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and even feel me, as if to find out if I am | ence. He was just about to place the bow flesh and blood. And this not only the on the strings when the candles of his common people, but even the upper classes."
It is sufficiently amusing to think of the public, and especially the "upper classes," taking means to prove to themselves that there was some substance in the shadow which electrified them on their concert platforms. Embarrassing as their attentions must have been, there is some suspicion that Paganini looked upon the whole thing as a good advertisement. He has even been charged with having himself originated many of the ridiculous rumors which he seemed always so anxious to disprove. It is doubtful, however, if any man would attribute the results of many years' unwearied study and practice to Satanic aid, or report his own imprisonment to account for a facility which, it was supposed, could only have come from solitary confinement. These things were said and were believed. Paganini himself writes: "At Vienna one of the audience affirmed publicly that my performance was not surprising, for he had distinctly seen, while I was playing my variations, the devil at my elbow, directing my arm and guiding my bow. My resemblance to the devil was a proof of my origin." The marvellous execution which he had attained on the G string alone of his instrument was set down to his being incarcerated for eight years, during which time all his strings had broken except the fourth, upon which he practised during the whole period of his confinement. There was, of course, not a word of truth in this story. Paganini was never in prison for an hour, as he took very good care to prove by establishing the chronology of his travels and sojourns at various places. The devil, however, seems to have given him a good deal of trouble one way or another. It was at Prague that he published the letter from his mother to prove that he was really of flesh and blood as other men. The production was quite a serious affair; but it was evidently without the desired effect, for later on he considered it advisable to furnish Fétis, the French historian, with all the necessary material and dates to refute publicly the numerous absurdities circulated regarding him!
Many curious adventures were associated with Paganini's career as an artist. Some of these he tells himself; others are recorded by various biographers. One day at Leghorn a nail had run into his heel, and he came on to the platform limping, which greatly amused the audi
desk fell out, and again the expectant listeners laughed. After the first few bars of the solo the first string broke, which increased the hilarity; but the piece was played through on three strings, and, says Paganini himself, "the sneers quickly changed into general applause." At Ferrara he narrowly escaped being lynched. In those days it seems the common people of the suburbs of that little town looked upon the dwellers in the town itself as "a set of asses!" Hence, we read, "any countryman a resident of the suburbs, if asked where he came from, never replied,' From Ferrara,' but put up his head and began braying like an ass!" Now, unluckily for him, as it proved, Paganini could imitate with his violin the braying of an ass as well as do other wonderful things. In the course of a concert at Ferrara some one in the pit had hissed. It was an outrage which must be revenged, but no one suspected anything when, at the close of the programme, Paganini proposed to imitate the voices of various animals. After having reproduced the notes of different birds, the mewing of a cat, the barking of a dog, and so on, he advanced to the footlights, and calling out, "This is for those who hissed," imitated in an unmistakable manner the braying of a donkey. The effect produced was magical, but not at all what the player had probably expected. The audience, taking the significant "heehaw" as an allusion to themselves, rose almost to a man, rushed through the orchestra, climbed the stage, and would undoubtedly have strangled the daring fiddler if he had not taken to instantaneous flight. After this it was hardly necessary for his biographer to tell us that " Paganini never visited the town again." In this case, undoubtedly, discretion was the better part of valor.
The furore created by Paganini's appearance in various places has only been equalled in modern times by the Jenny Lind mania. Shopkeepers called their goods after him; everything, from canes to cravats, was à la Paganini; even a good stroke at billiards came to be termed un coup à la Paganini. At Vienna, where he met with what is described as "a paroxysm of enthusiasm," a cabman worried him into permission to print on his vehicle the words "Cabriolet de Paganini,” the conveyance having been once hired by the virtuoso during a heavy shower. It was an excellent stroke of business on the part of Jehu. The hero-worshippers soon en
abled him to make enough money to start | many of his feats on the platform appeared in business as a hotel-keeper, in which inexplicable and impossible. Violinists capacity the great violinist no doubt pa- implored him unavailingly to show them tronized him when he was next in the how he produced his effects. He would city. get a little group together, begin to play, and just as he had reached the difficult passage every one longed to see done, he would peer into the faces of his listeners, suddenly stop, and exclaim, “And so forth, gentlemen!" Mystery, again, surrounded his répertoire. He very seldom played any other music than his own; and although he occasionally took part in a quartet or a concerto by one of the great masters, he made no effect with it. He used to say that if he played another composer's work he was obliged to arrange it to suit his peculiar style, and it was less trouble to write a piece for himself. If by any chance he did play a classical work he invariably took such liberties with it as enabled him to display his powers in his own way. Publishers sought to purchase his compositions, but he set such an exorbitant price on them that treating with him was out of the question. No doubt he did this designedly. At his concerts he was always careful never to allow any other violinist to see his music on paper; and when he did practise, which was seldom in later life, it was always in private.
Paganini, like most musicians, had his share of eccentricity. When he was in Paris in the thirties a court concert was announced at the Tuileries, and he was asked to play. He agreed, and went to have a look at the room just before the concert. The curtains, he found, were hung in such a way as to interfere with the sound, and he requested the superintendent to have things properly arranged. The self-sufficient official paid no heed to the request, and Paganini was so offended by his manners that he determined not to play. The hour of the concert came, but no Paganini. The audience waited for some time, and at last a messenger was despatched to the hotel where the virtuoso was staying. Had the violinist gone out? No, he was in the hotel, but he had gone to bed some hours since! Once, at Birmingham, a prosaic magistrate compelled him to pay for his eccentricity. This was before the time of railways, when everybody travelled as Mr. Ruskin would have everybody travel now. Paga nini was on his way from London to Birmingham to fulfil an engagement. It seems he had the habit of getting out of the postchaise whenever the horses were changed, in order, as the Scotchman would say, to "straucht his legs." Sometimes he would extend his promenade so far that the coach was kept waiting for his return longer than the patience of the driver would stretch. This occurred once too often, and Paganini was left behind. At the next station a postchaise was despatched in search of him; he was found in a towering passion, and, as he refused to pay the cost of the conveyance, he was taken before the magistrate, who, unfortunately for him, did not see the necessity of indulging his eccentricity, and mulcted him in damages.
There is a strong suspicion of quackery about all this; yet, as one of his biographers has said, the extraordinary effect of his playing could have had its source only in his extraordinary genius. If genius be "the power of taking infinite pains," he certainly showed it in a wonderful degree. Fétis tells us that he was known to have tried the same passage in a thousand different ways during ten or twelve hours, and to be completely overwhelmed with fatigue at the end of the day. The word "difficulty" had no place in his vocabu lary. The most intricate music of the day was but child's play to him, as a certain painter at Parma once found, much to his chagrin. This gentleman discredited the There was undoubtedly something of common belief that Paganini could get the charlatan about Paganini. Thomas through the most difficult music at first Moore says he constantly abused his sight. He possessed a valuable Cremona powers; "he could play divinely, and does violin, which he offered to present to the so sometimes for a minute or two; but virtuoso if he could perform, straight off, then come his tricks and surprises, his a manuscript concerto which he placed bow in convulsions, and his enharmonics, before him. "This instrument is yours," like the mewings of an expiring cat." said he, "if you can play in a masterly Mystery had great charms for him. For manner that concerto at first sight." "In a long time he puzzled the best violinists that case, my friend," replied Paganini, by tuning his instrument in different ways," you may bid adieu to it at once," which and, as he always took particular care the painter, according to the bargain, never to do this tuning within hearing, found he had to do a few minutes later.
Mere perfection of technique, however, would never have thrown the whole of musical Europe into the state of excitement produced by Paganini wherever he appeared. "With the first notes his audience was spellbound; there was in him though certainly not the evil spirit suspected by the superstitious-a dæmonic element which irresistibly took hold of those who came within his sphere." Moscheles was not a man to be excited over nothing, and he wrote: "His constant and daring flights, his newly discovered flageolet tones, his gift of fusing and beautifying subjects of the most diverse kind all these phases of genius so completely bewilder my musical perceptions that for days afterwards my head is on fire and my brain reels." The Scotch people, who had not yet forgotten their own Niel Gow the "man who played the fiddle weel". were almost terrified by his cleverness and appearance. In one town he came on the platform, cast a ghostly glance around the crowded hall, and, extending his right arm, held the bow pointing to the right, and immediately began to send forth mysterious music with the fingers of his left hand. Softer and softer grew the music, until at last he brought down the bow on the strings with such force that several people fainted with fear. So intense was the excitement that at the close of the performance the audience felt a painful relief.
It was generally supposed during his lifetime that Paganini had more regard for bank-notes than for musical notes - that, in fact, he was a heartless, selfish miser. It is true that, as a rule, he was very chary with his money (he died worth 80,000l.), but that he was also occasionally generous is amply proved by several incidents in his career. One of his last concerts was given at Turin for the benefit of the poor. He gave Berlioz, the great French composer, the large sum of twenty thousand francs, simply as a mark of admiration for the latter's " Symphonie Fantastique." But better than this was the manner of his befriending a little Italian whom he found playing on the streets of Vienna. The boy confided to him that he supported his sick mother by his playing, and that he had come from the other side of the Alps. Paganini was touched at once. He liter ally emptied his pockets into the lad's nand, and, taking his poor instrument from him, began "the most grotesque and extraordinary performance possible." Pres ently there was quite a crowd around the curious pair, and Paganini, concluding his
solo, went round with the hat. A splendid collection was the result, and after handing this to the boy Paganini walked off with his companion, remarking: "I hope I have done a good turn to that little animal." With Paganini any one belonging to the lower orders was always addressed as an "animal." When such an individual dared to speak to him he would turn his back and inquire of his companion: "What does this animal want with me?"
It has been said that "he who loves children can't be a bad man," and if there is any truth in the remark Paganini must have been less black than he has sometimes been painted. He had a little son whom he wished the world to know by the high-sounding names of Alexander Cyrus Achilles, though at home he was content to call him simply Achillino. A friend once called to take Paganini to the theatre where he was to play in a concert in the evening, arranged between the acts. This is the description the friend gives of how he found him: "I went to Paganini's lodgings, and I cannot easily describe the disorder of the whole apartment. On the table was one violin, on the sofa another. The diamond snuff-boxes which sovereigns had given him were one on the bed and one of them among his child's toys; music, money, caps, matches, letters, and boots pell-mell here and there; chairs, table, and even the bed removed from their place, a perfect chaos, and Paganini in the midst of it. A black silk cap covered his still deeper black hair, a yellow tie loose round his neck, and a jacket of a chocolate color hung on him as on a peg. He had Achillino in his lap, who was very ill-tempered because he had to have his hands washed. Suddenly he broke loose from his father, who said to me: 'I am quite in despair; I don't know what to do with him; the poor child wants amusement, and I am nearly exhausted playing with him.' Barely were the words out of his mouth, when Achillino, armed with his little wooden sword, provoked his father to deadly combat. Up got Paganini, catching hold of an umbrella to defend himself. It was too funny to see the long, thin figure of Paganini in slippers retreating from his son, whose head barely reached up to his father's knees. He made quite a furious onslaught on his father, who, retreating, shouted, ‘Enough, enough! I am wounded!' but the little rascal would not be satisfied ere he saw his adversary tumble and fall down vanquished on the bed. But the time passed and we had to be off, and now the real
comedy began. He wanted his white necktie, his polished boots, his dress-coat. Nothing could be found. All was hidden away. And by whom? By his son Achil lino. The little one giggled the whole time, seeing his father with long strides travelling from one end of the room to the other seeking his clothes. What have you done with all my things?' he asked. Where have you hidden them?' The boy pretended to be very much astonished and perfectly dumb. He shrugged his shoulders, inclined his head sideways, and mimically indicated that he knew nothing whatever of the mishap. After a long search the boots were discovered under the pillowcase, the necktie was lying quietly in one of the boots, the coat was hidden in the portmanteau, and in the drawer of the dinner-table, covered with napkins, was the waistcoat! Every time Paganini found one of the missing objects he put it on in triumph, perpetually accompanied by the little man, who was delighted to see his father looking for the things where he knew they could not be found; but Paganini's patience with him was unwearied."
The little hero of this incident was the fruit of Paganini's liaison with the cantatrice Antonio Bianchi, of Como. Of this lady Paganini himself tells us that, after many years of a most devoted life, her temper became so violent that a separation was necessary. "Antonio," he says, was constantly tormented by the most fearful jealousy; one day she happened to be behind my chair when I was writing some lines in the album of a great pianiste, and when she read the few amiable words I had composed in honor of the artiste to whom the book belonged, she tore it from my hands, demolished it on the spot, and so fearful was her rage that she would have assassinated me." To this termagant Paganini left an annuity of 60%.; and yet he has been charged with a lack of generosity! There are other affairs of the heart that might be told of besides that of Antonio. One notable epoch in his life was when, reciprocating the passion of a lady of high rank, Paganini withdrew with her to her estate in Tuscany. The lady played the guitar, and, enamored of everything about his divinity, the king of the violin gave up his own instrument in favor of the lady's, upon which he soon became an extraordinary player. This was, however, in the adolescent period, when love generally cools as quickly in the castle as it does in the cottage. The only tangible result of the little episode was a
series of sonatas for the unusual combination of violin and guitar, some of which have been preserved.
It need hardly be said that Paganini was not a deeply religious man. Nominally he was a Roman Catholic, but he died refusing the last sacraments of the Church, and, as a consequence, his corpse lay for five years practically unburied. The circumstances of the case were peculiar. It seems that, a week before his death, the Bishop of Nice sent a priest to administer the usual rites, but Paganini, not believing that his end was so near, would not receive them. The bishop accordingly refused him burial in consecrated ground, and, pending some arrangement, the coffin lay for a long time in the hospital at Nice. The body was afterwards removed to Villa Franca, near Genoa, but still it was not to rest. Reports got abroad that piteous cries were heard at night, and the young Baron Paganini at last, by making a direct appeal to the pope, obtained leave to bury his father's remains five years after the decease! - in the village church near Villa Gaiona. Strange irony of fate! He who had been decorated with honors by the pope himself was in the end refused by that same pope the rites of Christian burial!
From The Speaker.
THE DUKES OF TECK.
"ATTEMPTO" was the motto chosen by Eberhart, the first Duke of Würtemberg and Teck. The secret of the marvellous success of the family was that it always knew what to attempt, and when to make an attempt. It was a family of unusually shrewd men, but also of something better than shrewdness, of high integrity. Moreover, it was just that Swabian family which knew what not to attempt, which brought it to the forefront, where another and a far greater Swabian family- the Hohenstaufen — failed and became exterminated because always attempting to reach splendid achievements that were beyond their reach.
The Würtembergs began in a small way, as country gentlemen, at Beutelsbach in the Remsthal, and then one of them built himself a castle at Würtemberg, near Cannstadt, but Beutelsbach remained the family burying-place. We know nothing more of the origin of the stock than that there was a Conrad at Beutelsbach in
1080, and no consecutive pedigree can be | and all sold to the counts of Würtemtraced till we reach the beginning of the berg. thirteenth century. Long before that these country gentlemen had become counts, but they made no mark on history, and were counts of a very small county. But no sooner do we reach the thirteenth century than the entire condition of the family changes. By marriage with heiresses they enlarged their estates and influence, and it was from one of the heiresses that the stag's horns came into the Würtemberg arms.
Ulrich with the Broad Thumb is also called "The Founder" (1247-65), for it was with him that the house of Würtemberg stepped upon the stage of history, and showed itself to be a power.
From the Swabian volcanic peak of Hohenstaufen had gone forth the adventurous house that wore the imperial crown, and with it the crown of Sicily and the ducal coronet of Swabia. It was engaged in desperate conflict with the papal power. The Hohenstaufen were Antichrist, the Red Dragon; were excommunicated, their vassals released from fealty, vows sworn to them annulled because they would measure arms with the Papacy for the mastery of Italy. The last blood of the Hohenstaufen was shed when, in 1268, the gallant Conradin was executed by Charles of Anjou at Naples. Upon the ruins of the Dukedom of Swabia rose the shadowy Duchy of Teck, so named from a conical height, castle-crowned, very similar to Hohenstaufen, and in the same Swabian mountain region. There had been, indeed, a Duke of Teck since the closing years of the twelfth century, and the Teck house held to the Hohenstaufen. For a while, after the extinction of this latter house, it seemed likely to fill the gap, to step forward as the head of the great Swabian race. But this family of Teck, a branch of the Zähringen family, had neither the abilities, nor the energy, nor the luck. They were ever looking out for situations abroad. One became a governor of Monza, another of Tyrol, another a Bishop of Strassburg; they had the faculty of letting slip every chance of doing well that presented itself, and when the family came to an end in a Bishop of Aquileia, who died at Basle in 1439whither he had gone to complain before the Council that the Venetians would not suffer him to enter his see or draw its revenues not an acre of the old duchy was found remaining. All had been parted with, even to the ancestral castle,
The Duchy of Teck, it is true, was very small. It consisted of one Alpine valley and a tract of bare Alpine plateau, and the lowland as far as to where the one river that watered the valley fell into the Neckar, but it was large compared to the original heritage of the Würtembergers. But the Zähringen Tecks sought their fortunes from home, the Würtembergers at home, and the result was that as the Tecks declined the Würtembergers mounted. They deserved it. The very titles given to the counts by the people show what manner of men they were. One was "The Gentle," another "The Well-beloved," another "The Illustrious." The very worst that could be said of another was that he was "A Grumbler." Long before Eberhart assumed the maxim "Attempto " they aimed high, but never at the impossible. They might have been princes long before Duke Eberhart, but, "No," said one, "better be a great count than a little prince."
The most conspicuous figure in the whole gallery was Eberhart with the Beard (1457-82), a man of remarkable integrity, justice, and kindliness. He was a man who saw further politically than any of his age. He took as his badge the palm-tree, partly because he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but also because of the verse in the psalm that promises that the just shall flourish as the palm-tree. And he was resolved to do what lay in his power to so root his dynasty in good ground that it should remain ever green. His task was not an easy one. By his wife, Barbara of Mantua -"a good woman who could eat bacon and beans like a peasant" - he had no issue. His brother was insane, and his nephew a ne'er-doweel. It is of this Eberhart that the ballad tells how when, at a feast of the princes of Germany, each boasted of his own principality: Austria of the stately Danube; the Palatine of his vines; Saxony of the ores in his mountains; Count Eberhart said: “Of my land I can say but this: There is not a Swabian shepherd in it on whose lap when weary I could not lay my head in sleep, knowing he would protect me to the last drop of his blood." And this is the subject of a beautiful group of statuary in the palace-garden at Stuttgart.
There is a delightful contemporary portrait of this Eberhart in the castle at Urach. It reminds one of Longfellow's lines on Hans Saachs: