces a good deal, possibly because she finds the modern
fashion of playing everything without notes very trying. I've even heard
that she cries over the necessity of doing it; and certainly it is a
foolish thing to make a point of, with so very great an artist as Clara
Schumann.--If people could _only_ be allowed to have their own

Bülow's playing is more many-sided, and is chiefly distinguished by its
great vigor; there is no end to his nervous energy, and the more he
plays, the more the interest increases. He is my favourite of the four.
But he plays Chopin just as well as he does Beethoven, and Schumann,
too. Altogether he is a superlative pianist, though by no means unerring
in his performance. I've heard him get dreadfully mixed up. I think he
trusts _too_ much to his memory, and that he does not prepare
sufficiently. He plays everything by heart, and such programmes! He
always hits the nail plump on the head, and such a grasp as he has! His
chords take firm hold of you. For instance, in the beginning of the two
last movements of the Moonlight Sonata, you should hear him run up that
arpeggio in the right hand so lightly and pianissimo, every note so
delicately articulated, and then _crash-smash_ on those two chords on
the top! And when he plays Bach's gavottes, gigues, etc., in the English
Suites, a laughing, roguish look comes over his face, and he puts the
most indescribable drollery and originality into them. You see that "he
sees the point" so well, and that makes _you_ see it, too. Yes, it is
good fun to hear Bülow do these things.--Perhaps the best summing up of
his peculiar greatness would be to say that he impresses you as using
the instrument only to express ideas. With him you forget all about the
piano, and are absorbed only in the thought or the passion of the piece.

Rubinstein you've heard. Most people put him next to Liszt. Your finding
him cold surprised me, for if there is a thing he is celebrated here
for, it is the fire and passion of his playing, and for his imagination
and spontaneity. I think that Tausig, Bülow, and Clara Schumann, all
three, have it all cut and dried beforehand, how they are going to play
a piece, but Rubinstein creates at the instant. He plays without _plan_.
Probably the afternoon you heard him he did not feel in the mood, and
so was not at his best. As a composer he far outranks the other three.

Tausig resembled Liszt more in that subtlety which Liszt has, and
consequently he was a better Chopin player than anybody else except
Liszt. I never shall forget his playing of Chopin's great Ballade in G
minor the very first time I heard him in concert. It is a divine
composition, and his rendering of it was not only all warmth and
fervour; it was also so wonderfully poetic that it fairly cast a spell
upon the audience, and a minute or two went by before they could begin
to applaud. It was like a dream of beauty suspended in the air before
you--floating there--and you didn't want to disturb it. Tausig had an
intense love for Chopin, and always wished he could have known him. I
think that he had more virtuosity, and yet more delicacy of feeling,
than either Rubinstein or Bülow. His finish, perfection, and above all
his touch, were above anything. But, except in Chopin, he was cold, at
least in the concert room. In the conservatory he seemed to be a very
passionate player; but, somehow, in public that was not the case.
Unfortunately, I had studied so little at that time, that I don't feel
as if I were competent to judge him. He was Liszt's favourite, and Liszt
said, "He will be the inheritor of my playing;" but I doubt if this
would have been, for the winter before Tausig died, Kullak remarked to
me that his playing became more and more "dry" every year, probably on
account of his morbid aversion to "Spectakel," as he called it; whereas
Liszt gives the reins to the emotions always.

When I was in Weimar I heard a great deal about Tausig's _escapades_
when he was studying there as a boy. They say he was awfully wild and
reckless at that time, and Liszt paid his debts over and over again.
Sometimes in aristocratic parties, when Liszt did not feel like playing
himself, he would tell Tausig to play, and perhaps Tausig would not feel
like it, either. He had the most enormous strength in his fingers,
though his hands were small, and he would go to the piano and pretend he
was going to play, and strike the first chords with such a crash that
three or four strings would snap almost immediately, and then, of
course, the piano was used up for the evening!

Tausig's father once procured him a splendid grand piano from Leipsic,
and shortly after, Tausig whittled off the corners of all the keys, so
as to make them more difficult to strike, and his father had to pay a
large sum to have them repaired. Another time he was presented with a
set of chess-men, and the next day some one on visiting him observed the
pieces all lying about the floor. "Why, Tausig, what has happened to
your chess-men?" "Oh, I wanted to see if they were easily broken, so I
knocked up the board." He seemed to be possessed with a spirit of
destruction. Gottschal told me that one time when Tausig was "hard up"
for money, he sold the score of Liszt's Faust for five thalers to a
servant, along with a great pile of his own notes. The servant disposed
of them to some waste-paper man, and Gottschal, accidentally hearing of
it, went to the man and purchased them. Then he went to Liszt to tell
him that he had the score. As it happened the publisher had written for
it that very day and Liszt was turning the house upside down, looking
for it everywhere.

At that time he was living in an immense house on a hill here, that they
call the Altenburg. Liszt occupied the first floor, a princely friend
the second, and the top story was one grand ball-room in which were
generally nine grand pianos standing. They used to give the most
magnificent entertainments, and Liszt spent thirty thousand thalers a
year. He lived like a prince in those days--very different from his
present simplicity. Well, he was in an awful state of mind because his
score was nowhere to be found. "A whole year's labor lost!" he cried,
and he was in such a rage, that when Gottschal asked him for the third
time what he was looking for, he turned and stamped his foot at him and
said, "You confounded fellow, can't you leave me in peace, and not
torment me with your stupid questions?" Gottschal knew perfectly well
what was wanting, but he wished to have a little fun out of the matter.
At last he took pity on Liszt, and said, "Herr Doctor, _I_ know what
you've lost. It is the score to your Faust." "Oh," said Liszt, changing
his tone immediately, "do you know anything of it?" "Of course I do,"
said Gottschal, and proceeded to unfold Master Tausig's performance, and
how he had rescued the precious music. Liszt was transported with joy
that it was found, and called up-stairs, "Carolina, Carolina, we're
saved! Gottschal has rescued us;" and then Gottschal said that Liszt
embraced him in his transport, and could not say or do enough to make up
for his having been so rude to him. Well, you would have supposed that
it was now all up with Master Tausig; but not at all. A few days
afterward was Tausig's birthday, and Carolina took Gottschal aside, and
begged him to drop the subject of the note stealing, for Liszt doted so
on his Carl that he wished to forget it. Sure enough, Liszt kissed Carl
and congratulated him on his birthday, and consoled himself with his
same old observation, "You'll either turn out a great blockhead, my
little Carl, or a great master."

Tausig had a great ambition to be a composer, and in his early youth he
published a number of compositions. Later on he became intensely
critical of his own work, and finally bought up all the copies he could
lay hands on and burnt them! This is entirely characteristic of his
sense of perfection, which was extreme, and may serve as an example to
young composers who are ambitious of saying something in music, when
very often they have nothing to say! Indeed, I am often amazed at the
temerity with which men will rush into print, quite oblivious of the
fact that it requires enormous talent to produce even a short piece of
music that is worth anything. Only a genius can do it.

Tausig, in my opinion, _did_ possess exceptional genius in composition,
though he left but few works behind him to attest it. Prominent among
these are his unique arrangements of three of Strauss's Waltzes. He had
a passion for philosophy, and was deeply read in Kant and Hegel. These
"arrangements" betray his metaphysical and tentative turn, and could
only have been the product of the highest mental force and culture.
Calling the waltz itself the warp of the composition, then through its
simple threads we find darting backwards and forwards a subtle,
complicated and tragic mind, an exquisitely refined and delicate
sentiment, and a piquante, aerial fancy, until finally is wrought a
brilliant and bewildering transcription--transfiguration rather--of
endless fascination and tantalizing beauty, which no one but a virtuoso
can play and no one but a connoisseur can comprehend. In a peculiar
manner his music leaves a _stamp_ upon the heart, and to those who can
appreciate it, Tausig, as a composer, is a deep and irreparable
loss.--If he had not original ideas of his own, he certainly possessed
the power of putting an entirely new face on those of others.



     Gives up Kullak for Deppe. Deppe's Method in Touch and in
     Scale-Playing. Fräulein Steiniger. Pedal Study.

    BERLIN, _December 11, 1873_.

Since I last wrote you I have taken a very important step, which is
_this_: After taking three or four lessons of Kullak I HAVE GIVEN HIM
UP! and am now studying under a new master. His name is Herr
Capelmeister Deppe. I suppose you will all think me crazed, but I think
I know what I am about. He seems to me a very remarkable man, and is to
me the most satisfactory teacher I've had yet. Of course I don't count
in the unapproachable Liszt when I say that, for Liszt is no
"_professeur du piano_," as he himself used scornfully to remark.

I made Herr Deppe's acquaintance quite by chance, at a musical party
given for Anna Mehlig by an American gentleman living here. I had often
heard of him, and was very anxious to know him, but somehow had never
compassed it. He is a conductor, to begin with, and I have often seen
him conduct orchestral concerts. In fact, that was what he first came to
Berlin for, a few years ago--to conduct Stern's orchestral concerts
during the latter's absence in Italy. Deppe is an accomplished
conductor, and I have never heard Beethoven's second Overture to Leonora
sound as I have under his bâton.

But it was Sherwood who first called my attention to him as a teacher.
He rushed into my room one day, and said, "Oh, I've just heard the most
beautiful playing that ever I heard in my life!" I asked him who it was
that had taken him so by storm, and he said it was a young English girl
named Fannie Warburg, and that she was a pupil of Deppe's. "Well, what
is it about her that is so remarkable," said I. "Oh, _everything_!--execution,
expression, style, touch--all are _perfect_! I never heard anything to
equal her, and I feel as if I never wanted to touch the piano again."

This was such strong language for Sherwood, who is generally very
critical and anything but enthusiastic, that my interest was immediately
excited. He went on to tell me that Deppe had been training this young
English girl, now only eighteen years of age, with the greatest care,
for six years, and that he had such an interest in her that he did not
confine himself to giving her lessons only, but set himself to form her
whole musical taste by taking her to the best concerts and to hear the
great operas, calling her attention to every peculiarity of structure in
a composition, and giving her all sorts of hints which only a man of
profound musical culture _could_ give. Sherwood said, moreover, that in
summer he made her go to Pyrmont, which is a watering place near
Hanover, where he goes himself every year, and that there he heard her
play _every day_ Mozart's concertos and all sorts of things. I thought
to myself at the time that the man who would take so much trouble for a
pupil as that, would have been just the one for me, for it was easy to
see that Deppe was teaching more for the love of Art than for love of
money--a rare thing in these materialistic days! Afterward, you know,
Miss B. spoke to me about him in Weimar, and I wrote you what she said.

Well, as I was saying, I went to this musical party given to Anna
Mehlig, where there were a number of musicians and critics. I was
listening to Mehlig play, when suddenly Sherwood, who was also present,
stole up to me and said, "Come into the next room and be introduced to
Deppe." At these magic words I started, and immediately did as I was
bid. I found Deppe in one corner looking about him in an absent sort of
way. He was a man of medium height, with a great big brain, keen blue
eyes and delicate little mouth, and he had a most cheery and sunny
expression. He shook hands, and then we sat down and got into a most
animated conversation--all about music. I told him how interested I was
by all I had heard of him--how I had returned to Kullak for a last
trial--how tired I was of his eternal pedagogism, and how I should like
to study with _him_.

He asked me what my chief difficulty was, whereupon I answered "the
technique, of course." He smiled, and said "that was the smallest
difficulty, and that anybody could master execution if they knew how to
attack it, unless there was some want of proper development of the
hand." I said I had studied very hard, but that I hadn't mastered it,
and that there was always some hard place in every piece which I
couldn't get the better of. He said he was sure he could remedy the
deficiency, and that if I would show him my hand without a glove, he
could tell directly what I was capable of. I wouldn't pull it off,
however, because I was afraid he might find some radical defect or
weakness in it, but I was so charmed with the way he made light of the
technique, and with the absolute certainty he seemed to have that I
could overcome it, that I promised him that I would go and play to him
the following Wednesday.

Accordingly on the following Wednesday I presented myself. I had
expected to stay about half an hour, but I ended by staying _three solid
hours_, and we talked as fast as we could all the while, too! So you may
imagine we had a good deal to say. He lives in two little rooms on the
Königgrätzer Strasse, only four doors from the W.'s, where I boarded for
so long. Now if I had only known I was close to such a teacher! We must
often have passed each other in the street, and where _was_ my good
angel that he did not touch my arm and say, "There's the man for
you?"--Frightful to think how near one may be to one's best happiness,
or even salvation, and not know it!

Deppe's front room was pretty much filled up with a grand piano, which,
as well as the chairs and most other articles of furniture, was covered
with music. I glanced over the pieces a little, and there was nearly
every set of Etudes under the sun, it seemed to me, as well as concertos
and pieces by all the great composers, fingered and marked with pencil
in the most minute way. It was enough simply to turn the leaves, to see
what a study he must have made of everything he gave his scholars. His
inner room had double doors to it to prevent the sound from penetrating.
I rapped at the outside one, and presently I heard a great turning and
rattling of keys, and then they opened, and Deppe was before me. He put
out his hand in the most cordial and friendly way, and greeted me with
the most winning smile in the world. I took off my things and began to
play to him. He listened quietly, and without interrupting me. When I
had finished he told me that my difficulties were principally mechanical
ones--that I had conception and style, but that my execution was uneven
and hurried, my wrist stiff, the third and fourth fingers[F] very weak,
the tone not full and round enough, that I did not know how to use the
pedal, and finally, that I was too nervous and flurried.

"If possible, you must get over this agitation," said he. "_Hören Sie
Sich spielen_ (Listen to your own playing). You have talent enough to
get over all your difficulties if you will be patient, and do just as I
tell you." "I will do anything," I said. "Very good. But I warn you that
you will have to give up all playing for the present except what I give
you to study, and _those_ things you must play very slowly."

This was a pleasant prospect, as I was just preparing to give a concert
in Berlin, under Kullak's auspices, and had already got my programme
half learned! But I had "invoked the demon," and I felt bound to give
the required pledge.--So here I am, after four years abroad with the
"greatest masters," going back to first principles, and beginning with
five-finger exercises! I had never been given any particular rule for
holding my hand, further than the general one of curving the fingers and
lifting them very high. Deppe objects to this extreme lifting of the
fingers. He says it makes a _knick_ in the muscle, and you get all the
strength simply from the finger, whereas, when you lift the finger
moderately high, the muscle from the whole arm comes to bear upon it.
The tone, too, is entirely different. Lifting the finger so very high,
and striking with force, stiffens the wrist, and produces a slight jar
in the hand which cuts off the singing quality of the tone, like closing
the mouth suddenly in singing. It produces the effect of a blow upon the
key, and the tone is more a sharp, quick tone; whereas, by letting the
finger just fall--it is fuller, less loud, but more penetrating. I
suppose the hammer falls back more slowly from the string, and that
makes the tone _sing_ longer.

Don't you remember my saying that Liszt had such an extraordinary way of
playing a melody? That it did not seem to be so loud and cut-out as most
artists make it, and yet it was so penetrating? Well, dear, _there_ was
the secret of it! "_Spielen Sie mit dem Gewicht_ (Play with weight),"
Deppe will say. "Don't strike, but let the fingers _fall_. At first the
tone will be nearly inaudible, but with practice it will gain every day
in power."--After Deppe had directed my attention to it, I remembered
that I had never seen Liszt lift up his fingers so fearfully high as the
other schools, and especially the Stuttgardt one, make such a point of
doing.[G] That is where Mehlig misses it, and is what makes her playing
so sharp and cornered at times. When you lift the fingers so high you
cannot bind the tones so perfectly together. There is always a break.
Deppe makes me listen to every tone, and carry it over to the next one,
and not let any one finger get an undue prominence over the other--a
thing that is immensely difficult to do--so I have given up all pieces
for the present, and just devote myself to playing these little
exercises right.

Deppe not only insists upon the fingers being as curved as possible, so
that you play exactly on the tips of them, but he turns the hand very
much out, so as to make the knuckles of the third and fourth fingers
higher than those of the first and second, and as he does _not_ permit
you to throw out the elbow in doing this, the _turn must be made from
the wrist_. The _thumb_ must also be slightly curved, and quite free
from the hand. Many persons impede their execution by not keeping the
thumb independent enough of the rest of the hand. The moment it
contracts, the hand is enfeebled. The object of turning the hand outward
is to favour the third and fourth fingers, and give them a higher fall
when they are lifted. This strengthens them very much. It also looks
much prettier when the outer edge of the hand is high, and one of
Deppe's grand mottoes is, "When it _looks_ pretty then it is right."

After Deppe had put me through five-finger exercises on the foregoing
principles, and taught me to lift each finger and let it fall with a
perfectly loose wrist, (a most deceitful point, by the way, for it took
me a long while to distinguish when I was stiffening the wrist
involuntarily and when I wasn't,) he proceeded to the scale. He always
begins with the one in E major as the most useful to practice. His
principle in playing the scale is _not_ to turn the thumb under! but to
turn a little on each finger end, pressing it firmly down on the key,
and screwing it round, as it were, on a pivot, till the next finger is
brought over its own key. In this way he prepares for the thumb, which
is kept free from the hand and slightly curved.--He told me to play the
scale of E major slowly with the right hand, which I did. He curved his
hand round mine, and told me as long as I played right, his hand would
not interfere with mine. I played up one octave, and then I wished to go
on by placing my first finger on F sharp. To do that I naturally turned
my hand outward, so as to make the step from my thumb on E to F sharp
with the first, but it came bang up against Deppe's hand like a sort of
blockade. "Go on," said Deppe. "I can't, when you keep your hand right
in the way," said I. "My hand isn't in the way," said he, "but _your_
hand is out of position."

So I started again. This time I reflected, and when I got my third
finger on D sharp, I kept my hand slanting from left to right, but I
prepared for the turning under of the thumb, and for getting my first
finger on F sharp, by turning my wrist sharply out. That brought my
thumb down on the note and prepared me instantly for the next step. In
fact, my wrist carried my finger right on to the sharp without any
change in the position of the hand, thus giving the most perfect legato
in the world, and I continued the whole scale in the same manner. Just
try it once, and you'll see how ingenious it is--only one must be
careful not to throw out the elbow in turning out the wrist. As in the
ascending scale one has to turn the thumb under twice in every octave,
Deppe's way of playing avoids twice throwing the hand out of position as
one does by the old way of playing straight along, and the smoothness
and rapidity of the scale must be much greater. The direction of the
hand in running passages is always a little oblique.

Don't you remember my telling you that Liszt has an inconceivable
lightness, swiftness and smoothness of execution? When Deppe was
explaining this to me, I suddenly remembered that when he was playing
scales or passages, his fingers seemed to lie across the keys in a
slanting sort of way, and to execute these rapid passages almost without
any perceptible motion. Well, dear, _there_ it was again! As Liszt is a
great experimentalist, he probably does all these things by instinct,
and without reasoning it out, but that is why nobodys else's playing
sounds like his. Some of his scholars had most dazzling techniques, and
I used to rack my brains to find out how it was, that no matter how
perfectly anybody else played, the minute Liszt sat down and played the
same thing, the previous playing seemed rough in comparison. I'm sure
Deppe is the only master in the world who has thought that out; though,
as he says himself, it is the egg of Columbus--"when you know it!"

Deppe always begins the scale in the middle of the piano, and plays up
three octaves with the right, and down three octaves with the left hand.
He says that all the difficulty is in going up, and that coming back is
perfectly easy, as all you have to do is to let the fingers run! He
always makes me play each hand separately at first, and very slowly, and
then both hands together in contrary direction, gradually quickening the
tempo. After that in thirds, sixths, octaves, etc.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _December 25, 1873_.

As you may imagine, this is anything but a "Merry Christmas" for me, for
I am simply the most completely _bouleversée_ mortal in this world! Here
I was a month ago preparing to give a concert of my own. Then I have the
good or bad luck to make Herr Deppe's acquaintance, and to find out how
I "ought" to have been studying for the last four years. I give up
Kullak and my concert plan, thinking I'll study with Deppe and come out
under his auspices. After two lessons with him, comes your letter with
the news of this awful national panic in it.--_Could_ anything be worse
for a person who has really _conscientiously_ tried to attain her
object? I'm like the professor who gave some lectures to prove a certain
theory, and when he got to the fourteenth, he decided it was false, and
devoted the remaining ones to pulling it all down!

However, after practicing the scale on Deppe's principles, I find that
they open the road to an ease, rapidity, sureness and elegance of
execution which, with my stiff hand, I've not been able to see even in
the dim distance before! One of his grand hobbies is _tone_, and he
never lets me play a note without listening to it in the closest manner,
and making it sound what he calls "_bewüsst_ (conscious)."--No more
mechanical "straying of the hands over the keys (as the novelists always
say of their heroines) thinking of all sorts of things the while," but
instead, a close pinning down of the whole attention to hear whether one
finger predominates over the other, and to note the effect produced. I
was perfectly amazed to see how many little ugly habits I had to correct
of which I had not been the least aware. It seems as though my ears had
been opened for the first time! Such concentration is very exhausting,
and after two or three hours' practice I feel as if I should drop off
the chair.

I forgot to say before, that Deppe enjoins sitting very low--that
is--not higher than a common chair. He says one may have "the soul of an
angel," and yet if you sit high, the tone will not sound poetic.
Moreover, in a low seat the fingers have to work a great deal more,
because you can't assist them by bringing the weight of your arm to
bear. "Your elbow must be _lead_ and your wrist a _feather_." Of course
the seat must be modified to suit the person. I prefer a low seat
myself, and have even had my piano-chair cut off two inches.

Before definitely deciding to give up Kullak and come to _him_, Deppe
insisted that I should hear one of his scholars play. Fannie Warburg is
in England on a visit, so I could not hear _her_, but he has another
young lady pupil of whom he is very proud, named Fräulein Steiniger.
This young lady had been originally a pupil of Kullak's, and I had heard
her play once in his conservatory. She was a girl of a good deal of
talent, but not a genius. Deppe said that when she came to him she had
all my defects, only worse. She has been studying with him in the most
tremendous manner for fifteen months, and he wanted me to see what he
had made of her in that time. She was going to play in a concert in
Lübeck, and he was to rehearse her pieces with her on Saturday for the
last time. He begged me to come then, and accordingly I went.

I was very much struck by her playing, which was remarkable, not so much
for sentiment or poetry, of which she had little, but for the _mastery_
she had over the instrument, and for the perfection with which she did
everything. There was a clarity and limpidity about her trills and runs
which surprised and delighted. Her left hand was as able as the right,
and had a way of taking up a variation like nothing at all and running
along with it through the most complicated passages, which almost made
you laugh with pleasure! There was a wonderful vitality, elasticity and
_snap_ to her chords which impressed me very much, and a unity of effect
about her whole performance of any composition which I don't remember to
have heard from the pupils of other masters. The position of the hand
was exquisite, and all difficulties seemed to melt away like snow or to
be surmounted with the greatest ease. I saw at a glance that Deppe is a
magnificent teacher, and I believe that he has originated a school of
his own.

Fräulein Steiniger played a charming Quintette by Hummel, a beautiful
Suite by Raff, a Prelude and Fugue by Bach, and two Studies, and all, as
it seemed to me, exactly as they _ought_ to be played. After she had
finished, we had a long talk about Kullak. She said she staid with him
year after year, doing her very best, and never arriving at anything. At
last, as he did nothing for her, she resolved to strike out for herself,
and went to Deppe, who was at that time conducting Stern's orchestral
concerts, and asked him if he would not allow her to play in one of
them. Deppe received her with his characteristic kindness and
cordiality, but told her that before he could promise he must first hear
her in private, and he set a time for the purpose.

She had prepared Beethoven's great E flat Concerto, which everybody
plays here. It is as difficult for Deppe to listen to that concerto as
it is for Liszt to hear Chopin's B flat minor Scherzo. "We poor
conductors!" he will exclaim, "will the artists _always_ keep bringing
us Beethoven's E flat Concerto? Why not, for once, the B flat, or a
Mozart concerto? _Then_ we should say '_Ja, mit Vergnügen_ (Yes, with
pleasure).' _Aber Jeder will grossartig spielen heutzutage_ (But
everybody wants to play on a grand scale now-a-days). The mighty rushing
torrent is the fashion, but who can do the wimpling, dimpling streamlet?
Nobody has any fingers for the _kleine Passagen_ (little fine
passages). Sie _haben_, Alle, _keine Finger_ (_None_ of them have any
fingers)." He then winds up by saying _he_ is the only man in Germany
who knows how to give them "fingers." "_Ich weiss worauf es ankommt_
(_I_ know what it depends on)!"

Nevertheless, he listened patiently for the thousandth time to the E
flat concerto, as Steiniger played it. He then quietly called her
attention to the fact that _she_ had "no fingers," and she was in
perfect despair. He saw that she was energetic and willing to work, and
he at once took her in hand and began to drill her. She withdrew
entirely from society and devoted herself to practicing, following his
directions implicitly. She is now a beautiful artist, and he chalks out
every step of her career. I don't doubt she will play in the Gewandhaus
in Leipsic eventually, which is the height of every artist's ambition,
and stamps you as "finished." Then you are recognized all over the
world. Deppe does not mean to let her play here till she has first
played in many little places and succeeded. As he said to me the other
day, "When you wish to spring over tall mountains, you must first jump
over little mounds (_kleine Graben_.)" He counsels me to take a lesson
of this young lady every day for a time, so as to get over the technical
part quickly.

As for Deppe's young protégée, Fannie Warburg, whom he has formed
completely, everybody says that she is wonderful. Fräulein Steiniger
says that when you hear her play you feel almost as if it were something
holy, it is so perfect and so extraordinarily spiritual. She is only
eighteen. Deppe showed me the list of compositions that she has already
played in concerts elsewhere, and I was astonished at the variety and
compass of it. Every great composer was represented.

Among other refinements of his teaching, Deppe asked me if I had ever
made any pedal studies. I said "No--nobody had ever said anything to me
about the pedal particularly, except to avoid the use of it in runs, and
I supposed it was a matter of taste." He picked out that simple little
study of Cramer in D major in the first book--you know it well--and
asked me to play it. I had played that study to Tausig, and he found no
fault with my use of the pedal; so I sat down thinking I could do it
right. But I soon found I was mistaken, and that Deppe had very
different ideas on the subject. He sat down and played it phrase by
phrase, pausing between each measure, to let it "sing." I soon saw that
it is possible to get as great a virtuosity with the pedal as with
anything else, and that one must make as careful a study of it. You
remember I wrote to you that one secret of Liszt's effects was his use
of the pedal,[H] and how he has a way of disembodying a piece from the
piano and seeming to make it float in the air? He makes a spiritual form
of it so perfectly visible to your inward eye, that it seems as if you
could almost hear it breathe! Deppe seems to have almost the same idea,
though he has never heard Liszt play. "The Pedal," said he, "is the
_lungs_ of the piano." He played a few bars of a sonata, and in his
whole method of binding the notes together and managing the pedal, I
recognized Liszt. The thing floated!--Unless Deppe wishes the chord to
be very brilliant, he takes the pedal _after_ the chord instead of
simultaneously with it. This gives it a very ideal sound.--You may not
believe it, but it is _true_, that though Deppe is no pianist himself,
and has the funniest little red paws in the world, that don't look as if
they could do anything, he's got that same touch and quality of tone
that Liszt has--that indescribable _something_ that, when he plays a few
chords, merely, makes the tears rush to your eyes. It is too heavenly
for anything.


     Chord-Playing. Deppe no "Mere Pedagogue." Sherwood. Mozart's
     Concertos. Practicing Slowly. The Opera Ball.

    BERLIN, _January 2, 1874_.

When I had got the principle of the scale pretty well into my head, what
should Deppe rummage out but Czerny's "_Schule der Geläufigkeit_ (School
of Velocity)," which I hadn't looked at since the days of my childhood
and fondly flattered myself I had done with forever. (We none of us know
what stands before us!) After having studied Cramer, Gradus and Chopin,
you may imagine it was rather a come down to have to take to the School
of Velocity again! And to study it _very_ slowly and with one hand
only!! That was adding insult to injury. Deppe knows what he is about,
though. He began picking out passages here and there all through the
book, and making me play them, stretching from the thumb and turning on
the fingers as often as possible. After I have mastered the passages I
am to learn a whole study, first with each hand alone, and then with
both together!

Deppe next proceeded to teach me how to strike chords. I had to learn to
raise my hands high over the key-board, and let them fall without any
resistance on the chord, and _then sink with the wrist_, and take up the
hand exactly over the notes, keeping the hand extended. There is quite
a little knack in letting the hand fall so, but when you have once got
it, the chord sounds much richer and fuller.--And so on, _ad infinitum_.
Deppe had thought out the best way of doing _everything_ on the
piano--the scale, the chord, the trill, octaves, broken octaves, broken
thirds, broken sixths, arpeggios, chromatics, accent, rhythm--all! He
says that the principle of the scale and of the chord are directly
opposite. "In playing the scale you must gather your hand into a
nut-shell, as it were, and play on the finger tips. In taking the chord,
on the contrary, you must spread the hands as if you were going to ask a
blessing." This is particularly the case with a wide interval. He told
me if I ever heard Rubinstein play again to observe how he strikes his
chords. "Nothing cramped about _him_! He spreads his hands as if he were
going to take in the universe, and takes them up with the greatest
freedom and _abandon_!" Deppe has the greatest admiration for
Rubinstein's _tone_, which he says is unequaled, but he places Tausig
above him as an artist. He said Tausig used to come to his room and play
to him, and he took off Tausig's little half bow and way of seating
himself at the piano and beginning at once, without prelude or wasting
of words, very funnily! He would scarcely take time to say "_Guten
Abend_ (Good Evening)." Deppe thinks Tausig played some things
matchlessly, but that in others he was dry and soulless. Clara Schumann,
he says, is the most "musical" of all the great artists--and you
remember how immensely struck I was with Natalie Janotha, who is her
pupil, and plays just like her.

From my telling you so much about technicalities, you must not think
Deppe only a pedagogue. He is in reality the soul of music, and all
these things are only "means to an end." As he says himself, "I always
hear the music the people _don't_ play." No pianist ever entirely suited
him, and this it was that set him to examining the instrument in order
to see what was the matter with it. He made friends with the great
virtuosi, and studied their ways of playing, and the result of all his
observation is that "Piano playing is the only thing where there is
something to be done." He declares that there is so much musical talent
going to waste in the world that it is "lying all about the streets,"
and he has a most ingenious way of accounting for the fact that there
are so many great pianists in spite of their not knowing _his_
method:--"Gifted people," he says, "play by the grace of God; but
_everybody_ could master the technique on _my_ system!!"

To show you that it is not alone my judgment of Deppe--four of Kullak's
best pupils, including Sherwood! left him for Deppe, after I did. They
got so uneasy from what I told them, that they went to see Deppe, and as
soon as they heard Fräulein Steiniger play, they had to admit that she
had got hold of some secrets of which they knew nothing. Sherwood, you
know, is a positive genius, yet he is beginning all over again, too. In
short, we are all unanimous, while Deppe, on his side, is much gratified
at having some American pupils.--He flatters himself that we will
introduce all his cherished ideas into our "new and progressive

Ah, if I had only studied with Deppe before I went to Weimar! When I was
there I didn't play half as often to Liszt as I might have done, kind
and encouraging as he always was to me, for I always felt I wasn't
_worthy_ to be _his_ pupil! But if I had known Deppe four years ago,
what might I not have been now? After I took my first lesson of Deppe
this thought made me perfectly wretched. I felt so dreadfully that I
cried and cried. When I woke up in the morning I began to cry again. I
was so afflicted that at last my landlady, who is very kind and
sympathetic, asked me what ailed me. I told her I felt so dreadfully to
think I had met the person I ought to have met four years ago, at the
last minute, so.--"On the contrary, you ought to rejoice that you have
met him _at all_," said she. "Many persons go through life without ever
meeting the person they wish to, or they don't know him when they
do."--Sensible woman, Frau von H.!--After that I stopped fretting, and
tried to believe that there _is_ "a divinity that shapes our ends,
rough-hew them how we may."

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _February 12, 1874_.

I am now taking three lessons a week from Fräulein Steiniger and one
lesson of Deppe himself, and he says I am almost through the technical
preparation, though I still practice only with one hand, and _very_
slowly all the time. Fräulein Steiniger says that she also practiced
slowly all the time for six months, as I am now doing. In fact, she
completely forgot how to play _fast_, and one day when Deppe finally
said to her in the lesson, "Now play fast for once," she could not do
it, and had to learn it all over again. Of course she very soon got her
hand in again, and now she has the most beautiful execution, and can
play _anything_ perfectly.

Deppe wants me to play a Mozart concerto for two pianos with Fräulein
Steiniger, the first thing I play in public. Did you know that Mozart
wrote _twenty_ concertos for the piano, and that nine of them are
masterpieces? Yet nobody plays them. Why? Because they are too hard,
Deppe says, and Lebert, the head of the Stuttgardt conservatory, told me
the same thing at Weimar. I remember that the musical critic of the
_Atlantic Monthly_ remarked that "we should regard Mozart's passages and
cadenzas as child's play now-a-days." _Child's play_, indeed! That
critic, whoever it is, "had better go to school again," as C. always

Deppe is remarkable in Mozart, and has studied him more than anybody
else, I fancy. Indeed, to turn over his concertos, and see how he has
_fingered_ them alone, is enough to make you dizzy. He is always saying,
"You must hear Fannie Warburg play a Mozart concerto. _She_ can do it!"
and, indeed, I am most anxious to hear her.

It is ludicrous to hear Deppe talk about the artists that everybody else
thinks so great. Having been a director of an orchestra for years, he
has constantly directed their concerts, and he weighs them in a
relentless balance! The other day he gave me Mendelssohn's Concerto in
G minor, and just at the end of the first movement is a fearful
break-neck passage for both hands. "There!" cried Deppe, "that's a good
healthy place. _Nehmen Sie_ DAS _für Ihr tägliches Gebet_ (Take _that_
for your daily prayer). When you can play it eight times in succession
without missing a note, I'll be satisfied. That is one of the places
that when the pianists come to, they get their foot hard on to the pedal
and hold on to it--_Herr Gott!_ how they hold on to it--and so _lie_
themselves through." He said he never heard anyone do it right except
those to whom he had taught it. Steiniger played it for me the other day
and it so astonished my ears that I felt like saying, "_Herr Gott!_"
too. It was as if some one had snatched up a handful of hail and dashed
it all over me. Br-r-r-zip! how it did go!--Like a bundle of rockets
touched off one after the other. And yet this concerto is one of those
things that everybody thrums, and is one of the regular pieces you must
have in your repertoire. Deppe was quite shocked to find I had never
learned it.

My lesson usually lasts three hours! Nothing Deppe hates like being
hurried over a lesson. He likes to have plenty of time to express all
his ideas and tell you a good many anecdotes in between! I usually take
my lessons from seven till ten in the evening. Then he puts on his coat
and saunters along with me on his way to his "Kneipe," or beer-garden,
for he is far too sociable to go to bed without having taken a friendly
glass of beer with some one. Every block or so he will stand stock still
and impress some musical point upon my mind, and will often harangue me
for five or ten minutes before moving on. It seems to be impossible to
him to walk and _talk_ at the same time! In this way you may imagine it
takes me a good while to get home.

On Tuesday there is to be a grand ball at the opera house which the
Emperor and the whole court grace with their presence, and lead off the
first Polonaise. There are two of these grand public balls every winter.
The tickets are sold, and it is the sole occasion where the public can
have the felicity of gazing upon royalty in close proximity. I have
never been, though all my German friends have been dinning it into my
ears for the last four years that I ought to go and see it, for the
decorations are magnificent. This year there is to be but one, as the
Emperor is not very well, and I expect it will be as much as one's life
is worth to get in and get out again, such is the rush!

The German officers waltz perfectly, and with great spirit and elegance.
Dancing is a part of their military training and they are obliged to
learn it. But they are not very comfortable partners, for one rubs one's
face against their epaulets unless they are just the right height, and
you've no rest for your left hand. They take only two turns round the
room and then stop a moment or two to fan you and rest--then they take
two more. The consequence is, one never gets fairly going before one has
to stop. At first I used to think the effect of so many people whirling
round in the same direction dizzying and monotonous. But when I became
accustomed to it, the continual reversing of the Americans who come to
Berlin struck me as angular, in contrast to the graceful German
circling. It is not "the thing" here for the girls to look flushed and
disordered--skirts torn, and hair out of crimp--as our belles do at the
end of an evening. They retire from the ball-room with their dresses in
faultless condition, so that going to parties in Germany must cost the
_pater familias_ considerably less than with us! The floor is never so
crowded with dancers at one time, and as they are going in the same
direction, they don't run into each other as our couples do. On the
other hand, they don't have such a "good time" out of it as do our
girls, with their long five and ten minute turns to those delicious
waltzes! Strange, that though Germany is the native home of the waltz,
and the Vienna waltzes surpass all others, the Schottisch or
Rhinelaender should be their favourite dance. They dance it very
gracefully and rythmically.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _March 1, 1874_.

I went the other evening to the Opera ball I wrote you of in my last.
The whole opera house, stage and all, was floored over, and
magnificently decorated with evergreens, mirrors, fountains, and
flowers. The tickets are sold for some charitable purpose. Only nice
people can get in, because the whole thing is systematically arranged,
and nobody can give their tickets to anybody else. I got mine through
Mr. Bancroft, and I went with two other ladies and a gentleman.

We went very early, so as to get a box to sit in, and _never_ shall I
forget the first effect of the ball-room! That immense polished floor
stretching out like one vast mirror or sheet of ice, the fountains
flashing at the sides, the walls wreathed with green, a big orchestra
sitting in the balcony at each end, and about a hundred pairs of
magnificently dressed ladies and gentlemen descending the stairs into
the rooms and promenading about. Light, diamonds, colour, everywhere.
Oh, it was perfectly fairy-like! The floor was built over the tops of
the chairs in the parquette, and the entrance was through the royal box,
which is just in the centre of the opera house, facing the stage. This
box is like a large recess, of course, and not like the ordinary boxes.
There was an entrance on each side, coming in from the corridor, and a
flight of broad steps, carpeted, had been improvised, which led from it
down to the floor. It looked perfectly dazzling to see the pairs come in
from both sides at once and descend the steps, and the ladies' dresses
were displayed to perfection. Such toilets I never saw. The women were
covered with lace, feathers, and diamonds. The simpler dresses were of
tarletane (mine included!) but as they were quite fresh they gave a very
dressy air. We had a splendid box, first rank, and the second from the
proscenium boxes on the left, in which sat the royal family. In the box
between us and the latter sat the wife of the French ambassador with the
Countess von Seidlewitz and her sister, and behind them was a formidable
array of magnificent-looking officers in full uniform, their breasts
flashing with stars and orders and silver chains.

The Countess von Seidlewitz is a famous court beauty and is lady of
honour to the Princess Carl (sister of the Empress). She sat just next
to me, as only the partition of the box was between us, and she was the
most beautiful woman I saw--perfectly imperial, in fact--white and
magnificent as a lily. Her features were perfectly regular, and she had
a proudly-cut mouth, and such dazzling little teeth! Then, her arms,
neck, and shape were exquisite. She wore the severest kind of dress, and
one that only such beauty could have borne. It was a white silk, with an
immense train, of course, and without overskirt--simply caught up in a
great puff behind. The waist was made with a small basque, but very low,
and with very short sleeves. Round the neck was a white bugle fringe,
and there were two or three rows of this fringe in front, graduating to
the waist, smaller and smaller, and going round the basque. All the
front breadth of the skirt was laid in folds of satin, in groups of
three, and on the edge of every third row was the fringe again,
graduating wider and wider toward the bottom. In her hair she wore a
wreath of white verbenas or (snow-balls) and green leaves. Her sole
ornament was a magnificent diamond locket and ear-rings of some curious
design, the locket depending from a very fine gold chain, which
challenged all observers to notice the faultlessness of her neck. One
sly bit of coquetry was visible in two natural flowers,
lilies-of-the-valley, with their leaves, which she had stuck in her
corsage so that they should rest against her neck and show that they
were not whiter than her skin.--You see there were no folds anywhere,
as there was no overskirt, but the whole dress hung in long lines and
showed the contour of the figure. Nothing but these fringes (which
gleamed and waved with every motion) relieved it--not even a bit of
black velvet anywhere, for the lace round the neck was drawn through
with a white silk thread. There was another lady in the same box whose
dress was very beautiful, too, though she herself was not. It was a
green silk with green tulle overdress puffed, and with ears of silver
wheat scattered over it. The tunic was of silver crape, the bottom cut
in scallops and trimmed with silver wheat. A wisp of wheat was knotted
round her neck for a necklace, and a perfect sheaf of it in her hair. It
was an exquisite dress.

At ten o'clock everybody had arrived--about two thousand people. The
orchestra struck up the Polonaise, and the court descended from the box
to make the tour of the floor (_i. e._, only the members of the royal
family with their ladies of honour). The Emperor was not very well, so
he remained in his box, but the Empress led off with the Duke of
Edinburgh, who happened to be here. She was dressed in lavender satin,
covered with the most superb white lace. Her hair was done in braids on
the top of her head, very high, and upon it was fastened a double
coronet of diamonds, stuck on in stars, etc., which flashed like so many
small suns. Round her neck depended from a black velvet band, strings of
diamonds of great size and magnificence. It really almost made you start
when your eye caught them unexpectedly! The Empress is a very
elegant-looking woman, and is every inch a queen. She moved with stately
step, bowing and bowing graciously from side to side to the crowd which
parted and bent before her, and was followed by the Crown Prince and
Princess, the Princess Carl, the Princess Friedrich Carl (a beauty) and
her daughters, and I don't know who all, with their ladies of honour.
When the Countess von Seidlewitz came along, with her fringes waving and
gleaming in front of her, she shone out from all the rest, and, in fact,
from the whole two thousand guests, like the planet Venus among the
other stars.--Stunning!

The orchestra banged away its loudest, and it was quite exciting. The
three balconies were crowded with people, and all the boxes. The box of
the diplomatic corps was just opposite us, and our gay little Mrs. F.
sat in it dressed in white satin. Some of my friends came and stood
under my box and tried to get me to come down, but I would not, for I
knew I should lose my place if I did, and, indeed, I would not want to
dance there unless my dress were something superlative. You see, all the
swells sat in their boxes and gazed right down on the dancers, who had a
circular place roped off for them. De Rilvas, the Spanish minister,
looked so fine, however, with his broad blue ribbon across his breast
and his gold cross depending from his neck, that I should have liked
very well to have made the tour of the room with him.


     A Set of Beethoven Variations. Fannie Warburg. Deppe's Inventions.
     His Room. His Afternoon Coffee. Pyrmont.

    BERLIN, _April 30, 1874_.

I wish you were here now so that I could play you a set of little
variations by Beethoven called, "I've only got a little hut." They are
_bewitching_, and I think I can now play them so as to express (as Deppe
says) "that he had indeed nothing but his little hut, but was quite
happy in it." In the last variation he dances a waltz in his little hut!
I have learned a great deal from these tiny variations, taught in
Deppe's inimitable fashion. When I first took them to him I began
playing the second of the variations--which is rather plaintive and
seems to indicate that the proprietor of the little hut had a misgiving
that there _might_ be a better abode somewhere on the earth--with a
great deal of "expression," as I thought. I soon found out I was
overdoing it, however, and that it is not always so easy to define where
good expression stops and bad style begins. "Why do you make those notes
stick out so?" asked Deppe, as I was giving vent to my "soul-longings,"
(as P. says). "Learn to paint in _grossen Flaechen_ (great surfaces)."
He made me play it again perfectly legato, and with no one note
"sticking out" more than another. I saw at once that he was right about
it, and that the effect was much better, while it took nothing from the
real sentiment of the piece. It was one of those cases where a simple
statement was all that was necessary. Anything more detracted from
rather than added to it.

I have at last heard Fannie Warburg in a Mozart concerto, for she has
got back from England. How she did play it! To say that the passages
"pearled," would be saying nothing at all. Why, the piano just _warbled_
them out like a nightingale! The last movement had the infectious gayety
that Mozart's things often have, with a magnificent cadenza by himself.
She rendered it so perfectly, and with such naïve light-heartedness,
that none of us could resist it, and we all finally burst into a laugh!
There was a little orchestra accompanying, which Deppe had got together
and was directing. When she got to the cadenza, he laid down his bâton,
and retired to lean against the door and enjoy it. She did it in the
most masterly manner, and O, it was _so_ difficult! I thought of the
Boston critic, who considered Mozart's compositions "child's play." They
_are_ child's play--that is, they are _nothing at all_ if they are not
faultlessly played, and every fault _shows_, which is the reason so few
attempt them. Your hand must be "in order," as Deppe says, to do it.

Fannie Warburg is a sweet little eighteen-year-old maiden. A shy little
bud of a girl without any vanity or self-consciousness. She has a lovely
hand for the piano, and the way she uses it is perfectly exquisite. It
is small and plump, but strong, with firm little fingers. Every muscle
is developed, and indeed it could not be otherwise, after such a six
years' training. One of Deppe's rules is that when you raise the finger
the knuckle must not stick out. The finger must "sit firm
(_fest-sitzen_) in the joint." Fannie Warburg's fingers "_sitzen_" so
"_fest_" that when she plays she positively has a little row of dimples
where her knuckles ought to be. It looks too pretty for anything--just
like a baby's hand. She does not seem to have the slightest ambition,
however, and I doubt whether she will ever do anything with her music
after she leaves Deppe. Her mother was from Hamburg, and had taken
lessons of Deppe there when they were both quite young. She thought him
such a remarkable teacher that she declared her daughter should have no
other master. So when Fannie was twelve years old she brought her to
him, and he has been giving her lessons ever since--something like
Samuel's mother bringing him to the Temple, wasn't it?--and indeed when
I go into Deppe's shabby little room I always feel as if I were in a
little Temple of Music! I like to see the furniture all bestrewn with
it, and Deppe himself seated at his table surrounded with piles of
manuscript, pen in hand, going over and arranging them, bringing order
out of chaos. Other orchestra leaders are always writing and begging him
to lend them his copies of Oratorios, etc.

Deppe has all sorts of practical little ideas peculiar to himself. For
instance, he has invented a candlestick to stand on a grand piano. In
shape it is curved, like those things for candles attached to upright
pianos, but with a weighted foot to hold it firm. It is a capital
invention, for you put one each side of the music-rack, and then you can
turn it so as to throw the light on your music, just as you can turn
those on the upright pianos. It is on the same principle, only with the
addition of the foot. It is much more convenient than a lamp, because it
doesn't rattle, and you can throw the light on the page so much
better.--Then he always insists on our having our pieces bound
separately, in a cover of stout blue paper, such as copy books are bound
in. He entirely disapproves of binding music in books. "Who will lug a
great heavy book along?" he will ask, "and besides, they don't lie open

The other day Deppe told me he wanted me to come and hear Fräulein
Steiniger take her lesson, as she had some interesting pieces to play. I
found her already there when I arrived. Deppe was in an uncommonly good
humour, and kept making little jokes. She played a string of things, and
finally ended off with Liszt's arrangement of the Spinning Song from
Wagner's Flying Dutchman. Deppe is dreadfully fussy about this piece,
and made some such subtle and telling points regarding the _conception_
of the composition, that they were worthy of Liszt himself. I mean to
learn it, and when I come home I will play it to you as Deppe taught it
to Steiniger, and you will see how fascinating it is. I know you'll be
carried away with it.

Toward the end of the lesson it was growing rather late, and time also
for Deppe's coffee, which beverage you know the Germans always drink
late in the afternoon, accompanied with cakes. He had just laid down his
violin, as he and Fräulein Steiniger had played a sonata together, and
had seated himself at the piano to show her about some passage or other.
Deeply absorbed, he was haranguing her as hard as he could, when the
maid of all work suddenly entered with the coffee on a tray, and was
apparently about to set it down on the piano in close proximity to the
violin. "_Herr Gott, nicht auf die Violin!_ (Good gracious, not on the
violin!)" exclaimed Deppe, springing frantically up and rescuing the
beloved instrument. "Where then?" said the girl. "Oh, anywhere, only not
on the violin." She set it down on a chair and vanished. There were only
three chairs in the room, and the sofa was covered with music. Fräulein
Steiniger occupied one chair, I the second, and the coffee the third.
Deppe glanced around in momentary bewilderment, and then sat himself
plump down on the floor, took his coffee, stretched out his legs, and
began stirring it imperturbably. "But Herr Deppe!" remonstrated
Steiniger. "Well," said he, with his light-hearted laugh, "what else can
I do when I have no chair?" There was no carpet on the floor, which was
an ordinary painted one, and he looked funny enough, sitting there, but
he enjoyed his coffee just as well!--After he had finished drinking it,
the shades of night were falling, and it occurred to him it would be
well to illuminate his apartment. He is the happy possessor of five
minute lamps and candlesticks, no two of which are the same height. The
lamps are two in number, and are about as big as the smallest sized
fluid lamp that we used in old times to go to bed by. The three
candlesticks are of china, and adorned with designs in decalcomania--probably
the handiwork of grateful pupils, for in Germany there is no present
like a "_Hand-Arbeit_ (something done by the hand of the giver)." It is
the correct thing to give a gentleman. When Fräulein Steiniger and I
only are present, Deppe usually considers the two lamps sufficient. But
if others are there and he is going to have some music in the evening,
he will produce the three minute candlesticks, with an end of candle in
each, light them, and dispose them in various parts of the room. When,
however, as on great occasions, the five lamps and candlesticks are
supplemented by two _more_ candles on the piano in the curved
candlesticks of Deppe's own invention, the blaze of light is something
tremendous to our unaccustomed eyes! Nothing short of the Tuileries or
the "Weisser Saal" at the palace here could equal it!

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _May 31, 1874_.

This season with Deppe has been of such immense importance to me, that I
don't know _what_ sum of money I would take in exchange for it. By
practicing in his method the tone has an entirely different sound, being
round, soft and yet penetrating, while the execution of passages is
infinitely facilitated and perfected. In fact, it seems to me that in
time one could attain anything by it, but time it _will_ have. One has
to study for months very slowly and with very simple things, to get into
the way of playing so, and to be able to think about each finger as you
use it--to "_feel_ the note and make it conscious." Deppe won't let me
finish anything at present, so I can't tell how far along I am myself.
His principle is, never to learn a piece completely the first time you
attack it, but to master it three-quarters, and then let it lie as you
would fruit that you have put on a shelf to ripen;--afterward, take it
up again and finish it. The principle _may_ be a good one, but it
prevents my ever having anything to play for people, and consequently I
have ceased playing in company entirely. In fact, I find it impossible,
and I don't see how Sherwood manages it. _He_ has a whole repertoire,
and sits down and plays piece after piece deliciously. But then he is a
perfect genius, and will make a sensation when he comes out. He has that
natural repose and imperturbability that are everything to an artist,
but which, unfortunately, so few of us possess. His compositions, too,
are exquisite, and so poetical! Mrs. Wrisley,[I] of Boston, and Fräulein
Estleben, of Sweden, who left Kullak when I did, are also gifted
creatures, whereas I think I am only a steady old poke-along, who
_won't_ give up! Sherwood, however, is head and shoulders above all of

[The following extract, taken from the report in the _Musical Review_ of
Mr. Sherwood's address before the Music Teachers' National Association
in Buffalo, in June, 1880, would seem to show that whether this
distinguished young virtuoso, now by far the leading American
concert-pianist, gained his ideas on the study of touch and tone from
Herr Deppe or not, he certainly endorses them in both his playing and
his teaching:--"It makes a great deal of difference whether a piano be
struck with a stick, with mechanical fingers, or with fingers that are
full of life and magnetism. I have examined Rubinstein's hand and arm,
and found that they are not only full of life and magnetism, but that
they are extremely elastic, and the fingers are so soft that the bones
are scarcely felt. Can practice produce these qualities? I believe so,
and I make it a point both with my pupils and myself to practice slow
motions. It is much easier to strike quickly than slowly, but practice
in the slow movement will develop both muscular and nervous power. And
the tone obtained by this motion is much better than that obtained by
striking. The mechanical practice in vogue at Leipsic and other European
conservatories often fails because the subject of æsthetics and tone
beauties are neglected." See pp. 288, 302-3, 334.]--ED.

My lessons with Deppe are a genuine musical excitement to me, always. In
every one is something so new and unexpected--something that I never
dreamed of before--that I am lost in astonishment and admiration. The
weeks fly by like days before I know it. Deppe gives me the most
beautiful music, and never wastes time over things which will be of no
use to me afterward. Every piece has an _aim_, and is lovely, also, to
play to people. Now, in Tausig's and Kullak's conservatories I wasted
quantities of time over things which are beautiful enough, and do to
play to one's self, but which are not in the least effective to play to
other people either in the parlour or in the concert-room--as Bach's
Toccata in C, for example. Such things take a good while to learn, and
are of no practical advantage afterward. But Deppe has an organized
_plan_ in everything he does.

In my study with Kullak when I had any special difficulties, he only
said, "Practice always, Fräulein. _Time_ will do it for you some day.
Hold your hand any way that is easiest for you. You can do it in _this_
way--or in _this_ way"--showing me different positions of the hand in
playing the troublesome passage--"or you can play it with the _back_ of
the hand if that will help you any!" But Deppe, instead of saying, "Oh,
you'll get this after years of practice," shows me how to conquer the
difficulty _now_. He takes a piece, and while he plays it with the most
wonderful _fineness_ of conception, he cold-bloodedly dissects the
mechanical elements of it, separates them, and tells you how to use your
hand so as to grasp them one after the other. In short, he makes the
technique and the conception _identical_, as of course they ought to be,
but I never had any other master who trained his pupils to attempt it.

Deppe also hears me play, I think, in the true way, and as Liszt used to
do: that is, he never interrupts me in a piece, but lets me go through
it from beginning to end, and _then_ he picks out the places he has
noted, and corrects or suggests. These suggestions are always something
which are not simply for that piece alone, but which add to your whole
artistic experience--a _principle_, so to speak. So, without meaning any
disparagement to the splendid masters to whom I owe all my previous
musical culture, I cannot help feeling that I have at last got into the
hands not of a mere piano virtuoso, however great, but, rather, of a
profound musical _savant_--a man who has been a violinist, as well as a
director, and who, without being a player himself, has made such a study
of the piano, that probably all pianists except Liszt might learn
something from him. You may all think me "enthusiastic," or even _wild_,
as much as you like; but whether or not I ever conquer my own block of a
hand--which has every defect a hand _can_ have!--when I come home and
begin teaching you all on Deppe's method, you'll succumb to the genius
and beauty of it just as completely as I have. You will _then_ all admit
I was RIGHT!

July 22.--I have finally made up my mind to go to Pyrmont when Deppe
does, and spend several weeks, keeping right on with my lessons, and
perhaps, giving a little concert there. I have always had a curiosity to
visit one of the German watering places, as I'm told they are extremely

     *     *     *

    PYRMONT, _August 1, 1874_.

Here I am in Pyrmont, and there's no knowing where I shall turn up next!
Fräulein Steiniger got here before me, but Deppe has not yet arrived
from Brussels, whither he has gone to be present at the yearly
exhibition of the Conservatoire there. He has been appointed one of the
judges on piano-playing. Pyrmont is a lovely little place. It is in a
valley surrounded by hills, heavily wooded, and has a beautiful park, as
all German towns have, no matter how small. The avenues of trees surpass
anything I ever saw. The soil has something peculiar about it, and is
particularly adapted to trees. They grow to an immense height, and their
stems look so strong, and their foliage is so tremendously luxuriant,
that it seems as if they were ready to burst for very life!

Fräulein Steiniger went with me to look up some rooms. Every family in
Pyrmont takes lodgers, so that it is not difficult to find good
accommodations. The women are renowned for being good housekeepers and
their rooms are charmingly fitted up, but the prices are very high, as
they live the whole year on what they make in summer. People come here
to drink the waters of the springs, and to take the baths, which are
said to be very invigorating. My rooms are near the principal "_Allée_"
or Avenue, leading from the Springs. About half way down is a platform
where the orchestra sit and play three times a day--at seven in the
morning (which is the hour before breakfast, when it is the thing to
take a glass or two of the water, and promenade a little), at four in
the afternoon, when everybody takes their coffee in the open air, and at
seven in the evening. As I don't drink the waters I do not rise early,
and am usually awakened by the strains of the orchestra. There is a
little piazza outside my window where I take my breakfast and supper.
For dinner I go to "table-d'hôte" at a hotel near.--It is a great relief
to get out of Berlin and see something green once more. I find the
weather very cool, however, and one needs warm clothing here.

There are the loveliest walks all about Pyrmont that you can imagine,
and beautiful wood-paths are cut along the sides of the hills. My
favourite one is round the cone of a small hill to the right of the
town. The path completely girdles it, and you can start and walk round
the hill, returning to the point you set out from. It is like a leafy
gallery, and before and behind you is always this curving vista.
Whenever I take the walk it reminds me of--

    "Curved is the line of beauty,
    Straight is the line of duty;
    Follow the last and thou shalt see
    The other ever following thee."

It is the first time I ever succeeded in combining the carved and the
straight line at the same time--because, of course, it is my _duty_ to
take exercise!


     The Brussels Conservatoire. Steiniger. Excursion to Kleinberg.
     Giving a Concert. Fräulein Timm.

    PYRMONT, _August 15, 1874_.

Deppe has got back from Brussels, and, as you may imagine, he had much
to tell about his flight into the world, particularly as he had also
been to London. He had a delightful time with the professors of the
Brussels Conservatoire, who were all extremely polite to him, and he
heard some talented young pupils. There was one girl about seventeen,
whom he said he would give a good deal to have as _his_ pupil, so gifted
is she, though her playing did not suit him in many respects. He said he
could have made some severe criticisms, but he refrained--partly because
he felt the uselessness of it, partly because he says "it _is_
extraordinary how amiable one gets when _young ladies_ are in question!"
He was very enthusiastic over the violin classes. "What a bow the
youngsters do draw!" he exclaimed. Dupont, the great piano teacher in
Brussels, must be a man of considerable "_esprit_," judging from the two
of his compositions that I am familiar with--the "Toccata" and the
"Staccato." I used to hear a good deal about him from his pupil Gurickx,
whom I met in Weimar. Certainly Gurickx played magnificently, and with a
_brio_ I have rarely heard equalled. He is like an electric battery.
Quite another school, however, from Deppe's--the severe, the chaste and
the classic! Extreme _purity of style_ is Deppe's characteristic, and
not the passionate or the emotional. For instance, he has scarcely given
me any Chopin, but keeps me among the classics, as he says on that side
my musical culture has been deficient. He says that Chopin has been "so
played to death that he ought to be put aside for twenty years!"--But if
Chopin were really sympathetic to him he could never say _that_! The
truth is, the modern "problematische Natur" has no charms for a
transparent and simple temperament like his.

Steiniger has been playing most beautifully lately. She has given two
concerts of her own here, and has played at another. Then she rehearsed
with orchestra Mozart's B flat major concerto--the most difficult
concerto in the world, and oh, _so_ exquisite! Though I had long wished
to do so, I never had heard it before, and as I listened I felt as if I
never could leave Deppe until I could play _that_! I wish you could have
heard it. It is sown with difficulties--enough to make your hair stand
on end! Steiniger played it with an ease and perfection truly
astonishing. The notes seemed fairly to run out of her fingers for fun.
The last movement was Mozart all over, just as merry as a cricket!--I
doubt whether anybody can play this concerto adequately who has not
studied with Deppe. The beauty of his method is that the greatest
difficulties become play to you.

I love to see Deppe direct the orchestra when Steiniger plays a concerto
of Mozart. His clear blue eyes dance in his head and look so sunny, and
he stands so light on his feet that it seems as if he would dance off
himself on the tips of his toes, with his bâton in his hand! He is the
incarnation of Mozart, just as Liszt and Joachim are of Beethoven, and
Tausig was of Chopin. He has a marvellously delicate musical
organization, and an instinct how things ought to be played which
amounts to second sight. Fräulein Steiniger said to him one day: "Herr
Deppe, I don't know why it is, but I can't make the opening bars of this
piece sound right. It doesn't produce the impression it ought." "I know
why," said Deppe. "It is because you don't strike the chord of G minor
before you begin,"--and so it was. When she struck the chord of G minor,
it was the right preparation, and brought you immediately into the mood
for what followed. It _fixed_ the key.

Aside from music, Deppe, like all artists, has the most childlike
nature, and I think Mozart is so peculiarly sympathetic to him because
he has such a simple and sunny temperament himself. We made a beautiful
excursion the other day in carriages, through the hills, to a little
village far distant, where we drank coffee in the open air. Deppe, who
knows every foot of the ground about Pyrmont, which he has frequented
from his youth up, kept calling our attention to all the points of the
scenery over and over again with the greatest delight, quite forgetting
that he repeated the same thing fifty times. "That little village over
there is called Kleinberg. It has a school and a church, and the
pastor's name is Koehler," he would say to me first. Then he would
repeat it to every one in our carriage. Then he would stand up and call
it over to the carriage behind us. Then when he had got out he said it
to the assembled crowd, and as I walked on in advance with Fräulein
Estleben, the last thing I heard floating over the hill-top was, "The
pastor's name is Koehler,"--so I knew he was still instructing some one
in the fact. "I wonder how often Deppe has repeated that?" I said to
Fräulein Estleben. "At least fifty times," said she, laughing. "I'm
going back to him and ask him once more what the name of the pastor is."
So I went back, and said, "By the way, Herr Deppe, what did you say the
name of the pastor of that village is?" "_Koehler_," said dear old
Deppe, with great distinctness and with such simple good faith that I
felt reproached at having quizzed him, though the others could scarcely
keep their countenances, as they knew what I was after.

I have been preparing for some time to give a concert of Chamber Music
in the salon of the hotel here, and expect it to take place a week from
to-day. My head feels quite _lame_ from so much practicing, the
consequence, I suppose, of so much listening. I am to play a Quintette,
Op. 87, in E major, by Hummel, for piano and strings, and a Beethoven
Sonata, Op. 12, in E flat, for violin and piano, and the other
instruments will play a Quartette by Haydn in between. It is a beautiful
little programme, I think--every piece perfect of its kind. If I succeed
in this concert as I hope, I shall probably listen to Deppe's implorings
and remain under his guidance another season. Deppe believes that one
_must_ go through successive steps of preparation before one is fitted
to attack the great concert works. I've found out (what he took good
care not to tell me in the beginning!) that his "course" is three
years!! and you can't hurry either him or his method. Your fingers have
got to grow into it.--I do not at all regret, with you, not having
hitherto played in concert; on the contrary, I think it providential
that I did not. You see, you and I started out with wholly impracticable
and ridiculous ideas. We thought that things could be done quickly.
Well, they _can't_ be done quickly and be worth anything. One must keep
an end in view for years and gradually work up to it. The length of time
spent in preparation has to be the same, whether you begin as a child
(which is the best, and indeed the only proper way), or whether you
begin after you have grown up. It is a ten years' labour, take it how
you will.

     *     *     *

    PYRMONT, _August 15, 1874_.

My concert came off yesterday evening, and Deppe says it was a complete
success. I did not play any solos, after all, though I had prepared some
beautiful ones, for Deppe said the programme would be too long, and he
was not quite sure of my courage. "You'd be frightened, if you were a
_Herr Gott_!" said he; but, contrary to my usual habit, I wasn't
frightened in the least, and I think I did as well as such a shaky,
trembly concern as I, could have expected, particularly as my hands are
two little fiends who _won't_ play if they don't feel like it, do what I
will to make them!--My programme was _à la_ Joachim (!)--only three
pieces of Chamber Music:--

    1. Quintette, Op. 87, E major,                      Hummel.
    2. Quartette, G major,                              Haydn.
    3. Sonata for piano and violin, Op. 12, E flat.     Beethoven.

Deppe arranged the whole thing most practically. We had a large _salle_
in the Hotel Bremen which was admirably proportioned, and a new grand
piano from Berlin. Deppe had only so many chairs placed as he had given
out invitations, and the consequence was that every chair was filled,
and there were no rows of empty seats. My "public" was very musical and
critical, and there were so many good judges there that I wonder I
wasn't nervous; but a sort of inspiration came to me at the moment.

The musicians who accompanied me were exceedingly good ones for such a
place as Pyrmont, and my strictly _classic_ selections were received
with great favour by the audience! That quintette of Hummel's is a most
charming composition--so flowing and elegant--and one can display a good
deal of virtuosity in the last part of it. I played first and last, and
the quartette in between was performed by the stringed instruments
alone. After I had finished the quintette, Deppe, who was at the extreme
end of the hall, sent me word that I was "doing famously, and that he
was delighted," and this encouraged me so that my sonata went
beautifully, too. When it was over, ever so many people came up and
congratulated me, and Fräulein Timm, Deppe's head teacher in Hamburg,
even complimented me on my "extraordinary facility of execution." I
couldn't help laughing at that, with my stubborn hand which never will
do anything, and which only the most intense study has schooled--but in
truth I was quite surprised myself at the plausible way in which it went
over all difficulties! Quite a number of Deppe's scholars were present,
all of them critics and several of them beautiful pianists. Two nice
American girls, sisters, from the West, came on from Berlin on purpose
for my concert. They helped me dress, and presented me with an exquisite
bouquet. One of them is taking lessons of Deppe, and the other has a
great talent for drawing, and has been two years studying in Berlin. She
says she has only made a "beginning" now, and that she wishes to study
"indefinitely" yet.--So it is in Art! I think her heads are excellent

After the concert was over, Deppe gave me a little champagne supper,
together with Fräuleins Timm, Steiniger, and these two young ladies.
When he poured out the wine he said he was going to propose a toast to
two ladies; one of them, of course, was myself, "and the other," said
he, "is in America, namely, the friend of Fräulein Fay, whom I judge to
be a woman of genius, so truly and rightly does she feel about art (I've
translated H's letters to him), and so nobly has she sympathized with
and stood by Fräulein Fay.--To Mrs. A., whose acquaintance I long to
make!"--You may be sure I drank to _that_ toast with enthusiasm. Ah, it
was a pleasant evening, after so many years of fruitless toil! The fat
and jolly old landlord came himself to put me into the carriage and to
say that everybody in the audience had expressed their pleasure and
gratification at my performance. I rather regret now that I did not play
my solos, but perhaps it is just as well to leave them until another
time. I have "sprung over one little mound"--to use Deppe's simile--and
got an idea of the impetus that will be necessary to "carry me over the

     *     *     *

    PYRMONT, _September 4, 1874_.

After the unwonted exaltation of the success of my little concert, I
have been suffering a corresponding reaction, partly because Fräulein
Timm, Deppe's Hamburg assistant, with whom I am now studying, began her
instructions, as teachers always do, by chucking me into a deeper slough
of despond than usual. Consequently, I haven't been very bright, though
I am gradually coming up to the surface again, for I'm pretty hard to

Fräulein Timm belongs to the single sisterhood, but is one of the fresh
and placid kind, and as neat as wax. She's got a great big brain and a
remarkable gift for teaching, for which she has a _passion_. I quite
adore her when she gets on her spectacles, for then she looks the
personification of Sagacity! She has been associated with Deppe for
years in teaching, and "keeps all his sayings and ponders them in her
heart." Indeed, she knows his ideas almost better than he does himself,
and carries on the whole circle of pupils that he left in Hamburg when
he came to Berlin. Every now and then he runs down to see how they are
getting on, gives them all lessons, reviews what they have done, and
brings Fräulein Timm all the new pieces he has discovered and fingered.
She also comes occasionally to Berlin to see him, takes a lesson every
day, fills herself with as many new ideas as possible, and then returns
to her post. Together, they form a very strong pair, and I think it a
capital illustration of your theory that men ought to associate women
with them in their work, and that "men should _create_, and women

Deppe makes Fräulein Timm and Fräulein Steiniger his partners and
associates in his ideas, and the consequence is they add all their
ingenuity to impart them to others. This spares him much of the tedious
technical work, and leaves him free for the higher spheres of art, as
they take the beginners and prepare them for him. _He_ has made _them_
magnificent teachers, and they employ their gifts to further _him_. I
don't doubt that through them his method will be perpetuated, and even
if he should die it would not be lost to the world. On the other hand,
he has given them something to live for.--Curious that the
_practicalness_ of this association with women doesn't strike the
masculine mind oftener!

So I am going down to Hamburg to study for a time with this Fräulein
Timm, as I think she will develop my hand quicker than Deppe, even.
Deppe has always urged me to it, but I never would do it, as I did not
know her personally, and did not wish to leave him. Now that I have
tried her, however, I find he was right, as he _always_ is! At present
she is throwing her whole weight upon my wrist, which I hope will get
limber under it! She has an obstinacy and a perseverance in sticking at
you that drive you almost wild, but make you learn "lots" in the end. I
think my grand trouble all these years has been a stiff wrist and a
heavy arm. I have borne down too heavily on wrist and arm, whereas the
whole weight and power must be just in the tips of the fingers, and the
wrist and arm must be quite light and free, the hand turning upon the
wrist as if it were a pivot.

Pyrmont is an exquisite little place, and I regret to leave it. At first
I almost perished with loneliness, but now that I have a few
acquaintances here I am enjoying it. It is a fashionable watering place,
but chiefly visited by ladies. There are about a hundred women to one
man! The first week I was here I lived at a Herr S.'s, but finding it
too expensive I looked up another lodging and am now living with a jolly
old maid. I like living with old maids. I think they are much neater
than married women, and they make you more comfortable. As the season is
now over, this one's house is quite empty, and it is exquisitely kept. I
took two rooms in the third story, small but very cozy, and with a
lovely view of the hills.

We have just had the loveliest illumination I ever saw. It was one
Sunday evening--"Golden Sunday" they call it here, though why they
_should_ call it so, I know not. I accepted the information, however,
without inquiry into first causes, and went out in the evening to
promenade in the Allée with the rest. The Allée is not all on a level,
but descends gradually from the springs to a fountain which is at the
opposite end. Rows and rows of Japanese lanterns were festooned across
the trees. As you walked down the path, you saw the festoons one below
the other. The fountain was illuminated with gas jets behind the water.
You could not see the water till you got close up, and at a distance
only the rows of gas jets were apparent. As you neared it, however, the
watery veil seemed flung over them, like the foamy tulle over a bride.
It was very fascinating to look at, and I kept receding a few paces and
then returning. As I receded, the watery veil would disappear, and as I
approached it would again take form. It reminded me of some people's
characters, of which you see the bright points from the first, and think
you know them so well, but when you draw closer, even in the moments of
greatest intimacy, you always feel a veil between you and them--a thin,
impalpable something which you cannot annihilate, even though you may
see _through_ it.

We walked up and down the Allée a long time listening to the orchestra,
which was playing. The magnificent great trees looked more beautiful
than ever, with their lower boughs lit up by the lanterns, and their
upper ones disappearing mysteriously into shadow. At last the tapers in
the lanterns burned out one after another, the avenue was wrapped in
gloom, and we finished this poetic evening in the usual prosaic manner
by returning home and going to bed!


     Music in Hamburg. Studying Chamber Music. Absence of Religion in
     Germany. South Americans. Deppe once more. A Concert Début.

    HAMBURG, _February 1, 1875_.

Hamburg is a lovely city, though I _am_ having such a dreadfully dreary
and stupid time here--partly because my boarding-place is so intensely
disagreeable, and partly because I made up my mind when I came to make
no acquaintances and to do nothing but study. I have stuck to my
resolution, though I'm not sure it is not a mistake, for there is a most
elegant and luxurious society in this ancestral town of ours.[J]

Life is solid and material here, however, and music is at a low ebb. The
Philharmonic concerts are wretched, and nobody goes to even the few
piano concerts there are. That little Laura Kahrer, now Frau Rappoldi,
that I heard in Weimar at Liszt's, has been wanting to come here with
her husband, who is an eminent violinist, but she has not dared to do
it, because all the musicians tell her she would not make her expenses.
She played at the Philharmonic, too, but since then they won't have any
more piano playing at the Philharmonic. Nobody cares for it, unless
Bülow or Rubinstein or Clara Schumann are the performers. I thought Frau
Rappoldi played magnificently, but I was the only person who _did_ think
so. She made a dead failure here. Everybody was down on her. As to the
criticism, it was about like this: "Frau Rappoldi played quite prettily
and in a lady-like manner, but she had no tone, etc." Poor thing! The
next day when Schubert went to see her she wept bitterly, and well she
might. Schubert is one of the directors of the Philharmonic, and it was
through him she got the chance of playing. He, too, felt awfully cut up
at her want of success. "That is what one gets," said he to me, "by
recommending people. If they don't succeed, _you_ get all the blame for
it." He felt he had burnt his fingers! I think the whole secret of Frau
Rappoldi's want of success was that she did not _look_ pretty. She was
so dowdily dressed, and her hair looked like a Feejee Islander's. People
laughed at her before she began. Too true!--that "dress makes the

Deppe's darling Fannie Warburg gave a concert here last month, and she,
also, got a pretty poor criticism, and for the same reason, viz.: people
haven't the musical sense to appreciate her--at least in my opinion. The
action of her hands on the piano is grace itself, and the elasticity of
her wrist is wonderful. Her touch completely realizes Deppe's ideal of
"letting the notes fall from the finger-tips like drops of water," and
she executes better with the left hand, if that be possible, than with
the right! At any rate, there is _no_ difference. It is the most
heavenly enjoyment to hear her, and you feel as if you would like to
have her go on forever. And yet, I don't believe she will make a great
career. She has not fire enough to make the public appreciate the
immensity of her performance. No rush--no _abandon_! She has no
_presence_ either, but is a timid, meek, childlike little
maiden--docility itself, but a _made_ player, as it were, not a
spontaneous one. Such is life! To me, her playing is the purest
music--"_die reine Musik_"--and the bigger the hall the more that _tone_
of hers rolls out and fills it!

     *     *     *

    HAMBURG, _March 1, 1875_.

I wish I could write up Deppe's system for publication, but it is a very
difficult thing to give any adequate idea of. Fräulein Timm tells me it
is only comparatively recently that he has perfected it himself to its
present point (though he has long had the conception of it), and that
accounts for its not being known. He was completely buried in Hamburg,
where there is no scope for art. I believe his ambition is to found a
School of this exquisitely pure and perfect and almost idealized
piano-playing, which may serve as a counterpoise to the warmer and more
sensuous prevailing one--_sculpture_ as contrasted with _painting_!

I have been chiefly studying _Kammer-Musik_ (Chamber Music) this
winter--that is, trios, quartettes, etc. Fräulein Timm is giving me such
a training as I never had before. She has the most astonishing talent
for teaching, and has reduced it to a science. I don't play anything up
to tempo under her--always slow, slow, _slow_. She really dissects every
tone, and shows me when and why it doesn't sound well. My whole
attention is now bent upon _tone_. Ah, M., _that's_ the thing in
playing!--To bring out the _soul_ there is in the key simply by touching
it, as the great masters do.--It is the pianist's highest art, though
amid the dazzle of piano pyrotechnics the public often forget it.

I am just finishing Beethoven's third Trio, Op. 1. The last movement is
the loveliest thing! It makes me think of a wood in spring filled with
birds. One minute you hear a lot of gossiping little sparrows twittering
and chippering, and then comes some rare wild bird with a sort of
cadence, and then come others and whistle and call. It is bewitching,
and the most perfect imitation of nature imaginable; gay--_so_ gay! as
only Beethoven can be when he begins to play. Everything is on the wing.
It is, of course, exceedingly difficult, because, like all this pure,
classic music, to make any effect it has to be executed with the utmost
perfection. I am so infatuated with it that when I get through
practicing it, I feel as if I were tipsy!

These Beethoven trios are a perfect mine in themselves. Each one seems
to be entirely different from all the rest. There are twelve in all, and
Deppe wants me to learn them all. Think what a piece of work! This
enormous amount of literature that you must have to form a
repertoire--the trios, quartettes, quintettes, concertos, etc., it is
that makes it so long before one is a finished artist. And then you must
consider the hours and hours that go to waste on _studies_, just to get
your hand into a condition to play these masterpieces. Oh, the
arduousness of it is incalculable! I often ask myself, "What demon has
tempted me here?" as I sit and drudge at the piano. I play all day, take
a walk with L. in the afternoon, and at night tumble into bed and sleep
like a log--that is, when my hardest of beds and shivering room will
_let_ me sleep. That is my life, day after day. I only see the people of
the house at meals.

I am the only lady in this family. All the other boarders are very young
men, almost boys, who are here to learn German or commerce. There are
three South Americans, one Portugese, one Brazilian, one Russian and one
Frenchman. I hear Spanish and French all the while, but no English, and
with the German it is very confusing.--I feel very sorry for all these
young fellows, their lives are so bare and disagreeable, and so wholly
devoid of any influence that can make them better or happier. As for our
landlady, it would take a Balzac to do justice to such a combination.
She is a good housekeeper. The cooking is excellent, and my room (when
warm) is pleasant. Indeed, the Hamburg standard of housekeeping is much
higher than in Berlin. Things are _much_ daintier. But her power of
making you physically and mentally uncomfortable in other ways is
unsurpassed. Were it not that my stay is indefinite, and that I have
already moved once, I would not remain here. As it is, I prefer putting
up with it to the trouble and expense of changing; beside which, I have
found that when once you have left your own home-circle, you have to
bear, as a rule, with at least one intensely disagreeable person in
every house.

My opinion of human nature has not risen since I came abroad, and I
think that this winter has quite cured me of my natural tendency to
skepticism.--I now realize too well what people's characters, both men
and women, may become without religion either in themselves or in those
about them. I suppose there _is_ religion in Germany, but _I_ have seen
very little of it, either in Protestants or Catholics, and the results I
consider simply dreadful! You see, there is _no_ adequate motive to
check the indulgence of _any_ impulse--I have come to the conclusion
that jealousy is the national vice of the Germans. Everybody is jealous
of everybody else, no matter how absurdly or causelessly. Old women are
jealous of young ones, and even sisters in the same family are jealous
of each other to a degree that I couldn't have believed, had I not seen

     *     *     *

    HAMBURG, _Easter Sunday, 1875_.

With regard to playing in concert, I find myself doubting whether on
general principles it is best to get one's whole musical training under
one master only, as Fannie Warburg, for instance, has done; for my
experience teaches me that though nearly all masters can give you
something, none can give you everything. If, with my present light, I
could begin my study over again, I should first stay three years with
Deppe, in order to endow the spirit of music that I hope is within me,
with the outward form and perfection of an artist. Next, I should study
a year with Kullak, to give my playing a brilliant _concert dress_, and
finally, I would spend two seasons with Liszt, in order to add the last
ineffable graces--(for never, _never_ should an artist complete a
musical course without going to LISZT, while he is on this earth!)--The
trouble is, however, that one master always feels hurt if you leave him
for another! No one can bear the imputation that he _can't_ "give you

But in truth I am getting very impatient to be at home where I can study
by myself, and take as much time as I think necessary to work up my
pieces. Deppe and Fräulein Timm are like Kullak in one thing. They never
will give me time enough, but hurry me on so from one thing to another,
that it is impossible for me to prepare a programme. So I have given up
my plan of a concert in Berlin this spring. They have one set of ideas
and I another, and I see I shall never be able to play in public until I
abandon masters and start out on my own course. Two people never think
exactly alike. Masters can put you on the road, but they can't make you
go. You must do that for yourself. As Dr. V. says, "If you want to do a
thing you have got to _keep_ doing it. You mustn't stop--certainly not!"
Concert-playing, like everything else, is _routine_, and has got to be
learned by little and little, and perhaps, with many half-failures. But
if the "great public" will only tolerate one as a pupil long enough,
eventually, one must succeed. At any rate, IT is probably the best and
the only "master" for me now!

On Wednesday I return for a while to Berlin, to the American
boarding-house, No. 15 Tauben Strasse, whither you can all direct as
formerly. This winter has been rather a contrast to last. Then I lived
entirely among North Americans, whereas here I am almost exclusively
with South Americans. There are any number of these latter in Hamburg,
and you have no idea how fascinating many of them are--so handsome and
so bright. They all have a talent for music and dancing. Their music is
entirely of a light character, but they have _rhythm_ and grace in a
remarkable degree. When I hear them play I always think of George
Sands's description in her novel "_Malgré-tout_" of the artist Abel--the
hero of the book, and a great violinist. She says, "_Il racla un air sur
son violon avec entrain_."--That is just what these South Americans
do--"_racler!_" They all play the piano just as with us the negro plays
the fiddle, without instruction, apparently, and simply because "it is
their nature to." I saw at once where Gottschalk got his "Banjo" and
"Bananier," and the peculiar style of his compositions generally, and
since I've met so many South Americans I can readily imagine why he
spent so much of his time in South America. I long to go there myself. I
think it must be a fascinating place for an artist.

One of the South Americans here at the house is a boy of fifteen, named
Juan di Livramento, or, I should say, Juan Moreiro Aranjo di Livramento!
(They all have about a dozen names in the grandiloquent style of the
Spaniards.) This boy is a curious youngster. He is tall and lithe, with
the most magnificent dark eyes I ever saw or conceived, thick silky
black hair, all in a tumble about his head, a delicate and very
expressive face, and a clear olive complexion--a perfect type of a
Spaniard. He seems born to dance the Bolero, like Belinda, in Mrs.
Edwards's novel. It is the prettiest thing to see him do it--and in fact
he does it on all occasions without any reference to propriety, being an
utterly lawless individual. He frequently gets up from the dinner-table,
throws his napkin over his shoulders, snaps his thumbs, and begins a
dance in the corner of the room, between the courses. It has got to be
such an every-day thing that nobody looks surprised or pays any
attention to him. We dine late, and as there are a good many boarders,
it takes some time always to change the plates. Juan, who is like so
much mercury, never can sit still during these intervals. When asked to
ring the bell for the servant, he will spring up like a shot, give it a
violent pull, and then take advantage of being up to dance in the
corner, or at least to cut a few antics, fling his leg over the back of
his chair, and come down astride of it. This is his usual mode of
resuming his seat.

On the days when he doesn't dance, he keeps up a continual talking. He
will rattle on in Spanish till Herr S. gets desperate, and tries to
reduce him to order. It is a rule that German must be spoken at table,
but Juan thinks it sufficient if he applies the rule only so far as not
to speak Spanish, his native language. He goes to school where, of
course, he learns English and French, and he is always trying to get
off some remarks in these languages. He speaks all wrong, but that does
not cause him the least embarrassment.--On Sundays especially is Juan
perfectly irrepressible, for then Frau S. goes to dine and spend the
evening with her parents, and Herr S. is left to maintain order. He is
an indulgent old man, and very fond of Juan, so that the latter has not
the least fear of him, and I nearly die trying to keep my face straight
when they have one of their scenes.

"You shall NOT speak Spanish at the table," said poor old S. the other
day, in a rage. Spanish is jargon to him, and Juan had been talking it
for some time at the top of his voice across Herr S., to his friend
Candido, who sat opposite. Juan knew very well that that meant he must
speak German, but instead of that he began in foreign languages, and
said to Herr S., in English, "Do you spoke Russish (Do you speak

Herr S., to whom English is as unintelligible as Spanish, naturally
making no reply to this brilliant remark, Juan continued--"'Spring is
Coming,' Poem by James K. Blake," and then he began to recite with much

    "Spring is coming, spring is coming,
    Birds are singing, insects humming;
    Flowers are peeping from their sleeping,
    Streams escape from winter's keeping, etc."

I won't pretend to say what the rest of it was, as his pronunciation was
utterly unintelligible. Herr S. rolled up his eyes and made no further
protest, for he found he only got "out of the frying-pan into the
fire," Juan having a historical anecdote called "The Dead Watch," which
he occasionally substitutes for the poem.

After dinner he generally has an affectionate turn, and goes round the
table shaking hands with those still seated, or putting his arm around
their necks, and then he seems like some gentle wild animal which comes
and rubs its head up against you, and it is impossible to help loving
him. As soon, however, as T. or anybody thrums a waltz on the piano, he
instantly throws himself into the attitude to dance. He is so very light
on his feet that you don't hear him, and often I am surprised on looking
up, without thinking, to see Juan poised on one toe like a ballet
dancer, and his great eyes shining soft on me like two suns. It is most
peculiar. There are _no_ eyes like the Spanish eyes. Not only have they
so much _fire_, but when their owners are in a sentimental mood, they
can throw a languor and a sort of droop into them that is irresistible.
This is the way Juan does, and though he is too young to be sentimental,
he _looks_ as if he were. One minute he is all ablaze, and the next
perfectly melting.--The other day Frau S. took him to task for his
extreme animation.--"_Junge_," (German for "Boy"), "you mustn't scream
so all over the house. You really are a nuisance." Juan was offended at
this, and began to defend himself. "Why do you scold me," he said. "I'm
always in good humour. I never sulk or find fault with anything. _Ja,
immer vergnügt_ (Yes, always in a good humour), and ready to amuse
everybody, and I never get angry." Frau S. admitted that was true, but
at the same time suggested it would be well for him to remember we were
not all deaf. Juan withdrew in dudgeon.--Well, I suppose you are tired
of hearing about him, but these South Americans are a type by
themselves, and I felt as if I must touch off one of them for the
benefit of the family.

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _April 18, 1875_.

Since my return I have been enjoying extremely what I suppose I must
consider my last lessons with Deppe. After studying with Fräulein Timm I
know much better what he is driving at. The technique seems to be
unfolding to me like a ribbon. So all her _maulings_ were to some
purpose! Yesterday I played him a sonata of Beethoven's and he said,
"God grant that you may still be left to me some time longer! Now you
are really beginning to be my scholar."--And indeed, having studied his
technique so long with Fräuleins Timm and Steiniger, it does seem hard
that I have to leave him! How I wish I could stay on indefinitely and
give myself up to his purely _musical_ side and get the benefit of all
his deep and beautiful ideas. There never _was_ such a teacher! If I
could only come up to his standard I should be perfectly happy. Lucky
girl--that Steiniger! Think of it! She has _nine_ concertos that she
could get up for concert any minute. That's the crushing kind of
repertoire he gives his pupils--so exhaustive and complete in every
department. He knows the whole piano literature, and is continually
fishing up some new or old pearl or other to surprise one with.

I find Deppe is getting to be much more recognized in Berlin this year
than he was before. He has just been directing a new opera here which
has created quite a sensation, and he is continually engaged in some
great work. Fortunate that I found him out when I did! for he takes
fewer pupils than ever. He says he can't teach people who are not
sympathetic to him. The other day he presented a beautiful overture of
his own composition to the Duke of Mecklenburg, who accepted it in
person and sent Deppe an exquisite pin in token of recognition. When
simple little Deppe gets _that_ stuck in his scarf, he will be a
terrific swell!

Now for a piece of news! I was paying my French teacher, Mademoiselle
D., a call one evening last week, and I played for her and for a friend
of hers who is very musical, and who gives lessons herself. She at once
said very decidedly that I "ought to be heard in concert." Her brother
is the director of the Philharmonic Society in a place called
Frankfurt-an-der-Oder--a little city not far from here. What should she
do but write to her brother about me, and what should _he_ do but
immediately write up for me to come down and play in a Philharmonic
concert there the first week in May. As I have been so anxious to play
in a concert before leaving Germany, and yet have seen no way to do it,
I am going, of course, and am most grateful to his sister for thinking
of it. But it is always the Unexpected that helps you out!

     *     *     *

    BERLIN, _May 13, 1875_.

Well, dear, my little début was a decided success, and I had one encore,
beside being heartily applauded after every piece. I went on to
Frankfurt on Monday morning, and when I got there Herr Oertling, the
Philharmonic Director, was at the station to meet me with a droschkie.
We drove to the Deutches Haus, an excellent hotel, where I was shown
into a large and comfortable room. Here I rested until dinner time, and
after dinner, about five o'clock, Herr Oertling came back. He took me to
the house of a musical friend of his who was to lend me his grand piano,
and there we tried our sonata. As soon as Oertling touched his violin I
saw that he was a superior artist, and that immediately inspired me. His
playing carried me right along, and I think I played well. At all
events, he seemed entirely satisfied, and said, "We could have played
that sonata without rehearsing it." After we finished the sonata, I
played for about an hour, all sorts of things. There were quite a number
of people present to judge of my powers. Herr W., the owner of the
piano, was a remarkable judge of music, and made some excellent
criticisms and suggestions. We stayed there to supper, but I went back
to the hotel early and went to bed about half-past nine, where I slept
like a log till eight the next morning.

After breakfast Oertling came to take me to try the pianos of a
celebrated manufacturer of uprights. I played there three or four hours.
The maker's name was Gruss, and his pianos were the best uprights I had
ever seen; nearly as powerful as a grand, and with a superb tone and
action. On the wall was a testimonial from Henselt, framed. It seems
Henselt goes to Frankfurt every year to visit a Russian lady there, who
is the grandee of the place and a great patroness of artists. In the
afternoon, Oertling came for me to go and rehearse in the hall.
Everything went beautifully, and I returned to the hotel in good
spirits. By the time I was dressed for the concert, which was to begin
at seven, Oertling appeared again, in evening costume, and presented me
with a bouquet. We drove to the hall through a pouring rain. It was
crowded, notwithstanding, for he had had the assurance to print that the
concert was "to be brilliant through the performance of an American
Virtuosin, named Miss Amy Fay. This young lady has studied with the
greatest masters, and has had the most perfect success everywhere in her
concert tours!" Did you ever!--You can imagine how I felt on reading it
and seeing that I was expected to perform as if I had been on the stage
all my life! Oertling had arranged the programme judiciously. Our sonata
came _first_, so that I plunged right in and didn't have to wait and
tremble! Then came two pieces by the orchestra; next, my three solos in
a row, and a symphony of Haydn closed the programme. The sonata went off
very smoothly. In my first solo I occasionally missed a note, but my
second was without slip, and my third--Chopin's Study in Sixths--was
encored, though I took the tempo too fast. However, the Frau Excellency
von X. said she had frequently heard it from Henselt, but that I played
it "just as well as he did." That's absurd, of course, though not bad
considered as a _compliment_! They all said, "What a pity Henselt wasn't
here!" I said to myself, "What a blessing Henselt wasn't!"--though I
would give much to see him, as he is the greatest piano virtuoso in the
world after Liszt.

After the concert Oertling and some of the musicians accompanied me to
the hotel, where I was obliged to sit at table and have my health drunk
in champagne till two o'clock in the morning! for you know when the
Germans once begin that sort of thing there's no end to it. They drank
to my health, and then they drank to my future performance in the first
Philharmonic next season, and then they drank to our frequent reunion,
etc., etc. When they had finished I had to respond. So I toasted the
Herr Director and I toasted the piano-maker, and I toasted the
orchestra, and what not. At last I was released and could go to my room.
The next morning I left for Berlin, which I reached in time for dinner,
and as soon as I appeared at table the boarders saluted me with a burst
of applause!--I found it a very pleasant _finale_.

I translate for you the criticism from the _Frankfurter Zeitung und
Allgemeiner Anzeiger_ for May 11. Herr Oertling sent it to me yesterday:

"The Philharmonic concert which took place last Friday evening, must be
considered as an excellent recommendation of the active members of that
association to the public. For not only did the playing of the pianist,
Fräulein Amy Fay, give great pleasure to all those who love and
understand music, but there was also no fault to be found with the
interpretations of the orchestra. * * * With regard to the performance
of Fräulein Fay, we were equally charmed by her clear and certain touch
and by her conception of the various solo pieces she played. The concert
opened with the Sonata in E flat major for violin and piano by
Beethoven. The whole effect of the work was a very sympathetic and
satisfactory one, and showed a thoughtful interpretation on the part of
the artist. The beauty of her conception was especially evident in the
Raff "Capriccio," and in Hiller's "Zur Guitarre," given as an encore
upon her recall by the audience, and we can but congratulate the teacher
of the young lady, Herr Ludwig Deppe, of Berlin, upon such a scholar."

     *     *     *

[Two weeks after the concert, the relative to whom most of the foregoing
letters were written, joined the writer at Berlin, and the
correspondence came to an end. In the following September, after an
absence of six years, my sister returned home.--My sister hopes that no
American girl who reads this book will be influenced by it rashly to
attempt what she herself undertook, viz.: to be trained in Europe from
an amateur into an artist. Its pages have afforded glimpses, only, of
the trials and difficulties with which a girl may meet when studying art
alone in a foreign land, but they should not therefore be underrated.
Piano teaching has developed immensely in America since the date of the
first of the foregoing letters, and not only such celebrities as Dr.
William Mason, Mr. Wm. H. Sherwood, and Mrs. Rivé King, but various
other brilliant or exquisite pianists in this country are as able to
train pupils for the technical demands of the concert-room as any
masters that are to be found abroad. American teachers best understand
the American temperament, and therefore are by far the best for American
pupils until they have got beyond the pupil stage.--Not manual skill,
but musical insight and conception, wider and deeper musical
comprehension, and "concert style" are what the young artist should now
go to seek in that marvellous and only real home of music--GERMANY.]--ED.


[A] This was written before the full development of the Thomas
Orchestra. The writer had heard it only in its infancy.

[B] Christ is risen out of bonds and death. He promises joy and blessing
to all the world, which for this glorifies Him.

[C] In Mr. Longfellow's Poems of Places is a translation of Gerok's poem
on the subject:--

    "Over three hundred were counted that day
    Riderless horses who joined in the fray,
    Over three hundred saddles, O horrible sight!
    Were emptied at once in that terrible fight."

[D] This letter, which was published in _Dwight's Journal of Music_, is
the one alluded to on p. 193.

[E] Liszt was born in 1811.

[F] In German, the fourth and fifth fingers.

[G] See p. 220.

[H] See p. 294.

[I] Now Mrs. Sherwood.

[J] The writer's grandmother was the daughter of a leading Hamburg
merchant who fled with his family to America when Napoleon entered it.

[K] Frau Rappoldi is now a celebrity.

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