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more correctly denominated the Académie Nationale de vance; and opposite, in the first open box to the left Musique) on the occasion of the execution of Aïda under after the Proscenium, sat the Marquise de P-2, stern, Verdi's own superintendence. This was really a sight pale, beetle-browed, and, as it were, in judgment. This to have seen and never to forget, for the coldest and least excitable of European audiences was suddenly electrified, as it would seen, and gave way to enthusiasm such as one rarely meets with out of Italy or Spain or (sometimes) Vienna. The Italians, as a nation, are not popular in France, and least of all in Paris; and Verdi, of all men, had played so prominent a part in his country's recent history, was so militant an Italian, and altogether so fiercely independent in his ways (not to say aggressive), that no one knew exactly how the ceremony of the première" would fall out vis-à-vis to the great composer himself ; for he was to be brought into direct contact with the public, having proinised to lead the orchestra on the three first nights.
“All Paris" did, as a matter of fact, crowd to the Académie Nationale that night, and, what is more, donned its best and gayest. The various sets were in presence, and the eye could wander from the " Jockey Club” open box, filled with half a dozen celebrities of
M. SCHOLL. la haute-gomme, to the closed Presidential one, where sat, eager and impatient, the dark-eyed, olive-skinned girl lady, the daughter of the Marquis du H-, the most who was then Mlle. Grévy, and has since become Mme. famous duellist in Europe, holds her place at the Grand Daniel Wilson. Further towards the centre were to be Opéra in virtue of an inherited foundation.claim, and seen Mme. Adam, the Princess B- the Marquise never misses her constant attendance during the season. de St. P—, the rotund little Vicomtesse de J- On this occasion, and comparing the subject of the opera the bony Meg-Merilies-looking Marquise d’A-, and with Mme. de P--'s Coptic features, an habitué of the all the tribe of amateur cantatrices and pianistes of this “ Baby Club” opined that she was there “par droit terrible city, where, as poor Verdi himself said, “On d'Égyptienne," adding, “She is evidently come to judge peut faire ce qu'on veut mais on ne peut pas éviter le Rhadamès." musicien et la chanteuse de salon !”
Well, a few moments passed, the house was husheil The curious thing was that the entire house was and breathless, when the door to the right under the crammed to overflowing before the orchestra was entirely orchestra opened, and a tall dark figure appeared and assembled, for what Paris had really come to see was mounted the steps. Such a roar of welcome as greeted Verdi. “ L'entrée de Verdi” was what they were the master at that moment was assuredly never heard waiting for, and you might note the strain of anxious within the walls of any French public edifice since; and,
of a truth, the man thus greeted looked every inch a master—a master of men in every sense. Proud, unbending, self - possessed, Verdi proceeded to his desk without, as it were, taking heed of the clamour he had raised : save when the persistent homage continued, nor consented to subdue its loud expression, obliging him once to acknowledge the tribute-save that once, Verdi never turned his head, but riveted each sense upon the space before him, and seemed with his “wand of state” to evoke his spirit-offspring, and draw them from cloudland to the stage.
The representation was a splendid one, as need scarcely be recorded. Mme. Krauss surpassed herself ; Maurel, as Amonasro, deserved what the composer, albeit
ungiven to excess of praise, repeated to every one he M. ALBERT WOLFF.
met : “Comme diction rien au monde n'est comparable à
cet homme là ;” and Sellier's glorious voice, under the anticipation upon every face. Above all, two female implacable direction of the maestro, was transformed countenances were to be remarked. On the right of the into the instrument of a genuine singer, of an artist stage, in the avant-scène of the Elysée, sat, as aforesaid, knowing the secrets of a lyrical “phrase.” All was the daughter of the President of the République, all super-excellent. But no one took heed of this. alive with deep and genuine artistic emotion, longing “ world” had come to see Verdi, and had Verdi as its for the enjoyment to come and vibrating to it in ad. point de mire, and during the three nights that he led the orchestra the public of the Opéra, from pit to ceiling, gether far more celebrities of the same origin and kind paid attention only to him, and repeated its first ovation was far more confined to the denizens of what styles each time. It may be said that Paris on that particular itself the “real world.” Later on, the juste milieu occasion enjoyed a "première” three times over. And affected more puritanical appearances, and to a cer(parenthetically may be added) " no wonder !” for when, tain degree " kept itself to itself,” whilst with the tour on the fourth representation, Verdi's place was filled by du lac of the Empire-better known under its slang title the ordinary conductor, the charm was gone, the spirit, of
of Le persil”--the medley of all sorts and conditions” the soul had fed ; and, the demoniacal energy of the of people was re-inaugurated without limit, and the creator having vanished, Aïda remained a magnificent “worlds” of every description" worlds” that were and work, admirably “got up," but it was a different Aida those that were not; " demi,” and “quart," and " demialtogether.
quart"-were jostled together in an earthly plurality of It must be repeated, “first nights” in Paris are a worlds as numerous as are those that are said to exist “social function,” and are not to be likened to "first among the stars. nights" in any other quarter of the globe. They have Since the war of 1870, the theatre has become the replaced the Cours la Reine of the seventeenth and universal place of meeting for the “classes." It is a eighteenth centuries, and the Longchamps of the Restora. champ de manauvre, but the élite of the army is comtion. Two hundred years (and more) ago, the Duchesse posed of women. The men are there to judge the actors de Montbazon and the virtuous Sevigné crossed Mlle. on the stage, but the women are there to judge (and con de Champmeslé and Mlle. Béjart on the Promenade dema) the women who fill the house. First nights" of the banks of the Seine, and Mlle. Duthe's golden in Paris, at the Grand Opéra or the Théâtre Français, carrosse was eyed (and envied) by the Court dames under are especially field-days—the jours de grande revue of the reign of Louis XV., whilst Longchamps called to- the female population. SOPHIE DE MAUCROIX,
The Truth about Clement Ker: BEING AN ACCOUNT OF SOME CURIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED WITH THE LIFE AND DEATH OF THE LATE SIE CLEMENT KER,
BART., OF BRAE HOUSE, PEEBLESSHIRE. TOLD BY HIS SECOND Cousin, GEOFFREY KER, OF LONDON.
an over-mastering desire for hot food, in order to free
myself from her importunity. At that, nothing could I MAKE NEW ACQUAINTANCES.
exceed the eagerness and goodwill with which both this HE was sitting in, what poor creature and an elder woman—who looked like her
I knew afterwards to be, mother, and who was, as I soon found out, the wife of her invariable place; on James Patterson, our late guide—busied themselves in a high wooden bench in my service.
Their natural generosity and kindliness the angle beside the win- seemed increased a hundredfold by the sort of affectiondow. She had been work- ate confidence with which they evidently regarded Dick; ing, but at that moment even our late surly coinpanion relaxing somewhat of his her small meagre white habitual sternness when he had occasion to speak to my hands rested on the table brother. Excepting always the girl with the eyes (she in front of her; her head had not moved from her place since I came in), and the
was turned in my direc- white-haired grandsire dozing in his bigh-backed chair in tion, and her beautiful dark blue the chimney-corner, so sunk in the apathy or lost in the eyes, as I have said, were fixed melancholy dreams of extreme old age, that it was diffifull and steadily upon mine. It cult to say if he were even aware of our presence, there was only for an instant. She did was not one of the family who was not presently fully not turn away confused and red occupied in doing something for our comfort. in the face, nor yet laugh and pre- And now, the smallest barefooted boy having been
tend to start back, as our country despatched by a short cut to the "Four Corners,” there to lasses use, but after perhaps some thirty seconds or await the doctor with his gig, I had time to look about so of this grave yet not unfriendly scrutiny, during me. The kitchen, which was also evidently the chief which time I think I must have fairly held my breath, dwelling-room of the whole family, was a larger place the expression of her glance changed and grew more than I should have expected from the look of the cottage animated, her rosy lips quivered and parted; she turned outside. There was very little furniture in it, only some her face away; she was, no doubt, speaking of me to benches, with a long wooden table against the wall, and those who were with her in the rooin; but otherwise a smaller one before the window (where she sat); the she had not changed her attitude, and I could still see raftered roof was black with peat-smoke, so
was the the outline of her dark curly little head against the glass huge corner cupboard to which the women went, at (the sunshine which streamed into the chamber through every moment, to fetch out bowls and dishes. The door the open door on the farther side of the cottage making stood wide open to the sun; from where I sat by the a kind of dusky aureole of the loose curls about her fire I could look straight out upon the wide open country, forehead, as I remember); and I could see, too, the all rocks and heather; and along the walls the fleeces movement of her hands, for she had taken up her work of sheep and lambs found dead upon the mountain had again, and the pink cotton handkerchief knotted closely been nailed up to dry. about her throat.
I sat looking at these, and occasionally stealing a That faded little cotton handkerchief alone ought to glance across at the window, while I dried my mudhave been enough to explain to me her position in the soaked boots before the bed of glowing coals, but her eyes household, had I been in a condition to understand any- were fixed again upon her work, and, except that she had thing. As it was, I followed Dick into the low smoke- made some answer in a very low voice to Dick's greeting, embrowned kitchen with my mind so pre-occupied by the she had not spoken since our entrance. meaning and the authority of her glance (I call it that, But presently James Patterson coming in, followed since I can find no better word to describe its clear and by his dog, and with a fresh armful of peat for the fire, beautiful challenge), that at first I could scarcely dis- I drew his attention to the line of empty skins. Had tinguish between the people who now crowded about me it been an unusually unlucky season for the Hocks? I with loud exclamations and many questions concerning asked him idly. my late adventure, all spoken in broad Scotch, and He muttered something in answer, stooping over the mixed up with profuse offers of hospitality and help.
fiery coals. There was one young woman indeed--and I judged by “ Seasons ?” says he.
« Now the seasons come and the look of her that she was the sick daughter of the gang as the Lord wills; there's aye sunshine enough to house—who would take no refusal, but kept on pressing ripen the har’st mpon the hillside ; there's aye water me to step ben the inner room, and shift myself with enough i' the burn to droon the mon whose appointed some of the gudeman's Sunday gear, until at last I time is upon him, without speaking of luck gude or illcould find no other way but pleading a great hunger and which is but a wanton and papeestical word—as I take it —the excuse of such as cumber the ground wi' their own She turned away her head, pulling at her apron. shortcomings, and nae fit and sober speech i' the mouth “You are right, sir,” she said, in a dry sort of voice, "I o' God-fearing men."
am English. “ I'm sure I meant no harm. 'Twas only those skins “ Aye ?” said I, “and where from ?” up there,” I said, “which made me think of asking.” I thought for a moment that she had not heard my
And then, chiefly to break the embarrassing sort of question. silence which had followed my apology, I began telling “Mr. Ker, he asked me the other day.
come from them of my adventure with the drowned sheep which Warwickshire myself, sir. But it's a long time ago," she had floated up against ine in such curious fashion down said at last, rather reluctantly, and with that she sighed, there in Durlie Moss. Before I was half through with and then threw a hasty glance over at her husband. my story the women of the house had put down their “ Your porridge is ready whenever you will please to eat work and drawn near me; I saw them exchange looks. it, sir, and Jean here has brought you in some fresh milk “Now mither, mither, Gude keep us and save us frae a' to sup with it, though it's a poor enough food to offer you sic ill meetings,” the sick daughter cried out suddenly, at the best, and so I am afraid you will find it, sir. It's and with that she seized her mother's hard brown not what you are accustomed to, but we have nothing hand in both of her own, and I thought for a moment better in the house." that she was on the point of going off into a fit of " I've had nothing to eat since morning. I could ask hysterical crying. Even James Patterson wore a face of for nothing better," I assured her, heartily enough; but unusual concern; he stood leaning against the wall, she only shook her head in reply, pinching up her lips. frowning and biting the end of his beard with every “ It is very kind of you to say so, sir, but there is appearance of distress, and a deep though suppressed nothing else we could give you in all the house." agitation. But when I expressed my hope that this I moved over to the table. Dick was standing all might be no fresh loss of theirs of which I had been this while just outside the door, smoking his pipe in the unconsciously speaking, “ Nay, sir, 'twas nae belonging of sun, but he only shook his head when I called out to him me or mine,” he said drily.
to join me, saying he would stay where he was, he had “But it was a sheep, James. I felt it; I had my eaten already; he would stay there and wait for the hand upon it—in its cold wet wool. I couldn't have doctor; and so, perforce, I fell-to alone upon my hot been mistaken about a thing of that kind, you know," I milk and porridge, and a hearty meal it was that I made persisted; for I confess that I felt curious to understand of it. such dark and anxious looks.
Nobody spoke to me while I was eating. My “ 'Twas nae sheep of mine," the man repeated doggedly. experience is that people as poor as these do not talk to
It was plain he would have spoken no farther about each other over their food, and indeed, when one re it; he turned to the women now, to bid them, sternly members how all their life and energy has gone to the enough, see that the young gentleman got the sup of hot bare acquiring of it, so that a sufficient meal has come to parritch for which he was there waiting, and quit all idle signify to them little less than the success or failure of whimpering and havers ; but at that same moment the all their living, one cannot wonder at such moroseness. old man opposite, who had been quietly sleeping hitherto, But now, as I laid down my spoon on the wooden table to all appearance, lifted his head, which had sunk far and looked up, I caught the old grandfather's eyes fixed forward upon his breast, and fixing upon me the wander- on me again, and this time, as I thought, with something ing glance of his blue though faded eyes, “ Wha is it?” more of speculation in them. he demanded in an uncertain but perfectly audible voice, “Ye'll just be ane o' the family ye sel, sir; sae I'm “Wha speaks o' droonin' and o' droonded men in Ker's thinking," he began in his old quavering. voice, which ain country ?"
seemed to get firmer as he went on speaking, “an' ye
hae Nobody spoke for a moment, or attempted to answer been here before, and brought help and siller to the house him, until at last James' wife, a decent, tidy-looking when it was at its poorest. I mind me now. I should woman, with a pleasant manner and a joyless face, looked ha' minded it sooner, but there has been a muckle distress up from the saucepan of boiling oatmeal that she was among these poor folk of late, and whiles I forget things stirring, and observed that she hoped I would not be of mair consequence, so taken up am I with reflecting on offended at the old man's strange ways. “He is often like their misery--the lang, lang misery they have to bear.” that, sir, nowadays. He will go on for half the morning He waved his large trembling hand in the direction of telling stories about Sir Clenient and the family down at his son and daughter-in-law and of his grandchildren as the Hall : about the old Sir Clement, I mean, the present he spoke; it was evident that he did not recognise their gentleman's grandfather. You see, sir, he's been in the relationship to himself, nor even their faces. family's service until he can't well think of anything else I remembered the old man's imposing presence, the -if, indeed, he ever heard of anything else,” she added in dignity of his attitude, as he spoke with Clement so short a lower tone, and glancing up at me doubtfully.
a time since in the dining-room at Brae, and I found no There was soinething about her way of speaking words within me strong enough to express how shocked I which struck me then.
was to witness such a transformation. “But surely,” I said, “you are no Scotch woman “But, good heavens !" I said, “what has happened yourself? I mean, you know, that you speak as if you here? What—what is this thing that has been done to were English.”
him? Can any one tell me ?"