Imatges de pàgina
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inite period of time. When I bade the completely engrossed with her art. Her Montresors good-bye, I wondered what domestic life was gone; she lived and sorrow could touch them, they seemed so breathed only in the atmosphere of her shielded by prosperity from every acci- profession, and happily her husband symdent; but some one has said very justly of pathized with her, and generously reprosperity, that it is like glass,- it shines garded her triumphs as his own. The brightest just before shivering. A year first morning I saw her, I was struck with after I left, Montresor, who had foolishly her excited air; a deep crimson spot was entered into some speculations, lost all his on each cheek, which made her eyes, forfortune. In a fortnight after the event, merly so soft in their expression, painVeronese society was electrified by the fully sharp in their brilliancy. public announcement of Madame Mon- “I sang for Rossini last night,' she tresor's first appearance in public as an said, in a quick tone, after our first greetopera-singer. I forget what her opening ing was over; then continued, with her piece was. She wrote to me about it, old, frank naïveté, *I did not know he telling me that her debut was successful, was in the theatre. I am so glad! for but that she felt she needed more prepa- otherwise I might not have done myself ration, and should devote the follow- justice.' ing year to studies necessary to insure « « He was pleased, of course,' I resuccess in her profession. Her letters plied. had no murmurs in them about the lost “Yes; he was here this morning. He fortune, no moans over the sacrifice of is a charming person, so graceful and her social position. She possessed true complaisant! Montresor and I were degenius, and felt most happy in the exer- lighted with him. He is to compose an cise of her music, even if it took sorrow,

opera for me.' toil, and poverty to develop it. Her " Her whole form seemed to dilate whole thoughts were on the plan of stud- with pride. She walked up and down ies laid down for her. Now she could be the salon with unconscious restlessness an artist conscientiously. She had ob- while she talked, went to a stand of tained the rare advantage of lessons from flowers, and, leaning her burning face some famous retired singer at Milan,- over the fragrant blossoms, drew in sharp, Marchesi, I think,- and her letters were rapid breaths of their odors. She pluckfilled with learned and enthusiastic de- ed off a white tea-rose, and pressed its tails of her master's method, her manner yellow core against her cheeks, as if she of study, regimen, and exercise,- enough fancied the fresh white color of the flowto make ten Catalanis, I saucily wrote er would cool them. Every look, every back to her.

movement, every expression that shot “ Once in a while she would send me rapidly over her varying face, as quickly a notice of her success at some concert as the ripples on water under the bot or minor theatre. At last, in 1813, seven noonday sunlight, spoke more plainly years after her girlish début at Verona, than words her intense longing. As I she received an engagement at Venice. recall my beautiful friend, so possessed At that time I obtained congé for a few as I saw her then with this intense desire months, and, on my home-journey, stop- for the fame of a great artist, I think of ped a few weeks at Venice, to see some two lines in a little song I have heard relatives living there, and my old friends, you sing, the Montresors. The seven-years' hard

« * To let the new life in, we know study and public life had developed the

Desire must ope the portal.' pretty petite girl-matron into a charming woman and fine artist. She was as naive And, surely, her earnest spirit was beatand frank as in her girlish days, though ing with feverish haste on that portal of not so playful,-more self-possessed, and her future for her new life.



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" Of course we did not nieet so con- tone that she would never sing it again. stantly, and therefore not so familiarly as This was too unlike Adelaïde to be true; formerly. When we did meet, she was but I tried to swallow my vexation in sias frank and friendly as ever; but she lence, and with difficulty restrained mywas always preoccupied. She was study- self from insulting the addle-pated young ing daily with the great young maestro puppy. I had heard her say she did not himself, then just rising to the full ze- like the passage so well as the rest of the nith of his fame, and her whole thoughts opera, and felt sure that the whole story were filled with the music of the new had been founded on this simple expresopera he was writing, which she called sion of disapprobation. glorious.

“I swallowed my chocolate, put on “So grand and heroic,' she said, with my hat, and sauntered leisurely along to enthusiasm, one morning, when describ- Montresor's apartments. It was late in ing it, and yet so original and fresh! the afternoon ; the servant admitted me, The melodies are graceful, and the ac- saying Madame was alone in the salon. companiments as sparkling as these dia- The apartments were several rooms en monds in their brilliancy.'

suite ; the music-room was divided from “At caffès, where silly young men mur- the salon by curtains. I entered the sader reputations, it was said that Rossini lon unannounced ; for the valet de chamwas madly in love with the beautiful bre was an old family-servant, and havprima donna ; and of course he was; for ing known me for so many years as garhe could not help being in love, in his çon de famille, he let me proceed through way, with every brilliant woman he met. the antechamber unaccompanied. The Numberless stories were told of the be- heavy curtains over the music-room were witching tyranny · La Malanotle,' as she dropped ; but as I entered, I heard a low was called, loved to exercise over her murmur of voices coming from it. The distinguished admirer, which were inter- thick Turkey carpet which lay on the inpreted by the uncharitable as the caprice laid ivory floor of the salon gave back no of a mistress in the first flush of her lov- sound of my footsteps. I did not think ing power. I had to listen in silence to of committing any indiscretion ; I consuch stories, and feel grateful that Mon- cluded that Adelaïde was busy studying; tresor did not hear them also.

so I took up a book and seated myself “ . It is one of the penalties one always comfortably, feeling as well off there as has to pay for a woman's fame,' I said at home. to myself, one day, as I sat sipping my “Presently I heard a brilliant preluding chocolate, while I was forced to overhear passage on the piano, then Adelaïde's glofrom a neighboring alcove an insolent rious voice pronounced that stirring reciyoung dandy tell of various scenes, be- tative, “O Patria.' This was the passage traying passionate love on both sides, alluded to by the young dandies in the which he had probably manufactured to caffè. I laid down my book, and leaned make himself of consequence. One story forward to listen. The recitative over, he told I felt sure was false, and yet I then followed that delicious hymn of would rather it had been true than the youth and love,' ás Scudo calls it, Tu others; he declared he had been present che accendi,' followed by the · Di tanti at the theatre when it had taken place, palpiti.' Can you imagine the sensawhich had been the morning previous, tions produced by hearing for the first the morning after the first representation time such a passage? If you can, pray of this famous opera. La Malanotte, he do, for I cannot describe them ;-just said, was dissatisfied with her opening ca- fancy that intoxicating · Ti revedrò' valina, and at rehearsal had presented the soaring up, followed by the glittering acmaestro with the MS. of that passage torn companiment,— and to hear it, as I did, into fifty atoms, declaring in a haughty just fresh from its source, the aroma from

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this bright-beaded goblet of youth and could have been in that music-room?' I love! Heigho! Adelaïde repeated it asked myself, while I looked at them; again and again, and the enivrement then in an instant I felt reproached at seemed as great in the music-room as my suspicions, as the thought Aashed in my brain and heart. Then the low across my mind, that it might have been talking recommenced, and from some her husband. What more likely? I bade words that reached my ears I began her good-bye, and told her, laughingly, as to think I might be committing an in- she gave me a cordial grasp of her hand, discretion; so I left the room as I en- that I hoped to renew our friendship in tered it, unannounced.

St. Petersburg “ That night I was at the theatre, and “ She never wrote to me after that. witnessed the wild, frantic reception of Marked differences in pursuits and a this cavatina, and also saw the point Scu- continued separation will dissolve the do alludes to, which Adelaïde made that outward bonds of the truest friendships. night for the first time, in the duo be- Adelaïde's time was now completely octween Tancredi and Argirio, 'Ah, se de' cupied ; it was one round of brilliant mali miei,' in the passage at the close of success for the poor woman. Such tri*Ecco la tromba,' at the repeat of Alumphs ! such intoxication !” as Scudo campo.' She looked superbly, and, as says; but the glory was that of a shootthat part of the duo ended, she advanced ing star. In eight short years after a step, drew up her fine form to its full that brilliant season at Venice, Adelaide height, flashed her sword with a gesture Montresor, better known as · La Malaof inspiration, and exclaimed, in clear, notte,' the idol of the European musical musical diction, 'Il vivo lampo di questa public, the short-lived infatuation and spada. The effect was electric. The passion of the celebrated Rossini, was duet could not proceed for the cries and a hopeless invalid, and worse, presque shouts of enthusiasm ; the whole theatre folle. rose in one mass, and shouted aloud their “I received the news, strange to say, ecstasy in one voice, as if they had but one evening at the opera in St. Petersone cominon ear and heart.

burg, while I was listening to the music “ The instant the cries lessened, Ade- of. Tancredi. Two gentlemen were talklaïde gave the sign to Argirio, and they ing behind me, and one was telling the took up the duo, "Splenda terribile,' be- other his recollection of that brilliant fore the orchestra, equally electrified with scene I have just recounted. Then folthe audience, were prepared for it, so lowed the account of her illness; and I that Adelaïde's clear ringing 'Mi' soared could not restrain myself, as I had in the out like a mellow violoncello note, and caffè at Venice; for I had known Adeshe sang the three following measures un- laïde as a girl, and loved her as a brothaccompanied. The short symphony which er. I presented myself, explaining the follows this little bit was not heard for cause of my interest in their conversathe cries of applause, which were silen- tion, and found the news was only too ced only by the grand finale, “Se il ciel true. The gentleman had just come from mi guida.'

Southern Europe, and knew the MonGran Dio! the bare memory of that tresors personally. He said that her mind night is a joy,” said my friend, walking was gone, even more hopelessly than her rapidly up and down the room.

health. She lingered eleven years in I had to leave for my Russian home this sad state, and then, happily for hera few days after that, and saw Adelaïde self, died. only once; it was the morning of my de- “ And Rossini,” I asked, -“ how did parture. Her salon was crowded, and he take her illness?" she was leaning on her husband's asm, “ Oh, three years after his Venetian looking very proud and happy. “Who infatuation, he was off here in Naples,

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worshipping the Spanish beauty, a little the strange, fatal necessity attendant on passée, to be sure, of La Colbrand. She, genius, its spiritual labor and pain. Like however, possessed more lasting attrac- all things beautiful in Art, made by hutions than mere physical ones. She had man hands, it must proceed from toil of amassed a large fortune in a variety of brain or heart. It takes fierce heat to ways. Rossini was not over-nice; he purify the gold, and welding beats are wanted money most of all things, and he needed to mould it into gracious shapes; carried off La Colbrand from her cher the sharp chisel must cut into the marble, ami, the Neapolitan director of San Car- to fashion by keen, driving blows the fair lo, and married her. It was a regular statue; the fine, piercing instrument, “ the elopement, as if of a young miss from her little diamond-pointed ill,” it is that trapapa. Do not look so shocked. Rossini ces the forms of beauty on the hard onyx. could not help his changeability. You There had been sorrow in the tale of my women always throw away a real gem, friend, temptation at least, if not sinful and receive, nine times out of ten, a mock yielding, labor and pain, which had brokone in return. But the fault lies not with en down the fair mind itself,— but it had us, but with you ; you almost invariably all created a gracious form for the memselect the wrong person. Now such men ory to dwell on, an undying association as Montresor and I knew how to return with the “Tancredi," as beautiful, ina real gem for Adelaide's heart-gift; but structive, and joy-giving as the “ Divino such men as Rossini have no real feelings Amore” of Raphael, the exquisite onyx in their hearts."

heads in the “ Cabinet of Gems," or that “ And you think she loved him ? " divine prelude the Englishman was at

“ I try to think otherwise, for I cannot that moment pouring out from his piano bear to remember Adelaide Montresor in a neighboring palazzo, in a flood of as an unworthy woman ; and when the harmony as golden and rich as the wine unwelcome thought will thrust itself in, I of Capri, every note of which, we know, think of her youth, her beauty, her genius, had been a life-drop wrung from the and the sudden blinding effect that rapid proud, breaking heart of Chopin, when prosperity and brilliant success produce he sat alone, that solemn, stormy midon an enthusiastic, warm temperament.- night, in the old convent-chamber at MaGood-morning; to-morrow let me come jorca. But the toil and suffering are foragain, and we will go over • Tancredi,' gotten in the enjoyment of creation, and and I will sing with you the • Ah, se de genius itself, when going down into the fimali miei.'"

ery baptism of sorrow, or walking over the My friend left me alone. I sat by the red-hot ploughshares of temptation, would window, watching the waving of the tas- rather take all its suffering and peril than selled branches of the acacia, and the not be itself ; — and well it may; for it purple fiery vapor that arose from the is making, what poor heart-broken Keats overflowing Vesuvius; and I thought of sung, Adelaide Malanotte, and wondered at A thing of beauty – a joy forever."



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And then Ah, God! But nay, it little


These verses were written in the first leaves of the locked volume. As I turn

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