Графични страници
PDF файл


unbending. They frequently quarrelled, even and Empress of Austria continued unabated on trivial subjects; and when, as often occurred, during her life. As a proof of their good opinion he gave way to bitter reproaches, she punished they commanded her to write two little dramas, him by withholding for many hours the pardon to be acted at Vienna by the royal children, and for which he humbly sued. It is related that rewarded the task by a life pension of 1,500 on one occasion, some person observed that livres. The first of these dramas was entitled Madame du Châtelet could not write poetry. “ Ziman se Genise," and was in one act; the To disperse this assertion she addressed the fol- second was “Phaga,” also in one act; and both lowing verses to Madame de Luxembourg, on gave great satisfaction, the subjects being simher Fête-day:

ple, the moral excellent, and suited to the com

prehension of the youthful performers, who “ Pour vous chanter, aimable Madelon, Je n'ai pas besoin de leçon;

gained great applause by the talent with which Mais sans faire tort aux Apôtres,

they enacted their parts. Madame de Grafigny Tous les jours où je vous voi

was treated with great distinction by their royal Sont des jours de fete pour moi,

highnesses Prince Charles and the Princess Qui me font oublier les autres."

Charlotte of Lorraine, with whom she corre

sponded for many years. The last production When Voltaire entered the room the party in of Madame de Grafigny was “ La Fille d’Arisit were at table, and Madame du Châtelet showed tide," a comedy in prose, which failed to meet him the lines. “They are not by you,” said he with the same indulgence from the audience hastily, which remark' so offended her that she present at its representation that marked the angrily retorted, until Voltaire, losing all self- reception of her “ Cénie.” It is asserted that command, seized a knife from the table, and the mortification inflicted on her by the failure menacing her with it, exclaimed, “Ne me regard of this piece occasioned the malady of which donc pas avec tes yeux hagards, et louches.” she died, a statement not devoid of probability, What a scene to be enacted by two persons when the peculiar sensibility of the writer is considered among the most remarkable of their taken into consideration, for she had been fretime, and supposed to be tenderly attached to quently heard to acknowledge that an epigram, each other!

or a harsh criticism, occasioned her the utmost The rupture between Madame de Grafigny chagrin. Her anxiety to improve this work is and Madame du Châtelet was soon followed by manifested by the fact asserted, that she corone that inflicted much more pain on the former. rected the last of the printer's proofs the day of Desmarets, to whom she was so tenderly at- her death. She expired at Paris on the 12th of tached, revealed to Madame de Grafigny with December, 1758, in the sixty-fourth year of her more frankness than pity, that he no longer en- age, greatly beloved and regretted by her friends, tertained for her those sentiments which he whose attachment was the sole mitigation to the formerly felt. This was a cruel blow to her, cares and misfortunes which, from her ill-assorted and she relates its effect on her in a letter full marriage, embittered her days. Her works of poignant regret to their mutual friend, M. passed through several editions, and some of Devaux. The esteem and kindness long enter them, “ des Lettres Peruviennes” and “Cenie,” tained for Madame de Grafigny by the Emperor* were translated into Italian by Deodati.

[blocks in formation]

Reader, have you ever seen a tree felled ? sheltering trunk, had otherwise scattered our Have you ever watched the noble thing till, after hopes, like thistle-down, upon the ground. a hundred resonant blows of the axe, making And perhaps you feel that its leaves falling, year the forest tremble again, it falls prone with a by year-its dead and withered leaves-have mighty crash, never to be replaced more? Is enriched the soil for you; that it has been shorn it not like the death of a loved one?

of its vernal promise, stripped of its autumnal After the tree has fallen-and perhaps never prime, left bare and scathed, a ruin meet only until then—when there is a dull void where for the fate which comes at last, by the same formerly its stately outline towered against the lightning flash which has spared you, nestled at skies, we learn how completely its leaves have its foot, or in the hollow of its heart (a fair type shaded us from the sun; how amply its giant of weakness, by the way), lying unconscious of branches have protected us from the storm; the danger till its force was spent and your prohow powerfully it has resisted the force of the tector's death-stroke given! wind, the hurricane which unopposed by its

But what shall we say when the picture is reversed? When the slender sapling which

we have planted with quick heart-throbs * Francis I, of Austria.

of hope, watered with the daily dews of affection, the tears of trenulous aspiration, graceful head-stone, surmounted by a light and watched expand into fresh and verdant foliage, tapering crucifix, recorded the name and tender seen put forth the buds of early undimmed years of the widow's sole and latest hope. beauty, laugh to the lustrous welcome of the She had stood beside the grave, and marked mid-day sun-what shall we say when this bright it swallow up her all of life, with a tearless gaze. creature is suddenly withered, stricken by the Tongues were not wanting to marvel, at the tempest, or, worse, laid low by some con- apathy and resignation of her demeanour; but cealed canker at its core, whose scarcely per- it was the apathy of despair; and for resignaceptible but insidious progress slowly and tion, hard thoughts of the hand which had been surely destroys the vital spark, and with it not stretched forth to take her lost one from the unfrequently the subtle thread of electric sym- keeping she falsely reasoned paramount, came pathy in the parent-heart which this sweet borne on the wings of each successive instant, human link alone connected with the past and to instil their poisonous breath into her soul. present!

Every night, at the hour when the little life had faded so peacefully into the shadow-land

whither her deep gaze, even the piercing gaze of “ Lift me up, mother! There-close-closer

maternal love, could no longer follow, the desoto your breast. I must look again upon the late figure of the mourner, draped in sable

, and river, and the long waving grass, beautiful moonbeams coming peeping through dragging itself by slow and weary steps along, the willows, yonder-for, mother !—it is the last the spot which held the still idolized relics ; and

might have been watched, silently approaching time.”

extended upon the scarcely sprung turf, the first The fair young face, so spiritual in its wrapt and holy expression, nestled closely into the grey beams of morning found her still repining, bosom which pillowed its soft tresses; the could not resign herself to the will of God.

still complaining. She was but human, and eyes sought those familiar objects indicated by the already failing utterance; but through the ruined temple came a halo, the halo of the soul's

It is a bleak autumnal night-the winds sigh recovered glory; and the mother knew that the heavily, and there is the rushing sound of a ark which held her hope was rapidly passing coming tempest in the breeze. The cold sunset through time-the tiny brooklet—into the deep has no sympathy with us; the departing luminwaters of eternity. they have been whispering to me of beautiful delight, to suggest aught but an uncomfortable "There are voices in the breeze to-night, and ary seems to look with too superior an eye

upon a world he is very plainly quitting with things far up above the clouds yonder; and feeling of desolation, together with a regretful music — so sweet !-has been sounding, first

pang, that we cannot follow to the brighter a long way off, and then coming nearer and regions, whither we know he is bound. While nearer. Mother, I know you cannot hear it, we are thinking of his path, he sinks, and there neither do I, with my ear, but I feel its sound is a sort of weeping of nature at his departure within; the time shall come when we shall hear

-it is twilight. it together-and

How stealthily the darkness has come onThere was a pause. Holding fast the hand so like the insensible incursions of the wave-tide, it tremulously pressed around her, the child sud- has stolen upon us unperceived, until we stand denly raised herself slightly from her mother's in shadowy isolation-surrounded by a chaos convulsive embrace, and the glance of her eyes of illimitable obscurity; nothing real, nothing was as stars fresh lit from the fire of Heaven!

tangible, but our own identity. Look! they are come for me. Papa's voice

Stop! look yonder : there is a light, brilliant the voice I heard when I was a very little child

as the torch of the glowworm, or rather, the is calling me to hasten to him. I cannot see

spectral radiance of the ignis fatuus. It glides him, mother ; but I see lovely white figures all here and there; now aloft, now below (it comes radiant in the moonlight, and they have crowns from the large old house with the gables, oppoof the sweet blue harebells from the valley site), anon it is lost. Who cannot easily picture around their heads. Yes, yes, I am coming the scene into which it has gone? Cheerful, another kiss-0 why may í not take her with cozy, alike careless of the storm, and uninflu

enced by the darkness without, the happy family The clock of the old church tolled twelve. party, circle the social board, or cluster around It was over !-the hope, the struggle past! The the hearth, each occupied by his separate vocacaptive exile had passed the mortal barrier to tion. How like to the gleam of that bright, yet join its first associates, to re-enter its primary slender lamp, is human love! It has penetrated glory, and in the dim and silent chamber, the here and there, visiting first one chamber, then mother was alone.

another-wherever appearing, illuminating all,

and diffusing a cheering influence around the They laid the child in her narrow resting- darkest spot. None but those who rejoice in a place, a bunch of the blue harebells she had so more extended lustre are insensible to its aploved in life, in her hand. The tomb was pre- proach. An angel in its visits, it has lit up the pared on the shelving bank of the beautiful little path of duty, and cast a warmer glow on pleagrare-yard which looked upon the river; and a l sure's rapid steps. And at last, when sleep de

me ?"


mands the tired energies, it takes its place in his grasp; her tears are falling upon his beside the bed, and watches the slumberer- uplisted facesometimes the slumberer in death, pointing Gone! the scene is gone again! The mother's with its lambent flame like hope - upwards with heart beats quick; a struggling and gasping never-failing care and brilliance, until it is lost ejaculation bursts from her overcharged breast. in the morning of the spirit's resurrection! Her heart is whispering, “ All this, and more,

There is human love here too. Look at that I might have seen;" but hark! there is a stitled wild tear-stained face-those pale and livid lips scream: what sees she, which pales her cheek --the fierce despair of the haggard eyes-the paler than grief had seared it? What makes hands wrung with convulsive energy ; see the her clasp her hands wildly before her eyes, and frame precipitated with insane violence upon the call upon the heavens to blot the picture from heaving sod, which covers the little coffin from her sight? What horror could have struck her her gaze. But what a love! Oh, heart ! look vision in the scene? for she herself was among inward upon thyself; let the scales fall from the actors in it; her own resemblance stood thine obscured eyelids; see the adoration thou there, to protect and watch over her lovely and hast set up, like an idol of fair and glorious grateful child! Grateful, did we say? One proportions, of heavenly mien, fade into a gross

more look : still is the odious vision stamped and clay-formed image of earthly selfishness- upon the watery mirror. She has no power to thy shame,-thy pride no longer.

gaze upon, or shut it from her sense. Silently Hush! the widow starts; the storm has she falls again beside the grave; her heart stops lulled, and the moon-rays calm and spiritual its pulsations ; she flies to the remembrance of shine placidly upon the bosom of the waters. the past for consolation-strange alteration in She raises her head, and looks fixedly upon the her feelings--for consolation-for a refuge from stream. What sees she there? Lo! she be- the aspect of the future,-from even the passing holds her lost child! Lovely, with golden reflection, of what that might have been! falling curls, and fairy feet, she ranges a garden

The moonbeams shone unruffled upon the still filled with every flower of earthly lustre, intent and silent river ; the storm had passed in distant upon the pursuit of a beautiful white moth, murmurs; the solemn tombstone glittered upon whose downy wings, when secured, she

the grave of the lost child, as if keeping watch rapturously to her lips. Fondling it with childish above her sainted ashes. But the mother knew, fervour, her whole attitude expressive of free- when she rose, and with faltering footsteps, but dom from care or unrest, repose falls gradually with an altered and composed 'mien, retreated upon her eyelids, and still pressing the snowy silently from the spot, that its place had been moth against her bosom, she falls asleep among occupied all the long night, and was so still, the flowers which extend their variegated hues though visible to her eyes no longer, by a around--a fitting couch!

radiant and angelic shape, which knelt at the Suddenly she wakes; the moth has changed :

head of the child's imprinted form, and with its hues, so pure and heavenly, are replaced heavenly arms extended over the crumbling by brilliant colours-a brightly painted but- relics, ever kept holy watch and ward, until the terfly, with the tints of the peacock; it seems

day when they should be united, to their glorito have imbibed the dragon-fly's celerity of

fied and ransomed essence! flight, and escaping from her encircling fingers, she wakes to start upon another chase-whether successful or not we know not, for a mist comes

COMFORTABLE PEOPLE. - Comfortable people over the bosom of the stream; and when it are persons who are at peace with themselves and clears, other figures are discernible imprinted on with each other, and disposed to make the best of its surface.

everything and everybody; and that, not by the There is the girl again, older, but yet still dangerous sophism of “calling evil good,” but by childish in her loveliness. She is surrounded the power of separating good from evil, and a disby others of her own age, and all seem to bend position to dwell on and multiply whatever is beglances of admiration and love upon her grace comfortable people which has an affinity to goodness

neficial near them. There is a something about ful form. But her eyes wear no longer the in- and which repels evil; and thus, without any ostennocent and placid expression so familiar to the sible exertion on their part, or forced behaviour on mother's heart. A quick, uneasy, restless lustre yours, you actually feel not only happier but better shines in their glance; she seems to miss some in their presence, than in that of others, though thing, to seek another triumph. It may be she more highly distinguished or more zealous in your waits a coming form, and that comes not. Has behalf. That which is true in you comes forth to the woman's lot commenced ?

meet their truth; and that which is kind in you Again the vision sweeps past. This time two flows on with their indulgence; that which is unfigures only are visible. The same features, ation; and you would as soon think of presenting

selfish in you, answers to their unaffected considerinvested with a regal beauty, appeaf : she yourself at the Queen's drawing-room with galoshes, stands erect, in self-confiding excellence; yet is waterproofs, and umbrellas, as of bringing before there a tender melancholy in her eyes, a tre- comfortable people the harshness or suspicion with mulous blush upon her cheek; for at her feet which you think it necessary to encounter the world kneels one, who looks up to her, with the adora- in general; you know you will not want them.tion of youth's first passion; and her hand is. Home Truths for Home Peace.



The following remarks are particularly in- steps of instruction to rendering prominent only tended for mothers, who, possessing some know. those points, which, though of the greatest imledge of music, and living either in the country portance, are most often neglected. These points or in small towns, are induced, from the want of are in particular-Exactitude in lifting up the a clever pianoforte teacher, themselves to instruct fingers, and— Attention to the grammatical acor to superintend this branch of their children's cent. education. The observations which I have made Both are rules so plain and self-evident that during the many years of my musical experience one is nearly ashamed to use so many words may perhaps also be useful to young teachers. about them. But as so many performers have Letter I.

lost years of time with useless learning, and

have been obliged to retrace all their steps, beMY DEAR FRIEND,

cause from want of patience they omitted these You require my advice about the musical in- first principles, it is not superfluous to remind struction of your daughters. It is with pleasure every young teacher of them. that I yield to this inducement to note down

With pupils already spoiled, it is often better many an experience which I have made in my to attempt to conquer but one bad habit at a profession, that it might be useful besides to time, for constant interruptions and blaming yourself to a more extended circle. I would not only confuse and irritate. Concentrate therefore pretend to advise professional musicians; but your attention upon that mechanism of the those talented and highly accomplished amateurs, fingers which the easiest five-finger exercises amongst whom I esteem you, who, though very require, and mind that, the more strictly you clever performers, would scarcely be able, un- oblige the beginner to practise them, the more assisted, to instruct their children, will perhaps quickly will you forward him to more pleasing thank me for some hints whereby they may ob- tasks. tain the same method as that from which I have

I know that most of those, who for the first gained many happy results. It is true that, time give instruction in music, lose all enjoyaided by so many excellent pianoforte instruc- ment in it. The teacher has either to eradicate tion books and exercises, published within the the habit in those pupils, who have been neglected last twenty years by the most celebrated com- by their former teachers, of letting their fingers posers, every musical individual with a little stick to the keys; or he has incessantly to warn patience and understanding may become a tole- beginners against holding their wrists too low, rable instructor; but it may always be desirable or their fingers too straight. He asks himself, to have their way a little shortened. It is also a full of impatience, if in all the world there is a fata! thing for the pupil to get an impression of more tedious and worthless occupation. Perhaps his

teacher's uncertainty by the latter's trying he has gazed deep into the soul of music, and different modes, which he afterwards forsakes as now he must desecrate his beloved art by imhe improves his views.

parting to his pupils the mere ability to play There is no need to tell you in what order something upon some instrument, instead of one must impart to the pupils the notes and the teaching them to feel and to think music. He signatures of the time or the general rules of would rather be the magnet which excites all the execution. You need only lay a foundation with musical capacity of those around him; he would any of the generally acknowledged instruction- prepare a foundation for the understanding of books, and you will have a guide for all the those immortal master-pieces which are a closed course of teaching; whichever of them you

book to every one who only practises music as chose then, you must go through with. You may a thoughtless trifle. allow occasionally, to encourage the pupil when

This dissatisfaction of the teacher, whose first he is tired, some more amusing piece; but after zeal being chilled by the slow conception and this you must constantly return to the instruc- the stiff fingers of a beginner, imparts itself to tion-book. Should the one of which you make the latter. The fingers, particularly those of use not contain a sufficient number of five-finger children, are wanting in the strength of muscle, exercises, I would remind you that a complete

which is necessary to spring up elastic after series of them has appeared, 'entitled “ Exercises each note. The constant warning, " Raise your preparatoires,” by Aloys Schmidt, and is to be fingers!" is tiresome to the pupil, and finally, if had, I suppose, in every music shop.

the aversion of the teacher for the prosaic part I will confine my remarks concerning the first of his profession becomes permanent, and dis

charges itself in a gloomy impatience towards * We have great pleasure in drawing attention his pupils, he will destroy the very germs of to the following letters, by Madame Kinkel, whose future excellence. talents and experience entitle her to be heard with

The task of the teacher in the first instance, more than ordinary respect and consideration.- in teaching the mechanical part of playing, is

merely a business like any other, and he must not let his thoughts wander from this labour. his thoughts at this very moment, and, before He should watch the increasing lightness of he can note it down, the pupil enters the room touch with the same interest as the turner or with the book of exercises under his arm; the the metal worker would attend to the polishir.g first impulse of the composer certainly would of his material.

be, to beat him soundly and throw him down He who has neither patience nor enjoyment stairs. in the most insignificant result of his labour, The composer has a natural hatred for the has no vocation for teaching,

bungler who comes to disturb his ideas; and all Try to give yourself up with full attention to teaching without the impulse of love proves the smallest possible task, as, for instance, that ineffectual. of teaching a child to play the scale perfectly An extraordinary musical talent is not at all smoothly. The vivacity of the interest, and the necessary in those who superintend children pleasure with which you notice that “ There were when they practise their little exercises ; only still two unequal notes; now there is but one; patience and conscientiousness. Many persons and now it is performed perfectly! &c., &c." who embrace the office of a pianoforte-teacher as will be imparted to the child. He will become they would any other kind of trade, for their mere the more attentive to his touch, and will be quite subsistence, without feeling the need of being happy when he becomes aware of an improve- more deeply imbued with the spirit of music, ment.

would be very useful members of the artIn the same degree as you conquer indolence republic, if they fulfilled their duty strictly and ennui in yourself you carry the pupil along within certain bounds. Instead of throwing with you.

away Beethoven's compositions as soon as posIt is decidedly injurious to hurry from one sible upon their unripe pupils, they should depiece to the next, before the former is quite vote the first years entirely to educating the ear, perfect. The pupils must be accustomed to feel the feeling for time, and the fingers. Out of that perfect exactness in playing is a thing from their elementary school would then proceed puwhich they may not excuse themselves. When pils, finished up to a certain point, who could be you remember that one improper habit in the led on by a teacher of a higher rank to more manner of holding the fingers, appearing quite poetical regions. To content himself with his insignificant at first, renders afterwards free and modest task is the duty of the teacher in the spirited execution quite impossible, you will not first instance, and he is only a good teacher so consider, like other amateurs, that mechanical long as he does not overleap these first steps. execution is opposed to the more expressive If a temple of art must be built, architects and style of playing. The former must be acquired sculptors must not be forced themselves to drag as a means to the latter before one can expect of and to hew their stones: this is common labourthe pupil the power of expressing feeling. How ers' work. But, however, matters are quite difcan a performer bring out the beauty of music, ferently adjusted, and it often happens that the even if he is gifted with the most clear insight, most highly gifted musical natures are forced by when his fingers are rebellious ?

circumstances to an unproductive activity in the Whoever then undertakes the duty of teaching empire of art; we will accordingly return to our a beginner must do it conscientiously; he may subject. not hurry over the prosaic part of his office, It is a very common error to measure ability in order to amuse himself to the neglect of the by the degree of quickness of the fingers; but pupil.

this is not so important as that the fingers be able to execute every degree of strength or soft

ness with the touch to a hair's breadth. LETTER II.

The third finger is naturally the most unIndeed it is quite too much to demand that governable one. If it happens that a very one pianoforte teacher should lead his pupil expressive note falls to it, this note will not get from the lowest steps to the summit. For nearly its proper emphasis, if the finger has not been all other studies there are various grades of educated betimes to a like strength with the teachers, of which each one prepares the

other ones.

That little well-known exercise, in for the next. In our case, indeed, it is true that which the third finger alone strikes quavers, the the most learned man would make the worst other fingers holding down chords without schoolmaster.

moving, is quite as necessary to the pianoforteWe scarcely possess fit teachers for the pre- player as the practice of a weak register note to paratory steps in music. There are all kinds of the vocalist. "Tasks of this kind one cannot get clever and stupid teachers, of conscientious and done once for all, but we must continue them unconscientious ones, but scarcely one who during the whole time of learning. If one exerwould consent to raise his pupil up to a certain cises the third finger in this manner for one mipoint, and then leave him to a teacher of higher nute only every day, it will soon be equal to the rank.

others. A composer, given up for a while to his The fourth finger is, from its shortness, usually poetical dreams, cannot possibly bring himself only a little space above the keys, when the other down into the external when the clock nes are sufficiently bent to press them down. strikes the hour of the lesson. Perhaps he is in the right hand one perceives this less, but a pursuing a beautiful melody, which has risen in great inconvenience arises from this habit in the


« ПредишнаНапред »