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Full text of "Musings and memories of a musician"

Q^ortwU Ittiocraita Uihrara 

atltata. New $ork 



BOUGHT WITH THE INCOME OF THE 

SAGE ENDOWMENT FUND 

THE GIFT OF 

HENRY W. SAGE 

1891 



Cornell University Library 
ML 410.H516A3 1919 

Musings and memories of a musician / 



3 1924 022 171 585 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924022171585 



MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 
OF A MUSICIAN 



MACMILLAN AND CO., Limited 

LONDON • BOMBAY • CALCUTTA • MADRAS 
MELBOUKNE 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

NEW YORK • BOSTON • CHICAGO 

DALLAS • SAN FRANCISCO 

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, Ltd. 
TORONTO 



Musings AND Memories 
OF A Musician 



By 
SIR GEORGE HENSCHEL, Mus. Doc. 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 
1919 



AU rights reserved 



TO 

AMY 

BUT FOR WHOSE TIMELY AND COMPASSIONATE 

RESUSCITATION THE WRITER WOULD 

MOST LIKELY BE REPOSING AT THE BOTTOM 

OF LETHE WHERE IT IS DEEPEST 

THESE PAGES 

ARE AFFECTIONATELY 

msCRIBED 



This book was written and in type before the 
War, The courtesy of the Publishers however, 
which I take this opportunity of gratefully 
acknowledging, has made it possible to make 
such — happily few — additions and alterations 
as the deaths, since, of some of the friends 
mentioned therein, rendered desirable ; and to 
change the name of St. Petersburg to Petrograd. 

G. H. 

AttTNACBICHE, AviEMORE, 

October, 1918. 



Shakespeare's " All the world's a stage " must 
appear of particular aptness and truth to the 
man who, approaching the threescore and ten 
of the Patriarch, reviews his past with the 
object of writing down his reminiscences. 

Looking back on the events of his life he 
sees them as he would so many scenes in an 
old stage-play upon which the curtain has 
fallen long ago, and the men and women who 
appeared in them pass before his spiritual 
vision Uke actors and actresses ; some having 
stirred his imagination, kindled the fire of his 
enthusiasm, some touched him to tears, pro- 
voked his mirth : some perhaps exceeded his 
expectations, some fallen short of them; but 
all having left some mark, some impression on 
his mind, lasting for a longer or shorter period, 
according to their part and to the manner in 
which it was acted. 

I shall never forget a little incident at the 
Court Theatre of Weimar long years ago. The 
play had been Shakespeare's King Lear. It 



2 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES i 

was exceedingly well done as a whole, and the 
impersonation, in particular, by the chief actor 
— a member of the regular company — of the 
tragic and majestically pathetic figuire of the 
aged king, was a wonderfully fine and powerful 
performance. At the end of the play, amid 
the enthusiasm of the crowded house, the chief 
actor was vociferously called before the curtain 
over and over again. At last, when recalled 
for the tenth time or so, he seemed quite over- 
come with emotion on receiving so great an 
ovation in the historical playhouse which could 
boast the traditions of Goethe and Schiller, 
and, bowing deeply, he was heard to mutter — 
audible, however, to part of the audience — " I 
think I have merited it." This, many people, 
and some of the Press, considered a great piece 
of arrogance and self-conceit on the part of the 
actor, whilst I emphatically held with the few 
who, in that no doubt unusual utterance, could 
see nothing but the innocent, in the excitement 
of the moment thoughtlessly escaped, expression 
of the artist's consciousness of having given, 
having done his best ; and I have often thought 
since then, how it would by no means be a 
deplorable state of things if more of the actors 
on the stage of Life could make their final exits 
with that consciousness, whether unnoticed or 
amid the plaudits of the multitude. 



I MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 3 

People who care to read a man's " Recollec- 
tions " at all are generally supposed to be 
desirous of also knowing something of the man 
himself. ■ Thus it is that the wish to gratify the 
reader's curiosity imposes upon me, strangely 
enough, the necessity of commencing these re- 
collections with the very fact of which I have no 
recollection whatever, namely, my birth ; and 
here again it strikes me as rather curious that 
that essential and certainly most important 
event in a man's life, his birth, should be just 
the one he cannot possibly help. Yet, taken 
for granted I had raised no objection to being 
born at all, I doubt if I could have chosen a 
more interesting place for my first appearance 
than dear old picturesque Breslau, or kinder, 
more loving parents to be welcomed by on my 
arrival in this world on the 18th of February 
1850, than Moritz Jacob Henschel and 
Henriette Frankenstein, his wife. 

This being no autobiography, I shall pass 
as quickly as possible over the first stages of 
my childhood, the events of which, though 
doubtless full of importance and wonder to the 
happy mother whose only son I was — there 
were two sons and a daughter by my father's 
first marriage — ^would hardly prove of sufficient 
interest to be recorded here. 

My father, a tall, fine-looking man, poor and 



4 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES i 

humble, but proud of his Polish descent, as all 
Poles are, and justified in being, was a wool- and 
coal-merchant who, being busy all day in his 
little office on the first floor of the big apart- 
ment-house in which we occupied part of the 
second story, could not devote more time to 
his children than he was able to snatch from 
the short-enough meal -hours. It was left to 
my mother to see to the education of her own 
particular boy, before that — I fear not always 
very manageable — youngster was sent to school. 
Anticipating the now popular system of teach- 
ing by observation, she was in the habit of 
taking me from room to room, pointing out and 
explaining to me the different objects in it, and 
their origin and use. Evidently, as the follow- 
ing example will show, she was anxious to 
impress early upon ray little mind the folly and 
the danger of judging by appearances. In the 
blue room, called " the good room " (die gute, 
or, in the Silesian dialect, die " gutte " Stube), a 
luxury nearly every respectable family aspired 
to, there was hanging an engraving, depicting 
the Emperor Napoleon inspecting an artillery 
depot at Fontainebleau. What a wonderful 
thing memory is ! I could draw the pattern 
of the wall-paper in that room, and every detail 
of the engraving to-day. Next to a heavy 
piece of ordnance was standing at attention, 



I MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 5 

in a beautiful uniform, and holding in his right 
hand a long ramrod, a very tall gunner, made 
taller still by the huge bearskin busby on his 
head. Over the cannon was leaning a little 
man in a long riding-coat, high boots reaching 
to above the knees, and a queer-shaped, two- 
cornered hat, his hands folded behind his back. 
To this picture I remember my mother carrying 
me, in her arms, when I was still tiny enough 
for this ignominious though affectionate mode 
of transportation, and asking me, " Now tell 
me, which of these two men is the great 
Emperor Napoleon ? " Whereupon I promptly 
pointed to the big gunner, and was gently put 
right with a smile and a kiss. Do not many of 
us remain, in that respect, children to the end ? 
I think of " Napoleon at Fontainebleau " each 
time I see weight taken for worth. 

Another little experience of my early school- 
days I cannot refrain from mentioning, which 
stands out from the background of my memory 
with a particular vividness. It led to the first 
keen, almost tragic disillusion of my life, and 
also, incidentally, sheds a curious sidelight on 
the social economics of a Silesian town in the 
early 'fifties of the last century. 

Our house in the " Schuhbriicke " (shoe- 
bridge) stood at the corner of the Kupfer- 
schmiedesstrasse (Coppersmith's street), crossing 



6 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES i 

which, on the way to school in the morning, I 
had to pass, on the opposite corner, an old 
woman who, on certain days in the week, sat 
there, smrounded by baskets and sacks, out of 
which she sold cherries, plums, tiny, but very 
tasty, little pears called cinnamon pears, apples, 
medlars, walnuts, etc., in their seasons. Being 
fond of fruit, I soon came to stand on intimate 
terms with her, for whenever I thought I could 
afford it — my weekly allowance was one 
" dreier " (a copper coin of the value of a 
farthing) — I would stop and, handing her a 
pfennig, say, " Please for half a pfennig 
cherries and for half a pfennig pears." And I 
would with both hands take hold of the hem of 
my garment, which was a loose sort of tunic 
held together round the waist by a belt, and 
make an apron of it, into which the kind 
creature showered a handful or two each of the 
desired luxuries. Now it must not be supposed 
that the pfennig of which I am speaking 
was anything like the English penny except 
for the similarity in the sound of its name. 
Far from it. It took twelve of these pfennige 
— the decimal system was not introduced into 
Prussia until 1870 — to make a groschen 
(groat), and it was that groschen which was 
the equivalent of the English penny. It will 
be seen therefore that on those occasions I 



I MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 7 

feasted on cherries or pears or other fruit, as 
the case might be, at the cost of the third part 
of a farthing I Can British brain grasp the 
grandeur of such smaUness ? I may mention 
here in parenthesis that eggs were then sold in 
Silesia by the " mandel " (fifteen), or by the 
" schock " (sixty), and I remember hearing 
my mother occasionally complain of eggs having 
gone up in price from twenty-five to thirty 
pfennige (twopence halfpenny) the mandel ! 

But to proceed to the tragedy. Farther 
up the street there was a big grocer's shop 
before which, on the pavement, some of its 
particular attractions were arrayed in what 
seemed to me a wickedly tempting manner. 
Especially was it a luscious-looking fruit which 
gave me a pang each time I passed. It was of 
the size of an average apple, brilliantly red in 
colour and with a beautiful, smooth, trans- 
parent skin as of a plum. Oh, to be rich — I 
thought — and for once taste a sweetness such 
as this fruit must be full of ! One morning, 
seeing the master of the shop standing outside, 
I took courage and boldly asked him the price 
of " that " — ^pointing to the coveted forbidden 
fruit. " Eight pfennige each " was the short, 
cruel reply. Eight pfennige ! Nearly three 
weeks' allowance ! Still, my mind was made 
up — I must save, save ! And at last, after 



8 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES i 

weeks of self-denial, I triumphantly went into 
the shop with my eight pfennige, counted them 
into the man's hand, grasped one of the largest 
of the precious fruit and — the big bite I took 
did not pass my palate. As fast as my feet 
would carry me I hurried into an empty narrow 
lane close by and there, unobserved, and in 
utter wretchedness — physical and moral — 
deposited on to a rubbish -heap the contents of 
my mouth and the rest of the cursed thing, the 
like of which for years afterwards I could not 
even look on without a shudder — a tomato ! 



II 



Breslau, the ancient capital of Silesia, — that 
much-coveted province which, after being ruled 
for centuries by Polish kings and German 
princes, later became part of the Austrian 
Empire, and was finally wrested from Maria 
Theresa by Frederick the Great in the second 
half of the eighteenth century, since when it 
has belonged, as it belongs now, to Prussia, — 
is the proud possessor of a famous University, 
the founders of which must have had a very 
high idea of the educational value of music ; 
for connected with that centre of learning there 
always had been, as there is now, an Institute 
of Church Music, the performances of which 
were not confined to the members of the 
University, but open to the public, which 
means that for centuries past — the founda- 
tion of Breslau itself dates from the ninth — 
music must always have had a large share 
in the artistic pursuits and enjoyments of its 
citizens. 

At the period of my boyhood that Institute 



10 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES n 

was flourishing under the guidance of Musik- 
director Professor Julius Schaffer, who also 
conducted the " Sing- Akademie," the premier 
Choral Society of the place, whose performances 
of the Messiah at Christmas and of Haydn's 
Creation at Easter came as regularly once a 
year as those seasons themselves. Schaffer 
was likewise the founder and conductor of the 
" Musical Circle," a private, very exclusive 
singing club, to the membership of which only 
people of high social standing could attain; 
and it speaks well for the culture of that class 
of society that many of the amateurs who took 
the solo parts at the club's performances could, 
like Elsbeth Donniges or Count Danckelmann, 
have held their own among the best professional 
singers of the day. Light and popular orches- 
tral music was provided by military bands, of 
which there were three or four in the town. 
These bands played in almost daily concerts 
which during the warm season took place in 
the numerous beer-gardens and milk-gardens 
situated all along the " Promenaden " — shady, 
beautiful avenues into which the moats of the 
old fortifications had been converted. 

To these gardens mothers would, in the 
afternoon, take their work and their children, 
and many an enjoyable and profitable hour I 
spent there, listening to selections from Haydn, 



II MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 11 

Mozart, Beethoven, Auber, Bellini, Boieldieu, 
Donizetti, Verdi, not to forget the then popular 
dance-music of Lanner and Joh. Strauss the 
elder. I well remember standing for hours at 
a time on the pebbles before the pavilion in 
which the band played, wondering why the 
man up in front there, who kept beating the 
air with a short ebony stick with ivory ends, 
faced me and not the orchestra; for, strange 
and almost incredible as it may seem, at that 
time all military, and even some conductors of 
popular symphony concerts, used to have their 
backs turned to the men. Rather different 
from nowadays, when a simple flash from the 
eagle eye of one of our Titan conductors will 
perhaps produce a fortissimo powerful enough 
to shake the casements, or else a raised eyebrow, 
accompanied by a gentle wave of the hand, 
check the aspirations of a too-impulsive energy 
into a triple piano ! 

The highest class of orchestral music could 
be heard during the winter season at the 
concerts of the Orchester-Verein (Orchestra 
Union), an institution among the active 
members of which could at that time be found 
University professors, physicians, army officers, 
and others prominent in society, and it was 
not always an easy task for the, of course 
professional, conductor to persuade some of 



12 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES n 

these enthusiastic dilettanti that their skill 
would not advance with their years. 

The conductor of the orchestra was at that 
time Dr. Leopold Damrosch, a man of great 
refinement and culture, as well as of particular 
personal charm, who, originally destined for 
the medical profession, in which he had already 
made his mark — his " Dr. " was that of 
medicine — finally left it for the art he loved 
best, and in which in later years he became 
famous on the other side of the Atlantic, where, 
to mention only one of his many artistic achieve- 
ments, he founded the New York Oratorio 
Society, and where to-day, in the city of New 
York, his two sons, Walter and Frank, are 
successfully continuing the life-work of their 
distinguished father. Dr. Damrosch, besides 
the orchestra, also conducted in Breslau a 
small but efficient choral society of his own, 
with which, in contrast to Dr. Schaffer, who 
confined himself to oratorio, he gave from time 
to time performances of more modern works. 
Indeed he was an enthusiastic apostle of what 
was then called " Zukunftsmusik " (Music of 
the Future), and one of the early champions 
of Liszt and Wagner. At these concerts the 
Soprano Soli were frequently sung by Dr. 
Damrosch's beautiful wife, Helene von Heim- 
burg, a singer of rare accomplishments, and 



II MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 13 

gifted with a most sympathetic voice. Her 
singing, for instance, of the part of " Die 
Jungfrau " in Schumann's Paradise and Peri 
still lingers in my memory, as I am sure it does 
in that of all who had the good fortune to 
hear it, as something singularly beautiful and 
touching. 

There was altogether — of the opera I shall 
speak later on — great activity in the musical 
life of Breslau, then a town of about 120,000 
inhabitants. Among the many music schools 
one, of a decidedly novel character, proved to 
be of particular influence on my future : a 
school- for pianoforte-pla5dng, at which that 
art was taught in a very original way, invented 
by the director, Louis Wandelt by name. 

There were in the institute about ten large 
rooms, the entire furniture of which consisted 
of four, six, or even eight grand pianofortes, 
placed in dovetailed fashion, before each of 
which there would, at lesson time, sit a little 
pupil, and those four or six or eight girls and 
boys had to play, simultaneously, the same 
exercises and pieces to the ticking of a Maelzel 
metronome, the teacher going from pupil to 
pupil, noting the application of the fingers, the 
position of the hands, encouraging, scolding, 
as the case might be, and putting down the 
marks in each pupil's little record book which 



14 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES n 

every Saturday had to be taken home to be 
shown to the parents and signed by one of 
them. To that school which, by the way, was 
also responsible for the primary musical educa- 
tion of that excellent pianist Mme. Haas, my 
father and mother, who had a deep love and 
feeling for music, though practical musicians 
only in a very modest way, with voice and 
guitar, sent me when I was just five years old, 
and I have always been grateful to them for 
doing so, for I consider that Wandelt method 
of teaching the elements of piano-playing an 
exemplary one for children, stimulating, as it 
does, the ambition of the youngsters, and, 
above all, instilling into them a sense for rhythm 
which is apt to stick to them all their lives. 

When, in the autumn of 1862, Mr. Wandelt 
founded a similar school in Berlin he took with 
him for the opening ceremony, consisting of a 
public concert, four of his " show " pupils, and 
we four played in a real, big concert-hall, 
accompanied by a real big orchestra, — ^how 
proud we were ! — ^Weber's Concertstuck in 
F minor on four pianofortes, I also, with the 
leader of the orchestra, Mozart's Sonata in C 
for Pianoforte and Violin. 

I well remember the pride of my mother as 
she packed my little valise for the great journey 
from Breslau to Berhn, putting into it, among 



II MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 16 

other things, a brand new suit of clothes, to 
wit, a short broadcloth jacket, richly braided ; a 
beautiful embroidered shirt with frills in front, 
round the collar and at the cuffs ; a lovely 
leather belt and a glorious pair of long trousers, 
into the left pocket of which the dear woman 
had, unknown to me, sewn a piece of supersti- 
tion in the shape of a little crust of bread, to 
avert evil. The amusing part of this was that, 
as I was dressing — or rather being dressed — 
for the concert and proudly putting my hands 
into my pockets, I quickly withdrew my left 
with a cry. The dried-up sharp points of the 
crust had grazed my skin and very nearly 
prevented my playing at the concert ! 

Side by side with learning to play the piano 
I was taught the elements of singing by a 
Mr. Hirschberg, and harmony by Professor 
Schaffer, under whose conductorship I sang, 
when a little over nine years old, the soprano 
solo in Mendelssohn's Hear my Prayer at 
a concert of the Church Music Society. How 
I loved that beautiful air " Oh, for the wings, 
for the wings of a dove," and how I flushed 
with elation and pleasure when I received a 
bright new thaler (three shiUings) into the 
bargain ! 

. Soon my voice changed into an alto, and 
as an " alto - boy " in the chorus of the Sing- 



16 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES n 

Academic, I took part for some years in the 
weekly practices, and afterwards the perform- 
ances of the Creation and the Messiah, with 
the result that I know the alto part of some of 
the choruses by heart to this day. They did 
rehearse things then ! 

From an alto it was a natural step to tenor, 
and soon I sang the big tenor arias from the 
Hugioenots, the Prophet, II Trovatore, etc., with 
great gusto and all the aplomb of an old stager, 
much to the delight and amusement of my 
audiences, consisting mostly of father and 
mother and the rest of the family and friends. 
I revelled in holding a high B natural or C with 
full -chest voice, and already commenced to 
see before my mind's eye thousands of people 
crowding into the opera-house to hear the 
great Henschelini, or rather Angelini, as I 
intended calling myself on the stage, when all 
of a sudden one fine day, coming to breakfast 
and bidding my father and mother good- 
morning, the " good," still in tenor, was 
followed by a " morning " in what seemed to 
me the deepest bass voice ever heard. So 
that dream was dispelled, gone for ever, and 
I nothing but an ordinary basso, and as such — 
in July 1866 — I made my first pubhc appear- 
ance at a concert for charity which we know 
for its accommodating qualities as to the 



ir MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 17 

covering of sins. I gave up all thought of 

opera beyond a continuance of my love for it 

and my admiration for the singers, of whom 

a great many celebrities constantly visited 

Breslau as guests. The greatest impression 

upon me then was made by that wonderful tenor 

Schnorr von Carolsfeld — ^if I am not mistaken, 

the first to sing " Tristan " — ^whom one night 

I had heard as " Raoul " in Meyerbeer's 

Huguenots. I was completely carried away by 

the nobility of his personality, his graceful 

acting, his beautiful singing, and gladly suffered 

the punishment of an hour's " arrest " in school 

the following day for being late. I had met 

this glorious man by chance in the street on 

going to afternoon school and promptly turned 

round and followed him through street after 

street, tmable to tear myself away, and utterly 

indifferent as to the possible consequences of 

my enthusiasm. The opera at the Municipal 

Theatre of Breslau was at that time very good. 

The " star " system was not known then. All 

the singers, women and men, were of a very 

creditable average — efiicient, musical, reliable — 

and one went to hear the work, not a particular 

singer. Oh, for the sensation once more of 

having been fortunate enough to secure, for 

the week's allowance, which had risen to fifty 

pfennige, a seat in the front row of the 

c 



18 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES n 

" Olympus," after climbing up, all aglow with 
expectation, the four steep flights of narrow 
stairs! To be thrilled again by the blessing 
of the swords in the Huguenots, the casting of 
the free-bullets in the Freischutz, the bewitching 
wickedness of Don Giovanni, the final triumph 
of Fidelio ! Even the shades of those dear 
ladies-in-waiting of the Queen in the Huguenots, 
old enough then to be my great-grandmothers, 
smile their melancholy smile upon me through 
the magic veil of memory, endowed with 
eternal youth and beauty. 

Old Seidelmann, a jovial musician of the 
good old school, was the conductor. How I 
envied him ! — and his activity as well as the 
catholicity of the taste of musical Breslau 
may be gauged by the fact that operas like 
Auber's Maurer und Schlosser, Fra Diavolo, 
Masaniello ; Beethoven's Fidelio ; Bellini's 
Norma ; Boieldieu's Dame Blanche ; Flotow's 
Martha and Stradella ; Herold's Zampa ; 
Kreutzer's Nachtlager in Granada ; Lortzing's 
Czar und Zimmermann and Waffenschmied ; 
Marschner's Hans Heiling ; Meyerbeer's 
Huguenots, Dinorah, Prophete, UAfricaine ; 
Mozart's Don Giovanni, Figaro, Cost fan 
tutte. Seraglio ; Rossini's Barhiere, Tell ; 
Verdi's Trovatore, Rigoletto, Traviata ; Wagner's 
Flying Dutchman, Tannhduser, Lohengrin ; 



II MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 19 

Weber's Freischiitz, Euryanthe, Oheron, Pre- 
ciosa, were permanently on the repertoire ; that 
is to say, every one of these operas could be 
heard in the course of the year, with the 
addition perhaps, now and then, of a modem 
novelty, performed " once in succession." As 
I also regularly attended the concerts of the 
" Classische Verein " at which the best chamber 
music was interpreted by the best local pro- 
fessionals, I thought myself not altogether 
badly equipped for the Leipsic Conservatory 
of Music to which my parents had decided to 
send me, having finally had to acknowledge 
the fruitlessness of their endeavours to make 
me choose a soberer, more stable and profit- 
able profession than music was then by them 
considered to be. 



Ill 



To go from Breslau to Leipsic, that is from 
one country, Prussia, to another. Saxony, was, 
before 1870, quite an event. In Prussia the 
silbergroschen (one penny) had twelve, in 
Saxony ten, pfennige ; the postage stamps, too, 
were different, and the boy about to undertake 
so interesting a journey into foreign lands was 
quite a traveller, and very enviable in the eyes 
of his comrades. It was during the Easter 
holidays of the year 1867 that my father and I 
arrived in Leipsic. The multitude of foreigners 
from all parts of the world who had come to 
buy and sell at the celebrated Oster-Messe 
(Easter Fair), the hundreds of wooden booths 
temporarily erected in the Rossplatz, display- 
ing merchandise of every description, the 
thousands of people who thronged the brilliantly, 
albeit pre-electrically, illumined avenues of the 
huge bazaar at night, the strains of merry 
music emanating from some subterranean abode 
of conviviality, all this made the famous old 
town appear even more gay than I had after- 

20 



in MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 21 

wards occasion to find it, and I distinctly 
remember the anxious look in my father's eyes 
as he bade me good-bye on his return home, 
evidently not quite reassured as to the wisdom 
of leaving alone in that " little Paris," as 
Goethe has called it, a boy of seventeen on the 
point of throwing off, for the first time, the 
yoke of paternal vigilance and control. Who 
could foretell the result of the experiment ? 
Was my talent sufficient to " make a living " 
of music ? Would I prove morally strong 
enough to be alone among strangers, free from 
every restraint, exposed to temptations of all 
sorts ? . . . Dear old father, how well now I 
understand that troubled face ! 

In due time I was matriculated as a 
student of the Conservatory, situated in a 
dingy old building in a kind of courtyard at 
the back of the old " Gewandhaus " in the 
" Neumarkt." The professors to whom I was 
consigned were Ignace Moscheles for pianoforte, 
Goetze for singing, Richter — ^no relation to 
Dr. Hans — for theory and composition, 
Papperitz for organ. Goetze, an excellent, 
painstaking, patient teacher, had as a young 
man been the original impersonator of " Lohen- 
grin " when that opera was first given in Weimar 
under the direction of Liszt ; Moscheles' name 
had been familiar to me from his studies for 



22 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES m 

the pianoforte, and in being introduced to him 
I felt a certain sensation of awe on shaking the 
hand of one who had seen Beethoven face to 
face, and been commissioned by the master to 
prepare the vocal score of his Fidelia. 

I found him, however, most kind and 
sociable, and soon became an almost daily 
guest at his house, the presiding angel of which 
was his accomplished, beautiful, and charming 
wife, a relative of Heinrich Heine's, who 
remained a motherly friend to me until the 
end of her life. 

My lessons with Moscheles proved highly 
interesting and profitable, and sometimes 
amusing as well. He had been trained in, 
and was the foremost exponent then of, a 
school of pianoforte-playing as far removed 
from the modern sledge-hammer clavier tech- 
nique as Mr. Oliver Wendell Holmes' " one- 
horse-shay " from a sixty-horse-power motor. 
I think the dear old gentleman would have had 
a fit if any of us pupils had forgotten ourselves 
so far as to lift our hands as much as two inches 
above the keyboard. Chopin and Schumann 
were the most advanced composers he admitted 
for study in his lessons, and I remember well, 
playing once a phrase of Beethoven's in a some- 
what rubato style, his gently chiding me and 
innocently saying, " My dear sir, you may do 



Ill MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 23 

that with Schumann or Chopin, but not when 
you play Beethoven or me ! " 

On another occasion I brought him, for his 
criticism, a pianoforte composition of my own 
of which he had accepted the dedication. 
After he had made a sUght change or two I 
asked him if I now should play to him the 
corrected version, " My dear sir," he said 
with a smile, " there's no need of that, I hear 
it all in my mind's ear — I really must tell you 
a little story about that. When I wrote my 
concerto with three kettle-drums " — ^he seemed 
to feel a particular pride and satisfaction in 
remembering this then almost unheard-of bold- 
ness and revolutionary innovation — " when I 
wrote my concerto with three kettle-drums, I 
came to a ' tutti ' which I wanted rather fully 
and noisily orchestrated. Well — will you 
believe, I heard that tutti and the noise of the 
different instruments so distinctly whilst I was 
writing it, that — that I got a headache ! " 

My singing lessons with Professor Goetze I 
also greatly enjoyed, instinctively feeling that 
the modest man was laying in me the solid 
foundations of a vocal structure of great 
simplicity, intended for duration rather than 
show. Already in the early part of the follow- 
ing year of 1868 I sang the part of "Hans 
Sachs " in Wagner's Mastersingers, performed 



24 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES in 

for the first time in Leipsic by Carl Riedel, the 
great Wagner enthusiast, whose Choral Society- 
was then justly celebrated. The work was 
given on the concert platform, as the authorities 
of the Mtmicipal Theatre hesitated as yet to 
produce it on the stage, after the rather doubt- 
ful reception of the first performance of the 
opera at the Court Theatre of the neighbouring 
Dresden. The conductor there was then Julius 
Rietz, an excellent musician of the old school, 
and known for his ready and rather biting wit. 

During the first reading rehearsal of the 
Master singers, the so - called " Correctur - 
Probe," i.e. rehearsal for the sake of correcting 
eventual mistakes in the parts, the whole 
orchestra from time to time would break into 
bursts of laughter at the awful dissonances — 
times have changed ! — when suddenly Rietz 
stopped the orchestra, saying, " Gentlemen, 
this sounds so well — there must be something 
wrong in the parts ! " 

That same year Mr. Rietz, who evidently 
had heard of my singing of the part of " Hans 
Sachs," invited me to Dresden to sing to him 
and the intendant with a view to engaging me 
for the opera. This time my dreams of a great 
operatic career seemed to be getting nearer 
to realisation than before ; but when, after 
evidently having satisfied both these gentle- 



Ill MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 25 

men, I was given to understand that at first I 
should not be allowed to sing any but small 
parts, like the Herald in Lohengrin, I gratefully 
declined the offer, little thinking that my 
" very onliest " appearance on the operatic 
stage would be in that same Royal Opera House 
in Dresden, more than forty years later, when, 
in place of the suddenly indisposed Herr Perron, 
I sang the part of " Girolamo " in my own 
opera Nubia at a few hours' notice. 

Another little excursion during my Leipsic 
days I recall with pleasure. A dear friend of 
mine, Eugen Franck by name, was at that time 
living in Berlin, where — somewhat against his 
own inclination — he prepared himself for the 
calling of bookseller and publisher. At heart 
he was, and remained all through his life, a 
musician, being not only the possessor of a fine 
and well -trained bass voice, but also an 
excellent violin and viola player. Later in 
life he settled in Dresden, where with some 
other enthusiasts he founded the Mozart Society, 
for which, to the end of his days, he worked 
indefatigably and with the most gratifying and 
beneficent results. 

Well, it was in the winter of 1868 that Franck 
invited me to come and pay him a little visit, 
holding out to me, as a special inducement, the 
pleasure of meeting a young Enghshman who, 



26 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES m 

with his mother and two charming sisters, was 
spending the year in BerHn for the purpose of 
studying the piano under Carl Tausig. Need- 
less to say I accepted with alacrity. The 
meeting between the young Englishman and 
me, at a supper-party arranged for the occasion 
by our mutual friend, developed in the course 
of the evening into something like an Olympic 
contest. Evidently bent on doing credit to 
his master, the young Englishman, a striking- 
looking, handsome boy of sixteen, with finely- 
cut features and very pleasant manners, played 
wonderfully well, thus spurring me on to do 
my best when my turn came. So we went on, 
actually for hours, he plapng and I singing, 
to the great delight of our host, who, equally 
interested in us both, confessed to being baffled 
as to which of us in his opinion had the greater 
talent, until, at the end of a most enjoyable 
evening, he had to be satisfied with declaring 
that both Frederic Cowen — ^for that was the 
boy's name — and I had the chance of a brilliant 
future before us : a future which, alas, at the 
time I am writing, has turned into a past, 
though, I am sure, one we neither of us two old 
friends need be ashamed of. 

From the fact that so soon after the com- 
mencement of my studies in Leipsic I was 
called upon to — and did — sing in public, one 



Ill MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 27 

might think I had been a most industrious, 
exemplary student. Truth, I fear, compels 
me regretfully to confess that far too many 
precious hours of those two and a half years 
in Leipsic were given over to play and pastime. 

There was, for instance, a particularly great 
attraction and fascination in a little room of 
what was then the " Hotel de Prusse," the 
original old inn at which Goethe put up when 
he visited Leipsic for the first time in 1765. 
The owner, a Mr. Louis Krafft, had partly 
preserved the room in, partly restored it to, 
the same state in which Goethe knew and 
frequented it ; it was full of relics and memen- 
toes of the poet, full, above all, of his spirit and 
atmosphere. In that room a little company 
of literary and artistic people would meet once 
a week, in the evening ; among them Ludwig 
Barnay and Emil Claar, young actors destined 
to become renowned in later years as intendants 
of great play-houses, the former remembered 
by London audiences as the " Mark Antony " 
of the celebrated Meiningen production of 
Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. 

In winter it was the steaming bowl of punch, 
in summer the cooling " May-bowl," a delicious 
cup of Moselle and " Waldmeister," an aromatic 
herb found in the woods, which cheered the 
table -round, and I used to wonder at and 



28 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES ni 

admire the generosity of mine host of the 
Goethe-Stube who presided and, I thought, 
supplied the enUvening draught week after 
week. I was therefore not a Uttle amused 
when, many years afterwards, I came to 
Leipsic again as the soloist at one of the famous 
Gewandhaus concerts, to which at the time of 
those youthful symposiums we " Conservato- 
risten " were only permitted to listen from the 
elevation of the highest balcony. A card was 
brought to me in my lodgings (I had succeeded 
in getting the identical rooms I had occupied 
when a student) — " Louis Krafft." " How nice 
of him," I thought, " to call on me in remem- 
brance of the dear old days ! " We cordially 
shook hands — the familiar " thou " had changed 
into the formal " you," — he seemed a little em- 
barrassed, congratulated me on my success in 
the world, expressed his pride on seeing me as 
a soloist on that illustrious platform, etc., etc, ; 
but somehow or other I had a feeling of there 
being something else he wanted to say but 
shrank from saying. The conversation gradu- 
ally flagged, and I began to wonder when and 
how the visit would end, when, slowly and 
hesitatingly, ray old friend put his hand in his 
breast pocket, producing from it — a memento 
of " Auld Lang Syne " ? Yes, indeed : in the 
shape of a neatly written bill for sixteen bowls 



in MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 29 

of punch drained by the genial Uttle company 
of the Goethe-Stube on the sixteen occasions 
when — ^unbeknown to myself at the time — the 
turn of being host had been mine ! We had a 
good laugh over it, and, after the concert, bowl 
number seventeen. 

Carnival was observed as a great festival in 
Leipsic then. For nearly a week the town 
used to be en fete. In a temporarily erected 
tent circus performances were given entirely by 
amateurs in aid of local charities ; masked 
processions in the style of Lord Mayors' shows, 
with jesters, scenes from plays, topical allusions ; 
huge ornamented cars, drawn by six or more 
richly caparisoned horses, traversed the streets, 
and I remember one occasion when, riding in 
a group from Schiller's Tell, dressed as one of 
the huntsmen in Vogt Gessler's suite, I was on 
horseback from ten in the morning till dusk. 
I do hope lessons at the Conservatory were 
suspended during that week ! 



IV 



It was in the summer of that same year that, 
at a meeting of the " Allgemeine Tonkiinstler- 
Verein " (General Tone-Artists' Union), held at 
Altenburg in Saxony, I first met that wonder- 
fully fascinating man Franz Liszt, in some of 
whose works, produced on that occasion, I 
had to sing the bass soli. Liszt was beyond 
expectation kind to me, and only too readily 
I accepted his most cordial invitation to visit 
him at his home in Weimar after the meeting. 
I settled for some weeks in that famous little 
capital and daily went to the " Gartner ei," a 
charming little garden residence placed at 
Liszt's disposal by its owner, the reigning 
Grand-Duke. There Liszt, who, by the way, 
invariably greeted me by kissing me on both 
cheeks, held a sort of court, the picturesque 
old town fairly swarming with past, present 
and would-be pupils and disciples of the master, 
male and female, in velvet coats and huge neck- 
ties, and with long flowing hair. It was, how- 
ever, by no means pupils only that flocked 

30 



IV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 31 

to those world - famed Sunday morning " At 
Homes " ; on one of those occasions, for 
instance, it was my good luck not only to see 
but also to hear in that historical music-room, 
besides the illustrious host himself, no fewer 
and no lesser stars than Anton Rubinstein, 
Carl Tausig, and Hans von Biilow. 

Here there were the four greatest pianists 
of the time together, not in a vast concert hall, 
but in a small private room, in their shirt- 
sleeves, so to say, enabling us privileged fellow- 
guests to compare, not from memory or 
distance, but by immediate impression, within 
the compass of an hour or so, the stupendous 
power of a Rubinstein with the polished in- 
fallibility of a Tausig, the irreproachable classi- 
cism of a Biilow with the enchanting grace and 
romanticism of a Liszt. They are gone, all 
those four great ones, but the memory of that 
Sunday morning is more real, more living to 
me to-day than any reproduction of their 
playing could be by the wonderfully ingenious 
musical inventions of this electric age. 

In the course of the matinee Liszt, pointing 
to a parcel he had received from Wagner the 
day before, and which was lying on the piano, 
called out to me, " Voila, mon cher, une jolie 
bagatelle pour vous," and, taking a stout 
volume of music out from the brown paper, 



32 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES iv 

we — for by that time I was surrounded by a 
number of curious and eager faces — discovered 
it to be the just published score of Wagner's 
Walkure. " Allons done, mon cher," cried 
Liszt, " chantons ' Les Adieux de Wotan,' " 
and he sat down at the piano, I standing next 
to him bending over the score, and we then 
and there read that Grand Finale for the first 
time, amidst frequent exclamations of wonder 
and delight on the part of the audience, and 
had to do parts of it over and over again. 

For the Christmas holidays I went home 
to Breslau, where Anton Rubinstein was 
-announced to give, in January 1869, a concert 
with orchestra. Constantin Sander, the head 
of the music firm of Leuckart who had their 
premises on the ground floor of the house I was 
born in, and where we still lived, was the local 
manager of the concert, and, having always 
taken a lively interest in my career, had, much 
to my joy and pride, arranged that I should 
associate with the great virtuoso by singing on 
that occasion an aria with orchestra, and some 
of Rubinstein's songs to the composer's accom- 
paniment. On the morning of the day of the 
concert we had the final rehearsal, after which 
Rubinstein, Sander and I went for luncheon 
to the finest restaurant of the town, " The 
Golden Goose," of which, needless to say, I 



IV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 33 

had up to then only seen the outside. We 
seated ourselves at the large table in the centre 
of the room, at the other end of which — it was 
already past the usual luncheon hour — the 
only other person in the room, a well-known 
musical amateur, by profession an Army 
surgeon, had nearly finished his mid-day meal. 

Rubinstein, Sander, and I were just on the 
point of commencing ours, when from across 
the table the penetrating military voice of the 
surgeon called out to Sander : "I say, Sander, 
how did you like Tausig the other day ? " 
(Tausig had given a pianoforte recital in 
Breslau the week before.) Sander, by nature 
a very shy and retiring little man, got quite red 
in the face with embarrassment, and was still 
composing an appropriate answer to the per- 
plexing question, when the irrepressible surgeon 
trumpeted to us : " Well, I can only tell you, 
compared to Tausig, Rubinstein is nothing but 
a thrashing flail ! " 

Now in German a flail does not merely mean 
the agriciiltural implement, but is figuratively 
used to indicate a particularly rude, uncouth, 
ill-mannered person. 

An awful silence followed. Sander's and 
my spoons, just raised to our lips, nearly 
dropped into the soup, and for a moment we 
did not quite know what would happen n'ext. 



D 



34 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES iv 

The unfortunate Army surgeon, evidently 
becoming aware of something being wrong, 
clapped his monocle in his eye and, surveying 
our party, recognised the lion-head of the 
smiling Rubinstein, who, shaking his mighty 
mane, bade us pay no attention to the in- 
cident. " A public man," he said, " must not 
mind such things. To tell you the truth, they 
rather amuse me." The surgeon, however, 
seemed anything but amused ; he got up, 
hurriedly paid his bill, and left by the back door 
so as not to pass us. 

The concert in the evening was a tremendous 
success. Rubinstein received a perfect ovation 
at the end of his D Minor Concerto, and when, 
that night, I was lying awake in bed and 
dreaming for a long time before finding sleep, 
I came to the conclusion that there was not a 
bad name in the world I should mind being 
called as long as I could play as well and be as 
famous as Rubinstein. 

In the autumn of 1870 I went to Berlin to 
continue my studies for a time at the Royal 
High School for Music, of which Joseph Joachim 
was the head, and where I continued my vocal 
studies under Adolph Schulze. Knowing that 
my father could but ill afford the continuance 
of my support beyond the paying of the fees 
for my ttiition, I was determined to stand on 



IV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 35 

my own feet as soon as ever I could. I gave 
pianoforte lessons at a shilling an hour, and, 
for more than a year, dined at an underground 
restaurant " Unter den Linden " for sixpence a 
meal, together with dear Robert Hausmann, 
the afterwards famous 'cellist of the Joachim 
Quartet, and a young Virginian sculptor, Moie 
Ezechiel, later living in Rome, who introduced 
me to that stirring war-tune " Dixie," which 
has never lost the fascination it then exerted 
on me. 

Frequently I was glad even to have, 
especially at the end of the month, enough to 
buy a couple of halfpenny buns for my mid-day 
meal. For my supper, which I shared with 
my good old friend " Severe," I generally 
resorted to the loaf of rye-bread I always kept 
going in my " pantry " — the lower shelf of a 
small hanging bookcase — supplementing the 
repast occasionally with a few pennyworths of 
sausage or cold cooked meats, the quantity of 
which varied according to the fluctuating state 
of my purse, 

" Severe " was my dog — a French poodle 
which some years before I had begged from 
the brother of an old Leipsic friend wh® had no 
use for the poor animal. I will not belittle 
Severe's memory by referring to him as " a " 
French poodle. He was the most sagacious. 



36 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES iv 

amusing, faithful dog any nationality might 
have been proud of. One — no, two illustra- 
tions of his exceeding cleverness are, I think, 
worth recording, if only for the benefit of those 
among my readers who may be as fond of dogs 
as I was of Severe. 

That I had some difficulty in finding rooms 
— or rathqr, a room — where I might be allowed 
to keep the dog, goes without saying. At last 
a kind-hearted woman agreed to take me in, 
not however without my faithfully promising 
her never to permit the dog to lie on the 
precious sofa, as rickety an old horsehair- 
covered excuse for the comfortable piece of 
furniture rejoicing in that name as ever you 
saw. But it is no easy matter to fight the 
instincts of a dog, and Severe's certainly 
attracted him to the seat of the couch rather 
than the hard floor beneath it, where at last, 
with the assistance of a very innocent horse- 
whip, I had succeeded in making him spend 
the night. It was a source of no small satisfac- 
tion to me to see him, after coming to my 
bedside to be said "^ood-night " to, obediently 
creep under the sofa and, the next morning, 
meekly emerge from there when called by me. 
I hardly know why, but suddenly one day 
the awful suspicion arose in my mind : What 
if the dog is deceiving me ? So that evening, 



IV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 37 

before going to bed, I placed on the seat of the 
couch Uttle bits of paper in a regular pattern, 
the slightest interference with which would 
at once be noticeable. I confess I felt rather 
mean. Severe that night went through the 
routine afore-mentioned in an irreproachable 
manner, and next morning as usual crawled to 
me from underneath the sofa. But looking on 
that, lo and behold! the little bits of paper 
were scattered all over the place. I jumped 
out of bed, felt the seat of the couch — ^it was 
still warm : Severe had been comfortably 
Ijdng on it all night until he thought, seeing the 
light stealing into the room, it was time for 
master to wake, when he crept to the floor 
beneath, there to await his call ! Of course I 
had to be angry, very angry, and after a few 
caressing strokes of the whip, considered it the 
best way of curing him to leave the whip, of 
which he stood in mortal fear, permanently on 
the seat, being sure he would not willingly go 
anywhere near it. And he actually was cured. 
But now comes cleverness number two, which 
I believe even outstrips what I have just told. 
I came home one afternoon as usual with 
the dog's and my supper nicely wrapped up in 
paper, placed the parcel on the table, and went 
to fetch a plate and a knife and fork from the 
landlady. Very likely the loquacious dame 



38 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES iv 

had kept me a little longer than Severe thought 
desirable ; anyhow, when I returned I noticed 
the dog, who only a few minutes before had 
been most affectionately welcoming me, abjectly 
cowering in a corner, his head bent down, and 
his eyes looking up at me with a wonder- 
fully appealing expression. " What's up ? " I 
thought, and went to the table to unpack the 
parcel — Severe had saved me that trouble : it 
was open and its savoury contents by that 
time safely stowed away in his "little inside." 
I never could be really angry with the dog, 
but thought it my duty to punish him this 
time. So I went to the sofa to get the whip — 
it was gone. That is to say, not very far ; it 
was lying on the floor some way between the 
sofa and Severe's hiding-place. Incredible as 
it may seem, the dog, immediately after the 
accompUshment of his crime, must have become 
conscious of the severity of it, and his instinct 
prompted him to remove the implement of 
punishment ! Whether or not I carried out 
my cruel design I leave to the imagination of 
my readers. 

Soon the outlook brightened. To the grati- 
fication of my teacher no less than to my own, 
I now commenced to be engaged for oratorio 
and concerts, not only in Berlin and the 



IV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 39 

provinces, but also outside of Germany, in 
Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Russia. To 
picturesque, musical, aristocratic Holland and 
its warm-hearted people, among whom in 
the course of the years I was to find some 
of the best and truest friends of my life, I 
felt myself particularly attracted; a feeling 
ripening before long into a deep, affectionate 
attachment. 

In Berlin, where I had settled for the time 
being, many musical homes were opened to me, 
like Madame Clara Schumann's, the Simrocks', 
the Joachims', In the latter house as well as 
in that of the Simrocks I was soon a frequent 
guest, participating in the many musical gather- 
ings happening there, and if, needless to say, 
I grew more and more gratefully conscious of 
the privilege of a closer acquaintance with so 
great a musician as Joachim, I confess I hardly 
to any lesser degree appreciated the wonderful 
art of his wife. Madame Joachim's was a 
perfect vocal technique, joined to the gift of a 
beautiful sonorous contralto voice, great depth 
of feeling, a keen intellect, a subtle sense of 
humour, and fine musical perception. These 
forces she put into the service of an exalted 
ideal of her art, with the result that there was 
neither lack nor exuberance, but a sort of 
Grecian serenity, a faultless balance of values. 



40 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES iv 

so to speak, with just enough of her own 
personality in everything she did, to render 
her singing interesting and gratifying beyond 
the intrinsic merit of the works she interpreted. 
Many are the singers who please the thousands, 
but only a very small number satisfy the few 
as Amalie Joachim did. Like all true artists 
she was equally good in the simplest song as 
when rendering a great dramatic part like, 
for instance, that of the heroine in Gluck's 
Iphigenia in Tauris, a performance of which, 
at the Berlin Sing-Akademie in 1871, was the 
first occasion on which I had the honour and 
privilege of singing with her in public. 

Although she had slightly to transpose the 
part to quite suit her range of voice, her singing 
of it was a beautiful revelation of dramatic 
power and restraint, a splendid example of 
plastic modelling in expression. 

Altogether the performance, under Professor 
Rudorff' s conductorship, offered many interest- 
ing points, as for instance the singing of the 
part of Pylades — I sang Orestes, in German 
" Orest " — by Professor Mantius, an excellent 
tenor of the old school, whose impersonation of 
that touching prototype of a sacrificing friend 
was marked by great feeling and a wonderful 
control of what there was left of a once magnifi- 
cent voice. He was no less than forty-four 



IV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 41 

years my senior, a fact which, in the following 
morning's accoimt of the performance, had 
elicited from a witty critic the comment, 
" Henschel — Orest, Mantius — Beaux restes." 

Among the audience of most of the concerts 
in any way connected with the Joachims, 
could be seen Madame Joachim's much older 
friend, Clara Schumann, for whom Brahms 
until the end of his life cherished a touching, 
almost filial, love and devotion. She was 
indeed one of the gentlest, most lovable of 
women. It was a delight to listen to her as, 
in her charming melodious voice, from which 
a certain fascinating Saxon accent was hardly 
ever absent, she would revive memories of the 
past. Her art she took very much in earnest, 
as a high priestess would her religion, and it 
will surprise many of the younger people of 
to-day — to give only one illustration — to hear 
that whenever Madame Schumann and I, as 
was frequently the case, were the soloists at 
the same concert and she accompanied me in 
her husband's songs, we would invariably have 
a rehearsal of the songs some time before the 
concert, even though perhaps we had done the 
same songs only a week before, somewhere else. 

I remember a dinner once at Madame 
Schumann's in Berhn, when, to the wonder and 
amid frequent exclamations of awe or, some- 



42 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES iv 

times, good-natured disapproval on the part of 
the hostess, Anton Rubinstein entertained us 
with a recital of his experiences in the United 
States, whence he had just returned after a tour 
of two hundred and fifteen concerts in eight 
months — and there were no Sunday concerts 
then — and where once, somewhere out in the 
wild, woolly West, a man, about an hour before 
the concert, had thrust his head into Rubinstein's 
room with the words, " Don't you think, boss, 
it's about time to have your face blacked ? " 

" No, you didn't really ! " gasped poor, 
bewildered Madame Schumann. 

From Berlin I was now almost continually 
making professional journeys which often kept 
me " on the road," as they say, for weeks at 
a time. Musical agencies had only just come 
into existence, and accepting all engagements 
as they were offered to me directly, I had to 
spend more time in railway carriages than 
would have been the case had an experienced 
manager, as is now done, arranged a " tournee " 
for me with a view to greater comfort and less 
wear and tear. In the year 1873 I sang in no 
less than forty-seven different places on the 
Continent, meeting a good many eminent people, 
and also making acquaintances which were 
destined to develop into lifelong friendships. 
At Halle, for instance, the birthplace of Handel, 



IV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 43 

the young lady who, in that year, sang the 
contralto part in the Messiah with myself in 
the bass part, was Auguste Redeker, the lovely 
singer who a few years later enchanted all 
London with her beautiful voice and charming 
presence, and afterwards became the wife of 
Dr., now Sir, Felix' Semon. 



V 



In the year 1874 I reached a rather important 
point in my career, I got my first engagement 
for one of the famous Nether-Rhenish Music 
Festivals, then the great musical events of the 
year in Germany, or, I might say, in the world, 
for to those festivals people from all over the 
world would flock in great numbers. 

Smaller places, with their limited means, 
musical and financial, being then unable to 
produce great choral and orchestral works in 
an anything like adequate manner, the privilege 
of such artistic achievements was reserved to 
the towns of Cologne, Diisseldorf, and Aix-la- 
Chapelle. Throughout the Rhine district, then 
considered to be the most musical part of 
Germany, the local choral and orchestral 
societies joined their forces to those of Cologne, 
Diisseldorf, or Aix-la-Chapelle, as the case might 
be, to hold a feast of music every year in one 
of these three towns in rotation during the 
Whitsun holidays. 

In 1874 the turn was Cologne's, and with no 

44 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 45 

little pride and hardly less anxiety I saw my 
name announced for the first time in a list of 
s^oloists comprising some of the most renowned of 
the day. But above all, Brahms was to be there. 

For weeks beforehand my mind was occupied 
with the thought of seeing face to face the 
great composer whose name was then on every 
musician's hps as that of the man whose genius 
Robert Schumann had publicly proclaimed in the 
glowing language of an inspired prophet. And 
I well remember my embarrassment, and the 
sensation it gave me, when at last I was permitted 
to shake hands with him after the rehearsal 
of Handel's Samson, in which oratorio I had 
been engaged to sing the part of " Harapha," 
A few kind and encouraging words soon put 
me at my ease, and I could give myself up to 
scrutinising Brahms' personal appearance. 

He was broad-chested, of somewhat short 
stature, with a tendency to stoutness. His 
face was then clean shaven, revealing a rather 
thick, genial underUp ; the healthy and ruddy 
colour of his skin indicated a love of nature 
and a habit of being in the open air in all kinds 
of weather ; his thick straight hair of brownish 
colour came nearly down to his shoulders. His 
clothes and boots were not exactly of the latest 
pattern, nor did they fit particularly well, but 
his linen was spotless. 



46 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

What, however, struck me most was the 
kindliness of his eyes. They were of a Ught 
blue ; wonderfully keen and bright, with now 
and then a roguish twinkle in them, and yet at 
times of almost childlike tenderness. Soon I 
was to find out that that rogmsh twinkle in his 
eyes corresponded to a quality in his nature 
which would perhaps be best described as good- 
natured sarcasm. A few illustrations will 
explain what I mean. A rather celebrated 
composer had asked Brahms to be allowed to 
play to him from the MS. his latest composition, 
a violin concerto. Brahms consented to hear 
it and seated himself near the piano. Mr. 

played his work with great enthusiasm 

and force, the perspiration — it was a very 
warm day — streaming down his face. 

When he had finished, Brahms got up, 
approached the piano, took a sheet of the 
manuscript between his thumb and middle 
finger and, rubbing it between them, exclaimed, 
" I say, where do you buy your music paper ? 
First rate ! " 

In the evening of the day of our first meeting 
I found myself sitting with Brahms in a Kneipe 
— one of those cosy restaurants, redolent of 
the mixed perfumes of beer, wine, tobacco, 
coffee, and food, so dear to Germans in general, 
and to German artists in particular — in the 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 47 

company of four or five prominent composers 
of the day, who had come from their different 
places of abode to attend the festival. 

The musical proceedings of the day had been 
the chief topic of conversation (on one of the 
programmes there had figured some new songs 
of mine), when suddenly one of the " Herren 
Kapellmeister," pointing toward me, exclaimed, 
" Now just look at that lucky fellow Henschel ! 
He can both sing and compose, and we " — 
describing with his hand a circle which included 
Brahms — " we can compose only." 

" And not even that " Brahms instantly 
added, his countenance bearing the expression 
of the most perfect innocence. 

He was very fond of sitting with good friends 
over his beer or wine or his beloved " Kaffee " 
— ^with the accent, after Viennese fashion, on 
the last syllable — ^in the Kneipe till the small 
hours of the morning. After the Samson per- 
formance our party did not break up until half- 
past two in the morning. To sit late at night 
in a stuffy room full of tobacco smoke, for hours 
at a stretch, and that between two public 
appearances, is not precisely a proceeding I 
could conscientiously recommend a young 
singer to imitate ; but on that occasion nothing 
would have induced me to leave the room 
before Brahms, so fascinated was I by his 



48 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

personality, so jealous of every minute of his 
company. 

Moreover, there were, besides Brahms, other 
interesting and renowned men sitting around 
that social table, like splendid old Gevaert, the 
Director of the Brussels Conservatory of 
Music, whose fine Flemish face looked as if cut 
out of Rembrandt's " Syndics " ; Kufferath, 
another Brussels musician of fame; the jovial 
Ferdinand Hiller of Cologne, Joseph Joachim, 
Carl Reinthaler of Bremen, Julius Otto Grimm 
of Miinster, Wasielewsky of Bonn, the bio- 
grapher of Schumann. I hope I was duly 
appreciative of the privilege of being in the 
company of such men. 

Altogether I had every reason to be satisfied 
with my first experience at one of those big 
music festivals, which augured well for the 
future, and it was a happy summer I spent 
that year, partly with my people and friends 
in the Thuringian woods, partly in the Austrian 
alps, with the Joachims, who, in the happy 
temporary possession of a charming little villa 
in Alt-Aussee in Styria, had suggested to me 
the taking of rooms somewhere near them, so 
that we could make excursions together, and 
now and then some music as well. 

I do not know which I enjoyed more : a 
day's wanderings with the great musician, often 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 49 

starting at five o'clock in the morning, — he was 
an excellent walker — ^roaming on the tops of 
the hills surrounding the picturesque village, 
or accompanying on the piano, his playing 
of his own Hungarian Concerto and those of 
Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Spohr, and sonatas by 
Locatelli, Tartini, Handel — he practised every 
day for some time — or singing with Frau 
Joachim songs and duets for hours at a time. 
Little did I then think that what appeared to 
me — and everybody — an ideal union between 
two fine artists would, only a few years later, 
end in cruel estrangement and final separation. 
Of Joachim's exceeding good-naturedness — 
I use the adjective advisedly — Brahms, in later 
years, told me a story which at the same time 
rather interestingly illustrates a phase in the 
life, toward the middle of last century, at the 
Court of Hanover, where Joachim, from 1858 
to 1866, occupied the post of Concert-Director 
and Solo -Violinist to the King. Among his 
duties as such was also that of engaging the 
artists for and arranging the programmes of 
the musical soirees which at regular intervals 
took place at the Royal Castle. King George 
was one of the last of those monarchs who 
believed in the " right divine of Kings " to such 
an extent that, for instance, if he would say a 
thing was red though it really was green, it 

E 



50 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

was red. Blind as he was, he is known to have, 
at exhibitions, admired pictures before which 
he had been led by his attendant, pointing 
out details of which he had been informed 
beforehand, and trying to make people believe 
he could see. 

For one of those musical evenings at the 
Castle, Joachim's choice of an assisting artist 
had fallen on Moritz Hauptmann,^ who was 
asked to come over from Leipsic and play with 
him some of his. chamber -music. On the 
morning of the day of the concert the King 
sent for Joachim, who, as usual, had to prepare 
His Majesty for the events of the evening by 
telling him who was coming and what the 
programme was to be. On being informed 
of Hauptmann's participation in that night's 
musical proceedings, the King asked who 
that gentleman was, having never heard of 
him before. Joachim then spoke with great 
warmth of Hauptmann's compositions, making 
special mention of a Sonata in G, with a particu- 
larly charming Adagio which he proposed 
playing with the composer. 

Imagine Joachim's feelings when in the 
evening, as he presented Hauptmann to the 
King, he had to hear His Majesty say to the 

* Hauptmann was a composer, lather dry and academical, and 
up to his death, in 1868, cantor of the church of St. Thomas in 
Leipsic. 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 51 

delighted composer : " Ah, my dear Mr. 
Hauptmann, I am so glad to make your 
personal acquaintance. ... I have always 
been a great admirer of your excellent com- 
positions. . . . There is especially a Sonata . . . 
I think it is in G . . . which I am particularly 
devoted to. . . . Such a lovely Adagio . . . 
Joachim must always play it twice to me; 
isn't that so, Joachim ? " Of course, poor 
Joachim not only had to bow his assent, for 
the King could not have seen that, but audibly 
to express it ! That night he came back to 
Brahms, who happened to be his guest for a 
few days, hot with rage and indignation, and 
determined to make an end to a position which 
could subject him to such degrading indignities. 
The following morning he actually sent his 
resignation to the King, as he had done — so 
Brahms told me — two or three times before, after 
similar experiences, but once more His Majesty, 
by saying charming things to him, appeased 
his anger and made him retract his decision. 

Thuringian Woods and Austrian Alps had 
well prepared me physically for the strenuous 
winter season that lay before me, and which 
rather auspiciously commenced in October with 
a soiree by Joachim, Heinrich Barth, then 
Professor of the Piano at the Royal Hochschule, 
and myself, at the New Palace in Potsdam, the 



52 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

residence of the Crown Prince, afterwards the 
Emperor Frederick. 

To come into personal contact with that 
popular favoxirite " Our Fritz," one of the 
most perfect specimens of manhood imagin- 
able, and his Consort, the first member of the 
English Royal family it had been my good 
fortune to meet, was a matter of no small 
delight to me. I was particularly impressed 
by the simple, affable way in which the Royal 
hosts mingled with their guests, and the Crown 
Prince's jovial manner emboldened me, after 
the supper which followed the concert, to 
approach him on the subject of a mission I had 
from an old friend in Hamburg, that proud 
old free city which after the Franco-Prussian 
War had become part of the German Empire. 

The lady, an elderly spinster, was an en- 
thusiastic admirer of the old Emperor William, 
and " dying " to knit a dozen woollen stockings 
for His Majesty, if she could get permission 
and — a sample stocking to ensure their being 
of the right size. With the boldness of youth 
I submitted the lady's desire to the Crown 
Prince, who laughingly promised to have the 
matter attended to ; and within the week, to 
my joy no less than that of the patriotic lady 
of Hamburg, a parcel arrived for me from the 
New Palace, containing the coveted treasure — 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 53 

an old pair of Emperor William's stockings, 
long white cotton stockings, marked with a 
red " W" surmounted by the Royal Crown, 
and — ^touching and incredible — darned in three 
places ! I have got that pair of stockings now, 
and perhaps some day, in a glass case at some 
German museum, it may yet serve to turn 
a degenerate people back to the simple life ! 

An opportunity of thanking His Royal 
Highness personally for his kindness presented 
itself soon, for the Emperor had commanded a 
morning performance of Handel's Hercules, 
imder Joachim, to take place at the White Hall 
of the Royal Castle in Berlin, with the Chorus 
of the Royal High School of Music, which was 
still in its early youth then, and in which the 
Emperor took a great personal interest. The 
performance, in which Mme. Joachim took the 
part of Dejanira and I that of her ill-fated lord, 
was a very interesting occasion, the audience 
consisting only of the Emperor, the Crown 
Prince and Princess, and some generals and 
Court officials with their wives. The Emperor 
seemed much pleased, and at the end had all 
the soloists presented to him. This was the 
only time I personally met that aged monarch, 
and the kind and sweet expression in the dear 
old fatherly face made a deep impression on me. 

During Hercules' rather pompous Aria : 



54 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

Mein Name wird in alien Zeiten 
Hell im Glanz der Ehre stehn 

(My name will stand for all times, shining 
Lustrous bright in honour's glow) 

I thought I noticed a merry smile on the Crown 
Prince's face, and after the performance he said 
to me : " You know, when you sang ' in alien 
Zeiten ' (for all times), I kept hearing ' in alien 
Zeitungen ' " (in all the newspapers !) He 
seemed always ready for a good joke. 

In the early spring of the following year 
(1875) I met Brahms again. Some letters had 
passed between us, relating to my singing for 
the Society of the Friends of Music at Vienna, 
of whose concerts Brahms, at that time, was 
the conductor. I had been engaged to sing 
the part of Christ in Bach's Passion according 
to St. Matthew, and that of Odysseus in Max 
Bruch's secular oratorio of that name ; and it 
may be imagined how great an inspiration it 
was for a young musician like myself to sing 
under the direction of Brahms and to be in 
daily and intimate intercourse with him, in 
anticipation of which privilege I had made 
arrangements for a prolonged stay in the 
Austrian capital. We went for a walk together 
every day, mostly in the Prater, the favourite 
out - of - door resort of the Viennese, and it 
seemed a matter of no small gratification to 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 55 

Brahms to find himself recognized and de- 
ferentially greeted wherever we happened to 
drop in for an occasional rest. 

The numerous pubUc gardens where Gipsy 
bands played, especially attracted us, and it 
was a delight to notice the increased spirit 
those brown sons of the Puszta put into their 
music in the presence of the master who had 
done so much toward opening up to their 
beloved tunes a wider sphere of popularity. 

The first of the two concerts mentioned 
above went off beautifully. Brahms had 
trained the Chorus with infinite care and con- 
ducted with great earnestness. 

It was a rare delight to watch the enthusiasm 
and, at the same time, the reverence and 
dignity he brought to bear on the performance 
of Bach's masterwork. Johann Sebastian was 
one of his gods, and I remember one day in his 
rooms when, seeing me notice that master's 
Well - tempered Klavier open on the piano, 
he said to me : " With this I rinse my mouth 
every morning." 

The time between the performances of Bach's 
Passion and Bruch's Odysseus was filled up by 
my first visit to Russia, whither I had been 
invited to sing Handel's Messiah, in German, 
imder the conductorship of Davidoff, the great 
violoncello-player, who was then Director of 



56 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

the Imperial Conservatory of Music. Needless 
to say, I undertook the long journey, via 
Warsaw, with no little expectation ; and the 
utterly different way of life there in nearly all 
of its aspects did indeed not disappoint, though 
it thoroughly bewildered nae. I do not know 
what I should have done had I not been 
met at Petrograd Station by old Professor 
Homilius, one of the directors of the " Sing- 
Akademie," at whose concert I was to make 
my first appearance. In the vast place out- 
side the station, hundreds of tiny little narrow 
open cabs, " isvostchiks," were standing abreast 
in long rows in the snow, their drivers 
picturesque in high boots and long dark blue 
caftans, under which, to judge from the 
portliness of their figures, and their ample 
waists, girded by broad scarlet scarfs, they 
seemed to have half-a-dozen other garments. 
They all were shouting at the top of their 
voices to attract attention to the particular 
beauty and swiftness of their beasts, and 
sohciting patronage. There is — or at any 
rate was then — no regular tariff for the 
use of these vehicles. You have to make a 
bargain each time, but it is after having secured 
your conveyance, and being more or less com- 
fortably ensconced in the fur-coverings, that 
your real difficulties commence. Unless you 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 57 

wish to be driven to one of the public buildings, 
or to a house in one of the most famous 
thoroughfares, the ignorant driver depends 
entirely on your giving him the directions, 
which you are supposed to shout to him at 
every doubtful turning, so that I cannot see how 
any one without a knowledge of at least the 
two words naprava (right), or nalyeva (left), 
and a partial familiarity with the map of the 
town, can ever hope to get to his destination. 

Failure, however, to reach it would certainly 
not be the fault of the horses, which as a rule 
are very swift. I was told by my cicerone 
that the rapid speed at which Russians delight 
to travel in their carriages reduces the life of 
their horses to about one-fourth of its natural 
duration. There is, for instance, a rich banlcer, 
he told me, who saves himself the trouble of 
giving his coachmen notice by engaging them 
invariably with the understanding that the 
moment they allow another carriage to pass 
his they must consider themselves dismissed ! 

There is something barbaric about this, as 
altogether about the life of a wealthy Russian 
at home. Vast houses, often more like palaces ; 
vast halls pervaded by a sweet scent as of 
incense ; wide, richly-carpeted staircases ; huge 
porcelain stoves giving out a most gratifying 
warmth; gorgeously uniformed major-domos 



58 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

with sticks like those of a drum-major ; an army 
of liveried servants ; gigantic vases in malachite, 
lapis lazuli, and bronze; marble statuary — I 
was quite staggered by all this display of 
wealth, comfort, ease, and luxury, and, indeed, 
throughout my visit I seemed to be living in a 
sort of dreamland, it was all so strange. 

The only time in my life when I ate a dinner 
off solid gold plate was at the house of General 
Count Paul Schuvaloff, who then occupied a 
high position at the Imperial Court — a most 
charming man and an excellent musician. 
One does not often see a general in his uniform 
play the 'cello, as Count Schuvaloff frequently 
did during my visits at his house ; whilst 
another uniformed officer, Lieut.-Colonel Cesar 
Cui, a composer of great merit, whose works 
were at that time very popular in concert-room 
and opera house, accompanied him on the 
piano. 

The performance of the Messiah went off 
very well. I was in capital form and — rather 
strange to our ideas of an oratorio audience's 
attitude — ^had to repeat the air " Why do the 
Nations." Rubinstein, Leschetitsky, Mme. 
Essipoff, Louis Brassin, Leopold Auer, Helmy 
Raab, the charming Prima Donna of the 
Imperial Opera — all friends and colleagues of 
Davidoff, who conducted — were present, and 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 59 

we all met again on the following night at 
Leschetitsky's house, Mme. Essipoff receiving 
the company. These weekly receptions in the 
salons of the famous pianist and teacher were 
among the fashionable events of the season. 

Imperial Highnesses, ambassadors, generals. 
University professors loved to mix in Bohemian 
fashion with long-haired virtuosos and operatic 
favourites, and sometimes at two o'clock in the 
morning Rubinstein, Auer, and Davidoff — a 
wonderful trio — would sit down to play, or 
Leschetitsky and Essipoff delight their hearers 
with a duet for two pianos. To drive home 
in an open " isvostchik " at four or five o'clock 
in the morning was by no means an unusual 
occurrence. Somehow or other the life in 
Russia had a pecuUar fascination for me, and 
I always looked forward to my visits there, 
which, though not unfrequent during the 
following ten years, were never of too long 
duration ; and that, considering the delight 
Russians take in turning night into day, was a 
good thing. 

Nicolai Rubinstein, also a pianist and hardly 
inferior as a virtuoso to his more famous elder 
brother Anton, by some even preferred to him 
on the point of mere technique, which, indeed, 
was stupendous, held at that time the position 
of Director of the Moscow Conservatoire of 



60 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

Music. And it was in Moscow that I first met 
Tschaikovsky, a most amiable, kind, gentle, 
modest man, with just that touch of melancholy 
in his composition which to me seems to be a 
characteristic of the Russian. I spent a week 
in Moscow, singing, among other things, in 
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, in Russian, a 
language which in my opinion, as regards 
melodiousness, comes immediately after the 
Italian. Nicolai Rubinstein conducted an 
excellent performance, and afterwards he, 
Tschaikovsky, and I had supper at the famous 
restaurant known as the " Eremitage." There 
we sat until the small hours of the morning, 
talking mostly about music. Brahms' German 
Requiem had only just been published, and, 
much to my astonishment and distress, both 
Rubinstein and Tschaikovsky expressed in veiy 
strong terms their resentment of the title 
"German Requiem," maintaining that it im- 
plied a certain arrogance on the part of the 
composer as hinting at the superiority of German 
over other music. I argued that the word 
" Requiem " as applied to a work of music, 
generally meant a setting of the old accepted 
Latin words of the Mass for the Dead. Brahms 
in calUng his work "A German Requiem " merely 
wanted to make it clear, already on the title- 
page, that his work was not a Mass, but set to 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 61 

German words taken from different parts of 
the Bible ; that, if those words were translated 
into, say, Swedish or French or Russian, it 
would become a Swedish, French, or Russian 
Requiem ; that nothing could have been 
further from Brahms' intention than a slight 
on the music of other nations. But I am 
afraid when we parted early in the morning 
the two were still far from convinced. 

During my subsequent visits to Petrograd I 
chiefly gave recitals of songs, many of them by 
Russian composers, which I sang in the original. 
I learned the meaning of every word of a 
song, and a very nice young lawyer, Ivan 
Ivanovitch, coached me in the pronunciation, 
which, owing not unUkely to the portion of 
Polish blood in my veins, came comparatively 
easy to me. I had been told of the generous 
enthusiasm of Petrograd audiences, and how 
it often materiahzes in the shape of a valuable 
present, so that, for instance, it is not at all 
imusual for officers of a " crack " regiment 
to club together and throw to a foreign prima 
donna, singing at the opera house as a guest, 
and who may have been fortunate enough to 
captivate their ears and hearts, a diamond 
bracelet or some other precious piece of 
jewellery, hidden in a bouquet of flowers, across 
the footlights. 



62 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

And sure enough, when I returned to 
Germany after my second visit, my vaUse 
was considerably the heavier for containing 
several silver and gold cigarette-cases and 
match-boxes, a silver tankard, a silver bowl, 
a scarfpin, and other presents given to me by 
people I hardly knew. 

The Russians' love of music is very great 
and their way of showing their appreciation 
sometimes very touching. I shall never forget 
a charming incident after the last recital of 
my second season in Petrograd. 

That young lawyer, Ivan Ivanovitch, whom 
I frequently met at the Davidoffs and other 
houses, was an enthusiastic lover of music, 
especially vocal, and himself a very acceptable 
amateur tenor. Unfortunately he spoke neither 
French nor German nor Italian, the only 
German word he knew being, by some chance, 
the word " gegeniiber " {vis-d-vis) ; and I 
being unable to converse in his tongue, we 
could only communicate — I was very fond of 
him — ^by facial expression or through a friendly 
interpreter. After the recital, at the end of 
which I had to sing half-a-dozen more songs 
than were on the programme, a great number 
of people crowded into the artists' room, 
shaking hands, congratulating me, and — I was 
to leave the following morning — wishing me 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 63 

hon voyage. Among them was my friend Ivan 
Ivanoviteh. Looking at me beseechingly, and 
evidently greatly distressed at being unable 
to talk to me, a tear running down his cheek, 
he took my hand into both of his, pressed it 
most earnestly and affectionately until at last, 
choked with emotion and addressing me by 
my name in Russian, he burst out into " Youri 
Yakovlevitch," and then the single word, 
" geggeniiber ! ! " (as he pronounced it). 

Among my newly-acquired Russian friends 
I was particularly lucky in counting one, a 
physician, whose brother-in-law held the post 
of Master of the Hunt to the Czar ; for through 
this gentleman's influence I was allowed the 
rare privilege of visiting the Imperial kennels 
at Gatchina, one of His Majesty's residences, 
not far from Petrograd. My friend himself 
was the fortxmate owner of a country place 
in that neighbourhood, and thither he had 
promised to take me one day, to spend a few 
hours, in gratification of my wish to see some- 
thing of the country and Russian peasant life. 
It was a perfect winter's day, and the scene 
on alighting at the little station lovely beyond 
description. In contrast to the streets of the 
city, in the dirty-grey surface pf which the 
heavy and constant traffic makes it almost 



64 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

impossible to recognize so pure and beautiful 
a thing as snow, here the landscape was a 
glorious symphony in whites, dark-greens, and 
browns. The wide semicircle skirting a grove 
of fine fir trees at the back of the station was 
covered with virgin snow glittering in the bright 
sunshine, and there, against this exquisite 
background, waiting for us and looking Uke a 
new toy magnified, stood a beautiful " troika " 
from the Czar's establishment. 

Even with an utter ignorance of the Russian 
language it will not be difficult to guess that the 
word " troika " has something to do with the 
number three. This most picturesque equipage 
derives its name from the three horses which 
are in use with the vehicle, not so much because 
of its weight, which indeed is so slight that an 
average boy in the shafts could pull the thing 
with ease, but merely for greater speed, a 
maximvim of which is secured by the peculiar 
way in which the horses are hitched and 
harnessed, one in the shafts, the two bars of 
which, just about in the middle of their length, 
are connected by a high arch widening at the 
top, the two others outside, with their heads 
slightly forced downwards and turned, the near 
horse's to the left, the off horse's to the right, 
with the result that whilst the middle horse 
trots, or rather paces — for nearly all Russian 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 65 

carriage-horses move the fore- and hind-legs of 
the same side in the same direction — the two 
outside ones, except when walking, must gallop, 
poor things. This may appear just a little 
cruel, but I really think the horses being broken 
in in that way when very yo\ing, are accustomed 
to it from the first, and, to judge from their 
behaviour at full speed, seem to rather like it. 
Moreover, the tightness is of course relaxed 
when they are standing for any length of time. 
The three dapple-greys — magnificent crea- 
tures, sleek-coated, long-tailed and long-necked 
— on seeing us approach and greet their 
master, who in a very becoming dark-green 
uniform stood by them, turned their fine heads 
toward us — I do so like the absence of blinkers 
on Russian horses — and by stamping the 
ground and champing their bits, which caused 
the httle silver bells hanging from the centre 
of the arch over the shafts to make short, 
harmonious little sounds, commenced to show 
their impatience to be off. This we were now 
without delay, and no one who has not sped 
at the rate of about three minutes a mile over 
frozen, snow-covered ground in a small sleigh 
drawn by three big horses through Russian 
plains on a bright, sunny day, can realize the 
tremendous exhilaration of it. After a little 
under an hour's drive — a never-to-be-forgotten 



66 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

experience — we reached the little village of 
which my friend's house was, so to speak, 
" The Hall." Before the thatched hut of an 
old retainer we stopped. He had been notified 
of our intention to partake of luncheon there, 
and now stepped out of the door, a splendid 
fellow of about thirty-five. He was in holiday 
attire and, most deferentially greeting us, 
though with the dignity of a nobleman, bade 
us welcome in words — ^beautifully chosen and 
even poetical — ^which my friend translated to 
me, adding that the Russian language hardly 
knows such a thing as dialect, and that this 
man's Russian was as good as his own. On 
entering the cottage we found in the large, 
warm, cosy room the wife and two children, 
evidently freshly dressed for the occasion and 
looking exceedingly charming in the picturesque 
national costume. Happy to see my friend 
whom they seemed to adore, — I afterwards 
learned he had as their friend and physician 
been ever kind and helpful to them, — they 
reverently kissed his hands; whilst the patri- 
archal old grandfather, who had risen from his 
place by the hearth, a fine tall man, his white, 
straight hair coming down to his shoulders and 
his grey beard flowing in long curls almost to 
the belt of his gaberdine, fell flat on the groxmd 
before my friend, kissing the hem of his fur coat. 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 67 

I had never seen anything like this before, 
and was greatly impressed by the unwonted 
scene, as indeed by all that followed. Whilst 
my friend talked with the men and the children, 
and I had a good look round, the housewife 
began laying the table, distributing on the 
cloth, snow-white, with red embroidered edges, 
the plates and napkins, knives, forks, spoons, 
txmiblers, salt-cellars, indeed every requisite 
of a perfectly served meal. I could not detect 
anything soiled or broken. The older of the 
children, a handsome maiden of about fourteen, 
brought a large earthen jug with " kwast," a sort 
of home-brewed, very palatable light beer, and 
after we had sat down, the husband beckoned — 
again in a most dignified manner — to his wife 
to bring in the food. First came, in a steaming 
bowl, the soup, called " borsht," made of beet- 
root and cream, into which you put a spoonful 
of mashed potatoes, which is handed round 
separately, an excellent concoction; and now 
followed the piece de resistance — my friend 
had already prepared me for these national 
delicacies — on a huge platter : a large, oblong 
cake of breadstuff, nice and brown on the out- 
side, and containing a big fish baked whole in it 
with spices and kale which proved, as the soup 
had before, a most savoury dish. The sweet, 
too, which ended the sumptuous and highly 



68 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

appreciated repast, was a Russian speciality. 
My friend had evidently wished to let me 
experience a true Russian day, and certainly 
succeeded even beyond his own designs, for, 
as chance would have it, soon after our meal, 
it happening to be the name-day of some local 
saint, a priest appeared on his round through 
the village to bless the ikons, of which there is 
found at least one in every house, with a lamp, 
burning vegetable oil, perpetually alight before 
it. After the benediction had been pronounced, 
our host poured into a tumbler a quantity of 
raw vodka, one -fiftieth part of which would 
have sent me reeling. Imagine my astonish- 
ment on seeing the pope draining it at one fell 
swoop without turning a hair. Of course I 
thought of the number of huts still remaining 
to be visited by the godly man, and wondered 
who, after the last imbibition, would escort 
this six -foot -two and corresponding girth 
home, and how many people it would require ; 
but, will you believe it, an hour later, when our 
" troika " was carrying us back to Gatchina, we 
met that self-same man coming out of one of 
the huts, erect and lusty, walking as straight as 
an arrow, and apparently not a whit the worse 
for his many blessings. A kitten may remind 
one of a lion, and years afterwards, in the 
Scottish Highlands, this wonderful performance 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 69 

was recalled to my mind, the scene being the 
drawing-room of the Manse of Alvey ^ in Inver- 
ness-shire, which we had taken for some con- 
secutive summers in the early 'nineties. A 
presentation was to be made to us on behalf 
of the parishioners, consisting of two charming 
water-colour paintings of Loch-an-Eilean, by 
those excellent artists, Edith and Gertrud 
Martineau, and an " overflow " — ^for the 
daughter — ^in the shape of a silver card-case. 

What inspired the graceful act I cannot say, 
except it be the overkindness of the good 
people of Alvey. It was in the forenoon that 
the httle deputation of four or five prominent 
parishioners, headed by the minister, all dressed 
in their best Sunday black, made their appear- 
ance. The minister's address of presentation 
had been followed by my little speech of thanks, 
after which I went from friend to friend pouring 
into his tiunbler the liquid refreshment in general 
use at baptisms, marriages, and burials, followed 
by my daughter with the water-jug. Every 
one meekly submitted to her ministrations — 
also a sort of baptism — until she came to the 
joiner of Lagganlia, who with a gentle wave 
of his hand held her off, and, shaking his grey 

1 Generally spelled Alvie ; but my excellent old friend the late 
Rev. James Anderson, minister of the Parish, had ever been 
anxious to see the old historical spelling restored. 



70 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES v 

elder's head, said, " Naw, naw — thank ye — 
a can hae water at hame ! " 

He was then sixty-seven, and only the other 
day, twenty years later, the dear old man sat, 
facing a terrible March storm, on the box-seat 
of the hearse that carried the remains of his 
guid wife to the kirkyard, two miles away 
from the home where he is now contentedly 
waiting to " slip awa' " himself. 

From a Scottish manse to the Imperial 
kennels at Gatchina is a far cry, though the 
connecting hnk might well be the dogs found 
in both. Sped on our way by the hand-waved 
blessings of the vodka - proof priest, we soon 
found ourselves stopping at the entrance to 
the kennels, where we were received by a very 
aged man, tall — the average height of the 
Russian man struck me as altogether very 
considerable — and splendidly erect in spite of 
his age. He was the keeper of the hounds, 
and at once proceeded to conduct us through 
what, but for the absence of furniture,, seemed 
more like a succession of drawing-rooms than 
kennels. The hounds were nearly all of the 
famous wolf-hound breed. In the first room, 
beautifully light and airy, two of them, the 
Czar's personal favourites, were actually repos- 
ing on large, soft red velvet cushions, the most 
perfectly shaped dogs I had ever seen : spotlessly 



V MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 71 

snow-white, with long-haired, silky coats, their 
narrow and very long heads finely modelled, 
as if chiselled out of marble. The old man 
told us the bones of these animals are exceed- 
ingly delicate, those of the head especially so, 
indeed thin to such an extent that it had 
actually happened on one occasion that two 
of them had in the excitement of the chase 
run into each other at full speed, and, un- 
fortimately knocking their heads together, 
both fallen dead on the spot, with their skulls 
broken. There were between fifty and sixty 
of these lovely creatures in this dogs' palace, 
each in his or her own bunk, with their names 
above it. After feasting our eyes on their 
beauty, the keeper now took out a bunch of 
keys, and, bidding us follow, prepared us for 
" a fearful sight." At the end of a little lane 
in the woods adjoining the kennels we came 
to a httle wooden hut, the door of which led 
to an enclosure with another door. This our 
guide unlocked, and on its being opened we 
beheld, inside a cage formed of very substantial 
iron bars such as are used in zoological gardens, 
the fiercest-looking dog imaginable, a bull-dog, 
dark coated, not particularly large, but broader 
chested than I had ever believed any dog 
capable of being. The distance between his 
short but wonderfully muscular front-legs must 



72 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES . v 

have been fully fifteen inches. With his large 
white teeth showing under his short black 
squat nose, in spite of his mouth being closed, 
and a head equalling in size the reputed three 
of that amiable guardian of the entrance to 
Hades, he looked a veritable Cerberus. This 
was His Majesty's own particular bear-dog, a 
species bred purposely for bear-hunting. We 
were told that this animal would tackle the 
largest bear, not only without fear but with 
absolute certainty of success, by jumping on, 
and imbedding his mighty fangs in the bear's 
neck. Nothing that poor beast can contrive 
to free himself is of avail ; even rolling on 
the ground will not shake off the dog, which 
holds his prey as in a vice. A last frantic effort 
usually enables the bear to get up on his hind- 
legs, and during such a moment the Emperor 
approaches the animal, and with a vigorous 
thrust of the large knife finishes him. 



VI 

But to return to Vienna where, it will be 
remembered, I was due to sing in Brueh's 
Odysseus. April 18, 1876 was the date of the 
performance, historical because of its being 
the last conducted by Brahms in his capacity as 
Musical Director of the Society of the Friends 
of Music, the only official post he has ever held. 
It took place in the forenoon, and was followed 
by the solemn ceremony of presenting Brahms 
with an illuminated address of Farewell, 
acknowledging his great achievements as con- 
ductor of the society, and expressing the 
society's and the chorus's regret at his 
resignation. 

A local celebrity, rather naughtily styled by 
Brahms " The poet of the inner town " (Vienna 
is divided into a number of postal districts 
radiating from the central one. No. 1, which is 
called the inner town), delivered a very eulogistic 
oration, which Brahms, who could hardly 
disguise his being considerably bored, merely 
acknowledged with a painfully curt " Thank 

73 



74 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

you very much." Then he took under his arm 
the folio containing the address and walked 
away. He afterwards told me that such official 
proceedings were exceedingly distasteful to 
him. 

Far more to his liking was the supper at 
one of the leading hotels, to which, on the 
evening of that day, a great many of his friends 
sat down to honour him, and which the presence 
of ladies made all the more acceptable to the 
guest of the evening. 

The memory of the anniversary of Beet- 
hoven's death (March 26) in that year will 
never fade from my mind, since it was my great 
privilege to spend part of the day with Brahms 
in the very chamber in which the great com- 
poser had died. Common friends of ours were 
then Uving in the suite of rooms once occiipied 
by Beethoven in the Schwarz - Spanierhaus. 
From the corner of the room in which Beet- 
hoven's bed had stood, his bust, adorned with 
a laurel wreath, looked down upon us, and 
though nearly half a century had passed away 
since that historical thunderstorm during which 
the immortal soul of the Titan had freed itself 
from its earthly fetters, so deeply were we 
impressed by the solemnity of the memory, that , 
when, after a long silence, we began to speak 
again, we did so in subdued whispers only until 



VI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 75 

we found ourselves outside again among the 
stirring crowd of the Hvely Viennese. 

Soon after those beautiful days I was diie 
at Diisseldorf, the scene of that year's Musical 
Festival. The first performance there, under 
Joachim's direction, of Handel's oratorio 
Hercules had attracted a good many English- 
men, among them Mr., afterwards Sir George 
Grove and Walter Broadwood, in whose most 
genial company I repeatedly found myself 
during the Festival, and who were responsible 
for my first thought of England as a possible 
field for my future activity. A rather amusing 
thing happened in connection with that first 
festival'performance of Hercules. An enterpris- 
ing German publisher, rightly anticipating a 
demand for vocal scores of that fine oratorio, 
had prepared and published a new German 
edition of it. In his desire to be as authentic 
as possible he had taken hold of an old English 
copy of the work, the title of which happened 
to read " Handel's Oratorio Hercules in Score." 
There being, as is often the case, no punctua- 
tion on the title-page, our friend, whose English 
must have been on a par with his geography, 
remembering, perhaps, Gluck's Iphigenia in 
_Tauris, or maybe recollecting having read of 
" Flagranti," that Italian place, he supposed, 
where so many refugees from justice are caught 



76 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

every year, and which he could not find on 
the map either, evidently took it for granted 
that "Score," pronounced in two syllables, 
" Sco-re," was another of those out-of-the-way 
places of ancient history or mythology, and con- 
fidently sent his volume into the world with 
the strikingly original title " Hercules in Score, 
Oratorium von Handel." 

The Diisseldorf Festival was followed, in 
June, by one at IQel, the first, if I am not 
mistaken, ever held in the north of Germany, 
with Joachim as conductor-in-chief. One of 
the days, the 28th, being Joachim's birthday, 
there were special " goings on " after the 
concert that night. The banquet was rendered 
particularly interesting by the presence — quite 
a rare event then — of an admiral of the United 
States Navy and his officers, whose ships were 
anchored in the roadstead off Dusternbrook. 
After that we younger people, with the glow of 
fresh successes on our cheeks, and the dream 
of eternal youth in our hearts, joined by a 
nmnber of students from the University, poured 
out into the large and beautiful garden surround- 
ing the " Fest Halle." Here and there a soft 
light from a tiny little coloured glass cup 
peeped invitingly through the dark groves ; 
the night was cool and lovely ; above us the 
starry heavens, around us, in the bushes, the 



VI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 77 

nightingales seemed to burst their Httle throats 
.in the ecstasy of song — was it a wonder we 
could not tear ourselves away, nor even think 
of sleep ? The dawn was breaking before we 
knew it, and between four and five that morning 
some young men could be seen in a boat rowing 
out to Dxisternbrook, there, by a plunge into 
the glorious sea, to end what in after years I 
always remembered as and identified with 
" The lovely night of June," whenever I heard 
poor Goring-Thomas' charming song. 

If this was the only instance I can recall 
when, apart from railway journeys, I had 
deliberately abstained from spending the night 
in the orthodox manner, viz. in bed, the end 
of the year provided me with another unique 
experience, though of a somewhat different 
character, the scene being the brilliantly 
lighted studio of the Hungarian painter. Count 
Zichy, in Paris, and the occasion a no less 
interesting one than an improvised spiritualistic 
seance. 

After a capital performance of Mendelssohn's 
L'Elie in Brussels on the 26th of December, at 
which the King and Queen and the Countess 
of Flanders were present, I went to Paris for 
a few days' holiday. I had letters to Count 
Zichy, and his more famous compatriot and 
fellow-artist Muncacszi, and one evening at 



78 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

the former's house I met at dinner Muncacszi, 
Madame Essipoff, and a young, strange-looking 
Polish lady with short hair, like a young man's, 
whose name I have forgotten, who, I after- 
wards learned, was a " Medium." 

Dinner over, during which Muncacszi had 
emphatically declared his utter disbelief in 
spirits and supernatural manifestations, it was 
proposed to have a test. In the middle of the 
huge, lofty studio, where we found ourselves 
after dinner, there stood, on four massive legs, 
a large, heavy, solid oak table which it would 
have taken two strong men to lift as much as 
an inch. This table it was decided to try, by 
forming a chain of hands on its top, to move, 
or rather make to move by itself. We had each 
of us to give our word of honour to Muncacszi 
not to do anything whatever beyond keeping 
our hands quietly on the table, not to try any 
pressure, or to hasten the accomplishment of 
the task by help of our feet, but to treat the 
matter as a really serious one. So the thing 
commenced. We were now all standing around 
the table, our bodies at least a foot away from 
it, only our hands, spread out, gently resting 
on the top, the thumbs of each participant 
meeting, and the little fingers touching those 
of her or his neighbour. For fully ten minutes 
there was no speaking, no sound and — no sign, 



VI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 79 

and the sceptics looked triumphant. Then, 
once in a while, some of us seemed to feel a sort 
of throbbing pulsation as it were in the table, 
occasioning a quickly suppressed exclamation. 
Gradually, however, there could be no doubt 
that something was happening or going to 
happen. Muncacszi grew excited, made us 
swear by all that was dear to us that we were 
not doing anything. Soon there came a decided 
swaying movement on the part of the table, 
and now we others, too, could not disguise our 
growing excitement. We called out to each 
other, never, however, breaking the chain of 
hands : " Did you feel this ? " — " IVs you that's 
doing it .'" — "No, upon my honour .'" — " Truly!" 
— " Swear to me!" All the while the table was 
now moving quicker and quicker romid and 
round, we, always without letting go of it, 
trying to move with it, which, however, grew 
more and more difficult, until after a while 
this huge piece of furniture actually danced 
about all over the room like mad, mostly a 
little above the floor, tintil, commencing to get 
exhausted with the violent exercise, we had to 
withdraw our hold when, the chain of hands 
being broken, the thing dropped on to its feet 
with a heavy thud, like one dead. Naturally 
it took us quite a while to recover our mental 
equilibrium. Poor Muncacszi was the last 



80 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

to get over the effects of this certainly strange, 
though perhaps physically explicable, experience. 

Early the following year I was invited to 
sing at the annual " Caecilien-Fest " at Miinster 
in Westphalia. There, in that quaint old 
town, famous for what would have been the 
great comedy of the Anabaptists but for the 
excessively cruel punishment meted out to 
the leaders of those poor deluded fanatics, 
and of which a ghastly relic was at that time 
still visible in the shape of an iron cage con- 
taining the bleached skeleton of one of the chief 
actors hanging from the spire of the Minster, 
Julius Otto Grimm and Richard Earth had by 
their zeal and enthusiasm created a musical 
atmosphere second to none in Germany, and 
to be called to one of those St. Cecilia Festivals 
as a soloist was a much-coveted privilege, 
Grimm, a German Russian, i.e. a native of the 
Baltic provinces, was a musician of the first 
order, and, more than that, one of the kindest, 
simplest, most lovable of men, cultured beyond 
the common and of a refreshing, contagious 
enthusiasm for his art. He was on terms of 
intimate friendship with Brahms who, like 
everybody else, loved to come to these charm- 
ing feasts of music and, on this occasion, 
was to play his D Minor Concerto for Piano- 



VI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 81 

forte — the one in B flat was not written then — 
and to conduct his Triumphal Hymn. 

Richard Barth, an excellent musician, pianist, 
composer, and violinist, Grimm's right hand, 
was an extraordinary young man, who in 
after years amply fulfilled the promise he 
then gave, for from Munster he was called as 
Professor and Music director to the University 
of Marburg, which a few years later made him 
a doctor honoris causa of Philosophy. From 
there he went to Hamburg where after, for 
a period of ten years, conducting the Phil- 
harmonic concerts, he now lives as Conductor 
of the Singakademie and director of the 
Conservatory of Music. When I called him 
Grimm's " right hand " I should really have 
said " left hand " for, gratifying as honours 
and positions doubtless are, there will always 
be worthy people to achieve and fill them ; but 
I doubt if there lives, or ever lived, another 
violinist who, though not left-handed from 
birth, fingers with his right hand and bows 
with his left as Richard Barth does. How he 
came to do it will, I am sure, as an illustration 
of what enthusiasm and perseverance can 
accomplish, be considered worth recording. 
Born into a musical family, young Richard 
was given his first little fiddle at the age of 
three. He soon exhibited a decided talent for 

G 



82 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

the instrument, when, hardly a year later, the 
boy accidentally severed one of the sinews of 
the middle finger of his left hand by a cut with 
a knife. As at that time — 1854 — surgery was 
still very far from the marvellous achieve- 
ments of the present time, the finger healed 
badly and remained stiff, and there would 
have been an end to fiddling for the little 
fellow. So great, however, was his love for 
his instrument, so keen his disappointment, 
that his grandfather, himself a good musician, 
one day conceived the idea of restringing the 
fiddle in the reversed order, and placing it 
into the delighted boy's right hand, gave him 
the bow into the left, with the result that in a 
very short time Richard had regained the skill 
he had acquired before the accident, and in 
time became a violinist of the first rank and 
the leader of Grimm's orchestra. 

I arrived at Grimm's house a few days 
previous to the festival, at which, among other- 
things, I was to sing the baritone solo in Brahms' 
Triumphal Hymn, and, much to my disgust, 
just a, few days before the concert, caught 
a cold which made me dread that high F in 
the solo " And behold now, the heavens opened 
wide." I asked Brahms if he would object 
to my altering that note into a more convenient 
one, on account of that cold, and he said : 



VI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 83 

" Not in the least. As far as I am concerned, 
a thinking, sensible singer may, without hesita- 
tion, change a note which for some reason or 
other is for the time being out of his compass, 
into one which he can reach with comfort, 
provided always the declamation remains correct 
and the accentuation does not suffer" 

At the concert Brahms played his concerto 
superbly. I especially noted his emphasizing 
each of those tremendous shakes in the first 
movement by placing a short rest between the 
last note of one and the first small note before 
the next. Dviring those short stops he would 
hft his hands up high and let them come down 
on the keys with a force like that of a lion's 
paw. It was grand. 

" Isegrim " — for by that sobriquet, the 
poetical name for bear, dear old Julius Otto 
Grimm was known and called by his friends — 
conducted, and fairly chuckled with joy at 
every beautiful phrase. 

The Triumphlied — the difficulties of which 
I could appreciate, when less than four years 
later I had the privilege of introducing that 
glorious work to England at a concert I gave 
in the St. James's Hall for the benefit of the 
Victoria Hospital for Children — went splendidly. 
Brahms conducted, and the joy and gratifica- 
tion expressed in his face at the end, when 



84 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

acknowledging the enthusiastic acclamations 
of audience, chorus, and orchestra, was evidently 
caused as much by the consciousness of having 
written a truly great work, as by its reception 
and appreciation ; a most welcome change from 
the affected display of modesty or indifference 
often exhibited on concert platforms. 

The end of that month of February found 
Brahms and me together in Coblentz on the 
Rhine, where we were the soloists at one of 
the regular Symphony Concerts conducted by 
Maszkowski, a young and enthusiastic musician, 
a Pole, who afterwards succeeded Bernhard 
Scholz as conductor of the Orchester Verein in 
my native Breslau. On the day before the 
concert there was, as usual (people seemed to 
have time then), the final full rehearsal — 
" Generalprobe " — ^to which in most places in 
Germany the public are admitted. Brahms 
had played Schumann's Concerto in A Minor 
and missed a good many notes. So in the 
morning of the day of the concert he went to 
the Concert Hall to practise. He had asked 
me to follow him thither a little later and to 
rehearse with him the songs — his, of course — he 
was to accompany for me in the evening. When 
I arrived at the hall I found him quite alone, 
seated at the piano and working away for all he 
was worth, on Beethoven's Choral Fantasia 



VI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 85 

and Schumann's Concerto. He was quite red 
in the face, and, interrupting himself for a 
moment on seeing me stand beside him, said 
with that childlike, confiding expression in his 
eyes : " Really, this is too bad. Those people 
to-night expect to hear something especially 
good, and here I am likely to give them a 
hoggish mess (Schweinerei). I assure you, I 
could play to-day, with the greatest ease, far 
more difficult things, with wider stretches for 
the fingers, my own concerto for example, but 
those simple diatonic runs are exasperating. I 
keep saying to myself : ' But, Johannes, pull 
yourself together, — Do play decently,' — but no 
use ; it's really horrid." 

After our little private rehearsal of the songs, 
Brahms, Maszkowski, who had in the mean- 
time joined us, and I repaired to Councillor 
Wegeler's, Brahms' host, in accordance with an 
invitation to inspect the celebrated and really 
wonderful wine-cellars of his firm, and to par- 
take of a little luncheon in the sample room 
afterwards. Toward the end of the repast, 
which turned out to be a rather sumptuous 
affair, relished by Brahms as much as by any 
of us, a bottle of old Rauenthaler of the year 
'65 was opened, with due ceremony, by our 
host. It proved indeed to be a rare drop, and 
we all sat in almost reverential silence, bent 



86 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

over the high, light -green goblets, which we 
held in close proximity to our respective noses. 
Wegeler at last broke the silence with the 
solemn words : " Yes, gentlemen, what Brahms 
is among the composers, this Rauenthaler is 
among the wines." Quick as lightning Brahms 
exclaimed : " Ah, then let's have a bottle of 
Bach now ! " 

The concert went off well, as did the supper 
afterwards. Brahms was in particularly high 
spirits. The many proofs of sincere admira- 
tion and affection he had received during his 
stay in Coblentz had greatly pleased and 
touched him, and he went so far as to make a 
speech — a very rare thing with him. 

From Coblentz we went to Wiesbaden. We 
were quite alone in our compartment, and I 
had the happiness of finding him, in regard to 
his own self and his way of working, more 
commimicative than ever before. Commencing 
by speaking of the events of the past days, we 
soon drifted into talking about art in general 
and music in particular. 

" There is no real creating," he said, " with- 
out hard work. That which you would call 
invention, that is to say, a thought, an idea, is 
simply an inspiration from above, for which I 
am not responsible, which is no merit of mine. 
Yea, it is a present, a gift, which I ought even 



VI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 87 

to despise until I have made it my own by right 
of hard work. And there need be no hurry 
about that, either. It is as with the seed-corn ; 
it germinates unconsciously and in spite of our- 
selves. When I, for instance, have found the 
first phrase of a song, say, 



^_^ ^ - ^ J—f^ 



When the sil very moon .... 

I might shut the book there and then, go for a 
walk, do some other -work, and perhaps not 
think of it again for months. Nothing, how- 
ever, is lost. If afterward I approach the 
subject again, it is sure to have taken shape ; 
I can now begin really to work at it. But 
there are composers who sit at the piano with 
a poem before them, putting music to it from 
A to Z until it is done. They write themselves 
into a state of enthusiasm which makes them 
see something finished, something important, 
in every bar," 

After the concert that evening we went to 
the house of the Princess of Hesse-Barchfeld 
to supper. Although Brahms, Ernst Franck, 
the genial composer and conductor, who had 
come over from Mannheim, and I were the only 
non-aristocratic guests present, the affair was 
very charming and " gemutlich." Brahms' 

1 The beginning of the beautiful song, " Die Mainacht," Op. 43. 



88 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

neighbour at table was the very handsome 
and fascinating wife of a celebrated general, and 
this fact, together with the fiery Rhine wine, 
had a most animating effect on him. After 
supper the greater part of the company had a 
very lively game of billiards, and just before 
leaving, the Princess presented Brahms with a 
handsome box of ebony, to the lid of which a 
laurel wreath of silver was attached. Each 
leaf of the wreath had the title of one of 
Brahms' works engraved on it. He was 
delighted, though much amused, at finding on 
one of the leaves Triumphlied, that colossal 
Song of Triumph for double chorus and 
orchestra, and on the very one next to it 
Wiegenlied, the sweet little lullaby of eighteen 
bars. 

The following morning there was a matinee 
musicale at the house of the same Princess 
of Hesse - Barchfeld. The Frankfort String 
Quartet, Hugo Heermann leading, had come 
over for the purpose. Brahms played with 
them his Quartet in C Minor, Op. 60, and 
then accompanied me in the longest, and to 
me the finest, of his romances from Tieck's 
beautiful Magellone, " Wie soil ich die Freude, 
die Wonne denn tragen," Op. 33, No. 6. 

After the matinee Brahms took me to the 
Landgravine Anna of Hesse, a princess of con- 



VI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 89 

siderable musical talent, whom however, as he 
told me, he mostly admired for her simple 
and modest, yet extremely cordial and affable 
manners. Otherwise he did not particularly 
care for personal intercourse with the " highest 
spheres of society," as he called them. 

On the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday we 
had intended to go to the masked ball at the 
Kursaal, for which we had already taken tickets. 
In the afternoon, however, Brahms came to 
my room in the hotel, and said : "I say ! I 
have another idea ; let us give the tickets to 
the head -waiter, and ourselves rather go to 
Mr. X., which will entertain us just as well." 

Mr. X. was a composer of great talent and 
almost uncanny fertility, one of the most , 
celebrated and popular musicians of the day; 
no one, I am quite sure, would be more surprised 
than he himself, could he — he died in 1882, 
leaving a record of over two hundred published 
compositions — ^revisit the scenes of his many 
triumphs and find himself utterly and com- 
pletely forgotten. 

Neither in England, where, not much longer 
than a quarter of a century ago, his symphonies 
used to attract big crowds to the Crystal 
Palace, nor in his native Germany, can his 
name now be found on concert programmes, 
except perhaps, on very rare occasions, as that 



90 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

of the composer of a little song or violin piece. 
Such is fame ! 

" You know," Brahms said to me, " I am 
really fond of the man, but can't help being 
amused at his good-natured loquacity, which 
to me is as good as a play. Do make him speak 
of Wagner ; I like that especially ; and also 
ask him to show you one of his orchestral scores ; 
they are really models of what copying should 
be. You will see that Mr. X. is an extraordin- 
ary fellow. He is not happy unless he com- 
poses a certain number of hours every day, 
and with all that he copies even the parts of 
his symphonies himself." 

Well, to Mr. X.'s house we went accordingly, 
finding, to our satisfaction, both him and his 
wife at home. Brahms seemed tired ; he 
spoke little, which, however, was only natural, 
since both Mr. X. and his wife seemed to vie 
with each other as to which could talk most 
and quickest. At last Mr. X., who constantly 
reminded me of Don Bartolo without the wig, 
was called away into the next room by his 
barber, who had come to shave him, and the 
task of entertaining us rested on Mrs. X.'s 
shoulders alone. " You have no idea," she 
said, " how hard a worker X. is (she never said 
' my husband ') ; I am proud and happy to 
have at last prevailed upon him to go for a 



VI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 91 

walk with our daughter every day for two 
hours, thus keeping him at least for two hours 
a day from composing." 

" Ah, thafs good, thafs very good," said 
Brahms instantly, again looking as innocent 
as a new-born babe. Mr. X., upon our taking 
leave, offered to accompany us on a little stroll 
through the park, during which he told us he 
had received an invitation to conduct one of 
his symphonies at a coming musical festival in 
Silesia. Upon my speaking rather disparag- 
ingly of the musical achievements of the moving 
spirit of that festival, a member of the highest 
aristocracy, who had published and produced 
several pretentious and very inferior com- 
positions of his own, Brahms said to me, with 
the pretence of a serious rebuke in his voice : 
" My dear Henschel, let me warn you to be 
more cautious when speaking of a nobleman's 
compositions, for you can never knovo who did 
'em ! " 

From Wiesbaden we went to Frankfort on 
the Main. On arriving at the old hotel where 
I had been in the habit of putting up, room 
No. 42 was allotted to us by one of the menials. 
While, however, we were sitting in the tap- 
room over a farewell bottle of Rhine wine, the 
head waiter, who knew us, came up to me, 
announcing that a far better room, No. 11, had 



92 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

been placed at our disposal. After a cosy chat 
— ^in the course of which, to my great delight, 
Brahms had asked me if I knew of a very 
remote, quiet spot, untrodden by excursionists, 
where, during the summer vacation, we might 
spend a week or two together — we retired to 
room No. 11, and it was my instant and most 
ardent endeavour to go to sleep before Brahms 
did, as I knew from past experience that other- 
wise his impertinently healthy habit of snoring 
would mean death to any hope of sleep on 
my part. 

My delight at seeing him take up a book 
and read in bed was equalled only by my 
horror when, after a few minutes, I saw him 
blow out the light of his candle. A few seconds 
later the room was fairly ringing with the most 
unearthly noises issuing from his nasal and 
vocal organs. What should I do ? I was in 
despair, for I wanted sleep, and, moreover, had 
to leave for Berlin early next morning. A 
sudden inspiration made me remember room 
No. 42. I got up, and went downstairs to the 
lodge of the porter, whom, not without some 
difficulty, I succeeded in rousing from a sound 
sleep. Explaining cause and object, I made 
him open room No. 42 for me. After a good 
night's rest, I returned, early in the morning, 
to the room in which I had left Brahms. 



VI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 93 

He was awake and, affectionately looking 
at me, with the familiar little twinkle in his 
eye and mock seriousness in his voice, said to 
me, well knowing what had driven me away : 
" Oh, Henschel, when I awoke and found your 
bed empty, I said to myself, ' There ! he^s gone 
and hanged himself ! ' But really, why didn't 
you throw a boot at me ? " 

The idea of my throwing a boot at Brahms ! 

During our hurried breakfast — Brahms, 
returning to Vienna, also had to take an early 
train — we again spoke of the coming summer, 
and he seemed rather attracted by the glowing 
description I gave him of the island of Riigen, 
in the Baltic Sea, which I had visited before 
and was very fond of, but which was quite un- 
known to him. So we parted with a hearty 
" Auf Wiedersehn," which made me very 
happy in anticipation. 

Soon after this, in April, I had the privilege 
of being the guest, at the New Palace, Darm- 
stadt, of the late and much-lamented Princess 
Alice of Great Britain, the consort of Prince, 
afterwards Grand-Duke, Louis of Hesse. The 
Princess was a very remarkable woman : 
simple and unaffected ; warm-hearted, broad- 
minded — some Philistines in Germany grumbled 
at her friendship with David Strauss, the free- 
thinker; wonderfully versed in literature, science 



94 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

and the arts ; a devoted wife, and a model 
mother. Of her rare thoughtfulness I shall 
presently give an example. 

On my former professional visits to Darm- 
stadt I had been staying at the house of her 
secretary. Dr. Becker, and the invitation this 
time to the Palace came as a most gratifying 
surprise to me. 

I had a little suite of apartments assigned to 
me, consisting of sitting-room, bedroom, and — 
in private houses then an almost unheard of 
luxury — my own bathroom ! A valet was 
placed at my disposal for exclusive attendance 
on me, and I felt altogether very grand. I am 
sure I must have written some fifty letters or 
so during that three days' visit. The most 
distant members of my family, the most 
neglected of my friends, — I think, even, a few 
enemies, were suddenly and affectionately re- 
membered by me; for the writing-paper, with 
the royal cipher and the heading " New Palace, 
Darmstadt," beautifully embossed on it, was 
altogether irresistible. 

Every afternoon the children — sometimes 
they did it rather reluctantly — had to play to 
me on the pianoforte, and every evening after 
dinner — I was the only guest staying at the 
Palace — the Princess and I played some four- 
hand arrangements of classical music. On one 



VI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 95 

occasion she showed me two volumes of old 
English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh melodies 
which perfectly fascinated me, and the Princess, 
seeing my enthusiasm, expressed great regret 
at being unable to make me a present of them, 
they having been given to her by her husband ; 
" but," she said, " if ever you should go to 
England, I shall see that you get them." I 
was exceedingly grateful for what I took to be 
a very charming fagon de parler, and soon 
forgot all about it until, a year later, a few days 
after my first arrival in London, I returned to 
my rooms one night and found a big parcel for 
me on the hall table, bearing on the cover the 
words, " By command of H.R.H. Princess Louis 
of Hesse," and containing the precious volumes. 

• ••••• 

There were only a few more concerts during 
the following two months, and the long and 
eagerly looked for holiday with Brahms drew 
nearer and nearer. At last a note from him 
told me of his having arrived at Sassnitz, and 
as soon as I had packed my " seven things," as 
they say in Germany, and taken leave of my 
mother and sisters in Dresden, I started to 
join him. 

During that unforgettable time of our daily 
intercourse I kept a diary, into which I made 
my entries every evening. 



96 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vi 

Outside of Germany and Austria, Brahms' 
native and adopted countries, his works are 
loved nowhere better nor known more widely 
than in England. Yea, I doubt if, as regards 
Brahms' place among the composers of the 
world, anything has been written which in 
soundness of judgment, discrimination, and 
appreciation can compare with Sir W. H. 
Hadow's admirable article, " Brahms and the 
Classical Tradition," published soon after the 
master's death, in the Contemporary Review. 
Yet, Brahms never having visited England, 
and the number of those who knew him at all 
intimately being very small, I venture to hope 
that this journal will not be unwelcome to the 
many who, though more or less familiar with 
Brahms the composer, wovild fain know a little 
more of Brahms the man. 



VII 

Sassnitz, on the Island of RUgen, 
Sattirday, July 8, 1876. 

Arrived here last night. The diligence was 
delayed by one of the heaviest thunderstorms 
I can remember, and I did not pull up at the 
little hostelry, which also contains the post- 
office, until half -past eleven ; but in spite of 
the inclemency of the weather and the late 
hour, Brahms was there to welcome me, and 
we had an hour's chat in the little coffee- 
room. Then he returned to his lodgings 
down in the village, whilst I came up here 
to the hotel on the Fahrnberg, where, how- 
ever, to my great delight, Brahms is going 
to have his mid -day and evening meals 
regularly. 

Sunday, July 9. 

Early yesterday morning Brahms came up 
to go bathing with me. There was a fine surf 
on, and the temperature of the water being 
rather high we stayed in it for nearly half an 
hour, enjoying ourselves hugely. I greatly 

97 H 



98 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

admired Brahms' burly, well-knit, muscular 
body, which is only rather too much inclined 
to stoutness, I fear. 

In the water he drew my attention to the 
possibility of keeping one's eyes wide open 
when diving. It is not only possible, he said, 
but also very agreeable and strengthening for 
the eyes. I at once followed his advice to try, 
succeeding immediately, and we greatly amused 
ourselves by throwing little copper coins into 
the water and diving for them. 

In the evening we sat together in the 
Fahrnberg. I showed him the new series of 
Moritz Hauptmann's letters. 

After we had read a few, he said : " How 
discreet one ought to be in writing letters. 
Who knows, some day they'll be printed. 
Now, there's hardly anything in these letters 
which would not read just as well if their 
contents were reversed. To be sure it is an 
agreeable gift to be able to write clever letters, 
but only letters of purely scientific purport are 
in my opinion of real value to any but those 
they are written to." 

I drew Brahms' attention especially to one 
letter, written to Professor R.^ I expressed 
my surprise at the lenient and amiable way in 

1 An able, but decidedly mediocre composer of good birth, who 
at that time occupied a rather prominent position as teacher at one 
of the Musical Institutions of Berlin. 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 99 

which Hauptmann spoke of that gentleman's 
compositions. 

"Well," said Brahms, "you see, R. had 
very aristocratic connections and Haupt- 
mann ... a very delicate nature." 

In the course of our talk one of the greatest 
virtuosos of the day, a personal friend of 
Brahms, was mentioned. " There are people," 
Brahms said, " who can talk and talk about the 
most unlikely, impossible thing until they 
actually believe it themselves. It's what I 
would call Twaddle. For instance, the other 
day, after having played the last movement 
of my C Minor Quartet, in which a friend 
detected a certain resemblance to Mendelssohn's 
Trio in C Minor, without realizing that what, 
there, is theme itself, is with me simply an 
accompanying figure, my friend asked me, — 
in all seriousness, mind, — ' Now, am I not 
right : you wanted to show what you could 
do with that theme ? ' How silly ! " 

Two stories which Brahms told me I write 
down as showing what a tender, sympathetic 
heart he has. Both stories refer to Mr. N.^ 
" With us in Vienna," Brahms began, " it 
frequently occurs that the postmen, though 
officially obliged to deliver all letters at the 

' A well-known writer and commentator on music, then living in 
Vienna. 



100 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

doors of the respective flats to which they are 
addressed, leave them with the concierge of 
the house, who, as you know, always has his 
little lodgings in the souterrain. Well, Mr. N., 
who lived in the fourth floor, once received a 
letter in that way twenty-four hours later than 
he ought to have, if the postman had delivered 
it, according to his duty, at the door. 

" Without warning, N. lodged an informa- 
tion against the offender with the general 
postmaster, who ordered the matter to be 
investigated. In the meantime a colleague of 
the poor postman had succeeded in persuading 
Mr. N.'s servant-girl to take the blame upon 
herself, since nothing could happen to her, 
whilst the postman, who was a married man 
with a family, would surely be dismissed. 
When, consequently, the post office com- 
missioners appeared at N.'s house to ascertain 
the exact facts of the case, the servant-girl 
stepped forward, boldly declaring it was she 
who had omitted to deliver the letter, which 
had been in her pocket those twenty-four 
hours. And the postman was saved." 

Brahms' whole face beamed with joy as he 
told the story, and especially the action of the 
brave and generous girl he could not praise 
highly enough. 

The secpnd story is equally pathetic. 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 101 

" N. and I," said Brahms, " met at the same 
table in a certain coffee-house regularly on two 
or three evenings in the week, and it always 
used to embarrass me greatly when, on pay- 
ing our bills, N. suspiciously scrutinized his, 
questioning the waiter as to this or that 
little item which he was not sure of having 
had, etc. 

" One evening, when this had happened 
again, the waiter came close up to N., and 
whispered into his ear, his voice trembling with 
excitement and indignation : 'I beg of you, 
Mr. N., not to mistrust me ; I could not live 
if I thought you doubted my honesty.' Then 
he retired. N. got up without changing a 
muscle in his face, and left. A little later, 
when I went home myself, I gave the waiter an 
unusually large douceur, and said, ' This . . . 
is . . . from the other gentleman as well.' " 

Brahms is looking splendid. His solid frame, 
the healthy, dark-brown colour of his face, the 
full hair, just a little sprinkled with grey, all 
make him appear the very image of strength 
and vigour. He walks about here just as he 
pleases, generally with his waistcoat un- 
buttoned and his hat in his hand, always with 
clean linen, but without collar or necktie. 
These he dons at table d'hote only. His whole 
appearance vividly recalls some of the portraits 



102 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

of Beethoven, His appetite is excellent. He 
eats with great gusto and, in the evening, 
regularly drinks his three glasses of beer, never 
omitting, however, to finish off with his beloved 
" Kaffee." 

July 10. 

Yesterday afternoon I spent nearly three 
hoiirs in Brahms' rooms. He showed me new 
songs of his, asking me if I coxild suggest a 
short way of indicating that a certain phrase 
in one of them was not his own. 

" I have," he said, " taken a charming 
motive of Scarlatti's 



*t 



tzs^-jzutr^!^ ^^^^^^^ . 



as the theme of a song I composed to one of 
Goethe's poems, and should like to acknowledge 
my indebtedness." I proposed, as the best and 
simplest way, that he should merely place 
Scarlatti's name at the end of the phrase in 
question.^ 

He also showed me the manuscript of an 
unpublished song and the first movement of a 
Requiem Mass, both by Schubert, enthusiasti- 
cally commenting on their beauty. The first 
two issues of the Bach Society's publication of 

' This was done, and the spirited, humorous song afterwards 
published as No. 5 of Op. 72 (Simrock). 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 103 

cantatas were lying on his table, and he pointed 
out to me how badly the accompaniments were 
often arranged for the piano ; how, in fact, the 
endeavour to bring out as nearly as possible 
every individual part of the orchestra had 
rendered the arrangement well-nigh unplayable 
for any but a virtuoso. 

" The chief aim," he said, " of a pianoforte 
arrangement of orchestral accompaniments 
must always be to be easily playable. Whether 
the different parts move correctly, i.e. in strict 
accordance with the rules of counterpoint, does 
not matter in the least." 

Then we went together through the full 
score of Mozart's Requiem, which he had 
undertaken to prepare for a new edition of that 
master's works. I admired the great trouble 
he had taken in the revision of the score. 
Every note of Siissmayer's was most carefully 
distinguished from Mozart's own. 

It was a wonderful experience to have this 
man's company quite to myself for so long a 
time. During all these days Brahms has never 
spoken of anything which does not really 
interest him, never said anything superfluous 
or commonplace, except at the table d'hdte, 
where he purposely talks of hackneyed things, 
such as the weather, food, the temperature of 
the water, excursions, etc., etc. 



104 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

July 11. 

I bought a strong hammock yesterday, and 
Brahms and I went into the lovely beech- 
wood and hung it up between two trees, on a 
spot from which through the foliage we could 
see the sea far below us. We both managed 
to climb into it simultaneously, an amusing, 
though by no means easy task to accomplish. 
After having comfortably established ourselves 
in it, we enjoyed a very cosy, agreeable hour 
or two of dolce far niente. Brahms was in an 
angelic mood, and went from one charming, 
interesting story to another, in which the 
gentler sex played a not unimportant part. 

In the afternoon we resolved to go on an 
expedition to find Ms bullfrog pond, of which 
he had spoken to me for some days. His sense 
of locality not being very great, we walked on 
and on across long stretches of waste moorland. 
Often we heard the weird call of bullfrogs in 
the distance, but he would say : " No, that's 
not my pond yet," and on we walked. At last 
we found it, a tiny little pool in the midst of a 
wide plain grown with heather. We had not 
met a human being the whole way, and this 
solitary spot seemed out of the world altogether. 

" Can you imagine," Brahms began, " any- 
thing more sad and melancholy than this music, 
the undefinable sounds of which for ever and 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 105 

ever move within the pitiable compass of a 
diminished third ? 



i 



-^>rs- 



~ i jrj - Jgr 



" Here we can realise how fairy tales of 
enchanted princes and princesses have origin- 
ated. . , . Listen ! There he is again, the 
poor King's son with his yearning, mournful 
C flat ! " 1 

We stretched ourselves out in the low 
grass, — ^it was a very warm evening, — lighted 
cigarettes and lay listening in deepest silence, 
not a breath of wind stirring, for fully half an 
hour. Then we leaned over the pond, caught 
tiny little baby frogs and let them jump into 
the water again from a stone, which greatly 
amused Brahms, especially when the sweet 
little creatures, happy to be in their element 
once more, hurriedly swam away, using their 
nimble little legs most gracefully and according 
to all the rules of the natatory art. When they 
thought themselves quite safe, Brahms would 
tenderly catch one up again in his hand, and 
heartily laugh with pleasure on giving it back 
its freedom. . . . 

During our walk homeward, we spoke almost 
exclusively of musical matters, and he said : 

1 It is interesting to note that in Brahms' songs dating from 
this period this interval frequently occurs. 



106 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

" You must practise more gymnastics, my dear, 
four-part songs, variations, string quartets, etc. ; 
that will be beneficial to your opera, too." ^ 

As we parted for the night, he called after 
me : " Come for me to-morrow morning, to go 
bathing ; and bring new songs, Gerda score, or 
other beautiful things." (How he does like to 
tease !) So this morning I brought him three 
new songs of mine. 

The afternoon was again spent in the ham- 
mock, and on the way home we came to talk 
of Wagner's trilogy. The Ring of the Nibelungs. 
I had just spoken of some, to me, especially 
beautiful places in the first act of The Valkyrie, 
and of the fresh and breezy song of Siegfried in 
Siegfried " From the wood forth into the world 
fare." 

" Certainly," he said, " these are fine things, 
but I can't help it, somehow or other, they do 
not interest me. What you just hummed 



is no doubt beautiful ; and when Siegmund in 
the Valkyrie pulls the sword out of the tree, 
that's fine, too ; but it woiild, in my opinion, 
be really powerful and catry one away, if it all 
concerned — let us say, young Buonaparte, or 

1 I was engaged at that time in writing a very tragic opera 
Gerda I 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 107 

some other hero who stands nearer to our 
sensibilities, has a closer claim to our affection. 
And then that stilted, bombastic language." 
He took a copy of the text-book. " Listen " : 

An Briinnhild's Felsen 
Fahret vorbei : 
Der dort noch lodert, 
Weiset Loge nach Walhall ! 

Denn der Gotter Ende 

Dammert nun auf ; 
So — ^werf ' ich den Brand 
In Walhall's prangende Burg.- 

(By Brynhild's rock then 
Take ye the road. 
Who still there flameth, 
Loge, show him to Walhall. 

For the end of the Gods 

Is dawning at last ; 
Thus — ^throw I the torch 
Into Walhall's glittering walls.) 

He recited the words with greatly exagger- 
ated pathos. " If I read this to a counting- 
house clerk, I am sure it would make a tremend- 
ous impression : ' So — ^werf ' — ^ich den Brand — ' 
. . . / do not understand this kind of thing. 
What really does happen with the ring ? Do 
you know ? And those endless and tedious duets ! 
Look at even Goethe's Tasso, a masterpiece of 
the first rank. Every word there is pure gold ; 
yet the long duets in it, though fine reading, pre- 
vent the play from being interesting as a drama." 



108 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

July 12. 

I went to Brahms' rooms last night. He, 
had been reading, but, putting away his book, 
gave me a cordial welcome and began looking 
through my new manuscript songs. He took 
up the one in E flat " Where Angels linger," ^ 
and said, " Now there is a charming song. In 
some of the others you seem to me too easily 
satisfied. One ought never to forget that by 
actually perfecting one piece one gains and 
learns more than by commencing or half-finish- 
ing a dozen. Let it rest, let it rest, and keep 
going back to it and working at it over and over 
again, until it is completed as a finished work of 
art, until there is not a note too much or too little, 
not a bar you could improve upon. Whether 
it is beautiful also, is an entirely different 
matter, but perfect it must be. You see, I am 
rather lazy, but I never cool down over a work, 
once begun, until it is perfected, unassailable." 

Thus he continued speaking, drawing, in the 
most amiable way, my attention to this little 
defect, that little blemish, so that I sat happy 
and silent, careful not to interrupt this, to me, 
so precious lesson. 

July 1.3. 

I asked him yesterday if he had thought of 
going to the inauguration performances of 

* Afterwards published in Op. 34 (Bote & Bock). 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 109 

The Nibelungs' Ring at Bayreuth in August. 
" I am afraid," he said, " it's too expensive. I 
have repeatedly heard Bheingold and Walkiire 
at Munich, and confess it would greatly interest 
me, but — ^well, we'll think of it." 

Then, taking up the volume of Hauptmann's 
letters I had lent him, and pointing to one of 
them, he said : " Just look ; do you see these 
asterisks instead of a name ? " I did, and 
read the whole sentence, which described a 
certain composer, indicated by the asterisks^ as 
a rather haughty young man. " Thai's me," 
said Brahms amusedly. " When I was a very 
young man I remember playing, at Gottingen, 
my Sonata in C to Hauptmann. He was 
not very complimentary about it, in fact, had 
much fault to find with it, which I, a very 
modest youth at that time, accepted in perfect 
silence. I afterwards heard that this silence 
had been interpreted and complained of as 
haughtiness. I confess, the more I read of 
these letters the clearer it becomes to me that 
they are written with a certain consciousness of 
importance. Beethoven would have laughed 
if any one, seeing in one of his letters a remark 
on any subject whatever, had taken this as 
proving the justice of such remark. But there 
are people — take, for instance, Varnhagen — 
who, never having accomplished anything really 



110 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

great themselves, sit down at their writing- 
desks in a peevish, sulky temper, pulling to 
pieces — even when praising — everything they 
can lay hold of. To twaddle about Bach or 
Beethoven, as is done in the letters to Hauser, 
in a chattering, feuilletonistic way, is wholly 
unnecessary : they are too great for that kind 
of thing." 

July 14. 
Last evening we were sitting downstairs in 
the coffee-room, having supper, when suddenly 
some one in the adjoining dining-hall began to 
play Chopin's Study in A flat on the piano. I 
sprang up, intending to put a stop to it, and 
exclaiming, " Oh, these women ! " when Brahms 
said, "No, my dear, this is no woman." I 
went into the hall to look, and found he was 
right. " Yes," he said, " in this respect I am 
hardly ever mistaken ; and it is by no means 
an easy thing to distinguish, by the sense of 
hearing alone, a feminine man from a masculine 
woman ! " 

July 15. 

Yesterday morning I took to Brahms the 
orchestral score of Wagner's Gotterddmmerung. 
In the afternoon he said to me, " Why did you 
bring it to me ? " (He had particularly asked 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 111 

me for it !) " The thing interests, and fasci- 
nates one, and yet, properly speaking, is not 
always pleasant. With the Tristan score it is 
different. If I look at that in the morning, I 
am cross for the rest of the day." ^ 

. . . To-day I read out, from a Berlin paper, 
the news of the death, at Bayreuth, of a member 
of the Wagner orchestra. " The first corpse," 
said Brahms, dryly. 

July 17. 
Yesterday I was with Brahms from noon 
until eleven at night without interruption. He 
was in excellent spirits. We had our swim in 
the sea together, and again found much amuse- 
ment , in diving for little red pebbles. After 

1 I well remember my wondering at the time just what meaning 
Brahms intended to convey by these words. My old friend, Max 
Kalbeck, editor of the Neues Tagblatt in Vienna, who published 
excerpts from my diary in his paper, made the following comment 
on them : 

"This sentence needs an explanation, since it could easily be 
interpreted as meaning that Tristan, in contrast to the ' not 
always pleasant ' Ring of the Nibelungs, had pleased Brahms very 
much, so much, indeed, that it made him cross out of envy. We 
know from personal experience that Brahms, though warmly 
acknowledging the many musical beauties of the work, had a 
particular dishke for Tristan, and as to envy, he never in his 
life envied any one. In Wagner he admired, above all, the magni- 
tude of his intentions and the energy in carrying them out. The 
Bayreuth Festival Theatre he hailed as a national affair. We 
believe the chief reason why Brahms never went to Bayreuth is to 
be found in the circumstance that the performances always 
happened at a season when he, after long and arduous creative 
work, was wont to give himself up entirely to the recreation of an 
out-of-door life in the country." 



112 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

the mid-day dinner Brahms was lying in my 
room, in the hammock which I had secured 
between window and door, while I read to him 
Meilhac's amusing comedy, U Attache. After 
the usual coffee at a coffee-house on the beach, 
we went for a long stroll in the Hansemann 
Park, near Crampas, the nearest village. We 
spoke, among other things, of Carl Loewe, 
Brahms thinks highly of his ballads and Serbian 
songs. " However, with us in Vienna," he 
said, " Loewe is, to my regret, much overrated. 
One places him, in his songs, side by side with, 
in his ballads, above, Schubert, and overlooks 
the fact that what with the one is genius," with 
the other is merely talented craft. . . . 

" In writing songs," he cautioned me, " you 

must endeavour to invent, simultaneously with 

the melody, a healthy, powerful bass. You 

stick too much to the middle parts. In that 

song in E flat, for instance " — he again referred 

to " Where Angels linger " — " you have hit 

upon a very charming middle part, and the 

melody, too, is very lovely, but that isn't all, 

is it ? And then, my dear friend, let me counsel 

\ you : no heavy dissonances on the unaccentu- 

i ated parts of the bar, please ! That is weak. 

1 1 am very fond of dissonances, you'll agree, 

mut on the heavy, accentuated parts of the bar, 

and then let them be resolved easily and gently." 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 113 

Speaking of Schubert's setting of Goethe's 
songs, he said, " Schubert's ' Suleika ' songs are 
to me the only instances where the power and 
beauty of Goethe's words have been enhanced 
by the music. All other of Goethe's poems 
seem to me so perfect in themselves that no 
music can improve them," 

Passing from music to literature, he re- 
marked : " Paul Heyse used to be one of the 
most charming men imaginable. He was 
beautiful and exceptionally amiable, and I 
hardly know of any one who, suddenly entering 
a room, would illuminate it, so to speak, by his 
personality in the way Heyse did. 

" Bodenstedt is greatly overrated. His 
poetry is my special aversion. Geibel, on the 
other hand, seems to me not appreciated 
enough." 

■ •••••• 

Perhaps I may be allowed here to interrupt 
the diary for a moment, and to draw the reader's 
attention to the discretion and judiciousness 
with which Brahms selected the words for his 
songs. 

If we look at the texts to his vocal music, of 
which there exists a vast mass, we shall find 
that the sources — ^individual or national — ^from 
which he drew his inspiration, have in them- 
selves been, to a greater or lesser degree, 

I 



114 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

inspired. All his songs, duets, quartets, etc., 
are set to beautiful, significant, worthy poems. 

If one of the chief aims of art be to elevate, 
i.e. to raise mankind for the time being above 
the commonplace routine of life, above paltry 
everyday thoughts and cares, in short, from 
things earthy to things celestial, surely such an 
aim should be discernible even in the smallest 
form of the expression of art. 

Just as the beauties of nature, testifying to 
the incomprehensible greatness of the divine 
power, reveal themselves as convincingly in a 
little primrose as in the huge trees of the 
Yosemite Valley, in the sweet prattling of a 
little brooklet as in the roaring thunder of 
Niagara, in the lovely undulations of the 
Scottish hills as in the awe-inspiring heights of 
the Himalayas, so beauty of soul, honesty of 
purpose, purity of mind, can shine as brightly 
in the shortest song as in the longest symphony. 

No true artist then in the realm of music 
will debase his muse by wedding it to senti- 
mental trash as far removed from poetry as a 
mole-hill from Mount Parnassus, though it often 
be a difficult task, especially for young people, 
to distinguish sentinientaUty from sentiment. 

The former may be described as superficial, 
aimless pity ; affected, unreal, unwholesome 
emotion. Sentiment, on the other hand, is true 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 115 

emotion ; it is the feeling that grows naturally 
out of the sympathetic contemplation of a 
thing ; and the sentiment it is, not the thing, 
which we ought to look for, in the first place, 
even in a little song, as a fit object for poetic 
and musical expression. 

A true artist's spirit will not allow itself 
to be moved by versifications of penny-a-line 
newspaper reports, such as the capsizing of a 
little pleasure-boat with two hapless lovers in 
it, or the death by starvation of a poor old- 
seamstress ready to meet her lover in heaven, 
or effusions of a similar kind, generally ending 
in pseudo-religious inferences and exhortations 
httle short of blasphemy. 

The standing of the pale, hungry little boy 
outside the window of a confectioner's shop and 
observing inside the shop the rich, ruddy little 
fellow eating his fill, that is not poetry, even 
if put into faultless verse and rhyme, but simply 
a fact, and a sad one, too, the contemplation of 
which might, in a fine poetic mind, produce the 
most beautiful sentiments of compassion with 
the sufferings of our fellow-creatures, of tender- 
ness, of love ; but to let the poor little chap 
march straightway to heaven, to the fortissimo 
accompaniment of triplets on the last page of 
an up-to-date ballad, that is sentimentality, 
and cruel mockery into the bargain. 



116 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

I well remember what fun Brahms and I 
had in later years when I showed him some 
specimens of the typical popular English ballad, 
now fortunately almost an extinct species, 
and how we laughed — especially over the sad 
ones ! But to return to the rest of the journal. 

After supper we sat, quite alone in the dark 
on the terrace of the Fahrnberg. Soon our 
conversation took a more serious turn. He 
spoke of ' friendship and of men, and how, 
properly speaking, he believed very little in 
either. 

" How few true men there are in the world ! " 
he exclaimed. " The two Schumanns, Robert 
and Clara, there you have two true, beautiful 
' Menschenbilder ' (images of ''^ man). Know- 
ledge, achievement, power, position — nothing 
can outweigh this : to be a beautiful ' Menschen- 
bild.' Do you know AUgeyer in Munich ? ^ 
There you have one, too." And then he began 
to talk with touching warinth of the time 
when, in Allgeyer's house at Karlsruhe, he wrote 
his " Mainacht " and the D Minor movement of 
his Requiem. ..." I sometimes regret," he 

1 An engraver and photographer with a great love for music ; 
the intimate friend of the painter Ansehn Feuerbaeh, and one of a 
small circle of musicians, painters,^ and poets then living in Munich, 
and comprising, among others, Hermann Levi, Franz Lenbach, 
Paul Heyse, and Wilhelm Busch. 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 117 

said to me after some moments of silence, " that 
I did not marry. I ought to have a boy of 
ten now ; that would be nice. But when I was 
of the right age for marrying I lacked the 
position to do so, and now it is too late," 

Speaking of this had probably revived in 
him reminiscences of his own boyhood, for he 
continued : " Only once in my life have I 
played truant and shirked school, and that was 
the vilest day of my life. When I came home 
my father had already been informed 6f it, and 
I got a solid hiding." 

" But still," he said, " my father was a dear 
old man, very simple-minded and most un- 
sophisticated, of which qualities I must give 
you an amusing illustration : 

" You know he was a double-bass player in 
the Municipal Orchestra of Hamburg, and in 
his leisure hours tried to increase his scanty 
little income by copying music. 

" He was sitting in his room at the top of 
the house one fine day, with the door wide 
open, absorbed in writing out the parts from 
an orchestral score, when in walked a tramp, 
begging. My father looked up at him quickly, 
without interrupting his work, and, in his very 
pronounced Hamburg dialect, said : 

" ' I cannot give you anything, my dear man. 
Besides, don't you know it's very wrong of 



118 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

you to come into a room in this way ? How 
easily might you not have taken my overcoat 
that's hanging in the hall ! Get out, and don't 
you do it again ! ' 

" The tramp humbly apologized and with- 
drew. 

" When, a few hours later, my father wanted 
to go out for a walk, the overcoat had of course 
disappeared." 

Brahms then touched upon his relations 
with the members of his family, and told me he 
still supported his old stepmother. With his 
sister he had little in common ; their interests 
had always been too far apart. Between his 
brother, whom he had likewise supported, and 
himself, there existed no intercourse what- 
ever. . . . 

The other day I happened to hum the theme 
of the Andante from his Quartet in C Minor. 
He seemed rather to like my doing so, for when 
it came to the place 



p±=p^ b^ ^^^^^ - 



he accompanied my humming with gentle 
movements of his hand, as if beating time to 
it. At last he smilingly said : " I am not at 
all ashamed to own that it gives me the keenest 
pleasure if a song, an adagio, or anything of 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 119 

mine, has turned out particularly good. How 
must those gods : Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, 
have felt, whose daily bread it was tb write 
things like the St. Matthew Passion, Don 
Giovanni, Fidelio, Ninth Symphony ! What I 
cannot understand is how people like myself 
can be vain. As much as we men, who walk 
upright, are above the creeping things of the 
earth, so these gods are above us. If it were 
not so ludicrous it would be loathsome to me 
to hear colleagues of mine praise me to my face 
in such an exaggerated manner." 

Thus he went on ; it was no longer modesty, 
it was hiunility, and I took good care not to 
disturb his mood by a single word. 

Soon, however, he smiled again, and re- 
marked, among other things, that he considered 
the Agitato from his still unpublished Quartet 
in B flat the most amorous, affectionate thing 
he had written. 

When we parted that night, he said : " You 
will write me from Bayreuth, won't you ? I 
know vou will rave about it, and I don't blame 
you. I myself must confess Walkiire and 
G'dtterddmmerung have a great hold on me. 
For Rheingold and Siegfried I do not particularly 
care. If I only knew what becomes of the Ring 
and what Wagner means by it ! Perhaps the 
Cross ? Hebbel, in his Nibelunge, has dared it, 



120 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

and perhaps it was Wagner's meaning too. I 
am by no means a fanatic as to my devotion 
to the cross, but that, at least, would be an idea 
— thus to indicate the termination of the reign 
of the gods," 

July 18. 

Yesterday, when, after our usual swim, we 
leisurely strolled to the Fahrnberg for dinner, 
a button on Brahms' shirt suddenly came off. 
As it was the one which served to hold the 
collar in its place, Brahms was greatly embar- 
rassed. I proposed to help him out, and we 
went to my room, where I took out of my valise 
a little box containing sewing materials which 
my mother had given me to carry with me when 
travelling. The amusing situation of my sew- 
ing the button on to Brahms' shirt while he had 
it on, again recalled memories of his youth. 
" When / went on my first journey," he said, 
laughingly, " my mother also put such a little 
box into my bag, and showed me how to use its 
contents. But I remember quite well, when I 
tore a hole in my trousers, I repaired it with 
sealing wax ! It didn't last long, though." 

At luncheon, as it was my last day, we had 
a bottle of champagne between us. In the 
afternoon, the other guests having partly 
retired to their rooms, partly gone on excur- 



VII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 121 

sions, Brahms played the accompaniments to 
some songs for me. Since our arrival this was 
the first time that he had touched the key- 
board and that I had sung. I began with 
Brahms' " Mainacht," then came a Schubert 
song, and then Beethoven's cyclus " To the 
Absent Beloved." When we had ended we 
were surprised to find that all the adjoining 
rooms had filled with listeners. Mine host of 
the Fahrnberg was greatly touched, and thanked 
Brahms for the honour ,he had done to his 
house. 

In the teain to Berlin, July 19. 
This morning, at five o'clock, I left Sassnitz. 
Strangely enough, it again poured in torrents, 
as on the night of my arrival. A horrid, chilly 
morning. Brahms was up at the Fahrnberg a 
little before five, and, to my delight, accom- 
panied me in the diligence as far as Lancken, 
some three miles from Sassnitz. There he got 
out, we shook hands, and parted. For a long 
time I looked after him out of the carriage 
window in spite of the wind and the still pouring 
rain. It was a picture never to be forgotten. 
As far as the eye could reach, nothing but moor, 
and clouds, and — Brahms. 

Here closes the journal. As, during the 



122 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES vii 

twenty-one years of undisturbed friendship 
that followed our intercourse had to be mostly 
by letter, and our meetings fewer and further 
between, the Channel and, later on, the Atlantic 
separating us bodily, I shall complete now what 
further recollections of the great composer I 
have preserved. 



VIII 

In 1878 Brahms had considerably changed his 
outward appearance by the growth of the long 
and flowing beard in the frame of which his 
face has become familiar to the last and 
present generations. Our first meeting was 
marked by an amusing little incident, illus- 
trative of his ever-abiding love of fun. 

At the end of that year I was engaged upon 
an extended recital tour through Austria and 
Hungary, together with my friend Ignaz Briill, 
the composer and pianist. We commenced in 
Vienna. Having arrived only a day or two 
previous to the first recital I had not seen 
Brahms as yet. At the end of the concert 
Briill and I were receiving, in the artists' room, 
the congratulations of friends, when suddenly 
I saw a man unknown to me, rather stout, of 
middle height, with long hair and full beard, 
coming up toward me. In a very deep and 
.hoarse voice he introduced himself " Musik- 
director Miiller," making a very stiff and formal 
bow, which I was on the point of returning with 

123 



124 MUSINGS And memories VIII 

equal gravity, when, an instant later, we all 
found ourselves heartily laughing at the perfect 
success of Brahms' disguise, for, of course, he 
it was. . . . 

Of subsequent reunions, two have been 
especially vividly impressed on my mind. In 
order that my wife, who hitherto had only 
occasionally met this great and admired friend, 
should have an opportunity of knowing him 
more familiarly, she and I travelled to Vienna, 
in 1894, for the sole purpose of spending a few 
days in Brahms' company. 

" For once, dear friend," he had written to 
me on my announcing our visit, " Simrock is 
right.'^ I am not the last, nor by any means 
the only one rejoiced at the prospect of your 
coming. Heartily welcome then, and may it 
be a cheerful meeting ! " 

On our arrival in Vienna, rather late in the 
evening of April 23, we found a note from 
Brahms awaiting us at our hotel : "If not too 
tired after your journey, do come to us, quite 
close by, at the restaurant of the ' Musik- 
Verein ' ; just as you are, informally, in your 
travelling clothes." Who could resist the 
temptation ? Arrived at the indicated place, 
we found a little party of men and women, 

1 This was meant facetiously. Fritz Simrock, Brahms' pub- 
lisher, was, and remained to the end, one of the most trusted and 
highly valued of his friends. 



vin MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 125 

mostly members of the " Tonkiinstler-Verein " 
(Tone-Artists' Union), gathered together in a 
social way, as usual, after one of their weekly 
concerts. Brahms, surrounded, as always on 
such occasions, by a host of admiring ladies, 
young and elderly, in regard to whose charms 
and homagie his susceptibilities had not by any 
means lessened with the advancing years, was 
in excellent spirits and gave us a most cordial 
welcome. 

Early the following morning we went to his 
rooms. He received us, as was his wont with 
friends, irrespective of sex, attired in a short 
jacket of which the lowest button only was put 
to its proper use ; without waistcoat or shirt 
collar, and in slippers. The coffee-machine — 
he always made his own coffee in the morning 
— ^was still standing on the table ; the air 
of the large, yet cosy room was filled with 
the delicious fragrance peculiar to Viennese 
coffee ; the sun shone brightly through the 
large windows and the whole atmospher^ was 
one of quiet, inward happiness, contentment, 
and ease. 

Soon our host commenced to ransack 
drawers, cupboards, shelves for things he 
thought might interest and entertain us, when 
suddenly, with that dear, familiar twinkle in 
his eyes and a long - drawn " A-a-ah ! " he 



126 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES viii 

motioned us to settle down quickly to a treat 
which apparently he had in store for us. Then, 
smilingly and with mock ceremony, he opened 
a large portfolio and showed and read to us, 
with great gusto, the famous letters of Richard 
Wagner to the milliner. He had bought the 
collection recently and seemed very proud of 
the precious possession, chuckling with amuse- 
ment as he went from one amazing letter to 
another. 

After a few days of charming intercourse 
with him and our mutual friends Ignaz Briill, 
Max Kalbeck, Carl Goldmark, and Johann 
Strauss, the famous composer of the " Blue 
Danube " valse, which Brahms often protested 
he would have given much to have written 
himself, we left Vienna ; and only once more 
was I privileged to see the great man in the 
flesh. 

That was in January 1896, when Brahms, 
Edvard Grieg, Arthur Nikisch, and myself 
spent a delightful evening together at one of 
the favourite restaurants of Leipsic. 

Brahms, rather stouter, it seemed to me, 
than I had ever seen him before, was in the 
merriest of moods and did ample justice to the 
excellent beer of Munich brew, of which he 
consumed an astounding quantity before we 
parted, long after midnight. 



VIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 127 

Nothing seemed to indicate the approach 
of the mortal disease which was to take hold 
of him so soon afterwards, and little did 
Nikisch and I dream that night that our next 
meeting would be among the mourners at 
Brahms' funeral. 

It was in the evening of April 3, 1897, that 
I arrived in Vienna, too late to see the dear 
friend ahve. He had breathed his last that 
morning. 

I hurried to the death-chamber, which had 
been transferred into a chapelle ardente. The 
arrangements usual in Catholic countries : a 
plentiful display of silver crosses on draperies 
of black velvet, huge brass candelabra on 
which tall wax candles were burning, presented 
a strange contrast to the simplicity of the life 
and habits of the master (who had been a 
Protestant), and it was only the beautiful 
flowers which Love and Admiration had piled 
up in great and fragrant masses on the floor 
beneath the canopy until they reached high 
above the coffin, almost completely hiding it 
from sight, that somewhat reconciled one to 
the inappropriateness of the official decoration 
of the room. 

The Tuesday following, April 6, was the day 
of the funeral. As if Nature had wished to 
present an image pf the character of the master's 



128 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES viii 

music, combining, as it does, the gentle with 
the severe, cold winds of winter alternated 
with balmy breezes of spring. 

From early morning on, friends and deputa- 
tions, carrying wreaths and flowers and palm- 
branches, followed each other in constant 
succession up the three familiar flights of stairs 
to the master's apartments, and the place 
before the house of mourning in the Karlsgasse 
began to fill with people ready to join in the 
procession. By noon nearly the whole of the 
street, and the open space in front of the ad- 
joining Karlskirche, were one mass of humanity. 
All musical Vienna seemed assembled, and 
the extraordinarily large number of eminent 
men and women who had come from far and 
near to pay their last tribute of Love and 
Devotion to what had been mortal of Johannes 
Brahms must have conveyed some idea of his 
greatness and popularity, even to those who 
hitherto had perhaps not qviite realized either. 

One could not help being reminded of 
the historical answer the old peasant woman 
gave to the stranger who had happened to 
arrive in Vienna on the day of Beethoven's 
funeral : " Whose funeral is this ? " the wonder- 
ing stranger had asked. " Why, don't you 
know ? " was the reply, " They are a-buryin' 
the General of the Musicians ! " 



VIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 129 

At last the coffin with its precious load 
appeared in the doorway. Every head un- 
covered. Amid reverential and most impressive 
silence it was hfted on to the open funeral car. 
To its lid were fastened two wreaths of gigantic 
proportions, sent, the one by the composer's 
native city, the free town of Hamburg, the 
other by the corporation of Vienna, the home 
of his adoption ; and the procession, headed by 
a standard-bearer in old Spanish costume, 
riding on a black horse, started on its melan- 
choly journey. 

The rather lugubrious impression created 
by the six riders in similar attire, who, also 
mounted on coal-black horses and carrying 
lighted tapers on long poles, followed the 
standard-bearer, was relieved by a wonderful 
sight : a succession of six high, open funeral 
cars, each freighted to the very top with an 
abundance of beautiful fresh flowers, laurels, 
palms ; their many-coloured ribbons floating 
down to the ground. The sun, which had come 
out gloriously by that time, shone, as it were, 
on a gigantic moving garden ; a spectacle as 
lovely as it was solemn. Before the building 
of the " Society of the Friends of Music," the 
procession halted. The doors and pillars were 
draped in black cloth. On either side of the 
portal, from metal bowls, resting on the top 

K 



130 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES viii 

of high candelabra and filled with ignited 
spirit of wine, blue flames were flickering with 
a subdued, mystical light. From underneath 
a canopy the " Sing-Verein," which so often 
had sung under the inspiring direction of the 
master, now sang his own beautiful' part-song, 
" Farewell " (Op. 93 A, No. 4). 

As the lovely strains rang out into the vernal 
air, there could be heard from the neighbouring 
trees the merry twittering of birds whose song 
seemed to have been kindled by the imwonted 
occurrence no less than by the approach of 
spring. At last, after a short choral service in 
the old church in the Dorotheer Gasse, the 
cemetery was reached. Another touching fare- 
well, another song— and the mortal remains of 
Johannes Brahms were lowered into their last 
resting-place, close to those of Beethoven and 
Schubert. 

I have forgotten the name of the preacher 
who delivered the fmieral oration in the church, 
but the echo of his eloquent words is still ringing 
in my ears. 

There have at all times Uved great artists 
who have been small men. In Brahms both 
the man and the artist aspired to high and 
lofty ideals. It never was his aim or ambition 
to gain for himself, through cheap and dazzling 



VIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 131 

play with tones or " catching " tunes, the 
quickly withering crowns of popular favour. 

Though undisguisedly dehghted when find- 
ing himself appreciated and acclaimed, he 
coveted neither fame nor applause. He was 
of a very simple, kind, childlike disposition. 
He loved children, and to make them happy 
was to himself a source of pure happiness. 

He loved the poor, to whom his heart went 
out in sympathy and pity. He hated show 
of charity. But where he could comfort in 
silence those who suffered in silence, those who 
struggled against undeserved misfortune, the 
sick and the helpless, there the man, so modest, 
sparing, and unpretentious in his own wants,, 
became a benefactor, ready for sacrifice. No 
better summing up of Brahms' character and 
personality has been written than that con- 
tained in the words of his and my old friend, 
Franz Wiillner : " He has left us a precious in- 
heritance, the noble example of a rare truthful- 
ness and simplicity in art and life ; of a relent- 
less severity toward himself, of a hatred of 
self-conceit and pretence ; of a high-minded, 
inflexible, unwavering, artistic conviction. To 
him may be truly applied Goethe's fine words 
in his Epilogue to Schiller's Lay of the Bell : 

With mighty steps his soul advanced 

Toward the ever True — Good — Beautiful." ; 



IX 



The time immediately following those unforget- 
table days with Brahms on the island of Riigen 
in 1876 was spent in the Thuringian Woods, 
where, at the summer home of a dear friend, 
I prepared myself for the great musical event 
of the time, the first performance, at Bayreuth, 
in August of that year, of Wagner's trilogy, The 
Ring of the Nihelungs, by studying the scores 
of that stupendous work and trying to get 
over the feehng of disappointment at finding 
the passionate, noble Wotan of the Walkiire, 
whom I loved, to have turned, as the Wanderer 
in Siegfried, with those endless arguments 
with Erda, into something of a bore — a 
feeling which, if truth must be told, neither 
the Bayreuth nor any subsequent performances 
have been able to modify. 

To try to express in words the awe and 
wonder, the frantic enthusiasm, with which 
the great trilogy was received at that memorable 
occasion in Bayreuth would be as useless as to 
attempt to depict the scenes in the streets of 

132 



IX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 133 

that quaint, quiet little Bavarian town a few 
days previous to the first performance. They 
were thronged with people of all nationalities, 
who could be seen taking off their hats, as 
to a king, to Richard Wagner as now and 
then he was driving to the station in an open 
landau, attired in evening-dress and white 
necktie, though it be broad daylight, to receive 
a reigning German prince who arrived to hear 
his work — the work of the revolutionary on 
whose proscribed head, in 1848, a price had been 
put ! Truly a wonderful illustration of the 
all-conquering power of genius. 

The mornings of the days of the perform- 
ances and the whole day of rest between 
Walkure and Siegfried were generally devoted 
to excursions into the charming and pictur- 
esque surroundings of Bayreuth, and every- 
where the restaurants were crowded with 
visitors and the merry folk of musicians, 
members of the orchestra and singers, from the 
prima donnas and " Heldentenors " downward, 
to such an extent that people of the most 
proper description and of both sexes could be 
seen sitting on empty beer-barrels on the side 
walks, and offering — the keepers of hotels and 
lodging-houses evidently not being prepared 
nor having provided for so large a concourse of 
people — as much as three or four shillings for 



134 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES ix 

a glass of Munich beer and a pair of Vienna 
sausages. The feeling of all these people that 
they had come not merely to listen to, or to 
take part in, a new work, but to be fellow- 
actors in a great historical event, to assist at 
the inauguration of a new era in music, appeared 
to have created a spirit of camaraderie which 
made itself felt wherever you went and gradually 
grew into a sort of contagious intoxication. 
Introduction did not seem to be needed for the 
opening of a conversation between strangers. 
Ladies were addressed with " Freisliche Frau," 
pretty waitresses became " Niedliche Nicker," 
every aged cab-horse was " Grane mein Ross," 
and the air was fairly ringing with " Wallala 
weiala weias " and " Hoyotohos" 

Many a joUy outing I had during the week 
in the company of my dear friend, the genial 
Hofkapellmeister Hermann Levi, a charming, 
amiable man, full of wit and hiunour. He 
had with him a younger brother, who, some 
years before, had embraced Christianity and 
taken the name of Lindeck, whilst Levi had 
clung to the faith of his fathers — his own had 
been a Rabbi in Karlsruhe — and to his Jewish 
name. During one of these excursions a young 
lady of our party, a little indiscreetly perhaps, 
had asked him how it was that he, Hermann 
Levi, had a brother by the name of Lindeck. 



IX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 135 

" Well, you see," said Levi, " my name was 
originally Lindeck too, but I changed it to 
Levi." 

The moment, however, you entered the 
theatre, you seemed transformed. Frivolity 
was left outside. Quietly the people took their 
seats, and what little there had been of sub- 
dued talking was hushed into a solemn silence 
just before the commencement of the music. 

From act to act, from performance to per- 
formance, the excitement of the vast audience 
grew. In Rheingold the wonderful impersona- 
tion of Loge by Vogl; in the Walkiire that 
incomparable trio of artists : Albert Niemann 
as Siegmund, Betz as Wotan, AmaUe Friedrich 
Materna as Briinnhilde ; in Siegfried the manly, 
youthful figure of Unger, the masterly study 
of the cunning Mime, by Schlosser ; in the 
Gdtterddmmerung the noble personahty of Gura 
as Gunther, to mention a few only — ^who that 
was present at this feast could ever forget it ? 

To me the culminating point of the whole 
was the Death of Siegfried. Alone from the 
point of scenic beauty I have never seen 
anything to compare with it. As the body of 
Siegfried was placed on the shield and slowly 
carried shoulder-high along the hilly, wooded 
banks of the Rhine to the passionate strains 
of that stupendous Funeral March, the moon 



136 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES ix 

breaking through the clouds just at the appear- 
ance of the beautiful Love-motif, the impression 
was simply overwhelming. Wagner's concep- 
tion of the music drama as a perfect blending 
of the three arts, poetry, music, and painting, 
here seemed to have had its consummate 
realisation. After the last note of the great 
trilogy had died away and the seemingly 
minute-long, awed silence of the deeply moved 
audience given place to an outburst of frantic 
enthusiasm, amid which Wagner was called 
again and again, until he delivered himself of 
that historical speech containing the famous 
and at the time much-discussed phrase, " Now 
it rests with you whether or no we shall have 
a German Art," I had to walk around the 
theatre in the dark for a while, quite by my- 
self, before I felt like returning to reality and 
realism by joining my friends at supper. 

The end of the year found me again in 
Petrograd, where, among other concerts, I had 
to take part in the performance of Rubin- 
stein's Paradise Lost. To see Rubinstein 
conduct one of his works was to see him at 
his best, not as a musician, but as a man and 
friend ; that is to say, not because he was a 
particularly good conductor, but because he 
was happiest when finding himself acclaimed 
as a composer. Needless to say, his continuous 



IX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 137 

triumphs as a pianoforte virtuoso could not 
help being a source of keenest satisfaction to 
him, but it was the unfading laurels of a 
composer his heart and soul longed for, and 
toward the end of his hfe it had become an 
actual grief to him that his larger works, the 
oratorios and operas, had not been received with 
the favour he had hoped for — not even achieved 
the momentary success in which the sanguine 
artistic nature is often incUned to hail the dawn 
of ultimate popularity. I hke to remember 
Rubinstein as he was that night in Petrograd, 
smihng and proud and happy as the vast 
audience attentively followed the performance 
of his work and, at the end, shouted and waved 
their approval. I sang the part of Lucifer, 
which suited me well. Indeed in later years 
I seemed to have acquired quite a reputation 
for impersonating that fallen angel in some 
form or other. The Mephisto in BerUoz's Faust 
came next ; then the Lucifer in SulUvan's Golden 
Legend; then Boito's Mefistofele; then the 
Satan in Stanford's Eden ; and only two years 
ago my old friend. Sir Alexander Mackenzie, 
wrote to me : "I am at work on a sacred piece 
... all I may say is that ' Satan ' (always a 
popular gentleman) is in it, and I only wish 
you would add this one to the several Lucifers 
it has been your lot to perform." 



138 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES ix 

The Petrograd season of that year was 
rendered particularly brilliant by the appear- 
ance at the Imperial Opera of the incomparable 
Adelina Patti. I heard her as Rosina in the 
Barber of Seville, a part in which I think no 
other singer has qmte approached her yet. 
Not only was her singing absolutely perfect, 
but she also acted bewitchingly. When some 
years later, at a State Concert at Buckingham 
Palace, I had the great pleasure of singing with 
her, her voice seemed to have lost nothing of 
its rare beauty and charm, her vocal art to 
be still as perfect as human achievement can 
ever hope to be ; and when, later still, her 
annual concert at the Royal Albert Hall 
formed for many years a regular feature of 
each succeeding season, it was in no spirit of 
raillery, but with a sincere sense of admiration 
for her wonderful capacity to remain young 
that I wrote on a picture post-card representing 
the Royal Albert Hall — 

Look at this building tall and weighty : 
Here Patti '11 sing when she is eighty. 

This was one of a dozen or so post-cards of 
London, the pictures of which I supplemented 
by a doggerel and sent to the daughter of a 
Dutch friend shortly before that young lady's 
first visit to London, with the sights of which 



IX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 139 

I wanted her to become familiar. I remember 
only one other of those cards, with a picture 
of the Mansion House, under which I had 
written : 

Here, even in the darkest night. 
You'll always find an Israelight. 

But I am anticipating. I have not arrived 
in England yet, so will hurry back to Russia, 
thereby completing the record of the year which 
preceded that important event in my life ; a 
year, moreover, which was made memorable 
by an experience which I am sure has fallen 
to the lot of but few people: owing to the 
difference of twelve days between the Russian 
calendar and that of the rest of Europe I was 
cheated out of both Christmas and New Year. 

My last engagement in Petrograd happened 
to be three days before Christmas, and when, 
having left Russia the morning following, I 
arrived in Germany, the New Year was over ! 
Query : Did I lose or gain these twelve days ? 

In the autmnn of 1876 I had received a 
letter from Mr. Arthur Chappell, the director 
of the Monday and Saturday Popular Concerts 
in London, famous as the Monday and Saturday 
" Pops," inviting me, at the instance of my 
old friend, Mrs. Moscheles, to sing at two of 



140 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES ix 

these concerts after the New Year, I joyfully 
accepted, and now the time had come for 
that momentous journey. I made my pre- 
parations for a stay of a few weeks, little 
dreaming that England, almost from the day 
of my landing, would be Home to me for the 
rest of my life. 



X 



It was February when I arrived in London, 
two days before my twenty-seventh birthday 
and three before my first appearance in 
England. My old friend Felix Semon, then 
attached to the Golden Square Throat Hospital 
and in only a slightly lesser measure to music, 
surprised me by holding out a welcoming hand 
at Cannon Street Station, whence I completed 
the rest of the journey in his company, the 
train ploughing its way, as it were, through 
an ocean of little brick and stone houses. 
Semon's eyes seemed to ask, " Well, what do 
you think of it ? " But I was too bewildered 
for words, and when at last I found myself in 
the midst of the din and bustle, the com- 
motion and the turmoil of Charing Cross 
terminus, I had a dim sense of having come to 
the capital not of England but of the world. 
What impressed me particularly from the first 
was the order in the apparent chaos. Every- 
body seemed to know his business exactly, to 
mind that and nobody else's, and to do it 

141 



142 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES x 

without hurrying, without shouting, in a 
thoroughly efl&cacious manner. The clearing 
of my luggage through the Customs was a 
matter of a few seconds, and soon one of those 
" growlers " of affectionate memory leisurely 
conveyed us to No. 6 Chandos Street, Cavendish 
Square, where Semon had engaged rooms for 
me, he himself then occupying the ground- 
floor of the house, and the genial glow and 
warmth of the first English hearth-fire that 
night went straight to my heart. 

Being of a rather domesticated disposition, 
I had already commenced to grow tired of 
spending so much of my time in railway 
carriages and hotels, as had been the case for 
some time past, and the amount of work I 
foTind to do in London and the provinces — 
for after my first appearance offers of engage- 
ments for concerts came in great numbers, 
weeks, even months ahead, — ^the ever-growing 
kindness of the English public, the many 
friends I had the good fortune of making, left 
little room for doubt that settling in London 
would mean settling in life, or, rather, that 
if I wanted to settle in hfe, this would be the 
time, and London, to which I felt myself 
irresistibly drawn, the place. To tell the truth, 
much as I loved dear old Breslau, beautiful 
Silesia, and, on the whole, Germany and its 



X MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 143 

people as far as I knew it, its music, its poetry, 
the sentiments I harboured towards those 
who ruled in the land in which I happened to 
be born — of parents with not a drop of Teutonic 
blood in their veins — ^had ever been far from 
anjrthing hke filial affection. Already in my 
early school days I could not help noticing 
the difference in the treatment, by the teachers, 
of the sons of rich or titled parents from that 
of humbler-born boys, who were looked down 
upon by the former, particularly if their 
fathers happened to be army officers, in a 
most irritating and humiliating manner. The 
obvious predominance of the military classes, 
the insufferable arrogance, indeed, of all officials, 
seemed to me highly objectionable. Bitterly, 
too, I resented the contempt in which the 
Jews were held in Prussia, evidences of which 
could almost daily be found in the Jew-baiting 
columns of the Schlesische Zeitung, Breslau's 
premier newspaper, and I remember how 
eagerly and enviously, and almost incredul- 
ously, I Ustened to the gentle voice of my 
first teacher of English, a sweet yoimg English- 
woman, Miss SeUna Sexton, governess in the 
family of a cousin of mine in Breslau, as she 
would tell me of her lovely country, where 
there was no position, civil or military, Jews 
could not attain to; where the ruling classes. 



144 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES x 

from Royalty downwards, were really the 
servants of the people ; where talent and merit 
were the " open sesame " into the palaces 
of the great and mighty. I was very young 
then, barely sixteen, and the seed thus planted 
in the receptive soil of my heart was made to 
swell and grow by the second teacher of English 
it was my good fortune to find a few years 
later in Berlin — Miss Archer, sister of the late 
James Archer, the portrait-painter. That ex- 
cellent lady had been called to Berlin by the 
Empress Frederick, then Crown Princess, to 
assist her in the founding and managing of 
the Lyceum and similar institutions by which 
that large-hearted Royal lady sought to im- 
prove the education and usefulness of the 
young women of Germany. Miss Archer was 
another specimen of gentle, charming English 
womanhood, and when, from what she too had 
to say of her beloved country, I foiuid that 
none of Miss Sexton's statements and stories 
had been inaccurate or exaggerated, I began 
to pray fervently for the day to come when I 
should cross the Channel and set foot on that 
Earthly Paradise of my dreams — British soil. 

Well, that day did come ; and as I write 
these lines forty years later in my sweet 
Highland Home, now and then, through the 
windows of my study, " lifting mine eyes unto 



X MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 145 

the hills " I recall with a forgiving smile the 

reproachful question put to mie by a grieved 

relative, " How I could have renounced the land 

of my birth, which had given me my ' Bildung.'' " 

Did the dear woman really believe that 

Germany had the monopoly of that precious 

article, and that the \anhappy man or woman 

born outside the Fatherland was doomed for 

ever to remain without it ? 

Did Milton and Shakespeare write for the 

English, Racine and Moli^re for the French, 

Schiller, who in his glorious " Ode to Joy " 

sings — 

Oh, embrace now, all ye millions. 
Here's a kiss to all the world. 
Brothers, o'er yon azure fold ( 

Is a loving Father's dwelling — 

and Goethe, Bach and Beethoven for the 
Germans only ? 

The artist's home is the Universe, which 
indeed should be Everyman's, since we are all 
the children of one Father. 

I shall never forget the glowing happiness 
of those first days in England. I was utterly 
fascinated by English manners, English life, 
English country, English Sundays, even English 
fogs. For the young people of the present 
generation it will be difficult to picture a 



146 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES x 

London as it was forty years ago, without 
electric light, without telephone, without motor 
buses and taxicabs, without Sunday concerts, 
without Picture Palaces — a quiet, dignified, 
beautiful city with a decided character of its 
own, as unlike Paris or Vienna or Petrograd 
as the Englishman is unlike a Frenchman, 
an Austrian, or a Russian. Electricity seems 
to be a sort of leveller of national distinctions. 
The old horse-omnibuses had two seats on the 
driver's right and left, and to climb into one 
of those seats at nine o'clock in the morning, 
say at Notting Hill Gate, and drive leisurely — 
hurry appears to be a recent invention — ^in an 
almost continuously straight line to the City 
and see the thousands and thousands of men 
go, like bees into a hive, to their business 
there, a restless sea of top-hats, was to realise 
the greatness, the solidity of the capital of this 
vast empire. 

To sit on an afternoon in one of those green 
chairs in Hyde Park and watch the long pro- 
cession of duchesses and countesses as they 
drove past in their state - carriages, with a 
huge, fat, clean-shaven coachman in a periwig 
perched high upon a broad seat resembling 
the thing they put on a circus-horse for a 
fair short-skirted lady to pirouette upon, and 
two powdered, galooned footmen, standing like 



X MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 147 

statues on a footboard behind,, holding on to 
straps attached to the back of the hood of the 
carriage, and exhibiting four irreproachable, 
white - silk - stockinged calves to the admiring 
gaize of the populace, was like having a series 
of tableaux vivants pass before one's eyes, 
illustrating a Dickens or Thackeray novel or 
— to a more youthful vision — some fairy tale. 

The morning after my arrival was spent in 
delivering some of the letters of introduction 
I had brought with me, as the gratifying result 
of one of which I already on my first Sunday 
— I had arrived on a Friday — ^had the great 
pleasure and privilege of meeting, at a dinner- 
party in Kensington, the famous Alma Tadema, 
whose " Vintage Festival," only recently ex- 
hibited in Berlin, had created quite a sensation 
there. Crowds of people could always be seen 
standing before the picture, admiring it and, 
puzzled by the name of " Alma," wondering 
whether the painter was a woman or a man. 

Well, here he was, sitting opposite me at 
the table, a man if ever there was one, powerful 
in body and mind, spirited, full of vigour, 
abounding in stories and manifestly happy in 
the consciousness of ever-growing success and 
fame ; happy too, evidently, in the proud 
possession of a young and lovely wife, the rare 
charm of whose gentle presence enchanted all 



148 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES x 

who came in contact with her ; she also was 
a painter, and that of no mean merit, though 
such was her modesty that when, after her 
much-lamented death in 1909, Tadema ar- 
ranged a loan exhibition of her work, the 
quantity as well as the high artistic worth and 
excellence of her paintings, drawings, and 
studies came as a surprise even to her most 
intimate friends, 

I was greatly attracted by the delightful 
couple, and with gratification recall tokens of 
goodwill toward me on their part, as the 
natural consequence of which I soon found 
myself a frequent guest in their beautiful house 
near the Regent's Park ; and, in later years, in 
that larger and more magnificent, though 
never more genial one in Grove End Road, 
where they had weekly receptions on Monday 
afternoons and Tuesday evenings, the latter 
generally preceded by a charmingly intimate 
dinner-party. 

From time to time special invitations were 
issued for the Tuesday evening receptions, and 
then, in that uniquely beautiful studio, the 
most celebrated musicians of the day, players 
and singers, happening to be in town, could be 
heard, giving of their best to a rare assembly 
of men and women prominent in all branches 
of science, literatiire, and the arts. On some 



X MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 149 

particular occasions, like the birthdays of 
members of the family, the entertainment 
would perhaps be of a more frivolous, though 
hardly less appreciated kind, performances, for 
instance, of prestidigitators or dancers, or else 
consist of dramatic presentations among which 
with particular pleasure I recall that of a 
charming play, One Way of Love, by Tadema's 
elder daughter Laurence, who herself took a 
part in its performance. Those were un- 
forgettable evenings. Enjoyment was written 
on the faces of all present, not the least so on 
those of host and hostess, than whom none 
more genial and generous coujd be imagined. 

Being himself of a happy, joyous nature, 
Tadema loved to see himself surrounded by 
happy people. On the other hand, being him- 
self very strong, mentally and physically, he 
had perhaps less sympathy with the weak than 
his innate sense of justice and his kindness of 
heart would otherwise have kindled in him. 
That sense of justice he once afforded me an 
opportunity of admiring, which I think will be 
deemed worth recording as an illustration of his 
character. 

He and Lady Tadema were my guests at 
Allt-na-criche, my Scottish home, in the autumn 
of 1905. We had been on a little stroll before 
luncheon. The day was glorious ; one of 



150 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES x 

those wonderful, clear, crisp sunny days of 
which one in the Highlands of Scotland seems 
worth a dozen anywhere else. We were re- 
turning home by way of Loch Alvey, upon 
which, after having climbed through the woods 
for some little time, we came quite on a sudden. 
There it was, Ijdng below us at the foot of the 
heather-clad, pine- and birch-studded hills, of 
the deepest steel-blue, bathed in sunshine, 
with the hght azure of the cloudless sky above 
it, a feast of colour, exquisitely beautiful. 

The moment we had come in sight of it 
Tadema stopped short, exclaiming in a sort of 
dubious, questioning voice the single word 
" Hullo ! " and refusing to move on, I 
noticed his silence when after a while we 
resumed our walk. He hardly spoke at all, 
and when at last we had arrived at home, 
Tadema, though it was close on luncheon-time, 
sat down to write a letter which a few minutes 
later he handed me with the enjoinder to be 
sure and see it posted that afternoon. 

Noticing the address of " Alfred East, Esq., 
A.R.A." on the envelope, I said, " I bet you, 
Tadema, I know what's in this letter." And 
then that slow, amused, contented smile we 
all knew so well stole over his features, and he 
told me I was right. Tadema, years before, 
on seeing one of East's pictures of a similar 



X MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 151 

lake-scene, had expressed to the painter — very 
likely rather decidedly — ^his bplief in the utter 
impossibility of the surface of a lake being of 
so very much deeper a shade of blue than the 
sky it reflected. To-day he had seen it with 
his own eyes, and the letter to Alfred East 
contained the acknowledgment of his error of 
years ago. Such was the man. " But then," 
he said, "J have never been in the Scottish 
Highlands before ! " 

The house at which I first met Tadema was 
that of Mr. Wertheimer, father-in-law of Dr. 
Max Schlesinger, the representative in London 
of the Cologne Gazette, politically then Germany's 
premier paper. Dr. Schlesinger, a highly 
cultured, most genial, witty man, who numbered 
among his friends Freiligrath, Gottfried 
Kinkel, Karl Blind, and other political refugees 
of the year '48,- was eminently fitted for the 
responsible position which among other duties 
imposed upon him that of entertaining. He 
and Mrs. Schlesinger, who survived her husband 
nearly a quarter of a centiu-y — Dr. Schlesinger 
died in 1881 — ^were " At Home " every Friday 
evening, when their comfortable house in that 
once fashionable quarter around Russell Square 
was thrown open to a cosmopohtan and most 
interesting crowd of people. Everybody who 



152 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES x 

was anybody seemed to go every Friday night 
to " the Sehlesingers," and one told of the 
actual existence of a lady who, on hearing 
" Goethe " mentioned as the writer to whom 
W. S. Gilbert in the announcement of a new 
play of his, Gretchen, had acknowledged himself 
indebted for certain parts of it, was said to 
have asked, " Goethe — Goethe — who is he ? 
Does he go to the Sehlesingers ? " 

This evidently was not the one who, accord- 
ing to my friend Donald Francis Tovey, looked 
down with pity on another female because, 
in her opinion, that lady showed her literary 
ignorance by pronouncing the name of 
Germany's greatest poet to rhyme with " thirty " 
instead of with "floweth " ! 

In fulfilment of a promise given at the 
Dusseldorf Music Festival in 1875 to Walter 
Broadwood, one of my first visits now was to 
the offices and show-rooms of the famous 
house of which he was one of the heads. The 
business of the Broadwoods was then carried 
on in three adjoining old houses situated in 
Great Pulteney Street, a thoroughfare in the 
midst of that labyrinth of little back alleys 
east of Regent Street between Piccadilly Circus 
and Oxford Street. These houses, from cellar 
to top story, were filled with pianos large 
and small, and I was struck not only by their 



X MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 153 

quantity and variety, but particularly by the 
size and appearance of the " Concert Grands," 
which seemed to me longer than and altogether 
different from any I had ever seen before. 
Nearly all of these were built of oak, coated, like 
old violins, with a fine golden varnish which 
retained the colour and the grain of the wood. 
The joints of the keyboard case were hidden by 
bands of polished brass, fastened by innumer- 
able Kttle brass screws, and the lid was joined 
to the piano by finely designed massive brass 
hinges stretching almost across its whole width. 

These instruments are seen no longer, at 
least not in this country, and I wonder what 
can have become of them, as they seemed to 
be made to last for ever. May be they have 
found their way into parts of the vast empire 
across the seas, there, in the dtirability and 
strength of which the wood they are made of is 
the emblem, to bear witness to the staunch 
solidity of the Mother coiuitry. 

To me their memory is closely linked with 
that of dear old St. James's Hall, and those 
unforgettable Monday and Saturday " Pops," 
and if I were living in London, I'd now and 
then steal into Broadwoods' new premises, 
to have, in the little concert-room there, an 
affectionate look at the dear old uncomfort- 
able, long, narrow, worn-out, green-upholstered 



154 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES x 

benches, with the numbers of the seats tied 
over the straight back with red tape, which the 
Broadwoods acquired when the venerable hall 
was pulled down in 1905. In spirit I even now 
sit down on one of these benches in the empty 
hall, and, like the old Count in The Ruined 
Mill, close my eyes. . . . Around me all stirs 
into life again : There is the fine old hall, 
filled in every corner, crowded even to the 
platform ; the faithful Saunders is placing the 
music on the four stands and adjusting the 
chairs before them ; the familiar attendants,, 
a pile of programme-books in their left arms 
and waving a single one in' their uplifted right 
hands, are walking up and down the aisles 
calling out, " Programme and book of words " 
— ^then a momentary hush — the stately Joachim 
emerges from the recess on the left, followed 
by the modest Ries, the solemn Strauss, the 
gentle Piatti. They gravely acknowledge the 
round of applause that greets their appearance, 
and take their seats before the desks; a final, 
clandestine reassurance as to being in tune 
together, then a silence as of the grave all 
over the house, and the four beautiful stringed 
instruments in rare perfection pour forth 
soiinds that seem to come straight from heaven. 
So great is the spell that it cannot be broken 
even by an occasional distant jingle of castanets 



X MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 155 

and tambourines faintly floating into the room 
as below, at the Christy Minstrels, a door is 
opened. . . . But surely that brutal noise 
now striking my ears in the midst of the 
divine Beethoven Adagio is not that of either 
tambourine or castanet ?. . . ." Toot-toot . , . 
toot "... a taxi ! I am awake, and pensively 
walk out into busy Bond Street, ready, like 
the old Count, to shed a silent tear of affec- 
tionate remembrance. . . . 

But back now to 1877 and Great Pulteney 
Street, and my first visit there to the Broad- 
woods. At first it was Walter himself who, 
most genial of cicerones, conducted me over 
the premises, and well I remember his amused 
smile of gratification and pride as he sees me 
halting before a frame containing, under glass, 
a huge, beautifully polished disk of wood, and 
reading the legend attached to it : 

Specimen of the finest Honduras Mahogany, in 

regard to figure & quality, ever grown : 

THIS SINGLE TREE 

contained 390 Cubic Feet, Broker's measure, 

{i.e. 4684 Ft, of inch) & was bought unopened by 

Messrs. Broadwood for the manufacture 

of Pianofortes, at the price of 

£1781 : : 6. 

Supposed to be the most valuable Tree in the World ; 

& after it had been opened, it could have been sold 

for more than £2000. 



156 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES x 

" What a coiintry I have come to," I thought 
in awe and wonder — " where they pay £1700 
for a tree to make pianofortes of ! " 

After a while my guide was called away on 
business. Before taking leave of me he took 
me downstairs into a little private office, 
introducing me there to the occupant of it, in 
whose charge he left me for the rest of my 
visit. I shall always bless him for this intro- 
duction, for it marked the beginning of a 
friendship than which I have valued none 
more highly. I honestly believe a gentler, 
kinder, sweeter man than Alfred James Hipkins 
never Kved. Nor a more modest one. For 
who, seeing him in his office at the Broadwoods, 
whose rare privilege it was to profit by his 
faithful and devoted services for more than 
threescore of years, up to the end of his life 
in 1903, could have suspected in the simple, 
silent man the learned author of several 
standard books on various branches of the 
science and history of music, and an unrivalled 
authority on old keyboard instruments, on 
which he himself was a most accomplished 
and graceful performer, and of which he 
possessed several fine specimens ? 

To leave the giddy world and repair to the 
delightful home of the Hipkinses in Warwick 
Gardens, there, in the genial company of 



X MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 157 

mutual friends upon a Sunday afternoon to 
partake of the spirit of simplicity, love, and 
harmony prevailing in the little household, 
consisting of father and mother and daughter 
and son, to listen to and join in the lively con- 
versation from which anything even approach- 
ing gossip was ever absent, to see the look of 
supreme content and happiness in our dear 
host's face as, after a week's toil, he would sit 
down before his beloved harpsichord or clavi- 
chord and play us a Bach or Scarlatti in 
masterly fashion, has been among the purest 
joys of my life. Dear Hipkins ! Not many 
indeed are the men of whom, as of thee, it 
could be said in the words of the Song Celestial : 

Fearlessness, singleness of soul, the will 

Always to strive for wisdom, opened hand 

And governed appetites ; 

And love of lonely study ; humbleness. 

Uprightness, heed to injure naught which lives. 

Truthfulness, slowness unto wrath, a mind 

That Hghtly letteth go what others prize ; 

And equanimity, and charity, and tenderness 

Towards all that suffer ; a contented heart. 

Modest and grave, with manhood nobly mixed 

With patience, fortitude and purity ; 

An unrevengeful spirit ; never given 

To rate itself too high — 

Such be the signs of him whose feet are set 

On that fair path which leads to heavenly truth. 



XI 



Quite a good many houses there were the 
doors of which, after my first appearance at the 
Monday Popular Concert on February 19, most 
hospitably opened to me, and where, at regular 
" At Home " evenings or on occasions to which 
special invitations were issued, the best music 
could be heard, made by the best artists and 
listened to by more or less the same circle 
of friends. Notable among such were those of 
the George Lewises in Portland Place and 
the Henry Joachims in Kensington, the latter 
the headquarters during his annual visit to 
England of Henry's brother Joseph, who not 
unfrequently would make his charming hostess 
and sister-in-law, the daughter of the composer 
Henry Smart, proud and happy by leading a 
quartet or playing a solo in her drawing-room 
before a small company of friends — the ideal 
way of making and enjoying chamber music. 
Rare treats were these. At whatever of such 
assemblies I happened to find myself during 
these first months, I was invariably asked to 

158 



XI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 159 

contribute to the programme by singing a few 
songs, which I gladly did. 

I sometimes wonder if perhaps the distance 
from which we look at events that happened 
more than a generation ago, lends a particular 
lustre to them or at any rate alters to some 
degree the impression they made at the time. 
There certainly was a charm in those informal 
weekly meetings of friends at the houses of 
friends, which nowadays is not so generally 
found. One seemed to enjoy such occasions — 
at least so it appears to me now — ^in a more 
innocent, simple manner. Music was Music, 
Painting — ^for at all such gatherings these two 
arts were almost equally represented by their 
most eminent exponents — ^was Painting, and if 
people differed in regard to them, the differences 
were of degree rather than of principle. Excite- 
ment, irritation, violence as they exist in art- 
circles at present, were almost entirely absent 
in these " good old days." 

The number of houses to which I was asked 
grew from week to week, and, apace with it, 
that of my friends and my delight in it all. 
" England " seemed to be the title of a new 
book of my life, the opening chapters of which 
were wonderfully interesting and promising ; 
what an American girl would call " perfectly 
fasc'nating." 



160 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xi 

Every new dinner-party meant to me the 
making of the acquaintance of at least one 
famous man ; and that at Airlie Lodge on 
Campden Hill, the town house then of Lord 
and Lady Airlie, was no exception to the rule, 
the famous man on that occasion being no 
other than James McNeill Whistler, doubtlessly 
the most talked-about artist of the day. He 
was the guest of the evening, and in that 
capacity caused much amusement already in 
absentia, for he did not arrive until some time 
after we had sat down to dinner without him, 
having waited fully fifteen minutes even beyond 
the then still usual quart d'heure de grace. 

When at last he did shoot into the dining- 
room, all of a sudden bvtrsting upon the hostess 
with what I thought the loudest laugh I had 
ever heard, it was very much like Mephisto's 
first appearance in Berlioz's Faust — ^the zigzag 
flash of trombones there, on the single fortis- 
simo clash of the cymbals, being no whit more 
effective than Whistler's Cyclopean laughter. 

All through the evening he kept our small 
company in the highest of spirits by the truly 
dazzling fireworks of his wit. 

Fortiuiately there was no reception following 
the dinner. I quite informally sang a few 
songs, and was no little delighted and, I confess, 
flattered when Whistler, on our going home, 



XI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 161 

proposed — ^it was a fine autumn night — to 
stroll along with me, and, before parting, asked 
me to one of his famous Sunday mid-day 
" breakfasts " at the White House, into which 
he had only lately moved, and where to those 
breakfasts sometimes as many as a dozen of 
his friends of both sexes would sit down and 
partake, among other good things, of " buck- 
wheat cakes with maple-syrup," one of our 
delightful host's favourite American specialities 
which he was very proud of having introduced 
to British palates. 

My acquaintance with another American 
delicacy I likewise owe to Whistler. I re- 
member meeting him one day in the Hay- 
market when he told me the secret of a great 
discovery of his : Scott's in Coventry Street 
had just commenced importing the Blue-point 
Oyster! . . . "My dear Henschel . . . delicious 
. . . sweeter than the natives . . . only a 
shilling the dozen." . . . And putting his arm 
in mine, he took me to Scott's then and there, 
where, in one of those dear old narrow boxes 
Avith wooden benches, of which I fear very few 
have survived in London ale-houses, we had 
a regular feast on the seductive bivalves to the 
accompaniment of I will not say how many 
pints of stout. 



M 



162 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xi 

Opposite Airlie Lodge there was a gate, 
nearly always hospitably open, leading to 
another house which I soon found myself 
favoured by frequently being bidden to : Moray 
Lodge, the beautiful home — I had almost said 
country - place, so little did the lovely and 
extensive grounds suggest the vicinity of any- 
thing like a pavement — of the Arthur Lewises, 
a most delightful couple of artists ; for though 
a merchant, Arthur Lewis was a painter of 
no mean merit, especially as regards landscape, 
and a man the quiet attractiveness of whose 
personality may be gauged from the fact that 
he had succeeded in alluring from her allegi- 
ance to the stage no less captivating an actress 
than Kate, the eldest daughter of the famous 
house of Terry, who at the time of her marriage 
to Lewis had already, so I was told, attained 
to an extraordinary degree of popularity not- 
withstanding her youth. Music, Painting, 
Science, Literature, the Drama, Diplomacy — 
all of these you could be sure to find worthily 
and numerously represented at those extremely 
interesting and enjoyable receptions, dinners, 
and garden-parties for which Moray Lodge 
and its charming host and hostess were re- 
nowned. Tempi passati — alas — ^but affection- 
ately, with the rest. 



XI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 163 

Deposited upon the silent shore 
Of memory. 



If I was deeply impressed by English life 
generally there was one institution in particular 
which almost overawed me (a sensation which 
in some measure has survived to this day), 
and that was " the butler." I could un- 
flinchingly face the powder of an army of 
hveried footmen, but when it came to the 
impenetrable solemnity of the butler as he 
confronted me in dress-suit and white necktie 
and with a clean-shaven face as blank as his 
shirt-front, I was utterly nonplussed, stupefied, 
annihilated. I felt like a worm, and as such, 
during my first days, would gladly have 
" turned " from many a door without carrying 
out my daring design of knocking or ringing. 
Few doors there were at which I bore that 
ordeal oftener and more willingly than that of 
the house No. 35 Wimpole Street, the residence 
of the famous siu*geon. Sir Henry Thompson, 
whose wife I had the good fortime of soon 
counting among my dearest friends. 

In her youth — ^her name was Kate Loder — 
Lady Thompson had been a pianist of no mean 
merit, having played with considerable success 
at the Philharmonic Concerts, at that time a 
test of efficiency and a passport to fame. 



164 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES , xi 

After her marriage to the yet unknown and 
poor yotmg physician she had worked hard for 
years from morn till night as a teacher of the 
pianoforte, traversing London from one end to 
the other in all kinds of weather, doubtlessly 
thereby impairing her health which already 
at the time when I first knew her had begun 
to fail her. But when gradually she had to 
abandon all hope of ever touching Her beloved 
piano again, and the creeping paralysis attacked 
limb after limb until she could move none any 
longer and had to be carried in a chair and, 
during the last years, even fed like a helpless 
child, her faith, her courage never forsook her. 
Her loving soul rose victorious above the ailings, 
the sufferings of the body. Never once — and 
it was my privilege to be with her very fre- 
quently — did I hear a word of complaint from 
her lips. Being unable to make music herself 
any longer, she found her happiness in befriend- 
ing, encouraging, teaching, supporting young 
people, who, in her opinion, had sufficient talent 
to justify their hope of making efficiency in 
some branch of music the object of their 
ambition. The friendship of Lady Thompson 
was one of my richest possessions, as her sweet 
smile, her gentle motherly voice are among my 
most precious memories. 

With wonderful rapidity I found myself 



XI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 165 

in the midst of the whirl of London society, 
and it was with considerable regret that, even 
for a few weeks only, I quitted the scene 
of what certainly had been most successful 
activity — I remember, for instance, one single 
day on which I had three professional engage- 
ments, one in the afternoon and two in the 
evening — ^in order to sing at the Nether-Rhenish 
Music Festival which in that year, 1877, took 
place at Cologne and was particularly dis- 
tinguished by the first performance in Germany 
of Verdi's great Manzoni Requiem under the 
conductorship of the composer. Many German 
musicians at that time affected rather to look 
down on the Italian maestro with a sort of 
condescending superiority, wondering how in 
the world Ferdinand Hiller, the conductor-in- 
chief of the Festival and an excellent musician, 
could have chosen for performance at one of 
their classical institutions a work by the author 
of II Trovatore, Rigoletto, Traviata, and other 
operas of street-organ popularity. Hiller, how- 
ever, knew what he was doing. Already at 
the first rehearsal Verdi's fine musicianship and 
powerful personality made a great impression 
upon chorus, orchestra, and soloists, of which 
latter I had the honour of being one. From 
hour to hour we felt more and more strongly 
the fascinating influence of a master-mind, 



166 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xi 

and both the beautiful, deeply felt work and 
its genial creator at the end of the excellent 
performance — Lilli Lehmann was the soprano — 
met with a most enthusiastic reception. I 
had been particularly gratified by Verdi's great 
kindness in repeatedly inviting me to breakfast 
with him at his hotel. His cordial ways and 
unassuming manners, his peculiar charm of 
conversation when he did speak — for as a 
rule he was remarkably silent for an Italian 
— ^affected me quite extraordinarily. At one 
of the miscellaneous concerts of the Festival 
I sang my songs from the Trompeter von 
Sdkkingen, which had been published the year 
before, and Verdi the next morning greatly 
gratified me by asking me to send him the 
songs and perhaps some other of my composi- 
tions. His answer to my question to what 
address I should send them was most chaj:acter- 
istic. Without the slightest suspicion of con- 
ceit or affectation he said, " Oh — adressez 
simplement ' Maestro Verdi, Italia.' " 

Altogether the Cologne Festival of that year 
was of a somewhat international character, for, 
Spain, too, was represented by one of her most 
famous sons, the matchless Pablo de Sarasate. 
His interpretation of the Mendelssohn Concerto 
came to German ears like something of a revela- 
tion, creating a veritable furore, and indeed 



XI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 167 

I doubt if in lusciousness of tone, crystalline 
clearness of execution, refinement, and grace 
that performance has been or ever will be 
surpassed. Alone the way he took that little 
A natural, the fifth note of the Andante theme, 
without letting the string touch the finger- 
board — " sur le touche " I think is the technical 
term for it— gave one a thrill of artistic joy 
never to be forgotten. 

From Cologne I hvirried back to London as 
fast as I could, full of eager anticipation of my 
first " London season," for although there was, 
as now, great activity during the winter in 
the musical life of the Provinces, what, music- 
ally as well as socially, was called " the " 
London season did not in those years commence 
until after Easter. Before that, the only place 
in London where you could hear good orchestral 
music was really outside of it, viz. at the 
Crystal Palace, where the excellent August 
Manns every Saturday afternoon during the 
winter provided a wholesome and splendidly 
prepared fare of classical and modern music, 
being aided in this pioneer work of educa- 
tion by the enthusiastic George Grove whose 
analjrtical descriptions in the programme books 
of the chief works to be performed were of 
the greatest value. In London proper classical 
music was restricted to the afore - mentioned 



168 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xi 

Monday and Saturday popular chamber music 
concerts at the St. James's Hall. Altogether 
musical London of 1877 was very different 
from that of to-day. The names of Hubert 
Parry, Alexander Mackenzie, Frederic Cowen, 
Charles Villiers Stanford as composers were 
as yet little known, though their bearers had 
already commenced to come forward with 
an occasional composition, whilst of Edward 
Elgar's not a single note had been published. 
On the programmes of the Philharmonic 
Society's concerts, conducted then by Mr., 
afterwards Sir William, Cusins, there could 
still be found a goodly number of florid arias 
from Bellini's, Donizetti's, Rossini's operas, and 
the list of members of the orchestra contained 
many a " Herr," " Monsieur," and " Signor." 
Music was still one of the things which to 
a great extent had to be imported. A wide 
and lucrative field of activity for instrumental 
virtuosos and singers there was during the 
spring and summer season in the many concerts 
with which rich people were wont to entertain 
their guests after dinner, and it was at one 
of these private soirees that, the very first 
year, I had a rather interesting and exciting 
experience. The scene was one of those palatial 
residences in Belgrave Square. Two operatic 
prima donnas, England's foremost tenor, two 



XI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 169 

foreign virtuosos, a violinist and a 'cellist, and 
myself were to go through a long programme 
of music, commencing at 11 p.m. There was 
leading into the ball-room, which by the 
temporary erection of a platform had been 
converted into a music -room, a little ante- 
chamber, reached by the back stairs, which 
served as a green-room. This we caged lions 
paced impatiently up and down until our 
respective tvirns came and the faithful Mr. 
Saunders, the representative of Chappell's, 
who managed the affair, opened the doors into 
the arena to let us loose. We had just heard 
the applause following the customary high 
C natural of the prima donna's final cadenza 
when that poor lady re-entered the green- 
room in a state of great excitement, nervous- 
ness, and indignation, exclaiming on the point 
of tears, "It is too awful, they don't pay the, 
slightest attention to the music, they talk and 
giggle — ^it's horrid," and so on. " You don't 
mean to say," I asked — poor innocent me — 
"you don't mean to say they talked aloud 
whilst you sang ? " and being informed that 
such indeed was the deplorable fact of the 
case, my mind was made up. Soon my turn 
came : a recitative and air from a Handel 
opera. As usual I was my own accompanist. 
After striking a few forte chords by way of 



170 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xi 

prelude I began to sing. For a few bars there 
was silence, and then, at first from far away 
down by the door at the end of the room where 
it opened into another, came sounds of talking 
and tittering. Count Beust, a distinguished 
diplomatist and amateur musician, turned 
round — he sat in the first row — ^with a few 
sharp and solemn " Psht — ^psht, ..." but 
hardly to any purpose. The talking and titter- 
ing grew louder and louder, and so did my 
voice. No use. With a few " bangs " I im- 
provised an abrupt ending to the aria, in- 
wardly apologizing to the shades of Handel. 
Amid the applause of the audience, the major- 
ity of which only by that applause realized 
that something in the way of singing had 
happened, I withdrew to the green-room, took 
my hat and coat, and in spite of the anxious 
entreaties of poor Mr. Saunders to, for goodness' 
sake, stay and do my second turn, left the 
room and the house. A few days later Mr. 
Chappell, who had already commenced to be 
what he remained to the end, my very good 
and valued friend, sent me a cheque with a 
letter he had received from the Viscountess at 
whose party the incident had happened, in 
which the lady reproached him for having 
sent her so rude a man as " Herr Henschel," 
and enclosing cheque for only half that gentle- 



XI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 171 

man's fee, since he had only half fulfilled his 
part of the bargain. I begged Mr. Chappell 
to allow me to answer that letter myself, and 
that night, with the aid of a dictionary — to 
my grammar I thought I could trust — composed 
a very nice, polite letter to the Viscountess, 
telling her how unaccustomed I was to such 
treatment of art and artists and sincerely 
rfegretting the cause of, as well as apologizing 
for, the apparent rudeness of my conduct. 
" With many thanks," I concluded, " I beg 
herewith to return the cheque, as I could not 
think of accepting a fee for my tinsuccessful 
attempt to interrupt the pleasant conversation." 

Much to my astonishment and, I confess, 
no less to my gratification the very next post 
brought me a most charming letter from the 
Viscountess, containing a cheque for the original 
amount and explaining the annoyance by the 
fact that, being an invalid, she was obliged to 
remain reclining on a couch during the evening 
and was thus prevented from moving among 
her guests and enjoining their silence. A week 
later I sang at another of those occasions, 
at Dudley House, when the programme was 
headed by a scroll bearing the significant 
legend, " II piu grand omaggio alia musica e 
il silenzio." 

This novel experience of Belgrave Square 



172 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xi 

was soon followed by another, nowadays, I 
trust, quite as rare as the one just rdated. 
Coming home one evening I found in my rooms 
a large parcel of modern English songs and 
ballads sent me by a firm of publishers, 
and accompanied by a letter in which I was 
asked what my fee would be for singing any 
of these songs or ballads in public. Looking 
at them I found them one and all — I am speak- 
ing of quite forty years ago — of the cheapest, 
commonest stuff, the most sentimental, inane 
rubbish imaginable. I was much puzzled, 
indeed had no idea what could be meant by 
the letter. At last I sat down and' answered, 
returning the parcel : " Gentlemen, I am afraid 
I do not quite understand your letter. If I 
like a song I shall sing it without a fee, and if I 
do not like it there is no fee would make me sing 
it." I afterwards learned that the custom of 
accepting- fees from publishers for introducing 
their publications was qiiite universal among 
singers of both sexes, and I ceased to wonder 
why it was one so often in England could 
hear, even at otherwise good concerts and by 
singers of high standing who certainly should 
know — and I fear did know — ^better, rubbishy 
song's which would not be tolerated anywhere 
else. Such, however, is the gently persuasive 
power of a handsome cheque. But in this 



XI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 173 

respect, too, times, I am sure, have decidedly 
improved. 

One more of my many interesting experiences 
during my first season, I mean interesting to 
my readers too, for as to myself I do not 
think I had a dull moment from beginning to 
end, I will record here. If a year before I 
had occasion to admire the charming simplicity 
and kindliness of Princess Alice, I was now to 
have an opportunity of wondering at the inimit- 
able tact and considerateness of her mother, 
the great and good Queen Victoria herself. 

Anton Rubinstein and I had received the 
Queen's command to go to Windsor Castle one 
afternoon and play and sing to her. After 
receiving us most graciously, Her Majesty 
seated herself near the tail-end of the piano, 
evidently in order to be able to see Rubinstein's 
face as he played. In the distance the only 
other listeners were seated, two or three ladies- 
in-waiting. The great pianist began with some 
Chopin nocturnes and other soft sweet things, 
which greatly pleased the Queen. After that 
I sang, and then Rubinstein played again, 
this time some louder things. I thought I 
could detect faint signs of uneasiness in Her 
Majesty's face as she seemed to realize the 
alarming nearnefss of the huge concert grand, 
the open lid of which threw the sounds back 



174 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xi 

in the direction of Her Majesty's chair with 
redoubled force. Then I sang again, and 
then, to my dismay I confess, for I had 
heard him do it before, Rubinstein settled 
down to the playing of Liszt's arrangement 
of Schubert's Erl-King. At the first outcry 
of the frightened child, " Mein Vater, mein 
Vater," I was prepared for the Queen asking me 
to close the lid, when there happened the most 
touching act, or rather a succession of most 
touching acts on the part of her indeed Most 
Gracious Majesty. Every now and then she 
would, unnoticed by the player, gently push 
her chair farther and farther away from the 
piano, the sounds issuing from which were 
growing more and more terrific from bar to 
bar, until, during the last frantic ride of the 
horror-stricken father, keys, strings, hammers 
seemed to be flying through the air in all direc- 
tions, dashed into fragments by the relentless 
hoofs of the maddened horse. By that time, 
however, the Queen was at a safe distance, and 
a charming smile of pleasure and relief stole 
over her serious, wonderfully impressive features 
when at last, home reached, Rubinstein was 
half, and " the child " completely dead. 

I had sung, publicly and privately, in over 
forty concerts. I consulted my engagement 
book and foimd the words London, Man- 



XI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 175 

Chester, Liverpool, Bradford, Huddersfield, etc. 
already entered against dates in November and 
December of that year, and my mind was 
made up : I decided to move my " Lares et 
Penates " from Berlin to London, in spite of 
the wishes of an anonymous writer who, 
evidently alarmed at the thought of such an 
eventuality and in a spirit of disquiet less 
disgmsed than the handwriting of his letter, 
advised me to " go back to the Vaterland and 
dig potatoes " ! 

The first part of this injunction I obeyed, 
not however to dig potatoes — that I did 
thirty years later in my home in the Scottish 
Highlands — ^but to see my mother and sisters 
and spend a few weeks at the villa of my dear 
old friend Reinhold Wolff in the Thuringian 
woods, and it was there that another first 
meeting took place which marked the beginning 
of a friendship surviving, through divergencies 
of musical thought and ways in later years, to 
this day. Shall I ever forget that fine August 
day in 1877 when our little circle was suddenly 
brightened by the meteor -like appearance 
among us of a young and most attractive girl 
who was staying in the neighbotirhood, the 
daughter, we understood, of a British General ? 
None of us knew what in her to admire most : 
her wonderful musical talent which she dis- 



176 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xi 

played to equal advantage at the piano as well 
as by singing, with a peculiarly sympathetic 
voice and in compositions of her own, or her 
astonishing prowess in athletic feats of agility 
and strength, showing us how to play lawn- 
tennis, then only just introduced into Germany, 
or, to the utter bewilderment of the German 
young ladies, and young men, too, for that 
matter, how to jump over fences, chairs, and 
even tables, thus altogether electrifying and 
revolutionizing the up to her advent little 
varied though pleasant enough everyday sort 
of routine of our life. In one respect, how- 
ever, we were all agreed, and that was that we 
had among us an extraordinarily commanding 
personality, a woman that was sure to be famous 
some day. And we were not mistaken. Ethel 
Smyth was destined to become, and has become, 
what must fill the hearts of British men and 
women with particular pride — ^the most remark- 
able and original woman-composer in the history 
of music. If some years ago her name has 
from time to time been before the public in a 
capacity other than, and rather removed from 
that of a musician, viz. as an active champion of 
militant suffragettism, the fact should perhaps 
be ascribed to the warmth of a big heart and 
to a breadth and width of sympathies found 
among the attributes of genius. 



XII 

When, early in October, I returned to England, 
no longer a stranger, I was much impressed 
by the grand scale on which in cities like 
Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford or- 
chestral concerts and oratorio performances 
were conducted. Charles Halle, to whom 
England owes a great deal of the subsequent 
development of its musical knowledge and 
taste, was then in the zenith of his success. 
He was an accomplished, many-sided 
musician, an indefatigable worker, and a very 
charming, kind, genial man. His " band," as 
orchestras were then still apt to be called, was 
as excellent a body of musicians as he was 
an excellent conductor. There was " no non- 
sense " about him, his straightforward readings 
being ever distinguished by a reverence now- 
adays only too frequently and deplorably 
absent. To change a forte in the score of a 
classic into a piano, as I but lately have heard 
done by a famous London orchestra in one of 

177 N 



178 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xii 

Beethoven's symphonies, would to him have 
seemed nothing short of sacrilege. 

What would he have thought of the modern 
wholesale Beethoven - improvers, and of those 
critics who calmly suffer such practices instead 
of putting their influence to right use by 
decrying the vandalism ? Is there a painter 
living who would dare to take an old master 
whose colouring appears to him a little faded 
and " touch him up " by adding a little red 
here and a little yellow there, and exhibit the 
work as an improvement ? 

Poor Music, Cinderella of the Muses ! In 
later years my experience as a teacher has 
confirmed me in my conviction that music is 
the art which suffers more than any of her 
sisters from the fact of so many people dabbling, 
not so much in the execution as in the teaching 
of it. Take, for instance, singing. Who would 
dream of taking lessons in painting from a man 
who can't paint ? And yet there are successful 
teachers of singing — successful, I mean, in so far 
as they have plenty of pupils — who cannot sing 
and whose claim to a knowledge of the art is 
often found to be resting solely on the fact 
of their having at some time or other acted 
as accompanists to famous teachers or singers 
whose ways and means they have thus learned 
to know. 



XII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 179 

Wie er sich rauspert und wie er spuckt, 
Das hat er ihm gliicklich abgeguckt — 

says Goethe. 

How he clears his throat and expectorates. 
That he has noted and imitates. 

But to return to Manchester : my first 
appearance there took place at one of the old- 
established " Gentlemen's Concerts," a rather 
strange designation seeing that, as everywhere, 
here, too, the ladies in the audience by far 
outnumbered the men. My being asked to 
sing there seems to have been something of a 
particular compliment, for I have before me a 
letter 'from Joachim, written from the Adelphi 
Hotel, Liverpool, in which he says : " These 
concerts being as a rule only instrumental — 
this time Halle, Piatti, and myself the execut- 
ants — ^the fact of the committee, at Halle's sug- 
gestion, being willing to go to the extra expense 
is a special acknowledgment of your art. I 
hope, therefore, you will accept i^he offer and 
telegraph a ' Yes ' to Halle. . . . And now let 
me tell you how deeply I rejoice in your success 
in London. In my artistic career nothing 
more agreeable can happen to me than seeing 
you — inwardly and outwardly — reach higher 
and ever higher steps. ..." Of course I 
accepted, and Manchester became, musically, 



180 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xii 

a second London to me. That " Gentlemen's 
Concert " was not long afterwards followed 
by a performance, in the great Free Trade Hall, 
of Mendelssohn's oratorio of St. Paul, under 
Halle's conductorship, and it was at that 
performance I made my first appearance in 
oratorio before an English audience. I still 
have the copy of the Novello edition of the 
vocal score, with the words of the part of 
St. Paul pencilled in, phonetically spelled, for 
I wanted my pronunciation to be as nearly 
perfect as possible. Needless to say, I was 
somewhat nervous before the performance ; 
but imagine my feelings when on the morning 
after it I opened the leading Manchester paper, 
for which, as I afterwards learned, the late 
George Broadfleld wrote the articles on Music, 
and read a comment on my performance, the 
giving of which here will, I trust, not be mis- 
interpreted. I have made my last bow as a 
singer some time ago, and if I publish Mr. 
Broadfield's eulogy after a lapse of nearly forty 
years, when there can be no question of any 
material benefit accruing to me from doing so, 
it is because the article shows the remarkable 
sincerity, independence, and impartiality of the 
writer, then personally unknown to me, and 
also because its consequences had a decided 
influence on my career in England. 



XII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 181 

" Of the singing of Herr Henschel," it runs, " we 
cannot possibly speak too highly, and we question 
whether a finer display of finished dramatic singing 
has been heard during this generation. . . . 

" His success last night was something more than 
a musical triumph. In the great scene of the con- 
version, perhaps the most thrilling number of the 
oratorio, Herr Henschel's delivery will never be for- 
gotten by those who had the good fortune to hear it. 
One realized the humiliation and abasement of the 
repentant zealot in the half-murmured, grief-stricken 
cry, ' Lord, who art Thou ? ' Then came the more 
prayerful entreaty, ' Lord, what wilt Thou have me 
do ? ' Gradually hope tempered despair, and the 
great air, ' O God have mercy,' was a masterpiece of 
consimimate art and intensely devotional singing. . . . 

" If space permitted we might dwell on all other 
songs and recitatives in which Herr Henschel last 
night proved himself one of the greatest of living 
singers." 

I confess I was deeply touched by so much 
kindness. Was it to be wondered at that my 
love for England and the English grew apace ? 

Soon I had to add the oratorios of Elijah, 
Messiah, Judas Maccabaeus, Belshazzar, 
Samson, Saul, Theodora, and others to my 
repertoire, among the " others " being one, 
Rossini's Moses in Egypt, which really was 
an opera. Bibhcal subjects, however, being 
then still banished from the theatrical stage, 
Sir Michael Costa, an enthusiastic admirer of 
Rossini's music, considered the work sufSficiently 



182 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xii 

religious for an oratorio, and as such introduced 
it to the English public. Containing in most 
of the choruses and the famous " Moses' 
Prayer " indeed some of Rossini's finest music, 
it proved a great success, and had quite a 
"run." Edward Lloyd's luscious voice and 
" bel canto " style were particularly suited to 
the beautiful arias allotted to the tenor, whilst 
it was Sir Michael's particular pleasure to make 
Santley and me alternate at different perform- 
ances in the fine bass-parts of Moses and the 
King. 

Twice my professional engagements took 
me to Ireland, in the ordinary fashion, and on 
one of these two occasions it was an engage- 
ment — or, to be quite accurate, an impending 
one — of a different sort which took me from 
there in a manner extraordinary, that is to 
say, one generally reserved for persons of either 
Royal birth or Royal incomes, viz. by special 
train. This, needless to say, unique experience 
in my life came about in the following way : 
One Tuesday night in November 1879, I 
had to sing the Elijah in Belfast, and on the 
Thursday of the same week was due in Man- 
chester for a performance under Halle, at 
which performance my pupil, Miss Bailey, 
was to sing the soprano part. My dear friends, 
Mr. and Mrs. Koeeher, whose never-to-be- 



XII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 183 

forgotten hospitality I invariably jenjoyed when 
in that city, had on this occasion asked that 
young lady too to stay with them at their 
beautiful home in Victoria Park. The re- 
hearsal to Jvdas Maccabaeus was to take place 
on the morning of Thursday, the day of the 
performance. There being at that time no 
express train from Belfast to London except 
at fo\ir o'clock in the afternoon, I could 
not, according to the time-tables, have left 
the Irish city, after Tuesday's performance, 
before Wednesday afternoon, arriving in Man- 
chester in the early morning of Thursday, a 
thought which made me feel very uncomfort- 
able all during the first part of Elijah. I 
would have given much to be able to leave 
Belfast after the performance that night, and 
gradually, as the time for the half-hour's 
interval between the first and second parts of 
the oratorio approached, that " I would give 
much " had developed into " I wonder how 
much I'd have to give." The moment con- 
ductor, soloists, and orchestra had left the 
stage for the refreshment interval, I rushed 
to a member of the committee with the 
question, " Can you give me an idea of what a 
special train to Kingstown would cost ? " 
The man must have thought me momentarily 
demented, but after a while said, " I am sorry, 



184 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xii 

no . . . but . . . one of the Directors of the 
Railway Company is singing in the chorus . . , 
wait a moment, I will get him." " What luck," 
I thought. Five minutes later I was in deep 
conversation with that gentleman, who as an 
answer to the same question mentioned, alas, 
an impossible sum. I was on the point of most 
sadly resigning myself to my fate and giving 
up all hope, when a sudden inspiration made 
me ask further, " Is there no point on the line 
of the night- express from Londonderry to 
Kingstown at which, by leaving here after the 
concert, I could catch and join that train ? " 
(It will be seen that I had studied my map very 
carefully !) A minute or two of silence on the 
part of the gentleman and anxious suspense 
on mine, and then he exclaimed : "I say, for 
a foreigner you are remarkably sharp — yes, 
the express passes through Portadown at 
1 A.M. By leaving Belfast at midnight you 
could be there at 12.45, and I would telegraph 
at once orders to have the train stopped to 
pick you up." I grew more and more excited. 
" How much ? " I asked. And to my great 
joy the answer was so eminently and surpris- 
ingly satisfactory that the bargain was con- 
cluded then and there. The bell, advising us 
of the end of the interval, sounded. " All 
right," my benefactor said, " good-bye, or — 



XII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 185 

no — au revoir — I shall be there," and two 
minutes later I was in my seat on the platform, 
a happy man, especially when the contralto 
Angel got up and sang, " Arise, Elijah, for 
thou hast a long journey before thee." " Yes," 
I thought, " and in about two hours I am 
going to start on it," and if the first words of 
my answering recitative, " Oh Lord, in vain 
I have laboured," did not perhaps ring quite 
as true as usual, the fault was to be laid to the 
accommodating courtesy of that obliging 
Director of the North of Ireland Railway. 
At a quarter to eleven I was at my hotel. 
" Bring me some oysters, please, bread and 
butter, and a pint of stout, I am leaving for 
London." " There's no train, sir." " Never 
mind, I am leaving, I shall be in the coffee- 
room in fifteen minutes." " Very well, sir," 
said the puzzled waiter, shaking his head. 
The changing into my travelling clothes and 
the packing of my valise were accomplished in 
a marvellously short time ; during my little, 
much -relished supper a railway official pre- 
sented me with the bill for the special train, 
which I paid (I have it still), and at 11.50 I 
was at the station, usually at that time closed 
and in utter darkness, but now lighted up, 
and my train, consisting of an engine and a 
first-class carriage, drawn up on the platform. 



186 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xii 

I chatted a few minutes with my friend, the 
Director, and punctually at midnight the 
little train steamed out of the station. Throw- 
ing myself into the cushions of my compart- 
ment I actually laughed aloud with pleasure 
at the thought of my success and in anticipation 
of the surprise of my dear friends in Victoria 
Villa, where — after being royally received by 
the stationmaster at Portadown, who had been 
telegraphically apprised of my arrival, and 
promptly conveyed by him to the express for 
Kingstown — I safely arrived on Wednesday 
afternoon, an hour before their other guest. 
Perhaps the most amusing part of the adven- 
ture was the fact that my extravagance paid 
itself by the utterly unpremeditated advertise- 
ment it had given me, the papers of the 
following day concluding their comment on the 
performance by the news that " Herr Henschel 
left for Manchester by special train last night 
after the performance of Elijah." 

Of the fact that Herr Henschel's grandeur 
was of only forty-five minutes' duration, there 
was no mention. 

In the year 1880 an event of extraordinary 
interest roused the Musical World of England 
to an unusually high pitch of excitement. 
Halle, who had long cherished the plan of 
introducing Berlioz's masterpiece. La Damna- 



XII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 187 

Hon de Faust, to English audiences, had at last 
definitely decided to do so, his daughter 
Marie having prepared an excellent and most 
singable version, afterwards published by 
Chappells, of the original text, a literary and 
musical achievement which no later translators 
have, in my opinion, succeeded in improving 
upon. The soloists : charming Mary Davies, 
splendid Edward Lloyd, and Mr. Hilton and 
myself, received the parts of Margaret, Faust, 
Brander and Mephisto respectively, in plenty 
of time to become thoroughly familiar with 
the music, whilst Halle, assisted by his faithful 
lieutenant, Edward Hecht, the chorus-master, 
held innumerable practices with orchestra and 
chorus. On the 5th of February a huge 
audience, filling the vast Free Trade Hall in 
Manchester to its utmost capacity, acclaimed 
the eccentric Frenchman's chef-d'oeume with 
an enthusiasm which must have amply repaid 
dear Halle for the endless trouble he had taken 
in the preparation of the work, and been a 
source to him of the keenest gratification to 
the end of his long and successful career. A 
second performance followed, almost immedi- 
ately, and a year later, in 1881, Halle took his 
whole band and chorus to London, where, at 
St, James's Hall, with the same cast of soloists, 
the work met with equal success. The English 



188 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xii 

vocal score once published, other towns soon 
took up the work, the popularity of which has 
been almost unprecedented in this country. 
And no wonder. Quite apart from the con- 
summate skill in the handling of all his resources, 
which one is justified in expecting from a master 
like Berlioz, and from the originality and 
humour that are peculiarly his own, the work, 
above all, abounds in a depth of feeling, which, 
having its seat far down in the heart, can, in 
music, only find utterance in melody. 

Take, for instance, that sweet Easter hymn, 
the sounds of which are reaching Faust's ears 
from the neighbouring cathedral just at the 
moment when, utterly despairing of life, he 
raises to his lips the poison-cup that is to put 
an end to it. 

Why here in dust, 

he exclaims, 

entice me with your spell, 
Ye gentle, powerful sounds of Heaven ? 
Peal rather there where tender natures dwell — 
Your messages I hear, but. faith has not been given. 

But the sacred strains continuing conjure up 
in him the "memory of innocent childhood and 
youth, his slowly melting heart no longer feels 
strong enough to resist their appeal — ^he re- 
pents, and with the words : 



XII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 189 

Sound on, ye Hymns of Heaven, so sweet and mild — 
My tears gush forth : the Earth takes back her child ! ^ 

the cup drops from his hand. 

The music here, especially towards the end, 
when Faust's voice soars higher and higher 
in vmison with the melody of the distant 
chorus, is of such transcendent beauty and 
fervour, that the man who can hear it without 
being stirred to the innermost recesses of his 
soul must indeed be " fit for treasons, stratagems, 
and spoils. . . . Let no such man be trusted." 
And, to mention only one more of the in- 
numerable beauties of the score, that wonderful, 
mystic setting — the finest extant — of the Song 
of the King of Thule ! Old father Haydn 
says somewhere, " A really new minuet I value 
more than any amount of contrapuntal 
craftiness." For minuet I would substitute 
" melody." To say that music without melody 
is like a flower without scent, would. only partly 
express what I feel about it, for a scentless 
flower may still be a beautiful thing to look at. 
To me music without melody simply isn't 
music at all and if, when speaking of the first 
performance of the Ring at Bayreuth I ven- 
tured to confess to being bored by those 
endless monologues and tedious argumentative 

1 I have given Bayard Taylor's literal translation of Goethe's 
original. 



190 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xii 

duets, in Siegfried for instance, I do not 
hesitate to go further and, at the risk, I fear, 
of shocking some of my readers, to declare that 
there are passages even in the much-looked- 
down-upon earUer works of Verdi, hke, " O 
mia regina " in Don Carlos, or " Eri tu " in 
Ballo in Maschera, for which I'd give whole 
pages of the Nibelunge. 

The splendid, sometimes terrific part of 
Mephisto suited me to perfection, and rare 
were the occasions when I was able to refuse 
a repetition of that fascinating, sardonic 
serenade, " Dear Kath'rine, why to the door of 
thy Lover . . ." 



XIII 

It would have been strange if my growing 
success in oratorio had not called forth a 
repetition, for a while, of anonymous invitations 
of the "go -back -and -dig -potatoes" sortj but 
it was too late now ; I was safely and definitely 
settled in the land I had grown to love and 
which, after having sworn allegiance to Her 
Most Gracious Majesty, I was, with the excep- 
tion of the three winters of my conductorship 
of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, of which 
later, never to leave again. 

My speaking of England as the land I had 
grown to love recalls to my mind a very neat 
and rather courageous thing a dear friend of 
mine, the late John S. Bergheim, once did in 
London. He was in every respect a remark- 
able man. Of extraordinary intellect and ver- 
satility and, though a business man, — and an 
excellent one — equally keen on horticulture, 
science, art, photography (a lens he invented 
some years ago is to-day known as the Bergheim 
lens), he did whatever he undertook with his 

191 



192 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiii 

whole soul. Being also an ardent politician 
and a very eloquent speaker, he considered it 
his duty and made it his business at election 
times to attend meetings of the opposite party 
— he was a strong Unionist — and heckle the 
speakers, not infrequently with the desired 
effect. 

On one of these occasions he was making 
a very strong attack on some of the principles 
expounded by the speaker of the evening, 
when some one in the body of the hall angrily 
called out to him, " Sit down, you are not an 
Englishman ! " Bergheim, who happened to 
have been born in Jerusalem, but long natural- 
ized, imperturbably asked the gentleman 
kindly to repeat what he had said. " You 
are not an Englishman," the man said again. 
" Would you mind," replied Bergheim, " coming 
up to the platform and saying it once more 
from here ? For I have something to say to 
you." Doggedly the man — a working man — 
made his way through the crowd to the plat- 
form and, confronting Bergheim, said for the 
third time, " You are not an Englishman." 
" Well," shouted Bergheim, " let me tell you, 
/ am more of an Englishman than you are." 
Uproar of indignation, which having subsided, 
Bergheim continued : " You could not help 
being an Englishman, you were horn one. / 



xin MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 193 

have chosen to be an Englishman, for after 
having travelled all over the globe and knowing 
the world from one end to another, I found 
there is no better, no freer, no more beautiful 
land for a man to live in than England." 

This time the uproar was one of approval 
and delight, amidst which the man confusedly 
returned to his seat and Bergheim was allowed 
to continue. 

When some years later Bergheim asked me 
to accompany him and his wife on one of their 
annual journeys — ^that year it was to be 
Tunis and Algeria — I accepted the invitation 
with all the greater alacrity, knowing how so 
desirable an experience as seeing new worlds 
and new people would be rendered doubly 
enjoyable by the companionship of a friend 
as interesting and stimulating as Bergheim. 

" To stroll with you. Sir Doctor, flatters," 
as Goethe makes Wagner say to Faust, " 'tis 
honour, yea, and profit too." Bergheim's 
knowledge, moreover, of the language of the 
places we were going to visit, promised par- 
ticular privileges and, indeed, stood us in 
good stead on several occasions, two of which, 
the one amusing, the other awful and alarming 
to a degree, were, I think, sufficiently out of 
the common to be recorded in these pages. 

It was in Tunis. With the intention of 

o 



194 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiii 

strolling through the streets on the morning 
after our arrival, on our way to the famous 
bazaar, we had hardly left our hotel when we 
were accosted by a picturesque Arab in white 
tunic and flowing pink burnous, a tall, hand- 
some young beggar who, perceiving we were 
sight-seeing foreigners, doggedly importuned 
us to employ him as a cicerone for the day. 
He followed us like a shadow, reiterating his 
petition with every step, and nothing we could 
do would make him leave us alone, a most 
annojdng performance. Our " imshee, im- 
shee," meaning, " go away," — a word I had 
learned among the first, having been apprised 
of its particular value to travellers in those 
parts — ^was of no avail, though repeated in 
ever louder voice and quicker succession ; the 
rascal stuck to us, and the nuisance was growing 
more unbearable with every minute. At last 
Bergheim turned to me saying, " Now watch 
me and see what'U happen," and, all of a 
sudden, after the next solicitation, approaching 
close to and fixing his large and penetrating 
eyes upon the terrified fellow, he poured over 
him a volley of Arabic words with a rapidity 
as if he had never spoken any other language 
in his life. The effect was instantaneous and 
reaUy indescribably funny. 

For a moment the Arab, perfectly stimned. 



xiii MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 195 

looked at Bergheim with staring eyes and 
wide-open mouth ; then, stooping to the 
ground, he gathered, with a quick movement, 
the hem of his cloak into both his hands and 
off he went, running, rxmning, looking neither 
to right nor left, as if pursued by the Devil. 
And then Bergheim told us. The magic words 
had been one of those fearful Arabic oaths in 
which aspersions of the gravest and most 
damaging kind are cast oh aU the female 
members of the culprit's family, from the 
great-grandmother downwards, and he himself 
consigned to a place compared to which our 
Eiu-opean Hell would seem a sort of comfortable 
paradise. When a few hours later we emerged 
from the bazaar into an open square, we actually 
saw the fellow still on the run, far off — he had 
evidently spied us in the distance. 

Difficult as it was to tear ourselves away 
from the fascinations of Tunis, of which the 
bazaar, acknowledged to be, also architectur- 
ally, one of the finest in the world, proved the 
most alluring — ^never, for instance, had I seen 
such a wealth of beautiful siUc fabrics before — 
" Time," alas, " robbed us of our joy " at last, 
and we had to go ; not, however, before having 
spent a memorable day in Carthage. Carthage ! 
What a peciitiar sensation it gives one to find 
oneself for the first time on groxmd the 



196 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiii 

history of which, dating back to centuries 
before Christ, deals with personages almost 
mythical and whose, according to schoolboys' 
ideas, wholly unnecessary names it had been 
a most tedious task to learn by heart along 
with the dates. I could hardly realize that 
in the nains before me I was actually beholding 
the result of Cato's persistent "Ceterum censeo," 
and that whilst walking over the site of the 
ancient Byrsa, the citadel of Dido, I might for 
all I knew be accidentally stepping on a piece 
of that lady's artfully accommodating cowhide ! 
Constantine, too, where our itinerary called 
for a day's halt on our way to Biskra, proved 
to be well worth the two we decided devoting 
to it, on account not only of its richness in 
ancient relics and especially well preserved 
Roman remains — after Pompey's fa;ll the city 
surrendered to Julius Caesar and his allies — 
but also of its situation, which is one of the 
most splendid imaginable. Standing partly on 
the slope and partly on the summit of a hill 
commanding a magnificent view across the vast 
fertile valley, the town is almost entirely built 
on rocks innumerable, varying in height from 
three hundred to a thousand feet, separated 
from each other by nature in the shape of 
narrow gorges and ravines, and connected on 
the top by man, that is to say bridged over by 



XIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 197 

hundreds of little gangways. Moreover, it was 
here where, owing to Bergheim's familiarity 
with the language of the country, we had the 
second of the two experiences I will now 
endeavour to describe. 

Arriving at Constantine on a Thursday we 
were delighted to find that by a happy chance 
we had come in the right week, almost on the 
right day to witness — ^if indeed we should be 
fortunate to gain admittance, a most difficult 
task we were told — ^the performances of that 
strange sect of fanatics, the Aissa-Ouas, who 
held their mysterious seances only once a 
fortnight, on Fridays. No arrangements could 
be made beforehand, so, trusting to the good 
luck which so far had not failed us, we set out 
on the Friday night, after a hasty supper — not 
wanting to be a minute late — for the place of 
the orgies indicated to us by the landlord and 
which, having once entered the precincts of 
the native quarter, we had no difficulty in 
locating from the low, threatening tumult of 
voices, more like that of wild animals than of 
human beings, mixed with the noise of high- 
pitched drums and weird, monotonous chanting 
that reached our ears, increasing with every 
step that brought us nearer to it. We wondered 
what it could be like inside if already yards 
away we felt every nerve strangely excited. 



198 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiii 

At last, in a narrow, dirty little side street we 
came to some broad stone steps leading to 
what looked like a mosque, and at the top of 
them there stood a very heavy, beturbaned 
Arab who, greatly to our discomfort, gave us 
to understand, in French, that there were too 
many of us, pointing to two other foreigners 
standing behind us, apparently on the same 
quest. He seemed determined on that point, 
and disinclined to listen to our entreaties, 
until Bergheim had an inspiration. Addressing 
him in his own tongue he promised him, in 
case of our admission, a sum of money for the 
benefit of the institution, and the result was 
instantaneous. The man told Bergheim, in 
Arabic, he would let us in if we came back in 
about a quarter of an hour, and then, in French, 
pretending to be immovable, turned us all 
away, including the two strangers. After 
having made sure of the latter having safely 
left the quarter, we returned and, Bergheim 
dropping the money "for the institution " into 
the doorkeeper's hand, were allowed to set 
foot in the sanctum. We four — I omitted to 
mention that a charming mutual lady friend, 
alas, like dear Bergheim, no more among us, had 
made up our little partie carree from the first — 
and a French officer were the only " un- 
believers " among the fearful crowd inside. 



XIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 199 

As we entered we faced a large court, ending in 
a semicircle and surmounted by a high cupola 
from which was suspended a large, many-armed 
chandelier, whilst two candelabra stood between 
the columns on the line between the large 
court and the two adjoining smaller ones on 
the right and left. In the middle court there 
were crouching four old Arabs, each with a little 
drum between his knees and a small cauldron 
with glowing coals before him, over which, from 
time to time, they warmed the skin of the drum 
to keep it taut. Around those four, also sitting 
on the floor with their legs crossed, were from 
fifteen to t^venty young men, all dressed in 
white and turbaned like the rest. It was from 
those the chanting noise we had heard in the 
street, emanated. They were " singing " at 
the top of their shrill voices passages from the 
Koran, paying no heed to time or pitch, every 
one as Jie Usted, whilst the drums unceasingly 
and in perfect rhythm repeated the one phrase 
that approached anything like music : — 



Against the wall of the left aisle were leaning, 
in an upright position, shoulder to shoulder, 
and swaying to and fro like the pendulum of a 
clock, to the rhythm of the drums, a motley 



200 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiii 

crowd of Arabs, Moors, Negroes from the 
Soudan, Bedouins, and Kabyles ; every now 
and then the outer door would be thrown open 
and a new addition to the number of fanatics 
press his form between two links of the sway- 
ing human chain and join in the movement, 
desirous of becoming one of the elect, as will be 
seen presently. In the right aisle, under a sort 
of canopy, was sitting on an elevation a tall, 
silent, serious man of great age, with a long 
beard and in the beautifully draped, rich robe 
of a priest, two younger men, equally silent and 
serious, standing immovably beside him on the 
floor. At the feet of the priest there stood a 
mysterious-looking wooden chest with finely 
wrought brass corners. Louder and louder, 
quicker and quicker grew the noise of the 
drums and the chanting, and from the moving 
mass of the men on the wall of the left aisle, 
describing ever -larger half-circles with their 
bodies, there ■ commenced to issue deep sighs 
and groans, ever increasing in frequency and 
force until the whole building resounded as 
with the agonized moans of souls in the torment 
of hell-fire, more terrifying almost than what 
was to come. At last the climax seemed to 
be reached. From the line of the entrance there 
broke away a handsome youth of about sixteen, 
and, rushing past us, and halting before the 



XIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 201 

priest, made him, with outstretched arms, a 
low obeisance, which the latter acknowledged 
by a slow, benignant bend of his head. The 
boy then, turning quickly round and with his 
back to the priest, firmly, almost defiantly 
planted himself on the floor, his legs somewhat 
apart, his arms crossed over his chest and his 
head slightly thrown back. One of the two 
assistants then divested him of turban and 
jacket, — ^the boy was a Kabyle, — ^whilst the 
other ceremoniously opened the casket, with- 
drawing from it some sharp-pointed darts of 
considerable length. On the boy opening wide 
his mouth the man took two of the darts, and 
with them, to our horror, slowly pierced, from 
the inside out, both cheeks of the boy, who 
showed no sign of discomfort or pain whatever 
—--there was, strangely enough, no blood visible 
— ^but smilingly turning to the priest made 
another obeisance, after which, with the daggers 
in his cheeks, he danced in perfect joy and 
happiness across the middle court back to the 
other side. We were of course dumbfounded, 
but had no time to reflect on what we had seen, 
for almost immediately there came another 
young man offering himself for sacrifice. Being 
somewhat older and stronger than his pre- 
decessor, he had not only his cheeks pierced 
by four darts, two in each, but also his tongue 



202 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiii 

and, above the Adam's apple, the skin of his 
throat, after which operations he, too, with the 
six darts sticking out of him Uke the spines of 
a porcupine, danced back in bliss sublime. He 
was followed by a third, subjected to increased 
torture, sought and borne with equal joyous- 
ness, and we considered ourselves by that time 
qmte hardened, when an unearthly yell made 
us reaUse the rashness of the thought. It was 
a yell not of pain, but of transcendent, frantic 
joy, and issued from the next enthusiast who, 
evidently not content with the gratification 
those poor eight or ten darts in every part of 
his head could afford him, had taken hold of a 
substantial dagger, was now placing its point 
into the corner of his right eye, and making it 
move rapidly by rubbing the handle between 
the palms of his hands, caused the eye to bulge 
out of its socket — a fearful, sickening sight — 
all the while shouting and dancing and laugh- 
ing, — I was going to say like a madman, but 
there was no " likeness " about it, it was the 
real thing. Imagine all these things going on 
to the exasperatingly relentless accompaniment 
of voices and drums, and in an atmosphere 
growing more and more stifling and objection- 
able. I think we were about ready to go, and 
only waiting for an opportunity of doing so 
unobserved, when the anticipation of the next 



xni MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 203 

" act," by seeing one of the attendants take 
out a formidable scimitar, whilst an expectant 
victim was stripped to the waist /by the otl^er, 
and a consequent look at our ladies, who 
appeared in imminent need of smelling-salts, 
prompted us to dispense with ceremony, and, 
observed or no, a minute later — ^fortunately 
we had been sitting near the exit — ^we breathed 
a sigh of relief as the door of the Inferno closed 
behind us and we found ourselves once more 
under the deep blue dome of Heaven, " clad 
in the beauty of a thousand stars." 

That night, at the hotel — I always was fond 
of experimenting — I borrowed a good-sized 
needle from the chambermaid, and forced it 
through the skin of my left thumb above the 
nail : it didn't hurt a bit. 

The morning following we left, and the 
absorbingly interesting journey, by rail, from 
Constantine to Biskra, made us soon forget the 
nightmare of the evening before, in the thought 
of actually being on the way to the Sahara ! 
I envied those double-headed heraldic eagles ; 
to have been able to look out of both windows 
at the same time would have been a great 
advantage; though, as it was, the constant 
jumping from one side of the compartment to 
the other, so as not to lose any of the sights we 
were passing, as for instance the colossal, cone- 



204 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiii 

shaped tomb of the ancient Numidian kings, 
or some flamingos by the lakes near Yagout, 
proved a very welcome and wholesome exercise. 
The nearer we approached to the end of our 
journey the finer the landscape seemed to be- 
come and the greater our excitement ; and just 
before El Kantara was reached, we felt, even 
if our guide-book had not prepared us for it, 
that something woiiderful was soon to happen. 
Slowly and laboriously our train was wending 
its way through the ever-narrowing gorge. On 
the right and left huge rocky heights, from out 
of a recess in which that most graceful of 
animals, the timid, lovely gazelle would cast a 
frightened glance on us before bolting into a 
place of greater safety ; now and then a little 
bridge over a rushing river, banked by palm- 
trees and oleanders, and now, with surprising 
suddenness the great Sahara burst into view, 
bathed in glorious sunshine. Another hour of 
exqmsite sights, the rose and orange Aures 
mountains in the distance, dense forests of 
huge date-palms in the foregroimd, and the 
Queen of the Desert, as the Arabs call Biskra, 
was reached. 

Arriving only a few minutes before sunset, 
we did not even stop to superintend the dis- 
tribution of our various trunks and valises 
into the rooms they were to go to, but im- 



XIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 205 

mediately rushed up the three flights of stairs 
to the flat roof of our hotel, a fine, arcaded 
building in the purest Moorish style, and 
higher still, to the gallery of the minaret which 
gracefully rises from it. We should have been 
more than satisfied and happy with the over- 
whelmingly beautiful view on which our eyes 
feasted — ^unable to utter a word we merely 
looked at each other wonder-struck — ^but, as 
luck would have it, we had hit on the last day 
of the races, usually celebrated by what is 
known as a " Fantasia." There they came 
at full gallop, the Kaids with the elite of the 
different tribes, each tribe under its own colour, 
mounted on their spirited, gaily caparisoned 
horses, with silver-and-gold-embroidered saddles 
and broad stirrups, the riders in their flow- 
ing coloured cloaks all the while discharging 
their guns and carbines into the air to their 
hearts' content, for there's nothing the Arab 
loves more than that, the deepening red of the 
setting sun throwing a magic glow over the 
scene — ^it was actually living in a fairy-tale, as 
indeed every day of that memorable journey 
seemed to me. The market-place, covered with 
all sorts of merchandise spread out on the 
ground before the crouching sellers and alive 
with a white-robed, turbaned crowd — the call 
to prayer by the Muezzin at sunrise and sunset 



206 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiii 

from the four corners of the minaret — ^the 
Moorish cafes in the evening with those hand- 
some, naughty Ouled-Nail dancing-girls in their 
gorgeous costumes and jewels, who when they 
get a silver or gold coin have a way of blowing 
on it and, with a quick movement, making it 
stick to their foreheads, which sometimes are 
completely decked with them — ^the witnessing 
of the starting of a Caravan, an event of which 
one is apprised by the unearthly noises issuing 
from the throats of refractory camels refusing 
to be laden — ^the passing of a regiment of 
Spahis, looking every one of them a sultan — ^the 
wonderful garden of the Chateau Landon with 
its acres of flowers and specimen trees and 
shrubs of all chmes, which an army of gardeners 
keep in so distressingly neat a state of order 
that actually not a stray leaf blown on to the 
paths is allowed to remain for a moment 
(labour must be cheap in Biskra) — ^the visit, in 
a carriage, to Sidi Okba, with its venerable 
mosque, considered to be the oldest Moham- 
medan building in Africa, and the school 
attached to it where we for a minute attended 
a Koran class — one impression chasing the other 
in infinite variety. Not, however, being a 
poet, I shall spare my readers a recital of 
details, which from my pen would, I fear, be 
no better than, or perhaps even, more likely 



XIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 207 

not as good as a page from a Practical Guide 
for Travellers. So I take leave of bewitching 
Biskra, and from among the rich store of sub- 
sequent incidents select only one more. 

On my first stroll through the streets of 
Algiers, whither we went from Biskra and 
where we made a prolonged stay, I experienced 
the rare joy of suddenly getting a whiff of the 
beloved Scottish Highlands, which tended to 
increase in me the feeling of which, amid all 
the date-palms and rubber -trees and cedars 
and olives I had been conscious from time to 
time during the journey — a perfect longing for 
the sight of a Scotch fir, the scent of heather 
and bracken. In the main street of the 
European quarter, over a grocer's shop, what 
should I read but the name " Macpherson " ! 
Needless to say I rushed in, almost embracing 
the proud bearer of it, and buying a lot of 
things I didn't in the least want. He knew the 
neighbourhood of my home in Inverness-shire, 
and we had a beautiful time together. He did 
an excellent business on week-days, and on 
Stmdays was the beadle of the dear little 
Scottish Church in Mustapha Superieur, where, 
on the Stmday following, I presided at the 
organ, and, " leading the praise," singing the 
dear familiar hymns and psalms, I felt like the 
prodigal son come home. And now. Good-bye 



208 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiii 

to the land of Arabian Nights. I took away 
with me a wealth of exquisite, unfading 
memories. Nay, more; for, hardly credible 
as it may seem, even those few weeks among 
the Arabs — I made a point of not only watching 
them, but also talking to many of those who 
could speak French — have actually made a 
difference in my way of looking at life. The 
Arab impressed me as wonderfully indifferent 
to outside influences, quite unconsciously self- 
contained. Being a strong believer, in the true 
religious sense of the word, he thinks of his soul 
more than of his body, and the soul being 
always with him, it does not seem to matter 
with him where his body might happen to be. 
Hence, for instance, the utter absence of any- 
thing like hurry. (True, our friend in Tunis 
did rim, but his hurry was, not to get anywhere, 
but rather the opposite, to run away from what 
he must have thought the fiend incarnate.) It 
is really amusing to see the leisurely way of an 
Arab walking behind his ass with a load on the 
animal's back, evidently not caring in the least 
if he reach his destination to-day, to-morrow, 
or the day after. He thinks, " What does it 
matter where I am — I am here." It really has 
taught me quite a good. deal. Things that 
would have annoyed or irritated me before, I now 
almost always succeed in shaking off with the 



XIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 209 

thought, " What of it ? What does it matter ? " 
And as to running to catch a train or a bus — I 
never do that now, I simply wait for the next. 
But nothing, I think, gives a better illustration 
of the Arab character than the famous letter 
written years ago by a Kaid in whose province 
and among whose tribe a British diplomatist 
had been residing for a considerable period. 
The letter may probably be known to some 
of my readers, but those to whom it is new, 
wiU no doubt rehsh the reading of it more than, 
in all probability, its recipient did at the time. 

The Enghshman, intending to write a book 
about the Arabs, and particularly the district 
in which he had been living, wrote to his good 
friend, the Kaid, asking him to be good enough 
to supply him with certain information regard- 
ing the history and statistics of the place, and 
this was the Arab chief's answer : 

My Illustrious Friend and Joy of my Liver — 

The thing you ask of me is both difficult and 
useless. Although I have passed all my days in 
this place I have neither counted the houses nor have 
I inquired into the number of the inhabitants ; and 
as to what one person loads on his mules, and the 
other stows away in the bottom of his boat, that is 
no business of mine. But, above all, as to the previous 
history of this city, God only knows the amount of 
dirt and confusion that the Infidels may have eaten 
before the coming of the sword of Islam. It were 

P 



210 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiii 

unprofitable for us to inquire into it. O my soul ! 
O my Iamb ! seek not after the things which concern 
thee not. Thou earnest unto us and we welcomed 
thee : Go in peace. 

Of a truth thou hast spoken many words, and there 
is no harm done, for the speaker is one and the listener 
is another. After the fashion of thy people thou 
hast wandered from one place to another, until thou 
art happy and content in none. We (praise be to 
God) were bom here, and never desire to quit it. Is 
it possible, then, that the idea of a general intercourse 
between mankind should make any impression on 
our understandings ? God forbid ! 

Listen, O my son ! There is no wisdom equal 
unto the belief in God ! He created the world : and 
shall we liken ourselves unto Him in seeking to 
penetrate into the mysteries of His creation ? Shall 
we say, Behold this star spinneth around that star, 
and this other star with a tail goeth and cometh in 
so many years ? Let it go ! He, from whose hand 
it came, will guide and direct it. 

But thou wilt say unto me. Stand aside, O man, 
for I am more learned than thou art, and have seen 
more things. If thou thinkest that thou art in this 
respect better than I am, thou art welcome. I praise 
God that I seek not that which I require not. Thou 
art learned in the things I care not for ; and as for 
that which thou hast seen, I pour confusion on it. 
Will much knowledge create thee a double belly, or 
wilt thou seek paradise with thine eyes ? 

O my friend ! If thou wilt be happy, say. There 
is no God but God ! Do no evil, and thus wilt thou 
fear neither man nor death ; for surely thine hour 
will come ! The meek in spirit {el Fakir). 

Imaum Ali Zade. ' 



XIV 

During one of my earliest visits to Liverpool I 
remember meeting at a dinner-party a young 
married woman whose fine Roman features 
and fiery eyes unmistakably betrayed talent 
and enthusiasm. Whether for art or literature 
I could not know, having never seen her before, 
but was hardly surprised when after dinner 
she told me of her passionate love of music. 
She wondered if I would care to hear her 
sing, which, on the following day, I did. She 
sang Brahms' Von ewiger Liebe, and, on my 
expressing my delight at the beautiful quality 
of her voice and the true musicianly feeling of 
her rendering of the song, asked me if I would 
teach her. Needless to say, I only too readily 
and gladly agreed ; the lady came to London 
soon afterwards, and " Marie Brema," the name, 
now famous, by which she elected to be pro- 
fessionally known, became one of my first pupils 
in England. 

The season of 1878-79 was a particularly 
prosperous one in business circles. There had 

211 



212 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiv 

been what I think is called a " boom " — ^huge 
fortunes were made in a short time and private 
palaces sprang up in the neighbourhood of Hyde 
Park like mushrooms. One tells of one of those 
multi-millionaires being informed by the land- 
lord's agent that the cost of his proposed house 
must not be below twenty thousand pounds, 
and politely replying that that was just the 
sum he intended spending on his stables. At 
one of those house-warming parties I remember 
being present. The spacious hall and lofty 
staircase of the beautiful though perhaps a 
httle too luxurious house were conspicuous by 
an extraordinarily large number of niches, 
destined probably at some future time to 
receive statues executed by the first sculptors 
of the day. On that occasion all those niches 
were filled with a profusion of the most lovely 
roses, a wonderful sight no doubt ; in my 
diary, however, against the date of that party, I 
find nothing but the short, I fear somewhat 
naughty entry : 

House — ^Niches and roses ; 
Company — Riches and noses. 

A rising of the Stock Exchange barometer 
generally means a spell of fair weather to 
the arts, and the musical season proved to 
be a particularly prosperous one. Among the 



XIV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 213 

songs and ballads I used to sing at that time 
none was more popular with the public than 
Schumann's " The Two Grenadiers," and few 
indeed were the occasions when, especially at 
private concerts, I was not asked to include 
that fine and truly inspired composition in 
my programme. In February 1879 it served 
as the subject of a rather interesting episode. 
The occasion was a soiree at Marlborough House 
in honour of the Prince Imperial of France 
prior to his departure for Zululand whence, 
alas, he was not to return alive. The inevitable 
" Two Grenadiers " was on the programme of 
the concert about to commence, when I was 
summoned to the Princess of Wales, who 
expressed a doubt as to the advisability of 
having that song, with the " Marseillaise " at 
the end, in the presence of the Prince Imperial. 
I of course was qmte ready to substitute 
another song, but as I was moving towards 
the piano, the royal host, having evidently 
been told by the Princess of the proposed 
change, and remembering perhaps not so much 
the melody as the words of that stirring final 
stanza of the ballad, bade me by all means 
sing it, as in his opinion it would be " the very 
thing the Prince Imperial would like." And 
he was right. The young Napoleon, a very 
handsome young man, with most engaging 



214 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiv 

manners, stood close to the piano whilst I 
was singing, and when he recognized the martial 
strains of the " Marseillaise " at the end with 
the wonderful climax on the words " Then, 
fully armed, I will rise from my grave, the 
Emp'ror, my Emp'ror defending," his eyes 
flashed with excitement and, full of emotion, 
he came up to me and thanked me. 

Years afterwards I was staying at Frimhurst, 
Farnborough, as the guest of General and Mrs. 
Smyth, when one afternoon Ethel and one of 
her sisters and I were asked by their neighbour, 
the Empress Eugenie, to come over and have 
tea with her. I shall never forget the im- 
pression it made on me when that quiet, still 
very beautiful lady showed us the Prince 
Imperial's room, left untouched ever since 
he left it for his ill-starred journey in '79. 
Many objects in it, like chair -backs or port- 
fohos, had stamped on them the letter N with 
the imperial crown above and a Roman IV 
beneath it, and at one end of the room there 
stood on an easel a large oil-painting depicting 
the last moments of poor young Napoleon the 
Fourth. Standing alone in the vast veldt, he 
is on the point of mounting his restive horse ; 
in the left hand the reins, the left foot in the 
stirrup, he turns his head toward the distance 
from which one sees the rapid approach of 



XIV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 215 

half a dozen Zulus swinging their spears and 
evidently shouting their savage war-cries ; his 
right hand is grasping the hilt of his sword, 
his face is pale, his eye full of fearless determina- 
tion — a painfully impressive, affecting picture. 
I told the Empress of that evening at Marl- 
borough House and the Schilmann ballad, 
and she begged me to sing it to her, which I 
did — no easy task seeing before me the pathetic 
figure of the bereaved mother who, when it 
was over, shook my hand in eloquent silence. 

Only quite lately I was told the source from 
which Heine drew the inspiration for his im- 
mortal poem. As I do not think the story is 
very generally known — to me it was quite new 
— I will give it here. 

Among the guards of the Grande Armee 
who returned with Napoleon from Russia, 
broken in health and spirits, the shadows of 
their former selves, there was one who, before 
he went out, had been a well-to-do man, 
owning a little house with a garden in the out- 
skirts of Paris. That house was now all that 
was left him besides a few htmdred francs. 
On his reaching Paris at last, he went straight 
to a celebrated sculptor and said, " I shall not 
live much longer. Here is all the motney I 
have in the world. I know it is not a tenth 
of what you are in the habit of getting for your 



216 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiv 

work. Take it and make me a statue of my 
Emperor which I want to put up in my garden." 
The sculptor, greatly touched by such devotion, 
refused the money but promised to do the 
man's wish, and the statue in due time, to the 
unspeakable joy of the brave old soldier, was 
delivered and placed in the middle of his garden. 
The poor, worn-out man soon afterwards died, 
and his will contained the following directions : 
" I wish to be clad in my uniform when I am 
dead ; with the sword on my side, the cross 
of honour pinned to my breast, and the musket 
in my arm. And in my garden, at the foot 
of the Emperor's statue, there bury me, in 
an upright position, like a sentry." 

The truth of this pathetic little story is 
vouched for by the eminent French writer 
and diplomatist, M. Pal^ologue. 

Not many years later it was I who would 
gladly have been excused from singing a song 
because of the presence among my listeners 
of an exalted personage in whom I thought 
that song might conjure up sad and painful 
memories. This time the scene was Clarence 
House, the residence then of the Duke of 
Edinburgh. My wife and I were bidden, at 
very short, indeed only a few hours' notice to 
come and make a Uttle music in the evening 
— " there would be only about a dozen people 



XIV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 217 

besides the Duke and Duchess and their guest, 
Queen Isabella of Spain." The Duke who, it 
will be remembered, was quite musical even to 
the extent of being the leader of the violins in the 
Royal Amateur Society orchestra, particularly 
fancied a song which I used to sing a good deal 
when I first came to England, a song which 
was very dear to me too as an echo from my 
early youth when the opera from which it 
was taken, Lortzing's Czar and Carpenter, 
was a great favourite all over Germany, and 
my father and mother loved to hear me sing 
that indeed very lovely song, set to words — 
put into the mouth of Peter the Great — of 
peculiar charm and pathos. 

In the first stanza the Czar remembers his 
boyhood, when he played with a crown and 
a sceptre, and from the surrounding crowd of 
courtiers and servants loved to return to his 
father's caresses. " Oh blessed," he exclaims, 
" oh blessed, a child still to be ! " 

In the second stanza he is himself the Czar 
now — crown and sceptre have ceased to be 
toys ; his only thought is for the welfare of 
his people, but in all his royal purple he feels 
alone and friendless. " Oh blessed," he calls 
again, " a child still to be ! " 

In the last stanza he thinks of the end. 
The strife over, a monument of stone will be 



218 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xiv 

all his reward, where he craves one in the 
hearts of his people. Alas, earthly greatness 
vanishes like a dream, and full of grief and 
bitterness he cries 

But when, Heavenly Father, 
Thou call'st me to Thee — 
Then blessed, oh blessed, 
Thy child I shall be ! 

Simple, touching words ; simple, touching 
music. Well, imagine my feelings when, after 
a few Schubert and Schumann songs the Duke 
asked for that Czar's song ! How could I 
sing it, with the Duchess, the daughter of the 
good and kind Czar Alexander, whose cruel 
assassination in 1881 sent a thrill of horror 
and indignation and compassion throughout 
the civilized world, sitting there in front of 
me ? For a moment I was dumbfounded. I 
attempted to excuse myself, pretending not 
to know the song by heart. " Why, Henschel," 
the Duke exclaimed, " it was only a fortnight 
ago I heard you sing it at St. James's Hall ! " 
What should, what coiild I do ? Suddenly 
I had an inspiration : I would sing only two 
stanzas, and by melting the second and third 
into one evade at least the allusion to that 
sad " monument of stone." Extremely happy 
to have found a way out of the dilemma, I 
sat down and sang, imagining, however, I could 



XIV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 219 

feel the fine, serious features of the Duchess 
grow more serious with every bar. 

Hardly had I finished when the Duke sprang 
up, " But, my dear sir, you have left out the 
most pathetic part of the song ! " and he took 
me aside and told me how the money for a 
monument to " his poor father-in-law " had 
long been collected, but as to the monument 
itself heaven only knew when it would be 
put up. 

I really think he would have had me sing 
the whole song over again, unabbreviated, but 
fortunately it was getting late and there was 
no more music that night. 



XV 

DuBiNG these first seasons I gave two or three 
musical parties, and I particularly recall one 
at which I had among my guests George Eliot 
and George Henry Lewes, whom I had re- 
peatedly met at the house of Mr. Triibner the 
publisher. They were neither of them beautiful 
to look at, but, somehow or other, after a few 
minutes' conversation you seemed to forget 
all about their outward appearances. George 
Eliot had a low musical voice and a very gentle, 
charming way of talking, whilst with Lewes 
it was just the opposite, an almost ferocious 
vivacity, emphasized by his large protruding 
front teeth, which fascinated you. They were 
both passionately fond of music, and on more 
than one occasion Lewes, standing with his 
back to the fireplace, his hands in his trouser 
pockets and the tails of his coat flung over his 
arms, would make me sing one song after the 
other, excitedly shouting, " I know it's cruel, 
but go on ! " 

Robert Browning, too, was a great lover of 

220 



XV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 221 

music. There was especially one song which 
he was particularly fond of and often asked 
me to sing to him, an air " Rend' il sereno al 
ciglio " from Handel's Sossarme, of which some- 
how or other ^n adaptation to English words 
must have existed, though I never succeeded 
in tracing it in that disguise, for Browning 
protested he knew the air as " Lord, remember 
David." I frequently met Browning at dinner- 
parties when, dinner being over, the lady of 
the house would have to send the butler to 
the dining-room more than once requesting 
the men to join the ladies; before we could 
tear ourselves away from the enchantment 
of Browning's after-dinner talk. 

At one of these parties I remember a repre- 
sentative of the great inventor Edison dis- 
playing to the astounded company the wonders 
of that new invention, the phonograph, then 
in its first stages, with a cylinder in place of 
the present disk. 

After much persuasion Browning consented 
to speak into the instrument, and chose the 
beginning of "How they brought the News 
from Ghent." Some of the company had now 
and then to prompt him until at last, impatient, 
he burst out into the words, " Bother — I've 
forgotten it." After a while the cylinder 
was placed from the receiving into the re- 



222 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xv 

producing instrument, and the awe and wonder 
with which we listened to the reproduction 
of Browning's voice, with him standing there 
among us, was turned into great hilarity when 
after a while from the uncanny thing there 
issued forth, parrot-like, the half-angry, half- 
amused exclamation above recorded. 

Frederick Leighton, most accomplished and 
fascinating of men, was another of those who 
looked upon music as a never-failing source 
of joy and recreation. The musical evenings 
at his famous studio were not so much parties 
as services, at which Joachim, Halle, Piatti, 
Mme. Norman-Neruda (later Lady Halle), and 
other great instrumentalists happening to be in 
London, officiated as high priests with singers 
as acolytes. 

Leighton's favourite song was Schubert's 
little known, beautiful, and pathetic " Nacht- 
stiick," which he often requested me to sing to 
him. 

It will be seen that altogether I had what 
they call " a beautiful time," tasting all the 
joys of London life, of which the theatres 
offered some of the choicest. What a glorious 
period of the stage that was : Henry Irving, 
Ellen Terry, the Bancrofts, the Kendals, John 
Hare, Lionel Brough, Toole, Clayton, Arthur 
Cecil, William Terris, Mrs. John Wood, Mrs. 



XV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 223 

Stirling, to which galaxy of stars a few 
years later was added yet another of dazzling 
brilliancy with the advent of the incompar- 
able Mary Anderson whose peerless beauty as 
Hermione and Perdita was a joy for ever. 

Can performances like those of School, 
Caste, Masks and Faces, The Queen's Shilling 
ever be forgotten ? Or the bewitching loveliness 
of Ellen Terry as Olivia, the touching tender- 
ness of Irving as the Vicar of Wakefield ? I 
do not think I have ever met a man whose 
smile was sweeter than Irving's, on or off the 
stage. I had the privilege of meeting him 
rather frequently, and often was asked to his 
fascinating little suppers on Saturday nights 
after the play, and when, in 1879, he produced 
an adaptation of Goethe's Faust, he did me 
the honour of asking me to tell him what I 
knew of the way that play was produced 
in Germany and particularly how old Doring 
of the Royal Playhouse in Berlin, considered 
then the finest Mephistopheles on the stage, 
interpreted that part. I remember, among 
other things, drawing Irving's attention to the 
fine scene in which Mephistopheles, hearing a 
young student approach, asks Faust to lend him 
his doctor's gown and, putting it on, receives 
the yoimg man in the disguise of Dr. Faust and, 
as such, gives him fatherly advice which, how- 



224 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xv 

ever, coming as it does from the devil, is apt, and 
indeed intended, to poison the mind of the unsus- 
picious innocent youth whom he finally dismisses 
utterly bewildered and confused, after having 
written in his album the mysterious words : 

Eritis sicut Deus, 
Scientes bonum et malum. 

Irving was delighted with the scene, of which 
I must have given him a rather dramatic 
description, for he wrote me afterwards : " My 
dear Henschel, you would have made a splendid 
actor, your ' student ' was delicious," and 
decided to have it in. He played it for several 
nights — ^Norman Forbes, I remember, making as 
excellent a student as did George Alexander a 
fine, manly, handsome Valentine — after which, 
much to our regret, it had to be , sacrificed, 
being, as Irving said, " caviare to the public." 

Having often heard people say that the 
frequenting of churches no less than that of 
theatres greatly aided in mastering the language 
of the foreign country you happen to find your- 
self in, I made it a point to go to some church 
or other once in a while for the purpose of 
improving my gradually increasing knowledge 
of English. Soon, however, I found that listen- 
ing with the ear alone renders such improve- 
ment rather a slow process, and it was not 



XV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 225 

until after a kind providence had, one Sunday 
morning in the early 'eighties, directed my 
steps to the little Bedford Chapel in Blooms- 
bury, now no more, which stood at the junction 
of Old and New Oxford Streets, near the 
Tottenham Court Road, that I began to realize 
the benefit claimed for churches as a means of 
linguistic education. The picture which pre- 
sented itself to my eyes as I entered the chapel 
stands before me now as clear and luminous 
as it did then. 

It was a lovely spring morning. A broad 
shaft of sunUght pierced the religious dimness 
of the sanctuary crowded with worshippers, 
over the heads of which it fell straight upon 
the pulpit, and in the pulpit there stood as 
magnificent a man as I had ever beheld in 
my life. In a voice full of sympathy and 
emotion and wonderfully capable of modula- 
tion I heard the words ring out through the 
deep stillness, " Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou 
that killest the prophets, thou that stonest 
them which are sent unto thee," and I stood 
spellbound. Not a word of the beautiful 
sermon, uttered with rare eloquence, dramatic 
to a degree, but never even verging on the 
theatrical, escaped me, and Sunday after Sunday 
I went to sit at the feet of this great poet- 
preacher, Stopford Brooke. Imagine there- 

Q 



226 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xv 

fore my delight when, only a few months after 
that first experience, I met him face to face. 
It was at the house of friends where I had been 
asked to dine one night, and as the butler 
opened the door to usher me into the drawing- 
room, there, to my joy, stood the admired man 
talking to the lady of the house, who at once 
introduced me to him. A concert at which 
he had heard me sing served as the subject 
of a conversation cut short by the announce- 
ment of dinner at which, however, lucky 
fellow that I was, I had been placed opposite 
him. If, some weeks before; his powers as a 
preacher had fairly carried me away, I was 
now utterly captivated by the irresistible 
charm of the man, simple, warm-hearted, 
broad-minded, cheerful, beautifully human. A 
closer talk after dinner was soon followed by 
an invitation to dine with him, and our ac- 
quaintance gradually developed, in spite of 
the disparity of age — he was my senior by 
seventeen years, — ^into a friendship which en- 
dured to the end of his full and splendid life 
thirty-four years later, a friendship which has 
been, as its memory is now, a source of infinite 
delight, profit, and help to me. Many an un- 
forgettable hour I spent in the cosy den at 
the top of his house in Manchester Square, 
where, surrounded bv his beloved books and 



XV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 227 

flowers, of which latter there always was an 
abtindance in variously shaped vases and glasses 
of all sizes about him, he loved to work or, in 
his leisure hours, comfortably reclining on a 
couch by the fireplace and enjoying the fragrant 
weed he was exceedingly fond of, to receive 
and talk with his friends, none of whom I am 
sure ever left that room without being the 
better for the privilege of his invigorating 
company. And what a poet he was ! His 
love drama Riquet of the Tuft, of which I 
shall never forget a charming performance 
by his daughters one night at his house, 
is a poem of rare tenderness and imagin- 
ation, interspersed with lyrics of exquisite 
beauty. 

Take, for instance, Riquet's song : 

O long ago, when Faery-land 
Arose newborn, King Oberon 
Walked pensive on the yellow strand. 
And wearied, for he lived alone. 

" Why have I none," he said, " to love ? " 
When soft a wind began to fleet 
Across the moonht sea, and drove 
A lonely shallop to his feet. 

Of pearl, and rubies red, and gold, 
That shell was made, and in it lay 
Titania, fast asleep, and rolled 
In roses, and in flowers of May. 



228 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xv 

He waked her with a loving kiss. 
Her arms around him softly clung ; 
And none can ever tell the bliss 
These had when Faery-land was young. 

If there are many finer in the English 
language, I should like to know them. 

Altogether Stopford Brooke was a great per- 
sonality. Love was the keystone of his nature, 
Love and an indomitable Faith. Who can 
without emotion read his last letter to me — ^the 
letter of a man past eighty-four — written on 
Christmas Eve 1915, only a few months before 
his death ? It runs : 

My dear Friend — ^AU good wishes, happy greetings 
and dear love, and every blessing from Him who 
loves us and lives for us, be with you and yours on 
Christmas Day. Think of me then and of our 
constant friendship, and give my love to your wife 
and Georgina. I am fairly well, and shall have 
some of my family with me. This is a brief letter, 
but it carries a deal of love with it. — Ever affection- 
ately yours S. A. B. 

It is good to think of him in the last years 
of his rich life upheld by this Love and Faith, 
unimpaired in mind and body, enjoying to 
the full the peace of the beautiful home he 
built for himself and a devoted daughter on 
one of the sweetest spots in Surrey where, in 
the garden among the trees and flowers he 
loved, his ashes are laid. 



XV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 229 

" At last," to quote the end of his own 
deep-felt sermon on the Fourth Psalm, one of 
the series delivered in the spring of 1910 at 
Rosslyn Chapel, Hampstead, the church of 
his friend, the Rev. Henry Gow, " At last — 
and may this be our blest experience — all is 
rest. The storm within has been made a calm. 
We have reached our haven after the tempest, 
and the ship of hfe lies under sheltering cliffs 
upon the glassy waters. Soft are the airs and 
still the evening sky above the soul, and from 
the land beyond the music of the heavenly 
host is heard. ' I will lay me down in peace,' 
the poet cries, ' and take my rest. It is thou, 
Lord, only that makest me dwell in safety.' 

" So let it be with us, in this our later time, 
when trouble is doubled on our head. And 
then, when after many days the last and 
loneliest trouble arrives and the house of earthly 
hfe, dissolving, feels wave after wave of weak- 
ness break in that final storm upon the outward 
man, and the great shadow creeps on, while 
as yet its under edge is not coloured with the 
rosy dawn which rises behind it, in that cold 
hour between the old and the new, when the 
known is ghding from our grasp and the un- 
known is rending the hush in which the new 
hfe lies as yet unfolded, when all that is out- 
ward is undergoing this supreme disturbance — 



230 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xv 

within, as before in the lesser storms of life, 
there is unspeakable peace. The light of God's 
countenance is lifted on the waiting soul. The 
eyes of faith are radiant with it. Gladness 
beyond all earth's measure fills our heart, and 
in the silence we say our kind farewell to earth. 
The coming life arises even in the arms of 
death, and immortal joy begins its reign. 
Light deepens, infinite light. Then, on the 
verge of the eternal day, in that swift passage 
from the life of earth to the life of heaven, 
even while we die, we cry to our Father ' I 
will lay me down in peace and take my rest.' " 



XVI 

Considering the great fame to which the 
subject of a little incident in my early London 
days attained only a few years after it had 
occurred, I trust I am justified in thinking it of 
sufficient interest to find a place in these pages. 
I was sitting in my room in Chandos Street 
early one morning in the year 1879, when a 
letter was brought up to me, signed by Messrs. 
Harper Brothers, the American publishers, in- 
forming me that their firm intended publishing 
in an early number of Harper's Magazine an 
article on " Musicians in London," which 
among other illustrations was to contain a 
reproduction of my portrait by Alma Tadema, 
exhibited in February of that year at the 
Grosvenor Gallery. In that letter I was asked 
to " kindly permit " bearer, a " young American 
artist," to make a drawing of my London 
" studio " as an additional illustration to the 
article mentioned. The " kind permission " was, 
needless to say, readily granted. My " Show 
the gentleman in, please," was soon followed 

231 



232 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xvi 

by the appearance in my room of a short, 
thick-set, powerful young man, with a pair of 
very bright, clever eyes and a charming smile, 
who after the exchange of a few words and my 
invitation to make himself at home, went to 
work at once, begging me not to notice his 
presence. Before long, however, we were en- 
gaged in a lively conversation which his ver- 
satility — he also seemed to be very fond of 
music — his ready wit, and a sort of dry humour, 
rendered exceedingly enjoyable to me. Before 
luncheon the little study of my study was 
done, an excellent, wonderfully finished, de- 
tailed, very clever pencil drawing. I expressed 
the hope of soon meeting him again, and he 
left me his card : Edwin A. Abbey. That 
dra\nng, cut in wood — ^it was before the time 
of photographic illustrations — can be found in 
the February number of Harper^s Magazine 
of 1880, and when after many years the 
famous painter wished to present me with the 
original, it had somehow or other disappeared ; 
at any rate Messrs. Harper Brothers could not 
produce it, much to our regret. 

Years afterwards, in 1888, I made in a 
hardly less original way the acquaintance of 
another man who to-day holds a high position 
in the art-world. 

It was at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in 



XVI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 233 

Florence, through the glorious rooms of which 
I was walking one morning, that my attention 
was attracted by a modestly attired young man 
standing before a huge easel on a scaffold and 
copying a large altar-painting by Andrea del 
Sarto. I had watched him already from a 
distance, as he appeared to be particularly 
earnestly absorbed in his work, and in coming 
nearer to him I was greatly struck by the 
uncommon freedom of his manner of copying. 
Most of the people who copy pictures in galleries 
you see bending over their work, evidently 
intent upon slavish imitation. This young 
man seemed to be looking at his objects — ^four 
over-Ufe-size saints — as' at living models, and 
having taken in just what he wanted for the 
moment, boldly putting his impressions on the 
canvas before him, spontaneously, as it were, 
with the result that his copy, besides being 
truthful in every detail, seemed to breathe 
the very spirit . of the original; to such an 
extent indeed, that to-day, looking at it 
with the colours in these twenty-nine years 
mellowed down to a rich maturity, one would 
find it difficult to reahse one was standing 
before a copy. Well, I thought how beautiful 
that picture would look hanging in the hall 
of my house in Bedford Gardens, which I had 
taken only a few months before, and ventured 



234 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xvi 

to address the young man, asking him whether 
in making that copy he was perhaps executing 
an order. His answer being, " No, he was 
doing it merely as a study," I went further : 
" Would he mind doing the copy for me ? " 
" Not at all — very pleased." The price asked 
being as modest and agreeable as the young 
man himself, the bargain was made there and 
then. I gave him the address to which to send 
the picture, or rather pictures, for there was 
another, smaller one, of two lovely " putti," 
completing the set, and he in return gave me 
his card : Charles Holroyd. 

So I had given a commission to the future 
Director of the National Gallery ! 

The pictures are hanging now in the music- 
room of my home in the Highlands, and some 
day I hope Sir Charles will come and sign 
them.^ 

But to return to 1879. My knowledge of 
London Ufe and London society would have 
been sadly lacking in completeness without a 
day at the races, and I shall never forget my 
satisfaction and pride on being asked by a live 
lord to be one of a party to be driven by him 
on his four-in-hand to Ascot on Ladies' day. 
To be perfectly in style one had to appear at 

1 Since this was written, death has, alas, "untimely stopp'd" 
the hand of the genial friend. 



XVI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 235 

that function in a grey frock-coat suit, and Mr. 
Arthur Chappell having soon after my arrival in 
London introduced me. to a firm of famous 
tailors in Savile Row, I felt in duty bound to 
order such a suit for the occasion. In due time 
it was delivered ; a grey top-hat, white spats, 
and a stout pair of Negretti and Zambra glasses 
in the regulation leather case to hang over the 
shoulder, completed the outfit, and punctually 
at the appointed hour the four-in-hand stopped 
before No. 6 Chandos Street, I am sure few 
people who happened to see a faultlessly attired 
young swell step out of the house and climb up 
to the seat behind the aristocratic driver would, 
under that disguise, in which, strange to say, 
I did not feel at all imcomfortable, have re- 
cognized a musician, and that really quite a 
decent one. I do not remember which of the 
many sensations of the day I enjoyed most : 
the drive to the course on that perfect spring 
day, winding, after having left the streets of 
the town, through lovely lanes between hedges 
of briar roses, and neat little villages, over hill 
and dale — seeming a realisation of some of 
Ralph Caldecott's charming pictures — or the 
picnic luncheon, or the astonishing way in 
which the phalanx of policemen cleared the 
course before each race as by magic, or the 
races themselves — ^the whole thing was one 



236 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xvi 

huge excitement, a wonderful experience, 
" well worth the money," which in this case 
meant quite a good deal, for, needless to say, 
I never wore that Ascot suit again. 

Somewhere, in one of the darkest recesses 
of my wardrobe, that grey coat must be lying 
yet, carefully folded and discreetly packed 
away, a reminder of youthful folly — my Ass- 
coat I called it. 



XVII 

It was in March 1879 that a thing happened 
to' me which marked a turning-point in my 
life, offering at the same time a striking 
illustration of the fact that the most momentous 
incidents in a man's existence are often the 
result of accident. 

One fine afternoon I chanced to meet in 
the street the wife of the conductor of the 
Philharmonic Society, Mrs. Cusins, to whom a 
few days before I had sent my regrets at being 
unable to accept her kind invitation to dinner 
on March 9, owing to a previous engagement. 
" So sorry — do try to come after dinner," she 
begged, " a very charming young girl from 
Boston is going to sing, and we want your 
opinion, too, as to whether she sings well 
enough for an appearance at one of the Phil- 
harmonic Concerts. ..." 

I promised to do my best, and little thought, 
as on the evening of the 9th of March I entered 
the Cusins' drawing-room in Nottingham Place, 
that two years later, to a day, the young lady 

237 



238 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xvii 

I had come to hear would be standing at my 
side before the minister of the Second Church 
in Boston, Massachtisetts, who pronounced us 
man and wife. Of course LiUian Bailey sang 
well enough for a first appearance in England 
at the Philharmonic, which took place soon 
afterwards. Indeed I doubt if ever at those 
venerable concerts a girl of nineteen had met 
with a more cordial reception. In the second 
part of the programme — she had in the mean- 
time become my pupil — I had the privilege 
of joining her in the duet " Caro "-" Bella " 
from Handel's Giulio Cesare, and when, a few 
weeks later, at one of those charitable Guild 
dinners in the City we repeated that duet, and 
the stentorian voice of the Toast-master com- 
manded " Silence for Miss Lillian Bailey and 
' Her ' (his way of pronouncing ' Herr ') 
Henschel," he was not very far out. In July 
of the year following the good ship Australia 
of the Anchor Line, sailing from Victoria 
Docks, London, to New York, had on board 
Mr. and Mrs. Bailey, Master Hayden Bailey, 
Miss Bailey and, indeed, " Her " Henschel. 

A journey across the Atlantic was, thirty- 
seven years ago, considered quite an undertak- 
ing ; to such an extent even that, for instance, 
when a young American girl embarked on her 
first visit to Europe, her friends would send a 



XVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 239 

bundle of letters to the purser with the request 
to deliver to her one of them on every day of 
the voyage. People, after the boat had left her 
berth, xmpacked and prepared themselves for 
a more or less comfortable sojourn, on board, of 
nine or ten days or even, as in our case, a full 
fortnight. 

To enable my younger readers of the present 
generation fully to realise the difference of a 
crossing then from what it is now, I give here 
verbatim the description in the Times of April 
1914, of the then newest and largest British 
steamer, 950 feet long and of 58,000 tons : 

Public rooms comprise magnificently appointed 
dining-saloon, Ritz-Carlton restaurant, a reproduc- 
tion of the Ritz-Carlton in New York ; tea-room, 
verandah cafe, palm gardens, a luxuriously appointed 
ball-room, equipped with a stage for theatrical 
performances. The state-rooms (fitted with marble 
washstands and running water), public saloons, 
staircases, four electric passenger elevators, and 
decks are remarkable for their spaciousness. There 
are also electric, turkish and steam baths, gym- 
nasium, fitted with the latest Zander apparatus, and 
swimming bath, decorated in Pompeian style. . . ." 

Now our dear old Australia was three 
thousand tons, that is to say, of about the size 
of a Flushing or Harwich boat of to-day. The 
dining-saloon was a compartment fitted with 
one table onlv, to seat about twenty-five people, 



240 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xvii 

and the sleeping cabins, also called " state- 
rooms," were situated all around it, so that, if 
I wanted to get from my seat at the dining- 
table into my cabin, all I had to do was to give 
a turn to the revolving chair, get up, step 
across, and there I was. In fair weather that 
was all right. But in a storm imagine the 
sensations of those obliged, for obvious reasons, 
to remain in the seclusion of their cabins, with 
the odour, at meal-times, of food in their 
nostrils and the sound of rattling china and 
clinking glasses in their ears ; or, on the other 
hand, the feelings of the more fortunate, brave 
diners, eating their meals to the accompani- 
ment of the piteous groans emanating from 
the suffering victims in the surrounding cabins ! 
Some of our London friends had sent us 
various delicacies on board, whilst I myself, 
acting on the advice of experienced ocean- 
travellers, had a case of champagne put on 
board for me, as the wine-list, I was told, 
showed only sherry, port, and one sort of red 
and one of white wine, all the same price. 
The journey proved to be an excellent and 
rather interesting one. A smooth summer sea 
and the exceedingly low speed of the vessel 
made the motion hardly perceptible, and there- 
fore highly enjoyable, and when for two days, 
owing to something having gone wrong with 



XVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 241 

the engines which had to be repaired, we had 
to have recourse to the sails — ^all ships still 
carrying sails then — ^the sensation was really 
delightf\il. Half way over the weather grew 
quite tropical — ^it was August — and we sighted 
a great number of whales, of which I distinctly 
remember one alarmingly near us, turning his 
enormous bulk round and round as if playing, 
and sending huge columns of water high up 
into the air. 

There were a good many emigrants on board, 
among them a large number of Polish Jews, 
and one day there was great excitement, and 
a vague rumour reached our ears of a revolt 
in the steerage on account of the food. Now 
the food and cooking in the first cabin being 
really remarkably good, anc^ the master of the 
vessel a very humane, kind-hearted man, we 
thought there must be a mistake, and sure 
enough — ^when the deputation of the emigrants, 
headed by a man carrying a dish of what to 
us looked like very nice, appetising food, laid 
their complaints before the captain, the speaker 
indignantly exclaiming, " Look here, sir, this 
is what they give us — sour peas," it was 
found that not one of them nad ever seen or 
tasted that excellent and savoury dish known 
as " Boiled mutton and caper-sance " ! 

Rather amusing, too, was a transaction I 

R 



242 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xvii 

had with my steward — there were no separate 
sets of them for table and cabin — on the early 
morning of the fourteenth day out. We had, 
of course, sighted land the night before, and 
now I asked him at what time we shovdd be 
likely to land. " About ten o'clock, sir." 

" How many bottles of my champagne are 
there left ? " 

" One, sir." 

Knowing I should not be allowed to take it 
ashore without paying a heavy duty,' if at all, 
I generously said, " You may keep that for 
yourself." 

" Thank you, sir." 

Well — ^ten o'clock came — half-past — eleven 
. . . eight bells announced mid-day, and there 
was still a good deal of water between the 
Aiistralia and her berth in New York harbour. 
From moment to moment the scene became 
more picturesque and lovely. It was an ideal 
summer's day, August 12th, a brilliant sun, 
high up in the " raw, bleeding sky," as Henry 
James calls it, tempered by a lovely breeze ; 
our boat looking spick and span with the decks 
scrupulously scrubbed, the brass neatly polished, 
the woodwork freshly painted, the awnings, 
stretched across the decks ; innumerable little 
craft shooting merrily over the steel-blue 
waters, huge three-deck ferry-boats furrowing 



XVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 243 

their way from one shore to the other, their 
whistles, tuned in harmonious chords, making 
joyful sounds — all fitting in wonderfully with 
the expectant joy in the hearts of the affianced 
couple on board. 

" There will be luncheon in the saloon at 
half -past one," was the message the steward 
brought us. 

Luncheon ..." Champagne ! " it flashed in- 
stantly through my brain. This would be the 
very time for it, to celebrate my first arrival 
in the New World. But the only champagne 
on board was my own, and that I had given 
away ! To ask the steward to let me have it 
back was of course out of the question. So 
what could be done ? I called him to me : 
" I say, will you sell me that bottle of cham- 
pagne ? " 

" Yes, sir," with a merry smile. 

" How much ? " 

" I leave that to you, sir." 

And we had champagne for our Imicheon, 
excellent champagne, at — ^fancy — only a dollar 
the bottle ! 

How can I adequately describe my first 
impressions of New York ? Here was indeed 
another world, utterly and completely different 
from anything I had seen before or imagined, 
and those who only know the New York of 



244 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xvii 

to-day will hardly be able to credit the state- 
ment that no more than thirty-seven years ago 
it looked more hke a huge village than an 
important town. Broadway, its main business 
street, was only partially paved. Of the un- 
sightly telegraph poles alongside of it, placarded 
all over with advertisements, not two were 
standing upright, some leaning to one side, 
some to the other ; dirty little yellow cars, 
drawn by small, bony horses, passed wearily 
along the row of warehouses between which 
there were still a goodly number of wooden 
shanties, painted in all kinds of impossible 
colours ; wooden planks still constituted here 
and there the side - walks ; at nearly every 
second corner there was a " saloon " with its 
double swing-doors, characteristic in that they 
reached only half-way down to the ground, 
so that from outside the various legs of the 
people at the bar could be seen, but not their 
heads. Lumbering old stage-coaches plodded 
on, bumping and thumping over the slightly 
undulating muddy road — strange sights, all of 
these. To this busy thoroughfare the quiet 
dignity and elegance of " Fifth Avenue," with 
its brown-stone-front houses, formed a remark- 
able contrast, and as to dear old Washington 
Square, made immortal by Henry James' 
classical novel of that name, it seemed a 



XVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 245 

veritable patrician next to Broadway the 
plebeian. At 59th Street, the beginning of 
Central Park, the town practically ended, and 
I remember a little hut among trees, and cows 
grazing before it, on the site where now the 
Savoy Hotel stands. Through some of the 
streets the Elevated Railroad wended its way 
to the South Ferry, which carried you over 
the river to Brooklyn, whither every Sunday 
the great preacher and orator, Henry Ward 
Beecher, attracted so great a number of people 
that he was justified in answering a lady who 
asked him for directions as to how to find his 
church, " Take the Ferry and when you get 
out, follow the crowd." His eloquence was 
indeed marvellous. Not only what he had to 
say and said, but the electrifying way in which 
he gave utterance to it, was what fairly carried 
the people away, and I remember one Sunday 
his sternly rebuking his congregation for actually 
bursting into applause, as in a theatre, after 
one of his impassioned sentences. The music 
in American churches, often, I am bound with 
great regret to say, rather secular and un- 
worthy, is generally supplied by a vocal solo- 
quartet, supported by the organ. The organist 
at Beecher's Chvirch was then a young man, 
Robert Thallon, a fellow - student of mine in 
the old Leipsic days. His parents, dear old 



246 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xvii 

Scots people, had when qxiite young emigrated 
to the States, where Robert was born. During 
my first visit to the States I was for a few days 
their guest in Brooklyn, and one incident of 
my visit is, I think, worth mentioning here as 
an illustration of the strange fact that when a 
man in the full possession of all his senses is 
suddenly and momentarily deprived of the use 
of one of them, the others, also momentarily, 
seem paralysed or to lose their keenness. Old 
Mr. Thallon, to set up his son in the profession, 
had furnished the young musician's studio, 
where he was to teach, with two brand-new 
grand pianofortes of the same makers, and I 
was invited to try them, which I did. They 
were indeed magnificent specimens of the piano- 
maker's art, and I expressed my delight and 
admiration in the most glowing terms, re- 
marking at the same time that the one next 
to the window was even better than the other, 
having an easier touch and a still mellower, 
rounder, sweeter tone, " Do you really think 
there is any difference," asked Mr. Thallon, 
wondering what could possibly account for such 
a thing, as both instruments had been finished 
and had left the same factory on the same day. 
I could, of course, not explain it, but, trjdng the 
pianos again, was even more sure than before 
that the one next to the window was the finer 



XVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 247 

instrument of the two. " Now do you think," 
asked Mr. Thallon, " you could distinguish them 
from each other bhndfolded ? " I laughed to 
scorn any idea of doubt on the subject (how 
glad I am that neither the Thallons nor I were 
of the betting kind !) but readily agreed to 
submit to the task, extracting from my friends 
as the only condition the assurance that I should 
not be placed before the same piano twice. 

Securely and effectively blindfolded, and, in 
addition, with my eyes tightly closed beneath 
the bandage, I was in deepest, blackest dark- 
ness led to one of the pianos and played on it. 
Immediately I had made up my mind as to 
which of them I was playing on. Then I was 
conducted to the other. I sat down and played 
— ^played — played again, and was confused. 
" You are not deceiving me ? " I asked, " I 
have played both pianos ? " Old Mr. ThaUon 
pledged his word of honour. I begged to be 
allowed to try once more both pianos. To make 
a long story short, not if my hfe had depended 
on it could I have told the difference. 

How can this be explained ? Could it 
possibly have been that when I played the two 
instruments with all my senses unimpaired, the 
greater Ught in which one of them — ^that by 
the window — stood, had affected my judgment 
in regard to it ? The experience certainly was 



248 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xvii 

so remarkable and strange that I think it would 
be worth while for a man of science to make 
similar experiments with a view to solving 
what to me seemed quite an extraordinary 
phenomenon. 

On my way to Haydenville in Massachusetts, 
the old homestead of my fiancee's family on 
the mother's side, I made a few days' halt 
in Boston, whither the Baileys had removed 
from Columbus in Ohio, the birthplace of their 
daughter, when that young lady was quite a 
little child. 

" How otherwise upon me works this sign ! " 
I could exclaim with Goethe's Faust. How 
different the impression Boston made on me 
as compared to that of New York ! In the first 
place the streets had names, not numbers. 
Somehow or other " Mount Vernon Street," 
"Boylston Street," " Tremont Street" does 
sound more homely than East 10th or West 
11th, practical as the latter denomination may 
perhaps be from a commercial standpoint. 
And then the " down-town," i.e. business part of 
the city : narrow streets and crooked lanes, a 
dear old church with a beautiful portico, still 
called the " King's Chapel," the old State- 
house, with the Lion and the Unicorn still in 
its gable, the " Old Corner Book-store," and 
numerous other old-world landmarks — all this 



XVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 249 

made me feel qioite at home. And indeed only 
a little more than a year later Boston did 
become a home where I was to spend three 
happy and prosperous years. 

How this came about I will tell when I 
return from England, whither I had to sail 
before long, to sing at the Leeds Festival. 
London in September being what they call 
" empty," I did not expect to find any of my 
friends there, and was therefore doubly glad 
when, stopping at Queenstown and the mail 
being brought on board together with the 
customary fresh supply of fish — ^people who 
after a week's voyage from New " York have 
experienced the delight of a meal on freshly 
caught " Prime English Sole " will appreciate 
this reference to an eagerly looked -for and 
most welcome change in the ship's bill of fare, — 
there was among my letters one from Dr. 
Schlesinger, characteristic of his never-failing 
humour : 

" My dear Friend," he writes, " Of all the peqple 
whom you had left behind, I am the only one that 
has held out in London till now. The horrid Orient 
question^ to which I am sure neither you nor Lillian 
have ever given a thought, kept me tied here, whilst 
the other friends were roaming through the world 
and my wife is attempting an ascent of Mont-Blanc.^ 
Gradually the travellers return. You too, dear 
' His way of intimating that his wife was in Switzerland. 



250 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xvii 

fugitive, even if only for a short time. Welcome to 
old Europe. With the exception of the Cologne 
Cathedral which, at considerable expense and trouble, 
I have completed in your absence, you will find 
everything pretty much as you left it : the climate, 
morals, Sir Julius (Benedict), the British constitution, 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, the noble art of 
music. Tadema has had his floors so scrubbed and 
polished as to make them accessible only to moun- 
taineers accustomed to glacier - climbing. Sylvia ^ 
is more reckless than ever ; the old Kaiser getting 
younger, Mrs. J. . . . prettier, I older and the Greek 
question more complicated from day to day. To 
escape the fogs we are going to Brighton where various 
arms are always open for your reception. Myself 
however you will find most days of the week in town, 
either at my office in the Strand or at the Garrick 
or else worshipping in some modest little church.^ 
Let me see your face before you swim back to your 
Lillian and the redskins of the West. ..." 

To Brighton, therefore, at that time perhaps 
even more than it is now the favourite resort 
of busy Londoners in want of a change of air 
and surroundings, I went, glad ever after for 
having done so, for I was never again to see 
the face of the dear, genial friend who died 
a few months later whilst I was in Boston. 
Thither I hurried after the Leeds Festival, 
equipped with letters of introduction from 

1 One of his daughters, a charming young lady of a particulaily 
gentle and retiring disposition. 

' I doubt if he had ever been inside one for that purpose. 



XVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 251 

Robert Browning to Charles Perkins, a Boston 
philanthropist, and from Lord Houghton to 
Longfellow. Lord Houghton, one of the house- 
party at Elmete Hall, Sir James Kitson's seat 
near Leeds, where I, too, was staying during 
the Festival week, had greatly impressed me, 
not only by his personality, which — without 
an actual resemblance — somehow reminded me 
of the famous Seneca bust in Naples, but also 
by the animation and wit of his conversation 
and by the peculiarly clear and precise manner 
in which he gave utterance, now and then in 
a poetical phrase, to what he had to say. 



XVIIl 

Accredited by such people to their friends in 
the new world, I was now doubly eager to 
return to Boston, which had already attracted 
me so much at first sight. Renowned as a 
seat of learning — Cambridge with its Harvard 
University being practically part of it, — ^it was 
then not only the home of men like Longfellow, 
Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Dean Howells, 
Thomas Bailey Aldrich, James Russell Lowell, 
Henry James, then still "jr.," but also acknow- 
ledged as the musical centre of the United 
States. Among the numerous institutions 
which provided the good people of Boston with 
music of the best kind were the still flourishing 
Handeland Haydn Society, originally founded 
for the performance of choral works of the two 
masters whose names it bore, and the Harvard 
Musical Society, both under the conductorship 
of Carl Zerrahn, an able and conscientious 
Kapellmeister of the good old German type. 
The members of the orchestra of the Harvard 
Musical Society had grown old with it, a fact 

252. 



XVIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 253 

which naturally led to a gradual lessening of 
the technical and intellectual power of in- 
terpretation and, consequently, to a decrease 
of attraction as regards the public. Their last 
orchestral concert of the season 1880-81 
happening to fall upon a date only a week or 
two previous to my marriage to Miss Bailey, 
she and I thought it would be a nice thing 
to offer our joint services as soloists on that 
occasion. The offer was made and gratefully 
accepted and, as a counter-compliment, I was 
asked to conduct, at that same concert, one 
of my own works. I chose a MS. Concert- 
Overture in D Minor, an early and rather poor 
composition which, after its subsequent per- 
formance in London under Hans Richter a 
year or so later, I promptly destroyed. 
Whether it was that I had succeeded in im- 
parting s^me of my youthful enthusiasm to 
the aged band, or that the players were deter- 
mined to show the newcomer what they were 
capable of in an emergency, the performance 
certainly went exceedingly well, and had not 
only considerable success but, as will be seen, 
far-reaching consequences. 

There was among the audience on that night 
one who, although a keen business man, partner 
in the old-established, highly respected banking 
firm of Lee Higginson & Co., had a very deep 



254 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xviii 

affection for music, in fact had as a young man 
spent some time in Vienna for the purpose of 
studying that art with a view to making it — 
in the first place through the means of the 
pianoforte — his profession, and only been pre- 
vented from carrying out his intention by an 
accident to one of his arms. Colonel Henry 
Lee Higginson — for after his return from Vienna 
he had served in the United States Volunteers 
dxu-ing the Civil War, becoming Major and 
Brevet Lt.-Colonel in the 1st Massachusetts 
Cavalry, and being severely woimded at Aldie 
in Virginia in 1863 — was and, I am happy to 
add, still is one of those high-minded, public- 
spirited meji of whom any community might 
well be proud. Fearless, just, kind, upright, 
and honourable in every fibre of his being, he 
cared for the good of the Commonwealth as 
much as for that of his own flesh and blood. 
His wife, a daughter of the great scientist, 
Louis Agassiz, was one of a small circle of 
ladies who held what in France they call a 
" salon," at whose afternoon teas the repre- 
sentatives — ^resident or transitory — of art and 
science, music and literature, used to meet and 
discuss the events and questions of the day. 
These highly cultured women, among whom I 
recall with delight dear old Mrs. Julia Ward 
Howe, the authoress of that stirring battle- 



xviii MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 255 

hymn of the Republic, " Mine eyes have seen 
the glory of the Coming of the Lord," Mrs. 
George D. Howe, witty Mrs. Bell and her 
sister, Mrs. Pratt, Mrs. John L. — familiarly 
Mrs. Jack — Gardner, were the leaders of what 
certainly was society in the highest and best 
meaning of the word. Mrs. Gardner, by the 
way, afterwards built that wonderful Italian 
palace, " Fenway Court," in Boston, a unique 
manifestation in stone of genius in woman, 
demonstrating what a discriminating love and 
knowledge of art, combined with perseverance 
and wealth, and united in and guided by one 
and the same mind, can accomplish. 

Mentioning the name of Julia Ward Howe 
recalls to my mind an incident during my 
Boston days which, considering its consequences, 
will, I think, be deemed of more than local 
interest. 

Among the young men living in Boston in 
the early 'eighties there was a nephew of Mrs. 
Howe's who seemed to have given his aunt 
and his guardians — his parents were both dead 
— considerable anxiety as to his future. He 
was of extraordinary physical beauty both as 
regards face and figure. So might a Greek 
statue of a Roman youth have looked, come to 
life and put into modern clothes, and I wonder 
if this fact may not perhaps to some extent 



256 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xviii 

have accounted for his seeming somewhat 
spoiled, very likely by doting relatives and 
admiring friends, especially of the fair sex. 
Certain it was that all efforts to make him 
work and choose a profession appeared to have 
failed so far. The last attempt in this direc- 
tion had been journalism in India, from which 
country the young man had just returned at 
the time I met him, handsomer and more 
unemployed than ever. Mrs. Howe and others 
interested in him, among them an uncle of his, 
were at a loss to know what to do with him, 
whose tastes in dress and food, and living 
altogether, were sadly out of proportion to his 
means of gratifying them, when it suddenly 
occurred to some of them that perhaps he 
might become a professional singer, for he had 
a certain amount of musical talent and was 
possessed of a baritone voice of good compass 
and rather agreeable quality, having, I heard, 
often given pleasure to a small company of 
friends, by the singing of an occasional Schubert 
song. So I was approached in the matter. 
After being made fully to understand and 
appreciate the seriousness and importance of 
the question and the responsibility which 
rested on them and me, I was asked to hear 
him sing, test his musical and vocal capabilities, 
and give my opinion as to the advisability of 



XVIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 257 

his studying music — and singing in particular — 
with a view to making a profession of it. The 
young man himself was very keen on the 
subject, and it was with genuine regret that, 
after hearing and thoroughly examining him, 
I had to break to him my conviction that it 
would be of no use : he could not sing, nor, in 
my opinion, be made to sing, in perfect tune, 
and must give up all dreams of ever becoming 
a singer or of making a living by music. His 
disappointment at seeing shattered what seemed 
his last hope — ^for he was getting on in years, 
being then twenty-seven — ^was pathetic. His 
handsome eyes, dimmed with tears, seemed to 
look into the future with something like despair, 
and I could not help being truly sorry for him, 
little thinking that my verdict would prove a 
blessing in disguise. We went together to his 
aunt, with whom was the aforesaid uncle. 
After my report on the fatal examination there 
was a sad silence. Then the uncle said to the 
downcast young man, " Why don't you write 
down that little story you told me some time 
ago of that strange experience you had in India 
— don't you know ? . . ." Somehow or other 
the suggestion seemed to commend itself to the 
nephew, who parted from me hopeful and with 
my best wishes. That was in January 1882. 
At Christmas of that year the novel-reading 



258 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xviii 

public of Great Britain and the United States 
were devouring a little book, Mr. Isaacs, by 
F. Marion Crawford, and when, many years 
later, I met the author in Sorrento, where his 
steadily growing success had enabled him to 
surround himself with all the comfort and 
luxury of a beautiful home, he gratefully re- 
minded me of that awful afternoon in Boston, 
when my stern decree had unconsciously laid 
the foTuidation of it. 

It was at the house of Mrs. Geo. D. Howe 
that, a few days after that concert of the 
Harvard Musical Society, Colonel Higginson 
asked me to meet him ; and there, in a few 
words, as was his wont, he revealed to me 
his plan of estabhshing in Boston, on a firm, 
financial basis, an annual series of orchestral 
concerts on a large scale, and asked me if, 
eventually, I would imdertake to form the new 
orchestra and be its first conductor. There 
would be no committee, I would be my own 
master as regards the making of the pro- 
grammes, number of rehearsals, indeed in every 
respect. He also hinted at a very substantial 
salary, being, as he remarked, sensible of the 
fact that such a position would naturally not 
leave me as free to earn as much by my singing 
as would otherwise be the case. 

The offer was a very tempting one, especially 



XVIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 259 

since the regular conducting of a big symphony 
orchestra had for a long time been one of my 
ambitions, but there was the question of casting 
myself — ^perhaps for good — adrift from so much 
that was dear to me in Europe, and I begged 
to be allowed to think the matter over. 

Two days after my marriage, it was in 
Washington, where part of our honeymoon was 
spent, I received a telegram from Colonel 
Higginson, followed by a letter, in which he 
definitely offered me the post. And since we 
had already in our first interview agreed that 
it would be better for us not to bind ourselves 
for more than a year, thus giving, after the 
expiration of it, each of us the option of either 
renewing or discontinuing the agreement, I 
accepted. All details were settled upon after 
my return to Boston. I engaged the members 
of the orchestra, selecting them, at Mr. Higgin- 
son's very wise suggestion, as nearly as possible 
from those of the old Harvard Society and 
among other local players, so as not to arouse 
too much opposition. 

During my visit to Germany I bought a 
very extensive orchestral library, taking great 
pleasure and pride in personally indexing and 
cataloguing the nearly three hundred works I 
had acquired. Rehearsals commenced early in 
October, and on the 22nd of that month 



260 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xviii 

the " Boston Symphony Orchestra," as with 
Colonel Higginson's assent I had christened 
it, was launched on its public career and I 
became, for the time being, a resident of the 
United States. 



XIX 

How different an aspect things assume when 
looked at from different points of view ! To 
see a foreign country as a visitor of a few weeks 
is one thing; to find oneself established in it 
and move among its people as one of their 
number, quite another. I had to get accus- 
tomed to many things which at first simply 
amused me, as, for instance, the familiarity 
with which people — or perhaps I should rather 
say men — treated each other, independent of 
their social status. Things may have changed 
since then, but I remember an incident which 
furnishes a particularly striking illustration of 
that trait in the American of forty years ago. 
It was in one of those little yellow horse-tram- 
cars in New York. A man had just entered 
the car, and in handing his fare to the conductor 
asked to be put down at the corner of " So- 
and-so Street." The conductor looked puzzled ; 
doubtfully repeating the name of the street, he 
shook his head and, after a little more thinking, 
turned to us other men in the car with the 

261 



262 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xix 

question : " Does any one of you chaps know 
So - and - so Street ? " Fancy such a thing 
happening in a London bus ! 

In referring once to some member of the 
household staff in the old Haydenville establish- 
ment as " servant," that word was gently 
corrected into " help," a circumstance which 
with considerable amusement. I recollected 
when calling, twenty-five years later, upon a 
friend staying at one of the newest, up-to- 
date hotels in New York, and seeing with my 
own eyes half-a-dozen powdered " helps " in 
gorgeous liveries, loitering in the lobby ! 

In some private houses and most of the 
hotels then they had " coloured help," or in 
other words, negro servants, and somehow or 
other you didn't mind their familiarity half as 
much as that of white people. On one occasion 
it was vastly exhilarating. My wife and I 
were staying at a hotel in Philadelphia, and, 
having a recital in the evening, took our dinner 
in the public dining-room, but by ourselves, 
two hours before the official dinner-hour. We 
were the only guests in the room, and had the 
honour of being served by the head waiter, a 
highly elegant, faultlessly attired, nice-looking, 
polite negro. He was scrupvdously attentive 
to us, and must have known our identity, for 
when we had finished our meal and got up to 



XIX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 263 

leave the room, he courteously removed our 
chairs, and, a broad smile brightening up his 
coimtenance in which, but for the duskiness 
of it, I am sure I would have been able to 
discover a faint blush, said to us : "I hope 
you'll have a great success to-night — Fve been 
in the show-business myself " ! 

There was another negro servant at the 
famous " Fifth Avenue Hotel," then the premier 
hotel of New York, now a memory, whose 
business it was to stand at the door of the 
dining-room and take the hats of the gentlemen 
as they passed into it at meal-time^. Often 
he must have handled in that way from two 
to three hundred hats within an hour, but 
though he never gave number-checks for them, 
merely taking the hat and placing it on one of 
the ntunerous receptacles for that purpose, he 
would iinostentatiously hand back his hat to 
each guest as he left the room after the meal, 
without ever being known to make a mistake. 
A friend of mine would hardly believe such a 
feat of memory possible, and on having one 
day personally convinced himself of the fact, 
could not resist asking the man, " I say, how 
on earth do you know this is my hat ? " "I 
don't know this is your hat, sir," was the quick 
reply, " I only know it's the hat you gave me." 

Speaking of hotels — my curiosity as to why 



264 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xix 

to every one of them there should be, as was 
the case, a separate " Ladies' Entrance," gener- 
ally through a side-door, was not long in being 
gratified. To try to reach the clerk's counter 
of a hotel by the ordinary front door meant 
pushing one's way through a crowd of " gentle- 
men " in the lobby, half their number, during 
the hot season, in their shirt sleeves ; some 
standing about in groups, toothpick in mouth, 
some sitting or rather lying on rocking-chairs, 
with their feet on the window-sills or radiators, 
smoking, or chewing tobacco or gum or else 
the suspicious coffee-bean, with a " spittoon " 
in safe proximity, the latter however a com- 
modity which, to judge from the unmistakable 
circxmistantial evidence on the floor, appeared, 
by some of the more Bohemian, that is to say 
less refined customers, to be considered rather 
a time-wasting luxury. Never before in my 
life had I seen so many business men gathered 
together, all intently engaged in the pursuit of 
doing nothing. Loafing seemed to have become 
a fine art ; and of the way really busy people 
had to guard against its being practised in 
their oflfices, my friend, John Thallon, Robert's 
brother, a well-to-do merchant, one day afforded 
me an opportunity of seeing a rather striking 
exemplification. I had been invited by him 
to inspect his business premises in New York, 



XIX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 265 

and being shown "through the different depart- 
ments and rooms, I noticed every now and 
then a neat little placard suspended in con- 
spicuous places, from hanging-lamps or nails in 
the wall, bearing, in clear, large type, the 
mysterious legend " Please don't look at my 
back ! " 

" What does this mean ? " I asked, handling 
one of them. " Well, turn it over ! " I did, 
and was highly amused to read on the other 
side, printed in large type, the words : " Don't 
you think it's about time to go?" 

" You see," Thallon said, " really busy 
people have no time to notice these cards. It 
is only men who come here without any genuine 
business purpose, hanging about the place and 
stealing my time, who, disregarding the warning 
on the front of the placard, cannot resist looking 
at the reverse. The result is most gratifying. 
They generally sneak away after a minute or 
two, sfiA my office knows them no more." I 
thought this little device exceedingly clever, a 
very happy combination of Scottish shrewdness 
and American humour. 

Travelling, too, had its amusing sides. Not 
infrequently you had to put up with so-called 
conveniences which, especially to people ac- 
customed to European ways, turned out to be 
so many nuisances. 



266 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xix 

I don't know whether the custom is still 
flourishing, but in the early 'eighties a train 
had hardly left the platform of the starting- 
station, called the " Depot," when itinerant 
hawkers commenced to proceed from one end 
of the train to the other, calling out their wares : 
apples, pop-corn, bananas, pea-nuts, molasses- 
candies, chicken-sandwiches, chewing-gum, and, 
worst of all, " the latest novels " (generally 
pronounced " nav'ls "). The latter they would 
actually place on unwary, defenceless pas- 
sengers' knees 'and leave them there until their 
return journey through the car. I remember 
Henry James telling me how, exasperated by 
the vile practice, he once, without a word, 
making a catapult of his thumb and index- 
finger, precipitated one of the obnoxious volumes 
which had been deposited on his knees, on to 
the floor of the carriage, as you would an 
offensive insect or an objectionable crumb, 
whereupon the imperturbable young Autolycus 
picked it up and, half pityingly, half disdain- 
fully exclaimed, " Well, you ain't travelled 
much ! " 

And the sleeping - cars ! There were from 
twelve to sixteen so-called " sections " in each 
of those, as a rule, exceedingly badly ventilated 
sleeping - carriages, situated on both sides of 
the narrow middle passage, each section con- 



XIX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 267 

sisting of a lower and upper berth which, when 
occupied by a would-be sleeper, were curtained 
off. The tickets for the berths being issued 
according to priority of application, and there 
being no separate sections for the two sexes, it 
was no infrequent occurrence for a lady to be 
seen climbing into an upper berth with a 
gentleman snoring in the lower. At one end 
of the car there was an open wash-room, con- 
taining three or four basins ; and to see in the 
early morning the male passengers, one after 
the other, clad in neither coat nor waistcoat, 
without collar or tie, in fact alarmingly en 
neglige, flourishing a sponge or a razor or a 
tooth-brush, making a dash for that wash-room, 
or to watch the queue of those who, finding 
the basins already in possession of other " very 
imperfect ablutioners " (dear W. S. Gilbert — 
these three words alone would have made thee 
immortal !), were waiting their turn, was a sight 
to be remembered. Fortunately these cars 
were provided with two httle private sleeping 
compartments, one at each end, and possessing 
each its own toilet commodities. By engaging 
one of these compartments you could, at a 
considerable extra fare of course, remain by 
yourself all through the journey, a privilege 
of which, not caring to turn Anthropologist,^ 

1 "Anthropology — Study of man as an animal" {Oxford 
Dictionary). 



268 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xix 

I was not slow in availing myself ever 
after. 



But to return to Boston. In the spring of 
1876, when only just sixteen years old, Lillian 
Bailey had made her debut there at a concert 
given by Boston's leading musician, Benjamin 
J. Lang, who on that occasion was assisted also 
by a pianist and composer rapidly rising into 
prominence — Arthur Foote. These two men, 
natives both of historical Salem in Massa- 
chusetts, the scene of Nathaniel Hawthorne's 
master romance. The Scarlet Letter, had from 
that time on taken a most kindly interest in 
the young lady, whose rare talent, earnestness, 
and charming personality had greatly impressed 
them ; and it was only natural that they should 
have been the first of her many friends to whom 
my young wife was anxious to introduce me. 
Mr. Lang, originally a pianist, having received 
his training from Liszt, Alfred Jaell, and other 
masters in Germany, was organist of King's 
Chapel, conductor of the CeciUa Society and 
of the Apollo Club, and a much sought after 
teacher of the organ and the pianoforte. 
Thorough and enthusiastic musician, broad- 
minded, tactful, of great general culture and a 
rare kindness of heart, he was the acknowledged 
leader of the musical commiuiity of Boston. 



XIX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 269 

Axthur Foote, a graduate of Harvard, held the 
post of organist at the First Unitarian Church, 
and, though considerably Lang's junior, was 
already then one of the foremost composers 
and teachers in the States, of the growth of 
whose fame beyond the boiuidaries of his 
native continent the performance of a Trio of 
his at one of the Monday Popular Concerts in 
London by Sir Charles and Lady Halle and 
Signor Piatti in 1887, gave most gratifying 
evidence, whilst one of his many songs, the 
charming and sympathetic setting of Sir Gilbert 
Parker's " Irish Folk Song," has gained a world- 
wide popularity. These two men exercised a 
decided and most beneficent influence on the 
musical life of Boston and the development of 
its taste. And their friendship and generous 
support from the very first, which former in 
the case of the younger man has, I am happy 
to say, survived to this day — dear genial Mr. 
Lang, alas, being no more among us — will 
ever be a soiirce of deepest gratitude to me. 
Indeed, I doubt if without them I should 
have come out of the first season of the Boston 
Symphony Orchestra alive. That the sudden 
assumption of so much power in the affairs of 
music in Boston by so yomig a man as I then 
was — I had just turned thirty-one — and a 
stranger into the bargain, would be hailed with 



270 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xix 

enthusiasm or meet with universal approval, 
neither Mr. Higginson nor I for a moment 
expected. And particularly as regards the 
attitude of the press, it most decidedly was 
not. 



XX 

The simple and straightforward annoiince- 
ment made by Mr. Higginson in the Boston 
papers at the end of March 1881, headed " In 
the Interest of Good Music," plainly stating 
the accomplished fact of the establishment 
of the new orchestra and giving my name as 
that of its first conductor, came as a great 
surprise to the general public, not wholly 
agreeable, I fear, to some musicians, and 
evidently a positive shock to most critics, 
one of whom promptly delivered himself of 
the following declaration : " Some protest is 
certainly needed to stem this tide of adulation 
that rises and breaks at the feet of Mr. Henschel. 
We have had conductors in Boston, and good 
ones. It is a mistaken idea of Mr. Henschel' s 
friends — ^if not of his own — that we have 
waited here, all unconscious of our own poverty 
and great needs, for this musical trinity com- 
bined in the person of Mr. Henschel — oratorio 
exponent, composer and orchestral conductor. 

271 



272 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xx 

We are not, and have not been, half as ignorant 
as they suppose." 

Others followed suit in similar terms, though 
apparently with little effect on public opinion, 
for when, early in September, the sale of tickets 
for the first season commenced, both Mr. 
Higginson and I were greatly astonished and 
gratified at the demand for them. As early 
as six o'clock on the morning of the sale people 
commenced getting into Une before the doors 
of the old Music Hall, one paper even asserting 
this to have taken place in the afternoon of 
the previous day. The Transcript, Boston's 
premier evening paper, asked in bewilderment : 
" Where does all the audience come from ? 
Where have all these symphony - goers been 
during the last ten years that they have hidden 
themselves so completely from public view ? " 
This was encouraging. I Was by that time 
rehearsing industriously and enthusiastically 
with the orchestra, with all the members of 
which I stood on the most friendly footing, 
and to whom, previous to the commencement 
of rehearsal, I had issued this letter : 

To THE Members of the Boston Symphony 
Orchestra 

Gentlemen — I beg leave to say a few words to 
you now, in order to avoid waste of time after our 
work has once begun. Wherever a body of men are 



XX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 273 

working together for one and the same end, as you 
and I, the utmost of unity and mutual understanding 
is required in order to achieve anything that is great 
or good. 

Every one of us, engaged for the concerts we are 
on the point of beginning, has been engaged because 
his powers, his talents have been considered valuable 
for the purpose. Every one of us, therefore, should 
have a like interest as well as a like share in the' success 
of our work, and it is in this regard that I address 
you now, calling your attention to the following 
points with which I urgently beg of you to acquaint 
yourselves thoroughly : 

Let us be punctual. Better ten minutes before 
than one behind the time appointed. 

Tuning will cease the moment the conductor 
gives the sign for doing so. 

No member of the orchestra, even if his presence 
be not needed for the moment, will leave the 
hall during the time of the rehearsals and 
concerts without the consent of the conductor. 

The folios containing the parts will be closed 
after each rehearsal and concert. 

Inasmuch as we are engaged for musical purposes, 
we will not talk of private matters during 
rehearsals and concerts. 

Hoping that, thus working together with perfect 
understanding, our labours will be crowned with 
success. — I am, gentlemen, your obedient servant, 

G. H. 

Being absolutely my own master as regards 
the orchestra and its work, I tried several 
experiments in the way of the placing of the 

T 



274 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xx 

orchestra, dividing, for instance, the strings 
into equal halves on my right and left with 
the object of enabling the listeners on either 
side of the hall to have the full effect of the 
whole string - quintet. Those experiments I 
submitted in letters, illustrated by diagrams, 
to Brahms, who most kindly, in his answers, 
commented upon their practicability or other- 
wise. " But," he writes on one occasion, 
" by far the best feature in all your arrange- 
ments of the orchestra, is the fact that no 
committee will be sitting in front of it. There 
is not a Kapellmeister on the whole of our 
continent who would not envy you that ! " 
In the making of the programmes I endeavoured 
to be guided by the principles laid down by 
the famous German writer, Gustav Freytag, 
whose book. The Technique of the Drama, I 
had studied in my Leipsic days, principles 
which he had evolved from the study of the 
great dramatists from Sophocles to Shakespeare. 
In that book Freytag maintains that a drama 
should have an uneven number of acts, either 
three or five. The interest should steadily 
ascend during the first two — or, in the case 
of a five-act play, during the first three — acts. 
Here should be the climax, after which, in the 
last act — or, in the case of a five-act play, in 
the last two — the interest should gently descend 



XX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 275 

until, at the end, it has reached the level of 
the outset. 

Accordingly, with hardly an exception, I 
arranged my programmes so that, commencing 
with an overture, after which there came a 
solo, either instriunental or vocal, the climax, 
viz. the symphony, stood at the end of the 
first part which generally took up, as regards 
the length of the concert, two - thirds of the 
whole. The second part then was a gentle 
" letting-down " from the more or less acute 
mental effort claimed by the first part. The 
scheme seemed to meet with the approval 
even of the critics. Anyhow, at all the concerts, 
which took place every Saturday evening for 
twenty-four successive weeks, the hall was 
crowded, and as to the public rehearsals on the 
Friday afternoons, for which — no tickets being 
sold beforehand — one paid twenty-five cents 
(one shilling) at the door to every part of the 
house, there was many an afternoon when 
people had to be turned away. I shall never 
forget the public rehearsal for the last concert 
of the first season, when Beethoven's Ninth 
Symphony — the preceding eight had all been 
given in the course of the series — ^was on the 
programme. I had left my house in Otis 
Place for old Music Hall — ^the magnificent 
" Symphony " Hall of the present day did not 



276 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xx 

exist then — and was crossing the Common, 
when in the distance I observed, fully three or 
four minutes' walk to the Hall yet, a huge 
gathering of people. " What a pity," I said 
to myself, thinking some accident had happened, 
" this should occur just to-day, when it will 
interfere with the progress of people wanting 
to go to the rehearsal ! " Imagine my surprise 
and, needless to add, my gratification when, 
on coming nearer, I foimd that the crowd was 
slowly moving towards Music Hall — they were 
the very people trying to get admission to the 
rehearsal ! I had to beg and elbow my way to 
the hall, and even there — men and women 
sitting on the steps leading to the platform — 
encountered some difficulty in my endeavour to 
reach the conductor's place in time. As far, 
therefore, as regards the public, there was 
nothing to complain of. But — ^the critics ! 
It was after the unquestionable success of the 
very first concert that the seemingly organized 
newspaper attacks commenced. Nothing was 
good. My tempi, my " untraditional " way 
of conducting, even the seating of the orchestra 
furnished abimdant reasons for adverse criticism, 
the growth of which in violence appeared to 
keep pace with that of the favour the concerts 
found with the public from week to week. 
I was, by one critic, considered " a veritable 



XX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 277 

Brahmin " in my passion for Brahms. " There 
are more dissonances in Music Hall in a week 
now," he wrote, " than there used to be in a 
year." Ridicule, sarcasm, venom, wit — not 
always free from vulgarity — were called upon 
to serve the purpose of defeating Mr. Higginson's 
scheme. At one of the concerts I was an- 
nounced to play a MS. Pianoforte Concerto 
of my own — which soon afterwards, in spite of 
its momentary success, shared the fate of that 
significant Concert-Overture — and this afforded 
the critics a welcome opportunity for the 
activity of all the above requisites of warfare, 
a warfare which, however, was of a decidedly 
one-sided kind, as neither Mr. Higginson nor 
I ever took the slightest public notice of these 
attacks. Here is a little sample : 

Mr. Henschel will appear as pianist, composer, 
and conductor, and he has already appeared as a 
singer in the series. That is a good deal for one man 
to do. But he will do it with all satisfaction to the 
public, which seems to be entirely captivated by him. 
The only thing he cannot do is to appear as a string 
quartette, or sing duets with himself. 

In another paper there appeared a parody 
on the programme : " Eggshel Concert ; Con- 
ductor, Henor Eggshel. ' ' Conductor, composer, 
manager, performers, all had the name of Egg- 
shel, and the items of the programme were 



278 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xx 

" Zum Andenken," " Vergiss-mein-nicht," "And 
don't you forget it," " Souviens-toi," " Then 
you'll remember me," and so on — ^really very 
amusing. Certainly the amount of free adver- 
tising I got was amazing. That some people 
minded this sort of thing more than I did, was 
shown by a letter which appeared in the 
Boston Herald, headed " Mr. Henschel's Critics 
criticized," and signed " Pro bono publico." 
It began thus : 

" Let me ask, is it fair, just, honourable, or even 
decent for the managers of these papers " — quoting 
the Saturday Evening Gazette, the Advertiser, and the 
Transcript — " to permit such critics to viHfy, malign, 
abuse and ridicule a gentleman of Mr. Henschel's 
abilities, a born musician, a simple, earnest, devoted 
worker for the highest and best in music at all times ? " 
and ended : "If the gentlemen of the press desire to 
organize a clamour against Mr. Henschel, they will 
find his friends quite ready to meet them. The fact 
has been established that Mr. Henschel is a success 
as a conductor. He has had serious difficulties to 
overcome on account of the indifferent and demoralized 
condition of his men. He has not been able yet to 
prevent some of the old fiddlers from doubling their 
backs like cobblers and drawing their bows as they 
would so many wax-ends ; but he has, nevertheless, 
added new blood, and imparted much of his own 
enthusiasm, ardour, and life into the mechanical 
old stagers, so that the result has been an agreeable 
surprise to all of us, and which has never been seen 
under the baton of any other conductor. As a whole. 



XX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 279 

the orchestra is certainly equal to any we had ever 
had in Boston, and, if it is not already, by the end of 
the season I doubt not it will be the best one of its 
class in America." 

This was very pleasant reading for a change, 
although it had very little effect on the critics. 
The public, however, continued tq flock to the 
concerts in ever-increasing numbers, and the 
members of the orchestra showed their good- 
will to me by the gift of a silver salad set, which 
was presented to me at one of the concerts 
in February '82, happening to fall on my 
birthday, in full sight of and Avith the evident 
warm approval of the audience. 

Just at that time, it being near the end of 
the first season, Mr. Higginson and I had 
several meetings in regard to the arrangements 
for the next one, the result of which was a 
circular letter to the members of the orchestra, 
of which I quote the following paragraphs, 
heralding, as they did, a phase in the organiza- 
tion of orchestras entirely new in the history 
of musical Boston : 

Your services will be required on each week 
between October 1 and April 1, on the 
following days : Wednesday morning, after- 
noon and evening ; Thursday morning, after- 
noon and evening ; Friday morning and 
afternoon ; Saturday morning and evening. 

On Wednesday and Thursday all of your time 



280 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xx 

will, of course, not be required, but you must 
be ready when needed. You will be expected 
to play during these four days either at 
concerts or at rehearsals, as required. If it is 
necessary to give a concert occasionally on 
Friday, you will be asked to give that evening 
in place of another. 
On the days specified you will neither play 
in any other orchestra nor under any other 
conductor than Mr. Henschel, except if 
wanted in your leisure hours by the Handel 
and Haydn Society, nor will you play for 
dancing. . . . 

Then followed the offers of salary to the 
individual players. This letter drew forth a 
perfect eruption of indignation on the part 
of the critics. " It is a good thing for Mr. 
Henschel," one of them wrote, " that he received 
his silver salad set from his orchestra two 
weeks ago. Just at present there is no desire 
to give Mr. Henschel anything except censure. 
The cause of this sudden revulsion of feeling " 
(!!) — the exclamation marks are mine — " is 
that Mr. Henschel's efforts at musical reform 
appear to have suddenly become a little too 
sweeping, and seem to include the centraliza- 
tion of Boston's music in the hands of this 
conductor. . . . Mr. Higginson's circular is a 
direct stab at the older organizations and 
rival conductors of Boston , . . the manner 



XX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 281 

in which the proposal is made is one which 
forebodes tyranny. Some of the oldest members 
of the orchestra, men whose services to music 
in Boston have entitled them to deference and 
respect, are omitted altogether, and will be 
left out of the new organization. ..." 

Another paper accused Mr. Higginson of 
" making a corner " in orchestral players, 
characterizing his gift as an " imposition " : 
" something that we must receive or else look 
musical starvation in the face. It is as if a 
man should make a poor friend a present of 
several baskets of champagne and, at the same 
time, cut off his whole water-supply. . . ." 
The Gazette even went so far as to describe 
Mr. Higginson's " monopoly of music " — " an 
idea that could scarcely have emanated from 
any association except that of deluded wealth 
with arrant charlatanism " ! 

All this deluge of abuse affected Mr. 
Higginson and me as water does the pro- 
verbial back of a duck. The newspapers were 
eagerly searched for replies from either him or 
me, people anticipating with glee the great 
fun of a " regular fight " ; and when at last, on 
March 21, there really appeared a letter from 
Mr. Higginson in the papers, I would have 
given much to have seen the faces of some of 
the people who read the following announce- 



282 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xx 

ment, most characteristic in its shortness and 
simplicity, and, as a rejoinder to the enemy's 
onslaughts, really amusing : 

When last spring the general scheme for the 
concerts of the Boston Symphony Orchestra was put 
forth, the grave doubt in my mind was whether they 
were wanted. This doubt has been dispelled by a 
most kindly and courteous public, and therefore the 
scheme will stand. The concerts and public re- 
hearsals, with Mr. George Henschel as conductor, 
will go on under the same conditions in the main as 
to time, place, programmes and prices. Any changes 
will be duly made public when the tickets are ad- 
vertised for sale. 

Henry Lee Higginson. 

And when the tickets were advertised and 
the sale had commenced, this is what the 
newspaper had to say about it on Monday 
morning : 

The interest taken in the coming series of Sym- 
phony Concerts under the direction of Mr. Henschel 
is shown by the demand for season tickets. A few 
people appeared at the Box Office at Music Hall on 
Saturday morning for the purpose of securing positions 
in the line of purchasers. As Music Hall was to be 
used they were not allowed to stand in the passage- 
way and, accordingly, stood in line on Winter Street. 
Some time in the afternoon others came and formed 
a line in Music Hall Place. When this was noticed 
those around the corner made a rush, and some who 
had secured good positions in the first place were not 
so fortunate at the time of the change. Early Sunday 



XX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 283 



1 



evening the line rapidly lengthened, and at seven 
o'clock there were more than a hundred persons in 
line, and at nine o'clock the number had increased 
to at least two hundred. Chairs, camp-stools, and 
even a long wooden settee were in the service of 
these patient ones, and the floor of the doorway leading 
to the vestibule was covered by about a dozen in- 
dividuals lying packed as close as sardines. The 
time was passed in smoking, chatting, and by occasion- 
ally taking a promenade, a neighbour securing the 
seat of the absent one until he returned. When the 
sale of tickets began, there were about three hundred 
and fifty persons in line, many of them boys who were 
holding positions for others. Some who intended 
purchasing only two tickets would take orders for 
four more, six tickets to each person being the limit. 
It is said that the second man in the line sold his 
position for thirty-five dollars. . . . 

This certainly was encouraging, and if it 
did not entirely change the attitude of the 
press, it had at least some influence on their 
tactics. They now contended the concerts 
did not fulfil their intended mission of minister- 
ing to the large mass of the public. One man, 
referring to the first season, wrote : 

I saw but few whom I should believe to be poor 
or even of moderate means. ..." Full dress " was to 
be seen on every hand. ... I should be very glad 
to take my family to hear these educating and refining 
concerts, but I have not the means to go in full 
dress. ... Is not Mr. Higginson's scheme a failure, 
practically? . . . 



284 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xx 

Another : 

Symphony Concerts may be given for a number 
of years in Boston at a rate which will certainly 
involve pecuniary loss ; but it is not at all probable 
that Mr. Higginson will have his successor in any 
such unappreciated system of philanthropy. . . . 
How long the r61e of King Ludwig is to be played in 
Boston, it is impossible to determine. Certain it is 
that no one is profiting by it save the distinguished 
conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 

Well, as I said before, neither Mr. Higginson 
nor I heeded these things, and the second season 
commenced " as advertised." I was greatly 
amused on reading in the Transcript on the 
day after the first concert : " Either Mr. 
Henschel has converted the critics, or the critics 
have converted Mr. Henschel. Which is it ? " 
And actually, after this, there seemed to 
prevail a more conciliatory tone in the utterings 
of the critics, with now and then a flickering 
of the old spirit, as will presently be seen. 
The programme of the concert for Saturday, 
February 17, 1883, had in the usual way been 
announced on the last page of the preceding 
one, but whilst rehearsing the same on the 
morning of Tuesday the 13th, the news of 
Wagner's death at the Palazzo Vendramini in 
Venice was brought into the hall, whereupon 
I immediately decided to abandon the adver- 



XX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 285 

tised programme and substitute for it one 
entirely consisting of works from the pen of 
the dead master. This was the programme : 

Prelude {Tristan and Isolde) ; Lohengrin's Legend 
and Farewell, sung by Mr. Charles R. Adams ; Siegfried 
Idyll ; Elizabeth's Greeting to the Hall of Song, from 
Tannhauser, sung by Mile. Gabriella Boema ; Prelude 
to the Mastersingers of Nuremberg ; Pogner's Address 
from the same opera, sung by myself and conducted 
by Mr. Listemann, the leader; Prelude to Parsifal, 
and the Death March from the Gdtterddmmerung. 

The Parsifal prelude I had introduced to 
Boston earlier in the season, playing it both at 
the beginning and at the end of the same 
concert, a proceeding which, much to my gratifi- 
cation, had found considerable favour with the 
musicians as well as the public. 

This Wagner - Memorial Concert was thus 
criticized by the Gazette : 

A tribute of respect to the dead composer crowded 
the front of the first gallery, and consisted of some 
mourning drapery decorated with laurel, and a 
portrait of Wagner. The Orchestra wore black 
instead of the customary white neckties. The pro- 
gramme was gloomy enough in all conscience, and 
the necessity for its performance gave one more 
cause for regret at the composer's death. The whole 
concert was an elegiac nightmare. We doubt if ever 
Music Hall echoed to a longer stretch of cacophonous 
dreariness within the same length of time. 

Incredible ! 



286 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xx 

A year later, on the anniversary of Wa,gner's 
death, the programme contained, in memory 
of the event, three of his compositions. This 
time one of the critics, and a very clever one, 
Mr. Louis C. Elson, who has, among other 
meritorious work, done some excellent English 
versions of a great number of German songs, 
blossomed into poetry : 

Oh, Henschel, cease thy higher flight, 
And give the pubhc something light ! 
Let no more Wagner themes thy bill enhance, 
And give the native workers just one chance. 
Don't give the Dvofak symphony again ; 
If you would give us joy, oh, give us Paine ! 

The last line is really quite witty, for Mr. 
John K. Paine, Professor of Music at Harvard 
University, and a composer of considerable 
skill and erudition, had written a " Spring 
Symphony " which was " not half bad," and 
which I brought to a hearing during the series. 
From the reference to Dvorak it will be seen 
that the task I had set myself, of introducing 
the works of Uving composers new to Boston, 
was not a very grateful one. It does seem 
almost as incredible now as the " cacophonous 
dreariness of Wagner " to have, for instance, 
the Adagio from Brahms' Serenade in D likened 
by one of the critics, as it was, to " the sapient 
musings of some brilliant idiot " ! " We are 



XX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 287 

told," that gentleman continued, " by an 
eminent musician of the orchestra, that thirty 
years will rnake a wondrous change in our 
views concerning Brahms' idiosyncrasies. Let 
us not run so unwelcome a risk. Let us die 
in peace, with none of the abortive transition 
to plague our life away, that might be expected 
by some of the so-called future school of 
music. ..." 

Poor man ! The thirty years have passed, 
and wondrous indeed the change they have 
wrought. Debussy, D'Indy, Ravel, Scriabine, 
Richard Strauss, Reger, Schonberg — ^what has 
my friend, if he be still among the living, to 
say of these ? 

" Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in 
illis." But, thank God, not all of us. Some 
there are left to whom the names Bach, 
Beethoven still stand for all that is highest, 
noblest, purest, holiest, most lovable in our 
art. 



XXI 

During the second year of my conducting the 
Boston Symphony Orchestra my heart was 
occasionally made heavy by letters from Europe, 
expressing disappointment at my remaining 
over there so long. Mme. Clara Schumann 
wrote : " Do you want to forsake Europe 
altogether ? You can imagine how the news 
of your having accepted for a second year 
astonishes me, and how much I, and doubtless 
many with me, deplore it. What will Brahms 
say to it ? . . . " And Brahms, from Ischl, 
in June 1882, writes : " That you have under- 
taken to conduct another series of twenty-five 
concerts in Boston is a very nice thing in itself, 
only not exactly to us a cause for rejoicing. ..." 

Early in '83 I received another letter from 
him in which he refers to my Boston position, 
and which, I think, is characteristic enough to 
be given in full : 

Vienna, 1883. 

Dear Henschel — With mortification I thank you 
at last for so many kind and good news. You really 

288 



XXI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 289 

have deserved that one should settle down comfortably 
to write a comfortable reply — ^but I beg you once for 
all to remember that with me the moment is still to 
come when I shall write the first letter with pleasure. 

Moreover, it is most aggravating to write to one 
who has left us so completely and whom we could 
make such excellent good use of here ! 

I dare say it's useless to ask you if you would at 
all entertain the idea of taking the position at Breslau 
which Scholz ^ resigns this winter ? 

For your friendly pressure regarding a manuscript 
work for performance I must thank you. But it 
would be the first time I had allowed a MS. to go out 
of my hands. A new piece of mine I like to hear 
several times (in MS.). If then it appears to me — so 
accidentally — ^worthy of being printed, it cannot, for 
any length of time, escape that operation. Otherwise 
I do not give it into other hands.^ 

But we can and shall make provision that you 
have such novelties over there sooner than other 
people. Could you make use of a choral work ? In 
that case Simrock just now would have a rather 
pretty little one which you might secure ! ' 

Now, please give my greetings to yours and — ours ; 
I mean our colleagues. Greet them from my heart 
and let me have the pleasure of being allowed to keep 
in contact with them, though it be only by means of 
programmes and newspapers. 

^ Bertihard Seholz, composer. Director of the Hoch'sche Con- 
servatory of Music at Frankfort-on-the-Main, then conductor of 
the Symphony Concerts at Breslau. 

^ I was, however, later on successful in procuring from Brahms 
the MS. of his Concerto for Violin and Violoncello (Op. 102) for 
first performance in England. 

3 That " pretty little one " was no less important and serious a 
work thaii the Gesang der Parzen (Song of the Fates), Op. 89. 

U 



290 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxi 

I quite see that I am not worthy of frequent news 
by letter ! But you don't know my grateful dis- 
position ! 

Again and beforehand many thanks. Heartily 
yours, J. B. 

Still, I had grown so fond of my orchestra, 
to work with whom under such uniquely ad- 
vantageous and gratifying conditions was a 
source of constant delight to me, that I accepted 
Mr. Higginson's offer of a continuation of my 
services for a third term, during which the 
scheme of giving concerts in places outside 
of Boston was inaugurated, — confined however, 
for the time, to towns in New England. But 
when at the end of the third season Mr. 
Higginson, now assured of the stability of the 
institution, submitted to me a contract the 
acceptance of which would practically have 
meant settling in the States for good, I felt 
that the ties which bound me to the old country 
were too strong for me, prosperous and happy 
and profitable in every sense as these three 
years had been, and I decided to return to 
Europe. 

As I write this I see before my mind's eye 
the crowded Boston Music Hall on the evening 
of the last concert of the season '83-84. The 
first number on the programme was Schumann's 
overture to Manfred, which opens with 



XXI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 291 

an impetuous " forte " phrase, syncopated, 
quick, and requiring a very decided, strong 
down-beat. I had raised my baton to attention 
and — except the garland of flowers which 
friendly hands had wound around my desk 
nothing seemed to indicate an unusual state of 
things — ^was just on the point of letting it 
come down with a will, when — shall I ever 
forget the peculiar sensation it gave me — I saw, 
as in a dream, the leader and, with him, the 
whole orchestra rise to their feet, and before 
I could realise what was happening, the 
familiar, affecting strain of " Auld Lang Syne " 
filled the vast hall, played by those dear 
fellows of the orchestra and sung by the 
audience, which I noticed, in turning round 
bewildered and embarrassed, had risen too. 
I was touched to a degree, far too much so for 
thinking of speaking. At a subsequent semi- 
pubUc farewell gathering of friends I found on 
my seat at the table the following apostrophe, 
in a neat hand, and on a nice, old-fashioned 
sheet of paper with embossed edges : 

Henschel ! Henschel ! 

Women and men shall 
Sit at thy feet and hst to thy song. 

Henschel ! Henschel ! 

Ah, where and when shall 
Such rapture once more to us belong ? 



292 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxi 

Henschel ! Henschel ! 

Never again shall 
Leader or Singer be half so dear. 

Henschel ! Henschel ! 

Sing thou and then shall 
Earth be forgotten and Heaven draw near ! 

If whoever wrote this be still among the 
living and happening to read this book, I should 
be very grateful for a revelation of his or her 
identity. Surely it was not easy for me to 
tear myself away from so much kindness and 
affection ! 

Before leaving this for me so memorable 
and important chapter in the history of my 
career I am sure I shall be pardoned if I quote 
just one more extract from the papers of the 
time, as, in the light of subsequent developments, 
it seems amusing enough to be almost pathetic. 

The fact of my decision to return to Europe 
after the end of the third season had become 
known and the name of Wilhelm Gericke of 
Vienna been announced as that of my successor. 
It was also a matter of common knowledge 
that, during that last season, the attendance of 
the public at the public rehearsals had become 
larger than ever before, whilst that at the 
evening concerts had shown a slight decrease ; 
a circmnstance easily accounted for not only 
by the considerably greater cheapness of ad- 
mission to the rehearsals, but also by the fact 



XXI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 293 

that those public rehearsals were identically 
" as good " as the concerts, even as regards 
the appearance of the soloists. I cannot recall 
a single instance of an interruption at these 
rehearsals, or a repetition within a number 
of the programme for the sake of correction. 
But there it was : Decrease of Attendance at 
the Boston Symphony Concerts ! What did 
it matter if the total weekly average of attend- 
ance — close on 4500 — at both concerts and 
rehearsals, showed a steady improvement on 
the two previous seasons ? Here was an alarm- 
ing and significant symptom, which no self- 
respecting critic could afford losing the oppor- 
tunity of making a handle of for a weapon to 
strike one last weighty blow. And this was it. 
(I will be charitable and refrain from revealing 
the name of the prophetic paper) : 

I believe that a large number attended the Sym- 
phony Concerts for the first two seasons simply be- 
cause they were fashionable. Now the force of the 
fashionable commandment — Thou shalt not miss a 
symphony concert — ^has spent itself, and the audiences 
are smaller than in the opening seasons of the enter- 
prise, although the orchestra plays better and the 
programmes are more interesting. Poor Mr. Gericke ! 
He comes from Vienna just in time to take charge 
of an enterprise in which public interest is waning, 
and lucky Mr. Henschel, he will leave it in a manner 
which will enable him to say that it only prospered 
when under his direction. But I will not croak out 



294 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxi 

" Ichabod, the glory is departed," before I am quite 
sure that it has really and entirely left. That it has 
partially gone is undoubted. 

That was written in 1884. 

During the more than thirty years that 
have passed since then, the Boston Symphony 
Orchestra has uninterruptedly continued its 
splendidly beneficent work in the cause of 
music, and not only in Boston, but throughout 
the length and breadth of the United States, 
work which has been described in greater 
detail in a just-published History of the Boston 
Symphony Orchestra, admirably written by 
M. A. de Wolfe Howe. It reads like some 
chapter in the Old Testament : 

After Henschel came Gericke ; after Gericke 
came Nikisch ; after Nikisch came Paur ; 
after Paur came Gericke ; after Gericke Karl 
Muck ; after Muck Fiedler, and after Fiedler 
again Muck. And this last named had the 
happiness and gratification of conducting a 
concert on the eightieth birthday of that 
grand old man, the founder and supporter of 
one of the very finest orchestras in the world 
who, on entering the hall, was greeted by 
orchestra and audience with an outburst of 
enthusiasm equalled only by that with which 
the toast of his health was pledged by the 
many friends and admirers as they sat down 



XXI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 295 

to the Jubilee dinner in Mr. Higginson's honour, 
and listened to what the modest man had to 
say in answer to it, words which are worthy 
to be recorded as a lasting inspiration : 

Several times when I have faltered in my plans 
for the future,^ I have taken heart again on seeing the 
crowd of young, fresh schoolgirls, of music students, 
of tired school teachers, of weary men, of little old 
ladies leading grey lives not often reached by the 
sunshine, and I have said to myself : " One year 
more, anyway." To us all come hard blows from 
the hand of fate, with hours, days, weeks of suffering 
and of sadness. Even boys and girls know this early 
and know it late. At these times music draws the 
pain, or at least relieves it, just as the sun does. 
Considering these things, can I have done harm by 
the concerts ? Are they not worth while, even if they 
cost me years of work and worry ? What were we 
made for ? We are all bound in our day and genera- 
tion to serve our country and our fellow-men in some 
way. Lucky is he who finds a fair field for his work, 
and when he has put his hands to the plough, he may 
not lightly turn back. He may not too easily say, 
" Enough, I am weary." 

Surely admiration, affection, and gratitude 
will follow the name of Henry Lee Higginson 
for generations to come. 

1 In regard to the Symphony Concerts. 



XXII 

The holidays between the concert seasons were 
generally spent among the hills of Massa- 
chusetts. I had read and heard a good deal 
about the particular attractiveness, and now 
had plenty of opportunity to verify all that 
had been said and written in praise of country 
and life in New England, by which name the 
six north - eastern states of Massachusetts, 
Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New 
Hampshire, and Maine are known collectively. 
Looking back on the period into which those 
first visits fell, I find it difficult to realise — so 
truly old new-worldy it all appeared to me — 
that it is only thirty- seven years since I passed 
my first summer there. One seemed to breathe 
the very spirit of the Pilgrim Fathers in the 
simple, vigorous life of the people in those 
villages around Northampton, of which Hayden- 
ville was one of the prettiest. Founded by, 
and named after my wife's maternal ancestors, 
a family of mechanics who, two generations 
back, had built a brass foundry on the banks 

296 



XXII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 297 

of the river there, it was a peaceful, quietly 
flourishing place when I came to know it. 
The main street of the village was a broad 
avenue of those magnificent elm-trees for which 
the coimtry all about is famous. Set back a 
few yards from the side-walk, which not in- 
frequently consisted of wooden planks, and 
connected with it by plots of grass containing 
well-cared-for flower-beds or else fine specimens 
of trees — ^walnuts, chestnuts, or planes — stood 
the dwelling-houses, all in their own groimds. 
The two most distinguished among them were, 
not unnaturally, the homes of Josiah Hayden, 
my wife's grandfather, and Joel, his brother. 
Quite imposing buildings they were, with 
broad steps up to a portico, the triangular roof 
of which was supported by four Ionic columns. 
That these were of wood, painted white, and 
not of marble, did not take away a bit from 
their stateHness ; neither did the houses seem 
in the least out of place in the simple New 
England village. You instinctively felt that 
the Greek portico merely testified to a love, 
in the owners, of the beautiful, independent of 
surroundings. There was dignity without pre- 
tence to grandeur outside, and within, true 
comfort in the shapes of cosy armchairs, sofas, 
large fireplaces, wide four-posters, books, 
pictures in plenty. How I remember those 



298 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxii 

patriarchal Sunday afternoons when all the 
available members of the families would as- 
semble on the verandah — called " piazza," — 
and, distributed in groups between the Greek 
columns, the old people in easy-chairs, mostly, 
I fear, of the rocking species, the younger ones 
on the steps, keep up tradition by singing 
hymns and psalms as in the days of Josiah 
and Joel, who had already joined the Choir 
Invisible. Josiah — other biblical names in the 
family were Joseph, James, Samuel, David, 
Sarah, Ruth, Esther — ^had been a Methodist 
minister, said to have had a beautiful voice, 
and the hymns we sang were chiefly of that 
church, like " Jerusalem the Golden," " Every 
hour I need Thee," " Why not come to Me 
now. ..." Commonplace as some of them 
unquestionably are from the musical stand- 
point, it is remarkable how their naive sincerity 
invests them with a quality almost amounting 
to beauty. The devotional, artless singing of 
them, too, in the open air, for every passer-by 
to hear, and in the simplest possible harmonies, 
was most impressive. Add to that the strange 
force of mental association, and there is perhaps 
no wonder these hymns seem lovely to me to 
this day. Who does not know that fine Love- 
song from Schubert's Miillerlieder, with the 
impassioned and beautiful refrain : 



XXII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 



299 




Thine is my heart, thine is my heart, and shall re main, re 




main tor 



and yet the very inferior setting, by Kursch- 
mann, a long-forgotten composer, of the same 
poem : 



Thine is my heart, thine is my heart, and shall re • 




seems to me even to-day lovelier and preferable, 
because it rings in my ears as my mother used 
to sing it to me in the days of my childhood. 

Not far from the two Hayden houses, farther 
up the street, were the church, a simple wooden 
structm-e with a graceful spire, and the school- 
house ; on the other side of the river various 
houses, all built of wood, with the usual comfort- 
able and sociable "piazza" round the ground- 
floor and a " yard," as the little plots of grass 
or garden rather irreverently were called ; also 
a few shops for the necessities and conveniences 
of daily life and the " drug-store," containing 
the post ojffice whither one had to go or send for 



300 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxii 

one's mail, and where, on Saturday afternoons, 
the boys were treating the girls to a sip of the 
American nectar, an ice-cream soda. Farther 
off, strewn about over the slopes of the hills 
and nearer the railway line, stood a number 
of small " frame " cottages for the poorer class 
of the inhabitants, mostly mill-hands ; for be- 
sides the " Brass-shop " there was also quite 
a good -sized cotton -mill in the place. The 
little railroad branch from Northampton ex- 
tended to the town of Williamsburg, one station 
beyond Haydenville, and on hearing, some 
distance off, the cheery sound of the clear and 
powerful bell which was attached to the engine 
and rung by the driver for some minutes when 
nearing our village, to walk to the station and 
witness the arrival of the diminutive train, 
consisting of locomotive, passenger-coach, and 
van, as it leisurely drew up at the platform, 
used to be one of the excitements of the day. 
Things have changed since then, when it took 
over thirty hours to go from New York to 
Chicago instead of the present eighteen ; and 
the answer of the negro porter at a Western 
station who, on being asked if the Louisville 
Express stopped there, disdainfully replied : 
" Thtop ? Doethn't even heth'tate ! " is doubt- 
less of recent date. 

The drives through the country about 



XXII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 301 

Haydenville were very varied and attractive, 
and the owner of the hotel — needless to say 
the only one in the place — did a good business 
during the summer months, letting his buggies 
and horses to those that could afford this more 
luxurious way of enjoying the really beautiful 
scenery, or else of doing their shopping in 
Northampton, a prosperous town charmingly 
situated among the hills and famous for one 
of the best young ladies' schools in the States, 
Smith College. 

There is a singular attractiveness in the 
American "buggy," especially — for young 
people — the one -seated species, which just 
accommodates two, one of whom must be the 
driver. It is a very light vehicle, with four 
large thin wheels of equal size, made of the 
sinewy, steely hickory wood, which plough 
through the heavy, sandy roads like the cutters 
of a sleigh through the snow. Sharp turns 
in narrow roads are, on account of the height 
of the wheels and the absence of a lock, only 
negotiable by backing the machine — often more 
than once— just as one has to do with motors 
nowadays ; so, with a good horse in the shafts — 
and mine host of the Haydenville House had 
some excellent pacers which he only let out to 
particularly favourite customers — a spin through 
the country was not only a most exhilarating 



302 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxii 

experience but also something of a sport. 
Pacing was at that time much en vogue in the 
States, some towns even boasting of roads, 
called " Speedways," specially made for the 
purpose, and there were any number of horses 
known to be capable of doing a mile in two and 
a half or three minutes. One tells of a man who, 
very proud of the swiftness of his mare, capped 
a rather extravagant story of some other 
horse's speed, by saying, " Well, that's nothing. 
I took a friend for a run behind my mare the 
other day, and after a while he asked me, 
" What churchyard is this we are driving 
through?" "Churchyard?" I said, "why, 
man, these are milestones ! " 

I remember driving to Northampton one 
morning alone in such a buggy — this apropos 
of shopping — and, much to the amusement of 
the family, coming home with eleven huge 
water-melons. I had hitched my mare to one 
of the wooden posts outside a greengrocer's, 
unaware of the dangerously close proximity 
of a large pyramid of gigantic water-melons 
piled up on the side-walk. Returning to my 
conveyance after having made my purchases 
and some calls in different parts of the place, 
I found that the clever animal, evidently bored 
at standing idle for so long, had been having 
a beautiful time during my absence, innocently 



XXII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 303 

sampling eleven of the popular vegetable by 
nibbling off a little round piece of the thick 
rind. Of covirse I had to buy the lot, which 
I distributed among the population. There 
was quite a good doctor in Haydenville. 

Another amusing experience of a very 
different kind we had in Boston at the end of 
the summer of 1887, The Hub of the Universe 
had always been the acknowledged centre of 
spiritualistic activity in the States, a fact to 
which W. D. Howell's delightful romance. The 
Undiscovered Country, bears witness. At that 
time the southern part of the town was par- 
ticularly noted for houses in which the cult of 
spiritualism was practised, and it was to one 
of those that William James, Henry's brother, 
proposed to take us. 

William James, charming and fascinating 
to almost the same degree as his more famous 
brother, had made research into psychic 
phenomena and investigation of the truth in 
matters spiritualistic a life-study, and his very 
earnestness on the subject rendered him all 
the more eager to expose sham and fraud 
wherever he was likely to find it. It was 
therefore with no small excitement and antici- 
pation — none of our party, excepting our 
amiable guide had ever been present at a real 
stance — ^that we set out with him one fine 



304 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxii 

evening on our expedition to the undiscovered 
country. After alighting from the rather dingy 
" horse-car," where we had found ourselves in 
very mixed company (the most conspicuous 
member of which was an unusually large, 
evidently well-to-do negress of the blackest 
dye, in a dainty muslin dress with white 
and light -green stripes, a large straw hat 
with a huge purple feather, a red sunshade, 
and big diamonds stuck in the lobes of her 
ears and glittering on two of her dusky 
fingers), we wended our way through narrow, 
dirty, dimly-Ughted streets, before most of 
the houses in which there stood wooden barrels 
or zinc bins holding the refuse ready for the 
scavenger's rounds next morning, until at 
last we reached the haunted house in Rutland 
Street, one of a long row of poor, shabby- 
genteel residences, the front doors of which 
are reached by a short flight of steps with the 
wooden banisters painted over with a stone- 
coloured substance to make them look like hewn 
granite. On our pulling the bell the door was 
opened by a solemn-looking, elderly, nondescript 
gentleman in a black frock-coat suit, something 
between minister of the gospel and shop- walker. 
The look of distrust with which he viewed our 
party was, I have hardly a doubt, due to the 
presence with us of Nettie, a daughter of 



XXII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 305 

Htixley's, the possessor of a fine contralto voice, 
who had accompanied us on our visit to the 
States, in order to continue her only lately 
commenced singing studies with me. She was 
uncommonly tall and muscular, and full of 
that boyish mischief twinkling in her large 
eyes — a paternal inheritance — ^which seemed to 
be up to all sorts of fim. I should not wonder if 
our spiritualistic host had suspected her of being 
a young Harvard student, masquerading — they 
were known to do that sometimes for a wager — 
as a woman. At last the man, still somewhat 
hesitating, asked us to follow him, and con- 
ducting us to the end of a dark, narrow passage 
leading to the back-parlour, bade us enter the 
sanctum, a large, stuffy, musty-smelUng room, 
the walls of which were himg with a dirty, 
dark - green, flower - patterned, glazed paper. 
From the ceiling was suspended a gasolier 
without globes, on each of the three arms of 
which was burning a very diminutive bluish 
flame, just sufficient to allow us to distinguish 
a few silent people of both sexes seated on small 
wicker-bottomed chairs and, at the end of the 
room, stretching from one side of it across to 
the other and hiding a sort of stage, slightly 
raised, a thick black curtain. On the level of 
the floor, close to the wall, a poor, emaciated, 
humpbacked girl of about sixteen, dressed in 



306 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxii 

black, was seated before a little portable 
American organ, endeavouring to squeeze some- 
thing resembling a hymn -tune out of the 
wheezy instrument which, besides labouring 
under a great difficulty of respiration, had the 
hiccups in a most distressing manner. Its 
sufferings being over for the moment, the man 
in black addressed the audience — or should I 
say the congregation — dwelling on the delicate 
and sensitive nature of the spirits who, in- 
stinctively divining the presence of scoffers, 
of which he hoped there were none among us, 
were not unfrequently apt to refuse to appear 
altogether. Then he most naively took out of 
his pocket a gas-key and, having extinguished 
two of the flames, turned down the remaining 
one so low as to make the room practically* 
pitch-dark ; and out of that darkness, amidst 
expectant silence, his voice was heard to ask 
the solemn question, " Are you there ? " No 
response. Then, to encourage the humble 
spirits, some more hiccups and more silence, 
after which there came at last a feeble knock 
from behind the curtain, and then another, and, 
in quick succession, some stronger ones, and 
then — ^will you believe it? — several spirits in 
white phosphorescent robes rose suddenly from 
behind chairs, noiselessly flitting across the 
floor as if in the happy possession of mortal 



xxii MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 307 

feet, and disappearing in the direction of the 
curtain. If only the key had not been in the 
man's pocket, what fun it would have been 
to turn on the light during these apparitions ! 
As it was, suppressed exclamations of awe on 
the part of devout believers could be heard in 
some portions of the room, whilst there was a 
distinct sound of something like, I am afraid, 
suppressed giggling coming from where we sat. 
That settled it. Some of the spirits must have 
commimicated the outrage to their still im- 
materialized brethren, for in spite of the 
redoubled efforts of the girl at the harmonium 
to appease the wrath of the offended spirits, 
there was no sign of a willingness on their part 
to honour us again. We began to get a little 
uneasy and to wonder how it would end, when 
the lugubrious voice of the gentleman in charge 
of the proceedings promptly terminated our 
suspense. In doleful notes of deepest emotion 
and regret he told us that owing to the presence 
in the room of frivolous — yes, he used that harsh 
word — ^frivolous scoffers, the spirits absolutely 
refused to work. And then out came the gas- 
key ; the lights were turned on, and we — morally 
speaking — out. Once in the street our own 
private spirits, relieved of the fetters of good 
breeding, rose to heights of hilarity not gener- 
ally attained by people who have seen a ghost. 



XXIII 

In the spring of 1884 I had removed my " Lares 
et Penates " to London, from where, however, 
I soon took my wife and little daughter on a 
visit to my family and to see old friends in 
Germany. A propos of this visit I cannot 
refrain from mentioning a littk bird story 
which I should hardly have credited had it 
been told to, instead of actually experienced 
by, me. My sister Hedwig, widow of the 
painter Theodor Grosse, late member of the 
Royal Academy of Dresden, and famous for 
his frescoes in the loggia of the Leipsic Museum, 
was very fond of a bullfinch which she had had 
for many years, and which piped to perfection 
the tune " God save the King." It had 
always been a delight to me, when on a visit 
to my sister, to hear the clear flute-like notes 
and the wonderful rhythm with which the little 
fellow executed the song, even embellishing it 
now and then with a Uttle grace-note. 

This time my sister, who lately had given 
the bird the companionship, in an adjoining 

308 



XXIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 



309 



room however, of a canary, told irie to be 
prepared for a great surprise. The canary, 
she said, had gradually learned the song from 
the bullfinch, first by single notes, then by 
whole bars, until, at the end of less than half 
a year, he had absolutely acquired the tune 
and sang it, also in the same key, as well as its 
unconscious master, the finch. 

I told my sister I had always understood 
such a thing to be possible, and hardly as un- 
common as she seemed to think. " Wait," she 
said, " you will hear — at least I hope you will 
whilst you are with me ; it only happened once, 
and I really could not believe my ears then. ..." 

Well, it did happen, and this is what " it " 
was. I was sitting one afternoon at the cosy 
hour of the " Kaffeestiindchen " — the five- 
o'clock tea of England — ^with my sister, when 
the bullfinch, in our room, commenced to sing : 



and then stopped for a moment, after which 
he repeated these two bars. Again he broke 
off and began once more, this time singing the 
first six bars of the tune : 



Here he stopped longer than before, and during 
the silence we, too, interrupted our talking, 



310 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxiii 

hoping he would go on. Whilst we were 
waiting patiently, the interruption, evidently, 
lasted too long for the canary, for to my 
unutterable surprise and my sister's great 
gratification — ^it was this she had been waiting 
for — ^the canary in the next room took up the 
song where the bullfinch had left off, singing, 
lustily and jubilantly, and with what sounded 
like a conscious pride and satisfaction, the 
remainder of the tune : 



to the very end : 



^ 



^^^ 



After an extended professional tour on the 
Continent during the winter of 1884-1885 we 
returned to London, where, in the spring of the 
following year, Jenny Lind having just resigned 
her position as Professor of Singing at the Royal 
College of Music, of which the genial George 
Grove was the director, I had the honour of 
being appointed her successor. This circum- 
stance, as well as my repeated appearances at 
the concerts of the Bach Choir, then conducted 
by her husband, Otto Goldschmidt, brought 
me into rather frequent contact with the re- 
nowned couple, who, ever since my first appear- 



XXIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 311 

ance in 1879, seemed to have formed an 
agreeable opinion of me — Jenny Lind, in her 
letters to me, invariably signed herself, " Ihre 
Kunstschwester " (" Your Art-sister ") — and I 
had now become a regtdar visitor at their home 
in Bromptori, a perfect treasure-house of most 
interesting mementoes of the great singer's 
wonderful career, the history of which she often, 
when I happened to be her only guest at the 
tea-table, wovild illustrate by a little story. 
On one of these occasions I remember our 
coming across the programme of her first 
concert in the United States, and the story she 
told me in connexion with that is, I am sure, 
worthy to be retold : 

The manager under whom Jenny Lind had 
made her first tournee in America in 1850, 
had been no other than the great Barnum, 
then known only as the most enterprising and 
successful menagerie- and circus-man of the 
age. The contract Jenny Lind had signed 
was, according to English ideas at that time, 
a most advantageous one. When, however, 
the great Prima Donna arrived on the other 
side of the Atlantic she found that, whereas 
in England and on the European continent 
she had appeared before audiences of 2000 
or perhaps, at the utmost, 3000 people, in 
America she was called upon to sing in halls 



312 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxiii 

capable of holding as many as 8000 and more. 
No ordinary concert halls being large enough 
to hold the vast number of people eager to 
hear the famous Swedish nightingale, railroad 
stations were temporarily transformed into 
temples of song, yea, her first appearance in 
New York, the memorable event when " Knox 
the hatter " paid 300 dollars for his seat, took 
place at Castle Garden, the vast receptacle for 
the thousands and thousands of immigrants 
whom the weekly steamers poured into the 
country. Naturally, Jenny Lind soon realised 
how out of all proportion to justice and equity 
the conditions were imder which she had 
agreed to tour the United States, but also how 
it was now too late, a contract being a con- 
tract. A few days, however, after that first 
appearance, when Barnum was dining with 
her, she could not resist the temptation of 
telling him, in a very pleasant and good- 
humoured way, of her disappointment, and how 
she had had no idea, when signing the contract, 
that she would have to sing in halls three 
times as big as any she had ever appeared in 
before. Imagine her surprise when Barnum, 
without a moment's hesitation, took out of 
his pocket the precious document with Jenny 
Lind's signature, and, tearing it into little 
pieces, said to her, " Madam, send me your 



xxm MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 313 

lawyer to-morrow, and I will sign any contract 
he might see fit to submit to me." 

The world at large will perhaps remember 
Barnum merely as the great showman, but 
to us, who know this rare little story, he 
will — ^to quote a phrase from Tennyson's In 
Memoriam — 

. . . ever bear without abuse 
The grand old name of gentleman. 

One day, in 1880, Mr. Otto Goldschmidt, 
contemplating a performance by the Bach 
Choir of Brahms' German Requiem, had 
asked me if I would do him the favour of 
writing to Brahms with the object of ascertain- 
ing if the metronome marks at the head of the 
different movements of the Requiem should 
be strictly adhered to. This is the character- 
istic letter containing Brahms' answer : 

Vienna, Feb. 1880. 

Dear Henschel — ^Your letter reaches me just as 
I am happening to be at home for a few days ; a very 
rare occurrence this winter, worse luck ! 

Post festum my best congratulations upon the 
success of your concert,^ which indeed must have 
been splendid. 

The question in your letter received to-day is 
somewhat obscure, indistinct ; I hardly know what 

1 On December 2, 1879, 1 had conducted at St. James's Hall the 
first performance in England of Brahms' Triumphlied for double- 
chorus and orchestra, Op. 55. 



314 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxiii 

to answer : "If the indications by figures of the 
tempi in my Requiem should be strictly adhered to ? " 

Well — just as with all other music. I think here 
as well as with all other music the metronome is of 
no value. As far at least as my experience goes, 
everybody has, sooner or later, withdrawn his metro- 
nome marks. Those which can be found in my 
works — good friends have talked me into putting 
them there, for I myself have never believed that my 
blood and a mechanical instrument go well together. 
The so-called " elastic " tempo is moreover not a 
new invention. " Con discrezione " should be added 
to that as to many other things. 

Is this an answer ? I know no better one ; but 
what I do know^is that I indicate (without figures) 
my tempi, modestly, to be sure, but with the greatest 
care and clearness. 

Remember me kindly to Mr. Goldschmidt, and tell 
him, please, that there is only one thing in the coming 
performance I dislike thinking of, and that is, that 
No. 5 ^ will not be sung by his wife. I do wish I 
could have heard that once from her ! 

It will always remain a matter of great 
regret to me that, when I knew Jenny Lind, the 
days of her pubUc performances as a soloist 
were over. I say, " as a soloist," for if during 
the first years of the Bach Choir concerts you 
had asked, on one of those occasions, who 
that interesting - looking lady was — ^there — ^in 
the front row of the sopranos, the lady with the 
somewhat stern expression in her face, and her 

* The beautiful soprano solo, " Ye now are sorrowfiil." 



XXIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 315 

hair done in the early Victorian fashion, as 
you can see it, for instance, in Winterhalter's 
well-known portrait of the youthful Queen, 
the answer would have been, " That's the 
conductor's wife, Jenny Lind." 

I remember once, when we were talking 
about the technique of singing, her favouring 
me with a little illustration of her own ways 
and means, and I shall never forget my wonder 
when, asking me to watch the outside of her 
throat, she showed me how she used to sing 
the trill for which she had been so famous. 
During such a trill, which she continued for 
an astonishingly long time, increasing, de- 
creasing, and again increasing it, her throat 
would be visibly quavering with the rapid 
pulsations of every succeeding little group of 
the two notes, exactly like the throat of a 
warbling canary bird. It was a marvellous 
performance. Although she could be rather 
brusque in expressing her opinion, and never 
hesitated to say what she had, and wanted, to 
say without mincing matters — more than one 
yoiuig lady who had entered Jenny Lind's 
house to sing to her and get her opinion, left 
it bathed in tears — she was a very kind, warm- 
hearted, charitable woman, exceedingly simple 
and unaffected. Many were the times when, 
after luncheon or tea, and I happened to be 



316 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxiii 

the only guest, she would, on my taking leave, 
accompany me to the porch, there perhaps 
commencing a new topic of interest and, 
continuing it, leave the house with me, just as 
she stood, with no hat on, round the corner of 
Moreton Gardens, down the street, until I 
insisted on escorting her back. 

At that period I had many private pupils 
in singing, especially from the United States, 
and some of my experiences in that respect 
were highly amusing. One morning I found 
among my mail a large advertising sheet, 
something like a poster, headed in big letters : 
Miss XYZ, the great Californian something or 
other — I think it was the usual nightingale. 
I had repeatedly seen before, in atlases, charts 
illustrating the comparative heights of the 
mountains and church-steeples of the world. 
Well, this was a similar sort of chart, only, 
instead of to the heights of mountains and 
cathedrals, it had reference to the voices of the 
famous prima donnas of the world. Down at 
the bottom was a poor A flat with the name, 
against it, of the unfortunate female who could 
boast of nothing higher than that ; then came 
a B natural with another celebrated name 
opposite, then a C sharp, and so on, until the 
apex was reached with an A flat an octave 
higher than the first-mentioned, and against 



XXIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 317 

that wonderful achievement was placed in red 
emblazoned letters, twice as big as those of the 
poor rivals, the name of Miss XYZ. Wonder- 
ing why this valuable document should have 
been sent to me, I opened the letter accom- 
panying it. It was headed, in print, by the 
words, "Miss XYZ, Mr. So-and-so, manager." 
(When I showed it, a few days later, to my old 
friend Henry James, he exclaimed : " Why, 
my dear Henschel, this isn't a person, it's a 
locality ! ") And the letter, written from New 
York, ran as follows : 

Dear Sir — Miss XYZ, the great soprano whose 
fame on this continent has no doubt reached you 
before this, is sailing for England on Saturday fort- 
night, to put herself under your tuition. I am sure 
I need not point out to you the advantage which 
will accrue to you by her so doing. I should be much 
obliged if you would meet her on the arrival of the 
steamer at Liverpool. In a few weeks I expect to 
be in London myself, when I will call and consult 
with you as to the best way in which to place her 
before the British Public in a chaste and dignified 
manner. 

I wonder, do my readers know me well 
enough by this time to answer correctly the 
question : Did I or did I not go to Liverpool 
to receive the precious charge ? 



XXIV 

It was not long after my return to London that, 
strengthened by my three years' experience 
in the United States, during which I had con: 
ducted over a hundred concerts and four times 
as many rehearsals, I conceived the idea of 
doing for London something similar to what 
Higginson had done for Boston. I was, after 
all, even as a conductor, no stranger to the 
musical public > of the metropolis — my con- 
ducting there, in 1879, of the first perform- 
ance in England of Brahms' magnificent 
Triumphlied for double - chorus and orchestra 
having elicited a good deal of very friendly 
comment. The Times of December 3rd had 
even considered the concert, at which I also 
conducted Brahms' First Symphony in C Minor, 
" the most important event of an, up to the 
present, anything but interesting season. It 
happily combined a charitable purpose " — I 
had destined the proceeds to the Victoria 
Hospital for Children, of which Princess Lotiise, 
Marchioness of Lome, whose singing teacher 

318 



XXIV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 319 

I had the honour of being, was the patroness 
— " with artistic excellence. . . . For the per- 
formance we have nothing but praise, Herr 
Henschel proving himself as efficient and in- 
telligent a conductor as he is an accomplished 
singer." 

Moving, as I did, among a society which 
included a good many devoted lovers of music, 
I could not help becoming aware of the exist- 
ence of a widely felt and growing sense of de- 
privation as regards orchestral music during 
the winter season. It will be remembered 
that in London proper there were at that time 
no orchestral concerts whatever until after 
Easter, when the Philharmonic Society and, 
since 1879, those "Orchestral Festival Concerts " 
founded by the violinist Hermann Franke 
and conducted by Hans Richter, under whose 
name they afterwards became famous, com- 
menced their season. I thought, therefore, the 
time had come for making, at any rate, the 
experiment of establishing a series of orchestral 
concerts in London during the winter season. 
To do this on my own financial responsibility 
was, of coiu-se, out of the question. Fortunately, 
however, there were among my musical friends 
a sufficiently great number whose wealth was 
equalled by their love of the art as well as by 
their kindness. Their number being, moreover, 



320 



MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxiv 



augmented by personal friends of the Princess 
Louise, to whom that gracious lady had most 
kindly given me introductions for the purpose, 
it was in a surprisingly short time, though 
not without hard and by no means always 
agreeable work, that I was able to make public 
the list of guarantors, which, as a bit of history, 
musical and social, will, I believe, be found 
sufficiently interesting to be quoted in full : 



The Marchioness of Water- 
ford 
The Dowager Countess of 

Airlie 
The Countess of Desart 
The Countess of Lathom 
The Countess of Pembroke 
Viscountess Folkestone 
Lady George Hamilton 
Louisa, Lady Ashburton 
Lady Blanche Hozier 
Lady Mary Loyd 
Lady Agneta Montagu 
Lady Sandhurst 
Lady Wantage 
Lady Windsor 
Lady Colvile 
Lady Farrer 
Lady Goldsmid 
Lady Paget 
The Hon. Mrs. Stafford 

Northcote 
The Hon. Mrs. R. Talbot 
The Hon. Mrs. Ehot Yorke 
Mrs. Arthur Cohen 



Mrs. Conrad 

Mrs. Earle 

Mrs. Douglas Freshfield 

Mrs. C. A. Fyfte 

Mrs. Lawrence Harrison 

Mrs. Robert Harrison 

Mrs. Edwin Henty 

Mrs. Francis Jeune 

Mrs. Sam. Joshua 

Mrs. Charles J. Leaf 

Mrs. Ernest Leverson 

Mrs. George H. Lewis 

Mrs. Alfred Morrison 

Mrs. John Nix 

Mrs. Edward Raphael 

Mrs. George Raphael 

Mrs. Victor Rubens 

Mrs. Granville Ryder 

Mrs. Alfred Schiff 

Mrs. Schlesinger 

Miss Flora M. Smith 

Miss Tatlock 

Miss Van de Weyer 

Mrs. S. Winkworth 

Mrs. Edmond R.Wodehouse 



XXIV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 321 



The Lord Chancellor (Lord 

Herschell) 
The Duke of Westminster, 

K.G. 
The Earl Beauchamp 
The Earl of Dysart 
The Earl of Lathom 
The Earl of Wharnelifte 
Viscount Barrington 
Lord WilUam Compton, M.P. 
Lord Revelstoke 
Lord Hillingdon 
Alfred de Rothschild, Esq. 
Baron Ferd. de Rothschild, 

M.P. 
Sir Fred. Leighton, Bart., 

P.R.A. 
Sir John E. Millais, Bart., 

R.A. 
Sir Thomas Brassey,K.C.B., 

M.P. 
Sir Henry Thompson, 

F.R.C.S. 
Sir Richard Webster, Q.C., 

M.P. 
The Rt.-Hon. A. J. Balfour, 

M.P. 
The Hon. Spencer G. 

Lyttelton 
Baron Herman de Stern 
Hamilton Aide, Esq. 
L. Alma Tadema, Esq., R.A. 
Arthur Anderson, Esq. 
Wm. Asch, Esq. 
Gustav Aschenheim, Esq. 
Gottlieb Bauer, Esq. 
S. H. Beddington, Esq. 



Alfred Benecke, Esq. 
Egmont Bieber, Esq. 
Leo Bonn, Esq. 
Bernhard Bosanquet, Esq. 
G. H. Boughton, Esq., 

A.R.A. 
Ernest de Bunsen, Esq. 
Julius Cyriax, Esq. 
G. EUissen, Esq. 
O. von Ernsthausen, Esq. 
John M. Fletcher, Esq. 
Cyril Flower, Esq., M:.P. 
E. H. Friedlaender, Esq. 
Henry Graham, Esq. 
Paul Hardy, Esq. 
Lawrence Harrison, Esq. 
Robert Harrison, Esq. 
Max Hecht, Esq. 
John P. Heseltine, Esq. 
Ferd. Hess, Esq. 
Philipp Hirschfeld, Esq. 
John R. HoUond, Esq. 
Wynnard Hooper, Esq. 
Lieut.-General Hopkinson 
G. Howard, Esq. 
Luke lonides, Esq. 
G. Jacobson, Esq. 
Henry James, Esq. 
Sam. Joshua, Esq. 
Albert Kahn, Esq. 
Charles Kahn, Esq. 
John Kemp, Esq. 
J. M. Koecher, Esq. 
Morton Latham, Esq. 
H. L. W. Lawson, Esq., M.P. 
Charles J. Leaf, Esq. 
Walter Leaf, Esq. 

Y 



322 



MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxiv 



Julius Levis, Esq. 
Arthur James Lewis, Esq. 
George H. Lewis, Esq. 
Wm. Lidderdale, Esq. 
Arthm Lucas, Esq. 
Henry Lucas, Esq. 
Edmund Macrory, Esq. 
Henry F. Makins, Esq. 

D. Meinert/hagfen, Esq. 
L. Messel, Esq. 

Carl Meyer, Esq. 
Bingham Mildmay, Esq. 
A. B. Mitford, Esq., C,B. 
S. Morley, Esq., M.P. 
Charles Morley, Esq. 
Howard Morley, Esq. 
T. Douglas Murray, Esq. 
Gustav Natorp, Esq. 
John Nicholas, Esq. 

E. Oesterley, Esq. 



Henry Oppenheim, Esq. 
Wm. S. Playfair, Esq. M.D. 
Frederick Pollock, Esq. 
Henry Pollock, Esq. 
Edw. J. Poynter, Esq., R.A. 
G. W. Rathbone, Esq. 
Henry Roche, Esq. 
George J. Romanes, Esq., 

F.R.S. 
A. Rommel, Esq. 
Victor Rubens, Esq. 
John C. Salt, Esq. 
Leo Frank Schuster, Esq. 
James Stern, Esq. 
Thos. Threlfall, Esq. 
Henry F. Tiarks, Esq. 
Albert Vickers, Esq. 
M. Wetzlar, Esq. 
F. A. White, Esq. 
Henry White, Esq. 



And in the spring of 1886 I had the pleasure 
and gratification of announcing the first series — 
to commence in the autumn of that year — of 
" The London Symphony Concerts," as I had 
decided to call them, and under which name 
they are still flourishing. To my utmost 
satisfaction and delight the artistic success 
of the first concert, the programme of which 
included Mozart's Overture to The Magic Flute ; 
Beethoven's Concerto for Pianoforte, Violin, 
and Violoncello, played by Mme. Haas, Mr. 
Richard Gompertz, then Professor of the Violin 
at the Royal College of Music, and Signor 



XXIV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 323 

Piatti ; Brahms' Second Symphony in D ; the 
Good-Friday's music from Wagner's Parsifal ; 
and the Prelude to the third act of Mackenzie's 
opera. The Troubadour, was considerable, and 
the attitude of the whole press, with one or 
two exceptions, most friendly and cordial. 
If I here quote from what the papers of the 
day had to say about the scheme in general, 
and the first concert in particular, I do so partly 
to supplement future histories of Victorian 
music, but also to afford my readers some of 
the amusement which especially one of the 
above-mentioned exceptions caused me and my 
friends. 

The Times. — ^The dearth of good orchestral music 
in London during the late autumn and winter months, 
when such music is even more likely to be appreciated 
than in the season properly so-called, has been the 
subject of general complaint. Herr Richter's autumn 
campaign is generally confined to three concerts, 
and after that lovers of symphonic music who shun 
a journey to the Crystal Palace are met by the vacuum 
which art no less than nature abhors. To fill up 
that vacuum many attempts have been made, but 
none of them have so far proved successful ; none, 
indeed, could show anything approaching the con- 
ditions of permanent success which augur well for 
the immediate future of the London Symphony 
concerts. Mr. Henschel, their founder and conductor, 
is, fortunately for himself, a man of business as well as 
a sound musician. Before disclosing his scheme to 



324 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxiv 

the general public he collected a guarantee fund 
sufficient to carry on his enterprise for more seasons 
than one, even should the worst befall. Having 
thus secured the nervus rerum, he set about engaging 
an excellent orchestra quite capable of grappling with 
the most difficult problems of modern music under a 
musician who, although chiefly known among us as a 
singer of great intelligence and refinement, can boast 
of extensive experience and many achievements as 
a conductor in America. Mr. Henschel's beat is 
decisive ; he marks every point without confusing 
the musicians by too many " cues," as inexperienced 
and over-zealous conductors are apt to do. The 
performance of Brahms' Symphony may be taken as 
an example. It was worked out with minute care, 
without wanting in spirit. The first and last move- 
ments especially were played to perfection. . . . 

The Daily Telegraph. — Mr. Henschel has great 
energy ; his enthusiasm is that of a thorough artist, 
and he is a musician qualified by wide experience and 
sound judgment for the conductor's delicate and 
difficult functions. The performance of Brahms' 
Symphony, conducted with admirable skill, was of a 
high order and significant of the best possible results 
to follow. . . . 

Daily News. — ^Mr. Henschel has already gained 
distinction here in the several capacities of singer, 
composer, and conductor, and his duties in this last 
respect were fulfilled last night with care and in- 
telligence. . . . 

St. James's Gazette. — Mr. Henschel deserves the 
thanks of the musical public for instituting a series 
of high-class orchestral concerts which, at com- 
paratively short intervals, will occupy the autumn 
and winter months from now until March. These 



XXIV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 325 

concerts promise to be of great interest ; and the 
programme of last night included no small number 
of fine works. The orchestra is well composed, and 
Mr. Henschel is already known to be one of the most 
competent of living conductors. . . . 

The Globe, — Throughout the evening Mr. Henschel, 
who is favourably known to English amateurs as 
singer and composer, and who has had considerable 
experience in America and elsewhere as an orchestral 
conductor, conducted with much ability. . . . 

Pall Mall Gazette. — ^We congratulate Mr. Henschel 
heartily on his dSbut as an orchestral conductor. He 
is evidently a master of that art. ... 

Standard. — ^Mr. Henschel' s reputation as an earnest 
and thorough musician is sufficient warranty that a 
high artistic tone will be maintained throughout the 
entire series. . . . The Allegretto of the Symphony 
only escaped its customary encore by the firmness 
and good sense displayed by the conductor in not 
yielding to an absurd demand, and it is sincerely to 
be trusted that the London Symphony Concerts will 
set a pattern in the way of abstention from repeti- 
tions. . . . Mr. Henschel conducted throughout the 
evening without the score ; his labours towards the 
attainment of success were thoroughly appreciated, 
and at the close he was warmly called back to the 
platform. . . . 

Sunday Times (Nov. 21). — ^New musical enterprises 
are slow to win favour with our conservative public, 
which beats every other public for the pertinacity 
with which it sticks to its old loves. We may not 
exactly be a " nation of shopkeepers," but our com- 
mercial instincts are strong, and we like to feel sure 
that we get a satisfactory quid pro quo when we lay 
our money out. There should be every chance. 



326 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxiv 

therefore, for the individual who offers a good article 
at a reasonable figure, especially when the article 
supplies a particular want. Knowing all of which, 
Mr. Henschel may " take heart of grace " and hope 
one day to find the London Symphony Concerts 
firmly planted on excellent soil and yielding the best 
of fruit. That the sapling is safe for two years, 
thanks to a substantial guarantee-fund, is a great 
point in its favour. There will be ample time for the 
roots to spread and gather strength. Really, though, 
we ought to make up our minds quickly about this 
new venture. To begin with, it fills up a decided gap. 
In London proper we have no regular orchestral 
concerts during the winter months, and there is no 
reason why we should be without them. On the 
contrary, the fact that we are so is a disgrace only 
second to that which attaches to another vacuum 
in our winter musical existence — ^the absence of 
opera. This admitted, only one question needs 
follow : Is Mr. Henschel's undertaking of a nature 
to supply in worthy fashion the missing quantity ? 
I answer, without hesitation, Yes. The eclectic spirit 
that pervades his scheme, the assurance that native 
talent will receive its fair share of exposition, the 
excellence of the players who constitute the orchestra, 
afford abundant justification for my reply, apart 
from the promise of high achievement held out at 
the opening concert in St. James's Hall on Wednesday. 
Mr. Henschel's capacity as a conductor has to be 
judged from a lofty standard. . . . Like Richter he 
conducts without book, and reaps all the consequent 
advantage of an unbroken attention to what the 
orchestra is doing. He has the latter well under 
control, and evidently possesses the power of moulding 
it entirely to his will. ... A numerous and enthusi- 



XXIV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 327 

astic audience attended the concert, applauding Mr. 
Henschel vigorously after each item and with special 
warmth at the end of the symphony. Altogether 
the new venture could not have been launched under 
more favourable auspices. 

Now for the precious Echo : 

According to announcement, the first of sixteen 
Symphony Concerts took place on Wednesday, the 17th, 
under the conductorship of Mr. Henschel, whose bold- 
ness in adventure decidedly exceeds his judgment, for 
even the admirable Richter Concerts, with an artistic 
combination too far in advance of Mr. Henschel's 
to be named in the same category, are seldom allowed 
to exceed four, or at least {sic !) eight concerts during 
any one season. There is certainly one feature of 
Mr. Henschel's enterprise deserving of all praise, and 
that is, the candour which impels (!) the entrepreneur 
to relieve the public mind from the fear that these 
sixteen concerts will be poured out upon the long- 
suffering ear under the specious guise of a " charitable" 
enterprise. Whatever the London Symphony Con- 
certs may ultimately prove to be, at any rate they 
no longer mask the plain fact that they are a specula- 
tion and, judging by the characteristics of the first 
night's performance, one which may require more 
charity to support than when, as formerly, that plea 
has been urged for claiming patronage. The truth 
is, and Mr. Henschel seemingly has yet to realise it, 
that symphonic works have been, and can only be, 
given with proper effect by orchestral performers 
accustomed to play together under aii experienced 
chief. As a vocalist of the Teutonic order, Mr. 
Henschel may continue to win the confidence of his 



328 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxiv 

German listeners, especially whilst he substitutes 
enthusiasm for the purer canons of art (!), but to 
maintain public favour for sixteen occasions, under 
the assumption of giving symphonic works, challenges 
an amount of criterion which neither past nor present 
experiences render it safe to rely on. The instru- 
mental works were fairly rendered and, perhaps, 
with sufficient merit to form an advertisement for the 
threatened fifteen performances to come. 

I afterwards understood the writer to hiave 
been a man who, a year or two before me, 
had tried his hand at conducting a series of 
orchestral concerts in London ; with what 
success may be gathered from a story which 
went the round of musicians at the time, telling 
how the gentleman opened the first concert 
with " God save the Queen," which he began 
conducting in four -fourths time, heroically 
continuing until Mr. Carrodus — slater also my 
excellent and esteemed leader of the violins — 
whispered to him, " Try three ! " 

Well, if the attitude of the public towards 
the new enterprise left nothing to complain 
of, that of my brother- and sister-musicians 
exceeded my keenest expectations. Quite a 
good many of the soloists whom I had asked 
to appear at the concerts expressed their 
desire, or their willingness, to do so "for 
love " or else for what in professional language 
is termed a nominal fee, and their list is a very 



XXIV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 329 
notable one, including, among others, the names 
of Lady lialle, Joachim, Arbos, Burmester, 
Ondri^ek, Sauret, Cesar Thomson, Ysaye, 
Maurice Sons, Piatti, Popper, Hugo Becker, 
Robert Hausmann, Jean Gerardy, Mme. 
Essipoff, Mme. Haas, Fanny Davies, Agnes 
Zimmermann, Sir Charles Halle, Paderewski, 
Max Pauer, Mme, Albani, Brema, Evangeline 
Florence, Nordica, Lillian Henschel, Hope 
Glenn, Edward Lloyd, William Shakespeare, 
Santley. The last named, most genial of good 
fellows, returned the cheque I had sent him 
after his first appearance at these concerts, 
with the words : 

. . . You are an artist and I am only too pleased 
to have been able to assist you. I hope you will 
accept my services as a slight token of my friendship 
and goodwill toward you. . . . 

Another letter of his of the same year, 1887, 

was received by me in the United States, 

whither I had gone with my wife for a short 

professional tour after the close of the London 

S5anphony Concerts' first season. In it he 

says : 

If you have time some day I shall be glad to hear 
how you are doing over the water, and what is doing 
generally. I think I ought to go over again some 
of these days. I like the American audiences ; if 
they do not always like what I like, they know what 
they do like, and you know what to give them, which 



330 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxiv 

I have always found a great difficulty in England. 
There is such a deal of classical talk and unclassical 
taste. ... I presume you intend carrying on the 
Symphony concerts next season. Recollect I am 
always good for one of them. . . . 

All this was most gratifying and encouraging 
to me, and I made up my mind to persevere. 
Franz Liszt had been in London during the 
season of 1886, and I would have given much 
to have him play at one of my concerts, but 
his age would not permit him to take part in 
any but social functions in his honour, private 
and semi-public, at one of which however — a 
reception given for him at the Grosvenor 
Gallery by the late Sir Coutts Lindsay — he 
was persuaded, to the delight of the guests, 
to sit down at the piano and play. I remember, 
on the following day, meeting the then repre- 
sentative of " Bechstein's," who, still quite 
excited, told me — ^to my regret I had been 
prevented from being present — how wonder- 
fully Liszt had played on that occasion. 

" What did he play ? " I asked. 

" Why — ^Bechstein, of course ! " was the 
answer. 



XXV 

During the summer of 1887 the Robert 
Harrisons — Mr. Harrison had taken a great 
interest in the London Symphony Concerts, 
even to the extent of most generously acting 
as Hon. Treasurer — ^had a charming house 
near Henley-on-Thames, " Wargrave Hill," and 
it was there, in August, I first met Sargent. 
Already at that time some portraits of his, 
sent to the Royal Academy from Paris, and, 
among others done in England, that of Mrs. 
Robert Harrison, had made quite a stir in 
London art circles ; personally, however, he 
was but little known in England, few people 
as yet. realising the tremendous power with 
which he was soon to carry everything before 
him in his truly triumphal progress. As 
to myself I knew little more of him than 
that he was a painter, but felt myself quite 
uncommonly attracted by his personality from 
the first. For one who was already thought 
and made much of by those who did know 
him and his work, he struck me as exceedingly 

331 



332 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxv 

modest, inclined, I thought, to hide his light 
under a bushel. He had built himself a little 
floating studio on a punt on the river, where it 
was a delight to see him, a splendid specimen of 
manly physique, clad — ^it was an exceptionally 
hot and dry simimer, I remember — ^in a white 
flannel shirt and trousers, a silk scarf around 
the waist, and a small straw hat with coloured 
ribbon on his large head, sketching away all 
day, and once in a while skilfully manipulating 
the pimt to some other coign of vantage. A 
very proficient executant on the piano, he was 
exceedingly fond of music, a subject on which 
he talked with the knowledge and understand- 
ing of one who had made it a serious study rather 
than a pastime. It was perhaps this which 
brought us nearer and made us the good friends 
I am happy and grateful to say we have been 
ever since. It was less than two years later 
that he painted the portrait of which the 
frontispiece to this book is as faithful a repro- 
duction as, lacking the colour, it is possible 
to obtain of an oil-painting. I had only a 
few sittings, certainly not more than five. 
" Standings," I should rather say, for he made 
me stand on a platform and sing — ^from Tristan 
and Isolde by preference — whilst he was at 
work. How I used to look forward to those 
Sunday mornings ! For besides his always 



XXV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 333 

interesting and often most instructive con- 
versation — I could of course not go on singing 
all the time — ^it was a great delight to watch 
him as he was constantly and intently studying 
my face, talking and painting at the same time. 
Now and then he would slowly and deliberately 
recede about a dozen steps from the easel, 
look at me steadfastly, stop for a moment and 
suddenly, the brush lifted ready for action and 
without ever taking his eyes off me, make a 
dash for the canvas on which he then recorded 
his impression, generally accompanying the 
act by contentedly humming a Uttle time. 

Never shall I forget that Sunday morning 
in February '89 when, the final sitting over, 
we put the wet canvas into the frame and, 
in a hansom, took it to my house in Bedford 
Gardens, where we were expected to luncheon. 
My wife's exceeding dehght and gratitude on 
seeing the fine painting, and the unbounded 
admiration expressed also by our other guests 
— dear Arthur Cecil and a Mrs. Toberentz, a 
sculptor's wife and daughter of an old Wiesbaden 
friend of mine, whom we had asked for Sargent's 
special benefit because of her extraordinary 
beauty — iseemed really to gratify him, and a 
very happy jolly httle party we were that day. 

A week later my wife and I, with our little 
daughter, were to leave for New York on a 



334 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxv 

tour through the States, and I remember the 
day before our sailing as one of the busiest of 
that year and a particularly memorable one. 
In the morning — ^it was Wednesday, February 
the 27th — I conducted a rehearsal of the Ninth 
Symphony with the Leeds Choir, who had 
come to London for the last concert of the 
series that afternoon. After the rehearsal, 
to my utter surprise, the members of the 
Orchestra remained in their seats — a most 
unusual proceeding, conductors will agree — 
and my first bassoon, the most picturesque 
member of the orchestra, with his fine head 
and flowing white beard — who does not re- 
member that excellent musician, splendid old 
Wotton ? — stepped down with an oaken case, 
out of which he took a beautiful silver inkstand 
and a pair of silver candlesticks which, with 
a few affectionate words, he presented to me on 
behalf of the orchestra, touchingly adding that, 
there having been a little surplus, they hoped 
Mrs. Henschel would kindly accept it in the 
shape of the little silver scent-bottle he then 
produced. . . . Those dear boys of the old 
London Symphony Orchestra — ^how I loved 
them ! The concert in the afternoon, con- 
sisting of Mendelssohn's Walpurgis-Night and 
the Ninth Symphony, went off beautifully, 
and we hurried home as quickly as possible 



XXV MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 335 

to receive Princess Loiiise who had most 
graciously announced herself for tea, to say 
good-bye to us. The afternoon was marked 
by an amusing little episode. Before leaving 
us the Princess had taken our small daughter 
Helen into her arms, kissing her and making 
her promise to write her a letter from America. 
I was then accompanying Her Royal Highness 
to the door when, feeling some one pulling 
at her skirt, she turned round and saw little 
Helen looking up to her and calling " Princess 
Louise ? " " Yes, dear ? ". . . " Have you got 
a number ? " The Princess, smilingly, " What 
do you mean, dear ?"..." You asked me 
to write to you — ^but what is your number ? " 
... I stiU hear the Princess's hearty laughter 
as she stooped down to the little girlie for 
another farewell kiss. And Helen kept her 
promise. Not long after o\a arrival in New 
York she brought me the letter she had, quite 
unaided, written to the Princess, and which 
I forwarded in the original. It ended with a 
postscript : " Please give my love to His 
Majesty-ship Lord Lome" 

But the day's work was not done yet. In 
the evening I had to sing at a Gallery-Club 
Concert and was qmte ready for my rest on 
coming homje a little before midnight when 



336 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxv 

another surprise kept me awake with pleasxire 
a little longer still : a letter from Sargent, 
to whom I had written thanking him once 
more for the portrait, before leaving. 

" My dear Henschel," he writes, " if I had not 
a sitting to-morrow morning from Irving, I should 
go and say good-bye to you at the train for the 
pleasure of seeing you once more. I thank you for 
having written, and must tell you what a great 
pleasure it has been to me that my venture of painting 
you has resulted in such a generous expression of 
satisfaction on your part and Mrs. Henschel's, greater 
than I have ever met with, and that with my means 
I have given you the pleasure that you always give 
me with yours. And I should be quite satisfied with 
my portrait if it created in you the sentiment of 
sympathy which prompted me to do it. I hope that 
you and Mrs. Henschel and little Helen will have a 
pleasant and safe journey, and I shall see you soon 
after your return — perhaps at Baireuth. . . ." 

Both that letter and the portrait are precious 
possessions, and it would be difficult to say 
which one should be prouder of. Sargent 
was then a man of thirty-three and already 
famous. . . . Ye Rembrandts and Titians of 
the present day, "read, mark, learn, and 
inwardly digest " ! 



XXVI 

In 1888 I invited Brahms to conduct some of 
his works and Hans von Biilow to play at my 
concerts. Their characteristic letters in answer 
to my request will, I think, be deemed of 
sufl&cient interest to be quoted in full. Brahms, 
from Vienna, writes : 

Dear H. — I thank you for your kind invitation, 
but am somewhat vexed at having to hear from you, 
too, that common rumour of my dislike of the EngHsh, 

dC* • ■ • 

You really ought to know, having heard it from 
me often enough, that solely love of comfort, laziness* 
if you like, and aversion to concerts generally, prevent 
my going to England, but equally so to St. Petersburg 
or Paris. 

That my persistent refusal could be open to mis- 
interpretation I am well aware of. It would, however, 
be hopeless to explain all this, and to tell the people 
how it has absolutely nothing to do with music if on 
the one hand we here have a Bohemian Cabinet or 
you over there a splendid opium-war, etc., etc. 
It's all vanity anyhow ! 
Again thanks. 

Yours, J. B. 

337 Z 



338 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvi 

Billow, from Frankfort -on -the -Main, com- 
mences his letter with a most flattering com- 
pliment, prompted, perhaps, by an orchestral 
experience of the God-save-the- Queen-in-four- 
fourths-time kind : 

" Much as I should like," he writes, " to accept your 
gratifying invitation to play at one of your London 
Symphony Concerts — and I confess I would not wish 
to be accompanied by any orchestra on the banks of 
the Thames except under your conductorship — I fear 
there are insurmountable obstacles in the way. You 
may perhaps have heard that by undertaking several 
functions in North German cities, I have permanently 
tied myself to such an extent as to be hardly able to 
spare the time for a longish trip, least of all to fix a 
date so long ahead. To come to the opening concert 
of your season is moreover ' superlatively impossible,' 
for the reaspn that in that epoch falls the preparation 
for the Mozart Cycle at the Hamburg theatre. My 
advancing ' treacherous age,' too, renders the risk 
of hurried journeys unadvisable. . . ." 

A second attempt on my part, during the 
following year, was, much to my regret, equally 
unsuccessful. This time Billow's answer came 
from Berlin, and ran as follows : 

. . . Rarely has a non possumus come so hard to 
me as that which I am obliged to pronounce in reply 
to your honouring invitation. But you will under- 
stand how I cannot give up old obligations in favour 
of — very likely more interesting — new ones. And 
since the gift of ubiquity is, alas, denied me, there 



XXVI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 339 

remains the absolute impossibility of playing in 
London on March 6. I have to conduct here on the 
5th and to play on the 8th, and every day of the 
season is taken up with rehearsals and concerts and 
opera in Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg, I am heartily 
ashamed to be obliged to meet your warm-blooded 
eloquence with sober mathematical explanations, but 
promises must be kept, if by not keeping them you 
would be injuring other interests. Dunque — i miei 
piu vivi rincrescimenti ; sono dolente piu di ogni dire, 
ma che vuole : " L'homme n'est pas parfait, mon 
president," said the accused parricide. In haste — 
between two rehearsals of the Irish symphony, in 
C. V. St.'s ^ presence, and Brahms' Double Concerto. — 
I am most truly yours, 

H. VON BtJLOW. 

Later however in the same year, after the 
continental season was over and the London 
Symphony Concerts. had completed the second 
year of their existence, Biilow came to London 
for the purpose of giving a cycle of Beethoven 
recitals, and his bringing with him a protege of 
his, a tenor who was to make his first appear- 
ance in England under Billow's auspices, re- 
called to me an amusing incident, of which 
that tenor was the rather sorry hero. 

I had, in the spring of 1886, found myself 
arriving in Cologne one fine Sunday afternoon, 
when, on the way from the station to the hotel, 
my eyes happened to fall on the announcement, 

1 Charles VUliers Stanford. 



340 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvi 

on a big poster, of a performance, that very 
afternoon, of Handel's Messiah. The cast was 
a very attractive one, including the prima- 
donna of the Dresden Opera and the famous 
" Helden - Tenor " of another of the Court 
opera-houses of Germany. I looked at my 
watch : three o'clock. The performance, under 
Ferdinand Hiller, had commenced at two. I 
shall be just in time, I thought, for the great 
air, "Thou shalt dash them." How I should 
love to hear that splendid piece of musical 
rhetoric rendered by an operatic " tenore 
robusto," who will not hesitate to give^true 
emphasis to that high A natural towards the 
end of the air on the word " dash," and just 
revel in it. . . . So, after depositing my valise at 
the hotel, I hurried to the Giirzenich where, as 
I had anticipated, the bass was just finishing 
the glorious air, " Why do the nations." Now 
the orchestra struck up that fine introduction 



^ j 1 -C — ta^j ^ : etc., during which 



the great tenor, who evidently thought him- 
self the " star of the afternoon " slowly got 
up, displaying across his faultless shirt-front 
— ^it was the custom then on the continent 
for gentlemen to wear evening - dress at any 
official function, even in the morning — a huge 



XXVI MUSINQS AND MEMORIES 341 

gold medal, something like a first prize at 
a horse -show, suspended from a red ribbon 
beneath his collar. Having, with the last bars 
of the introduction, raised himself to his full 
height — a fine-looking chap with a splendid 
physique — ^he inflated his huge chest and began. 
I confess I was somewhat disappointed ; though 
not bad, it was nothing out of the usual. 
But wait, I thought, for that high A natural ! 
I got quite excited in anticipation when it 
came to those two preparatory crotchets 



P 



'- — I —I — = which to me are like the wide- 

Thou Shalt 

circling, swinging movement of the wood- 
man's axe before its tremendous force strikes 
the tree. Imagine, therefore, my disappoint- 
ment, nay, my indignation, when those two 
notes were followed, not by that glorious 



sweeping octave ^ — ^ =::=, but a piti 




able augmented Fourth : ^ t i^^ ! It was 

as if a rider to the hounds, supposed by the 
onlooker to make joyfully for a fence in the 
stirring passion of the chase, all of a sudden, 
instead of clearing it, dismoimted and, opening 
a gate, meekly led his mount through. 

Well, it was that gentleman who came to 
London in 1888 and was to sing Beethoven's 



342 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvi 

beautiful song-cycle " To the distant Beloved." 
A few days before the concert I accidentally 
met him at a restaurant in Regent Street, 
where I had luncheon with a friend who had 
previously known him and, seeing him enter 
the room and look for a seat, invited him 
to join us. We were introduced, and though 
inwardly flushing at the remembrance of that 
Cologne experience when Mr. X had spoiled 
Handel's air and my enjoyment, I was ex- 
tremely polite to the offender. Luncheon over, 
I took out my cigar-case, and, handing it across 
the table, offered him one of the fr;agrant 
weeds. " Oh, dear no — ^thanks," he decUned 
with a deprecatory wave of the hand — " if I 
were to smoke a cigar now I could not sing 
tenor for four or five days ! " This was too 
much. Oblivious of all tenets of tact and good 
taste, I burst out — I really could not help 
myself — " Then, I am sure, you must, four or 
five days before the Messiah performance in 
Cologne two years ago, have smoked a par- 
ticularly strong cigar ! " 

Whether or not it be better for a singer to 
refrain from smoking altogether is a question 
which may be answered one way or the other, 
but it seemed to me so utterly silly for a singer 
who does smoke, to think the smoking of a 
cigar on, say, a Monday, could in any way 



XXVI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 343 

affect his singing on the Thursday following. 
Either you know how to sing or you don't. 
In the first case, nothing which otherwise agrees 
with your health could possibly have an 
injiirious effect on your voice or your art of 
using it. Tichatschek, the great tenor who 
had the distinction of being the first Rienzi as 
well as the first Tannhauser — ^in 1842 and 1845 
respectively — ^used to smoke from ten to twelve 
cigars a day. I heard him sing Lohengrin in 
Dresden — and very finely — when he was sixty- 
two years old. And I have in my possession 
a photograph of another great Tannhauser, 
Albert Niemann, taken in his eightieth year. 
The lapel of his dress- coat is completely covered 
with stars and medals, but the proud expression 
in his face seems due less to these distinctions 
than to the big cigar he holds between the 
fingers of his right hand, evidently waiting for 
the photographer to hurry up and let him have 
it between his lips again. 

It must have been about that time that I 
was sitting in my study one morning when a 
card was brought up to me, " Antoine 
Strakosch." " Oh," I thought, " one of that 
famous family of concert-managers — I wonder 
what he wants." Although now remembered 
by but very few people, the name of Strakosch 
was quite a familiar one a generation ago. 



344 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvi 

The two brothers, Maurice and Max (not to be 
confounded with the famous " Max and Moritz " 
of Wilhelm Busch's creation) were impresarios 
of high standing ; Maurice, Adelina Patti's 
brother-in-law and agent, having also had 
some reputation as a musician and teacher of 
singing. " Show the gentleman up, please ! " 
And in walked a little man whose outward 
appearance at once suggested some connexion 
with the musical profession other than British. 
I don't know why it is, but somehow or other 
that calling everywhere, except in Great Britain, 
puts its hall-mark, or perhaps I should say 
music-hall-mark on its professors. 

Parry, except for his moustache, might pass 
for an admiral of the fleet; Stanford for an 
attorney-general ; Elgar for a cavalry officer ; 
Mackenzie for the president of a Royal Medical 
Society, but about the profession of a con- 
tinental musician no mistake seems possible. 

After introducing himself in perfect French, 
which afterwards he changed into an equally, 
excellent English, as a cousin of his two re- 
nowned namesakes, he brought me the friendly 
greetings of the director of a well-known 
Concert Society in Amsterdam, for whom my 
wife and I had fulfilled some engagements only 
the year previous, and, in the name of that 
gentleman, came, he said, to ask if we happened 



XXVI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 345 

to be free to come over immediately after 
Easter for four concerts, in Amsterdam, Rotter- 
dam, the Hague, and Utrecht. In that case 
he was authorized to settle the matter as to 
dates and terms at once, and pay me the sum 
of £25 down as a sort of earnest-money. Con- 
sulting my engagement-book I found, Easter 
being still some time ahead, that we could just 
manage four concerts then, whereupon he began 
making suggestions for our programmes. If 
so far he had already given proof of his perfect 
familiarity with all things musical in those four 
towns, he now astonished me by seeming to 
be acquainted with all the programmes we 
had previously given there. " In your place," 
he would say, " I should sing again Loewe's 
' Erlking ' in Amsterdam, where the people 
still speak of it, whilst Mrs. Henschel shovQd 
by all means repeat her inimitable rendering 
of Schumann's ' Der Nussbaum ' " ; or, on my 
proposing a certain song, he would reject it 
as too serious, or for some other good reason, 
and recommend another item of my repertoire. 
Well, the dates having been finally decided 
upon, he took out of his pocket-book a draft 
on a London Bank, signed by that Amsterdam 
Concert - Director, remarking that, as it was 
made out for £50, I'd perhaps not mind giving 
him my cheque for £25 in exchange. ... Of 



346 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvi 

course not ! Whilst I was writing it, he begged 
me to please not cross it, as he had no bank- 
account in London. ... Of course ! . . . Just 
then the luncheon-bell rang, and after asking 
me if I would not do him the honoxir of lunching 
with him at his club — The Travellers' I think 
it was — which I gratefully declined, "Mr. 
Strakosch " took his leave, and I joined my wife 
at luncheon. I had hardly commenced telling 
her of Mr. Strakosch's visit and its object, 
when I abruptly sprang out of my chair without 
more than an " Excuse me," and, snatching 
my hat in the lobby, ran out of the house, 
jumped into the first hansom I met : " London 
& County Bank, High Street . . . Quick ! " . . , 
and five minutes later I was informed by the 
clerk that my cheque, the payment of which 
I had come to stop, had been cashed ten 
minutes before, and the one the rascal had 
given me was a very clever forgery, not worth 
a farthing. 

No doubt my readers will have guessed long 
before this that the man was a knave and I 
a fool; but such, on the one hand, was the 
perfection of the gentleman's composure and 
his talent for swindling, and, on the other, the 
simplicity of my faith in the original goodness 
of man that not until " Mr, Strakosch " had 
actually disappeared from my sight did the 



XXVI MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 347 

first glimpse of suspicion dawn upon the horizon 
of my intellect. Mortified, as it was only 
natural I should have been, at finding myself 
thus duped, I could not help admiring the 
ingenuity of the fellow, and somehow con- 
gratulated myself on having got off so com- 
paratively cheaply. When, in the evening of 
that day, in the artists' room at St. James's 
Hall I described my experience to some of my 
colleagues, they wondered how it was I had not 
read of the man in the papers which, it seemed, 
had been exposing his doings for the last month 
or so. In one case his ingenuity had been so 
extraordinary as to deserve special mention. 
He had played exactly the same trick on a 
friend of mine, a very famous tenor, who, like 
me, feU into the clever trap, but, more fortunate, 
or perhaps quicker than I had been, arrived 
at his bank in time to stop the payment of the 
cheque, also for £25, he had given to "Mr. 
Strakosch." When this gentleman, on present- 
ing it to the clerk half an hour later, was 
informed that they had orders not to cash the 
cheque, he, evidently aware of the existing law 
by which you cannot arrest a man without a 
warrant, took it very calmly. Expressing to 
the clerk his wonder why this should be so, he 
quietly walked out of the building. Outside, 
however, what should he do ? Drive to the 



348 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvi 

" Princes' Hall, Piccadilly ! " This was at that 
time a very charming little concert - hall, ex- 
cellent for sound, and in great demand for 
chamber-music and other recitals. Having 
asked to see the manager and introduced him- 
self as concert-agent and impresario from Paris, 
he "wished to know on which dates he could 
have the hall for four concerts he intended 
giving in London with some famous French 
artists. The dates agreed upon, the manager, 
on "Mr. Strakosch " pretending to be ready to 
depart, politely remarked it was the custoni 
(as if the fellow had not known and built 
his plan on it !) to pay a deposit. " Oh," 
he quietly exclaimed, " is that so ? ... Of 
course. ... I understand. . . . How much ? " 
" Ten pounds." ... " Very well," taking out 
his pocket-book. ..." So sorry, I am afraid I 
have not as much on me ... oh no, wait a 
moment, here is Mr. X's cheque, will that 
do ? " " Certainly," replied the honest manager, 
recognizing the familiar and, of course, genuine 
signature of the famous tenor, took the cheque 
after having made "Mr. Strakosch" endorse 
it, and handed him the change in three clean, 
beautiful Bank of England notes of £5 each ! 

Now I call this genius. When, about half 
a year later, " Mr. Strakosch " — ^his real name 
was Ullmann, and he had actuallv been an 



XXVI MUSING^ AND MEMORIES 349 

impresario of some standing at the beginning 
of his career — ^was at last brought to bay, 
caught and sentenced, it was with deep sym- 
pathy and pity I thought of how useful a 
member of society this talented man might 
have been, had his moral faculties been led in 
the right direction, and wondered on whose head 
rested the responsibility for the shipwreck of 
that life. 



XXVIl 

In June 1890 it was my great privilege to 
conduct the orchestral concert which intro- 
duced to the English pubhc a musician-pianist, 
who, by virtue of his striking personality no 
less than the power and poetry of his inter- 
pretations, aided, as they were, by an unim- 
peachable technique, leaped with one bound 
into the place Anton Rubinstein had held for 
so long in the hearts of British music-lovers ; 
and that notwithstanding the fact of his being 
heralded at first as " The Lion of the Paris 
season," an error of judgment on the part of 
an over-zealous impresario which at that time 
was, if anything, apt to prejudice the pubhc 
rather to the disadvantage of a newcomer 
than otherwise. 

Tempora mutantur ! Twenty-five years ago 
musical events of real merit used to be an- 
noTinced by the mere mention of the works to 
be performed and the names of the executants. 
Even so innocent a designation therefore as 

850 



XXVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 351 

" Lion of the Paris Season " was considered 

somewhat unusual and against the canons of 

professional etiquette. What would people 

have then thought of advertisements such as you 

may read nowadays, like " Mr. So-and-so, fresh 

from his tritimphs in America, or South Africa, 

or Australia," or " Wagner's wonderful music " 

— ^to tableatuc vivants from Parsifal at one of 

the Music Halls — " rendered in thirty minutes 

by a double orchestra," or of the publication 

even, intended to prove artistic worth and 

superiority, of the actual " takings " of artists 

during their " phenomenal " tour, etc., etc. ? 

Will there, I wonder, be a reaction in this respect, 

as is sure to come some day in our beloved 

art, when licentiousness will no longer be taken 

for independence, brutality for strength ; when 

order and sanity will again take the place of 

eccentricity and morbidness, when the highest 

mission of music will once more be thought to 

consist in the lifting of humanity for the time 

being from all that is of the earth earthy into 

the purer, holier sphere of an ideal Heaven ? 

God grant it. 

Well, to return to the new pianist. The 
simple announcement, after his first appearance, 
of his name " Paderewski " was quite sufficient 
to fill St. James's Hall with crowds of enthusi- 
astic listeners such as, in the case of a single 



352 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvii 

artist, it had not known since the days of the 
great Russian. Very soon there was hardly an 
evening reception or garden-party, or other 
social function at which the fascinating Pole 
could not be seen, the centre of attraction, 
surrounded by a host of admirers of both sexes. 
On one of the unforgettable Sunday mornings 
which it was my good fortvme to spend in the 
studio of Burne-Jones, playing the organ and 
singing whilst that kind and gentle master 
was painting, I took Paderewski with me to 
introduce him to Burne-JoneS, who, as I had 
expected, was immediately and greatly struck 
by the exquisitely delicate, pre - Raphaelitic 
head, and on the spot asked its happy possessor 
to sit for him — a request the cheerful granting 
of which resulted in one of the finest portraits 
the pencil of the great master ever produced, 
and that in spite of his considering my playing 
and singing — according to an entry in his 
diary — " good for the emotions, but bad for 
the drawing." 

What a lovable man Burne-Jones was ! His 
very voice was sympathetic to a degree and, 
with its musical inflexions, added a peculiar 
charm to whatever fell from his lips. I shall 
never forget the last time I saw him. It was 
at one of those most enjoyable dinner-parties 
for which the hospitable house, in Hyde Park 



XXVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 353 

Gate, of Monsieur and Madame Blumenthal was 
famous. The spirit of gentle Bohemianism which 
pervaded the atmosphere on these occasions 
was just after the heart of Burne- Jones, who 
could not abide stiffness and conventionality. 
The rules of precedence, for instance, were 
completely disregarded, and you might have 
seen " Monsieur " — ^woe to the hapless guest 
who, in the hearing of " Madame," accident- 
ally spoke of our amiable host as " Mr." or, 
worse still, " Herr " — ^taking down to dinner 
a fascinating young actress, whilst a diamond- 
tiarad, stately duchess would graciously give 
her bejewelled arm to the latest arrival among 
musical stars. These charming dinners were 
invariably followed by largely attended re- 
ceptions,, at which eminent singers and instru- 
mentalists would vie with each other in 
contributing, of their best, to a programme of 
excellent music ; and once in a while, on a fine 
summer night, the pretty garden, fragrant and 
luscious in the darkness, which a few stray 
Japanese lanterns hanging among the trees 
seemed to make all the more impressive, would 
re-echo with the sound of old-world madrigals 
and glees, daintily sung by members of a 
famous Amateur Society, conducted by an old 
friend of the house. Really unique evenings 

were these. On one of them, in June 1898, 

2a 



354 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvii 

Burne- Jones was there, rather silent and 
thoughtful it seemed to me, as indeed he more 
frequently appeared since the death, less than 
two years before, of his beloved comrade, 
William Morris, whom it had several times 
been my delight to meet at Burne-Jones' on 
Sunday mornings when I happened to arrive 
early enough to find the two friends still in 
the house, Morris ready to take his leave and 
Burne-Jones to repair to the garden-studio to 
work. 

Burne-Jones seemed glad to see me. " Let's 
go indoors," he said ; and we went into the 
house and, finding the little back-room upstairs 
empty, let ourselves sink down together in the 
luxurious cushions of the broad oriental divan, 
and there, the lovely music floating into our 
ears through the open window, had a good 
time talking of bygone days and, of course, 
of Morris. " Ah, my dear fellow," Burne-Jones 
said to me, " I feel as if a wall I had been leaning 
against had given way. ..." On my offering 
to come and cheer him up by a little music as 
of old, " Do, my dear man," he said, " do come 
and bring the little apple," — meaning my 
daughter Helen — and we settled upon the 
very Sunday following, , June 19. On . that 
day the dear hand I had grasped in parting 
was resting for ever. The great painter, 



XXVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 355 

the sweet friend, had died on the Friday 
morning. 

An event of the summer of 1891 worthy of 
note was the evening party given for the 
German Emperor and Empress during their 
visit to England by Lord and Lady Salisbury, 
whose guests at Hatfield House they were 
for two days. On the night of the day of their 
arrival a concert, under the direction of my 
old friend, the genial Paolo Tosti, was to take 
place, at which I had been asked to sing. 

The historic old English palaces and man- 
sions had always had a particular fascination 
for me, and I wondered if by any chance I 
might be permitted to go to Hatfield in 
the afternoon of the day appointed for the 
concert, so as to be able to see some of the 
treasures of art and relics of history stored up 
in that ancient and beautiful seat of the Cecils, 
perhaps to have a look at the famous stables, 
once Queen Elizabeth's banqueting - hall, or 
even for a moment to stand in the shadow of 
the famous oak-tree in the park imder which 
the great Queen is said to have been found 
sitting and reading when her accession to the 
throne was announced to her.^ . 

1 In reference to this incident in Elizabeth's life the Rev. Jocelyn 
J. Antrobns, in an admirable little book, Hatfield, Some Memories 



356 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvii 

It was therefore a most delightful and 
welcome coincidence, little short of telepathy, 
when a day or two after I had " booked " the 
date for the Hatfield House Concert I received 
a note from Lady Florence Cecil asldng me 
to luncheon on the day of the concert, " so that 
she might show me a little of Hatfield House 
during the afternoon." Lady Florence was 
the daughter of the first Earl of Lathom, whose 
house in Portland Place had been one of the 
first of those which opened their doors to me 
with a warm-hearted, generous hospitality 
never to be forgotten. 

Lord Lathom — or rather Lord Skelmersdale, 
as he still was when I first knew him — had a 
great fondness for music, shared by all the 
members of his family, and the many occasions 
when, quite informally and en famille, I 
sat down at the piano to sing some of their 
favourite songs are most pleasant recollections 
of that period. Lord Lathom was a man as 
kind and charming and courteous as he was 
handsome and picturesque. Who that has 
ever seen him as Lord Chamberlain, splendidly 

of its Past, tells us that, " Dean Stanley, on hearing the story some 
three hundred years later, threw doubts upon the possibiiity of 
being able to read out of doors on a November day in England, 
whereupon Georgina, Lady Salisbury, challenging his doubts, invited 
him down to Hatfield during the month of November, and the 
autumn sim being propitious, the Dean was forced to admit that 
his doubts were unfounded." 



xxvri MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 357 

erect — he was over six feet in height — ^the 
suppleness of his elegant figure emphasised 
by the becoming uniform, the front of which, 
down to the chest, was almost completely 
hidden by a beard, most wonderfully soignee 
and of purest silver-greyish white, could possibly 
forget that striking personality ? 

Perhaps it was Lord Lathom to whom I 
owed the distinction of being asked to take 
part in the Hatfield House Concert ; the 
special request, however, to include in my 
programme my cycle of songs from The 
Trumpeter of Sdkkingen I iinderstood to 
have come from the guest of the evening, 
whose grandfather, William I., had, it seems, 
done those songs the special honour of liking 
them — ^perhaps on account of the words. 

Well, the day of the concert came at last, 
a fine, sunny, not too hot July day, ideal for 
an excursion into the cotmtry. Needless to 
say, I had not been slow in accepting Lady 
Florence's invitation and, under her charming 
guidance, took in as much of the endless 
beauties of Hatfield House and Park as was 
possible in the limited time at our disposal, 
for, naturally, we wanted to witness the arrival 
of the Prince and Princess of Wales, which took 
place shortly before tea. Soon after that an 
incredibly long procession of brakes and vans 



358 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvii 

laden with innumerable boxes and cases and 
trunks of all shapes and sizes and materials — 
leather, wood, zinc, followed by half-a-dozen 
carriages containing servants, male and female, 
indicated the near approach of the " AUer- 
hochste Herrschaften,*' ^ the Emperor and 
Empress, who indeed drove up a few minutes 
later, respectfully greeted by the villagers 
lining the broad drive in the grounds as far 
as the magnificently imposing gate leading 
to the main entrance of Hatfield House. 

The concert in the evening took place in 
the splendid drawing-room famous for the 
over life-size bronze statue of King James I. 
standing in a niche over the mantel and — a 
test of the fine proportions of the room — not 
looking in the least too big for it. Whilst 
at the State concerts at Buckingham Palace 

^ The literal translation of the word " Allerhochst," invariably 
used in ofScial reference to the members of a German reigning 
family in their own respective countries, is " All-Highest," though 
perhaps " Very Highest " comes somewhat nearer the meaning. 

English expressions, for instance, like " the very best," " the 
very last," could, rendered in German, only be " aKerbeste, aller- 
letzte," etc. On the other hand, " Der Hochste " — " The Highest " 
— ^is the epithet most frequently used in German pulpits, books, and 
poetry instead of the word " God," so that it is not at all unlikely 
the following actually appeared, as the story goes it did, in the 
ofScial Court circular of the doings of a "Royal party which had 
been on an excursion to some part of the country famous for a 
remarkable formation of rocks : 

" At this stage the ' Very-Highest parties ' alighted from the 
carriages and, ascending to the top of the hill, deigned (" geruhten ") 
to admire the wonders of the Highest." 



XXVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 359 

all the artists are required to be in their 
places when the Royal procession enters, here, 
it being a private, after-dinner affair, it was 
different. Coming into the room we found 
the host and hostess and their Royal, Imperial, 
and other guests leisurely disposed in groups 
and in lively conversation ; some standing, 
some seated ; there had apparently been no 
change made in the usual distribution of the 
furniture, and the charming informality of the 
occasion, of which the absence of the customary 
row of little gilt chairs and settees was a most 
agreeable feature, was further manifested by 
the fact that the concert was allowed to proceed 
in easy stages with plenty of time between the 
different items for conversation, and occasional 
changes of seats on the part of the audience. 
My songs from The Trumpeter of Sdkkingen 
came in about the middle of the programme. 
The words were taken from Joseph Victor von 
Scheffel's simple little romance of love, written 
in blank verse and interspersed now and then 
with charming lyrics. The whole book had 
at that time achieved quite an extraordinary 
popularity among the German people, to whom 
a decided streak of sentimentality running 
through the story seemed to have particularly 
appealed. With few exceptions the lyrics put 
into the mouth of the hero are of a wholesome. 



360 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvii 

virile sentiment and real poetry, and of those I 
had set eight. Among the exceptions, however, 
there is one poem in which sentimentality is 
carried to the point of commonplace, as will be 
seen from the refrain at the end of each stanza : 

God guard thee, dear, it would have been too lovely, 
God guard thee, dear — ^alas, 'twas not to be ! 

Naturally it was just that song which became 
the most popular of all the lyrics in the book, 
and when, in due time, a second - rate com- 
poser had made an opera of the story in 
which that particxilar song had been set to 
music even more banal than the words, with 
cornet obbligato, the success of the opera was 
assured. It made the round of all the theatres 
in Germany, and " God guard thee, dear " 
became for a time the rage of the public, sung, 
as it was, by love-sick maidens and lieutenants, 
played in all the beer - gardens, on barrel- 
organs, as Trombone solo, strummed on the 
piano, whistled by the street-boys. Needless 
to say, it was precisely that poem I had not 
set, and it will be seen presently why I am 
making a point of that fact. 

When " my turn " came — I accompanied 
myself as usual — the Kaiser happened to stand 
not far off from the piano, his maimed arm 
hidden behind his back, whilst not far from the 



XXVII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 361 

tail-end of the piano were seated the Princess 
of Wales, the Empress of Germany, and 
the Duchess of Portland. When I had finished, 
the Emperor addressed a few words, to me, 
for the last of which Lady Salisbury, whom I 
had noticed in the meantime to approach the 
piano, seemed to be waiting. And, indeed, the 
moment the Emperor had turned away, Lady 
Salisbury, pointing with a movement of her 
head in the direction of the three ladies, in- 
formed me that the Princess wanted to see me 
for a moment. I hurried to obey the command 
of that gracious and beautiful lady who, gently 
tvirning her head toward her neighbour, said 
to me, " The Empress wishes to speak to you " — 
and this is what fell from the lips of Her 
Imperial Majesty : 

" How beautifully you sang." 

Low bow on my part. 

" What a fine voice. . . ." 

Another bow. 

" How beautiful yoiir songs are. ..." 

Lower bow. 

" But will you not also sing us that most 
beautiful other one ? " 

" Which one does Your Majesty refer to ? " 
I innocently ventured to ask. 

" The one — I am sure you know . . . that 
particularly beautiful one. ..." 



362 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxvii 

" I am afraid I sang the whole cycle, 
Ma'm. . . ." 

" No, no ... I mean the one . . . don't you 
know — ^the best of all. . . ." 

And as I paused for a moment wondering if 
it were. really possible she could mean the . . . 
Her Majesty removed all doubt on my part 
by exclaiming, " Don't you know , . . God 
guard thee, dear, it would have been too lovely ! " 

Tableau. I blushed, expressed my most 
humble regret at this song not being in my 
repertoire, as well as the fear that I could not 
aspire to popularity such as that, and, with a 
curt nod of the five huge emeralds in Her 
Majesty's diadem, was dismissed. 



XXVIII 

'TwAS in the lovely month, not of May as 
Heine sings but, of June 1893 that London 
welcomed within its walls ... By the way, 
" Within its walls " reminds me of a celebrated 
German actor who was also an excellent 
advertiser. Whenever the Court-Theatre of 
which he was a member was closed for the 
vacations, he travelled and appeared " as guest " 
at every theatre in the land, and one could be 
sure to read in the local papers, the morning 
after his arrival, " Since yesterday there ' dwells 
within our walls ' . . ." with the result that 
after a while he was simply known as " The 
Wall-Dweller " — " Der Mauerweiler." 

Well, in June 1893 there dwelt within the 
walls of London for a while an unusually large 
number of foreign musical composers who 
had come to receive honorary degrees at 
Cambridge on the occasion of the fiftieth 
birthday of the Cambridge University Musical 
Society, founded by Wilham Thomson, after- 
wards Lord Kelvin. Among the new Doctors 

363 



364 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxviii 

of Music were Arrigo Boito and Tschaikovsky. 
The prologue to Boito's opera, Mefistofele, was 
on the programme of the musical birthday 
celebration, and as I had to sing the part of 
the devil — and the devil of a part it is ! — the 
composer called on me one afternoon. The 
first impression he made on me, a most agreeable 
one in every respect, furnished a remarkable 
illustration of the mystery of heredity and, 
in the case of the two parents being of different 
nationalities, of the strange way in which the 
one sometimes predominates over the other. 
I had never seen Boito before, nor known any- 
thing about him save his opera Mefistofele, 
which I greatly admired as a fine, grandly 
conceived, sincere work of art. The moment 
Boito entered my room, accompanied by his 
London host, our mutual friend Albert Visetti, 
there appeared before my mind's eye the 
vision of my old home in Breslau in the days 
of my youth. Every year during the famous 
Breslau Wool-fair- week Polish noblemen would 
come to my father's office and occasionally 
honour our humble home by staying to the 
mid-day meal. Those Polish land-owners had 
always impressed me as the most charming 
people I had ever seen. Their stately carriage, 
graceful gestures, refined manners and address, 
their unfailing pohteness and bonhomie had 



XXVIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 365 

made them appear in. my youthful eyes the 
perfect realization of my idea of a gentleman. 
And now one of these stood before me in the 
person of Boito, whose very smile, on shaking 
my hand, I seemed to have seen long years ago. 
I could not help telling him my impression, 
when to my surprise he said, " Well, this is 
indeed strange, or perhaps it is not — ^My mother 
was a Pohsh Countess." 

Tschaikovsky, whom I had the pleasure of 
seeing nearly every day during his short stay 
in London, seemed to me, though then on the 
uppermost rung of the ladder of fame, even 
more incUned to intervals of melancholy than 
when I had last met him ; indeed, one after- 
noon, during a talk about the olden days in 
Petrograd and Moscow, and the many friends 
there who were no more, he suddenly got very 
depressed and, wondering what this world 
with all its life and strife was made for, ex- 
pressed his own readiness at any moment 
to quit it. To my gratification I succeeded 
in dispelling the clouds that had gathered over 
his mental vision, and during the rest of the 
afternoon as well as the dinner in the evening 
he appeared in the best of spirits. That was 
the last time I saw him, and less than five 
months later a very strange thing happened. 
What to call it I know not : 



366 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxviii 

The sketch programmes of the series of 
concerts by the Scottish Orchestra, which, 
under my conductorship, were to commence 
in November, had. as usual been printed and 
published several months before the first concert, 
which took place in Edinburgh on November 
6th, 1893, and on the programme there figured 
an Elegy for Strings by Tschaikovsky, written 
in memory of a departed friend. I had 
selected it as a fine example of the com- 
poser's art as being deeply emotional and 
impressive, even on so limited a scale and 
without the colouristic wealth of the ftxll 
modern orchestra. The little work stood first 
in the second part of the programme. After 
the usual interval between the parts the 
members of the orchestra had reassembled on 
the platform, ready for me. As I made my 
way through them towards the conductor's 
desk, one of the gentlemen stopped me for 
a moment and, handing me the Evening 
News, pointed to the heading of a telegram 
from Petrograd : Tschaikovsky had died that 
morning ! . . . 

■ •••••• 

Those concerts with the Scottish Orchestra, 
recalling, by the absence of a committee and 
consequent perfect freedom and independence 
as regards programmes and rehearsals, those 



XXVIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 367 

happy years of my first experiences in Boston, 
were a great joy to me, though to conduct over 
seventy concerts in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and 
a number of smaller towns north of the Tweed, 
and at the same time keep up the London 
Symphony Concerts as I did from '93 to '95 
was, with all the rehearsals I insisted upon hav- 
ing, rather too much of a good thing, necessitat- 
ing living mostly in hotels and doing a great 
amount of night-travelling, and threatening to 
make a sort of " quick-change artist " of me, 
for usually there was, between the end of the 
concert and my jumping into the waiting cab 
to catch the train for London, barely time to 
change from evening clothes to travelling suit. 
But with all that, my heart and mind were in 
my work, and their power over matter is truly 
wonderful. Try, for instance, to move yoxu" 
wrist and arm in strict rhythm as a mechani- 
cal physical exercise, and after less than five 
minutes you will be utterly tired out and forced 
to give it up. The Ninth Symphony takes 
more than sixty minutes' conducting, and at 
the end of it you feel like doing it all over again. 
At least I did. 

At the beginning of the year '95 it was 
with no small gratification that I received the 
Queen's command to take the whole Scottish 
Orchestra to Windsor and give a concert before 



368 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxviii 

Her Majesty at the Castle, an honour all the 
more appreciated by members and conductor 
as being the first time since the lamented death 
of the Prince Consort that the Queen had 
commanded and in person attended a concert 
at any of her palaces. Princess Louise, the 
Marchioness of Lome, had taken a most kindly 
personal interest in the matter, and graciously 
engaged to submit to the Queen the three or 
four different programmes I had sketched for 
Her Majesty's approval and selection, and to 
superintend the printing of the chosen one, 
one copy of which, for the use of Her Majesty, 
had to be done on a foolscap size sheet in very 
large, bold type. To the arrangepients regard- 
ing the stage and the accommodation of the 
musicians I had already seen some weeks before 
the event, together with the clerk of works at 
the Castle, and now, on the day of the concert, 
the 1st of March, I proceeded to Windsor 
early in the morning to see myself to the 
placing of the desks on the platform which had 
been erected in the beautiful St. George's Hall. 
The whole of that part of it which was behind 
the gradually rising stage had been partitioned 
off as dressing-rooms for the members of the 
orchestra, who on their arrival in the afternoon 
were received in the precincts of the Castle 
by the Marquis of Lome, under whose interesting 



XXVIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 369 

guidance the tour of the grounds was made 
previous to the final rehearsal and the very 
substantial late " tea " in the Van Dyek room, 
following it. At ten o'clock we were all in our 
places on the platform. Already seated in the 
body of the hall were the Empress Frederick, 
the Princess Louise, and the Marquis of Lome, 
Lord Edward Pelham Clinton, several ladies- 
in-waiting, and — ^in the background — all the 
available household servants, both female and 
male. I was standing in my place before the 
orchestra, baton in hand, my head however 
tiirned toward the door at the end of the hall 
through which the Queen was to enter, and 
ready to commence on receiving the signal from 
the equerry stationed there. It was quite 
exciting. Pimctually to a minute at the ap- 
pointed time, a quarter past ten, the equerry's 
handkerchief waved the signal. Everybody 
rose, and amid the strains of " God save the 
Queen," resounding gloriously imposing through 
the nearly empty hall. Her Majesty appeared, 
leaning on a cane and gently supported under 
the left elbow by a tall, magnificent Indian 
attendant in native costume, and followed 
by more ladies and gentlemen of the court. 
A member of the orchestra, a dear old Scot, 
told me afterwards, in the train, that that 

moment had been the most impressive of his 

2b 



370 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxviii 

life. He trembled all over, he said, and had 
the greatest difficulty in repressing his tears. 
The concert went off without a hitch. The 
Queen, to whom I had the honour of presenting 
the excellent leader of the orchestra, my dear 
old friend Maurice Sons, seemed to have been 
particularly pleased with the performance of 
Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony, and ex- 
pressed her satisfaction to me in the most 
gracious terms. At half -past eleven the Marquis 
of Lome presided, again in the Van Dyck room, 
at a sumptuous and highly relished supper, 
and a little after one o'clock in the morning 
a special train steamed out of Windsor station, 
carrying men and instruments, without change, 
back to Glasgow, where on the night following 
I conducted the sixty-eighth concert of the 
season. During the course of it I received a 
telegram from Windsor Castle : " Queen hopes 
you and your orchestra reached Glasgow safely, 
and that no one suffered from the fatigue of 
the long journey." Needless to say it elicited 
a storm of applause as I read it to the audience, 
who no less than the orchestra fully and grate- 
fidly appreciated this gracious and touching 
thoughtfulness on the part of our revered 
sovereign. 

Soon afterwards, having carefully weighed 
the pros and cons and decided, though most 



XXVIII MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 371 

reluctantly, to give up my post in Scotland, 
another cause for feeling deeply gratified 
reached me in the shape of this letter : 

Glasgow, March 7, 1895. 
Dear Mr. Henschel — We cannot allow you to 
leave Glasgow without expressing to you our high 
appreciation of what you have accomplished as 
conductor of the Scottish Orchestra. You have been 
unremitting in your attention to every detail of the 
work, and most unsparing of yourself in the labour 
which the perfecting of the performances entailed. 
You will no doubt find your reward in the high 
reputation you have won for the orchestra, but our 
thanks are none the less due to you for it. Regretting 
that you could not see your way to give us the benefit 
of your artistic co-operation in the work of the 
orchestra for a further period — We remain, yours 
very sincerely, 

James Bell, Lord Provost, Chairman of the 

Choral and Orchestral Union. 
James Summers, President Glasgow Choral 

Union". 
James A. Allen, Chairman Scottish Orchestra 
Company (Limited). 



XXIX 

That those years of my conducting the London 
Symphony and Scottish Orchestras were full 
of interesting incidents and experiences, musical 
and otherwise, goes without saying. On one 
occasion I remember having had particular 
reason to be grateful for being a singer as well. 
The soloist announced for one of the London 
concerts had been a foreign tenor, new to 
London, who had made a very favourable 
impression in musical circles and at other 
concerts during the season. At the rehearsal 
on the day before the concert all went well, 
but on the evening of the concert he had not 
yet arrived at the time I was ready to com- 
mence, which I always liked to do with un- 
relenting punctuality. Much to my discomfort 
I hp,d to wait a minute or two, but then went 
to conduct the overture, trusting he would 
come during its performance. Returning, how- 
ever, after it, to the artists' room, I found, 
instead, a telegram from the gentleman, greatly 

372 



XXIX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 373 

deploring his sudden indisposition, and utter 
inability to sing a note. His solo was to have 
been Beethoven's beautiful " Buss-Lied " (Song 
of Penitence), also one of my own favoiirites, 
and on going back to the platform and announ- 
cing the disappointment to the audience, I 
added that, if they didn't mind, I would sing 
the song myself, which I promptly did, accom- 
panying myself, as usual, on the piano. After 
the concert Deichmann, leader of the second 
violins and the wit of the orchestra, remarked 
that of course nothing could have been, more 
appropriate than the " Buss "-Lied being sung 
by the conductor. Dear Deichmann ! Some 
of my older readers will remember the genial 
old man who had sat at the head of the second 
fiddles for nearly a generation. Nothing, I 
think, would have induced him to change 
his place for one among the first. He seemed 
to have known and lived up to a saying 
of Joubert's : " II faut aimer sa place, c'est- 
a-dire la bassesse ou la superiorite de son 
etat. Si tu es roi, aime ton sceptre ; si tu es 
valet, ta livree." Deichmann's livree was his 
art, which he loved enough to be content 
with serving her according to his limitations. 
A shining /example of conscientiousness. . . . 
Bcquiescat in pace ! 

Another occasion I remember was a concert 



374 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxix 

by the Scottish Orchestra in one of the smaller 
towns, not far from Glasgow. Saint - Saens' 
picturesque " Danse macabre " was on the 
programme, and about an hour before the 
concert the librarian coolly informed me that 
the xylophone had been left behind ! Those 
of my readers who may not know what a 
xylophone is I will try to enlighten on the 
subject. It is a musical instrument made on 
the same principle as and very much like those 
little toy-pianos children love to amuse them- 
selves with. Only whereas in those the flat 
pieces corresponding to the keys of a real 
piano are made of metal or glass, in the xylo- 
phone they are made of hard wood. These 
pieces of wood, gradated in size, are tuned to 
scale, and lightly rest on tiny disks of wood 
or leather, or on a bed of straw, so as to make 
the soxuid vibrate, even if, naturally, only for 
an instant. The sound produced by striking 
these "keys" with little hammers is quite 
pleasing, though perhaps somewhat weird. I 
know of no musical work of serious intent in 
which a more appropriate use of that instru- 
ment is made than just this French Dance of 
Death, especially where, towards the end, as 
the orgy, before the cock-crow, is at its highest 
and wildest, it illustrates the rattling of the 
bones of the dancing skeletons in the grimmest, 



XXIX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 375 

most wonderfully realistic fashion. To play 
the work without the xylophone would have 
been a wrong to the composer by depriving 
the orchestration of one of its most ingenious 
and characteristic factors, and yet, the librarian 
having brought no other music but that re- 
quired for the concert, there was no possibility 
of substituting another work for it. It was 
an awkward predicament I found myself in, 
and I really did not know exactly what to do, 
when aU of a sudden it came to me : I knew 
that in the score nearly every note given to 
the xylophone was duplicated by the same 
note in the oboe ; it was therefore not so much 
the actual musical note of the xylophone which 
mattered, as rather the mere soimd of the wood 
struck by the hammers. So I called for the 
gentleman of the percussion, gave him the 
xylophone part, and instructed him to play 
the whole of it on the leg of a chair \ The 
result was an unqualified success. Nobody 
saw the chair, everybody heard the soimd of 
the wood, which even we musicians could have 
sworn came from a xylophone. And why 
not ? The chair was made of wood (xylon), 
and it gave a sound (phone). Meeting the 
composer in Paris the year following I told 
him the story, and he was as much amused by 
it as we had been at the time. 



376 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxix 

Socially too these eleven years were fraught 
with interesting events of the most varied kind. 
Every succeeding year seemed to see a widening 
of the circle of our friends, among whom to 
count Professor and Mrs. Huxley was one of 
our greatest and most cherished privileges. 
I was not given to entering in the diary 
I have kept ever since 1873 anything beyond 
the mere facts of the day's happenings, but 
after our first dinner en famille with those 
rare people I find the record of that event 
commented on in the words, " Like a refreshing 
bath in a clear mountain stream." And in- 
deed I shall never forget the impression left 
by those only too few and short hours of purest 
happiness spent at the Huxleys' home in St. 
John's Wood, — one of those old-world, cosy 
country-houses standing in their own grounds,, 
which, alas, are more and more disappearing, 
even from the suburbs of London, making 
room for hideous barracks - like tenements. 
It was inspiring, elevating to a degree, to see 
the great savant in the bosom of his family, 
wonderfully sirkiple, unassuming, sweet, affec- 
tionate, and full of humour and wit ; full, too, 
of mischief, which he seemed to relish with 
the youthful mirth of a schoolboy. When a 
few weeks later my wife, who had engaged 
to sell autographs and signed photographs of 



XXIX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 377 

celebrities at a Charity Bazaar at the Royal 
Albert Hall, — ^it was called the Silver Fete, 
though I forget for what reason, — wrote to 
Professor Huxley begging him to let her have 
some of his for that purpose, I should not 
wonder if it was in remembrance of that 
" jolly " evening — I can find no other word, 
incongruous though it must sound in reference 
to that great and learned man — that, in com- 
plying with her request, he accompanied the 
precious autographs with the following note : 

My dear Mrs. Henschel — I enclose the auto- 
graphs and four photographs, a supply which I am 
afraid you will find in excess of the demand. I trust 
you will appreciate the sternly philosophic air of the 
photographs. If ever you have suspected me of a 
capacity for frivolity, banish the thought — this is the 
real man ! 

Strangely enough, this was not the first time 
a request for autographs had elicited from the 
yielding victim a personal observation greatly 
enhancing the value of a mere signature. In 
the early 'eighties there prevailed among ladies 
a sort of craze for " autograph fans," i.e., fans 
of sandalwood, each rib of which was intended 
for the signature of a famous man or woman. 
My wife was the happy possessor of such a 
treasure and when, in Boston, she sent it for 
that purpose to Oliver Wendell Holmes, that 



378 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxix 

dear old man returned it with the following 
lines : 

My dear Mrs. Henschel — It delights me if I 
can in any way please you who have lent so much 
happiness to the air we breathe. I only fear that you 
will find it hard to get a cool breath from a fan which 
holds the names of so many warm friends. 



XXX 

In the year 1898 I had commenced the writing 
of a three-act opera, based on a novel by 
Richard Voss, then one of the most popular 
writers in Germany, entitled Nubia, which 
my friend Max Kalbeck in Vienna had made 
into a libretto for me. The action of the 
story being laid in Italy I was only too happy 
to find in that fact an excuse for spending a 
good part of the winter in that country, hoping 
perhaps to be able to visit the remote little 
village of Saracinesco, three thousand feet 
above the sea, in the Sabine Hills, the scene 
of the first and second acts, that of the third 
being Rome, and thus to get some " atmo- 
sphere " or, at any rate, some local colour for 
my work. For some reason or other — ^very 
likely I was to look at and engage suitable 
rooms before letting the family follow — I first 
went to Rome alone, where, for a week or so, 
I was the guest of a dear and deeply mourned 
friend — he died in 1908^Harry Brewster. 

379 



380 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxx 

Diffic\ilt as it must always be to convey in 
words a clear idea of so wonderftd and mysterious 
a thing as a human being, it would require the 
exqmsite pen of a Henry James to do anything 
like justice to a personality of such rare qualities, 
such striking originality, to a character at 
once so simple and complex as that of Harry 
Brewster. American by parentage, he yet had 
never lived in America, but made his home 
in Paris, the city of his birth, and in Rome, 
occasionally coming over to England for a 
more or less protracted visit. Being what is 
called a man of leisiu^e, he was able to follow 
the bent of his heart and mind and devote a 
good deal of his time to the pursmt of science, 
literature, and the fine arts, and did it with an 
inborn fastidiousness as severe in regard to 
these as to matters of dress and food. He was 
both philosopher and poet, and not only was 
but lived both. His books, The Prison, The 
Statuette and the Background, Udme patenne, 
are masterpieces of style and logic, written, 
moreover, with a keen and unerring sense of 
beauty, making them fascinating reading even 
to one who, like myself, must confess to never 
having derived much pleasure — ^nor, for that 
matter, much benefit — ^from the perusal of 
philosophical books. His poems, too — ^in 
French — of which only a few have, recently. 



XXX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 381 

been published, are both as to sentiment and 
language perfect examples of what there is 
best in the modern French School of poetry. 
To all these accomplishments, which in his 
almost bashful modesty he would have re- 
pudiated as such, were added a charming 
sense of humour, great kindness of heart, a 
calm serenity of mind, and — a rarely beautiful 
body. As, looking up from writing this, my 
eyes rest on Sargent's charcoal drawing of 
Brewster on his death-bed, it seems to me I 
have never seen a more wonderfully impressive 
presentment of the nobility, the majesty, 
the glory of death. 

The stuff a man is made of can often be 
gauged best by the knowledge of something 
he did or said (as has been shown by the little 
story I told of Alma Tadema), and the follow- 
ing incident in Brewster's life will, I am sure, 
give a better idea of his character than I have 
been able to do in the preceding sketch. 

In the large households of Italy, particularly, 
I think, in Rome, it is not unusual for a family 
to have a major-domo, that is to say, a sort 
of superior cook-housekeeper who, besides his 
salary, gets a certain stun per month to " run 
the house " on. Brewster's establishment in 
that splendid old " Palazzo Antici Mattel " 
in Rome was founded on that system. His 



382 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxx 

was the good luck of having a major-domo 
who not only gave him every satisfaction as 
such, but whom he also esteemed as a man, 
and who, in his turn, seemed greatly and almost 
affectionately attached to his master. It was 
therefore a great shock to Brewster when one 
day, in examining the books which were brought 
to him at regular intervals for that purpose, 
he seemed to detect some irregularities in the 
keeping of the accounts. At first he ascribed 
it to a probable oversight on his own part, 
and, loath to believe in the possibility of dis- 
honesty on that of the trusted servant, waited 
for the next occasion, and again the next, until, 
alas, he could no longer reject the proofs in 
his hands. There was no doubt the man had 
for some time past deliberately and systematic- 
ally deceived and robbed him. Having grown 
to be sincerely fond of the man, the discovery 
caused Brewster pain amounting to a real 
grief. This he carried about with him for several 
days, unable to decide on the course that would 
appear the best to be taken in a matter which 
affected him very deeply. At last his mind 
was made up. Seated before the writing- 
table in his study, the proofs of the man's 
guilt spread before him, he rang the bell and 
asked for the major-domo to be sent to him. 
The man entered, visibly turning pale at the 



XXX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 383 

sight of his master's serious face, and evidently 
divining the reason for this unwonted summons. 
There was an ominous silence in the lofty- 
room as the two men faced each other, until 
Brewster broke it by quietly telling his servant 
how great a grief it was to him to have found 
that for some months past he had been cheated 
by him . . . that he could only assume the 
salary he had been paying him had been in- 
sufficient, and that from that day on he would 
double it. . . . That was all. Doubtless a 
risky thing to do ; one which might, in nine 
cases out of ten, have proved an utter failure. 
But Brewster knew the sort of nature he had 
to deal with. There were no words of response 
from the servant. Prostrating himself before 
his master and kissing his hands, he silently 
sobbed imtil Brewster bade him get up. The 
man then left the room as one in a daze — not 
only a better, but a good man for the rest of 
his life. 

Such was dear Harry Brewster. To be 
for some time under the immediate influence 
of his soothing, yet inspiriting personality, 
was a real joy to me. He showed great interest 
in the opera I was writing — ^by the way, it 
was he who wrote the libretto to Ethel 
Smyth's The Wreckers — and enthusiastically 
entered into my proposition of a trip to 



384 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxx 

Saracinesco. He knew the very man who 
would organize the expedition : a native of 
the place, owner of one of those innumerable 
little shops in Rom,e where you can find all 
sorts and conditions of antiquities, from an 
old Spanish carved shrine of the Virgin to a 
broken nose or finger of a bronze Roman 
emperor,' from a patinated little vestal lamp 
to a marble sarcophagus; oil-paintings too; 
perhaps he was the identical man of whom it 
is told that, when offering for sale two " genuine 
Titians," and being asked the reason why one 
of them — considering the two canvases were 
of exactly the same size — was more expensive 
than the other, replied " Ah, you see, this one 
is still more genuine ! " 

Well, the man — his name was Belisario — 
was negotiated with, a day was settled upon 
and a charming party made up, consisting 
of Brewster, his daughter, and aft equally 
courageous lady friend — ^for there was a good 
deal of physical exertion, perhaps even a little 
danger, involved in the enterprise — a very 
congenial and musical attache of one of the 
embassies, and myself. At the last moment' 
another mutual friend, a very entertaining 
American, begged to be allowed to join the 
party, — a proposal which was gladly accepted, 
though not without some misgivings as to 



XXX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 385 

accommodation and commissariat, there being 
no hotel at Saracinesco. Belisario, however, 
vouched for the thoroughness of the arrange- 
ments, of which he had the entire charge, and 
on the appointed day our merry party started 
for Vicovaro, the little wayside-station beyond 
Tivoli from which the pilgrimage to Saracinesco 
was to be made. 

Alighting from the train we found Belisario 
waiting and ready to receive us. His large- 
brimmed, soft felt hat, wide, sleeveless cloak, 
and high boots made the gun slung over his 
shoulder look as if meant for attacking rather 
than eventually protecting a harmless and 
peaceful little party of travellers. Exciting 
too was the sight of a row of six mules standing 
patiently with their drivers awaiting our arrival. 
After having packed what little of luggage, 
and the few dainties in the way of food we 
had brought, which we could not expect Belisario 
to provide, on the back of those of the mules 
which were not required for the accommodation 
of the ladies or any of us who should feel in- 
clined to ride, we set off. The lovely spring 
day, the glorious scenery, and perhaps also the 
novelty of the experience had given us all a 
buoyancy beyond the usual, and the first hour 
passed as quickly as if we had been promenading 

leisurely on Monte Pincio instead of climbing 

2c 



386 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxx 

on the stony zigzag path of a rather steep, 
rocky hill. Now and then the services of a 
mule wovdd be requisitioned for a change, and 
before long the continued exertion as well as 
the heat of the sun, growing with the day, 
seemed to result in our taking our task some- 
what more seriously. We should indeed have 
greatly wondered how people could ever have 
thought of building homes on the summit of so 
high and bare a rock — ^already, after the second 
hour, trees and shrubs had ceased utterly — ^had 
we not beforehand endeavoured to make our- 
selves more or less acquainted with the history 
of the strange place we were going to see — a 
history closely interwoven with that of Rome 
and the Popes. 

Early in the ninth century, when Gregory 
IV. was Pope, the Saracens had invaded 
Italy, and after repeated successful raids forti- 
fied themselves in some of the high commanding 
places in the land. For more than a hundred 
years they proved a scourge to the country, of 
which they devastated whole provinces. When 
at last, A.D. 916, they were finally beaten and 
destroyed in the Roman Campagna, those few 
that had escaped fled to the fortresses in the 
hills, of which Saracinesco appears to be the 
only one that has survived to this day. Thus 
the inhabitants of Saracinesco have been for 



XXX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 387 

more than a thousand years the descendants, 
from generation to generation, of those Moors ; 
and Arabic names like Mastorre, Argante, 
Almanzor, Margutte are still in frequent use 
among them and preferred to those of Latin 
origin. No wonder they are a proud race, 
being able to look back on ten centuries of 
ancestors. We were told, for instance, that 
no Saracinesco maiden, though their beauty is 
famous, will ever be found among the crowd of 
pictxu-esque girls in the Piazza di Spagna for 
the painters to choose their models from. 
Marrying outside their own community is an 
almost unheard of occurrence. 

Well, we were approaching the summit at 
last, and could see a few huts on a prominence 
of rock almost perpendicularly above our 
heads. Soon we met a few of the inhabitants, 
who, prepared by Belisario for our coming, 
had evidently been unable to restrain their 
curiosity, and preceded the others to see the 
arrival of strangers in their midst — a most rare 
event according to Belisario, who assured us 
that it had been years since his people had 
looked upon a " foreigner," as even the Italians 
are called by them. 

And now our little caravan had reached its 
goal. Before Belisario's " Villino " we halted ; 
our mules having been delivered of their 



388 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxx 

burdens, these were taken into the house, the 
only one worthy of the name as we soon 
learned. By this time the entire population 
had turned out to welcome us, and a truly 
wonderful crowd it was. Both the women, 
who appeared to be in the great majority, 
and the men were extraordinarily handsome 
creatures — ^tall, supple, beautifully grown, with 
dusky but clear complexions, large expressive 
eyes, finely arched brows, and deep-black 
slightly wavy hair. Their costumes, too, struck 
us as quite remarkable, not only because of the 
faded gorgeousness and great variety of colour, 
but also by the stately, almost royal way the 
people wore them. Every one of the women, 
some of them carrying in their arms the 
sweetest little bambini imaginable, wrapped 
in shawls of strangest tints and textures, looked 
to me, bearing herself like a queen, proud and 
splendid in her rags, the very prototype of my 
beloved operatic heroine. Nubia. Never shall 
I forget my horror on seeing, several months 
later, at the first dress-trial rehearsal on the 
stage of the Dresden Opera House, the famous 
Royal Court singer who had been cast for the 
part, emerge from the wings in a scrupulously 
clean, beautifully starched and ironed, brand 
new, altogether irreproachably proper costume, 
such as you see on Roman picture post cards ! 



XXX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 389 

It reqviired a good deal of tact on my part to 
break it to her that that would not do ; and only 
with the greatest difficulty could I persuade 
her that beauty and rags are by no means in- 
compatible, and that the generous, great heart 
of a fine, lovable woman like Nubia .would 
shine only the more by contrast with her 
beggarly clothes. Still, even then, at the 
performance her make-up could not compare 
with that of Scheidemantel — dear to the 
memory of Covent Gardeners by his splendid 
Hans Sachs — who impersonated, in my opera, 
Argante, her lover. That was really perfect. 
His dark-green, faded old cloak, for instance, 
made purposely for the occasion, looked as if 
he had inherited it from his great-grandfather, 
and the rest of his make-up was quite in keeping 
with it. 

But to retvirn from make-believe to reality. 
It was difficult for us to tear ourselves away 
from the rare spectacle these people and all 
our surroundings presented ; but Belisario 
annoxuiced that the various baskets and cases 
containing provisions had been unpacked, 
and a repast was awaiting us inside. Like 
a king he bade us enter his palace, where 
we hurried through a meal which under 
ordinary circumstances we should have been 
glad to lengthen; but we were anxious to get 



390 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxx 

out again as soon as possible. Before however 
doing so, Belisario made another announcement, 
rather startling, to the effect that we were one 
bed short. The two ladies were to share one 
room with two beds ; Brewster and I to have 
each a room and a bed of our own ; but for 
the attache and the American there was only 
one bed, and one straw mattress on the floor. 
The American, who it will be remembered 
had joined our party at the last moment, was 
up to the occasion. Witty and shrewd fellow 
as he was, " Let's toss up," he called to the 
attache : " What am I thinking of — blue or 
yellow ? " " Yellow," rephed the guileless 
attache. " Wrong — ^blue ! — You take the 
mattress." And so thoroughly in earnest did 
he seem that it was not until the nex^ morning 
we all, needless to say amidst great hilarity, 
saw the joke, and realised that it would not 
have made the slightest difference which way 
the loser had guessed. And now we started on 
our stroll through the village, a motley collection 
of little huts built of clay and rough stones 
without foundations, so that the floors were as 
uneven as the roads themselves, and, like these, 
paved with cobbles. Hardly any of the huts 
we entered had more than just one room, 
which in some cases we noticed had to accommo- 
date a family of from four to six people, not 



XXX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 391 

to speak of the goat and the ass. The only 
sign of an attempt at agriculture was now 
and then an occasional patch of cabbages and 
potatoes by the hut of some better-to-do 
inhabitant. All the capable men go down 
to the valley in the spring to work, remaining 
there for months at a time, and we were 
lucky to find so many youths in the village 
owing to the Easter holidays. 

All the time during our stroll we were ascend- 
ing until we came to the old fortress, a small 
plateau on the very top of the hill, in the midst 
of which a huge tree, apparently very old — 
I forget what kind it was — spread its branches 
over the most interesting relic of the old days : 
two cisterns built by the founders of the place. 
To that spot we made up our minds to return 
in the evening. I had been very anxious to 
hear some of their music and to see some of 
their dances, and all scruples as to the propriety 
of such things on a sacred day — ^it was Good 
Friday, March 31, 1899 — were overcome by 
the promise of a generous supply of Velletri 
and the consideration that, after all, there was 
no one to consider. The priest came up from 
Vicovaro only very rarely to minister to the 
spiritual needs of the community, and Belisario, 
to whom the people seemed to look as a leader, 
a sort of elder or provost, raised no objection. 



392 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxx 

So after a substantial tea we all repaired to the 
plateau where, apprised by Belisario, the whole 
population had already forgathered, prepared 
for high festival. The scene was glorious 
beyond description. Three thousand feet below 
us the vast stretch of the Campagna was spread 
out before our enchanted eyes ; a fine mist, 
dehcately tinted by the glow of the setting 
sun, was beginning to rise from the deep ; blue 
shadows were slowly creeping up to the rosy 
tops of the surrounding hills, and in the far 
distance we could just distinguish, phantomlike, 
the majestic dome of St. Peter's. Some of 
the older men had brought up their pifferi 
(instruments similar to our Scottish bagpipes), 
and, taking their plages on a little elevation, 
commenced tuning them. The rest of the 
people had formed a ring, out of which stepped 
two young women and two young men, the 
latter with sheep-skins thrown over their 
shoulders, looking veritable fauns. They placed 
themselves in position, the two women opposite 
the two men, saluting each other by gracefully 
courtseying and bowing. There was a certain 
solemnity in the action. The people, by re- 
ceding a few steps, widened the ring to give 
the dancers more room, the pipes struck up, 
and now the dance, a sort of gavotte, began. 
First the maidens had it alone, then the boys, 



XXX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 393 

and so for a while alternately, until the women, 
pretending to run from the men, were pursued 
and gently caught by their lovers. The dance 
of the two couples now assumed a livelier 
character, and it was difficult to say which of 
the two — maidens or youths — were the more 
graceful. When the dance was finished, there 
was a short rest for the pifferari, after which 
two fresh couples entered the arena and the 
whole thing was done over again. There was 
a charm and a fascination about it all which 
it would be impossible to describe. Grace and 
dignity are, no doubt, innate to these simple 
mountain folk ; but how on earth and where 
could they have acquired a perfection in the 
art of dancing which even later Russian Ballet 
experiences could not dwarf? In the pauses 
between the dances both executants and on- 
lookers refreshed themselves by draughts from 
one of the long -necked, large -bellied fiaschi 
of luscious, golden Velletri, several dozen of 
which stood in serried rows — Belisario had 
evidently made his preparatory arrangements 
with cunning forethought — ^beneath the tree. 
It was now growing dark ; the light of the 
waning moon in the deep -blue sky, though 
enhancing the loveliness of the scene, proved 
insufficiently powerful ; lanterns were fetched 
from the huts, whilst some of the men brought 



394 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxx 

torches, by the fitful glare of which the dancing 
was resumed. More and more couples now 
entered the ring, quicker and quicker grew the 
pace of the music, wider and wider the circles 
of flowing skirts and sheep-skins, redder and 
redder the cheeks of the dancers, — we had at 
last arrived at the Tarantella. The excited 
onlookers, shouting every now and then at the 
top of their voices a short musical phrase of 



P 



^^^^g^^jfe^fe^ 



Ai a, Ai a Eh t 

unmistakably Eastern origin, spurred into a 
state of frenzy the young dancers, who accom- 
panied certain accents of the rhythm with 
shrieks of joy, the wildness of which would 
make a Scottish reel seem funereal in compari- 
son. It was all very wonderful ; most wonderful 
perhaps as we were conscious all the time of the 
deep, silent Campagna far below and the stillness 
of the Eternal City in the distance. . . . 

Arduous and eventful though the day had 
been, none of us felt inclined to leave so engag- 
ing a scene. It was long after midnight when 
at last we tore ourselves away and sought our 
beds — ^the attache his palliasse ; and the faint 
sounds of singing and dancing reaching our ears 
whilst we were waiting for " Nature's soft nm:se," 
seemed to make reality and dream melt into one. 



XXX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 395 

Richer for the extraordinary impressions 
of this memorable Good Friday, and deploring 
the fleetness of the hours, especially the happy 
ones, we set out on our return journey early 
the following morning, accompanied part of 
the way by nearly the whole of the popxilace, 
to whom our visit had brought pleasure as 
well as profit ; for who that has ever been in 
Italy does not know the irresistibility of those 
fascinating beggars, particularly those charming 
piccoline when, holding out their dirty little 
brown hands, they keep running beside you, 
piteously crying " Ho fame, fame," all the while 
smiling roguishly, well knowing that their 
plump little ruddy cheeks are belying their 
words. 

We made for Tivoli which, through the 
beautiful valley of the Empiglione, we reached 
after five hours' walking, ready for the ex- 
cellent meal mine host of the famous Osteria 
delle Cascade prepared for us in a most oblig- 
ingly short time ; and a few hours later, from the 
train that took us back to Rome, we cast a 
parting and loving look in the direction of 
Saracinesco, where we had realised more than 
ever before that " Nature is the art of God." 

When not long afterwards we left Rome, 
where, although it was my work which had 
been the primary object of our visit, we 



396 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxx 

certainly had not allowed ourselves to lag behind 
other visitors in our zeal as regards sightseeing, 
I could not help remembering, sadly appreciat- 
ing its truth, a bon -mot with which the late 
Pope Pius IX. was credited : Giving audience 
during a medical Congress to a number of 
famous professors attending the same, and 
addressing one of them, he asked him how 
long he intended staying in the Eternal City. 
" Three months," the professor was happy 
to reply. " I am afraid," rejoined the Pope, 
" you will not know much of Rome when you 
leave." Then, turning with the same question 
to another, whose answer was " Four weeks " — 
" Well," said the Pope, " you'll see a good deal 
of Rome." Upon the third expressing pro- 
found regret at his visit being necessarily 
limited to ten days — " Ah," exclaimed His 
Holiness, " you'll see all Rome ! " 

Alas ! we had been of the " Three months " 
species. 

But I fear I must leave off some time or 
other, though, as regards material, I am sure 
I could go on for quite a while yet ; but, having 
come to the end of the century, I might as well 
let this be the end of the book too. In laying 
down my pen and taking leave of those of my 
readers who have been patient enough to follow 



XXX MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 397 

me thus far, I cast a last surveying glance over 
the past and, with feelings of sadness and 
keen disappointment, realise how grievously 
short of my aspirations and endeavours has 
fallen what I have been able to accomplish 
in my life. Is it perhaps that my natural 
talents have been too diverse — I even dabbled 
in painting and often regretted not having 
chosen it as a profession: — and that instead 
of concentrating all my energies upon one 
object from the beginning, I allowed them to 
be scattered over too many, thus achieving 
nothing notable in any ? Two things only 
I can think of, which conscience permits me 
to contemplate with something resembling 
satisfaction. One is : I have never betrayed 
the ideal of my art by consciously stooping 
to the unworthy, to the commonplace. The 
other : Music in England at this moment is 
on a very high level. Nowhere in the world, 
for instance, can there now be found orchestras 
superior to the best we have here. If it really 
could be, as generous and forbearing friends 
would have me believe, that by founding, thirty 
years ago, at a time when there was no oppor- 
tunity of hearing orchestral music during the 
winter season in London proper, the London 
Symphony Concerts, and in the face of great 
difficulties conducting them for eleven years, I 



398 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES xxx 

have given the impetus, or even in some 
measure contributed, to the marvellous develop- 
ment of Music, creative and recreative, in this 
beloved land, I should die content in the 
thought of not, after all, having lived in vain. 



INDEX 



Abbey, Edwin A., 231-2 
Alexander, Sir George, 224 
Alice, Princess, 93-4 
Alma Taderaa, Sir Lawrence 

and Lady, 147 
Anderson, Rev. James, 69 
Anderson, Mary, 223 
Archer, Miss, 144 
Auer, Leopold, 59 

Bailey, Lillian, 182, 238, 253, 268 
Barth, Richard, 80-81 
Bayreuth, 132 
Beecher, Henry Ward, 245 
Bergheim, Jolm S., 191 
Blumenthal, Monsieur et 

Madame, 353 
Boito, Arrigo, 304 
Brahms, Johannes, 45, 54, 73, 

97 and ff., 313, 337 
Brema, Marie, 211 
Brewster, Harry, 379 
Broadwoods, the, 75, 152 
Brooke, Stopford A., 225 
Browning, Robert, 220, 251 
Billow, Hans von, 31, 337 
Burne-Jones, Sir Edward, 352 

Costa, Sir Michael, 181 
Cowen, Sir Frederic, 26, 168 
Crawford, F. Marion, 255 
Cui, Cesar, 58 
Cusins, 168, 237 

Damrosch, Dr. Leopold, 12 
Davidoff, Charles, 55 
Davies, Mary, 187 
Deichmann, Carl, 373 

Edinburgh, Duke of, 216 
Elgar, Sir Edward, 168, 344 
Eliot, George, 220 
Elson, Louis C, 286 
Essipoff, Madame, 59, 78 
Eug6nie, the Empress, 214 
Ezechiel, Moie, 35 

Foote, Arthur, 268 
Forbes, Norman, 224 



Franck, Eugen, 25 
Frederick William, Crown Prince 
of Germany, 52 

Goetze, Prof., 23 
Goldschmidt, Otto, 313 
Grimm, Julius Otto, 80 
Grosse, Theodor and Hedwig, 
808 

Haas, Madame, 14, 322 

Hall6, Sir Chas ., 177, 186, 222, 269 

Harrison, Robert, 331 

Hatfield House, 355 

Hausmann, Robert, 35 

Haydenmlle, 296 

Hecht, Edward, 187 

Heermann, Hugo, 88 

Henschel, Gleorge, parentage, 3 ; 
first music lessons, 13 ; first 
appearance as a pianist, 14 ; 
as a singer, 15 ; in Leipsic,' 
20 ; with Liszt in Weimar, 
30 ; concert with Rubin- 
stein, 32 ; in Berlin, 34 ; 
his canine friend, S6v6re, 
35 ; at the Nether-Rhenish 
festivals, 44, 75, 165 ; first 
meeting with Brahms, 45 ; 
in Vienna, 54, 73 ; in 
Russia, 55, 136 ; at the 
Kiel festival, 76 ; in Paris, 
77 ; at the Munster festival, 
80 ; touring with Brahms, 
84 ; at the New Palace, 
Darmstadt, 93 ; the Brahms 
diary, 97 ; at Bayreuth, 
132 ; first London season, 
141 ; Belgrave Square 
Soiree, 168 ; with Rubin- 
stein at Windsor Castle, 
173 ; first Oratorio in Man- 
chester, 180 ; from Belfast 
by special train, 182 ; in 
Berlioz' Paust, 187 ; in 
Tunis and Algeria, 193 ; 
the Raid's letter, 209 ; 
Soir6e at Marlborough 



399 



400 MUSINGS AND MEMORIES 



House, 213 ; at Clarence 
House, 216 ; at Ascot, 234 ; 
engagement to Miss Bailey, 
288 ; first journey across 
the Atlantic, 239 ; first 
visit to Boston, 252 ; the 
Boston Symphony Or- 
chestra, 2S9 ; life in Boston, 
261 ; in the country, 296 ; 
Spiritualistic siance, 303 ; 
return to Europe, 308 ; the 
London Symphony Con- 
certs, 318 ; Handel's " Thou 
shalt dash them," 340 ; the 
false " Strakosch," 343 
Hatfield House party, 355 
the Scottish Orchestra, 366 
Command Concert at Wind- 
sor Castle, 367; in Rome, 379 
Hesse, Landgravine of, 88 
Hesse-Barchfeld, Princess of, 88 
Higginson, Henry Lee, 253, 258, 

295 
Hipldns, Alfred James, 156 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 377 
Holroyd, Sir Charles, 233 
Houghton, Lord, 251 
Howe, Julia Ward, 255 
Huxley, Professor, 376 
Huxley, Nettle, 304 

Imperial, the Prince, 213 
Irving, Sir Henry, 223 

James, Henry, 252, 266, 317 

James, William, 303 

Joachim, Joseph, 34, 48, 49, 75, 

76, 179, 222 
Joachim, Madame, 39 
Joachim, Mrs. Henry, 158 

Kalbeek, Max, 111, 379 
Kitson, Sir James, 251 

Lang, B. J., 268 
Lathom, Lord, 356 
Leighton, Lord, 222 
Leschetitsky, 58 
Levi, Hermann, 116, 134 
Lewes, George Henry, 220 
Lewises, the George, 158 
Lewis, Kate and Arthur, 162 
Lind, Jenny, 310 
Liszt, Franz, 30, 330 
Lloyd, Edward, 182, 187 
Louise, Princess, 320, 335, 368 



Mackenzie, Sir Alexander, 137, 

168, 344 
Martineau, Edith and Gertrud, 69 
Maszkowski, 84 
Moscheles, Ignace, 21 
Muncacszi, 77 

Norman-N6ruda, Mme. (Lady 
Hall6), 222, 269 

Paderewski, 350 

Parry, Sir Hubert, 168, 344 

Patti, Adelina, 138 

Piatti, Alfredo, 154, 222, 269, 823 

Redeker, Augusta (Lady Semon), 

43 
Rietz, Julius, 24 
Rubinstein, Anton, 31, 42, 59, 

136, 173 
Rubinstein, Nicolai, 69 

Santley, Sir Charles, 182,. 329 
Sarasate, Pablo de, 166 
Sargent, John S., 331 
Scheidemantel, Carl, 389 
Schlesinger, Dr. Max, 151, 249 
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 17 
Schumann, Clara, 39, 41, 288 
Schuvaloff, Count Paul, 58 
Semon, Sir Felix, 43, 141 
Semon, Lady. See Redeker, 

Augusta 
Sexton, Selina, 148 
Simrock, Fritz, 39, 124 
Smyth, Ethel, 176, 214 
Sons, Maurice, 870 
Stanford, Sir Charies, 137, 168, 

389, 844 
" Strakosch," 343 

Tausig, Carl, 31, 88 
Terry, Ellen, 228 
Thallon, Robert, 245 
Theatres, 222 
Thompson, Lady, 163 
Tschalkovsky, 60, 364, 365 

Verdi, Giuseppe, 165, 166 
Victoria, Queen, 173, 368 
Visetti, Albert, 364 

Whistler, James M'Neill, 160 
William I., German Emperor, 58 
William II., German Emperor, 
355 

Zichy, Count, 77 



Printed 6y R. & R, Clark, 'Limited, Edinburgh.