Richard Wagner: My Life, Part 2 (1842-1850)

This is part 2 of 4 of Richard Wagner's autobiography My Life, covering the years 1842–50

 

 

 

 

 

The journey from Paris to Dresden at that time took five days and nights. On the German frontier, near Forbach, we met with stormy weather and snow, a greeting which seemed inhospitable after the spring we had already enjoyed in Paris. And, indeed, as we continued our journey through our native land once more, we found much to dishearten us, and I could not help thinking that the Frenchmen who on leaving Germany breathed more freely on reaching French soil, and unbuttoned their coats, as though passing from winter into summer, were not so very foolish after all, seeing that we, for our part, were now compelled to seek protection against this conspicuous change of temperature by being very careful to put on sufficient clothing. The unkindness of the elements became perfect torture when, later on, between Frankfort and Leipzig, we were swept into the stream of visitors to the Great Easter Fair.

The pressure on the mail-coaches was so great, that for two days and a night, amid ceaseless storm, snow and rain, we were continually changing from one wretched 'substitute' to another, thus turning our journey into an adventure of almost the same type as our former voyage at sea.

One solitary flash of brightness was afforded by our view of the Wartburg, which we passed during the only sunlit hour of this journey. The sight of this mountain fastness, which, from the Fulda side, is clearly visible for a long time, affected me deeply. A neighbouring ridge further on I at once christened the Horselberg, and as we drove through the valley, pictured to myself the scenery for the third act of my Tannhauser. This scene remained so vividly in my mind, that long afterwards I was able to give Desplechin, the Parisian scene-painter, exact details when he was working out the scenery under my direction. If I had already been impressed by the significance of the fact that my first journey through the German Rhine district, so famous in legend, should have been made on my way home from Paris, it seemed an even more ominous coincidence that my first sight of Wartburg, which was so rich in historical and mythical associations, should come just at this moment. The view so warmed my heart against wind and weather, Jews and the Leipzig Fair, that in the end I arrived, on 12th April, 1842, safe and sound, with my poor, battered, half-frozen wife, in that selfsame city of Dresden which I had last seen on the occasion of my sad separation from my Minna, and my departure for my northern place of exile.

We put up at the 'Stadt Gotha' inn. The city, in which such momentous years of my childhood and boyhood had been spent, seemed cold and dead beneath the influences of the wild, gloomy weather. Indeed, everything there that could remind me of my youth seemed dead. No hospitable house received us. We found my wife's parents living in cramped and dingy lodgings in very straitened circumstances, and were obliged at once to look about for a small abode for ourselves. This we found in the Topfergasse for twenty-one marks a month. After paying the necessary business visits in connection with Rienzi, and making arrangements for Minna during my brief absence, I set out on 15th April direct for Leipzig, where I saw my mother and family for the first time in six years.

During this period, which had been so eventful for my own life, my mother had undergone a great change in her domestic position through the death of Rosalie. She was living in a pleasant roomy flat near the Brockhaus family, where she was free from all those household cares to which, owing to her large family, she had devoted so many years of anxious thought. Her bustling energy, which had almost amounted to hardness, had entirely given place to a natural cheerfulness and interest in the family prosperity of her married daughters. For the blissful calm of this happy old age she was mainly indebted to the affectionate care of her son-in-law, Friedrich Brockhaus, to whom I expressed my heartfelt thanks for his goodness. She was exceedingly astonished and pleased to see me unexpectedly enter her room. Any bitterness that ever existed between us had utterly vanished, and her only complaint was that she could not put me up in her house, instead of my brother Julius, the unfortunate goldsmith, who had none of the qualities that could make him a suitable companion for her. She was full of hope for the success of my undertaking, and felt this confidence strengthened by the favourable prophecy which our dear Rosalie had made about me shortly before her sad death.

For the present, however, I only stayed a few days in Leipzig, as I had first to visit Berlin in order to make definite arrangements with Count Redern for the performance of the Fliegender Hollander. As I have already observed, I was here at once destined to learn that the Count was on the point of retiring from the directorship, and he accordingly referred me for all further decisions to the new director, Kustner, who had not yet arrived in Berlin. I now suddenly realised what this strange circumstance meant, and knew that, so far as the Berlin negotiations went, I might as well have remained in Paris. This impression was in the main confirmed by a visit to Meyerbeer, who, I found, regarded my coming to Berlin as over hasty. Nevertheless, he behaved in a kind and friendly manner, only regretting that he was just on the point of 'going away,' a state in which I always found him whenever I visited him again in Berlin.

Mendelssohn was also in the capital about this time, having been appointed one of the General Musical Directors to the King of Prussia. I also sought him out, having been previously introduced to him in Leipzig. He informed me that he did not believe his work would prosper in Berlin, and that he would rather go back to Leipzig. I made no inquiry about the fate of the score of my great symphony performed at Leipzig in earlier days, which I had more or less forced upon him so many years ago. On the other hand, he did not betray to me any signs of remembering that strange offering. In the midst of the lavish comforts of his home he struck me as cold, yet it was not so much that he repelled me as that I recoiled from him. I also paid a visit to Rellstab, to whom I had a letter of introduction from his trusty publisher, my brother-in-law Brockhaus. Here it was not so much smug ease that I encountered; I doubtless felt repulsed more by the fact that he showed no inclination whatever to interest himself in my affairs.

I grew very low spirited in Berlin. I could almost have wished Commissioner Cerf back again. Miserable as had been the time I had spent here years before, I had then, at any rate, met one man, who, for all the bluntness of his exterior, had treated me with true friendliness and consideration. In vain did I try to call to mind the Berlin through whose streets I had walked, with all the ardour of youth, by the side of Laube. After my acquaintance with London, and still more with Paris, this city, with its sordid spaces and pretensions to greatness, depressed me deeply, and I breathed a hope that, should no luck crown my life, it might at least be spent in Paris rather than in Berlin.

On my return from this wholly fruitless expedition, I first went to Leipzig for a few days, where, on this occasion, I stayed with my brother-in-law, Hermann Brockhaus, who was now Professor of Oriental Languages at the University. His family had been increased by the birth of two daughters, and the atmosphere of unruffled content, illuminated by mental activity and a quiet but vivid interest in all things relating to the higher aspects of life, greatly moved my homeless and vagabond soul. One evening, after my sister had seen to her children, whom she had brought up very well, and had sent them with gentle words to bed, we gathered in the large richly stocked library for our evening meal and a long confidential chat. Here I broke out into a violent fit of weeping, and it seemed as though the tender sister, who five years before had known me during the bitterest straits of my early married life in Dresden, now really understood me. At the express suggestion of my brother-in-law Hermann, my family tendered me a loan, to help me to tide over the time of waiting for the performance of my Rienzi in Dresden. This, they said, they regarded merely as a duty, and assured me that I need have no hesitation whatever in accepting it. It consisted of a sum of six hundred marks, which was to be paid me in monthly instalments for six months. As I had no prospect of being able to reply on any other source of income, there was every chance of Minna's talent for management being put severely to the test, if this were to carry us through; it could be done, however, and I was able to return to Dresden with a great sense of relief.

While I was staying with my relatives I played and sang them the Fliegender Hollander for the first time connectedly, and seemed to arouse considerable interest by my performance, for when, later on, my sister Louisa heard the opera in Dresden, she complained that much of the effect previously produced by my rendering did not come back to her. I also sought out my old friend Apel again. The poor man had gone stone blind, but he astonished me by his cheeriness and contentment, and thereby once and for all deprived me of any reason for pitying him. As he declared that he knew the blue coat I was wearing very well, though it was really a brown one, I thought it best not to argue the point, and I left Leipzig in a state of wonder at finding every one there so happy and contented.

When I reached Dresden, on 26th April, I found occasion to grapple more vigorously with my lot. Here I was enlivened by closer intercourse with the people on whom I had to rely for a successful production of Rienzi. It is true that the results of my interviews with Luttichau, the general manager, and Reissiger, the musical conductor, left me cold and incredulous. Both were sincerely astonished at my arrival in Dresden; and the same might even be said of my frequent correspondent and patron, Hofrath Winkler, who also would have preferred my remaining in Paris. But, as has been my constant experience both before and since, help and encouragement have always come to me from humbler and never from the more exalted ranks of life.

So in this case, too, I met my first agreeable sensation in the overwhelmingly cordial reception I received from the old chorus-master, Wilhelm Fischer. I had had no previous acquaintance with him, yet he was the only person who had taken the trouble to read my score carefully, and had not only conceived serious hopes for the success of my opera, but had worked energetically to secure its being accepted and practised. The moment I entered his room and told him my name, he rushed to embrace me with a loud cry, and in a second I was translated to an atmosphere of hope. Besides this man, I met in the actor Ferdinand Heine and his family another sure foundation for hearty and, indeed, deep-rooted friendship. It is true that I had known him from childhood, for at that time he was one of the few young people whom my stepfather Geyer liked to see about him. In addition to a fairly decided talent for drawing, it was chiefly his pleasant social gifts that had won him an entrance into our more intimate family circle. As he was very small and slight, my stepfather nicknamed him DavidCHEN, and under this appellation he used to take part with great affability and good-humour in our little festivities, and above all in our friendly excursions into the neighbouring country, in which, as I mentioned in its place, even Carl Maria von Weber used to join. Belonging to the good old school, he had become a useful, if not prominent, member of the Dresden stage. He possessed all the knowledge and qualities for a good stage manager, but never succeeded in inducing the committee to give him that appointment. It was only as a designer of costumes that he found further scope for his talents, and in this capacity he was included in the consultations over the staging of Rienzi.

Thus it came about that he had the opportunity of busying himself with the work of a member, now grown to man's estate, of the very family with whom he had spent such pleasant days in his youth. He greeted me at once as a child of the house, and we two homeless creatures found in our memories of this long-lost home the first common basis to our friendship. We generally spent our evenings with old Fischer at Heine's, where, amid hopeful conversation, we regaled ourselves on potatoes and herrings, of which the meal chiefly consisted. Schroder-Devrient was away on a holiday; Tichatschek, who was also on the point of going away, I had just time to see, and with him I went quickly through a part of his role in Rienzi. His brisk and lively nature, his glorious voice and great musical talent, gave special weight to his encouraging assurance that he delighted in the role of Rienzi. Heine also told me that the mere prospect of having many new costumes, and especially new silver armour, had inspired Tichatschek with the liveliest desire to play this part, so that I might rely on him under any circumstances. Thus I could at once give closer attention to the preparations for practice, which was fixed to begin in the late summer, after the principal singers had returned from their holiday.

I had to make special efforts to pacify my friend Fischer by my readiness to abbreviate the score, which was excessively lengthy. His intentions in the matter were so honest that I gladly sat down with him to the wearisome task. I played and sang my score to the astonished man on an old grand piano in the rehearsing-room of the Court Theatre, with such frantic vigour that, although he did not mind if the instrument came to grief, he grew concerned about my chest. Finally, amid hearty laughter, he ceased to argue about cutting down passages, as precisely where he thought something might be omitted I proved to him with headlong eloquence that it was precisely here that the main point lay. He plunged with me head over heels into the vast chaos of sound, against which he could raise no objection, beyond the testimony of his watch, whose correctness I also ended by disputing. As sops I light-heartedly flung him the big pantomime and most of the ballet in the second act, whereby I reckoned we might save a whole half-hour. Thus, thank goodness, the whole monster was at last handed over to the clerks to make a fair copy of, and the rest was left for time to accomplish.

We next discussed what we should do in the summer, and I decided upon a stay of several months at Toplitz, the scene of my first youthful flights, whose fine air and baths, I hoped, would also benefit Minna's health. But before we could carry out this intention I had to pay several more visits to Leipzig to settle the fate of my Dutchman. On 5th May I proceeded thither to have an interview with Kustner, the new director of the Berlin Opera, who I had been told had just arrived there. He was now placed in the awkward position of being about to produce in Berlin the very opera which he had before declined in Munich, as it had been accepted by his predecessor in office. He promised me to consider what steps he would take in this predicament. In order to learn the result of Kustner's deliberations, I determined, on 2nd June, to seek him out, and this time in Berlin itself. But at Leipzig I found a letter in which he begged me to wait patiently a little longer for his final verdict. I took advantage of being in the neighbourhood of Halle to pay a visit to my eldest brother Albert. I was very much grieved and depressed to find the poor fellow, whom I must give the credit of having the greatest perseverance and a quite remarkable talent for dramatic song, living in the unworthy and mean circumstances which the Halle Theatre offered to him and his family. The realisation of conditions into which I myself had once nearly sunk now filled me with indescribable abhorrence. Still more harrowing was it to hear my brother speak of this state in tones which showed, alas, only too plainly, the hopeless submission with which he had already resigned himself to its horrors. The only consolation I could find was the personality and childlike nature of his step-daughter Johanna, who was then fifteen, and who sang me Spohr's Rose, wie bist du so schon with great expression and in a voice of an extraordinarily beautiful quality.

Then I returned to Dresden, and at last, in wonderful weather, undertook the pleasant journey to Toplitz with Minna and one of her sisters, reaching that place on 9th June, where we took up our quarters at a second-class inn, the Eiche, at Schonau. Here we were soon joined by my mother, who paid her usual yearly visit to the warm baths all the more gladly this time because she knew she would find me there. If she had before had any prejudice against Minna because of my premature marriage to her, a closer acquaintance with her domestic gifts soon changed it into respect, and she quickly learned to love the partner of my doleful days in Paris. Although my mother's vagaries demanded no small consideration, yet what particularly delighted me about her was the astonishing vivacity of her almost childlike imagination, a faculty she retained to such a degree that one morning she complained that my relation of the Tannhauser legend on the previous evening had given her a whole night of pleasant but most tiring sleeplessness.

By dint of appealing letters to Schletter, a wealthy patron of art in Leipzig, I managed to do something for Kietz, who, had remained behind in misery in Paris, and also to provide Minna with medical treatment. I also succeeded to a certain extent in ameliorating my own woeful financial position. Scarcely were these tasks accomplished, when I started off in my old boyish way on a ramble of several days on foot through the Bohemian mountains, in order that I might mentally work out my plan of the 'Venusberg' amid the pleasant associations of such a trip. Here I took the fancy of engaging quarters in Aussig on the romantic Schreckenstein, where for several days I occupied the little public room, in which straw was laid down for me to sleep on at night. I found recreation in daily ascents of the Wostrai, the highest peak in the neighbourhood, and so keenly did the fantastic solitude quicken my youthful spirit, that I clambered about the ruins of the Schreckenstein the whole of one moonlit night, wrapped only in a blanket, in order myself to provide the ghost that was lacking, and delighted myself with the hope of scaring some passing wayfarer.

Here I drew up in my pocket-book the detailed plan of a three-act opera on the 'Venusberg,' and subsequently carried out the composition of this work in strict accordance with the sketch I then made.

One day, when climbing the Wostrai, I was astonished, on turning the corner of a valley, to hear a merry dance tune whistled by a goatherd perched up on a crag. I seemed immediately to stand among the chorus of pilgrims filing past the goatherd in the valley; but I could not afterwards recall the goatherd's tune, so I was obliged to help myself out of the matter in the usual way.

Enriched by these spoils, I returned to Toplitz in a wonderfully cheerful frame of mind and robust health, but on receiving the interesting news that Tichatschek and Schroder-Devrient were on the point of returning, I was impelled to set off once more for Dresden. I took this step, not so much to avoid missing any of the early rehearsals of Rienzi, as because I wanted to prevent the management replacing it by something else. I left Minna for a time with my mother, and reached Dresden on 18th July.

I hired a small lodging in a queer house, since pulled down, facing the Maximilian Avenue, and entered into a fairly lively intercourse with our operatic stars who had just returned. My old enthusiasm for Schroder-Devrient revived when I saw her again more frequently in opera. Strange was the effect produced upon me when I heard her for the first time in Gretry's Blaubart, for I could not help remembering that this was the first opera I had ever seen. I had been taken to it as a boy of five (also in Dresden), and I still retained my wondrous first impressions of it. All my earliest childish memories were revived, and I recollected how frequently and with what emphasis I had myself sung Bluebeard's song: Ha, die Falsche! Die Thure offen! to the amusement of the whole house, with a paper helmet of my own making on my head. My friend Heine still remembered it well.

In other respects the operatic performances were not such as to impress me very favourably: I particularly missed the rolling sound of the fully equipped Parisian orchestra of string instruments. I also noticed that, when opening the fine new theatre, they had quite forgotten to increase the number of these instruments in proportion to the enlarged space. In this, as well as in the general equipment of the stage, which was materially deficient in many respects, I was impressed by the sense of a certain meanness about theatrical enterprise in Germany, which became most noticeable when reproductions were given, often with wretched translations of the text, of the Paris opera repertoire. If even in Paris my dissatisfaction with this treatment of opera had been great, the feeling which once drove me thither from the German theatres now returned with redoubled energy. I actually felt degraded again, and nourished within my breast a contempt so deep that for a time I could hardly endure the thought of signing a lasting contract, even with one of the most up-to-date of German opera houses, but sadly wondered what steps I could take to hold my ground between disgust and desire in this strange world.

Nothing but the sympathy inspired by communion with persons endowed with exceptional gifts enabled me to triumph over my scruples. This statement applies above all to my great ideal, Schroder-Devrient, in whose artistic triumphs it had once been my most burning desire to be associated. It is true that many years had elapsed since my first youthful impressions of her were formed. As regards her looks, the verdict which, in the following winter, was sent to Paris by Berlioz during his stay in Dresden, was so far correct that her somewhat 'maternal' stoutness was unsuited to youthful parts, especially in male attire, which, as in Rienzi, made too great a demand upon the imagination. Her voice, which in point of quality had never been an exceptionally good medium for song, often landed her in difficulties, and in particular she was forced, when singing, to drag the time a little all through. But her achievements were less hampered now by these material hindrances than by the fact that her repertoire consisted of a limited number of leading parts, which she had sung so frequently that a certain monotony in the conscious calculation of effect often developed into a mannerism which, from her tendency to exaggeration, was at times almost painful.

Although these defects could not escape me, yet I, more than any one, was especially qualified to overlook such minor weaknesses, and realise with enthusiasm the incomparable greatness of her performances. Indeed, it only needed the stimulus of excitement, which this actress's exceptionally eventful life still procured, fully to restore the creative power of her prime, a fact of which I was subsequently to receive striking demonstrations. But I was seriously troubled and depressed at seeing how strong was the disintegrating effect of theatrical life upon the character of this singer, who had originally been endowed with such great and noble qualities. From the very mouth through which the great actress's inspired musical utterances reached me, I was compelled to hear at other times very similar language to that in which, with but few exceptions, nearly all heroines of the stage indulge. The possession of a naturally fine voice, or even mere physical advantages, which might place her rivals on the same footing as herself in public favour, was more than she could endure; and so far was she from acquiring the dignified resignation worthy of a great artist, that her jealousy increased to a painful extent as years went on. I noticed this all the more because I had reason to suffer from it. A fact which caused me even greater trouble, however, was that she did not grasp music easily, and the study of a new part involved difficulties which meant many a painful hour for the composer who had to make her master his work. Her difficulty in learning new parts, and particularly that of Adriano in Rienzi, entailed disappointments for her which caused me a good deal of trouble.

If, in her case, I had to handle a great and sensitive nature very tenderly, I had, on the other hand, a very easy task with Tichatschek, with his childish limitations and superficial, but exceptionally brilliant, talents. He did not trouble to learn his parts by heart, as he was so musical that he could sing the most difficult music at sight, and thought all further study needless, whereas with most other singers the work consisted in mastering the score. Hence, if he sang through a part at rehearsals often enough to impress it on his memory, the rest, that is to say, everything pertaining to vocal art and dramatic delivery, would follow naturally. In this way he picked up any clerical errors there might be in the libretto, and that with such incorrigible pertinacity, that he uttered the wrong words with just the same expression as if they were correct. He waved aside good-humouredly any expostulations or hints as to the sense with the remark, 'Ah! that will be all right soon.' And, in fact, I very soon resigned myself and quite gave up trying to get the singer to use his intelligence in the interpretation of the part of the hero, for which I was very agreeably compensated by the light-hearted enthusiasm with which he flung himself into his congenial role, and the irresistible effect of his brilliant voice.

With the exception of these two actors who played the leading parts, I had only very moderate material at my disposal. But there was plenty of goodwill, and I had recourse to an ingenious device to induce Reissiger the conductor to hold frequent piano rehearsals. He had complained to me of the difficulty he had always found in securing a well-written libretto, and thought it was very sensible of me to have acquired the habit of writing my own. In his youth he had unfortunately neglected to do this for himself, and yet this was all he lacked to make a successful dramatic composer. I feel bound to confess that he possessed 'a good deal of melody'; but this, he added, did not seem sufficient to inspire the singers with the requisite enthusiasm. His experience was that Schroder-Devrient, in his Adele de Foix, would render very indifferently the same final passage with which, in Bellini's Romeo and Juliet, she would put the audience into an ecstasy. The reason for this, he presumed, must lie in the subject-matter. I at once promised him that I would supply him with a libretto in which he would be able to introduce these and similar melodies to the greatest advantage. To this he gladly agreed, and I therefore set aside for versification, as a suitable text for Reissiger, my Hohe Braut, founded on Konig's romance, which I had once before submitted to Scribe. I promised to bring Reissiger a page of verse for every piano rehearsal, and this I faithfully did until the whole book was done. I was much surprised to learn some time later that Reissiger had had a new libretto written for him by an actor named Kriethe. This was called the Wreck of the Medusa. I then learned that the wife of the conductor, who was a suspicious woman, had been filled with the greatest concern at my readiness to give up a libretto to her husband. They both thought the book was good and full of striking effects, but they suspected some sort of trap in the background, to escape from which they must certainly exercise the greatest caution. The result was that I regained possession of my libretto and was able, later on, to help my old friend Kittl with it in Prague; he set it to music of his own, and entitled it Die Franzosen vor Nizza. I heard that it was frequently performed in Prague with great success, though I never saw it myself; and I was also told at the same time by a local critic that this text was a proof of my real aptitude as a librettist, and that it was a mistake for me to devote myself to composition. As regards my Tannhauser, on the other hand, Laube used to declare it was a misfortune that I had not got an experienced dramatist to supply me with a decent text for my music.

For the time being, however, this work of versification had the desired result, and Reissiger kept steadily to the study of Rienzi. But what encouraged him even more than my verses was the growing interest of the singers, and above all the genuine enthusiasm of Tichatschek. This man, who had been so ready to leave the delights of the theatre piano for a shooting party, now looked upon the rehearsals of Rienzi as a genuine treat. He always attended them with radiant eyes and boisterous good-humour. I soon felt myself in a state of constant exhilaration: favourite passages were greeted with acclamation by the singers at every rehearsal, and a concerted number of the third finale, which unfortunately had afterwards to be omitted owing to its length, actually became on that occasion a source of profit to me. For Tichatschek maintained that this B minor was so lovely that something ought to be paid for it every time, and he put down a silver penny, inviting the others to do the same, to which they all responded merrily. From that day forward, whenever we came to this passage at rehearsals, the cry was raised, 'Here comes the silver penny part,' and Schroder-Devrient, as she took out her purse, remarked that these rehearsals would ruin her. This gratuity was conscientiously handed to me each time, and no one suspected that these contributions, which were given as a joke, were often a very welcome help towards defraying the cost of our daily food. For Minna had returned from Toplitz, at the beginning of August, accompanied by my mother.

We lived very frugally in chilly lodgings, hopefully awaiting the tardy day of our deliverance. The months of August and September passed, in preparation for my work, amid frequent disturbances caused by the fluctuating and scanty repertoire of a German opera house, and not until October did the combined rehearsals assume such a character as to promise the certainty of a speedy production. From the very beginning of the general rehearsals with the orchestra we all shared the conviction that the opera would, without doubt, be a great success. Finally, the full dress rehearsals produced a perfectly intoxicating effect. When we tried the first scene of the second act with the scenery complete, and the messengers of peace entered, there was a general outburst of emotion, and even Schroder-Devrient, who was bitterly prejudiced against her part, as it was not the role of the heroine, could only answer my questions in a voice stifled with tears. I believe the whole theatrical body, down to its humblest officials, loved me as though I were a real prodigy, and I am probably not far wrong in saying that much of this arose from sympathy and lively fellow-feeling for a young man, whose exceptional difficulties were not unknown to them, and who now suddenly stepped out of perfect obscurity into splendour. During the interval at the full dress rehearsal, while other members had dispersed to revive their jaded nerves with lunch, I remained seated on a pile of boards on the stage, in order that no one might realise that I was in the quandary of being unable to obtain similar refreshment. An invalid Italian singer, who was taking a small part in the opera, seemed to notice this, and kindly brought me a glass of wine and a piece of bread. I was sorry that I was obliged to deprive him of even his small part in the course of the year, for its loss provoked such ill-treatment from his wife, that by conjugal tyranny he was driven into the ranks of my enemies. When, after my flight from Dresden in 1849, I learned that I had been denounced to the police by this same singer for supposed complicity in the rising which took place in that town, I bethought me of this breakfast during the Rienzi rehearsal, and felt I was being punished for my ingratitude, for I knew I was guilty of having brought him into trouble with his wife.

The frame of mind in which I looked forward to the first performance of my work was a unique experience which I have never felt either before or since. My kind sister Clara fully shared my feelings. She had been living a wretched middle-class life at Chemnitz, which, just about this time, she had left to come and share my fate in Dresden. The poor woman, whose undoubted artistic gifts had faded so early, was laboriously dragging out a commonplace bourgeois existence as a wife and mother; but now, under the influence of my growing success, she began joyously to breathe a new life. She and I and the worthy chorus-master Fischer used to spend our evenings with the Heine family, still over potatoes and herrings, and often in a wonderfully elated frame of mind. The evening before our first performance I was able to crown our happiness by myself ladling out a bowl of punch. With mingled tears and laughter we skipped about like happy children, and then in sleep prepared ourselves for the triumphant day to which we looked forward with such confidence..

Although on the morning of 20th October, 1842 I had resolved not to disturb any of my singers by a visit, yet I happened to come across one of them, a stiff Philistine called Risse, who was playing a minor bass part in a dull but respectable way. The day was rather cool, but wonderfully bright and sunshiny, after the gloomy weather we had just been having. Without a word this curious creature saluted me and then remained standing, as though bewitched. He simply gazed into my face with wonder and rapture, in order to find out, so he at last managed to tell me in strange confusion, how a man looked who that very day was to face such an exceptional fate. I smiled and reflected that it was indeed a day of crisis, and promised him that I would soon drink a glass with him, at the Stadt Hamburg inn, of the excellent wine he had recommended to me with so much agitation.

No subsequent experience of mine can be compared with the sensations which marked the day of the first production of Rienzi. At all the first performances of my works in later days, I have been so absorbed by an only too well-founded anxiety as to their success, that I could neither enjoy the opera nor form any real estimate of its reception by the public. As for my subsequent experiences at the general rehearsal of Tristan und Isolde, this took place under such exceptional circumstances, and its effect upon me differed so fundamentally from that produced by the first performance of Rienzi, that no comparison can possibly be drawn between the two.

The immediate success of Rienzi was no doubt assured beforehand. But the emphatic way in which the audience declared their appreciation was thus far exceptional, that in cities like Dresden the spectators are never in a position to decide conclusively upon a work of importance on the first night, and consequently assume an attitude of chilling restraint towards the works of unknown authors. But this was, in the nature of things, an exceptional case, for the numerous staff of the theatre and the body of musicians had inundated the city beforehand with such glowing reports of my opera, that the whole population awaited the promised miracle in feverish expectation. I sat with Minna, my sister Clara, and the Heine family in a pit-box, and when I try to recall my condition during that evening, I can only picture it with all the paraphernalia of a dream. Of real pleasure or agitation I felt none at all: I seemed to stand quite aloof from my work; whereas the sight of the thickly crowded auditorium agitated me so much, that I was unable even to glance at the body of the audience, whose presence merely affected me like some natural phenomenon--something like a continuous downpour of rain--from which I sought shelter in the farthest corner of my box as under a protecting roof. I was quite unconscious of applause, and when at the end of the acts I was tempestuously called for, I had every time to be forcibly reminded by Heine and driven on to the stage. On the other hand, one great anxiety filled me with growing alarm: I noticed that the first two acts had taken as long as the whole of Freischutz, for instance. On account of its warlike calls to arms the third act begins with an exceptional uproar, and when at its close the clock pointed to ten, which meant that the performance had already lasted full four hours, I became perfectly desperate. The fact that after this act, also, I was again loudly called, I regarded merely as a final courtesy on the part of the audience, who wished to signify that they had had quite enough for one evening, and would now leave the house in a body. As we had still two acts before us, I thought it settled that we should not be able to finish the piece, and apologised for my lack of wisdom in not having previously effected the necessary curtailments. Now, thanks to my folly, I found myself in the unheard-of predicament of being unable to finish an opera, otherwise extremely well received, simply because it was absurdly long. I could only explain the undiminished zeal of the singers, and particularly of Tichatschek, who seemed to grow lustier and cheerier the longer it lasted, as an amiable trick to conceal from me the inevitable catastrophe. But my astonishment at finding the audience still there in full muster, even in the last act--towards midnight-- filled me with imbounded perplexity. I could no longer trust my eyes or ears, and regarded the whole events of the evening as a nightmare. It was past midnight when, for the last time, I had to obey the thunderous calls of the audience, side by side with my trusty singers.

My feeling of desperation at the unparalleled length of my opera was augmented by the temper of my relatives, whom I saw for a short time after the performance. Friedrich Brockhaus and his family had come over with some friends from Leipzig, and had invited us to the inn, hoping to celebrate an agreeable success over a pleasant supper, and possibly to drink my health. But on arriving, kitchen and cellar were closed, and every one was so worn out that nothing was to be heard but outcries at the unparalleled case of an opera lasting from six o'clock till past twelve. No further remarks were exchanged, and we stole away feeling quite stupefied.

About eight the next morning I put in an appearance at the clerks' office, in order that in case there should be a second performance I might arrange the necessary curtailment of the parts. If, during the previous summer, I had contested every beat with the faithful chorus-master Fischer, and proved them all to be indispensable, I was now possessed by a blind rage for striking out. There was not a single part of my score which seemed any longer necessary--what the audience had been made to swallow the previous evening now appeared but a chaos of sheer impossibilities, each and all of which might be omitted without the slightest damage or risk of being unintelligible. My one thought now was how to reduce my convolution of monstrosities to decent limits. By dint of unsparing and ruthless abbreviations handed over to the copyist, I hoped to avert a catastrophe, for I expected nothing less than that the general manager, together with the city and the theatre, would that very day give me to understand that such a thing as the performance of my Last of the Tribunes might perhaps be permitted once as a curiosity, but not oftener. All day long, therefore, I carefully avoided going near the theatre, so as to give time for my heroic abbreviations to do their salutary work, and for news of them to spread through the city. But at midday I looked in again upon the copyists, to assure myself that all had been duly performed as I had ordered. I then learned that Tichatschek had also been there, and, after inspecting the omissions that I had arranged, had forbidden their being carried out. Fischer, the chorus-master, also wished to speak to me about them: work was suspended, and I foresaw great confusion. I could not understand what it all meant, and feared mischief if the arduous task were delayed. At length, towards evening, I sought out Tichatschek at the theatre. Without giving him a chance to speak, I brusquely asked him why he had interrupted the copyists' work. In a half-choked voice he curtly and defiantly rejoined, 'I will have none of my part cut out--it is too heavenly.' I stared at him blankly, and then felt as though I had been suddenly bewitched: such an unheard-of testimony to my success could not but shake me out of my strange anxiety. Others joined him, Fischer radiant with delight and bubbling with laughter. Every one spoke of the enthusiastic emotion which thrilled the whole city. Next came a letter of thanks from the Commissioner acknowledging my splendid work. Nothing now remained for me but to embrace Tichatschek and Fischer, and go on my way to inform Minna and Clara how matters stood.

After a few days' rest for the actors, the second performance took place on 26th October, but with various curtailments, for which I had great difficulty in obtaining Tichatschek's consent. Although it was still of much more than average length, I heard no particular complaints, and at last adopted Tichatschek's view that, if he could stand it, so could the audience. For six performances therefore, all of which continued to receive a similar avalanche of applause, I let the matter run its course.

My opera, however, had also excited interest among the elder princesses of the royal family. They thought its exhausting length a drawback, but were nevertheless unwilling to miss any of it. Luttichau consequently proposed that I should give the piece at full length, but half of it at a time on two successive evenings. This suited me very well, and after an interval of a few weeks we announced Rienzi's Greatness for the first day, and His Fall for the second. The first evening we gave two acts, and on the second three, and for the latter I composed a special introductory prelude. This met with the entire approval of our august patrons, and especially of the two eldest, Princesses Amalie and Augusta. The public, on the contrary, simply regarded this in the light of now being asked to pay two entrance fees for one opera, and pronounced the new arrangement a decided fraud. Its annoyance at the change was so great that it actually threatened to be fatal to the attendance, and after three performances of the divided Rienzi the management was obliged to go back to the old arrangement, which I willingly made possible by introducing my cuttings again.

From this time forward the piece used to fill the house to overflowing as often as it could be presented, and the permanence of its success became still more obvious when I began to realise the envy it drew upon me from many different quarters. My first experience of this was truly painful, and came from the hands of the poet, Julius Mosen, on the very day after the first performance. When I first reached Dresden in the summer I had sought him out, and, having a really high opinion of his talent, our intercourse soon became more intimate, and was the means of giving me much pleasure and instruction. He had shown me a volume of his plays, which on the whole appealed to me exceptionally. Among these was a tragedy, Cola Rienzi, dealing with the same subject as my opera, and in a manner partly new to me, and which I thought effective. With reference to this poem, I had begged him to take no notice of my libretto, as in the quality of its poetry it could not possibly bear comparison with his own; and it cost him little sacrifice to grant the request. It happened that just before the first performance of my Rienzi, he had produced in Dresden Bernhard von Weimar, one of his least happy pieces, the result of which had brought him little pleasure. Dramatically it was a thing with no life in it, aiming only at political harangue, and had shared the inevitable fate of all such aberrations. He had therefore awaited the appearance of my Rienzi with some vexation, and confessed to me his bitter chagrin at not being able to procure the acceptance of his tragedy of the same name in Dresden. This, he presumed, arose from its somewhat pronounced political tendency, which, certainly in a spoken play on a similar subject, would be more noticeable than in an opera, where from the very start no one pays any heed to the words. I had genially confirmed him in this depreciation of the subject matter in opera; and was therefore the more startled when, on finding him at my sister Louisa's the day after the first performance, he straightway overwhelmed me with a scornful outburst of irritation at my success. But he found in me a strange sense of the essential unreality in opera of such a subject as that which I had just illustrated with so much success in Rienzi, so that, oppressed by a secret sense of shame, I had no serious rejoinder to offer to his candidly poisonous abuse. My line of defence was not yet sufficiently clear in my own mind to be available offhand, nor was it yet backed by so obvious a product of my own peculiar genius that I could venture to quote it. Moreover, my first impulse was only one of pity for the unlucky playwright, which I felt all the more constrained to express, because his burst of fury gave me the inward satisfaction of knowing that he recognised my great success, of which I was not yet quite clear myself.

But this first performance of Rienzi did far more than this. It gave occasion for controversy, and made an ever-widening breach between myself and the newspaper critics. Herr Karl Bank, who for some time had been the chief musical critic in Dresden, had been known to me before at Magdeburg, where he once visited me and listened with delight to my playing of several fairly long passages from my Liebesverbot. When we met again in Dresden, this man could not forgive me for having been unable to procure him tickets for the first performance of Rienzi. The same thing happened with a certain Herr Julius Schladebach, who likewise settled in Dresden about that time as a critic. Though I was always anxious to be gracious to everybody, yet I felt just then an invincible repugnance for showing special deference to any man because he was a critic. As time went on, I carried this rule to the point of almost systematic rudeness, and was consequently all my life through the victim of unprecedented persecution from the press. As yet, however, this ill-will had not become pronounced, for at that time journalism had not begun to give itself airs in Dresden. There were so few contributions sent from there to the outside press that our artistic doings excited very little notice elsewhere, a fact which was certainly not without its disadvantages for me. Thus for the present the unpleasant side of my success scarcely affected me at all, and for a brief space I felt myself, for the first and only time in my life, so pleasantly borne along on the breath of general good-will, that all my former troubles seemed amply requited.

For further and quite unexpected fruits of my success now appeared with astonishing rapidity, though not so much in the form of material profit, which for the present resolved itself into nine hundred marks, paid me by the General Board as an exceptional fee instead of the usual twenty golden louis. Nor did I dare to cherish the hope of selling my work advantageously to a publisher, until it had been performed in some other important towns. But fate willed it, that by the sudden death of Rastrelli, royal director of music, which occurred shortly after the first production of Rienzi, an office should unexpectedly become vacant, for the filling of which all eyes at once turned to me.

While the negotiations over this matter were slowly proceeding, the General Board gave proof in another direction of an almost passionate interest in my talents. They insisted that the first performance of the Fliegender Hollander should on no account be conceded to the Berlin opera, but reserved as an honour for Dresden. As the Berlin authorities raised no obstacle, I very gladly handed over my latest work also to the Dresden theatre. If in this I had to dispense with Tichatschek's assistance, as there was no leading tenor part in the play, I could count all the more surely on the helpful co-operation of Schroder-Devrient, to whom a worthier task was assigned in the leading female part than that which she had had in Rienzi. I was glad to be able thus to rely entirely upon her, as she had grown strangely out of humour with me, owing to her scanty share in the success of Rienzi. The completeness of my faith in her I proved with an exaggeration by no means advantageous to my own work, by simply forcing the leading male part on Wachter, a once capable, but now somewhat delicate baritone. He was in every respect wholly unsuited to the task, and only accepted it with unfeigned hesitation. On submitting my play to my adored prima donna, I was much relieved to find that its poetry made a special appeal to her. Thanks to the genuine personal interest awakened in me under very peculiar circumstances by the character and fate of this exceptional woman, our study of the part of Senta, which often brought us into close contact, became one of the most thrilling and momentously instructive periods of my life.

It is true that the great actress, especially when under the influence of her famous mother, Sophie Schroder, who was just then with her on a visit, showed undisguised vexation at my having composed so brilliant a work as Rienzi for Dresden without having specifically reserved the principal part for her. Yet the magnanimity of her disposition triumphed even over this selfish impulse: she loudly proclaimed me 'a genius,' and honoured me with that special confidence which, she said, none but a genius should enjoy. But when she invited me to become both the accomplice and adviser in her really dreadful love affairs, this confidence certainly began to have its risky side; nevertheless there were at first occasions on which she openly proclaimed herself before all the world as my friend, making most flattering distinctions in my favour.

First of all I had to accompany her on a trip to Leipzig, where she was giving a concert for her mother's benefit, which she thought to make particularly attractive by including in its programme two selections from Rienzi--the aria of Adriano and the hero's prayer (the latter sung by Tichatschek), and both under my personal conductorship. Mendelssohn, who was also on very friendly terms with her, had been enticed to this concert too, and produced his overture to Ruy Blas, then quite new. It was during the two busy days spent on this occasion in Leipzig that I first came into close contact with him, all my previous knowledge of him having been limited to a few rare and altogether profitless visits. At the house of my brother-in-law, Fritz Brockhaus, he and Devrient gave us a good deal of music, he playing her accompaniment to a number of Schubert's songs. I here became conscious of the peculiar unrest and excitement with which this master of music, who, though still young, had already reached the zenith of his fame and life's work, observed or rather watched me. I could see clearly that he thought but little of a success in opera, and that merely in Dresden. Doubtless I seemed in his eyes one of a class of musicians to whom he attached no value, and with whom he proposed to have no intercourse. Nevertheless my success had certain characteristic features, which gave it a more or less alarming aspect. Mendelssohn's most ardent desire for a long time past had been to write a successful opera, and it was possible he now felt annoyed that, before he had succeeded in doing so, a triumph of this nature should suddenly be thrust into his face with blunt brutality, and based upon a style of music which he might feel justified in regarding as poor. He probably found it no less exasperating that Devrient, whose gifts he acknowledged, and who was his own devoted admirer, should now so openly and loudly sound my praises. These thoughts were dimly shaping themselves in my mind, when Mendelssohn, by a very remarkable statement, drove me, almost with violence, to adopt this interpretation. On our way home together, after the joint concert rehearsal, I was talking very warmly on the subject of music. Although by no means a talkative man, he suddenly interrupted me with curiously hasty excitement by the assertion that music had but one great fault, namely, that more than any other art it stimulated not only our good, but also our evil qualities, such, for instance, as jealousy. I blushed with shame to have to apply this speech to his own feelings towards me; for I was profoundly conscious of my innocence of ever having dreamed, even in the remotest degree, of placing my own talents or performances as a musician in comparison with his. Yet, strange to say, at this very concert he showed himself in a light by no means calculated to place him beyond all possibility of comparison with myself. A rendering of his Hebrides Overture would have placed him so immeasurably above my two operatic airs, that all shyness at having to stand beside him would have been spared me, as the gulf between our two productions was impassable. But in his choice of the Ruy Blas Overture he appears to have been prompted by a desire to place himself on this occasion so close to the operatic style that its effectiveness might be reflected upon his own work. The overture was evidently calculated for a Parisian audience, and the astonishment Mendelssohn caused by appearing in such a connection was shown by Robert Schumann in his own ungainly fashion at its close. Approaching the musician in the orchestra, he blandly, and with a genial smile, expressed his admiration of the 'brilliant orchestral piece' just played..

But in the interests of veracity let me not forget that neither he nor I scored the real success of that evening. We were both wholly eclipsed by the tremendous effect produced by the grey-haired Sophie Schroder in a recitation of Burger's Lenore. While the daughter had been taunted in the newspapers with unfairly employing all sorts of musical attractions to cozen a benefit concert out of the music lovers of Leipzig for a mother who never had anything to do with that art, we, who were there as her musical aiders and abettors, had to stand like so many idle conjurers, while this aged and almost toothless dame declaimed Burger's poem with truly terrifying beauty and grandeur. This episode, like so much else that I saw during these few days, gave me abundant food for thought and meditation.

A second excursion, also undertaken with Devrient, took me in the December of that year to Berlin, where the singer had been invited to appear at a grand state concert. I for my part wanted an interview with Director Kustner about the Fliegender Hollander. Although I arrived at no definite result regarding my own personal business, this short visit to Berlin was memorable for my meeting with Franz Liszt, which afterwards proved of great importance. It took place under singular circumstances, which placed both him and me in a situation of peculiar embarrassment, brought about in the most wanton fashion by Devrient's exasperating caprice.

I had already told my patroness the story of my earlier meeting with Liszt. During that fateful second winter of my stay in Paris, when I had at last been driven to be grateful for Schlesinger's hack-work, I one day received word from Laube, who always bore me in mind, that F. Liszt was coming to Paris. He had mentioned and recommended me to him when he was in Germany, and advised me to lose no time in looking him up, as he was 'generous,' and would certainly find means of helping me. As soon as I heard that he had really arrived, I presented myself at the hotel to see him. It was early in the morning. On my entrance I found several strange gentlemen waiting in the drawing-room, where, after some time, we were joined by Liszt himself, pleasant and affable, and wearing his indoor coat. The conversation was carried on in French, and turned upon his experiences during his last professional journey in Hungary. As I was unable to take part, on account of the language, I listened for some time, feeling heartily bored, until at last he asked me pleasantly what he could do for me. He seemed unable to recall Laube's recommendation, and all the answer I could give was that I desired to make his acquaintance. To this he had evidently no objection, and informed me he would take care to have a ticket sent me for his great matinee, which was to take place shortly. My sole attempt to introduce an artistic theme of conversation was a question as to whether he knew Lowe's Erlkonig as well as Schubert's. His reply in the negative frustrated this somewhat awkward attempt, and I ended my visit by giving him my address. Thither his secretary, Belloni, presently sent me, with a few polite words, a card of admission to a concert to be given entirely by the master himself in the Salle Erard. I duly wended my way to the overcrowded hall, and beheld the platform on which the grand piano stood, closely beleaguered by the cream of Parisian female society, and witnessed their enthusiastic ovations of this virtuoso, who was at that time the wonder of the world. Moreover, I heard several of his most brilliant pieces, such as 'Variations on Robert le Diable,' but carried away with me no real impression beyond that of being stunned. This took place just at the time when I abandoned a path which had been contrary to my truer nature, and had led me astray, and on which I now emphatically turned my back in silent bitterness. I was therefore in no fitting mood for a just appreciation of this prodigy, who at that time was shining in the blazing light of day, but from whom I had turned my face to the night. I went to see Liszt no more.

As already mentioned, I had given Devrient a bare outline of this story, but she had noted it with particular attention, for I happened to have touched her weak point of professional jealousy. As Liszt had also been commanded by the King of Prussia to appear at the grand state concert at Berlin, it so happened that the first time they met Liszt questioned her with great interest about the success of Rienzi. She thereupon observed that the composer of that opera was an altogether unknown man, and proceeded with curious malice to taunt him with his apparent lack of penetration, as proved by the fact that the said composer, who now so keenly excited his interest, was the very same poor musician whom he had lately 'turned away so contemptuously' in Paris. All this she told me with an air of triumph, which distressed me very much, and I at once set to work to correct the false impression conveyed by my former account. As we were still debating this point in her room, we were startled by hearing from the next the famous bass part in the 'Revenge' air from Donna Anna, rapidly executed in octaves on the piano. 'That's Liszt himself,' she cried. Liszt then entered the room to fetch her for the rehearsal. To my great embarrassment she introduced me to him with malicious delight as the composer of Rienzi, the man whose acquaintance he now wished to make after having previously shown him the door in his glorious Paris. My solemn asseverations that my patroness--no doubt only in fun--was deliberately distorting my account of my former visit to him, apparently pacified him so far as I was concerned, and, on the other hand, he had no doubt already formed his own opinion of the impulsive singer. He certainly regretted that he could not remember my visit in Paris, but it nevertheless shocked and alarmed him to learn that any one should have had reason to complain of such treatment at his hands. The hearty sincerity of Listz's simple words to me about this misunderstanding, as contrasted with the strangely passionate raillery of the incorrigible lady, made a most pleasing and captivating impression upon me. The whole bearing of the man, and the way in which he tried to ward off the pitiless scorn of her attacks, was something new to me, and gave me a deep insight into his character, so firm in its amiability and boundless good-nature. Finally, she teased him about the Doctor's degree which had just been conferred on him by the University of Konigsberg, and pretended to mistake him for a chemist. At last he stretched himself out flat on the floor, and implored her mercy, declaring himself quite defenceless against the storm of her invective. Then turning to me with a hearty assurance that he would make it his business to hear Rienzi, and would in any case endeavour to give me a better opinion of himself than his evil star had hitherto permitted, we parted for that occasion.

The almost naive simplicity and naturalness of his every phrase and word, and particularly his emphatic manner, left a most profound impression upon me. No one could fail to be equally affected by these qualities, and I now realised for the first time the almost magic power exerted by Liszt over all who came in close contact with him, and saw how erroneous had been my former opinion as to its cause.

These two excursions to Leipzig and Berlin found but brief interruptions of the period devoted at home to our study of the Fliegender Hollander. It was therefore, of paramount importance to me to maintain Schroder-Devrient's keen interest in her part, since, in view of the weakness of the rest of the cast, I was convinced that it was from her alone I could expect any adequate interpretation of the spirit of my work.

The part of Senta was essentially suited to her, and there were just at that moment peculiar circumstances in her life which brought her naturally emotional temperament to a high pitch of tension. I was amazed when she confided to me that she was on the point of breaking off a regular liaison of many years' standing, to form, in passionate haste, another much less desirable one. The forsaken lover, who was tenderly devoted to her, was a young lieutenant in the Royal Guards, and the son of Muller, the ex-Minister of Education; her new choice, whose acquaintance she had formed on a recent visit to Berlin, was Herr von Munchhausen. He was a tall, slim young man, and her predilection for him was easily explained when I became more closely acquainted with her love affairs. It seemed to me that the bestowal of her confidence on me in this matter arose from her guilty conscience; she was aware that Muller, whom I liked on account of his excellent disposition, had loved her with the earnestness of a first love, and also that she was now betraying him in the most faithless way on a trivial pretext. She must have known that her new lover was entirely unworthy of her, and that his intentions were frivolous and selfish. She knew, too, that no one, and certainly none of her older friends who knew her best, would approve of her behaviour. She told me candidly that she had felt impelled to confide in me because I was a genius, and would understand the demands of her temperament. I hardly knew what to think. I was repelled alike by her passion and the circumstances attending it; but to my astonishment I had to confess that the infatuation, so repulsive to me, held this strange woman in so powerful a grasp that I could not refuse her a certain amount of pity, nay, even real sympathy.

She was pale and distraught, ate hardly anything, and her faculties were subjected to a strain so extraordinary that I thought she would not escape a serious, perhaps a fatal illness. Sleep had long since deserted her, and whenever I brought her my unlucky Fliegender Hollander, her looks so alarmed me that the proposed rehearsal was the last thing I thought of. But in this matter she insisted; she made me sit down at the piano, and then plunged into the study of her role as if it were a matter of life and death. She found the actual learning of the part very difficult, and it was only by repeated and persevering rehearsal that she mastered her task. She would sing for hours at a time with such passion that I often sprang up in terror and begged her to spare herself; then she would point smiling to her chest, and expand the muscles of her still magnificent person, to assure me that she was doing herself no harm. Her voice really acquired at that time a youthful freshness and power of endurance. I had to confess that which often astonished me: this infatuation for an insipid nobody was very much to the advantage of my Senta. Her courage under this intense strain was so great that, as time pressed, she consented to have the general rehearsal on the very day of the first performance, and a delay which would have been greatly to my disadvantage was thus avoided.

The performance took place on 2nd January, in the year 1843. Its result was extremely instructive to me, and led to the turning-point of my career. The, ill-success of the performance taught me how much care and forethought were essential to secure the adequate dramatic interpretation of my latest works. I realised that I had more or less believed that my score would explain itself, and that my singers would arrive at the right interpretation of their own accord. My good old friend Wachter, who at the time of Henriette Sontag's first success was a favourite 'Barber of Seville,' had from the first discreetly thought otherwise. Unfortunately, even Schroder-Devrient only saw when the rehearsals were too far advanced how utterly incapable Wachter was of realising the horror and supreme suffering of my Mariner. His distressing corpulence, his broad fat face, the extraordinary movements of his arms and legs, which he managed to make look like mere stumps, drove my passionate Senta to despair. At one rehearsal, when in the great scene in Act ii. she comes to him in the guise of a guardian angel to bring the message of salvation, she broke off to whisper despairingly in my ear, 'How can I say it when I look into those beady eyes? Good God, Wagner, what a muddle you have made!' I consoled her as well as I could, and secretly placed my dependence on Herr von Munchhausen, who promised faithfully to sit that evening in the front row of the stalls, so that Devrient's eyes must fall on him. And the magnificent performance of my great artiste, although she stood horribly alone on the stage, did succeed in rousing enthusiasm in the second act. The first act offered the audience nothing but a dull conversation between Herr Wachter and that Herr Risse who had invited me to an excellent glass of wine on the first night of Rienzi, and in the third the loudest raging of the orchestra did not rouse the sea from its dead calm nor the phantom ship in its cautious rocking. The audience fell to wondering how I could have produced this crude, meagre, and gloomy work after Rienzi, in every act of which incident abounded, and Tichatschek shone in an endless variety of costumes.

As Schroder-Devrient soon left Dresden for a considerable time, the Fliegender Hollander saw only four performances, at which the diminishing audiences made it plain that I had not pleased Dresden taste with it. The management was compelled to revive Rienzi in order to maintain my prestige; and the triumph of this opera compared with the failure of the Dutchman gave me food for reflection. I had to admit, with some misgivings, that the success of my Rienzi was not entirely due to the cast and staging, although I was fully alive to the defects from which the Fliegender Hollander suffered in this respect. Although Wachter was far from realising my conception of the Fliegender Hollander I could not conceal from myself the fact that Tichatschek was quite as far removed from the ideal Rienzi. His abominable errors and deficiencies in his presentation of the part had never escaped me; he had never been able to lay aside his brilliant and heroic leading-tenor manners in order to render that gloomy demonic strain in Rienzi's temperament on which I had laid unmistakable stress at the critical points of the drama. In the fourth act, after the pronouncement of the curse, he fell on his knees in the most melancholy fashion and abandoned himself to bewailing his fate in piteous tones. When I suggested to him that Rienzi, though inwardly despairing, must take up an attitude of statuesque firmness before the world, he pointed out to me the great popularity which the end of this very act had won as interpreted by himself, with an intimation that he intended making no change in it.

And when I considered the real causes of the success of Rienzi, I found that it rested on the brilliant and extraordinarily fresh voice of the soaring, happy singer, in the refreshing effect of the chorus and the gay movement and colouring on the stage. I received a still more convincing proof of this when we divided the opera into two, and found that the second part, which was the more important from both the dramatic and the musical point of view, was noticeably less well attended than the first, for the very obvious reason, as I thought, that the ballet occurred in the first part. My brother Julius, who had come over from Leipzig for one of the performances of Rienzi, gave me a still more naive testimony as to the real point of interest in the opera. I was sitting with him in an open box, in full sight of the audience, and had therefore begged him to desist from giving any applause, even if directed only to the efforts of the singers; he restrained himself all through the evening, but his enthusiasm at a certain figure of the ballet was too much for him, and he clapped loudly, to the great amusement of the audience, telling me that he could not hold himself in any longer. Curiously enough, this same ballet secured for Rienzi, which was otherwise received with indifference, the enduring preference of the present King of Prussia, [FOOTNOTE: William the First.]who many years afterwards ordered the revival of this opera, although it had utterly failed in arousing public interest by its merits as a drama.

I found, when I had to be present later on at a representation of the same opera at Darmstadt, that while wholesale cuts had to be made in its best parts, it had been found necessary to expand the ballets by additions and repetitions. This ballet music, which I had put together with contemptuous haste at Riga in a few days without any inspiration, seemed to me, moreover, so strikingly weak that I was thoroughly ashamed of it even in those days at Dresden, when I had found myself compelled to suppress its best feature, the tragic pantomime. Further, the resources of the ballet in Dresden did not even admit of the execution of my stage directions for the combat in the arena, nor for the very significant round dances, both admirably carried out at a later date in Berlin. I had to be content with the humiliating substitution of a long, foolish step-dance by two insignificant dancers, which was ended by a company of soldiers marching on, bearing their shields on high so as to form a roof and remind the audience of the Roman testudo; then the ballet-master with his assistant, in flesh-coloured tights, leaped on to the shields and turned somersaults, a proceeding which they thought was reminiscent of the gladiatorial games. It was at this point that the house was always moved to resounding applause, and I had to own that this moment marked the climax of my success.

I thus had my doubts as to the intrinsic divergence between my inner aims and my outward success; at the same time a decisive and fatal change in my fortunes was brought about by my acceptance of the conductorship at Dresden, under circumstances as perplexing in their way as those preceding my marriage. I had met the negotiations which led up to this appointment with a hesitation and a coolness by no means affected. I felt nothing but scorn for theatrical life; a scorn that was by no means lessened by a closer acquaintance with the apparently distinguished ruling body of a court theatre, the splendours of which only conceal, with arrogant ignorance, the humiliating conditions appertaining to it and to the modern theatre in general. I saw every noble impulse stifled in those occupied with theatrical matters, and a combination of the vainest and most frivolous interests maintained by a ridiculously rigid and bureaucratic system; I was now fully convinced that the necessity of handling the business of the theatre would be the most distasteful thing I could imagine. Now that, through Rastrelli's death, the temptation to be false to my inner conviction came to me in Dresden, I explained to my old and trusted friends that I did not think I should accept the vacant post.

But everything calculated to shake human resolution combined against this decision. The prospect of securing the means of livelihood through a permanent position with a fixed salary was an irresistible attraction. I combated the temptation by reminding myself of my success as an operatic composer, which might reasonably be expected to bring in enough to supply my moderate requirements in a lodging of two rooms, where I could proceed undisturbed with fresh compositions. I was told in answer to this that my work itself would be better served by a fixed position without arduous duties, as for a whole year since the completion of the Fliegender Hollander I had not, under existing circumstances, found any leisure at all for composition. I still remained convinced that Rastrelli's post of musical director, in subordination to the conductor, was unworthy of me, and I declined to entertain the proposal, thus leaving the management to look elsewhere for some one to fill the vacancy.

There was therefore no further question of this particular post, but I was then informed that the death of Morlacchi had left vacant a court conductorship, and it was thought that the King would be willing to offer me the post. My wife was very much excited at this prospect, for in Germany the greatest value is laid on these court appointments, which are tenable for life, and the dazzling respectability pertaining to them is held out to German musicians as the acme of earthly happiness. The offer opened up for us in many directions the prospect of friendly relations in a society which had hitherto been outside our experience. Domestic comfort and social prestige were very alluring to the homeless wanderers who, in bygone days of misery, had often longed for the comfort and security of an assured and permanent position such as was now open to them under the august protection of the court. The influence of Caroline von Weber did much in the long-run to weaken my opposition. I was often at her house, and took great pleasure in her society, which brought back to my mind very vividly the personality of my still dearly beloved master. She begged me with really touching tenderness not to withstand this obvious command of fate, and asserted her right to ask me to settle in Dresden, to fill the place left sadly empty by her husband's death. 'Just think,' she said, 'how can I look Weber in the face again when I join him if I have to tell him that the work for which he made such devoted sacrifices in Dresden is neglected; just imagine my feelings when I see that indolent Reissiger stand in my noble Weber's place, and when I hear his operas produced more mechanically every year. If you loved Weber, you owe it to his memory to step into his place and to continue his work.' As an experienced woman of the world she also pointed out energetically and prudently the practical side of the matter, impressing on me the duty of thinking of my wife, who would, in case of my death, be sufficiently provided for if I accepted the post.

The promptings of affection, prudence and good sense, however, had less weight with me than the enthusiastic conviction, never at any period of my life entirely destroyed, that wherever fate led me, whether to Dresden or elsewhere, I should find the opportunity which would convert my dreams into reality through currents set in motion by some change in the everyday order of events. All that was needed for this was the advent of an ardent and aspiring soul who, with good luck to back him, might make up for lost time, and by his ennobling influence achieve the deliverance of art from her shameful bonds. The wonderful and rapid change which had taken place in my fortunes could not fail to encourage such a hope, and I was seduced on perceiving the marked alteration that had taken place in the whole attitude of Luttichau, the general director, towards me. This strange individual showed me a kindliness of which no one would hitherto have thought him capable, and that he was prompted by a genuine feeling of personal benevolence towards me I could not help being absolutely convinced, even at the time of my subsequent ceaseless differences with him.

Nevertheless, the decision came as a kind of surprise. On 2nd February 1843 I was very politely invited to the director's office, and there met the general staff of the royal orchestra, in whose presence Luttichau, through the medium of my never-to-be-forgotten friend Winkler, solemnly read out to me a royal rescript appointing me forthwith conductor to his Majesty, with a life salary of four thousand five hundred marks a year. Luttichau followed the reading of this document by a more or less ceremonious speech, in which he assumed that I should gratefully accept the King's favour. At this polite ceremony it did not escape my notice that all possibility of future negotiations over the figure of the salary was cut off; on the other hand, a substantial exemption in my favour, the omission of the condition, enforced even on Weber in his time, of serving a year's probation under the title of mere musical director, was calculated to secure my unconditional acceptance. My new colleagues congratulated me, and Luttichau accompanied me with the politest phrases to my own door, where I fell into the arms of my poor wife, who was giddy with delight. Therefore I fully realised that I must put the best face I could on the matter, and unless I wished to give unheard-of offence, I must even congratulate myself on my appointment as royal conductor.

A few days after taking the oath as a servant of the King in solemn session, and undergoing the ceremony of presentation to the assembled orchestra by means of an enthusiastic speech from the general director, I was summoned to an audience with his Majesty. When I saw the features of the kind, courteous, and homely monarch, I involuntarily thought of my youthful attempt at a political overture on the theme of Friedrich und Freiheit. Our somewhat embarrassed conversation brightened with the King's expression of his satisfaction with those two of my operas which had been performed in Dresden. He expressed with polite hesitation his feeling that if my operas left anything to be desired, it was a clearer definition of the various characters in my musical dramas. He thought the interest in the persons was overpowered by the elemental forces figuring beside them--in Hienzi the mob, in the Fliegender Hollander the sea. I thought I understood his meaning perfectly, and this proof of his sincere sympathy and original judgment pleased me very much. He also made his excuses in advance for a possible rare attendance at my operas on his part, his sole reason for this being that he had a peculiar aversion from theatre-going, as the result of one of the rules of his early training, under which he and his brother John, who had acquired a similar aversion, were for a long time compelled regularly to attend the theatre, when he, to tell the truth, would often have preferred to be left alone to follow his own pursuits independent of etiquette.

As a characteristic instance of the courtier spirit, I afterwards learned that Luttichau, who had had to wait for me in the anteroom during this audience, had been very much put out by its long duration. In the whole course of my life I was only admitted twice more to personal intercourse and speech with the good King. The first occasion was when I presented him with the dedication copy of the pianoforte score of my Rienzi; and the second was after my very successful arrangement and performance of the Iphigenia in Aulis, by Gluck, of whose operas he was particularly fond, when he stopped me in the public promenade and congratulated me on my work.

That first audience with the King marked the zenith of my hastily adopted career at Dresden; thenceforward anxiety reasserted itself in manifold ways. I very quickly realised the difficulties of my material situation, since it soon became evident that the advantage won by new exertions and my present appointment bore no proportion to the heavy sacrifices and obligations which I incurred as soon as I entered on an independent career. The young musical director of Riga, long since forgotten, suddenly reappeared in an astonishing reincarnation as royal conductor to the King of Saxony. The first-fruits of the universal estimate of my good fortune took the shape of pressing creditors and threats of prosecution; next followed demands from the Konigsberg tradesmen, from whom I had escaped from Riga by means of that horribly wretched and miserable flight. I also heard from people in the most distant parts, who thought they had some claim on me, dating even from my student, nay, my school days, until at last I cried out in my astonishment that I expected to receive a bill next from the nurse who had suckled me. All this did not amount to any very large sum, and I merely mention it because of the ill-natured rumours which, I learned years later, had been spread abroad about the extent of my debts at that time. Out of three thousand marks, borrowed at interest from Schroder-Devrient, I not only paid these debts, but also fully compensated the sacrifices which Kietz had made on my behalf, without ever expecting any return, in the days of my poverty in Paris. I was, moreover, able to be of practical use to him. But where was I to find even this sum, as my distress had hitherto been so great that I was obliged to urge Schroder-Devrient to hurry on the rehearsals of the Fliegender Hollander by pointing out to her the enormous importance to me of the fee for the performance? I had no allowance for the expenses of my establishment in Dresden, though it had to be suitable for my position as royal conductor, nor even for the purchase of a ridiculous and expensive court uniform, so that there would have been no possibility of my making a start at all, as I had no private means, unless I borrowed money at interest.

But no one who knew of the extraordinary success of Rienzi at Dresden could help believing in an immediate and remunerative rage for my operas on the German stage. My own relatives, even the prudent Ottilie, were so convinced of it that they thought I might safely count on at least doubling my salary by the receipts from my operas. At the very beginning the prospects did indeed seem bright; the score of my Fliegender Hollander was ordered by the Royal Theatre at Cassel and by the Riga theatre, which I had known so well in the old days, because they were anxious to perform something of mine at an early date, and had heard that this opera was on a smaller scale, and made smaller demands on the stage management, than Rienzi. In May, 1843 I heard good reports of the success of the performances from both those places. But this was all for the time being, and a whole year went by without the smallest inquiry for any of my scores. An attempt was made to secure me some benefit by the publication of the pianoforte score of the Fliegender Hollander, as I wanted to reserve Rienzi, after the successes it had gained, as useful capital for a more favourable opportunity; but the plan was spoilt by the opposition of Messrs. Hartel of Leipzig, who, although ready enough to publish my opera, would only do so on the condition that I abstained from asking any payment for it.

So I had, for the present, to content myself with the moral satisfaction of my successes, of which my unmistakable popularity with the Dresden public, and the respect and attention paid to me, formed part. But even in this respect my Utopian dreams were destined to be disturbed. I think that my appearance at Dresden marked the beginning of a new era in journalism and criticism, which found food for its hitherto but slightly developed vitality in its vexation at my success. The two gentlemen I have already mentioned, C. Bank and J. Schladebach, had, as I now know, first taken up their regular abode in Dresden at that time; I know that when difficulties were raised about the permanence of Bank's appointment, they were waived, owing to the testimonials and recommendation of my present colleague Reissiger. The success of my Rienzi had been the source of great annoyance to these gentlemen, who were now established as musical critics to the Dresden press, because I made no effort to win their favour; they were not ill-pleased, therefore, to find an opportunity of pouring out the vitriol of their hatred over the universally popular young musician who had won the sympathy of the kindly public, partly on account of the poverty and ill-luck which had hitherto been his lot. The need for any kind of human consideration had suddenly vanished with my 'unheard-of' appointment to the royal conductorship. Now 'all was well with me,' 'too well,' in fact; and envy found its congenial food; this provided a perfectly clear and comprehensible point of attack; and soon there spread through the German press, in the columns given to Dresden news, an estimate of me which has never fundamentally changed, except in one point, to this day. This single modification, which was purely temporary and confined to papers of one political colour, occurred on my first settlement as a political refugee in Switzerland, but lasted only until, through Liszt's exertions, my operas began to be produced all over Germany, in spite of my exile. The orders from two theatres, immediately after the Dresden performance, for one of my scores, were merely due to the fact that up to that time the activity of my journalistic critics was still limited. I put down the cessation of all inquiries, certainly not without due justification, mainly to the effect of the false and calumnious reports in the papers.

My old friend Laube tried, indeed, to undertake my defence in the press. On New Year's Day, 1843 he resumed the editorship of the Zeitung fur die Elegante Welt, and asked me to provide him with a biographical notice of myself for the first number. It evidently gave him great pleasure to present me thus in triumph to the literary world, and in order to give the subject more prominence he added a supplement to that number in the shape of a lithograph reproduction of my portrait by Kietz. But after a time even he became anxious and confused in his judgment of my works, when he saw the systematic and increasingly virulent detraction, depreciation, and scorn to which they were subjected. He confessed to me later that he had never imagined such a desperate position as mine against the united forces of journalism could possibly exist, and when he heard my view of the question, he smiled and gave me his blessing, as though I were a lost soul.

Moreover, a change was observable in the attitude of those immediately connected with me in my work, and this provided very acceptable material for the journalistic campaign. I had been led, though by no ambitious impulse, to ask to be allowed to conduct the performances of my own works. I found that at every performance of Rienzi Reissiger became more negligent in his conducting, and that the whole production was slipping back into the old familiar, expressionless, and humdrum performance; and as my appointment was already mooted, I had asked permission to conduct the sixth performance of my work in person. I conducted without having held a single rehearsal, and without any previous experience, at the head of the Dresden orchestra. The performance went splendidly; singers and orchestra were inspired with new life, and everybody was obliged to admit that this was the finest performance of Rienzi that had yet been given. The rehearsing and con-ducting of the Fliegender Hollander were willingly handed over to me, because Reissiger was overwhelmed with work, in consequence of the death of the musical director, Rastrelli. In addition to this I was asked to conduct Weber's Euryanthe, by way of providing a direct proof of my capacity to interpret scores other than my own. Apparently everybody was pleased, and it was the tone of this performance that made Weber's widow so anxious that I should accept the Dresden conductorship; she declared that for the first time since her husband's death she had heard his work correctly interpreted, both in expression and time.

Thereupon, Reissiger, who would have preferred to have a musical director under him, but had received instead a colleague on an equal footing, felt himself aggrieved by my appointment. Though his own indolence would have inclined him to the side of peace and a good understanding with me, his ambitious wife took care to stir up his fear of me. This never led to an openly hostile attitude on his part, but I noticed certain indiscretions in the press from that time onwards, which showed me that the friendliness of my colleague, who never talked to me without first embracing me, was not of the most honourable type.

I also received a quite unexpected proof that I had attracted the bitter envy of another man whose sentiments I had no reason to suspect. This was Karl Lipinsky, a celebrated violinist in his day, who had for many years led the Dresden orchestra. He was a man of ardent temperament and original talent, but of incredible vanity, which his emotional, suspicious Polish temperament rendered dangerous. I always found him annoying, because however inspiring and instructive his playing was as to the technical execution of the violinists, he was certainly ill-fitted to be the leader of a first-class orchestra. This extraordinary person tried to justify Director Luttichau's praise of his playing, which could always be heard above the rest of the orchestra; he came in a little before the other violins; he was a leader in a double sense, as he was always a little ahead. He acted in much the same way with regard to expression, marking his slight variations in the piano passages with fanatical precision. It was useless to talk to him about it, as nothing but the most skilful flattery had any effect on him. So I had to endure it as best I could, and to think out ways and means of diminishing its ill effects on the orchestral performances as a whole by having recourse to the most polite circumlocutions. Even so he could not endure the higher estimation in which the performances of the orchestra under my conductorship were held, because he thought that the playing of an orchestra in which he was the leader must invariably be excellent, whoever stood at the conductor's desk. Now it happened, as is always the case when a new man with fresh ideas is installed in office, that the members of the orchestra came to me with the most varied suggestions for improvements which had hitherto been neglected; and Lipinsky, who was already annoyed about this, turned a certain case of this kind to a peculiarly treacherous use. One of the oldest contrabassists had died. Lipinsky urged me to arrange that the post should not be filled in the usual way by promotion from the ranks of our own orchestra, but should be given, on his recommendation, to a distinguished and skilful contrabassist from Darmstadt named Muller. When the musician whose rights of seniority were thus threatened, appealed to me, I kept my promise to Lipinsky, explained my views about the abuses of promotion by seniority, and declared that, in accordance with my sworn oath to the King, I held it my paramount duty to consider the maintenance of the artistic interests of the institution before everything else. I then found to my great astonishment, though it was foolish of me to be surprised, that the whole of the orchestra turned upon me as one man, and when the occasion arose for a discussion between Lipinsky and myself as to his own numerous grievances, he actually accused me of having threatened, by my remarks in the contrabassist case, to undermine the well-established rights of the members of the orchestra, whose welfare it was my duty to protect. Luttichau, who was on the point of absenting himself from Dresden for some time, was extremely uneasy, as Reissiger was away on his holiday, at leaving musical affairs in such a dangerous state of unrest. The deceit and impudence of which I had been the victim was a revelation to me, and I gathered from this experience the calm sense necessary to set the harassed director at ease by the most conclusive assurances that I understood the people with whom I had to deal, and would act accordingly. I faithfully kept my word, and never again came into collision either with Lipinsky or any other member of the orchestra. On the contrary, all the musicians were soon so firmly attached to me that I could always pride myself on their devotion.

From that day forward, however, one thing at least was certain, namely, that I should not die as conductor at Dresden. My post and my work at Dresden thenceforward became a burden, of which the occasionally excellent results of my efforts made me all the more sensible.

My position at Dresden, however, brought me one friend whose intimate relations with me long survived our artistic collaboration in Dresden. A musical director was assigned to each conductor; he had to be a musician of repute, a hard worker, adaptable, and, above all, a Catholic, for the two conductors were Protestants, a cause of much annoyance to the clergy of the Catholic cathedral, numerous positions in which had to be filled from the orchestra. August Rockel, a nephew of Hummel, who sent in his application for this position from Weimar, furnished evidence of his suitability under all these heads. He belonged to an old Bavarian family; his father was a singer, and had sung the part of Florestan at the time of the first production of Beethoven's Fidelio, and had himself remained on terms on close intimacy with the Master, many details about whose life have been preserved through his care. His subsequent position as a teacher of singing led him to take up theatrical management, and he introduced German opera to the Parisians with so much success, that the credit for the popularity of Fidelio and Der Freischutz with French audiences, to whom these works were quite unknown, must be awarded to his admirable enterprise, which was also responsible for Schroder-Devrient's debut in Paris. August Rockel, his son, who was still a young man, by helping his father in these and similar undertakings, had gained practical experience as a musician. As his father's business had for some time even extended to England, August had won practical knowledge of all sorts by contact with many men and things, and in addition had learned French and English. But music had remained his chosen vocation, and his great natural talent justified the highest hopes of success. He was an excellent pianist, read scores with the utmost ease, possessed an exceptionally fine ear, and had indeed every qualification for a practical musician. As a composer he was actuated, not so much by a strong impulse to create, as the desire to show what he was capable of; the success at which he aimed was to gain the reputation of a clever operatic composer rather than recognition as a distinguished musician, and he hoped to obtain his end by the production of popular works. Actuated by this modest ambition he had completed an opera, Farinelli, for which he had also written the libretto, with no other aspiration than that of attaining the same reputation as his brother-in-law Lortzing.

He brought this score to me, and begged me--it was his first visit before he had heard one of my operas in Dresden--to play him something from Rienzi and the Fliegender Hollander. His frank, agreeable personality induced me to try and meet his wishes as far as I could; and I am convinced that I soon made such a great and unexpectedly powerful impression on him that from that moment he determined not to bother me further with the score of his opera. It was not until we had become more intimate and had discovered mutual personal interests, that the desire of turning his work to account induced him to ask me to show my practical friendship by turning my attention to his score. I made various suggestions as to how it might be improved, but he was soon so hopelessly disgusted with his own work that he put it absolutely aside, and never again felt seriously moved to undertake a similar task. On making a closer acquaintance with my completed operas and plans for new works, he declared to me that he felt it his vocation to play the part of spectator, to be my faithful helper and the interpreter of my new ideas, and, as far as in him lay, to remove entirely, and at all events to relieve me as far as possible from, all the unpleasantnesses of my official position and of my dealings with the outside world. He wished, he said, to avoid placing himself in the ridiculous position of composing operas of his own while living on terms of close friendship with me.

Nevertheless, I tried to urge him to turn his own talent to account, and to this end called his attention to several plots which I wished him to work out. Among these was the idea contained in a small French drama entitled Cromwell's Daughter, which was subsequently used as the subject for a sentimental pastoral romance, and for the elaboration of which I presented him with an exhaustive plan.

But in the end all my efforts remained fruitless, and it became evident that his productive talent was feeble. This perhaps arose partly from his extremely needy and trying domestic circumstances, which were such that the poor fellow wore himself out to support his wife and numerous growing children. Indeed, he claimed my help and sympathy in quite another fashion than by arousing my interest in his artistic development. He was unusually clear-headed, and possessed a rare capacity for teaching and educating himself in every branch of knowledge and experience; he was, moreover, so genuinely true and good-hearted that he soon became my intimate friend and comrade. He was, and continued to be, the only person who really appreciated the singular nature of my position towards the surrounding world, and with whom I could fully and sincerely discuss the cares and sorrows arising therefrom. What dreadful trials and experiences, what painful anxieties our common fate was to bring upon us, will soon be seen.

The earlier period of my establishment in Dresden brought me also another devoted and lifelong friend, though his qualities were such that he exerted a less decisive influence upon my career. This was a young physician, named Anton Pusinelli, who lived near me. He seized the occasion of a serenade sung in honour of my thirtieth birthday by the Dresden Glee Club to express to me personally his hearty and sincere attachment. We soon entered upon a quiet friendship from which we derived a mutual benefit. He became my attentive family doctor, and during my residence in Dresden, marked as it was by accumulating difficulties, he had abundant opportunities of helping me. His financial position was very good, and his ready self-sacrifice enabled him to give me substantial succour and bound me to him by many heartfelt obligations.

A further development of my association with Dresden buddy was provided by the kindly advances of Chamberlain von Konneritz's family. His wife, Marie von Konneritz (nee Fink), was a friend of Countess Ida Hahn-Hahn, and expressed her appreciation of my success as a composer with great warmth, I might almost say, with enthusiasm. I was often invited to their house, and seemed likely, through this family, to be brought into touch with the higher aristocracy of Dresden. I merely succeeded in touching the fringe, however, as we really had nothing in common. True, I here made the acquaintance of Countess Rossi, the famous Sontag, by whom, to my genuine astonishment, I was most heartily greeted, and I thereby obtained the right of afterwards approaching her in Berlin with a certain degree of familiarity. The curious way in which I was disillusioned about this lady on that occasion will be related in due course. I would only mention here that, through my earlier experiences of the world, I had become fairly impervious to deception, and my desire for closer acquaintance with these circles speedily gave way to a complete hopelessness and an entire lack of ease in their sphere of life.

Although the Konneritz couple remained friendly during the whole of my prolonged sojourn in Dresden, yet the connection had not the least influence either upon my development or my position. Only once, on the occasion of a quarrel between Luttichau and myself, the former observed that Frau von Konneritz, by her unmeasured praises, had turned my head and made me forget my position towards him. But in making this taunt he forgot that, if any woman in the higher ranks of Dresden society had exerted a real and invigorating influence upon my inward pride, that woman was his own wife, Ida von Luttichau (nee von Knobelsdorf).

The power which this cultured, gentle, and distinguished lady exercised over my life was of a kind I now experienced for the first time, and might have become of great importance had I been favoured with more frequent and intimate intercourse. But it was less her position as wife of the general director than her constant ill-health and my own peculiar unwillingness to appear obtrusive, that hindered our meeting, except at rare intervals. My recollections of her merge somewhat, in my memory, with those of my own sister Rosalie. I remember the tender ambition which inspired me to win the encouraging sympathy of this sensitive woman, who was painfully wasting away amid the coarsest surroundings. My earliest hope for the fulfilment of this ambition arose from her appreciation of my Fliegender Hollander, in spite of the fact that, following close upon Rienzi, it had so puzzled the Dresden public. In this way she was the first, so to speak, who swam against the tide and met me upon my new path. So deeply was I touched by this conquest that, when I afterwards published the opera, I dedicated it to her. In the account of my later years in Dresden I shall have more to record of the warm sympathy for my new development and dearest artistic aims for which I was indebted to her. But of real intercourse we had none, and the character of my Dresden life was not affected by this acquaintance, otherwise so important in itself.

On the other hand, my theatrical acquaintances thrust themselves with irresistible importunancy into the wide foreground of my life, and in fact, after my brilliant successes, I was still restricted to the same limited and familiar sphere in which I had prepared myself for these triumphs. Indeed, the only one who joined my old friends Heine and Gaffer Fischer was Tichatschek, with his strange domestic circle. Any one who lived in Dresden at that time and chanced to know the court lithographer, Furstenau, will be astonished to hear that, without really being aware of it myself, I entered into a familiarity that was to prove a lasting one with this man who was an intimate friend of Tichatschek's. The importance of this singular connection may be judged from the fact that my complete withdrawal from him coincided exactly with the collapse of my civic position in Dresden.

My good-humoured acceptance of election to the musical committee of the Dresden Glee Club also brought me further chance acquaintances. This club consisted of a limited number of young merchants and officials, who had more taste for any kind of convivial entertainment than for music. But it was seduously kept together by a remarkable and ambitious man, Professor Lowe, who nursed it with special objects in view, for the attainment of which he felt the need of an authority such as I possessed at that time in Dresden.

Among other aims he was particularly and chiefly concerned in arranging for the transfer of Weber's remains from London to Dresden. As this project was one which interested me also, I lent him my support, though he was in reality merely following the voice of personal ambition. He furthermore desired, as head of the Glee Club--which, by the way, from the point of view of music was quite worthless--to invite all the male choral unions of Saxony to a great gala performance in Dresden. A committee was appointed for the execution of this plan, and as things soon became pretty warm, Lowe turned it into a regular revolutionary tribunal, over which, as the great day of triumph approached, he presided day and night without resting, and by his furious zeal earned from me the nickname of 'Robespierre.'

In spite of the fact that I had been placed at the head of this enterprise, I luckily managed to evade his terrorism, as I was fully occupied with a great composition promised for the festival. The task had been assigned to me of writing an important piece for male voices only, which, if possible, should occupy half an hour. I reflected that the tiresome monotony of male singing, which even the orchestra could only enliven to a slight extent, can only be endured by the introduction of dramatic themes. I therefore designed a great choral scene, selecting the apostolic Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Ghost as its subject. I completely avoided any real solos, but worked out the whole in such a way that it should be executed by detached choral masses according to requirement. Out of this composition arose my Liebesmahl der Apostel ('Lovefeast of the Apostles'), which has recently been performed in various places.

As I was obliged at all costs to finish it within a limited time, I do not mind including this in the list of my uninspired compositions. But I was not displeased with it when it was done, more especially when it was played at the rehearsals given by the Dresden choral societies under my personal supervision. When, therefore, twelve hundred singers from all parts of Saxony gathered around me in the Frauenkirche, where the performance took place, I was astonished at the comparatively feeble effect produced upon my ear by this colossal human tangle of sounds. The conclusion at which I arrived was, that these enormous choral undertakings are folly, and I never again felt inclined to repeat the experiment.

It was with much difficulty that I shook myself free of the Dresden Glee Club, and I only succeeded in doing so by introducing to Professor Lowe another ambitious man in the person of Herr Ferdinand Hiller. My most glorious exploit in connection with this association was the transfer of Weber's ashes, of which I will speak later on, though it occurred at an earlier date. I will only refer now to another commissioned composition which, as royal bandmaster, I was officially commanded to produce. On the 7th of June of this year (1843) the statue of King Frederick Augustus by Rietschl was unveiled in the Dresden Zwinger [Footnote: This is the name by which the famous Dresden Art Galleries are known.--Editor.] with all due pomp and ceremony. In honour of this event I, in collaboration with Mendelssohn, was commanded to compose a festal song, and to conduct the gala performance. I had written a simple song for male voices of modest design, whereas to Mendelssohn had been assigned the more complicated task of interweaving the National Anthem (the English 'God Save the King,' which in Saxony is called Heil Dir im Rautenkranz) into the male chorus he had to compose. This he had effected by an artistic work in counterpoint, so arranged that from the first eight beats of his original melody the brass instruments simultaneously played the Anglo-Saxon popular air. My simpler song seems to have sounded very well from a distance, whereas I understood that Mendelssohn's daring combination quite missed its effect, because no one could understand why the vocalists did not sing the same air as the wind instruments were playing. Nevertheless Mendelssohn, who was present, left me a written expression of thanks for the pains I had taken in the production of his composition. I also received a gold snuff-box from the grand gala committee, presumably meant as a reward for my male chorus, but the hunting scene which was engraved on the top was so badly done that I found, to my surprise, that in several places the metal was cut through.

Amid all the distractions of this new and very different mode of life, I diligently strove to concentrate and steel my soul against these influences, bearing in mind my experiences of success in the past. By May of my thirtieth year I had finished my poem Der Venusberg ('The Mount of Venus'), as I called Tannhauser at that time. I had not yet by any means gained any real knowledge of mediaeval poetry. The classical side of the poetry of the Middle Ages had so far only faintly dawned upon me, partly from my youthful recollections, and partly from the brief acquaintance I had made with it through Lehrs' instruction in Paris.

Now that I was secure in the possession of a royal appointment that would last my lifetime, the establishment of a permanent domestic hearth began to assume great importance; for I hoped it would enable me to take up my serious studies once more, and in such a way as to make them productive--an aim which my theatrical life and the miseries of my years in Paris had rendered impossible. My hope of being able to do this was strengthened by the character of my official employment, which was never very arduous, and in which I met with exceptional consideration from the general management. Though I had only held my appointment for a few months, yet I was given a holiday this first summer, which I spent in a second visit to Toplitz, a place which I had grown to like, and whither I had sent on my wife in advance.

Keenly indeed did I appreciate the change in my position since the preceding year. I could now engage four spacious and well-appointed rooms in the same house--the Eiche at Schonau--where I had before lived in such straitened and frugal circumstances. I invited my sister Clara to pay us a visit, and also my good mother, whose gout necessitated her taking the Toplitz baths every year. I also seized the opportunity of drinking the mineral waters, which I hoped might have a beneficial effect on the gastric troubles from which I had suffered ever since my vicissitudes in Paris. Unfortunately the attempted cure had a contrary effect, and when I complained of the painful irritation produced, I learned that my constitution was not adapted for water cures. In fact, on my morning promenade, and while drinking my water, I had been observed to race through the shady alleys of the adjacent Thurn Gardens, and it was pointed out to me that such a cure could only be properly wrought by leisurely calm and easy sauntering. It was also remarked that I usually carried about a fairly stout volume, and that, armed with this and my bottle of mineral water, I used to take rest in lonely places.

This book was J. Grimm's German Mythology. All who know the work can understand how the unusual wealth of its contents, gathered from every side, and meant almost exclusively for the student, would react upon me, whose mind was everywhere seeking for something definite and distinct. Formed from the scanty fragments of a perished world, of which scarcely any monuments remained recognisable and intact, I here found a heterogeneous building, which at first glance seemed but a rugged rock clothed in straggling brambles. Nothing was finished, only here and there could the slightest resemblance to an architectonic line be traced, so that I often felt tempted to relinquish the thankless task of trying to build from such materials. And yet I was enchained by a wondrous magic. The baldest legend spoke to me of its ancient home, and soon my whole imagination thrilled with images; long-lost forms for which I had sought so eagerly shaped themselves ever more and more clearly into realities that lived again. There rose up soon before my mind a whole world of figures, which revealed themselves as so strangely plastic and primitive, that, when I saw them clearly before me and heard their voices in my heart, I could not account for the almost tangible familiarity and assurance of their demeanour. The effect they produced upon the inner state of my soul I can only describe as an entire rebirth. Just as we feel a tender joy over a child's first bright smile of recognition, so now my own eyes flashed with rapture as I saw a world, revealed, as it were, by miracle, in which I had hitherto moved blindly as the babe in its mother's womb.

But the result of this reading did not at first do much to help me in my purpose of composing part of the Tannhauser music. I had had a piano put in my room at the Eiche, and though I smashed all its strings, nothing satisfactory would emerge. With much pain and toil I sketched the first outlines of my music for the Venusberg, as fortunately I already had its theme in my mind. Meanwhile I was very much troubled by excitability and rushes of blood to the brain. I imagined I was ill, and lay for whole days in bed, where I read Grimm's German legends, or tried to master the disagreeable mythology. It was quite a relief when I hit upon the happy thought of freeing myself from the torments of my condition by an excursion to Prague. Meanwhile I had already ascended Mount Millischau once with my wife, and in her company I now made the journey to Prague in an open carriage. There I stayed once more at my favourite inn, the Black Horse, met my friend Kittl, who had now grown fat and rotund, made various excursions, revelled in the curious antiquities of the old city, and learned to my joy that the two lovely friends of my youth, Jenny and Auguste Pachta, had been happily married to members of the highest aristocracy. Thereupon, having reassured myself that everything was in the best possible order, I returned to Dresden and resumed my functions as musical conductor to the King of Saxony.

We now set to work on the preparations and furnishing of a roomy and well-situated house in the Ostra Allee, with an outlook upon the Zwinger. Everything was good and substantial, as is only right for a man of thirty who is settling down at last for the whole of his life. As I had not received any subsidy towards this outlay, I had naturally to raise the money by loan. But I could look forward to a certain harvest from my operatic successes in Dresden, and what was more natural than for me to expect soon to earn more than enough? The three most valued treasures which adorned my house were a concert grand piano by Breitkopf and Hartel, which I had bought with much pride; a stately writing-desk, now in possession of Otto Kummer, the chamber-music artist; and the title-page by Cornelius for the Nibelungen, in a handsome Gothic frame--the only object which has remained faithful to me to the present day. But the thing which above all else made my house seem homelike and attractive was the presence of a library, which I procured in accordance with a systematic plan laid down by my proposed line of study. On the failure of my Dresden career this library passed in a curious way into the possession of Herr Heinrich Brockhaus, to whom at that time I owed fifteen hundred marks, and who took it as security for the amount. My wife knew nothing at the time of this obligation, and I never afterwards succeeded in recovering this characteristic collection from his hands. Upon its shelves old German literature was especially well represented, and also the closely related work of the German Middle Ages, including many a costly volume, as, for instance, the rare old work, Romans des douze Paris. Beside these stood many excellent historical works on the Middle Ages, as well as on the German people in general. At the same time I made provision for the poetical and classical literature of all times and languages. Among these were the Italian poets, Shakespeare and the French writers, of whose language I had a passable knowledge. All these I acquired in the original, hoping some day to find time to master their neglected tongues. As for the Greek and Roman classics, I had to content myself with standard German translations. Indeed, on looking once more into my Homer--whom I secured in the original Greek--I soon recognised that I should be presuming on more leisure than my conductorship was likely to leave me, if I hoped to find time for regaining my lost knowledge of that language. Moreover, I provided most thoroughly for a study of universal history, and to this end did not fail to equip myself with the most voluminous works. Thus armed, I thought I could bid defiance to all the trials which I clearly foresaw would inevitably accompany my calling and position. In hopes, therefore, of long and peaceable enjoyment of this hard-earned home, I entered into possession with the best of spirits in October of this year (1843), and though my conductor's quarters were by no means magnificent, they were stately and substantial.

The first leisure in my new home which I could snatch from the claims of my profession and my favourite studies was devoted to the composition of Tannhauser, the first act of which was completed in January of the new year, 1844. I have no recollections of any importance regarding my activities in Dresden during this winter. The only memorable events were two enterprises which took me away from home, the first to Berlin early in the year, for the production of my Fliegender Hollander, and the other in March to Hamburg for Rienzi.

Of these the former made the greater impression upon my mind. The manager of the Berlin theatre, Kustner, quite took me by surprise when he announced the first performance of the Fliegender Hollander for an early date.

As the opera house had been burnt down only about a year before, and could not possibly have been rebuilt, it had not occurred to me to remind them about the production of my opera. It had been performed in Dresden with very poor scenic accessories, and knowing how important a careful and artistic execution of the difficult scenery was for my dramatic sea-scapes, I had relied implicitly on the admirable management and staging capacities of the Berlin opera house. Consequently I was very much annoyed that the Berlin manager should select my opera as a stopgap to be produced at the Comedy Theatre, which was being used as a temporary opera house. All remonstrances proved useless, for I learned that they were not merely thinking about rehearsing the work, but that it was already actually being rehearsed, and would be produced in a few days. It was obvious that this arrangement meant that my opera was to be condemned to quite a short run in their repertoire, as it was not to be expected that they would remount it when the new opera house was opened. On the other hand, they tried to appease me by saying that this first production of the Fliegender Hollander was to be associated with a special engagement of Schroder-Devrient, which was to begin in Berlin immediately. They naturally thought I should be delighted to see the great actress in my own work. But this only confirmed me in the suspicion that this opera was simply wanted as a makeshift for the duration of Schroder-Devrient's visit. They were evidently in a dilemma with regard to her repertoire, which consisted mainly of so-called grand operas--such as Meyerbeer's-- destined exclusively for the opera house, and which were being specially reserved for the brilliant future of the new building. I therefore realised beforehand that my Fliegender Hollander was to be relegated to the category of conductor's operas, and would meet with the usual predestined fate of such productions. The whole treatment meted out to me and my works all pointed in the same direction; but in consideration of the expected co-operation of Schroder-Devrient I fought against these vexatious premonitions, and set out for Berlin to do all I could for the success of my opera. I saw at once that my presence was very necessary. I found the conductor's desk occupied by a man calling himself Conductor Henning (or Henniger), an official who had won promotion from the ranks of ordinary musicians by an upright observance of the laws of seniority, but who knew precious little about conducting an orchestra at all, and about my opera had not the faintest glimmer of an idea. I took my seat at the desk, and conducted one full rehearsal and two performances, in neither of which, however, did Schroder-Devrient take part. Although I found much to complain of in the weakness of the string instruments and the consequent mean sound of the orchestra, yet I was well satisfied with the actors both as regards their capacity and their zeal. The careful staging, moreover, which under the supervision of the really gifted stage manager, Blum, and with the co-operation of his skilful and ingenious mechanics, was truly excellent, gave me a most pleasant surprise.

I was now very curious to learn what effect these pleasing and encouraging preparations would have upon the Berlin public when the full performance took place. My experiences on this point were very curious. Apparently the only thing that interested the large audience was to discover my weak points. During the first act the prevalent opinion seemed to be that I belonged to the category of bores. Not a single hand was moved, and I was afterwards informed that this was fortunate, as the slightest attempt at applause would have been ascribed to a paid claque, and would have been energetically opposed. Kustner alone assured me that the composure with which, on the close of this act, I quitted my desk and appeared before the curtain, had filled him with wonder, considering this entire absence--lucky as it appears to have been--of all applause. But so long as I myself felt content with the execution, I was not disposed to let the public apathy discourage me, knowing, as I did, that the crucial test was in the second act.

It lay, therefore, much nearer my heart to do all I could for the success of this than to inquire into the reasons for this attitude on the part of the Berlin public. And here the ice was really broken at last. The audience seemed to abandon all idea of finding a proper niche for me, and allowed itself to be carried away into giving vent to applause, which at last grew into the most boisterous enthusiasm. At the close of the act, amid a storm of shouts, I led forward my singers on to the stage for the customary bows of thanks. As the third act was too short to be tedious, and as the scenic effects were both new and impressive, we could not help hoping that we had won a veritable triumph, especially as renewed outbursts of applause marked the end of the performance. Mendelssohn, who happened at that time to be in Berlin, with Meyerbeer, on business relating to the general musical conductorship, was present in a stage box during this performance. He followed its progress with a pale face, and afterwards came and murmured to me in a weary tone of voice, 'Well, I should think you are satisfied now!' I met him several times during my brief stay in Berlin., and also spent an evening with him listening to various pieces of chamber-music. But never did another word concerning the Fliegender Hollander pass his lips, beyond inquiries as to the second performance, and as to whether Devrient or some one else would appear in it. I heard, moreover, that he had responded with equal indifference to the earnest warmth of my allusions to his own music for the Midsummer Night's Dream, which was being frequently played at that time, and which I had heard for the first time. The only thing he discussed with any detail was the actor Gern, who was playing in Zettel, and who he considered was overacting his part.

A few days later came a second performance with the same cast. My experiences on this evening were even more startling than on the former. Evidently the first night had won me a few friends, who were again present, for they began to applaud after the overture. But others responded with hisses, and for the rest of the evening no one again ventured to applaud. My old friend Heine had arrived in the meantime from Dresden, sent by our own board of directors to study the scenic arrangements of the Midsummer Night's Dream for our theatre. He was present at this second performance, and had persuaded me to accept the invitation from one of his Berlin relatives to have supper after the performance in a wine-bar unter den Linden. Very weary, I followed him to a nasty and badly lighted house, where I gulped down the wine with hasty ill-humour to warm myself, and listened to the embarrassed conversation of my good-natured friend and his companion, whilst I turned over the day's papers. I now had ample leisure to read the criticisms they contained on the first performance of my Fliegender Hollander. A terrible spasm cut my heart as I realised the contemptible tone and unparalleled shamelessness of their raging ignorance regarding my own name and work. Our Berlin friend and host, a thorough Philistine, said that he had known how things would go in the theatre that night, after having read these criticisms in the morning. The people of Berlin, he added, wait to hear what Rellstab and his mates have to say, and then they know how to behave. The good fellow was anxious to cheer me up, and ordered one wine after another. Heine hunted up his reminiscences of our merry Rienzi times in Dresden, until at last the pair conducted me, staggering along in an addled condition, to my hotel.

It was already midnight. As I was being lighted by the waiter through its gloomy corridors to my room, a gentleman in black, with a pale refined face, came forward and said he would like to speak to me. He informed me that he had waited there since the close of the play, and as he was determined to see me, had stopped till now. I excused myself on the ground of being quite unfit for business, and added that, although not exactly inclined to merriment, I had, as he might perceive, somewhat foolishly drunk a little too much wine. This I said in a stammering voice; but my strange visitor seemed only the more unwilling to be repulsed. He accompanied me to my room, declaring that it was all the more imperative for him to speak with me. We seated ourselves in the cold room, by the meagre light of a single candle, and then he began to talk. In flowing and impressive language he related that he had been present at the performance that night of my Fliegender Hollander, and could well conceive the humour in which the evening's experiences had left me. For this very reason he felt that nothing should hinder him from speaking to me that night, and telling me that in the Fliegender Hollander I had produced an unrivalled masterpiece. Moreover, the acquaintance he had made with this work had awakened in him a new and unforeseen hope for the future of German art; and that it would be a great pity if I yielded to any sense of discouragement as the result of the unworthy reception accorded to it by the Berlin public. My hair began to stand on end. One of Hoffmann's fantastic creations had entered bodily into my life. I could find nothing to say, except to inquire the name of my visitor, at which he seemed surprised, as I had talked with him the day before at Mendelssohn's house. He said that my conversation and manner had created such an impression upon him there, and had filled him with such sudden regret at not having sufficiently overcome his dislike for opera in general, to be present at the first performance, that he had at once resolved not to miss the second. His name, he added, was Professor Werder. That was no use to me, I said, he must write his name down. Getting paper and ink, he did as I desired, and we parted. I flung myself unconsciously on the bed for a deep and invigorating sleep. Next morning I was fresh and well. I paid a farewell call on Schroeder-Devrient, who promised me to do all she could for the Fliegender Hollander as soon as possible, drew my fee of a hundred ducats, and set off for home. On my way through Leipzig I utilised my ducats for the repayment of sundry advances made me by my relatives during the earlier and poverty-stricken period of my sojourn in Dresden, and then continued my journey, to recuperate among my books and meditate upon the deep impression made on me by Werder's midnight visit.

Before the end of this winter I received a genuine invitation to Hamburg for the performance of Rienzi. The enterprising director, Herr Cornet, through whom it came, confessed that he had many difficulties to contend against in the management of his theatre, and was in need of a great success. This, after the reception with which it had met in Dresden, he thought he could secure by the production of Rienzi. I accordingly betook myself thither in the month of March. The journey at that time was not an easy one, as after Hanover one had to proceed by mail-coach, and the crossing of the Elbe, which was full of floating ice, was a risky business. Owing to a great fire that had recently broken out, the town of Hamburg was in process of being rebuilt, and there were still many wide spaces encumbered with ruins. Cold weather and an ever-gloomy sky make my recollections of my somewhat prolonged sojourn in this town anything but agreeable. I was tormented to such an extent by having to rehearse with bad material, fit only for the poorest theatrical trumpery, that, worn out and exposed to constant colds, I spent most of my leisure time in the solitude of my inn chamber. My earlier experiences of ill-arranged and badly managed theatres came back to me afresh. I was particularly depressed when I realised that I had made myself an unconscious accomplice of Director Cornet's basest interests. His one aim was to create a sensation, which he thought should be of great service to me also; and not only did he put me off with a smaller fee, but even suggested that it should be paid by gradual instalments. The dignity of scenic decoration, of which he had not the smallest idea, was completely sacrificed to the most ridiculous and tawdry showiness. He imagined that pageantry was all that was really needed to secure my success. So he hunted out all the old fairy-ballet costumes from his stock, and fancied that if they only looked gay enough, and if plenty of people were bustling about on the stage, I ought to be satisfied. But the most sorry item of all was the singer he provided for the title-role. He was a man of the name of Wurda, an elderly, flabby and voiceless tenor, who sang Rienzi with the expression of a lover-- like Elvino, for instance, in the Somnanibula. He was so dreadful that I conceived the idea of making the Capitol tumble down in the second act, so as to bury him sooner in its ruins, a plan which would have cut out several of the processions, which were so dear to the heart of the director. I found my one ray of light in a lady singer, who delighted me with the fire with which she played the part of Adriano. This was a Mme. Fehringer, who was afterwards engaged by Liszt for the role of Ortrud in the production of Lohengrin at Weimar, but by that time her powers had greatly deteriorated. Nothing could be more depressing than my connection with this opera under such dismal circumstances. And yet there were no outward signs of failure. The manager hoped in any case to keep Rienzi in his repertoire until Tichatschek was able to come to Hamburg and give the people of that town a true idea of the play. This actually took place in the following summer.

My discouragement and ill-humour did not escape the notice of Herr Cornet, and discovering that I wished to present my wife with a parrot, he managed to procure a very fine bird, which he gave me as a parting gift. I carried it with me in its narrow cage on my melancholy journey home, and was touched to find that it quickly repaid my care and became very much attached to me. Minna greeted me with great joy when she saw this beautiful grey parrot, for she regarded it as a self-evident proof that I should do something in life. We already had a pretty little dog, born on the day of the first Rienzi rehearsal in Dresden, which, owing to its passionate devotion to myself, was much petted by all who knew me and visited my house during those years. This sociable bird, which had no vices and was an apt scholar, now formed an addition to our household; and the pair did much to brighten our dwelling in the absence of children. My wife soon taught the bird snatches of songs from Rienzi, with which it would good-naturedly greet me from a distance when it heard me coming up the stairs.

And thus at last my domestic hearth seemed to be established with every possible prospect of a comfortable competency.

No further excursions for the performance of any of my operas took place, for the simple reason that no such performances were given. As I saw it was quite clear that the diffusion of my works through the theatrical world would be a very slow business, I concluded that this was probably due to the fact that no adaptations of them for the piano existed. I therefore thought that I should do well to press forward such an issue at all costs, and in order to secure the expected profits, I hit upon the idea of publishing at my own expense. I accordingly made arrangements with F. Meser, the court music-dealer, who had hitherto not got beyond the publication of a valse, and signed an agreement with him for his firm to appear as the nominal publishers on the understanding that they should receive a commission of ten per cent, whilst I provided the necessary capital.

As there were two operas to be issued, including Rienzi, a work of exceptional bulk, it was not likely that these publications would prove very profitable unless, in addition to the usual piano selections, I also published adaptations, such as the music without words, for duet or solo. For this a fairly large capital was necessary. I also needed funds for the repayment of the loans already mentioned, and for the settlement of old debts, as well as to pay off the remaining expenses of my house-furnishing. I was therefore obliged to try and procure much larger sums. I laid my project and its motive before Schroder-Devrient, who had just returned to Dresden, at Easter, 1844, to fulfil a fresh engagement. She believed in the future of my works, recognised the peculiarity of my position, as well as the correctness of my calculations, and declared her willingness to provide the necessary capital for the publication of my operas, refusing to consider the act as one involving any sacrifice on her part. This money she proposed to get by selling out her investments in Polish state-bonds, and I was to pay the customary rate of interest. The thing was so easily done, and seemed so much a matter of course, that I at once made all needful arrangements with my Leipzig printer, and set to work on the publication of my operas.

When the amount of work delivered brought with it a demand for considerable payments on account, I approached my friend for a first advance. And here I became confronted with a new phase of that famous lady's life, which placed me in a position which proved as disastrous as it was unexpected. After having broken away from the unlucky Herr von Munchhausen some time previously, and returned, as it appeared, with penitential ardour to her former connection with my friend, Hermann Muller, it now turned out that she had found no real satisfaction in this fresh relationship. On the contrary, the star of her being, whom she had so long and ardently desired, had now at last arisen in the person of another lieutenant of the Guards. With a vehemence which made light of her treachery to her old friend, she elected this slim young man, whose moral and intellectual weaknesses were patent to every eye, as the chosen keystone of her life's love. He took the good luck that befell him so seriously, that he would brook no jesting, and at once laid hands on the fortune of his future wife, as he considered that it was disadvantageously and insecurely invested, and thought that he knew of much more profitable ways of employing it. My friend therefore explained, with much pain and evident embarrassment, that she had renounced all control over her capital, and was unable to keep her promise to me.

Owing to this I entered upon a series of entanglements and troubles which henceforth dominated my life, and plunged me into sorrows that left their dismal mark on all my subsequent enterprises. It was clear that I could not now abandon the proposed plan of publication. The only satisfactory solution of my perplexities was to be found in the execution of my project and the success which I hoped would attend it. I was compelled, therefore, to turn all my energies to the raising of the money wherewith to publish my two operas, to which in all probability Tannhauser would shortly have to be added. I first applied to my friends, and in some cases had to pay exorbitant rates of interest, even for short terms. For the present these details are sufficient to prepare the reader for the catastrophe towards which I was now inevitably drifting.

The hopelessness of my position did not at first reveal itself. There seemed no reason to despair of the eventual spread of my operatic works among the theatres in Germany, though my experience of them indicated that the process would be slow. In spite of the depressing experiences in Berlin and Hamburg, there were many encouraging signs to be seen. Above all, Rienzi maintained its position in favour of the people of Dresden, a place which undoubtedly occupied a position of great importance, especially during the summer months, when so many strangers from all parts of the world pass through it. My opera, which was not to be heard anywhere else, was in great request, both among the Germans and other visitors, and was always received with marked approbation, which surprised me very much. Thus a performance of Rienzi, especially in summer, became quite a Dionysian revelry, whose effect upon me could not fail to be encouraging.

On one occasion Liszt was among the number of these visitors. As Rienzi did not happen to be in the repertoire when he arrived, he induced the management at his earnest request to arrange a special performance. I met him between the acts in Tichatschek's dressing-room, and was heartily encouraged and touched by his almost enthusiastic appreciation, expressed in his most emphatic manner. The kind of life to which Liszt was at that time condemned, and which bound him to a perpetual environment of distracting and exciting elements, debarred us from all more intimate and fruitful intercourse. Yet from this time onward I continued to receive constant testimonies of the profound and lasting impression I had made upon him, as well as of his sympathetic remembrance of me. From various parts of the world, wherever his triumphal progress led him, people, chiefly of the upper classes, came to Dresden for the purpose of hearing Rienzi. They had been so interested by Liszt's reports of my work, and by his playing of various selections from it, that they all came expecting something of unparalleled importance.

Besides these indications of Liszt's enthusiastic and friendly sympathy, other deeply touching testimonies appeared from different quarters. The startling beginning made by Werder, on the occasion of his midnight visit after the second performance of the Fliegender Hollander in Berlin, was shortly afterwards followed by a similarly unsolicited approach in the form of an effusive letter from an equally unknown personage, Alwino Frommann, who afterwards became my faithful friend. After my departure from Berlin she heard Schroder-Devrient twice in the Fliegender Hollander, and the letter in which she described the effect produced upon her by my work conveyed to me for the first time the vigorous and profound sentiments of a deep and confident recognition such as seldom falls to the lot of even the greatest master, and cannot fail to exercise a weighty influence on his mind and spirit, which long for self-confidence.

I have no very vivid recollections of my own doings during this first year of my position as conductor in a sphere of action which gradually grew more and more familiar. For the anniversary of my appointment, and to some extent as a personal recognition, I was commissioned to procure Gluck's Armida. This we performed in March, 1843, with the co-operation of Schroder-Devrient, just before her temporary departure from Dresden. Great importance was attached to this production, because, at the same moment, Meyerbeer was inaugurating his general-directorship in Berlin by a performance of the same work. Indeed, it was in Berlin that the extraordinary respect entertained for such a commemoration of Gluck had its origin. I was told that Meyerbeer went to Rellstab with the score of Armida in order to obtain hints as to its correct interpretation.

As not long afterwards I also heard a strange story of two silver candlesticks, wherewith the famous composer was said, to have enlightened the no less famous critic when showing him the score of his Feldlager in Schlesien, I decided to attach no great importance to the instructions he might have received, but rather to help myself by a careful handling of this difficult score, and by introducing some softness into it through modulating the variations in tone as much as possible. I had the gratification later of receiving an exceedingly warm appreciation of my rendering from Herr Eduard Devrient, a great Gluck connoisseur. After hearing this opera as presented by us, and comparing it with the Berlin performance, he heartily praised the tenderly modulated character of our rendering of certain parts, which, he said, had been given in Berlin with the coarsest bluntness. He mentioned, as a striking instance of this, a brief chorus in C major of male and female nymphs in the third act. By the introduction of a more moderate tempo and very soft piano I had tried to free this from the original coarseness with which Devrient had heard it rendered in Berlin--presumably with traditional fidelity. My most innocent device, and one which I frequently adopted, for disguising the irritating stiffness or the orchestral movement in the original, was a careful modification of the Basso-continuo, which was taken uninterruptedly in common time. This I felt obliged to remedy, partly by legato playing, and partly by pizzicato.

Our management were lavish in their expenditure on externals, especially decoration, and as a spectacular opera the piece drew fairly large houses, thus earning me the reputation of being a very suitable conductor for Gluck, and one who was in close sympathy with him. This result was the more conspicuous from the fact that Iphigenia in Tauris which is a far superior work, and in which Devrient's interpretation of the title-role was admirable had been performed to empty houses,

I had to live upon this reputation for a long time, as it often happened that I was compelled to give inferior performances of repertoire pieces, including Mozart's operas. The mediocrity of these was particularly disappointing to those who, after my success in Armida, had expected a great deal from my rendering of these pieces, and were much disappointed in consequence. Even sympathetic hearers sought to explain their disappointment on the ground that I did not appreciate Mozart and could not understand him. But they failed to realise how impossible it was for me, as a mere conductor, to exercise any real influence on such desultory performances, which were merely given as stopgaps, and often without rehearsal. Indeed, in this matter I often found myself in a false position, which, as I was powerless to remedy it, contributed not a little to render unbearable both my new office and my dependence upon the meanest motives of a paltry theatrical routine, already overweighted with the cares of business. This, in fact, became worse than I had expected, in spite of my previous knowledge of the precariousness of such a life. My colleague Reissiger, to whom from time to time I poured out my woes regarding the scant attention given by the general management to our demands for the maintenance of correct representations in the realm of opera, comforted me by saying that I, like himself, would sooner or later relinquish all these fads and submit to the inevitable fate of a conductor. Thereupon he proudly smote his stomach, and hoped that I might soon be able to boast of one as round as his own.

I received further provocation for my growing dislike of these jog-trot methods from a closer acquaintance with the spirit in which even eminent conductors undertook the reproduction of our masterpieces. During this first year Mendelssohn was invited to conduct his St. Paul for one of the Palm Sunday concerts in the Dresden chapel, which was famous at that time. The knowledge I thus acquired of this work, under such favourable circumstances, pleased me so much, that I made a fresh attempt to approach the composer with sincere and friendly motives; but a remarkable conversation which I had with him on the evening of this performance quickly and strangely repelled my impulse. After the oratorio Reissiger was to produce Beethoven's Eighth Symphony. I had noticed in the preceding rehearsal that Keissiger had fallen into the error of all the ordinary conductors of this work by taking the tempo di minuetto of the third movement at a meaningless waltz time, whereby not only does the whole piece lose its imposing character, but the trio is rendered absolutely ridiculous by the impossibility of the violoncello part being interpreted at such a speed. I had called Reissiger's attention to this defect, and he acquiesced in my opinion, promising to take the part in question at true minuetto tempo. I related this to Mendelssohn, when he was resting after his own performance in the box beside me, listening to the symphony. He, too, acknowledged that I was right, and thought that it ought to be played as I said. And now the third movement began. Reissiger, who, it is true, did not possess the needful power suddenly to impress so momentous a change of time upon his orchestra with success, followed the usual custom and took the tempo di minuetto in the same old waltz time. Just as I was about to express my anger, Mendelssohn gave me a friendly nod, as though he thought that this was what I wanted, and that I had understood the music in this way. I was so amazed by this complete absence of feeling on the part of the famous musician, that I was struck dumb, and thenceforth my own particular opinion of Mendelssohn gradually matured, an opinion which was afterwards confirmed by R. Schumann. The latter, in expressing the sincere pleasure he had felt on listening to the time at which I had taken the first movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, told me that he had been compelled to hear it year after year taken by Mendelssohn at a perfectly distracting speed.

Amid my yearning anxiety to exert some influence upon the spirit in which our noblest masterpieces were executed, I had to struggle against the profound dissatisfaction I felt with my employment on the ordinary theatre repertoire. It was not until Palm Sunday of the year 1844, just after my dispiriting expedition to Hamburg, that my desire to conduct the Pastoral Symphony was satisfied. But many faults still remained unremedied, and for the removal of these I had to adopt indirect methods which gave me much trouble. For instance, at these famous concerts the arrangement of the orchestra, the members of which were seated in a long, thin, semicircular row round the chorus of singers, was so inconceivably stupid that it required the explanation given by Reissiger to make me understand such folly. He told me that all these arrangements dated from the time of the late conductor Morlacchi, who, as an Italian composer of operas, had no true realisation of the importance of the orchestra nor of its necessities. When, therefore, I asked why they had permitted him to meddle with things he did not understand, I learned that the preference shown to this Italian, both by the court and the general management, even in opposition to Carl Maria von Weber, had always been absolute and brooked no contradiction. I was warned that, even now, we should experience great difficulty in ridding ourselves of these inherited vices, because the opinion still prevailed in the highest circles that he must have understood best what he was about.

Once more my childish memories of the eunuch Sassaroli flashed through my mind, and I remembered the warning of Weber's widow as to the significance of my succession to her husband's post of conductor in Dresden. But, in spite of all this, our performance of the Pastoral Symphony succeeded beyond expectation, and the incomparable and wonderfully stimulating enjoyment, which I was in future to derive from my intercourse with Beethoven's works, now first enabled me to realise his prolific strength. Kockel shared in this enjoyment with heartfelt sympathy; he supported me with eye and ear at every rehearsal, always stood by my side, and was at one with me both in his appreciation and his aims.

After this encouraging success I was to receive the gratification of another triumph in the summer, which, although it was of no particular moment from the musical point of view, was of great social importance. The King of Saxony, towards whom, as I have already said, I had felt warmly drawn when he was Prince Friedrich, was expected home from a long visit to England. The reports received of his stay there had greatly rejoiced my patriotic soul. While this homely monarch, who shrank from all pomp and noisy demonstration, was in England, it happened that the Tsar Nicholas arrived quite unexpectedly on a visit to the Queen. In his honour great festivities and military reviews were held, in which our King, much against his will, was obliged to participate, and he was consequently compelled to receive the enthusiastic acclamations of the English crowd, who were most demonstrative in showing their preference for him, as compared with the unpopular Tsar. This preference was also reflected in the newspapers, so that a flattering incense floated over from England to our little Saxony which filled us all with a peculiar pride in our King. While I was in this mood, which absorbed me completely, I learned that preparations were being made in Leipzig for a special welcome to the King on his return, which was to be further dignified by a musical festival in the directing of which Mendelssohn was to take part. I made inquiries as to what was going to be done in Dresden, and learned that the King did not propose to call there at all, but was going direct to his summer residence at Pillnitz.

A moment's reflection showed me that this would only further my desire of preparing a pleasant and hearty reception for his Majesty. As I was a servant of the Crown, any attempt on my part to render an act of homage in Dresden might have had the appearance of an official parade which would not be admissible. I seized the idea, therefore, of hurriedly collecting together all who could either play or sing, so that we might perform a Reception song hastily composed in honour of the event. The obstacle to my plan was that my Director Luttichau was away at one of his country seats. To come to an understanding with my colleague Reissiger would, moreover, have involved delay, and given the enterprise the very aspect of an official ovation which I wished to avoid. As no time was to be lost, if anything worthy of the occasion was to be done--as the King was due to arrive in a few days--I availed myself of my position as conductor of the Glee Club, and summoned all its singers and instrumentalists to my aid. In addition to these, I invited the members of our theatrical company, and also those of the orchestra, to join us. This done, I drove quickly to Pillnitz to arrange matters with the Lord Chamberlain, whom I found favourably disposed towards my project. The only leisure I could snatch for composing the verses of my song and setting them to music was during the rapid drive there and back, for by the time I reached home I had to have every thing ready for the copyist and lithographer. The agreeable sensation of rushing through the warm summer air and lovely country, coupled with the sincere affection with which I was inspired for our German Prince, and which had prompted my effort, elated me and worked me up to a high pitch of tension, in which I now formed a clear conception of the lyrical outlines of the 'Tannhauser March,' which first saw the light of day on the occasion of this royal welcome. I soon afterwards developed this theme, and thus produced the march which became the most popular of the melodies I had hitherto composed.

On the next day it had to be tried over with a hundred and twenty instrumentalists and three hundred singers. I had taken the liberty of inviting them to meet me on the stage of the Court Theatre, where everything went off capitally. Every one was delighted, and I not the least so, when a messenger arrived from the director, who had just returned to town, requesting an immediate interview. Littichau was enraged beyond measure at my high-handed proceedings in this matter, of which he had been informed by our good friend Reissiger. If his baronial coronet had been on his head during this interview, it would assuredly have tumbled off. The fact that I should have conducted my negotiations in person with the court officials, and could report that my endeavours had met with extraordinarily prompt success, aroused his deepest fury, for the chief importance of his own position consisted in always representing everything which had to be obtained by these means as surrounded by the greatest obstacles, and hedged in by the strictest etiquette. I offered to cancel everything, but that only embarrassed him the more. I thereupon asked him what he wanted me to do, if the plan was still to be carried out. On this point he seemed uncertain, but thought I had shown a great lack of fellow-feeling in having not only ignored him, but Reissiger as well. I answered that I was perfectly ready to hand over my composition and the conducting of the piece to Reissiger. But he could not swallow this, as he really had an exceedingly poor opinion of Reissiger, of which I was very well aware. His real grievance was that I had arranged the whole business with the Lord Chamberlain, Herr von Reizenstein, who was his personal enemy, and he added that I could form no conception of the rudeness he had been obliged to endure from the hands of this official. This outburst of confidence made it easier for me to exhibit an almost sincere emotion, to which he responded by a shrug of the shoulders, meaning that he must resign himself to a disagreeable necessity.

But my project was even more seriously threatened by the wretched weather than by this storm with the director; for it rained all day in torrents. If it lasted, which it seemed only too likely to do, I could hardly start on the special boat at five o'clock in the morning, as proposed, with my hundreds of helpers, to give an early morning concert at Pillnitz, two hours away. I anticipated such a disaster with genuine dismay. But Rockel consoled me by saying that I could rely upon it that we should have glorious weather the next day; for I was lucky! This belief in my luck has followed me ever since, even down to my latest days; and amid the great misfortunes which have so often hampered my enterprises, I have felt as if this statement were a wicked insult to fate. But this time, at least, my friend was right; the 12th of August, 1844 was from sunrise till late at night the most perfect summer day that I can remember in my whole life. The sensation of blissful content with which I saw my light-hearted legion of gaily dressed bandsmen and singers gathering through the auspicious morning mists on board our steamer, swelled my breast with a fervent faith in my lucky star.

By my friendly impetuosity I had succeeded in overcoming Reissiger's smouldering resentment, and had persuaded him to share the honour of our undertaking by conducting the performance of my composition himself. When we arrived at the spot, everything went off splendidly. The King and royal family were visibly touched, and in the evil times that followed the Queen of Saxony spoke of this occasion, I am told, with peculiar emotion, as the fairest day of her life. After Reissiger had wielded his baton with great dignity, and I had sung with the tenors in the choir, we two conductors were summoned to the presence of the royal family. The King warmly expressed his thanks, while the Queen paid us the high compliment of saying that I composed very well and that Reissiger conducted very well. His Majesty asked us to repeat the last three stanzas only, as, owing to a painful ulcerated tooth, he could not remain much longer out of doors. I rapidly devised a combined evolution, the remarkably successful execution of which I am very proud, even to this day. I had the entire song repeated, but, in accordance with the King's wish, only one verse was sung in our original crescent formation. At the beginning of the second verse I made my four hundred undisciplined bandsmen and singers file off in a march through the garden, which, as they gradually receded, was so arranged that the final notes could only reach the royal ear as an echoing dream-song. Thanks to my unexampled activity and ever-present help, this retreat was so steadily carried out that not the slightest faltering was perceptible either in time or delivery, and the whole might have been taken for a carefully rehearsed theatrical manoeuvre. On reaching the castle court we found that, by the Queen's kindly forethought, an ample breakfast had been provided for our party on the lawn, where the tables were already spread. We often saw our royal hostess herself busily supervising the attendants, or moving with excited delight about the windows and corridors of the castle. Every eye beamed rapture to my soul, as the successful author of the general happiness, and I almost felt amid the glories of that day as though the millennium had been proclaimed. After roaming in a body through the lovely grounds of the castle, and not omitting to pay a visit to the Keppgrund which had been so dear to me in my youth, we returned late at night, and in the highest spirits, to Dresden.

Next morning I was again summoned to the presence of the director. But a change had come over him during the night.

As I began to offer my apologies for the anxiety I had caused him, the tall thin man, with the hard dry face, seized me by the hand and addressed me with a rapturous expression, which I am sure no one else ever saw on his face. He told me to say no more about these anxieties. I was a great man, and soon no one would know anything about him, whereas I should be universally admired and loved. I was deeply moved, and wished only to express my embarrassment at so unexpected an outburst, when he kindly interrupted me and sought an escape from his own emotion in good-humoured confidences. He referred, with a smile, to the self-denial which had yielded the place of honour on so extraordinary an occasion to an undeserving man like Reissiger. When I assured him that this act had afforded me the liveliest satisfaction, and that I had myself persuaded my colleague to take the baton, he confessed that at last he began to understand me, but failed altogether to comprehend how the other could accept a position to which he had no right.

Luttichau's altered attitude towards me was such that for some time our intercourse on matters of business assumed an almost confidential tone. But, unfortunately, in course of time things changed for the worse, so that our relationship became one of open enmity; nevertheless, a certain peculiar tenderness towards me on the part of this singular man was always clearly perceptible. Indeed, I might almost say that much of his subsequent abuse of me sounded more like the strangely perverted plaints of a love that met with no response.

For my holiday this year I went, early in September, to Fischer's vineyard, near Loschwitz, not far from the famous Firidlater vineyard, where, somewhat late in the year, I rented a summer residence. Where under the kindly and strengthening stimulus of six week of open-air life, I composed my music for the second act of Tannhauser, which I completed by the 15th of October. During this period a performance of Rienzi was given before an audience of no ordinary importance. For this event I went up to town. Spontini, Meyerbeer, and General Lwoff, the composer of the Russian National Anthem, were seated together in a stage box. I sought no opportunity of learning the impression made by my opera upon these learned judges and magnates of the musical world. It was enough for me to have the complacent satisfaction of knowing that they had heard my oft-repeated work performed before a crowded house and amid overwhelming applause. I was delighted at the close of the opera to have my little dog Peps, which had run after me all the way from the country, brought to me; and without waiting to greet the European celebrities, I drove off with it at once to our quiet vineyard, where Minna was greatly relieved to recover her little pet, which for hours she had believed to be lost.

Here I also received a visit from Werder, the man whose friendship I had made in Berlin under such dramatic circumstances. But this time he appeared in ordinary human guise, beneath the kindly light of heaven, by which we disputed in a friendly way concerning the true worth of the Fliegender Hollander, my mind having somewhat turned against this work since Tannhauser had got into my head. It certainly seemed odd to find myself contradicted on this point by my friend, and to receive instruction from him on the significance of my own work.

When we returned to our winter quarters I tried to avoid allowing so lengthy an interval to elapse between the composition of the second and third acts as had separated that of the first and second. In spite of many absorbing engagements I succeeded in my aim. By carefully cultivating a habit of taking solitary walks, and thanks to their soothing influence over me, I managed to finish the music of Act iii. by the 29th of December, that is to say, before the end of the year.

During this period my time was otherwise very seriously occupied by a visit paid us by Spontini with reference to a proposed presentation of his Vestalin, the preparation for which had just begun. The singular episodes and characteristic features of the intercourse which I thus gained with this eminent and hoary-headed master are still so vividly imprinted on my memory that they seem worthy of a place in this record.

Since, with the co-operation of Schroder-Devrient, we could, on the whole, rely upon an admirable presentation of the opera, I had inspired Luttichau with the idea of inviting Spontini to undertake the personal superintendence of his justly famous work. He had just left Berlin for ever, after enduring great humiliation there, and such an invitation at this moment would be a well-timed proof of respect. This was accordingly sent, and as I had myself been entrusted with the conductorship of the opera, I was given the singular task of deciding this point with the master. My letter, it appears, although written in French, inspired him with a high opinion of my zeal for the enterprise, and in a gracious reply he informed me what his special wishes were regarding the arrangements to be made for his collaboration. As far as the vocalists were concerned, and seeing that a Schroder-Devrient was among the number, he frankly expressed his satisfaction. As for chorus and ballet, he took it for granted that nothing would be lacking to the dignity of the performance; and finally, as regarded the orchestra, he expected that this also would be sure to please him, as he presumed it contained the necessary complement of excellent instruments which, to use his own words, 'he hoped would furnish the performance with twelve good contrabass!' (le tout garni de douze bonnes contre-basses). This phrase bowled me over, for the proportion thus bluntly stated in figures gave me so logical a conception of his exalted expectations, that I hurried away at once to the director to warn him that the enterprise on which we had embarked would not, after all, prove as easy as we thought. His alarm was great, and he said that some plan must at once be devised for breaking off the engagement.

When Schroder-Devrient heard of our dilemma, knowing Spontini well, she laughed as though she would never stop at the ingenuous impudence with which we had issued our invitation. A trifling indisposition from which she then suffered provided a reasonable excuse for a delay, more or less prolonged, and this she generously placed at our disposal. Spontini had, in fact, urged us to use all possible despatch in the execution of our project, for, as he was impatiently awaited in Paris, he could spare us but little time. It fell to my lot to weave the tissue of innocent deceptions by which we hoped to divert the master from a definite acceptance of our invitation. Now we could breathe again, and duly began rehearsing. But on the very day before we proposed to hold our full-dress rehearsal at our leisure, lo and behold! about noon a carriage drove up to my door, in which, clad in a long blue coat of pilot-cloth, sat no other than the haughty master himself, whose manners resembled those of a Spanish grandee. All unattended and greatly excited, he entered my room, showed me my letters, and proved from our correspondence that the invitation had not been declined, but that he had in all points accurately complied with our wishes. Forgetting for the moment all the possible embarrassments which might arise, in my genuine delight at beholding the wonderful man before me, and hearing his work conducted by himself, I at once undertook to do everything I possibly could to meet his desires. This declaration I made with the utmost sincerity of zeal. He smiled with almost childlike kindliness on hearing me, and I at once begged him to conduct the rehearsal arranged for the morrow. He thereupon grew suddenly thoughtful, and began to weigh the numerous disadvantages of such an action on his part. So acute did his agitation become that he had the greatest difficulty in expressing himself clearly on any point, and I found it no easy matter to inquire what arrangements on our part would persuade him to undertake the morrow's rehearsal. After a moment's reflection he asked what sort of baton I was accustomed to use when conducting. With my hands I indicated the approximate length and thickness of a medium-sized wooden rod, such as our choir-attendant was in the habit of supplying, freshly covered with white paper. He sighed, and asked if I thought it possible to procure him by to-morrow a baton of black ebony, whose very respectable length and thickness he indicated by a gesture, and on each end of which a fairly large knob of ivory was to be affixed. I promised to have one prepared for the next rehearsal, which should at least be similar in appearance to what he desired, and another of the specified materials in time for the actual performance. Visibly relieved, he then passed his hand over his brow, and granted me permission to announce his consent to conduct on the following day. After once more strongly enforcing his instructions as to the baton, he went back to his hotel.

I seemed to be moving in a dream, and hastened in a whirl-wind of excitement to publish the news of what had happened and was to be expected. We were fairly trapped. Schroder-Devrient offered to become our scapegoat, while I entered into precise details with the theatre carpenter concerning the baton. This turned out so far correct that it possessed the requisite length and breadth, was black in its colour, and had two large white knobs. Then came the fateful rehearsal. Spontini was evidently ill at ease on his seat in the orchestra. First of all he wished to have the oboists placed behind him. As this partial change of position just at that moment would have caused much confusion in the disposition of the orchestra, I promised to effect the alteration after the rehearsal. He said no more, and took up his baton. In a moment I understood why he attached such importance to its form and size. He held it, not as other conductors do, by the end, but gripped it about the middle with his clenched fist, waving it so as to make it evident that he wielded his baton like a field-marshal's staff, not for beating time, but for command.

Confusion arose in the very first scene, which was increased by the fact that the master's instructions, both to orchestra and singers, were rendered almost unintelligible by his confused use of the German language. This much at least we were soon able to grasp, that he was particularly anxious to disabuse us of the idea that this was a full-dress rehearsal, and to show us that he was set upon a thorough re-study of the opera from the very beginning. Great, indeed, was the despair of my good old chorus-master and stage manager, Fischer--who before had enthusiastically advocated the invitation of Spontini--when he recognised that the dislocation of our repertoire was now inevitable. This feeling swelled by degrees to open anger, in the blindness of which every fresh suggestion of Spontini's appeared but frivolous fault-finding, to which he bluntly responded in the coarsest German. After one of the choruses Spontini beckoned me to his side and whispered: 'Mais savez-vous, vos choeurs ne chantent pas mal'; whereupon Fischer, regarding this with suspicion, shouted out to me in a rage: 'What does the old hog want now?' and I had some trouble to pacify the speedily converted enthusiast.

But our most serious delay arose, during the first act, through the evolutions of a triumphal march. With the most vociferous emphasis the master expressed intense dissatisfaction with the apathetic demeanour of our populace during the procession of vestal virgins. He was quite unaware of the fact that, in obedience to our stage manager's instructions, they had fallen on their knees upon the appearance of the priestesses; for he was so excited, and withal so terribly short-sighted, that nothing which appealed to the eye alone was perceptible to his senses. What he demanded was that the Roman army should manifest its devout respect in more drastic fashion by flinging themselves as one man to the ground, and marking this by delivering a crashing blow of their spears on their shields. Endless attempts were made, but some one always clattered either too soon or too late. Then he repeated the action himself several times with his baton on the desk, but all to no purpose; the crash was not sufficiently sharp and emphatic. This reminded me of the impression made upon me some years before in Berlin by the wonderful precision and almost alarming effect with which I had seen similar evolutions carried out in the play of Ferdinand Cortez, and I realized that it would require an immediate and tedious accentuation of our customary softness of action in such maneouvres before we could meet the fastidious master's requirements. At the end of the first act Spontini went on the stage himself, in order to give a detailed explanation of his reasons for wishing to defer his opera for a considerable time, so as to prepare by multitudinous rehearsals for its production in accordance with his taste. He expected to find the actors of the Dresden Court Theatre gathered there to hear him; but the company had already dispersed. Singers and stage manager had hastily scattered in every direction to give vent, each in his own fashion, to the misery of the situation. None but the workmen, lamp-cleaners, and a few of the chorus gathered in a semicircle around Spontini, in order to have a look at that remarkable man, as he held forth with wonderful effect on the requirements of true theatrical art. Turning towards the dismal scene, I gently and respectfully pointed out to Spontini the uselessness of his declamation, and promised that everything should eventually be done precisely as he desired.

Finally, I succeeded in extricating him from the undignified position in which, to my horror, he had been placed, by telling him that Herr Eduard Devrient, who had seen the Vestalin in Berlin, and carried every detail of the performance in his mind, should personally drill our chorus and supers into a becoming solemnity during the reception of the vestals. This pacified him, and we proceeded to settle on a plan for a series of rehearsals according to his wishes. But, in spite of all this, I was the only person to whom this strange turn of affairs was not unwelcome; for through the burlesque extravagances of Spontini, and notwithstanding his extraordinary eccentricities, which, however, I learned in time to understand, I could perceive the miraculous energy with which he pursued and attained an ideal of theatrical art such as in our days had become almost unknown.

We began, therefore, with a pianoforte rehearsal, at which the master made a point of telling the singers what he wanted. He did not tell us anything new, however, for he said little about the details of the rendering; on the other hand, he expatiated upon the general interpretation, and I noticed that in doing this, he had accustomed himself to make the most decided allowances for the great singers, especially Schroder-Devrient and Tichatschek. The only thing he did was to forbid the latter to use the word Braut (bride) with which Licinius had to address Julia in the German translation; this word sounded horrible in his ears, and he could not understand how anybody could set such a vulgar sound as that to music. He gave a long lecture, however, to the somewhat coarse and less talented singer who took the part of the high-priest, and explained to him how to understand and interpret this character from the dialogue (in recitative) between him and Haruspex. He told him that he must understand that the whole thing was based upon priestcraft and superstition. Pontifex must make it clear that he does not fear his antagonist at the head of the Roman army, because, should the worst come to the worst, he has his machines ready, which, if necessary, will miraculously rekindle the dead fire of Vesta. In this way, even though Julia should escape the sacrifice, the power of the priesthood would still be unassailable.

During one of the rehearsals I asked Spontini why he, who, as a rule, made such very effective use of the trombone, should have left it entirely out in the magnificent triumphal march of the first act. Very much astonished he asked: 'Est-ce que je n'ai pas de trombones?' I showed him the printed score, and he then asked me to add the trombones to the march, so that, if possible, they might be used at the next rehearsal. He also said: 'J'ai entendu dans votre Rienzi un instrument, que vous appelez Basse-tuba; je ne veux pas bannir cet instrument de l'orchestre: faites m'en une partie pour la Vestale.' It gave me great pleasure to perform this task for him with all the care and good judgment I could dispose of. When at the rehearsal he heard the effect for the first time, he threw me a really grateful glance, and so much appreciated the really simple additions I had made to his score, that a little later on he wrote me a very friendly letter from Paris in which he asked me kindly to send him the extra instrumental parts I had prepared for him. His pride would not allow him, however, to ask outright for something for which I alone had been responsible, so he wrote: 'Envoyez-moi une partition des trombones pour la marche triomphale et de la Basse-tuba telle qu'elle a ete executee sous ma direction a Dresde.' Apart from this, I also showed how greatly I respected him, in the eagerness with which, at his special request, I regrouped all the instruments in the orchestra. He was forced to this request more by habit than by principle, and how very important it seemed to him not to make the slightest change in his customary arrangements, was proved to me when he explained his method of conducting. He conducted the orchestra, so he said, only with his eyes: 'My left eye is the first violin, my right eye the second, and if the eye is to have power, one must not wear glasses (as so many bad conductors do), even if one is short-sighted. I,' he admitted confidentially, 'cannot see twelve inches in front of me, but all the same I can make them play as I want, merely by fixing them with my eye.' In some respects the arbitrary way in which he used to arrange his orchestra was really very irrational. From his old days in Paris he had retained the habit of placing the two oboists immediately behind him, and although this was a fad which owed its origin to a mere accident, it was one to which he always adhered. The consequence was that these players had to avert the mouthpiece of their instruments from the audience, and our excellent oboist was so angry about this arrangement, that it was only by dint of great diplomacy that I succeeded in pacifying him.

Apart from this, Spontini's method was based upon the absolutely correct system (which even at the present time is misunderstood by some German orchestras) of spreading the string quartette over the whole orchestra. This system further consisted in preventing the brass and percussion instruments from culminating in one point (and drowning each other) by dividing them on both sides, and by placing the more delicate wind instruments at a judicious distance from each other, thus forming a chain between the violins. Even some great and celebrated orchestras of the present day still retain the custom of dividing the mass of instruments into two halves, the string and the wind instruments, an arrangement that denotes roughness and a lack of understanding of the sound of the orchestra, which ought to blend harmoniously and be well balanced.

I was very glad to have the chance of introducing this excellent improvement in Dresden, for now that Spontini himself had initiated it, it was an easy matter to get the King's command to let the alteration stand. Nothing remained after Spontini's departure but to modify and correct certain eccentricities and arbitrary features in his arrangements; and from that moment I attained a high level of success with my orchestra.

With all the peculiarities he showed at rehearsals, this exceptional man fascinated both musicians and singers to such an extent that the production attracted quite an unusual amount of attention. Very characteristic was the energy with which he insisted on exceptionally sharp rhythmic accents; through his association with the Berlin orchestra he had acquired the habit of marking the note that he wished to be brought out with the word diese (this), which at first was quite incomprehensible to me. The great singer Tichatschek, who had a positive genius for rhythm, was highly pleased by this; for he also had acquired the habit of compelling the chorus to great precision in very important entries, and maintained that if one only accentuated the first note properly, the rest followed as a matter of course. On the whole, therefore, a spirit of devotion to the master gradually pervaded the orchestra; the violas alone bore him a grudge for a while, and for this reason. In the accompaniment of the lugubrious cantilena of Julia at the end of the second act, he would not put up with the way in which the violas played the horribly sentimental accompaniment. Suddenly turning towards them he called in a sepulchral tone, 'Are the violas dying?' The two pale and incurably melancholy old men who held on tenaciously to their posts in the orchestra, notwithstanding their right to a pension, stared at Spontini with real fright, reading a threat in his words, and I had to explain Spontini's wish in sober language in order to call them back to life.

On the stage Herr Eduard Devrient helped very materially in bringing about wonderfully distinct ensembles; he also knew how to gratify a certain wish of Spontini's, which threw us all into tremendous confusion. In accordance with the cuts adopted by all the German theatres, we too ended the opera with the fiery duet, supported by the chorus, between Licinius and Julia after their rescue. The master, however, insisted on adding a lively chorus and ballet to the finale, according to the antiquated method of ending common to French opera seria. He was absolutely against finishing his work with a dismal churchyard episode; consequently the whole scene had to be altered. Venus was to shine resplendent in a rose bower, and the long-suffering lovers were to be wedded at her altar, amid lively dancing and singing, by rose-bedecked priests and priestesses. We performed it like this, but unluckily not with the success we had all hoped for.

In the course of the production, which was proceeding with wonderful accuracy and verve, we came across a difficulty with regard to the principal part for which none of us had been prepared. Our great Schroder-Devrient was obviously no longer of an age to give the desired effect as the youngest of the vestal virgins; she had acquired matronly contours, and her age was moreover accentuated by the extremely girlish-looking high-priestess with whom she had to act, and whose youth it was difficult to dissimulate. This was my niece, Johanna Wagner, who, because of her marvellous voice and great talent as an actress, made every one in the audience long to see the parts of the two women reversed. Schroder-Devrient, who was well aware of this fact, tried by every effective means in her power to overcome her most difficult position; this effort, however, resulted not infrequently in great exaggeration and straining of the voice, and in one very important place her part was sadly overacted. When, after the great trio in the second act, she had to gasp the words, 'er ist frei' ('he is free'), and to move away from her rescued lover towards the front of the stage, she made the mistake of speaking the words instead of singing them.

She had often proved the effect of a decisive word uttered with an exaggerated and yet careful imitation of the ordinary accents of the spoken language, by exciting the audience's wildest enthusiasm when she almost whispered the words, 'Noch einen Schritt und du bist todt!' ('Just one more step and thou art dead!') in Fidelia. This terrific effect, which I too had felt, was produced by the shock--like unto the blow of an executioner's axe--which I received on suddenly coming down from the ideal sphere to which music itself can exalt the most awful situations, to the naked surface of dreadful reality. This sensation was due simply to the knowledge of the utmost height of the sublime, and the memory of the impression I received led me to call that particular moment the moment of lightning; for it was as if two different worlds that meet, and yet are divided, were suddenly illumined and revealed as by a flash. Thoroughly to understand such a moment, and not to treat it wrongly, was the whole secret, and this I fully realised on that day from the absolute failure on the great singer's part to produce the right effect. The toneless, hoarse way in which she uttered the words was like throwing cold water over the audience and myself, and not one of those present could see any more in the incident than a botched theatrical effect. It is possible that the public had expected too much, for they were curious to see Spontini conduct, and the prices had been raised accordingly; it may also have been that the whole style of the work, with its antiquated French plot, seemed rather obsolete in spite of the majestic beauty, of the music; or, perhaps, the very tame end left the same cold impression as Devrient's dramatic failure. In any case there was no real enthusiasm, and the only sign of approval was a rather lukewarm call for the celebrated master, who, covered with numerous decorations, made a sad impression on me as he bowed his thanks to the audience for their very moderate applause.

Nobody was less blind to the somewhat disappointing result than Spontini himself. He decided, however, to defy fate, and to this end had recourse to means which he had often employed in Berlin, in order to get packed houses for his operatic productions. Thus, he always gave Sunday performances, for experience had taught him that he could always have a full house on that day. As the next Sunday on which his Vestalin was to be produced was still some time ahead, his prolonged stay gave us several more chances of enjoying his interesting company. I have such a vivid recollection of the hours spent with him either at Madame Devrient's or at my house, that I shall be pleased to quote a few reminiscences.

I shall never forget a dinner at Schroder-Devrient's house at which we had a charming conversation with Spontini and his wife (a sister of the celebrated pianoforte maker, Erard). Spontini generally listened deferentially to what the others had to say, his attitude being that of a man who expected to be asked for his opinion. When he did speak in the end it was with a sort of rhetorical solemnity, in sharp and precise sentences, categorical and well accentuated, which forbade contradiction from the outset. Herr Ferdinand Hiller was among the invited guests, and he began to speak about Liszt. After some time Spontini gave his opinion in his characteristic fashion, but in a spirit which showed only too clearly, that from the heights of his Berlin throne he had not judged the affairs of the world either with impartiality or goodwill. While he was laying down the law in this style he could not brook any interruption. When, therefore, during the dessert, the general conversation became livelier, and Madame Devrient happened to laugh with her neighbour at the table in the middle of a long harangue of Spontini's, he shot an extremely angry glance at his wife. Madame Devrient apologised for her at once by saying that it was she (Madame Devrient) who had been laughing about some lines on a bonbonniere, whereupon Spontini retorted: 'Pourtant je suis sur que c'est ma femme qui a suscite ce rire; je ne veux pas que l'on rie devant moi, je ne rie jamais moi, j'aime le serieux.' In spite of that he sometimes succeeded in being jovial. For instance, it amused him to set us all wondering at the way in which he crunched enormous lumps of sugar with his marvellous teeth. After dinner, when we drew our chairs closer together, he usually became very excited.

As far as he was capable of affection he seemed really to like me; he declared openly that he loved me, and said that he would prove this best by trying to keep me from the misfortune of proceeding in my career as a dramatic composer. He said he knew it would be difficult to convince me of the value of this friendly service, but as he felt it his sacred duty to look after my happiness in this particular line, he was prepared to stay in Dresden for another half-year, during which period he suggested that we should produce his other operas, and especially Agnes von Hohenstaufen, under his direction. To explain his views about the fatal mistake of trying to succeed as a dramatic composer 'after Spontini,' he began by praising me in these terms: 'Quand j'ai entendu votre Rienzi, j'ai dit, c'est un homme de genie, mais deja il a plus fait qu'il ne peut faire.' In order to show me what he meant by this paradox, he proceeded as follows: 'Apres Gluck c'est moi qui ai fait la grande revolution avec la Vestale; j'ai introduit le Vorhalt de la sexte' (the suspension of the sixth) 'dans l'harmonie et la grosse caisse dans l'orchestre; avec Cortez j'ai fait un pas de plus en avant; puis j'ai fait trois pas avec Olympic. Nurmahal, Alcidor et tout ce que j'ai fait dans les premiers temps a Berlin, je vous les livre, c'etaient des oeuvres occasionnelles; mais depuis j'ai fait cent pas en avant avec Agnes de Hohenstaufen, ou j'ai imagine un emploi de l'orchestre remplacant parfaitement l'orgue.'

Since then he had tried his hand at a new work, Les Atheniennes; the Crown Prince (now King of Prussia [Footnote: William the First.]) had urged him to finish this work, and to testify to the truth of his words, he took several letters which he had received from this monarch out of his pocket-book, and handed them to us for inspection. Not until he had insisted upon our reading them carefully through did he continue by saying that, in spite of this flattering invitation, he had given up the idea of setting this excellent subject to music, because he felt sure he could never surpass his Agnes von Hohenstaufen, nor invent anything new. In conclusion he said: 'Or, comment voulez-vous que quiconque puisse inventer quelque chose de nouveau, moi Spontini declarant ne pouvoir en aucune facon surpasser mes oeuvres precedentes, d'autre part etant avise que depuis la Vestale il n'a point ete ecrit une note qui ne fut volee de mes partitions.'

To prove that this assertion was not merely talk, but that it was based on scientific investigations, he quoted his wife, who was supposed to have read with him an elaborate discussion on the subject by a celebrated member of the French academy, and he added that the essay in question had, for some mysterious reason, never been printed. In this very important and scientific treatise it was proved that without Spontini's invention of the suspension of the sixth in his Vestalin, the whole of modern melody would not have existed, and that any and every form of melody that had been used since had been borrowed from his compositions. I was thunderstruck, but hoped all the same to bring the inexorable master to a better frame of mind, especially in regard to certain reservations he had made. I acknowledged that the academician in question was right in many ways, but I asked him if he did not believe that if somebody brought him a dramatic poem full of an absolutely new and hitherto unknown spirit, it would not inspire him to invent new musical combinations? With a ring of compassion in his voice, he replied that my question was wholly mistaken; in what would the novelty consist? 'Dans la Vestale j'ai compose un sujet romain, dans Ferdinand Cortez un sujet espagnol-mexicain, dans Olympic un sujet greco-macedonien, enfin dans Agnes de Hohenstaufen un sujet allemand: tout le reste ne vaut rien!' He hoped that I was not thinking of the so-called romantic style a la Freischutz? With such childish stuff no serious man could have anything to do; for art was a serious thing, and he had exhausted serious art! And, after all, what nation could produce the composer who could surpass HIM? Surely not the Italians, whom he characterised simply as cochons; certainly not the French, who had only imitated the Italians; nor the Germans, who would never get beyond their childhood in music, and who, if they had ever possessed any talent, had had it all spoilt for them by the Jews? 'Oh, croyez-moi, il y avait de l'espoir pour l'Allemagne lorsque j'etais empereur de la musique a Berlin; mais depuis que le roi de Prusse a livre sa musique au desordre occasionne par les deux juifs errants qu'il a attires, tout espoir est perdu.'

Our charming hostess now thought it time to change the subject, and to divert the master's thoughts. The theatre was situated quite near to her house; she invited him to go across with our friend Heine, who was amongst the guests, and to have a look at Antigone, which was then being given, and which was sure to interest him on account of the antique equipment of the stage, which had been carried out according to Semper's excellent plans. At first he wanted to refuse, on the plea that he had seen all this so much better when his Olympia had been performed. After a while he consented; but in a very short time he returned to his original opinion, and, smiling scornfully, assured us that he had seen and heard enough to strengthen him in his verdict. Heine told us that shortly after he and Spontini had taken their seats in the almost empty amphitheatre, and as soon as the Bacchus chorus had started, Spontini had said to him: 'C'est de la Berliner Sing-Academie, allons-nous-en.' Through an open door a streak of light had fallen on a lonely figure behind one of the columns; Heine had recognised Mendelssohn, and concluded that he had overheard Spontini's remark.

From the master's very excited conversations we soon realised very distinctly that he intended to stay longer in Dresden, so as to get all his operas performed. It was Schroder-Devrient's idea to save Spontini, in his own interest, from the mortifying disappointment of finding all his enthusiastic hopes in regard to a second performance of Vestalin unfounded, and, if possible, to prevent this second performance during his stay in Dresden. She pretended to be ill, and the director requested me to inform Spontini of the fact that his production would have to be indefinitely postponed. This visit was so distasteful to me, that I was glad to make it in Rockel's company. He was also a friend of Spontini's, and his French was moreover much better than mine. As we were quite prepared for a bad reception, we were really frightened to enter. Imagine, therefore, our astonishment when we found the master, who had already been informed of the news in a letter from Devrient, in the very brightest spirits.

He told us that he had to leave immediately for Paris, and that from there he was to travel to Rome, the Holy Father having commanded him to come in order to receive the title of 'Count of San Andrea.' Then he showed us a second document, in which the King of Denmark was supposed to have raised him to the Danish nobility. This meant, however, only that the title of 'Ritter' of the 'Elephanten-Order' had been conferred upon him; and although this was indeed a high honour, in speaking about it he only mentioned the word 'Ritter' without referring to the particular order, because this seemed to him too ordinary for a person of his dignity. He was, however, childishly pleased over the affair, and felt that he had been miraculously rescued from the narrow sphere of his Dresden Vestalin production to find himself suddenly transported into regions of glory, from which he looked down upon the distressing 'opera' world with sublime self-content.

Meanwhile Rockel and I silently thanked the Holy Father and the King of Denmark from the bottom of our hearts. We bode an affectionate farewell to the strange master, and to cheer him I promised him seriously to think over his friendly advice with regard to my career as a composer of opera.

Later on I heard what Spontini had said about me, on hearing that I had fled from Dresden for political reasons, and had sought refuge in Switzerland. He thought that this was in consequence of my share in a plot of high treason against the King of Saxony, whom he looked upon as my benefactor, because I had been nominated conductor of the royal orchestra, and he expressed his opinion about me by ejaculating in tones of the deepest anguish: 'Quelle ingratitude!'

From Berlioz, who was at Spontini's deathbed until the end, I heard that the master had struggled most determinedly against death, and had cried repeatedly, 'Je ne veux pas mourir, je ne veux pas mourir!' When Berlioz tried to comfort him by saying, 'Comment pouvez-vous penser mourir vous, mon maitre, qui etes immortel!' Spontini retorted angrily, 'Ne faites pas de mauvaises plaisanteries!' In spite of all the extraordinary experiences I had had with him, the news of his death, which I received in Zurich, touched me very deeply. Later on I expressed my feelings towards him, and my opinion of him as an artist, in a somewhat condensed form in the Eidgenossischen Zeitung, and in this article the quality I extolled more particularly in him was that, unlike Meyerbeer, who was then the rage, and the very aged Rossini, he believed absolutely in himself and his art. All the same, and somewhat to my disgust, I could not but see that this belief in himself had deteriorated into a veritable superstition.

I do not remember in those days having gone deeply into my feelings about Spontini's exceedingly strange individuality, nor do I recollect having troubled to discover how far they were consistent with the high opinion I formed of him after I had got to know him more intimately. Obviously I had only seen the caricature of the man, although the tendency towards such plainly overweening self-confidence may, at all events, have manifested itself earlier in life. At the same time, one could trace in all this the influence of the decay of the musical and dramatic life of the period, which Spontini, situated as he was in Berlin, was well able to witness. The surprising fact that he saw his chief merit in unessential details showed plainly that his judgment had become childish; in my opinion this did not detract from the great value of his works, however much he might exaggerate their value. In a sense I could justify his boundless self-confidence, which was principally the outcome of the comparison between himself and the great composers who were now replacing him; for in my heart of hearts I shared the contempt which he felt for these artists, although I did not dare to say so openly. And thus it came about that, in spite of his many somewhat absurd idiosyncrasies, I learned during this meeting at Dresden to feel a deep sympathy for this man, the like of whom I was never again to meet.

My next experiences of important musical celebrities of this age were of quite a different character. Amongst the more distinguished of these was Heinrich Marschner, who, as a very young man, had been nominated musical director of the Dresden orchestra by Weber. After Weber's death he seemed to have hoped that he would take his place entirely, and it was due less to the fact that his talent was still unknown, than to his repellent manner, that he was disappointed in his expectations. His wife, however, suddenly came into some money, and this windfall enabled him to devote all his energies to his work as composer of operas, without being obliged to fill any fixed post.

During the wild days of my youth Marschner lived in Leipzig, where his operas Der Vampir and Templer und Judin saw their first appearance. My sister Rosalie had once taken me to him in order to hear his opinion about me. He did not treat me uncivilly, but my visit led to nothing. I was also present at the first night of his opera Des Falkner's Braut, which however was not a success. Then he went to Hanover. His opera Hans Heiling, which was originally produced in Berlin, I heard for the first time in Wurzburg; it showed vacillation in its tendency, and a decrease in constructive power. After that he produced several other operas, such as Das Schloss am Aetna and Der Babu, which never became popular. He was always neglected by the management at Dresden, as though they bore him some grudge, and only his Templer was played at all often. My colleague, Reissiger, had to conduct this opera, and as in his absence I always had to take his place, it also fell to my lot on one occasion to direct a performance of this work.

This was during the time that I worked at my Tannhauser. I remember that, although I had often conducted this opera before in Magdeburg, on this occasion the wild nature of the instrumentation and its lack of mastership affected me to such an extent that it literally made me ill, and as soon as he returned, therefore, I implored Reissiger at any cost to resume the leadership. On the other hand, immediately after my nomination I had started on the production of Hans Heiling, but merely for the sake of the artistic honour. The insufficient distribution of the parts, however, a difficulty which in those days could not be overcome, made a complete success impossible. In any case, though, the whole spirit of the work seemed to be terribly old-fashioned.

I now heard that Marschner had finished another opera called Adolph von Nassau, and in a criticism of this work, of the genuineness of which I was unable to judge, particular stress was laid upon the 'patriotic and noble German atmosphere' of this new creation. I did my best to make the Dresden theatre take the initiative, and to urge Luttichau to secure this opera before it was produced elsewhere. Marschner, who did not seem to have been treated with particular consideration by the Hanoverian opera authorities, accepted the invitation with great joy, sent his score, and declared himself willing to come to Dresden for the first performance. Luttichau, however, was not anxious to see him take his place at the head of the orchestra; while I, also, was of the opinion that the too frequent appearance of outside conductors, even if it were for the purpose of conducting their own works, would not only lead to confusion, but might also fail to be as amusing and instructive as Spontini's visit had proved to be. It was therefore decided that I should conduct the new opera myself. And how I lived to regret it!

The score arrived: to a weak plot by Karl Golmick the composer of the Templer had written such superficial music, that the principal effect lay in a drinking song for a quartette, in which the German Rhine and German wine played the usual stereotyped part peculiar to such male quartettes. I lost all courage; but we had to go on with it now, and all I could do was to try, by maintaining a grave bearing, to make the singers take an interest in their task; this, however, was not easy. To Tichatschek and Mitterwurzer were assigned the two principal male parts; being both eminently musical, they sang everything at first sight, and after each number looked up at me as if to say, 'What do you think of it all?' I maintained that it was good German music; they must not allow themselves to get confused. But all they did was to stare at each other in amazement, not knowing what to make of me. Nevertheless, in the end they could not stand it any longer, and when they saw that I still retained my gravity, they burst into loud laughter, in which I could not help joining.

I now had to take them into my confidence, and make them promise to follow my lead and pretend to be serious, for it was impossible to give up the opera at this stage. A Viennese 'colorature' singer of the latest style--Madame Spatser Gentiluomo--who came to us from Hanover, and on whose services Marschner greatly relied, was rather taken with her part chiefly because it gave her the chance of showing 'brilliancy.' And, indeed, there was a finale in which my 'German master' had actually tried to steal a march on Donizetti. The Princess had been poisoned by a golden rose, a present from the wicked Bishop of Mainz, and had become delirious. Adolph von Nassau, with the knights of the German empire, swears vengeance, and, accompanied by the chorus, pours out his feelings in a stretta of such incredible vulgarity and amateurishness that Donizetti would have thrown it at the head of any of his pupils who had dared to compose such a thing. Marschner now arrived for the dress rehearsal; he was very pleased, and, without compelling me to falsehood, he gave me sufficient opportunities for exercising my powers in the art of concealing my real thoughts. At all events I must have succeeded fairly well, for he had every reason to think himself considerately and kindly treated by me.

During the performance the public behaved very much as the singers had done at the rehearsals. We had brought a still-born child into the world. But Marschner was comforted by the fact that his drinking quartette was encored. This was reminiscent of one of Becker's songs: Sie sollen ihn nicht haben, den freien deutschen Rhein ('They shall not have it, our free German Rhine'). After the performance the composer was my guest at a supper party at which, I am sorry to say, the singers, who had had enough of it, would not attend. Herr Ferdinand Hiller had the presence of mind to insist, in his toast to Marschner, that 'whatever one might say, all stress must be laid on the GERMAN master and GERMAN art.' Strangely enough, Marschner himself contradicted him by saying that there was something wrong with German operatic compositions, and that one ought to consider the singers and how to write more brilliantly for their voices than he had succeeded in doing up to the present.

Highly gifted as Marschner was, there can be no doubt that the decline of his genius was due partly to a tendency which even in the ageing master himself, as he frankly admitted, was effecting an important and most salutary change. In later years I met him once more in Paris at the time of my memorable production of Tannhauser. I did not feel inclined to renew the old relations, for, to tell the truth, I wanted to spare myself the unpleasantness of witnessing the consequences of his change of views, of which we had seen the beginning in Dresden. I learned that he was in a state of almost helpless childishness, and that he was in the hands of a young and ambitious woman, who was trying to make a last attempt at conquering Paris for him. Among other puff paragraphs calculated to spread Marschner's glory, I read one which said that the Parisians must not believe that I (Wagner) was representative of German art; no--if only Marschner were given a hearing, it would be discovered that he was beyond a doubt better suited to the French taste than I could ever be. Marschner died before his wife had succeeded in establishing this point.

Ferdinand Hiller, on the other hand, who was in Dresden, behaved in a very charming and friendly manner, particularly at this time. Meyerbeer also stayed in the same town from time to time; precisely why, nobody knew. Once he had rented a little house for the summer near the Pirnaischer Schlag, and under a pretty tree in the garden of this place he had had a small piano installed, whereon, in this idyllic retreat, he worked at his Feldlager in Schlesien. He lived in great retirement, and I saw very little of him. Ferdinand Hiller, on the contrary, took a commanding position in the Dresden musical world in so far as this was not already monopolised by the royal orchestra and its masters, and for many years he worked hard for its success. Having a little private capital, he established himself comfortably amongst us, and was soon known as a delightful host, who kept a pleasant house, which, thanks to his wife's influence, was frequented by a numerous Polish colony. Frau Hiller was indeed an exceptional Jewish woman of Polish origin, and she was perhaps all the more exceptional seeing that she, in company with her husband, had been baptized a Protestant in Italy. Hiller began his career in Dresden with the production of his opera, Der Traum in der Christnacht. Since the unheard-of fact that Rienzi had been able to rouse the Dresden public to lasting enthusiasm, many an opera composer had felt himself drawn towards our 'Florence on the Elbe,' of which Laube once said that as soon as one entered it one felt bound to apologise because one found so many good things there which one promptly forgot the moment one departed.

The composer of Der Traum in der Christnacht looked upon this work as a peculiarly 'German composition.' Hiller had set to music a gruesome play by Raupach, Der Muller und sein Kind ('The Miller and his Child'), in which father and daughter, within but a short space of time, both die of consumption. He declared that he had conceived the dialogue and the music of this opera in what he called the 'popular style,' but this work met with the same fate as that which, according to Liszt, befell all his compositions. In spite of his undoubted musical merits, which even Rossini acknowledged, and whether he gave them in French in Paris or in Italian in Italy, it was his sad experience always to see his operas fail. In Germany he had tried the Mendelssohnian style, and had succeeded in composing an oratorio called Die Zerstorung Jerusalems, which luckily was not taken notice of by the moody theatre-going public, and which consequently received the unassailable reputation of being 'a solid German work.' He also took Mendelssohn's place as director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus concerts when the latter was called to Berlin in the capacity of general director. Hiller's evil fortune still pursued him, however, and he was unable to retain his position, everybody being given to understand that it was because his wife was not sufficiently acknowledged as concert prima-donna. Mendelssohn returned and made Hiller leave, and Hiller boasted of having quarrelled with him.

Dresden and the success of my Rienzi now weighed so much upon his mind that he naturally made another attempt to succeed as an opera composer. Owing to his great energy, and to his position as son of a rich banker (a special attraction even to the director of a court theatre), it happened that he induced them to put aside my poor friend Rockel's Farinelli (the production of which had been promised him) in favour of his (Hiller's) own work, Der Traum in der Christnacht. He was of the opinion that next to Reissiger and myself, a man of greater musical reputation than Rockel was needed. Luttichau, however, was quite content to have Reissiger and myself as celebrities, particularly as we got on so well together, and he remained deaf to Hiller's wishes. To me Der Traum in der Christnacht was a great nuisance. I had to conduct it a second time, and before an empty house. Hiller now saw that he had been wrong in not taking my advice before, and in not shortening the opera by one act and altering the end, and he now fancied that he was doing me a great favour by at last declaring himself ready to act on my suggestion in the event of another performance of his opera being possible. I really managed to have it played once more. This was, however, to be the last time, and Hiller, who had read my book of Tannhauser, thought that I had a great advantage over him in writing my own words. He therefore made me promise to help him with the choice and writing of a subject for his next opera.

Shortly afterwards Hiller was present at a performance of Rienzi, which was again given before a crowded and enthusiastic house. When, at the end of the second act, and after frantic recalls from the audience, I left the orchestra in a great state of excitement, Hiller, who was waiting for me in the passage, took the opportunity of adding to his very hasty congratulations, 'Do give my Traum once more!' I promised him laughingly to do this if I had the chance, but I cannot remember whether it came off or not. While he was waiting for the creation of an entirely new plot for his next opera, Hiller devoted himself to the study of chamber music, to which his large and well-furnished room lent itself most admirably.

A beautiful and solemn event added to the seriousness of the mood in which I finished the music to Tannhauser towards the end of the year, and neutralised the more superficial impressions made upon me by the stirring events above described. This was the removal of the remains of Carl Maria von Weber from London to Dresden in December, 1844. As I have already said, a committee had for years been agitating for this removal. From information given by a certain traveller, it had become known that the insignificant coffin which contained Weber's ashes had been disposed of in such a careless way in a remote corner of St. Paul's, that it was feared it might soon become impossible to identify it.

My energetic friend, Professor Lowe, whom I have already mentioned, had availed himself of this information in order to urge the Dresden Glee Club, which constituted his hobby, to take the matter in hand. The concert of male singers arranged to this end had been a fair success financially, and they now wanted to induce the theatre management to make similar efforts, when suddenly they met with serious opposition from this very quarter. The management of the Dresden theatre told the committee that the King had religious scruples with regard to disturbing the peace of the dead. However much we felt inclined to doubt the genuineness of these reasons, nothing could be done, and I was next approached on the subject, in the hope that my influential position might lend weight to my appeal. I entered into the spirit of the enterprise with great fervour. I consented to be made president; Herr Hofrat Schulz, director of the 'Antiken-Cabinet,' who was a well-known authority on artistic matters, and another gentleman, a Christian banker, were also elected members of the committee, and the movement thus received fresh life. Prospectuses were sent round, exhaustive plans were made, and numerous meetings held. Here, again, I met with opposition on the part of my chief, Luttichau; if he could have done so, he would have forbidden me to move in the matter by making the most of the King's scruples referred to above. But he had had a warning not to pick a quarrel with me after his experience in the summer, when, contrary to his expectations, the music written by me to celebrate the King's arrival had found favour with the monarch. As his antipathy to the proceedings was not so very serious, Luttichau must have seen that even the direct opposition of his Majesty could not have prevented the enterprise from being carried out privately, and that, on the contrary, the court would cut a sorry figure if the Royal Court Theatre (to which Weber once belonged) should assume a hostile attitude. He therefore tried in a would-be friendly way to make me desist from furthering the cause, well knowing that, without me, the plan would fail. He tried to convince me that it would be wrong to pay this exaggerated honour to Weber's memory, whereas nobody thought of removing the ashes of Morlacchi from Italy, although the latter had given his services to the royal orchestra for a much longer period than Weber had done. What would be the consequence? By way of argument he said, 'Suppose Reissiger died on his journey to some watering-place--his wife would then be as much justified as was Frau von Weber (who had annoyed him quite enough already) in expecting her husband's dead body to be brought home with music and pomp.' I tried to calm him, and if I did not succeed in making him see the difference between Reissiger and Weber, I managed to make him understand that the affair must take its course, as the Berlin Court Theatre had already announced a benefit performance to support our undertaking.

Meyerbeer, to whom my committee had applied, was instrumental in bringing this about, and a performance of Euryanthe was actually given which yielded the handsome balance of six thousand marks. A few theatres of lesser importance now followed our lead. The Dresden Court Theatre, therefore, could not hold back any longer, and as we now had a fairly large sum at the bank, we were able to cover the expenses of the removal, as well as the cost of an appropriate vault and monument; we even had a nucleus fund for a statue of Weber, which we were to fight for later on. The elder of the two sons of the immortal master travelled to London to fetch the remains of his father. He brought them by boat down the Elbe, and finally arrived at the Dresden landing-stage, from whence they were to be conducted to German soil. This last journey of the remains was to take place at night. A solemn torchlight procession was to be formed, and I had undertaken to see to the funeral music.

I arranged this from two motives out of Euryanthe, using that part of the music in the overture which relates to the vision of spirits. I introduced the Cavatina from Euryanthe--Hier dicht am Quell ('Here near the source'), which I left unaltered, except that I transposed it into B flat major, and I finished the whole, as Weber finished his opera, by a return to the first sublime motive. I had orchestrated this symphonic piece, which was well suited to the purpose, for eight chosen wind instruments, and notwithstanding the volume of sound, I had not forgotten softness and delicacy of instrumentation. I substituted the gruesome tremolo of the violas, which appears in that part of the overture adapted by me, by twenty muffled drums, and as a whole attained to such an exceedingly impressive effect, especially to us who were full of thoughts of Weber, that, even in the theatre where we rehearsed, Schroder-Devrient, who was present, and who had been an intimate friend of Weber's, was deeply moved. I had never carried out anything more in keeping with the character of the subject; and the procession through the town was equally impressive.

As the very slow tempo, devoid of any strongly marked accents, offered numerous difficulties, I had had the stage cleared for the rehearsal, in order to command a sufficient space for the musicians, once they had thoroughly practised the piece, to walk round me in a circle playing all the while. Several of those who witnessed the procession from their windows assured me that the effect of the procession was indescribably and sublimely solemn. After we had placed the coffin in the little mortuary chapel of the Catholic cemetery in Friedrichstadt, where Madame Devrient met it with a wreath of flowers, we performed, on the following morning, the solemn ceremony of lowering it into the vault. Herr Hofrat Schulz and myself, as presidents of the committee, were allowed the honour of speaking by the graveside, and what afforded me an appropriate subject for the few, somewhat affecting, words which I had to pronounce, was the fact that, shortly before the removal of Weber's remains, the second son of the master, Alexander von Weber, had died. The poor mother had been so terribly affected by the sudden death of this youth, so full of life and health, that had we not been in the very midst of our arrangements, we should have been compelled to abandon them; for in this new loss the widow saw a judgment of God who, in her opinion, looked upon the removal of the remains as an act of sacrilege prompted by vanity. As the public seemed particularly disposed to hold the same view, it fell to my lot to set the nature of our undertaking in the proper light before the eyes of the world. And this I so far succeeded in doing that, to my satisfaction, I learned from all sides that my justification of our action had received the most general acceptance.

On this occasion I had a strange experience with regard to myself, when for the first time in my life I had to deliver a solemn public speech. Since then I have always spoken extemporarily; this time, however, as it was my first appearance as an orator, I had written out my speech, and carefully learned it by heart. As I was thoroughly under the influence of my subject, I felt so sure of my memory that I never thought of making any notes. Thanks to this omission, however, I made my brother Albert very unhappy. He was standing near me at the ceremony, and he told me afterwards that, in spite of being deeply moved, he felt at one moment as if he could have sworn at me for not having asked him to prompt me. It happened in this way: I began my speech in a clear and full voice, but suddenly the sound of my own words, and their particular intonation, affected me to such an extent that, carried away as I was by my own thoughts, I imagined I SAW as well as HEARD myself before the breathless multitude. While I thus appeared objectively to myself I remained in a sort of trance, during which I seemed to be waiting for something to happen, and felt quite a different person from the man who was supposed to be standing and speaking there. It was neither nervousness nor absent-mindedness on my part; only at the end of a certain sentence there was such a long pause that those who saw me standing there must have wondered what on earth to think of me. At last my own silence and the stillness round me reminded me that I was not there to listen, but to speak. I at once resumed my discourse, and I spoke with such fluency to the very end that the celebrated actor, Emil Devrient, assured me that, apart from the solemn service, he had been deeply impressed simply from the standpoint of a dramatic orator.

The ceremony concluded with a poem written and set to music by myself, and, though it presented many difficulties for men's voices, it was splendidly rendered by some of the best opera singers. Luttichau, who was present, was now not only convinced of the justice of the enterprise, but also strongly in favour of it. I was deeply thankful that everything had succeeded so well, and when Weber's widow, upon whom I called after the ceremony, told me how profoundly she, too, had been moved, the only cloud that still darkened my horizon was dispelled. In my youth I had learned to love music through my admiration for Weber's genius, and the news of his death was a terrible blow to me. To have, as it were, come into contact with him again and after so many years by this second funeral, was an event that stirred the very depths of my being.

From all the particulars I have given concerning my intimacy with the great masters who were my contemporaries, it is easy to see at what sources I had been able to quench my thirst for intellectual intercourse. It was not a very satisfactory outlook to turn from Weber's grave to his living successors; but I had still to find out how absolutely hopeless this was.

I spent the winter of 1844-5 partly in yielding to attractions from outside, and partly in indulging in the deepest meditation. By dint of great energy, and by getting up very early, even in winter, I succeeded in completing my score to Tannhauser early in April, having, as already stated, finished the composition of it at the end of the preceding year. In writing down the orchestration I made things particularly difficult for myself by using the specially prepared paper which the printing process renders necessary, and which involved me in all kinds of trying formalities. I had each page transferred to the stone immediately, and a hundred copies printed from each, hoping to make use of these proofs for the rapid circulation of my work. Whether my hopes were to be fulfilled or not, I was at all events fifteen hundred marks out of pocket when all the expenses of the publication were paid.

In regard to this work which called for so many sacrifices, and which was so slow and difficult, more details will appear in my autobiography. At all events, when May came round I was in possession of a hundred neatly bound copies of my first new work since the production of the Fliegender Hollander, and Hiller, to whom I showed some parts of it, formed a tolerably good impression of its value.

These plans for rapidly spreading the fame of my Tannhauser were made with the hope of a success which, in view of my needy circumstances, seemed ever more and more desirable. In the course of one year since I had begun my own publication of my operas, much had been done to this end. In September of the year 1844 I had presented the King of Saxony with a special richly bound copy of the complete pianoforte arrangement of Rienzi, dedicated to his Majesty. The Fliegender Hollander had also been finished, and the pianoforte arrangement of Rienzi for duet, as well as some songs selected from both operas, had either been published or were about to be published. Apart from this I had had twenty-five copies made of the scores of both these operas by means of the so-called autographic transfer process, although only from the writing of the copyists. All these heavy expenses made it absolutely imperative that I should try to send my scores to the different theatres, and induce them to produce my operas, as the outlay on the piano scores had been heavy, and these could only have a sale if my works got to be known sufficiently well through the theatre.

I now sent the score of my Rienzi to the more important theatres, but they all returned my work to me, the Munich Court Theatre even sending it back unopened! I therefore knew what to expect, and spared myself the trouble of sending my Dutchman. From a speculative business point of view the situation was this: the hoped-for success of Tannhauser would bring in its wake a demand for my earlier works. The worthy Meser, my agent, who was the music publisher appointed to the court, had also begun to feel a little doubtful, and saw that this was the only thing to do. I started at once on the publication of a pianoforte arrangement of Tannhauser, preparing it myself while Rockel undertook the Fliegender Hollander, and a certain Klink did Rienzi.

The only thing that Meser was absolutely opposed to was the title of my new opera, which I had just named Der Venusberg; he maintained that, as I did not mix with the public, I had no idea what horrible jokes were made about this title. He said the students and professors of the medical school in Dresden would be the first to make fun of it, as they had a predilection for that kind of obscene joke. I was sufficiently disgusted by these details to consent to the change. To the name of my hero, Tannhauser, I added the name of the subject of the legend which, although originally not belonging to the Tannhauser myth, was thus associated with it by me, a fact which later on Simrock, the great investigator and innovator in the world of legend, whom I esteemed so highly, took very much amiss.

Tannhauser und der Sangerkrieg auf Wartburg should henceforth be its title, and to give the work a mediaeval appearance I had the words specially printed in Gothic characters upon the piano arrangement, and in this way introduced the work to the public.

The extra expenses this involved were very heavy; but I went to great pains to impress Meser with my belief in the success of my work. So deeply were we involved in this scheme, and so great were the sacrifices it had compelled us to make, that there was nothing else for it but to trust to a special turn of Fortune's wheel. As it happened, the management of the theatre shared my confidence in the success of Tannhauser. I had induced Luttichau to have the scenery for Tannhauser painted by the best painters of the great opera house in Paris. I had seen their work on the Dresden stage: it belonged to the style of German scenic art which was then fashionable, and really gave the effect of first-class work.

The order for this, as well as the necessary negotiations with the Parisian painter, Desplechin, had already been settled in the preceding autumn. The management agreed to all my wishes, even to the ordering of beautiful costumes of mediaeval character designed by my friend Heine. The only thing Luttichau constantly postponed was the order for the Hall of Song on the Wartburg; he maintained that the Hall for Kaiser Karl the Great in Oberon, which had only recently been delivered by some French painters, would answer the purpose just as well. With superhuman efforts I had to convince my chief that we did not want a brilliant throne-room, but a scenic picture of a certain character such as I saw before my mind's eye, and that it could be painted only according to my directions. As in the end I became very irritable and cross, he soothed me by saying that he had no objection to having this scene painted, and that he would order it to be commenced at once, adding that he had not agreed immediately, only with the view of making my joy the greater, because, what one obtained without difficulty, one rarely appreciated. This Hall of Song was fated to cause me great trouble later on.

Thus everything was in full swing; circumstances were favourable, and seemed to cast a hopeful light upon the production of my new work at the beginning of the autumn season. Even the public was looking forward to it, and for the first time I saw my name mentioned in a friendly manner in a communication to the Allgemeine Zeitung. They actually spoke of the great expectations they had of my new work, the poem of which had been written 'with undoubted poetic feeling.'

Full of hope, I started in July on my holiday, which consisted of a journey to Marienbad in Bohemia, where my wife and I intended to take the cure. Again I found myself on the 'volcanic' soil of this extraordinary country, Bohemia, which always had such an inspiring effect on me. It was a marvellous summer, almost too hot, and I was therefore in high spirits. I had intended to follow the easy-going mode of life which is a necessary part of this somewhat trying treatment, and had selected my books with care, taking with me the poems of Wolfram von Eschenbach, edited by Simrock and San Marte, as well as the anonymous epic Lohengrin, with its lengthy introduction by Gorres. With my book under my arm I hid myself in the neighbouring woods, and pitching my tent by the brook in company with Titurel and Parcival, I lost myself in Wolfram's strange, yet irresistibly charming, poem. Soon, however, a longing seized me to give expression to the inspiration generated by this poem, so that I had the greatest difficulty in overcoming my desire to give up the rest I had been prescribed while partaking of the water of Marienbad.

The result was an ever-increasing state of excitement. Lohengrin, the first conception of which dates from the end of my time in Paris, stood suddenly revealed before me, complete in every detail of its dramatic construction. The legend of the swan which forms such an important feature of all the many versions of this series of myths that my studies had brought to my notice, exercised a singular fascination over my imagination.

Remembering the doctor's advice, I struggled bravely against the temptation of writing down my ideas, and resorted to the most strange and energetic methods. Owing to some comments I had read in Gervinus's History of German Literature, both the Meistersinger von Nurnberg and Hans Sachs had acquired quite a vital charm for me. The Marker alone, and the part he takes in the Master-singing, were particularly pleasing to me, and on one of my lonely walks, without knowing anything particular about Hans Sachs and his poetic contemporaries, I thought out a humorous scene, in which the cobbler--as a popular artisan-poet-- with the hammer on his last, gives the Marker a practical lesson by making him sing, thereby taking revenge on him for his conventional misdeeds. To me the force of the whole scene was concentrated in the two following points: on the one hand the Marker, with his slate covered with chalk-marks, and on the other Hans Sachs holding up the shoes covered with his chalk-marks, each intimating to the other that the singing had been a failure. To this picture, by way of concluding the second act, I added a scene consisting of a narrow, crooked little street in Nuremberg, with the people all running about in great excitement, and ultimately engaging in a street brawl. Thus, suddenly, the whole of my Meistersinger comedy took shape so vividly before me, that, inasmuch as it was a particularly cheerful subject, and not in the least likely to over-excite my nerves, I felt I must write it out in spite of the doctor's orders. I therefore proceeded to do this, and hoped it might free me from the thrall of the idea of Lohengrin; but I was mistaken; for no sooner had I got into my bath at noon, than I felt an overpowering desire to write out Lohengrin, and this longing so overcame me that I could not wait the prescribed hour for the bath, but when a few minutes elapsed, jumped out and, barely giving myself time to dress, ran home to write out what I had in my mind. I repeated this for several days until the complete sketch of Lohengrin was on paper.

The doctor then told me I had better give up taking the waters and baths, saying emphatically that I was quite unfit for such cures. My excitement had grown to such an extent that even my efforts to sleep as a rule ended only in nocturnal adventures. Among some interesting excursions that we made at this time, one to Eger fascinated me particularly, on account of its association with Wallenstein and of the peculiar costumes of the inhabitants.

In mid-August we travelled back to Dresden, where my friends were glad to see me in such good spirits; as for myself, I felt as if I had wings. In September, when all our singers had returned from their summer holidays, I resumed the rehearsals of Tannhauser with great earnestness. We had now got so far, at least with the musical part of the performance, that the possible date of the production seemed quite close at hand. Schroder-Devrient was one of the first to realise the extraordinary difficulties which the production of Tannhauser would entail. And, indeed, she saw these difficulties so clearly that, to my great discomfiture, she was able to lay them all before me. Once, when I called upon her, she read the principal passages aloud with great feeling and force, and then she asked me how I could have been so simple-minded as to have thought that so childish a creature as Tichatschek would be able to find the proper tones for Tannhauser. I tried to bring her attention and my own to bear upon the nature of the music, which was written so clearly in order to bring out the necessary accent, that, in my opinion, the music actually spoke for him who interpreted the passage, even if he were only a musical singer and nothing more. She shook her head, saying that this would be all right in the case of an oratorio.

She now sang Elizabeth's prayer from the piano score, and asked me if I really thought that this music would answer my intentions if sung by a young and pretty voice without any soul or without that experience of life which alone could give the real expression to the interpretation. I sighed and said that, in that case, the youthfulness of the voice and of its owner must make up for what was lacking: at the same time, I asked her as a favour to see what she could do towards making my niece, Johanna, understand her part. All this, however, did not solve the Tannhauser problem, for any effort at teaching Tichatschek would only have resulted in confusion. I was therefore obliged to rely entirely upon the energy of his voice, and on the singer's peculiarly sharp 'speaking' tone.

Devrient's anxiety about the principal parts arose partly out of concern about her own. She did not know what to do with the part of Venus; she had undertaken it for the sake of the success of the performance, for although a small part, so much depended upon its being ideally interpreted! Later on, when the work was given in Paris, I became convinced that this part had been written in too sketchy a style, and this induced me to reconstruct it by making extensive additions, and by supplying all that which I felt it lacked. For the moment, however, it looked as if no art on the part of the singer could give to this sketch anything of what it ought to represent. The only thing that might have helped towards a satisfactory impersonation of Venus would have been the artist's confidence in her own great physical attraction, and in the effect it would help to produce by appealing to the purely material sympathies of the public. The certainty that these means were no longer at her disposal paralysed this great singer, who could hide her age and matronly appearance no longer. She therefore became self-conscious, and unable to use even the usual means for gaining an effect. On one occasion, with a little smile of despair, she expressed herself incapable of playing Venus, for the very simple reason that she could not appear dressed like the goddess. 'What on earth am I to wear as Venus?' she exclaimed. 'After all, I cannot be clad in a belt alone. A nice figure of fun I should look, and you would laugh on the wrong side of your face!'

On the whole, I still built my hopes upon the general effect of the music alone, the great promise of which at the rehearsals greatly encouraged me. Hiller, who had looked through the score and had already praised it, assured me that the instrumentation could not have been carried out with greater sobriety. The characteristic and delicate sonority of the orchestra delighted me, and strengthened me in my resolve to be extremely sparing in the use of my orchestral material, in order to attain that abundance of combinations which I needed for my later works.

At the rehearsal my wife alone missed the trumpets and trombones that gave such brightness and freshness to Rienzi. Although I laughed at this, I could not help feeling anxious when she confided to me how great had been her disappointment when, at the theatre rehearsal, she noticed the really feeble impression made by the music of the Sangerkrieg. Speaking from the point of view of the public, who always want to be amused or stirred in some way or other, she had thus very rightly called attention to an exceedingly questionable side of the performance. But I saw at once that the fault lay less with the conception than with the fact that I had not controlled the production with sufficient care.

In regard to the conception of this scene I was literally on the horns of a dilemma, for I had to decide once for all whether this Sangerkrieg was to be a concert of arias or a competition in dramatic poetry. There are many people even nowadays, who, in spite of having witnessed a perfectly successful production of this scene, have not received the right impression of its purport. Their idea is that it belongs to the traditional operatic 'genre,' which demands that a number of vocal evolutions shall be juxtaposed or contrasted, and that these different songs are intended to amuse and interest the audience by means of their purely musical changes in rhythm and time on the principle of a concert programme, i.e. by various items of different styles. This was not at all my idea: my real intention was, if possible, to force the listener, for the first time in the history of opera, to take an interest in a poetical idea, by making him follow all its necessary developments. For it was only by virtue of this interest that he could be made to understand the catastrophe, which in this instance was not to be brought about by any outside influence, but must be the outcome simply of the natural spiritual processes at work. Hence the need of great moderation and breadth in the conception of the music; first, in order that according to my principle it might prove helpful rather than the reverse to the understanding of the poetical lines, and secondly, in order that the increasing rhythmic character of the melody which marks the ardent growth of passion may not be interrupted too arbitrarily by unnecessary changes in modulation and rhythm. Hence, too, the need of a very sparing use of orchestral instruments for the accompaniment, and an intentional suppression of all those purely musical effects which must be utilised, and that gradually, only when the situation becomes so intense that one almost ceases to think, and can only feel the tragic nature of the crisis. No one could deny that I had contrived to produce the proper effect of this principle the moment I played the Sangerkrieg on the piano. With the view of ensuring all my future successes, I was now confronted with the exceptional difficulty of making the opera singers understand how to interpret their parts precisely in the way I desired. I remembered how, through lack of experience, I had neglected properly to superintend the production of the Fliegender Hollander, and as I now fully realised all the disastrous consequences of this neglect, I began to think of means by which I could teach the singers my own interpretation. I have already stated that it was impossible to influence Tichatschek, for if he were made to do things he could not understand, he only became nervous and confused. He was conscious of his advantages. He knew that with his metallic voice he could sing with great musical rhythm and accuracy, while his delivery was simply perfect. But, to my great astonishment, I was soon to learn that all this did not by any means suffice; for, to my horror, at the first performance, that which had strangely escaped my notice in the rehearsals became suddenly apparent to me. At the close of the Sangerkrieg, when Tannhauser (in frantic excitement, and forgetful of everybody present) has to sing his praise to Venus, and I saw Tichatschek moving towards Elizabeth and addressing his passionate outburst to her, I thought of Schroder-Devrient's warning in very much the same way as Croesus must have thought when he cried, 'O Solon! Solon!' at the funeral pyre. In spite of the musical excellence of Tichatschek, the enormous life and melodic charm of the Sangerkrieg failed entirely.

On the other hand, I succeeded in calling into life an entirely new element such as probably had never been seen in opera! I had watched the young baritone Mitterwurzer with great interest in some of his parts--he was a strangely reticent man, and not at all sociably inclined, and I had noticed that his delightfully mellow voice possessed the rare quality of bringing out the inner note of the soul. To him I entrusted Wolfram, and I had every reason to be satisfied with his zeal and with the success of his studies. Therefore, if I wished my intention and method to become known, especially in regard to this difficult Sangerkrieg, I had to rely on him for the proper execution of my plans and everything they involved. I began by going through the opening song of this scene with him; but, after I had done my utmost to make him understand how I wanted it done, I was surprised to find how very difficult this particular rendering of the music appeared to him. He was absolutely incapable of repeating it after me, and with each renewed effort his singing became so commonplace and so mechanical that I realised clearly that he had not understood this piece to be anything more than a phrase in recitative form, which he might render with any inflections of the voice that happened to be prescribed, or which might be sung either this way or that, according to fancy, as was usual in operatic pieces. He, too, was astonished at his own want of capacity, but was so struck by the novelty and the justice of my views, that he begged me not to try any more for the present, but to leave him to find out for himself how best to become familiar with this newly revealed world. During several rehearsals he only sang in a whisper in order to get over the difficulty, but at the last rehearsal he acquitted himself so admirably of his task, and threw himself into it so heartily, that his work has remained to this day as my most conclusive reason for believing that, in spite of the unsatisfactory state of the world of opera to-day, it is possible not only to find, but also properly to train, the singer whom I should regard as indispensable for a correct interpretation of my works. It was through the impression made by Mitterwurzer that I ultimately succeeded in making the public understand the whole of my work. This man, who had utterly changed himself in bearing, look, and appearance in order to fit himself to the role of Wolfram, had, in thus solving the problem, not only become a thorough artist, but by his interpretation of his part had also proved himself my saviour at the very moment when my work was threatening to fail through the unsatisfactory result of the first performance.

By his side the part of Elizabeth made a sweet impression. The youthful appearance of my niece, her tall and slender form, the decidedly German cast of her features, as well as the incomparable beauty of her voice, with its expression of almost childlike innocence, helped her to gain the hearts of the audience, even though her talent was more theatrical than dramatic. She soon rose to fame by her impersonation of this part, and often in later years, when speaking about Tannhauser performances in which she had appeared, people used to tell me that its success had been entirely due to her. Strange to say, in such reports people referred principally to the charm of her acting at the moment when she received the guests in the Wartburg Hall; and I used to account for this by remembering the untiring efforts with which my talented brother and I had trained her to perform this very part. And yet it was never possible to make her understand the proper interpretation of the prayer in the third act, and I felt inclined to say, 'O Solon! Solon!' as I had done in the case of Tichatschek, when after the first performance I was obliged to make a considerable cut in this solo, a proceeding which greatly reduced its importance for ever afterwards. I heard later that Johanna, who for a short period actually had the reputation of being a great singer, had never succeeded in singing the prayer as it ought to be sung, whereas a French singer, Mademoiselle Marie Sax, achieved this in Paris to my entire satisfaction.

In the beginning of October we had so far progressed with our rehearsals that nothing stood in the way of an immediate production of Tannhauser save the scenery, which was not yet complete. A few only of the scenes ordered from Paris had arrived, and even these had come very late. The Wartburg Valley was beautifully effective and perfect in every detail. The inner part of the Venusberg, however, gave me much anxiety: the painter had not understood me; he had painted clusters of trees and statues, which reminded one of Versailles, and had placed them in a wild cave; he had evidently not known how to combine the weird with the alluring. I had to insist on extensive alterations, and chiefly on the painting out of the shrubs and statues, all of which required time. The grotto had to lie half hidden in a rosy cloud, through which the Wartburg Valley had to loom in the distance; this was to be done in strict obedience to my own ideas.

The greatest misfortune, however, was to befall me in the shape of the tardy delivery of the scenery for the Hall of Song. This was due to great negligence on the part of the Paris artists; and we waited and waited until every detail of the opera had been studied and studied again ad nauseam. Daily I went to the railway station and examined all the packages and boxes that had arrived, but there was no Hall of Song. At last I allowed myself to be persuaded not to postpone the first performance any longer, and I decided to use the Hall of Karl the Great out of Oberon, originally suggested to me by Luttichau, instead of the real thing. Considering the importance I attached to practical effect, this entailed a great sacrifice of my personal feelings. And true enough, when the curtain rose for the second act, the reappearance of this throne-room, which the public had seen so often, added considerably to the general disappointment of the audience, who had anticipated astonishing surprises in this opera.

On the 19th of October the first performance took place. In the morning of that day a very beautiful young lady was introduced to me by the leader Lipinsky. Her name was Mme. Ivalergis, and she was a niece of the Russian Chancellor, Count von Nesselrode. Liszt had spoken to her about me with such enthusiasm that she had travelled all the way to Dresden especially to hear the first production of my new work. I thought I was right in regarding this flattering visit as a good omen. But although on this occasion she turned away from me, somewhat perplexed and disappointed by the very unintelligible performance and the somewhat doubtful reception with which it met, I had sufficient cause in after-years to know how deeply this remarkable and energetic woman had nevertheless been impressed.

A great contrast to this visit was one I received from a peculiar man called C. Gaillard. He was the editor of a Berlin musical paper, which had only just started, and in which I had read with great astonishment an entirely favourable and important criticism of my Fliegender Hollander. Although necessity had compelled me to remain indifferent to the attitude of the critics, yet this particular notice gave me much pleasure, and I had invited my unknown critic to come and hear the first production of Tannhauser in Dresden.

This he did, and I was deeply touched to find that I had to deal with a young man who, in spite of being threatened by consumption, and being also exceedingly badly off, had come at my invitation, simply from a sense of duty and honour, and not with any mercenary motive. I saw from his knowledge and capacities that he would never be able to attain a position of great influence, but his kindness of heart and his extraordinarily receptive mind filled me with a feeling of profound respect for him. A few years later I was very sorry to hear that he had at last succumbed to the terrible disease from which I knew him to be suffering; for to the very end he remained faithful and devoted to me, in spite of the most trying circumstances.

Meanwhile I had renewed my acquaintance with the friend I had won through the production of the Fliegender Hollander in Berlin, and who for a long time I had never had an opportunity of knowing more thoroughly. The second time I met her was at Schroder-Devrient's, with whom she was already on friendly terms, and of whom she used to speak as 'one of my greatest conquests.'

She was already past her first youth, and had no beauty of feature except remarkably penetrating and expressive eyes that showed the greatness of soul with which she was gifted. She was the sister of Frommann, the bookseller of Jena, and could relate many intimate facts about Goethe, who had stayed at her brother's house when he was in that town. She had held the position of reader and companion to the Princess Augusta of Prussia, and had thus become intimately acquainted with her, and was regarded by her own association as almost a bosom friend and confidante of that great lady. Nevertheless, she lived in extreme poverty, and seemed proud of being able, by means of her talent as a painter of arabesques, to secure for herself some sort of independence. She always remained faithfully devoted to me, as she was one of the few who were uninfluenced by the unfavourable impression produced by the first performance of Tannhauser, and promptly expressed her appreciation of my latest work with the greatest enthusiasm.

With regard to the production itself the conclusions I drew from it were as follows: the real faults in the work, which I have already mentioned incidentally, lay in the sketchy and clumsy portrayal of the part of Venus, and consequently of the whole of the introductory scene of the first act. In consequence of this defect the drama never even rose to the level of genuine warmth, still less did it attain to the heights of passion which, according to the poetic conception of the part, should so strongly work upon the feelings of the audience as to prepare them for the inevitable catastrophe in which the scene culminates, and thus lead up to the tragic denouement. This great scene was a complete failure, in spite of the fact that it was entrusted to so great an actress as Schroder-Devrient, and a singer so unusually gifted as Tichatschek. The genius of Devrient might yet have struck the right note of passion in the scene had she not chanced to be acting with a singer incapable of all dramatic seriousness, and whose natural gifts only fitted him for joyous or declamatory accents, and who was totally incapable of expressing pain and suffering. It was not until Wolfram's touching song and the closing scene of this act were reached that the audience showed any signs of emotion. Tichatschek wrought such a tremendous effect in the concluding phrase by the jubilant music of his voice that, as I was afterwards informed, the end of this first act left the audience in a great state of enthusiasm. This was maintained, and even exceeded in the second act, during which Elizabeth and Wolfram made a very sympathetic impression. It was only the hero of Tannhauser who continued to lose ground, and at last so completely failed to hold the audience that in the final scene he almost broke down himself in dejection, as though the failure of Tannhauser were his own. The fatal defect of his performance lay in his inability to find the right expression for the theme of the great Adagio passage of the finale beginning with the words: 'To lead the sinner to salvation, the Heaven-sent messenger drew near.' The importance of this passage I have explained at length in my subsequent instructions for the production of Tannhauser. Indeed, owing to Tichatschek's absolutely expressionless rendering, which made it seem terribly long and tedious, I had to omit it entirely from the second performance. As I did not wish to offend so devoted and, in his way, so deserving a man as Tichatschek, I let it be understood I had come to the conclusion that this theme was a failure. Moreover, as Tichatschek was thought to be an actor chosen by myself to take the parts of the heroes in my works, this passage, which was so immeasurably vital to the opera, continued to be omitted in all the subsequent productions of Tannhauser, as though this proceeding had been approved and demanded by me. I therefore cherished no illusions about the value of the subsequent universal success of this opera on the German stage. My hero, who, in rapture as in woe, should always have asserted his feelings with boundless energy, slunk away at the end of the second act with the humble bearing of a penitent sinner, only to reappear in the third with a demeanour designed to awaken the charitable sympathy of the audience. His pronunciation of the Pope's excommunication, however, was rendered with his usual full rhetorical power, and it was refreshing to hear his voice dominating the accompanying trombones. Granted that this radical defect in the hero's acting had left the public in a doubtful and unsatisfied state of suspense regarding the meaning of the whole, yet the mistake in the execution of the final scene, arising from my own inexperience in this new field of dramatic creation, undoubtedly contributed to produce a chilling uncertainty as to the true significance of the scenic action. In my first complete version I had made Venus, on the occasion of her second attempt to recall her faithless lover, appear in a vision to Tannhauser when he is in a frenzy of madness, and the awfulness of the situation, is merely suggested by a faint roseate glow upon the distant Horselberg. Even the definite announcement of Elizabeth's death was a sudden inspiration on the part of Wolfram. This idea I intended to convey to the listening audience solely by the sound of bells tolling in the distance, and by a faint gleam of torches to attract their eyes to the remote Wartburg. Moreover, there was a lack of precision and clearness in the appearance of the chorus of young pilgrims, whose duty it was to announce the miracle by their song alone. At that time I had given them no budding staves to carry, and had unfortunately spoiled their refrain by a tedious and unbroken monotony of accompaniment.

When at last the curtain fell, I was under the impression, not so much from the behaviour of the audience, which was friendly, as from my own inward conviction, that the failure of this work was to be attributed to the immature and unsuitable material used in its production. My depression was extreme, and a few friends who were present after the piece, among them my dear sister Clara and her husband, were equally affected. That very evening I decided to remedy the defects of the first night before the second performance. I was conscious of where the principal fault lay, but hardly dared give expression to my conviction. At the slightest attempt on my part to explain anything to Tichatschek I had to abandon it, as I realised the impossibility of success, I should only have made him so embarrassed and annoyed, that on one pretext or another he would never have sung Tannhauser again. In order to ensure the repetition of my opera, therefore, I took the only course open to me by arrogating to myself all blame for the failure. I could thus make considerable curtailments, whereby, of course, the dramatic significance of the leading role was considerably lessened; this, however, did not interfere with the other parts of the opera, which had been favourably received. Consequently, although inwardly very humiliated, I hoped to gain some advantage for my work at the second performance, and was particularly desirous that this should take place with as little delay as possible. But Tichatschek was hoarse, and I had to possess my soul in patience for fully a week.

I can hardly describe what I suffered during that time; it seemed as if this delay would completely ruin my work. Every day that elapsed between the first and second performance left the result of the former more and more problematic, until at last it appeared to be a generally acknowledged failure. While the public as a whole expressed angry astonishment that, after the approval they had shown of my Rienzi, I had paid no attention to their taste in writing my new work, there were may kind and judicious friends who were utterly perplexed at its inefficiency, the principal parts of which they had been unable to understand, or thought were imperfectly sketched and finished. The critics, with unconcealed joy, attacked it as ravens attack carrion thrown out to them. Even the passions and prejudices of the day were drawn into the controversy in order, if possible, to confuse men's minds, and prejudice them against me. It was just at the time when the German-Catholic agitation, set in motion by Czersky and Ronge as a highly meritorious and liberal movement, was causing a great commotion. It was now made out that by Tannhauser I had provoked a reactionary tendency, and that precisely as Meyerbeer with his Huguenots had glorified Protestantism, so I with my latest opera would glorify Catholicism.

The rumour that in writing Tannhauser I had been bribed by the Catholic part was believed for a long time. While the effort was being made to ruin my popularity by this means, I had the questionable honour of being approached, first by letter, afterwards in person, by a certain M. Rousseau, at that time editor of the Prussian Staatszeitung, who wished for my friendship and help. I knew of him only in connection with a scathing criticism of my Fliegender Hollander. He informed me that he had been sent from Austria to further the Catholic cause in Berlin, but that he had had so many sad experiences of the fruitlessness of his efforts, that he was now returning to Vienna to continue his work in this direction undisturbed, with which work I had, by my Tannhauser, proclaimed myself fully in accord.

That remarkable paper, the Dresdener Anzeiger, which was a local organ for the redress of slander and scandal, daily published some fresh bit of news to my prejudice. At last I noticed that these attacks were met by witty and forcible little snubs, and also that encouraging comments appeared in my favour, which for some time surprised me very much, as I knew that only enemies and never friends interested themselves in such cases. But I learned, to my amusement, from Rockel, that he and my friend Heine had carried out this inspiriting campaign on my behalf.

The ill-feeling against me in this quarter was only troublesome because at that unfortunate period I was hindered from expressing myself through my work. Tichatschek continued hoarse, and it was said he would never sing in my opera again. I heard from Luttichau that, scared by the failure of Tannhauser, he was holding himself in readiness to countermand the order for the promised scenery for the Hall of Song, or to cancel it altogether. I was so terrified at the cowardice which was thus revealed, that I myself began to look upon Tannhauser as doomed. My prospects and my whole position, when viewed in this mood, may be readily gathered from my communications, especially those referring to my negotiations for the publication of my works.

This terrible week dragged out like an endless eternity. I was afraid to look anybody in the face, but was one day obliged to go to Meser's music shop, where I met Gottfried Semper just buying a text-book of Tannhauser. Only a short time before I had been very much put out in discussing this subject with him; he would listen to nothing I had to say about the Minnesangers and Pilgrims of the Middle Ages in connection with art, but gave me to understand that he despised me for my choice of such material.

While Meser assured me that no inquiry whatever had been received for the numbers of Tannhauser already published, it was strange that my most energetic antagonist should be the only person who had actually bought and paid for a copy. In a peculiarly earnest and impressive manner he remarked to me that it was necessary to be thoroughly acquainted with the subject if a just opinion was to be passed on it, and that for this purpose, unfortunately, nothing but the text was available. This very meeting with Semper, strange as it may appear, was the first really encouraging sign that I can remember.

But I found my greatest consolation in those days of trouble and anxiety in Rockel, who from that time forward entered into a lifelong intimacy with me. He had, without my being aware of it, disputed, explained, quarrelled, and petitioned on my behalf, and thereby roused himself to a veritable enthusiasm for Tannhauser. The evening before the second performance, which was at last to take place, we met over a glass of beer, and his bright demeanour had such a cheering effect upon me that we became very lively. After contemplating my head for some time, he swore that it was impossible to destroy me, that there was a something in me, something, probably, in my blood, as similar characteristics also appeared in my brother Albert, who was otherwise so unlike me. To speak more plainly, he called it the peculiar HEAT of my temperament; this heat, he thought, might consume others, whereas I appeared to feel at my best when it glowed most fiercely, for he had several times seen me positively ablaze. I laughed, and did not know what to make of his nonsense. Well, he said, I should soon see what he meant in Tannhauser, for it was simply absurd to think the work would not live; and he was absolutely certain of its success. I thought over the matter on my way home, and came to the conclusion that if Tannhauser did indeed win its way, and become really popular, incalculable possibilities might be attained.

At last the time arrived for our second performance. For this I thought I had made due preparation by lessening the importance of the principal part, and lowering my original ideals about some of the more important portions, and I hoped by accentuating certain undoubtedly attractive passages to secure a genuine appreciation of the whole. I was greatly delighted with the scenery which had at last arrived for the Hall of Song in the second act, the beautiful and imposing effect of which cheered us all, for we looked upon it as a good omen. Unfortunately I had to bear the humiliation of seeing the theatre nearly empty. This, more than anything else, sufficed to convince me what the opinion of the public really was in regard to my work. But, if the audience was scanty, the majority, at any rate, consisted of the first friends of my art, and the reception of the piece was very cordial. Mitterwurzer especially aroused the greatest enthusiasm. As for Tichatschek, my anxious friends, Rockel and Heine, thought it necessary to endeavour by every artifice to keep him in a good humour for his part. In order to give practical assistance in making the undoubted obscurity of the last scene clear, my friends had asked several young people, more especially artists, to give vent to torrents of applause at those parts which are not generally regarded by the opera-going public as provoking any demonstration. Strange to say, the outburst of applause thus provoked after the words, 'An angel flies to God's throne for thee, and will make his voice heard; Heinrich, thou art saved,' made the entire situation suddenly clear to the public. At all subsequent productions this continued to be the principal moment for the expression of sympathy on the part of the audience, although it had passed quite unnoticed on the first night. A few days later a third performance took place, but this time before a full house, Schroder-Devrient, depressed at the small share she was able to take in the success of my work, watched the progress of the opera from the small stage box; she informed me that Luttichau had come to her with a beaming face, saying he thought we had now carried Tannhauser happily through.

And this certainly proved to be the case; we often repeated it in the course of the winter, but noticed that when two performances followed close upon one another, there was not such a rush for the second, from which we concluded that I had not yet gained the approval of the great opera-going public, but only of the more cultured section of the community. Among these real friends of Tannhauser there were many, as I gradually discovered, who as a rule never visited the theatre at all, and least of all the opera. This interest on the part of a totally new public continued to grow in intensity, and expressed itself in a delightful and hitherto unknown manner by a strong sympathy for the author. It was particularly painful to me, on Tichatschek's account, to respond alone to the calls of the audience after almost every act; however, I had at last to submit, as my refusal would only have exposed the vocalist to fresh humiliations, for when he appeared on the stage with his colleagues without me, the loud shouts for me were almost insulting to him. With what genuine eagerness did I wish that the contrary were the case, and that the excellence of the execution might overshadow the author. The conviction that I should never attain this with my Tannhauser in Dresden guided me in all my future undertakings. But, at all events, in producing Tannhauser in this city I had succeeded in making at least the cultured public acquainted with my peculiar tendencies, by stimulating their mental faculties and stripping the performance of all realistic accessories. I did not, however, succeed in making these tendencies sufficiently clear in a dramatic performance, and in such an irresistible and convincing manner as also to familiarise the uncultivated taste of the ordinary public with them when they saw them embodied on the stage.

By enlarging the circle of my acquaintances, and making interesting friends, I had a good opportunity during the winter of obtaining further information on this point in a way that was both instructive and encouraging. My acquaintance and close intimacy at this time with Dr. Hermann Franck of Breslau, who had for some time been living quietly in Dresden, was also very inspiring. He was very comfortably off, and was one of those men who, by a wide knowledge and good judgment, combined with considerable gifts as an author, won an excellent reputation for himself in a large and select circle of private friends, without, however, making any great name for himself with the public. He endeavoured to use his knowledge and abilities for the general good, and was induced by Brockhaus to edit the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung when it first started. This paper had been founded by Brockhaus some years earlier. However, after editing it for a year, Franck resigned this post, and from that time forward it was only on the very rarest occasions that he could be persuaded to touch anything connected with journalism. His curt and spirited remarks about his experiences in connection with the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung justified his disinclination to engage in any work connected with the public press. My appreciation was all the greater, therefore, when, without any persuasion on my part, he wrote a full report on Tannhauser for the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung. This appeared in October or November, 1845, in a supplement to that paper, and although it contained the first account of a work which has since been so widely discussed, I regard it, after mature consideration, as the most far-reaching and exhaustive that has ever been written. By this means my name figured for the first time in the great European political paper, whose columns, in consequence of a remarkable change of front which was to the interests of the proprietors, have since been open to any one who wished to make merry at the expense of me or my work.

The point which particularly attracted me in Dr. Franck was the delicate and tactful art he displayed in his criticism and his methods of discussion. There was something distinguished about them that was not so much the outcome of rank and social position as of genuine world-wide culture.

The delicate coldness and reserve of his manner charmed rather than repelled me, as it was a characteristic I had not met with hitherto. When I found him expressing himself with some reserve in regard to persons who enjoyed a reputation to which I did not think they were always entitled, I was very pleased to see during my intercourse with him that in many ways I exercised a decisive influence over his opinion. Even at that time I did not care to let it pass unchallenged when people evaded the close analysis of the work of this or that celebrity, by referring in terms of eulogy to his 'good-nature.' I even cornered my worldly wise friend on this point, when a few years later I had the satisfaction of getting from him a very concise explanation of Meyerbeer's 'good-nature,' of which he had once spoken, and he recalled with a smile the extraordinary questions I had put to him at the time. He was, however, quite alarmed when I gave him a very lucid explanation of the disinterestedness and conspicuous altruism of Mendelssohn in the service of art, of which he had spoken enthusiastically. In a conversation about Mendelssohn he had remarked how delightful it was to find a man able to make real sacrifices in order to free himself from a false position that was of no service to art. It was assuredly a grand thing, he said, to have renounced a good salary of nine thousand marks as general musical conductor in Berlin, and to have retired to Leipzig as a simple conductor at the Gewandhaus concerts, and Mendelssohn was much to be admired on that account. Just at that time I happened to be in a position to give some correct details regarding this apparent sacrifice on the part of Mendelssohn, because when I had made a serious proposal to our general management about increasing the salaries of several of the poorer members of the orchestra, Luttichau was requested to inform me that, according to the King's latest commands, the expenditure on the state bands was to be so restricted that for the present the poorer chamber musicians could not claim any consideration, for Herr von Falkenstein, the governor of the Leipzig district, who was a passionate admirer of Mendelssohn's, had gone so far as to influence the King to appoint the latter secret conductor, with a secret salary of six thousand marks. This sum, together with the salary of three thousand marks openly granted him by the management of the Leipzig Gewandhaus, would amply compensate him for the position he had renounced in Berlin, and he had consequently consented to migrate to Leipzig. This large grant had, for decency's sake, to be kept secret by the board administering the band funds, not only because it was detrimental to the interests of the institution, but also because it might give offence to those who were acting as conductors at a lower salary, if they knew another man had been appointed to a sinecure. From these circumstances Mendelssohn derived not only the advantage of having the grant kept a secret, but also the satisfaction of allowing his friends to applaud him as a model of self-sacrificing zeal for going to Leipzig; which they could easily do, although they knew him to be in a good financial position. When I explained this to Franck, he was astonished, and admitted it was one of the strangest cases he had ever come across in connection with undeserved fame.

We soon arrived at a mutual understanding in our views about many other artistic celebrities with whom we came in contact at that time in Dresden. This was a simple matter in the case of Ferdinand Hiller, who was regarded as the chief of the 'good-natured' ones. Regarding the more famous painters of the so-called Dusseldorf School, whom I met frequently through the medium of Tannhauser, it was not quite so easy to come to a conclusion, as I was to a great extent influenced by the fame attached to their well-known names; but here again Franck startled me with opportune and conclusive reasons for disappointment. When it was a question between Bendemann and Hubner, it seemed to me that Hubner might very well be sacrificed to Bendemann. The latter, who had only just completed the frescoes for one of the reception-rooms at the royal palace, and had been rewarded by his friends with a banquet, appeared to me to have the right to be honoured as a great master. I was very much astonished, therefore, when Franck calmly pitied the King of Saxony for having had his room 'bedaubed' by Bendemann! Nevertheless, there was no denying that these people were 'good-natured.' My intercourse with them became more frequent, and at all events offered me opportunities of mixing with the more cultured artistic society, in distinction to the theatrical circles with which I had usually associated; yet I never derived from it the least enthusiasm or inspiration. The latter, however, appears to have been Hiller's main object, and that winter he organised a sort of social circle which held weekly meetings at the home of one or the other of its members in turn. Reinecke, who was both painter and poet, joined this society, together with Hubner and Bendemann, and had the bad fortune to write the new text for an opera for Hiller, the fate of which I will describe later on. Robert Schumann, the musician, who was also in Dresden at this time, and was busy working out on opera, which eventually developed into Genovefa, made advances to Hiller and myself. I had already known Schumann in Leipzig, and we had both entered upon our musical careers at about the same time. I had also occasionally sent small contributions to the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik, of which he had formerly been editor, and more recently a longer one from Paris on Rossini's Stabat Mater. He had been asked to conduct his Paradies und Peri at a concert to be given at the theatre; but his peculiar awkwardness in conducting on that occasion aroused my sympathy for the conscientious and energetic musician whose work made so strong an appeal to me, and a kindly and friendly confidence soon grew up between us. After a performance of Tannhauser, at which he was present, he called on me one morning and declared himself fully and decidedly in favour of my work. The only objection he had to make was that the stretta of the second finale was too abrupt, a criticism which proved his keenness of perception; and I was able to show him, by the score, how I had been compelled, much against my inclination, to curtail the opera, and thereby create the position to which he had taken exception. We often met when out walking and, as far as it was possible with a person so sparing of words, we exchanged views on matters of musical interest. He was looking forward to the production, under my baton, of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, as he had attended the performances at Leipzig, and had been very much disappointed by Mendelssohn's conducting, which had quite misunderstood the time of the first movement. Otherwise his society did not inspire me particularly, and the fact that he was too conservative to benefit by my views was soon shown, more especially in his conception of the poem of Genovefa. It was clear that my example had only made a very transient impression on him, only just enough, in fact, to make him think it advisable to write the text of an opera himself. He afterwards invited me to hear him read his libretto, which was a combination of the styles of Hebbel and Tieck. When, however, out of a genuine desire for the success of his work, about which I had serious misgivings, I called his attention to some grave defects in it, and suggested the necessary alterations, I realised how matters stood with this extraordinary person: he simply wanted me to be swayed by himself, but deeply resented any interference with the product of his own ideals, so that thenceforward I let matters alone.

In the following winter, our circle, thanks to the assiduity of Hiller, was considerably widened, and it now became a sort of club whose object was to meet freely every week in a room at Engel's restaurant at the Postplatz. Just about this time the famous J. Schnorr of Munich was appointed director of the museums in Dresden, and we entertained him at a banquet. I had already seen some of his large and well-executed cartoons, which made a deep impression on me, not only on account of their dimensions, but also by reason of the events they depicted from old German history, in which I was at that time particularly interested. It was through Schnorr that I now became acquainted with the 'Munich School' of which he was the master. My heart overflowed when I thought what it meant for Dresden, if such giants of German art were to shake hands there. I was much struck by Schnorr's appearance and conversation, and I could not reconcile his whining pedagogic manner with his mighty cartoons; however, I thought it a great stroke of luck when he also took to frequenting Engel's restaurant on Saturdays. He was well versed in the old German legends, and I was delighted when they formed the topic of conversation. The famous sculptor, Hanel, used also to attend these meetings, and his marvellous talent inspired me with the greatest respect, although I was not an authority on his work, and could only judge of it by my own feelings. I soon saw that his bearing and manner were affected; he was very fond of expressing his opinion and judgment on questions of art, and I was not in a position to decide whether they were reliable or otherwise. In fact, it often occurred to me that I was listening to a Philistine swaggerer. It was only when my old friend Pecht, who had also settled in Dresden for a time, clearly and emphatically explained to me Hanel's standing as an artist, that I conquered all my secret doubts, and tried to find some pleasure in his works. Rietschel, who was also a member of our society, was the very antithesis of Hanel. I often found it difficult to believe that the pale delicate man, with the whining nervous way of expressing himself, was really a sculptor; but as similar peculiarities in Schnorr did not prevent me from recognising him as a marvellous painter, this helped me to make friends with Rietschel, as he was quite free from affectation, and had a warm sympathetic soul that drew me ever closer to him. I also remember hearing from him a very enthusiastic appreciation of my personality as a conductor. In spite, however, of being fellow-members of our versatile art club, we never attained a footing of real comradeship, for, after all, no one thought much of anybody else's talents. For instance, Hiller had arranged some orchestral concerts, and to commemorate them he was entertained at the usual banquet by his friends, when his services were gratefully acknowledged with due rhetorical pathos. Yet I never found, in my private intercourse with Hiller's friends, the least enthusiasm in regard to his work; on the contrary, I only noticed expressions of doubt and apprehensive shrugs.

These feted concerts soon came to an end. At our social evenings we never discussed the works of the masters who were present; they were not even mentioned, and it was soon evident that none of the members knew what to talk about. Semper was the only man who, in his extraordinary fashion, often so enlivened our entertainments that Rietschel, inwardly sympathetic, though painfully startled, would heartily complain against the unrestrained outbursts that led not infrequently to hot discussions between Semper and myself. Strange to say, we two always seemed to start from the hypothesis that we were antagonists, for he insisted upon regarding me as the representative of mediaeval Catholicism, which he often attacked with real fury. I eventually succeeded in persuading him that my studies and inclinations had always led me to German antiquity, and to the discovery of ideals in the early Teutonic myths. When we came to paganism, and I expressed my enthusiasm for the genuine heathen legends, he became quite a different being, and a deep and growing interest now began to unite us in such a way that it quite isolated us from the rest of the company. It was, however, impossible ever to settle anything without a heated argument, not only because Semper had a peculiar habit of contradicting everything flatly, but also because he knew his views were opposed to those of the entire company. His paradoxical assertions, which were apparently only intended to stir up strife, soon made me realise, beyond any doubt, that he was the only one present who was passionately in earnest about everything he said, whereas all the others were quite content to let the matter drop when convenient. A man of the latter type was Gutzkow, who was often with us; he had been summoned to Dresden by the general management of our court theatre, to act in the capacity of dramatist and adapter of plays. Several of his pieces had recently met with great success: Zopf und Schwert, Das Urbild des Tartuffe, and Uriel Acosta, shed an unexpected lustre on the latest dramatic repertoire, and it seemed as though the advent of Gutzkow would inaugurate a new era of glory for the Dresden theatre, where my operas had also been first produced. The good intentions of the management were certainly undeniable. My only regret on that occasion was that the hopes my old friend Laube entertained of being summoned to Dresden to fill that post were unrealised. He also had thrown himself enthusiastically into the work of dramatic literature. Even in Paris I had noticed the eagerness with which he used to study the technique of dramatic composition, especially that of Scribe, in the hope of acquiring the skill of that writer, without which, as he soon discovered, no poetical drama in German could be successful. He maintained that he had thoroughly mastered this style in his comedy, Rococo, and he cherished the conviction that he could work up any imaginable material into an effective stage play.

At the same time, he was very careful to show equal skill in the selection of his material. In my opinion this theory of his was a complete failure, as his only successful pieces were those in which popular interest was excited by catch-phrases. This interest was always more or less associated with the politics of the day, and generally involved some obvious diatribes about 'German unity' and 'German Liberalism.' As this important stimulus was first applied by way of experiment to the subscribers to our Residenz Theater, and afterwards to the German public generally, it had, as I have already said, to be worked out with the consummate skill which, presumably, could only be learned from modern French writers of comic opera.

I was very glad to see the result of this study in Laube's plays, more especially as when he visited us in Dresden, which he often did on the occasion of a new production, he admitted his indebtedness with modest candour, and was far from pretending to be a real poet. Moreover, he displayed great skill and an almost fiery zeal, not only in the preparation of his pieces, but also in their production, so that the offer of a post at Dresden, the hope of which had been held out to him, would at least, from a practical point of view, have been a benefit to the theatre. Finally, however, the choice fell on his rival Gutzkow, in spite of his obvious unsuitability for the practical work of dramatist. It was evident that even as regards his successful plays his triumph was mainly due to his literary skill, because these effective plays were immediately followed by wearisome productions which made us realise, to our astonishment, that he himself could not have been aware of the skill he had previously displayed. It was, however, precisely these abstract qualities of the genuine man of letters which, in the eyes of many, cast over him the halo of literary greatness; and when Luttichau, thinking more of a showy reputation than of permanent benefit to his theatre, decided to give the preference to Gutzkow, he thought his choice would give a special impetus to the cause of higher culture. To me the appointment of Gutzkow as the director of dramatic art at the theatre was peculiarly objectionable, as it was not long before I was convinced of his utter incompetence for the task, and it was probably owing to the frankness with which I expressed my opinion to Luttichau that our subsequent estrangement was originally due. I had to complain bitterly of the want of judgment and the levity of those who so recklessly selected men to fill the posts of managers and conductors in such precious institutions of art as the German royal theatres. To obviate the failure I felt convinced must follow on this important appointment, I made a special request that Gutzkow should not be allowed to interfere in the management of the opera; he readily yielded, and thus spared himself great humiliation. This action, however, created a feeling of mistrust between us, though I was quite ready to remove this as far as possible by coming into personal contact with him whenever opportunity offered on those evenings when the artists used to gather at the club, as already described. I would gladly have made this strange man, whose head was anxiously bowed down on his breast, relax and unburden himself in his conversations with me, but I was unsuccessful, on account of his constant reserve and suspicion, and his studied aloofness. An opportunity arose for a discussion between us when he wanted the orchestra to take a melodramatic part (which they afterwards did) in a certain scene of his Uriel Acosta, where the hero had to recant his alleged heresy. The orchestra had to execute the soft tremolo for a given time on certain chords, but when I heard the performance it appeared to me absurd, and equally derogatory both for the music and the drama.

On one of these evenings I tried to come to an understanding with Gutzkow concerning this, and the employment of music generally as a melodramatic auxiliary to the drama, and I discussed my views on the subject in accordance with the highest principles I had conceived. He met all the chief points of my discussion with a nervous distrustful silence, but finally explained that I really went too far in the significance which I claimed for music, and that he failed to understand how music would be degraded if it were applied more sparingly to the drama, seeing that the claims of verse were often treated with much less respect when it was used as a mere accessory to operatic music. To put it practically, in fact, it would be advisable for the librettist not to be too dainty in this matter; it wasn't possible always to give the actor a brilliant exit; at the same time, however, nothing could be more painful than when the chief performer made his exit without any applause. In such cases a little distracting noise in the orchestra really supplied a happy diversion. This I actually heard Gutzkow say; moreover, I saw that he really meant it! After this I felt I had done with him.

It was not long before I had equally little to do with all the painters, musicians, and other zealots in art belonging to our society. At the same time, however, I came into closer contact with Berthold Auerbach. With great enthusiasm, Alwine Frommann had already drawn my attention to Auerbach's Pastoral Stories. The account she gave of these modest works (for that is how she characterised them) sounded quite attractive. She said that they had had the same refreshing effect on her circle of friends in Berlin as that produced by opening the window of a scented boudoir (to which she compared the literature they had hitherto been used to), and letting in the fresh air of the woods. After that I read the Pastoral Stories of the Black Forest, which had so quickly become famous, and I, too, was strongly attracted by the contents and tone of these realistic anecdotes about the life of the people in a locality which it was easy enough to identify from the vivid descriptions. As at this time Dresden seemed to be becoming ever more and more the rendezvous for the lights of our literary and artistic world, Auerbach also reconciled himself to taking up his quarters in this city; and for quite a long time, lived with his friend Hiller, who thus again had a celebrity at his side of equal standing with himself. The short, sturdy Jewish peasant boy, as he was placed to represent himself to be, made a very agreeable impression. It was only later that I understood the significance of his green jacket, and above all of his green hunting-cap, which made him look exactly what the author of Swabian Pastoral Stories ought to look like, and this significance was anything but a naive one. The Swiss poet, Gottfried Keller, once told me that, when Auerbach was in Zurich, and he had decided on taking him up, he (Auerbach) had drawn his attention to the best way in which to introduce one's literary effusions to the public, and to make money, and he advised him, above all things, to get a coat and cap like his own, for being, as he said, like himself, neither handsome nor well grown, it would be far better deliberately to make himself look rough and queer; so saying, he placed his cap on his head in such a way as to look a little rakish. For the time being, I perceived no real affectation in Auerbach; he had assimilated so much of the tone and ways of the people, and had done this so happily, that, in any case, one could not help asking oneself why, with these delightful qualities, he should move with such tremendous ease in spheres that seemed absolutely antagonistic. At all events, he always seemed in his true element even in those circles which really seemed most opposed to his assumed character; there he stood in his green coat, keen, sensitive, and natural, surrounded by the distinguished society that flattered him; and he loved to show letters he had received from the Grand Duke of Weimar and his answers to them, all the time looking at things from the standpoint of the Swabian peasant nature which suited him so admirably.

What especially attracted me to him was the fact that he was the first Jew I ever met with whom one could discuss Judaism with absolute freedom. He even seemed particularly desirous of removing, in his agreeable manner, all prejudice on this score; and it was really touching to hear him speak of his boyhood, and declare that he was perhaps the only German who had read Klopstock's Messiah all through. Having one day become absorbed in this work, which he read secretly in his cottage home, he had played the truant from school, and when he finally arrived too late at the school-house, his teacher angrily exclaimed: 'You confounded Jew-boy, where have you been? Lending money again?' Such experiences had only made him feel pensive and melancholy, but not bitter, and he had even been inspired with real compassion for the coarseness of his tormentors. These were traits in his character which drew me very strongly to him. As time went on, however, it seemed to me a serious matter that he could not get away from the atmosphere of these ideas, for I began to feel that the universe contained no other problem for him than the elucidation of the Jewish question. One day, therefore, I protested as good-naturedly and confidentially as I could, and advised him to let the whole problem of Judaism drop, as there were, after all, many other standpoints from which the world might be criticised. Strange to say, he thereupon not only lost his ingeniousness, but also fell to whining in an ecstatic fashion, which did not seem to me very genuine, and assured me that that would be an impossibility for him, as there was still so much in Judaism which needed his whole sympathy. I could not help recalling the surprising anguish which he had manifested on this occasion, when I learned, in the course of time, that he had repeatedly arranged Jewish marriages, concerning the happy result of which I heard nothing, save that he had, by this means, made quite a fortune. When, several years afterwards, I again saw him in Zurich, I observed that his appearance had unfortunately changed in a manner quite disconcerting: he looked really extraordinarily common and dirty; his former refreshing liveliness had turned into the usual Jewish restlessness, and it was easy to see that all he said was uttered as if he regretted that his words could not be turned to better account in a newspaper article.

During his time in Dresden, however, Auerbach's warm agreement with my artistic projects really did me good, even though it may have been only from his Semitic and Swabian standpoint; so did the novelty of the experience I was at that time undergoing as an artist, in meeting with ever-increasing regard and recognition among people of note, of acknowledged importance and of exceptional culture. If, after the success obtained by Rienzi, I still remained with the circle of the real theatrical world, the greater success following on Tannhauser certainly brought me into contact with such people as I have mentioned above, who, though to be sure they considerably enlarged my ideas, at the same time impressed me very unfavourably with what was apparently the pinnacle of the artistic life of the period. At any rate, I felt neither rewarded nor, fortunately, even diverted by the acquaintances I won by the first performance of my Tannhauser that winter. On the contrary, I felt an irresistible desire to withdraw into my shell and leave these gay surroundings into which, strangely enough, I had been introduced at the instigation of Hiller, whom I soon recognised as being a nonentity. I felt I must quickly compose something, as this was the only means of ridding myself of all the disturbing and painful excitement Tannhauser had produced in me.

Only a few weeks after the first performances I had worked out the whole of the Lohengrin text. In November I had already read this poem to my intimate friends, and soon afterwards to the Hiller set. It was praised, and pronounced 'effective.' Schumann also thoroughly approved of it, although he did not understand the musical form in which I wished to carry it out, as he saw no resemblance in it to the old methods of writing individual solos for the various artists. I then had some fun in reading different parts of my work to him in the form of arias and cavatinas, after which he laughingly declared himself satisfied.

Serious reflection, however, aroused my gravest doubts as to the tragic character of the material itself, and to these doubts I had been led, in a manner both sensible and tactful, by Franck. He thought it offensive to effect Elsa's punishment through Lohengrin's departure; for although he understood that the characteristics of the legend were expressed precisely by this highly poetical feature, he was doubtful as to whether it did full justice to the demands of tragic feeling in its relation to dramatic realism. He would have preferred to see Lohengrin die before our eyes owing to Elsa's loving treachery. As, however, this did not seem feasible, he would have liked to see Lohengrin spell-bound by some powerful motive, and prevented from getting away. Although, of course, I would not agree to any of these suggestions, I went so far as to consider whether I could not do away with the cruel separation, and still retain the incident of Lohengrin's departure, which was essential. I then sought for a means of letting Elsa go away with Lohengrin, as a form of penance which would withdraw her also from the world. This seemed more promising to my talented friend. While I was still very doubtful about all this, I gave my poem to Frau von Luttichau, so that she might peruse it, and criticise the point raised by Franck. In a little letter, in which she expressed her pleasure at my poem, she wrote briefly, but very decidedly, on the knotty question, and declared that Franck must be devoid of all poetry if he did not understand that it was exactly in the way I had chosen, and in no other, that Lohengrin must depart. I felt as if a load had fallen from my heart. In triumph I showed the letter to Franck, who, much abashed, and by way of excusing himself, opened a correspondence with Frau von Luttichau, which certainly cannot have been lacking in interest, though I was never able to see any of it. In any case, the upshot of it was that Lohengrin remained as I had originally conceived it. Curiously enough, some time later, I had a similar experience with regard to the same subject, which again put me in a temporary state of uncertainty. When Adolf Stahr gravely raised the same objection to the solution of the Lohengrin question, I was really taken aback by the uniformity of opinion; and as, owing to some excitement, I was just then no longer in the same mood as when I composed Lohengrin, I was foolish enough to write a hurried letter to Stahr in which, with but a few slight reservations, I declared him to be right. I did not know that, by this, I was causing real grief to Liszt, who was now in the same position with regard to Stahr as Frau von Luttichau had been with regard to Franck. Fortunately, however, the displeasure of my great friend at my supposed treachery to myself did not last long; for, without having got wind of the trouble I had caused him, and thanks to the torture I myself was going through, I came to the proper decision in a few days, and, as clear as daylight, I saw what madness it had been. I was therefore able to rejoice Liszt with the following laconical protest which I sent him from my Swiss resort: 'Stahr is wrong, and Lohengrin is right.'

For the present I remained occupied with the revision of my poem, for there could be no question of planning the music to it just now. That peaceful and harmonious state of mind which is so favourable to creative work, and always so necessary to me for composing, I now had to secure with the greatest difficulty, for it was one of the things I always had the hardest struggle to obtain. All the experiences connected with the performance of Tannhauser having filled me with true despair as to the whole future of my artistic operations, I saw it was hopeless to think of its production being extended to other German theatres--for I had not been able to achieve this end even with the successful Rienzi. It was perfectly obvious, therefore, that my work would, at the utmost, be conceded a permanent place in the Dresden repertoire. As the result of all this, my pecuniary affairs, which have already been described, had got into such a serious state that a catastrophe seemed inevitable. While I was preparing to meet this in the best way I could, I tried to stupefy myself, on the one hand, by plunging into the study of history, mythology, and literature, which were becoming ever dearer and dearer to me, and on the other by working incessantly at my artistic enterprises. As regards the former, I was chiefly interested in the German Middle Ages, and tried to make myself familiar with every point relative to this period. Although I could not set about this task with philological precision, I proceeded with such earnestness that I studied the German records, published by Grimm, for instance, with the greatest interest. As I could not put the results of such studies immediately into my scenes, there were many who could not understand why, as an operatic composer, I should waste my time on such barren work. Different people remarked later on, that the personality of Lohengrin had a charm quite its own; but this was ascribed to the happy selection of the subject, and I was specially praised for choosing it. Material from the German Middle Ages, and later on, subjects from Scandinavian antiquity, were therefore looked forward to by many, and, in the end, they were astonished that I gave them no adequate result of all my labours. Perhaps it will be of help to them if I now tell them to take the old records and such works to their aid. I forgot at that time to call Hiller's attention to my documents, and with great pride he seized upon a subject out of the history of the Hohenstaufen. As, however, he had no success with his work, he may perhaps think I was a little artful for not having spoken to him of the old records.

Concerning my other duties, my chief undertaking for this winter consisted in an exceptionally carefully prepared performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which took place in the spring on Palm Sunday. This performance involved many a struggle, besides a host of experiences which were destined to exercise a strong influence over my further development. Roughly they were as follows: the royal orchestra had only one opportunity a year of showing their powers independently in a musical performance outside the Opera or the church. For the benefit of the Pension Fund for their widows and orphans, the old so-called Opera House was given up to a big performance originally only intended for oratorios. Ultimately, in order to make it more attractive, a symphony was always added to the oratorio; and, as already mentioned, I had performed on such occasions, once the Pastoral Symphony, and later Haydn's Creation. The latter was a great joy to me, and it was on this occasion that I first made its acquaintance. As we two conductors had stipulated for alternate performances, the Symphony on Palm Sunday of the year 1846 fell to my lot. I had a great longing for the Ninth Symphony, and I was led to the choice of this work by the fact that it was almost unknown in Dresden. When the directors of the orchestra, who were the trustees of the Pension Fund, and who had to promote its increase, got to know of this, such a fright seized them that they interviewed the general director, Luttichau, and begged him, by virtue of his high authority, to dissuade me from carrying out my intention. They gave as a reason for this request, that the Pension Fund would surely suffer through the choice of this symphony, as the work was in ill-repute in the place, and would certainly keep people from going to the concert. The symphony had been performed many years before by Reissiger at a charity concert, and, as the conductor himself honestly admitted, had been an absolute failure. Now it needed my whole ardour, and all the eloquence I could command, to prevail over the doubts of our principal. With the orchestral directors, however, there was nothing for me to do but quarrel, as I heard that they were complaining all over the town about my indiscretion. In order to add shame to their trouble, I made up my mind to prepare the public in such a way for the performance, upon which I had resolved, and for the work itself, that at least the sensation caused would lead to a full hall and thus, in a very favourable manner, guarantee satisfactory returns, and contradict their belief that the fund was menaced. Thus the Ninth Symphony had, in every conceivable way, become for me a point of honour, for the success of which I had to exercise all my powers to the utmost. The committee had misgivings regarding the outlay needed for procuring the orchestral parts, so I borrowed them from the Leipzig Concert Society.

Imagine my feelings, however, on now seeing for the first time since my earliest boyhood the mysterious pages of this score, which I studied conscientiously! In those days the sight of these same pages had filled me with the most mystic reveries, and I had stayed up for nights together to copy them out. Just as at the time of my uncertainty in Paris, on hearing the rehearsal of the first three movements performed by the incomparable orchestra of the Conservatoire, I had been carried back through years of error and doubt to be placed in marvellous touch with my earliest days, while all my inmost aspirations had been fruitfully stimulated in a new direction, so now in the same way the memory of that music was secretly awakened in me as I again saw before my own eyes that which in those early days had likewise been only a mysterious vision. I had by this time experienced much which, in the depths of my soul, drove me almost unconsciously to a process of summing-up, to an almost despairing inquiry concerning my fate. What I dared not acknowledge to myself was the fact of the absolute insecurity of my existence both from the artistic and financial point of view; for I saw that I was a stranger to my own mode of life as well as to my profession, and I had no prospects whatsoever. This despair, which I tried to conceal from my friends, was now converted into genuine exaltation, thanks entirely to the Ninth Symphony. It is not likely that the heart of a disciple has ever been filled with such keen rapture over the work of a master, as mine was at the first movement of this symphony. If any one had come upon me unexpectedly while I had the open score before me, and had seen me convulsed with sobs and tears as I went through the work in order to consider the best manner of rendering it, he would certainly have asked with astonishment if this were really fitting behaviour for the Conductor Royal of Saxony! Fortunately, on such occasions I was spared the visits of our orchestra directors, and their worthy conductor Reissiger, and even those of F. Hiller, who was so versed in classical music.

In the first place I drew up a programme, for which the book of words for the chorus--always ordered according to custom-- furnished me with a good pretext. I did this in order to provide a guide to the simple understanding of the work, and thereby hoped to appeal not to the critical judgment, but solely to the feelings, of the audience. This programme, in the framing of which some of the chief passages in Goethe's Faust were exceedingly helpful to me, was very well received, not only on that occasion in Dresden, but later on in other places. Besides this, I made use of the Dresden Anzeiger, by writing all kinds of short and enthusiastic anonymous paragraphs, in order to whet the public taste for a work which hitherto had been in ill-repute in Dresden.

Not only did these purely extraneous exertions succeed in making the receipts of that year by far exceed any that had been taken theretofore, but the orchestra directors themselves, during the remaining years of my stay in Dresden, made a point of ensuring similarly large profits by repeated performances of the celebrated symphony. Concerning the artistic side of the performance, I aimed at making the orchestra give as expressive a rendering as possible, and to this end made all kinds of notes, myself, in the various parts, so as to make quite sure that their interpretation would be as clear and as coloured as could be desired. It was principally the custom which existed then of doubling the wind instruments, that led me to a most careful consideration of the advantages this system presented, for, in performances on a large scale, the following somewhat crude rule prevailed: all those passages marked piano were executed by a single set of instruments, while those marked forte were carried out by a duplicated set. As an instance of the way in which I took care to ensure an intelligible rendering by this means, I might point to a certain passage in the second movement of the symphony, where the whole of the string instruments play the principal and rhythmical figure in C major for the first time; it is written in triple octaves, which play uninterruptedly in unison and, to a certain degree, serve as an accompaniment to the second theme, which is only performed by feeble wood instruments. As fortissimo is indicated alike for the whole orchestra, the result in every imaginable rendering must be that the melody for the wood instruments not only completely disappears, but cannot even be heard through the strings, which, after all, are only accompanying. Now, as I never carried my piety to the extent of taking directions absolutely literally, rather than sacrifice the effect really intended by the master to the erroneous indications given, I made the strings play only moderately loudly instead of real fortissimo, up to the point where they alternate with the wind instruments in taking up the continuation of the new theme: thus the motive, rendered as it was as loudly as possible by a double set of wind instruments, was, I believe for the first time since the existence of the symphony, heard with real distinctness. I proceeded in this manner throughout, in order to guarantee the greatest exactitude in the dynamical effects of the orchestra. There was nothing, however difficult, which was allowed to be performed in such a way as not to arouse the feelings of the audience in a particular manner. For example, many brains had been puzzled by the Fugato in 6/8 time which comes after the chorus, Froh wie seine Sonnen fliegen, in the movement of the finale marked alia marcia. In view of the preceding inspiriting verses, which seemed to be preparing for combat and victory, I conceived this Fugato really as a glad but earnest war-song, and I took it at a continuously fiery tempo, and with the utmost vigour. The day following the first performance I had the satisfaction of receiving a visit from the musical director Anacker of Freiburg, who came to tell me somewhat penitently, that though until then he had been one of my antagonists, since the performance of the symphony he certainly reckoned himself among my friends. What had absolutely overwhelmed him, he said, was precisely my conception and interpretation of the Fugato. Furthermore, I devoted special attention to that extraordinary passage, resembling a recitative for the 'cellos and basses, which comes at the beginning of the last movement, and which had once caused my old friend Pohlenz such great humiliation in Leipzig. Thanks to the exceptional excellence of our bass players, I felt certain of attaining to absolute perfection in this passage. After twelve special rehearsals of the instruments alone concerned, I succeeded in getting them to perform in a way which sounded not only perfectly free, but which also expressed the most exquisite tenderness and the greatest energy in a thoroughly impressive manner.

From the very beginning of my undertaking I had at once recognised, that the only method of achieving overwhelming popular success with this symphony was to overcome, by some ideal means, the extraordinary difficulties presented by the choral parts. I realised that the demands made by these parts could be met only by a large and enthusiastic body of singers. It was above all necessary, then, to secure a very good and large choir; so, besides adding the somewhat feeble Dreissig 'Academy of Singing' to our usual number of members in the theatre chorus, in spite of great difficulties I also enlisted the help of the choir from the Kreuzschule, with its fine boys' voices, and the choir of the Dresden seminary, which had had much practice in church singing. In a way quite my own I now tried to get these three hundred singers, who were frequently united for rehearsals, into a state of genuine ecstasy; for instance, I succeeded in demonstrating to the basses that the celebrated passage Seid umschlungen, Millionen, and especially Bruder, uber'm Sternenzelt muss ein guter Vater wohnen, could not be sung in an ordinary manner, but must, as it were, be proclaimed with the greatest rapture. In this I took the lead in a manner so elated that I really think I literally transported them to a world of emotion utterly strange to them for a while; and I did not desist till my voice, which had been heard clearly above all the others, began to be no longer distinguishable even to myself, but was drowned, so to speak, in the warm sea of sound.

It gave me particular pleasure, with Mitterwurzer's cooperation, to give a most overwhelmingly expressive rendering of the recitative for baritone: Freunde, nicht diese Tone. In view of its exceptional difficulties this passage might almost be considered impossible to perform, and yet he executed it in a way which showed what fruit our mutual interchange of ideas had borne. I also took care that, by means of the complete reconstruction of the hall, I should obtain good acoustic conditions for the orchestra, which I had arranged according to quite a new system of my own. As may be imagined, it was only with the greatest difficulty that the money for this could be found; however, I did not give up, and owing to a totally new construction of the platform, I was able to concentrate the whole of the orchestra towards the centre, and surround it, in amphitheatre fashion, by the throng of singers who were accommodated on seats very considerably raised. This was not only of great advantage to the powerful effect of the choir, but it also gave great precision and energy to the finely organised orchestra in the purely symphonic movements.

Even at the general rehearsal the hall was overcrowded. Reissiger was guilty of the incredible stupidity of working up the public mind against the symphony and drawing attention to Beethoven's very regrettable error. Gade, on the other hand, who came to visit us from Leipzig, where he was then conducting the Gewandhaus Concerts, assured me after the general rehearsal, that he would willingly have paid double the price of his ticket in order to hear the recitative by the basses once more; whilst Hiller considered that I had gone too far in my modification of the tempo. What he meant by this I learned subsequently when I heard him conducting intricate orchestral works; but of this I shall have more to say later on.

There was no denying that the performance was, on the whole, a success; in fact, it exceeded all our expectations, and was particularly well received by the non-musical public. Among these I remember the philologist Dr. Kochly, who came to me at the end of the evening and confessed that it was the first time he had been able to follow a symphonic work from beginning to end with intelligent interest. This experience left me with a pleasant feeling of ability and power, and strongly confirmed me in the belief, that if I only desired anything with sufficient earnestness, I was able to achieve it with irresistible and overwhelming success. I now had to consider, however, what the difficulties were, which hitherto had prevented a similarly happy production of my own new conceptions. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which was still such a problem to so many, and had, at all events, never attained to popularity, I had been able to make a complete success; yet, as often as it was put on the stage, my Tannhauser taught me that the possibilities of its success had yet to be discovered. How was this to be done? This was and remained the secret question which influenced all my subsequent development.

I dared not, however, indulge at that time in any meditation on this point with the view of arriving at any particular results, for the real significance of my failure, of which I was inwardly convinced, stood absolutely bare before me with all its terrifying lessons. Albeit, I could no longer delay taking even the most disagreeable steps with the view of warding off the catastrophe which menaced my financial position.

I was led to this, thanks to the influence of a ridiculous omen. My agent, the purely nominal publisher of my three operas-- Rienzi, the Fliegender Hollander, and Tannhauser--the eccentric court music publisher, C. F. Meser, invited me one day to the cafe known as the 'Verderber' to discuss our money affairs. With great qualms we talked over the possible results of the Annual Easter Fair, and wondered whether they would be tolerably good or altogether bad. I gave him courage, and ordered a bottle of the best Haut-Sauterne. A venerable flask made its appearance; I filled the glasses, and we drank to the good success of the Fair; when suddenly we both yelled as though we had gone mad, while, with horror, we tried to rid our mouths of the strong Tarragon vinegar with which we had been served by mistake. 'Heavens!' cried Meser, 'nothing could be worse!' 'True enough,' I answered, 'no doubt there is much that will turn to vinegar for us.' My good-humour revealed to me in a flash that I must try some other way of saving myself than by means of the Easter Fair.

Not only was it necessary to refund the capital which had been got together by dint of ever-increasing sacrifices, in order to defray the expenses of the publication of my operas; but, owing to the fact that I had been obliged ultimately to seek aid from the usurers, the rumour of my debts had spread so far abroad, that even those friends who had helped me at the time of my arrival in Dresden were seized with anxiety on my account. At this time I met with a really sad experience at the hands of Madame Schroder-Devrient, who, as the result of her incomprehensible lack of discretion, did much to bring about my final undoing. When I first settled in Dresden, as I have already pointed out, she lent me three thousand marks, not only to help me to discharge my debts, but also to allow me to contribute to the maintenance of my old friend Kietz in Paris. Jealousy of my niece Johanna, and suspicion that I had made her (my niece) come to Dresden in order to make it easier for the general management to dispense with the services of the great artist, had awakened in this otherwise so noble-minded woman the usual feelings of animosity towards me, which are so often met with in the theatrical profession. She had now given up her engagement; she even declared openly that I had been partly instrumental in obtaining her dismissal; and abandoning all friendly regard for me, whereby she deeply wronged me in every respect, she placed the I.O.U. I had given her in the hands of an energetic lawyer, and without further ado this man sued me for the payment of the money. Thus I was forced to make a clean breast of everything to Luttichau, and to beseech him to intervene for me, and if possible to obtain a royal advance that would enable me to clear my position, which was so seriously compromised.

My principal declared himself willing to support any request I might wish to address to the King on this matter. To this end I had to note down the amount of my debts; but as I soon discovered that the necessary sum could only be assigned to me as a loan from the Theatre Pension Fund, at an interest of five per cent., and that I should moreover have to secure the capital of the Pension Fund by a life insurance policy, which would cost me annually three per cent, of the capital borrowed, I was, for obvious reasons, tempted to leave out of my petition all those of my debts which were not of a pressing nature, and for the payment of which I thought I could count on the receipts which I might finally expect from my publishing enterprises. Nevertheless, the sacrifices I had to make in order to repay the help offered me increased to such an extent, that my salary of conductor, in itself very slender, promised to be materially diminished for some time to come. I was forced to make the most irksome efforts to gather together the necessary sum for the life insurance policy, and was therefore obliged frequently to appeal to Leipzig. In addition to this, I had to overcome the most appalling doubts in regard both to my health and to the probable length of my life, concerning which I fancied I had heard all sorts of malicious apprehensions expressed by those who had observed me but casually in the miserable condition which I was in at that time. My friend Pusinelli, as a doctor who was very intimate with me, eventually managed to give such satisfactory information concerning the state of my health, that I succeeded in insuring my life at the rate of three per cent.

The last of these painful journeys to Leipzig was, at all events, made under pleasant circumstances owing to a kind invitation from the old Maestro Louis Spohr. I was particularly pleased over this, because to me it meant nothing less than an act of reconciliation. As a matter of fact, Spohr had written to me on one occasion, and had declared that, stimulated by the success of my Fliegender Hollander and his own enjoyment of it, he had once more decided to take up the career of a dramatic composer, which of recent years had brought him such scant success. His last work was an opera--Die Kreuz-fahrer--which he had sent to the Dresden theatre in the course of the preceding year in the hope, as he himself assured me, that I would urge on its production. After asking this favour, he drew my attention to the fact that in this work he had made an absolutely new departure from his earlier operas, and had kept to the most precise rhythmically dramatic declamation, which had certainly been made all the more easy for him by the 'excellent subject.' Without being actually surprised, my horror was indeed great when, after studying not only the text, but also the score, I discovered that the old maestro had been absolutely mistaken in regard to the account he had given me of his work. The custom in force at that time that the decision concerning the production of works should not, as a rule, rest with one of the conductors alone, did not tend to make me any less fearful of declaring myself emphatically in favour of this work. In addition to this, it was Reissiger, who, as he had often boasted, was an old friend of Spohr's, whose turn it was to select and produce a new work. Unfortunately, as I learned later, the general management had returned Spohr's opera to its author in such a curt manner as to offend him, and he complained bitterly of this to me. Genuinely concerned at this, I had evidently managed to calm and appease him, for the invitation mentioned above was clearly a friendly acknowledgment of my efforts. He wrote that it was very painful for him to have to touch at Dresden on his way to one of the watering-places; as, however, he had a real longing to make my acquaintance, he begged me to meet him in Leipzig, where he was going to stay for a few days.

This meeting with him did not leave me unimpressed. He was a tall, stately man, distinguished in appearance, and of a serious and calm temperament. He gave me to understand, in a touching, almost apologetic manner, that the essence of his education and of his aversion from the new tendencies in music, had its origin in the first impressions he had received on hearing, as a very young boy, Mozart's Magic Flute, a work which was quite new at that time, and which had a great influence on his whole life. Regarding my libretto to Lohengrin, which I had left behind for him to read, and the general impression which my personal acquaintance had made on him, he expressed himself with almost surprising warmth to my brother-in-law, Hermann Brockhaus, at whose house we had been invited to dine, and where, during the meal, the conversation was most animated. Besides this, we had met at real musical evenings at the conductor Hauptmann's as well as at Mendelssohn's, on which occasion I heard the master take the violin in one of his own quartettes. It was precisely in these circles that I was impressed by the touching and venerable dignity of his absolutely calm demeanour. Later on, I learned from witnesses--for whose testimony, be it said, I cannot vouch-- that Tannhauser, when it was performed at Cassel, had caused him so much confusion and pain that he declared he could no longer follow me, and feared that I must be on the wrong road.

In order to recover from all the hardships and cares I had gone through, I now managed to obtain a special favour from the management, in the form of a three months' leave, in which to improve my health in rustic retirement, and to get pure air to breathe while composing some new work. To this end I had chosen a peasant's house in the village of Gross-Graupen, which is half-way between Pillnitz and the border of what is known as 'Saxon Switzerland.' Frequent excursions to the Porsberg, to the adjacent Liebethaler, and to the far distant bastion helped to strengthen my unstrung nerves. While I was first planning the music to Lohengrin, I was disturbed incessantly by the echoes of some of the airs in Rossini's William Tell, which was the last opera I had had to conduct. At last I happened to hit on an effective means of stopping this annoying obtrusion: during my lonely walks I sang with great emphasis the first theme from the Ninth Symphony, which had also quite lately been revived in my memory. This succeeded! At Pirna, where one can bathe in the river, I was surprised, on one of my almost regular evening constitutionals, to hear the air from the Pilgrim's Chorus out of Tannhauser whistled by some bather, who was invisible to me. This first sign of the possibility of popularising the work, which I had with such difficulty succeeded in getting performed in Dresden, made an impression on me which no similar experience later on has ever been able to surpass. Sometimes I received visits from friends in Dresden, and among them Hans von Bulow, who was then sixteen years old, came accompanied by Lipinsky. This gave me great pleasure, because I had already noticed the interest which he took in me. Generally, however, I had to rely only on my wife's company, and during my long walks I had to be satisfied with my little dog Peps. During this summer holiday, of which a great part of the time had at the beginning to be devoted to the unpleasant task of arranging my business affairs, and also to the improvement of my health, I nevertheless succeeded in making a sketch of the music to the whole of the three acts of Lohengrin, although this cannot be said to have consisted of anything more than a very hasty outline.

With this much gained, I returned in August to Dresden, and resumed my duties as conductor, which every year seemed to become more and more burdensome to me. Moreover, I immediately plunged once more into the midst of troubles which had only just been temporarily allayed. The business of publishing my operas, on the success of which I still counted as the only means of liberating me from my difficult position, demanded ever-fresh sacrifices if the enterprise were to be made worth while. But as my income was now very much reduced, even the smallest outlays necessarily led me into ever-new and more painful complications; and I once more lost all courage.

On the other hand, I tried to strengthen myself by again working energetically at Lohengrin. While doing this, I proceeded in a manner that I have not since repeated. I first of all completed the third act, and in view of the criticism already mentioned of the characters and conclusion of this act, I determined to try to make it the very pivot of the whole opera. I wished to do this, if only for the sake of the musical motive appearing in the story of the Holy Grail; but in other respects the plan struck me as perfectly satisfactory.

Owing to previous suggestions on my part, Gluck's Iphigenia in Aulis was to be produced this winter. I felt it my duty to give more care and attention to this work, which interested me particularly on account of its subject, than I had given to the study of the Armida. In the first place, I was upset by the translation in which the opera with the Berlin score was presented to us. In order not to be led into false interpretations through the instrumental additions which I considered very badly applied in this score, I wrote for the original edition from Paris. When I had made a thorough revision of the translation, with a view merely to the correctness of declamation, I was spurred on by my increasing interest to revise the score itself. I tried to bring the poem as far as possible into agreement with Euripides' play of the same name, by the elimination of everything which, in deference to French taste, made the relationship between Achilles and Iphigenia one of tender love. The chief alteration of all was to cut out the inevitable marriage at the end. For the sake of the vitality of the drama I tried to join the arias and choruses, which generally followed immediately upon each other without rhyme or reason, by connecting links, prologues and epilogues. In this I did my best, by the use of Gluck's themes, to make the interpolations of a strange composer as unnoticeable as possible. In the third act alone was I obliged to give Iphigenia, as well as Artemis, whom I had myself introduced, recitatives of my own composition. Throughout the rest of the work I revised the whole instrumentation more or less thoroughly, but only with the object of making the existing version produce the effect I desired. It was not till the end of the year that I was able to finish this tremendous task, and I had to postpone the completion of the third act of Lohengrin, which I had already begun, until the New Year.

The first thing to claim my attention at the beginning of the year (1847) was the production of Iphigenia. I had to act as stage manager in this case, and was even obliged to help the scene-painters and the mechanicians over the smallest details. Owing to the fact that the scenes in this opera were generally strung together somewhat clumsily and without any apparent connection, it was necessary to recast them completely, in order so to animate the representation as to give to the dramatic action the life it lacked. A good deal of this faultiness of construction seemed to me due to the many conventional practices which were prevalent at the Paris Opera in Gluck's time. Mitterwurzer was the only actor in the, whole cast who gave me any pleasure. In the role of Agamemnon he showed a thorough grasp of that character, and carried out my instructions and suggestions to the letter, so that he succeeded in giving a really splendid and intelligent rendering of the part. The success of the whole performance was far beyond my expectations, and even the directors were so surprised at the exceptional enthusiasm aroused by one of Gluck's operas, that for the second performance they, on their own initiative, had my name put on the programme as 'Reviser.' This at once drew the attention of the critics to this work, and for once they almost did me justice; my treatment of the overture, the only part of the opera which these gentlemen heard rendered in the usual trivial way, was the only thing that they could find fault with. I have discussed and given an accurate account of all that relates to this in a special article on 'Gluck's Overture to Iphigenia in Aulis' and I only wish to add here that the musician who made such strange comments on this occasion was Ferdinand Hiller.

As in former years, the winter meetings of the various artistic elements in Dresden which Hiller had inaugurated, continued to take place; but they now assumed more the character of 'salons' in Hiller's own house, and it seemed to me intended solely for the purpose of laying the foundations for a general recognition of Hiller's artistic greatness. He had already founded, among the more wealthy patrons of art, the chief of whom was the banker Kaskel, a society for running subscription concerts. As it was impossible for the royal orchestra to be placed at his disposal for this purpose, he had to content himself with members of the town and military bands for his orchestra, and it cannot be denied that, thanks to his perseverance, he attained a praiseworthy result. As he produced many compositions which were still unknown in Dresden, especially from the domain of more modern music, I was often tempted to go to his concerts. His chief bait to the general public, however, seemed to lie in the fact that he presented unknown singers (among whom, unfortunately, Jenny Lind was not to be found) and virtuosos, one of which, Joachim, who was then very young, I became acquainted with.

Hiller's treatment of those works with which I was already well acquainted, showed what his musical power was really worth. The careless and indifferent manner in which he interpreted a Triple Concerto by Sebastian Bach positively astounded me. In the tempo di minuetto of the Eighth Symphony of Beethoven, I found that Hiller's rendering was even more astonishing than Reissiger's and Mendelssohn's. I promised to be present at the performance of this symphony if I could rely on his giving a correct rendering of the tempo of the third phrase, which was generally so painfully distorted, He assured me that he thoroughly agreed with me about it, and my disappointment at the performance was all the greater when I found the well-known waltz measure adopted again. When I called him to account about it he excused himself with a smile, saying that he had been seized with a fit of temporary abstraction just at the beginning of the phrase in question, which had made him forget his promise. For inaugurating these concerts, which, as a matter of fact, only lasted for two seasons, Hiller was given a banquet, which I also had much pleasure in attending.

People in these circles were surprised at that time to hear me speak, often with great animation, about Greek literature and history, but never about music. In the course of my reading, which I zealously pursued, and which drew me away from my professional activities to retirement and solitude, I was at that time impelled by my spiritual needs to turn my attention once more to a systematic study of this all-important source of culture, with the object of filling the perceptible gap between my boyhood's knowledge of the eternal elements of human culture and the neglect of this field of learning due to the life I had been obliged to lead. In order to approach the real goal of my desires--the study of Old and Middle High German--in the right frame of mind, I began again from the beginning with Greek antiquity, and was now filled with such overwhelming enthusiasm for this subject that, whenever I entered into conversation, and by hook or by crook had managed to get it round to this theme, I could only speak in terms of the strongest emotion. I occasionally met some one who seemed to listen to what I had to say; on the whole, however, people preferred to talk to me only about the theatre because, since my production of Gluck's Iphigenia, they thought themselves justified in thinking I was an authority on this subject. I received special recognition from a man to whom I quite rightly gave the credit of being at least as well versed as myself in the matter. This was Eduard Devrient, who had been forced at that time to resign his position as stage manager-in-chief owing to a plot against him on the part of the actors, headed by his own brother Emil. We were brought into closer sympathy by our conversations in connection with this, which led him into dissertations on the triviality and thorough hopelessness of our whole theatrical life, especially under the ruining influence of ignorant court managers, which could never be overcome.

We were also drawn together by his intelligent understanding of the part I had played in the production of Iphigenia, which he compared with the Berlin production of the same piece, that had been utterly condemned by him. He was for a long time the only man with whom I could discuss, seriously and in detail, the real needs of the theatre and the means by which its defects might be remedied. Owing to his longer and more specialised experience, there was much he could tell me and make clear to me; in particular he helped me successfully to overcome the idea that mere literary excellence is enough for the theatre, and confirmed my conviction that the path to true prosperity lay only with the stage itself and with the actors of the drama.

From this time forward, till I left Dresden, my intercourse with Eduard Devrient grew more and more friendly, though his dry nature and obvious limitations as an actor had attracted me but little before. His highly meritorious work, Die Geschichte der deutschen Schauspielkunst ('History of German Dramatic Art'), which he finished and published about that time, threw a fresh and instructive light on many problems which exercised my mind, and helped me to master them for the first time.

At last I managed once more to resume my task of composing the third act of Lohengrin, which had been interrupted in the middle of the Bridal Scene, and I finished it by the end of the winter. After the repetition, by special request, of the Ninth Symphony at the concert on Palm Sunday had revived me, I tried to find comfort and refreshment for the further progress of my new work by changing my abode, this time without asking permission. The old Marcolini palace, with a very large garden laid out partly in the French style, was situated in an outlying and thinly populated suburb of Dresden.

It had been sold to the town council, and a part of it was to be let. The sculptor, Hanel, whom I had known for a long time, and who had given me as a mark of friendship an ornament in the shape of a perfect plaster cast of one of the bas-reliefs from Beethoven's monument representing the Ninth Symphony, had taken the large rooms on the ground floor of a side-wing of this palace for his dwelling and studio. At Easter I moved into the spacious apartments, above him, the rent of which was extremely low, and found that the large garden planted with glorious trees, which was placed at my disposal, and the pleasant stillness of the whole place, not only provided mental food for the weary artist, but at the same time, by lessening my expenses, improved my straitened finances. We soon settled down quite comfortably in the long row of pleasant rooms without having incurred any unnecessary expense, as Minna was very practical in her arrangements. The only real inconvenience which in the course of time I found our new home possessed, was its inordinate distance from the theatre. This was a great trial to me after fatiguing rehearsals and tiring performances, as the expense of a cab was a serious consideration. But we were favoured by an exceptionally fine summer, which put me in a happy frame of mind, and soon helped to overcome every inconvenience.

At this time I insisted with the utmost firmness on refraining from taking any further share in the management of the theatre, and I had most cogent reasons to bring forth in defence of my conduct. All my endeavours to set in order the wilful chaos which prevailed in the use of the costly artistic materials at the disposal of this royal institution were repeatedly thwarted, merely because I wished to introduce some method into the arrangements. In a carefully written pamphlet which, in addition to my other work, I had compiled during the past winter, I had drawn up a plan for the reorganisation of the orchestra, and had shown how we might increase the productive power of our artistic capital by making a more methodical use of the royal funds intended for its maintenance, and showing greater discretion regarding salaries. This increase in the productive power would raise the artistic spirit as well as improve the economic position of the members of the orchestra, for I should have liked them at the same time to form an independent concert society. In such a capacity it would have been their task to present to the people of Dresden, in the best possible way, a kind of music which they had hitherto hardly had the opportunity of enjoying at all. It would have been possible for such a union, which, as I pointed out, had so many external circumstances in its favour, to provide Dresden with a suitable concert-hall. I hear, however, that such a place is wanting to this day.

With this object in view I entered into close communication with architects and builders, and the plans were completed, according to which the scandalous buildings facing a wing of the renowned prison opposite the Ostra Allee, and consisting of a shed for the members of the theatre and a public wash-house, were to be pulled down and replaced by a beautiful building, which, besides containing a large concert-hall adapted to our requirements, would also have had other large rooms which could have been, let out on hire at a profit. The practicality of these plans was disputed by no one, as even the administrators of the orchestra's widows' fund saw in them an opportunity for the safe and advantageous laying out of capital; yet they were returned to me, after long consideration on the part of the general management, with thanks and an acknowledgment of my careful work, and the curt reply that it was thought better for things to remain as they were.

All my proposals for meeting the useless waste and drain upon our artistic capital by a more methodical arrangement, met with the same success in every detail that I suggested. I had also found out by long experience that every proposal which had to be discussed and decided upon in the most tiring committee meetings, as for instance the starting of a repertoire, might at any moment be overthrown and altered for the worse by the temper of a singer or the plan of a junior business inspector. I was therefore driven to renounce my wasted efforts and, after many a stormy discussion and outspoken expression of my sentiments, I withdrew from taking any part whatever in any branch of the management, and limited myself entirely to holding rehearsals and conducting performances of the operas provided for me.

Although my relations with Luttichau grew more and more strained on this account, for the time being it mattered little whether my conduct pleased him or not, as otherwise my position was one which commanded respect, on account of the ever-increasing popularity of Tannhauser and Rienzi, which were presented during the summer to houses packed with distinguished visitors, and were invariably chosen for the gala performances.

By thus going my own way and refusing to be interfered with, I succeeded this summer, amid the delightful and perfect seclusion of my new home, in preserving myself in a frame of mind exceedingly favourable to the completion of my Lohengrin. My studies, which, as I have already mentioned, I pursued eagerly at the same time as I was working on my opera, made me feel more light-hearted than I had ever done before. For the first time I now mastered AEschylus with real feeling and understanding. Droysen's eloquent commentaries in particular helped to bring before my imagination the intoxicating effect of the production of an Athenian tragedy, so that I could see the Oresteia with my mind's eye, as though it were actually being performed, and its effect upon me was indescribable. Nothing, however, could equal the sublime emotion with which the Agamemnon trilogy inspired me, and to the last word of the Eumenides I lived in an atmosphere so far removed from the present day that I have never since been really able to reconcile myself with modern literature. My ideas about the whole significance of the drama and of the theatre were, without a doubt, moulded by these impressions. I worked my way through the other tragedians, and finally reached Aristophanes. When I had spent the morning industriously upon the completion of the music for Lohengrin, I used to creep into the depths of a thick shrubbery in my part of the garden to get shelter from the summer heat, which was becoming more intense every day. My delight in the comedies of Aristophanes was boundless, when once his Birds had plunged me into the full torrent of the genius of this wanton favourite of the Graces, as he used to call himself with conscious daring. Side by side with this poet I read the principal dialogues of Plato, and from the Symposium I gained such a deep insight into the wonderful beauty of Greek life that I felt myself more truly at home in ancient Athens than in any conditions which the modern world has to offer.

As I was following out a settled course of self-education, I did not wish to pursue my way further in the leading-strings of any literary history, and I consequently turned my attention from the historical studies, which seemed to be my own peculiar province, and in which department Droysen's history of Alexander and the Hellenistic period, as well as Niebuhr and Gibbon, were of great help to me, and fell back once more upon my old and trusty guide, Jakob Grimm, for the study of German antiquity. In my efforts to master the myths of Germany more thoroughly than had been possible in my former perusal of the Nibelung and the Heldenbuch, Mone's particularly suggestive commentary on this Heldensage filled me with delight, although stricter scholars regarded this work with suspicion on account of the boldness of some of its statements. By this means I was drawn irresistibly to the northern sagas; and I now tried, as far as was possible without a fluent knowledge of the Scandinavian languages, to acquaint myself with the Edda, as well as with the prose version which existed of a considerable portion of the Heldensage.

Read by the light of Mone's Commentaries, the Wolsungasaga had a decided influence upon my method of handling this material. My conceptions as to the inner significance of these old-world legends, which had been growing for a long time, gradually gained strength and moulded themselves with the plastic forms which inspired my later works.

All this was sinking into my mind and slowly maturing, whilst with unfeigned delight I was finishing the music of the first two acts of Lohengrin, which were now at last completed. I now succeeded in shutting out the past and building up for myself a new world of the future, which presented itself with ever-growing clearness to my mind as the refuge whither I might retreat from all the miseries of modern opera and theatre life. At the same time, my health and temper were settling down into a mood of almost unclouded serenity, which made me oblivious for a long time of all the worries of my position. I used to walk every day up into the neighbouring hills, which rose from the banks of the Elbe to the Plauenscher Grand. I generally went alone, except for the company of our little dog Peps, and my excursions always resulted in producing a satisfactory number of ideas. At the same time, I found I had developed a capacity, which I had never possessed before, for good-tempered intercourse with the friends and acquaintances who liked to come from time to time to the Marcolini garden to share my simple supper. My visitors used often to find me perched on a high branch of a tree, or on the neck of the Neptune which was the central figure of a large group of statuary in the middle of an old fountain, unfortunately always dry, belonging to the palmy days of the Marcolini estate. I used to enjoy walking with my friends up and down the broad footpath of the drive leading to the real palace, which had been laid especially for Napoleon in the fatal year 1813, when he had fixed his headquarters there.

By August, the last month of summer, I had completely finished the composition of Lohengrin, and felt that it was high time for me to have done so, as the needs of my position demanded imperatively that I should give my most serious attention to improving it, and it became a matter of supreme importance for me once more to take steps for having my operas produced in the German theatres.

Even the success of Tannhauser in Dresden, which became more obvious every day, did not attract the smallest notice anywhere else. Berlin was the only place which had any influence in the theatrical world of Germany, and I ought long before to have given my undivided attention to that city. From all I had heard of the special tastes of Friedrich Wilhelm IV., I felt perfectly justified in assuming that he would feel sympathetically inclined towards my later works and conceptions if I could only manage to bring them to his notice in the right light. On this hypothesis I had already thought of dedicating Tannhauser to him, and to gain permission to do so I had to apply to Count Redern, the court musical director. From him I heard that the King could only accept the dedication of works which had actually been performed in his presence, and of which he thus had a personal knowledge. As my Tannhauser had been refused by the managers of the court theatre because it was considered too epic in form, the Count added that if I wished to remain firm in my resolve, there was only one way out of the difficulty, and that was to adapt my opera as far as possible to a military band, and try to bring it to the King's notice on parade. This drove me to determine upon another plan of attack on Berlin.

After this experience I saw that I must open my campaign there with the opera that had won the most decided triumph in Dresden. I therefore obtained an audience of the Queen of Saxony, the sister of the King of Prussia, and begged her to use her influence with her brother to obtain a performance in Berlin by royal command of my Rienzi, which was also a favourite with the court of Saxony. This manoeuvre was successful, and I soon received a communication from my old friend Kustner to say that the production of Rienzi was fixed for a very early date at the Berlin Court Theatre, and at the same time expressing the hope that I would conduct my work in person. As a very handsome author's royalty had been paid by this theatre, at the instigation of Kustner, on the occasion of the production of his old Munich friend Lachner's opera, Katharina von Cornaro, I hoped to realise a very substantial improvement in my finances if only the success of Rienzi in this city in any degree rivalled that in Dresden. But my chief desire was to make the acquaintance of the King of Prussia, so that I might read him the text of my Lohengrin, and arouse his interest in my work. This from various signs I flattered myself was perfectly possible, in which case I intended to beg him to command the first performance of Lohengrin to be given at his court theatre.

After my strange experiences as to the way in which my success in Dresden had been kept secret from the rest of Germany, it seemed to me a matter of vital importance to make the future centre of my artistic enterprises the only place which exercised any influence on the outside world, and as such I was forced to regard Berlin. Inspired by the success of my recommendation to the Queen of Prussia, I hoped to gain access to the King himself, which I regarded as a most important step. Full of confidence, and in excellent spirits, I set out for Berlin in September, trusting to a favourable turn of Fortune's wheel, in the first place for the rehearsals of Rienzi, though my interests were no longer centred in this work.

Berlin made the same impression on me as on the occasion of my former visit, when I saw it again after my long absence in Paris. Professor Werder, my friend of the Fliegender Hollander, had taken lodgings for me in advance in the renowned Gensdarmeplatz, but when I looked at the view from my windows every day I could not believe that I was in a city which was the very centre of Germany. Soon, however, I was completely absorbed by the cares of the task I had in hand.

I had nothing to complain of with regard to the official preparations for Rienzi, but I soon noticed that it was looked upon merely as a conductor's opera, that is to say, all the materials to hand were duly placed at my disposal, but the management had not the slightest intention of doing anything more for me. All the arrangements for my rehearsals were entirely upset as soon as a visit from Jenny Lind was announced, and she occupied the Royal Opera exclusively for some time.

During the delay thus caused I did all I could to attain my main object--an introduction to the King--and for this purpose made use of my former acquaintance with the court musical director, Count Redern. This gentleman received me at once with the greatest affability, invited me to dinner and a soiree, and entered into a hearty discussion with me about the steps necessary for attaining my purpose, in which he promised to do his utmost to help me. I also paid frequent visits to Sans-Souci, in order to pay my respects to the Queen and express my thanks to her. But I never got further than an interview with the ladies-in-waiting, and I was advised to put myself into communication with M. Illaire, the head of the Royal Privy Council. This gentleman seemed to be impressed by the seriousness of my request, and promised to do what he could to further my wish for a personal introduction to the King. He asked what my real object was, and I told him it was to get permission from the King to read my libretto Lohengrin to him. On the occasion of one of my oft-repeated visits from Berlin, he asked me whether I did not think it would be advisable to bring a recommendation of my work from Tieck. I was able to tell him that I had already had the pleasure of bringing my case to the notice of the old poet, who lived near Potsdam as a royal pensioner.

I remembered very well that Frau von Luttichau had sent the themes Lohengrin and Tannhauser to her old friend some years ago, when these matters were first mentioned between us. When I called upon Tieck, I was welcomed by him almost as a friend, and I found my long talks with him exceedingly valuable. Although Tieck had perhaps gained a somewhat doubtful reputation for the leniency with which he would give his recommendation for the dramatic works of those who applied to him, yet I was pleased by the genuine disgust with which he spoke of our latest dramatic literature, which was modelling itself on the style of modern French stagecraft, and his complaint at the utter lack of any true poetic feeling in it was heartfelt. He declared himself delighted with my poem of Lohengrin, but could not understand how all this was to be set to music without a complete change in the conventional structure of an opera, and on this score he objected to such scenes as that between Ortrud and Frederick at the beginning of the second act. I thought I had roused him to a real enthusiasm when I explained how I proposed to solve these apparent difficulties, and also described my own ideals about musical drama. But the higher I soared the sadder he grew when I had once made known to him my hope of securing the patronage of the King of Prussia for these conceptions, and the working out of my scheme for an ideal drama. He had no doubt that the King would listen to me with the greatest interest, and even seize upon my ideas with warmth, only I must not entertain the smallest hope of any practical result, unless I wished to expose myself to the bitterest disappointment. 'What can you expect from a man who to-day is enthusiastic about Gluck's Iphigenia in Tauris, and to-morrow mad about Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia?' he said. Tieck's conversation about these and similar topics was much too entertaining and charming for me to give any serious weight to the bitterness of his views. He gladly promised to recommend my poem, more particularly to Privy Councillor Illaire, and dismissed me with hearty goodwill and his sincere though anxious blessing. The only result of all my labours was that the desired invitation from the King still hung fire. As the rehearsals for Rienzi, which had been postponed on account of Jenny Lind's visit, were being carried on seriously again, I made up my mind to take no further trouble before the performance of my opera, as I thought myself, at any rate, justified in counting on the presence of the monarch on the first night, as the piece was being played at his express command, and at the same time I hoped this would conduce to the fulfilment of my main object. However, the nearer we came to the event the lower did the hopes I had built upon it sink. To play the part of the hero I had to be satisfied with a tenor who was absolutely devoid of talent, and far below the average. He was a conscientious, painstaking man, and had moreover been strongly recommended to me by my kind host, the renowned Meinhard. After I had taken infinite pains with him, and had in consequence, as so often happens, conjured up in my mind certain illusions as to what I might expect from his acting, I was obliged, when it came to the final test of the dress rehearsal, to confess my true opinion. I realised that the scenery, chorus, ballet, and minor parts were on the whole excellent, but that the chief character, around whom in this particular opera everything centred, faded into an insignificant phantom. The reception which this opera met with at the hands of the public when it was produced in October was also due to him; but in consequence of the fairly good rendering of a few brilliant passages, and more especially on account of the enthusiastic recognition of Frau Koster in the part of Adriano, it might have been concluded from all the external signs that the opera had been fairly successful. Nevertheless, I knew very well that this seeming triumph could have no real substance, as only the immaterial parts of my work could reach the eyes and ears of the audience; its essential spirit had not entered their hearts. Moreover, the Berlin reviewers in their usual way began their attacks immediately, with the view of demolishing any success my opera might have won, so that after the second performance, which I also conducted myself, I began to wonder whether my desperate labours were really worth while.

When I asked the few intimate friends I had their opinion on this point, I elicited much valuable information. Among these friends I must mention, in the first place, Hermann Franck, whom I found again. He had lately settled in Berlin, and did much to encourage me. I spent the most enjoyable part of those sad two months in his company, of which, however, I had but too little. Our conversation generally turned upon reminiscences of the old days, and on to topics which had no connection with the theatre, so that I was almost ashamed to trouble him with my complaints on this subject, especially as they concerned my worries about a work which I could not pretend was of any practical importance to the stage. He for his part soon arrived at the conclusion that it had been foolish of me to choose my Rienzi for this occasion, as it was an opera which appealed merely to the general public, in preference to my Tannhauser, which might have educated a party in Berlin useful to my higher aims. He maintained that the very nature of this work would have aroused a fresh interest in the drama in the minds of people who, like himself, were no longer to be counted among regular theatre-goers, precisely because they had given up all hope of ever finding any nobler ideals of the stage.

The curious information as to the character of Berlin art in other respects, which Werder gave me from time to time, was most discouraging. With regard to the public, he told me once that at a performance of an unknown work, it was quite useless for me to expect a single member of the audience from the stalls to the gallery to take his seat with any better object in view than to pick as many holes as possible in the production. Although Werder did not wish to discourage me in any of my endeavours, he felt himself obliged to warn me continually not to expect anything above the average from the cultured society of Berlin. He liked to see proper respect paid to the really considerable gifts of the King; and when I asked him how he thought the latter would receive my ideas about the ennobling of opera, he answered, after having listened attentively to a long and fiery tirade on my part: 'The King would say to you, "Go and consult Stawinsky!"' This was the opera manager, a fat, smug creature who had grown rusty in following out the most jog-trot routine. In short, everything I learned was calculated to discourage me. I called on Bernhard Marx, who some years ago had shown a kindly interest in my Fliegender Hollander, and was courteously received by him. This man, who in his earlier writings and musical criticisms had seemed to me filled with a fire of energy, now struck me as extraordinarily limp and listless when I saw him by the side of his young wife, who was radiantly and bewitchingly beautiful. From his conversation I soon learned that he also had abandoned even the remotest hope of success for any efforts directed towards the object so dear to both our hearts, on account of the inconceivable shallowness of all the officials connected with the head authority. He told me of the extraordinary fate which had befallen a scheme he had brought to the notice of the King for founding a school of music. In a special audience the King had gone into the matter with the greatest interest, and noticed the minutest detail, so that Marx felt justified in entertaining the strongest possible hopes of success. However, all his labours and negotiations about the business, in the course of which he was driven from pillar to post, proved utterly futile, until at last he was told to have an interview with a certain general. This personage, like the King, had Marx's proposals explained to him in the minutest detail, and expressed his warmest sympathy with the undertaking. 'And there,' said Marx, at the end of this long rigmarole, 'the matter ended, and I never heard another word about it.'

One day I learned that Countess Rossi, the renowned Henriette Sontag, who was living in quiet seclusion in Berlin, had pleasant recollections of me in Dresden, and wished me to visit her. She had at this time already fallen into the unfortunate position which was so detrimental to her artistic career. She too complained bitterly of the general apathy of the influential classes in Berlin, which effectually prevented any artistic aims from being realised. It was her opinion that the King found a sort of satisfaction in knowing that the theatre was badly managed, for though he never opposed any criticisms which he received on the subject, he likewise never supported any proposal for its improvement. She expressed a wish to know something of my latest work, and I gave her my poem of Lohengrin for perusal. On the occasion of my next morning call she told me she would send me an invitation to a musical evening which she was going to have at her house in honour of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, her elderly patron, and she also gave me back the manuscript of Lohengrin, with the assurance that it had appealed to her very much, and that while she was reading it she had often seen the little fairies and elves dancing about in front of her. As in the old days I had been heartily encouraged by the warm and friendly sympathy of this naturally cultured woman, I now felt as if cold water had been suddenly poured down my back. I soon took my leave, and never saw her again. Indeed, I had no particular object in doing so, as the promised invitation never came. Herr E. Kossak also sought me out, and although our acquaintance did not lead to much, I was sufficiently kindly received by him to give him my poem of Lohengrin to read. I went one day by appointment to see him, and found that his room had just been scrubbed with boiling water. The steam from this operation was so unbearable that it had already given him a headache, and was not less disagreeable to me. He looked into my face with an almost tender expression when he gave me back the manuscript of my poem, and assured me, in accents which admitted of no doubt of his sincerity, that he thought it 'very pretty.'

I found my casual intercourse with H. Truhn rather more entertaining. I used to treat him to a good glass of wine at Lutter and Wegener's, where I went occasionally on account of its association with Hoffmann, and he would then listen with apparently growing interest to my ideas as to the possible development of opera and the goal at which we should aim. His comments were generally witty and very much to the point, and his lively and animated ways pleased me very much. After the production of Rienzi, however, he too, as a critic, joined the majority of scoffers and detractors. The only person who supported me stoutly but uselessly, through thick and thin, was my old friend Gaillard. His little music-shop was not a success, his musical journal had already failed, so that he was only able to help me in small ways. Unfortunately I discovered not only that he was the author of many exceedingly dubious dramatic works, for which he wished to gain my support, but also that he was apparently in the last stages of the disease from which he was suffering, so that the little intercourse I had with him, in spite of all his fidelity and devotion, only exercised a melancholy and depressing influence upon me.

But as I had embarked upon this Berlin enterprise in contradiction to all my inmost wishes, and prompted solely by the desire of winning the success so vital to my position, I made up my mind to make a personal appeal to Rellstab.

As in the case of the Fliegender Hollander he had taken exception more particularly to its 'nebulousness' and 'lack of form,' I thought I might with advantage point out to him the brighter and clearer outline of Rienzi. He seemed to be pleased at my thinking I could get anything out of him, but told me at once of his firm conviction that any new art form was utterly impossible after Gluck, and that the only thing that the best of good luck and hard work was capable of producing was meaningless bombast. I then realised that in Berlin all hope had been abandoned. I was told that Meyerbeer was the only man who had been able in any way to master the situation.

This former patron of mine I met once more in Berlin, and he declared that he still took an interest in me. As soon as I arrived I called on him, but in the hall I found his servant busy packing up trunks, and learned that Meyerbeer was just going away. His master confirmed this assertion, and regretted that he would not be able to do anything for me, so I had to say good-bye and how-do-you-do at the same time. For some time I thought he really was away, but after a few weeks I learned to my surprise that he was still staying in Berlin without letting himself be seen by any one, and at last he made his appearance again at one of the rehearsals of Rienzi. What this meant I only discovered later from a rumour which was circulated among the initiated, and imparted to me by Eduard von Bulow, my young friend's father. Without having the slightest idea how it originated, I learned, about the middle of my stay in Berlin, from the conductor Taubert, that he had heard on very good authority that I was trying for a director's post at the court theatre, and had good expectations of securing the appointment in addition to special privileges. In order to remain on good terms with Taubert, as it was very necessary for me to do, I had to give him the most solemn assurances that such an idea had never even entered my head, and that I would not accept such a position if it were offered to me. On the other hand, all my endeavours to get access to the King continued to be fruitless. My chief mediator, to whom I always turned, was still Count Redern, and although my attention had been called to his staunch adherence to Meyerbeer, his extraordinary open and friendly manner always strengthened my belief in his honesty. At last the only medium that remained open to me was the fact that the King could not possibly stay away from the performance of Rienzi, given at his express command, and on this conviction I based all further hope of approaching him. Whereupon Count Redern informed me, with an expression of deep despair, that on the very day of the first performance the monarch would be away on a hunting party. Once more I begged him to make very effort in his power to secure the King's presence, at least at the second performance, and at length my inexhaustible patron told me that he could not make head or tail of it, but his Majesty seemed to have conceived an utter disinclination to accede to my wish; he himself had heard these hard words fall from the royal lips: 'Oh bother! have you come to me again with your Rienzi?'

At this second performance I had a pleasant experience. After the impressive second act the public showed signs of wishing to call me, and as I went from the orchestra to the vestibule, in order to be ready if necessary, my foot slipped on the smooth parquet, and I might have had perhaps a serious fall had I not felt my arm grasped by a strong hand. I turned, and recognised the Crown Prince of Prussia [FOOTNOTE: This Prince subsequently became the Emperor William the First. He was given the title of Crown Prince in 1840 on the death of his father, Frederick William III., as he was then heir-presumptive to his brother, Frederick William IV., whose marriage was without issue.--EDITOR.], who had come out of his box, and who at once seized the opportunity of inviting me to follow him to his wife, who wished to make my acquaintance. She had only just arrived in Berlin, and told me that she had heard my opera for the first time that evening, and expressed her appreciation of it. She had, however, long ago received very favourable reports of me and my artistic aims from a common friend, Alwine Frommann. The whole tenor of this interview, at which the Prince was present, was unusually friendly and pleasant.

It was indeed my old friend Alwine who in Berlin had not only followed all my fortunes with the greatest sympathy, but had also done all in her power to give me consolation and courage to endure. Almost every evening, when the day's business made it possible, I used to visit her for an hour of recreation, and gain strength from her ennobling conversation for the struggle against the reverses of the following day. I was particularly pleased by the warm and intelligent sympathy which she and our mutual friend Werder devoted to Lohengrin, the object of all my labours at that time. On the arrival of her friend and patroness, the Crown Princess, which had been delayed till now, she hoped to hear something more definite as to how my affairs stood with the King, although she intimated to me that even this great lady was in deep disfavour, and could only bring her influence to bear upon the King by observing the strictest etiquette. But from this source also no news reached me till it was time for me to leave Berlin and I could postpone my departure no longer.

As I had to conduct a third performance of Rienzi, and there still remained a remote possibility of receiving a sudden command to Sans-Souci, I accordingly fixed on a date which would be the very latest I could wait to ascertain the fate of the projects I had nearest to heart. This period passed by, and I was forced to realise that my hopes of Berlin were wholly shattered.

I was in a very depressed state when I made up my mind to this conclusion. I can seldom remember having been so dreadfully affected by the influence of cold and wet weather and an eternally grey sky as during those last wretched weeks in Berlin, when everything that I heard, in addition to my own private anxieties, weighed upon me with a leaden weight of discouragement.

My conversations with Hermann Franck about the social and political situation had assumed a peculiarly gloomy tone, as the King of Prussia's efforts to summon a united conference had failed. I was among those who had at first been inclined to see a hopeful significance in this undertaking, but it was a shock to have all the intimate details relating to the project clearly set before me by so well informed a man as Franck. His dispassionate views on this subject, as well as on the Prussian State in particular, which was supposed to be representative of German intelligence, and was universally considered to be a model of order and good government, so completely disillusioned me and destroyed all the favourable and hopeful opinions I had formed of it, that I felt as if I had plunged into chaos, and realised the utter futility of expecting a prosperous settlement of the German question from this quarter. If in the midst of my misery in Dresden I had founded great hopes from gaining the King of Prussia's sympathy for my ideas, I could no longer close my eyes to the fearful hollowness which the state of affairs disclosed to me on every side.

In this despairing mood I felt but little emotion when, on going to say good-bye to Count Redern, he told me with a very sad face the news, which had just arrived, of Mendelssohn's death. I certainly did not realise this stroke of fate, which Redern's obvious grief first brought to my notice. At all events, he was spared more detailed and heartfelt explanation of my own affairs, which he had so much at heart.

The only thing that remained for me to do in Berlin was to try and make my material success balance my material loss. For a stay of two months, during which my wife and my sister Clara had been with me, lured on by the hope that the production of Rienzi in Berlin would be a brilliant success, I found my old friend, Director Kustner, by no means inclined to compensate me. From his correspondence with me he could prove up to the hilt that legally he had only expressed the desire for my co-operation in studying Rienzi, but had given me no positive invitation. As I was prevented by Count Redern's grief over Mendelssohn's death from going to him for help in these trivial private concerns, there was no alternative but for me to accept with a good grace Kustner's beneficence in paying me on the spot the royalties on the three performances which had already taken place. The Dresden authorities were surprised when I found myself obliged to beg an advance of income from them in order to conclude this brilliant undertaking in Berlin.

As I was travelling with my wife in the most horrible weather through the deserted country on my way home, I fell into a mood of the blackest despair, which I thought I might perhaps survive once in a lifetime but never again. Nevertheless, it amused me, as I sat silently looking out of the carriage into the grey mist, to hear my wife enter into a lively discussion with a commercial traveller who, in the course of friendly conversation, had spoken in a disparaging way about the 'new opera Rienzi.' My wife, with great heat and even passion, corrected various mistakes made by this hostile critic, and to her great satisfaction made him confess that he had not heard the opera himself, but had only based his opinion upon hearsay and the reviews. Whereupon my wife pointed out to him most earnestly that 'he could not possibly know whose future he might not injure by such irresponsible comment.'

These were the only cheering and consoling impressions which I carried back with me to Dresden, where I soon felt the direct results of the reverses I had suffered in Berlin in the condolences of my acquaintances. The papers had spread abroad the news that my opera had been a dismal failure. The most painful part of the whole proceeding was that I had to meet these expressions of pity with a cheerful countenance and the assurance that things were by no means so bad as had been made out, but that, on the contrary, I had had many pleasant experiences.

This unaccustomed effort placed me in a position strangely similar to that in which I found Hiller on my return to Dresden. He had given a performance of his new opera, Conradin von Hohenstaufen, here just about this time. He had kept the composition of this work a secret from me, and had hoped to make a decided hit with it after the three performances which took place in my absence. Both the poet and the composer thought that in this work they had combined the tendencies and effects of my Rienzi with those of my Tannhauser in a manner peculiarly suited to the Dresden public. As he was just setting out for Dusseldorf, where he had been appointed concert-director, he commended his work with great confidence to my tender mercies, and regretted not having the power of appointing me the conductor of it. He acknowledged that he owed his great success partly to the wonderfully happy rendering of the male part of Conradin by my niece Johanna. She, in her turn, told me with equal confidence that without her Hiller's opera would not have had such an extraordinary triumph. I was now really anxious to see this fortunate work and its wonderful staging for myself; and this I was able to do, as a fourth performance was announced after Hiller and his family had left Dresden for good. When I entered the theatre at the beginning of the overture to take my place in the stalls, I was astonished to find all the seats, with a few scarcely noticeable exceptions, absolutely empty. At the other end of my row I saw the poet who had written the libretto, the gentle painter Reinike. We moved, naturally, towards the middle of the space and discussed the strange position in which we found ourselves. He poured out melancholy complaints to me about Hiller's musical setting to his poetry; the secret of the mistake which Hiller had made about the success of his work he did not explain, and was evidently very much upset at the conspicuous failure of the opera. It was from another quarter that I learned how it had been possible for Hiller to deceive himself in such an extraordinary way. Frau Hiller, who was of Polish origin, had managed at the frequent Polish gatherings which took place in Dresden to persuade a large contingent of her countrymen, who were keen theatre-goers, to attend her husband's opera. On the first night these friends, with their usual enthusiasm, incited the public to applaud, but had themselves found so little pleasure in the work that they had stayed away from the second performance, which was otherwise badly attended, so that the opera could only be considered a failure. By commandeering all the help that could possibly be got from the Poles by way of applause, every effort was made to secure a third performance on a Sunday, when the theatre generally filled of its own accord. This object was achieved, and the Polish theatre aristocracy, with the charity that was habitual to them, fulfilled their duty towards the needy couple in whose drawing-room they had often spent such pleasant evenings.

Once more the composer was called before the curtain, and everything went off well. Hiller thereupon placed his confidence in the verdict on the third performance, according to which his opera was an undoubted success, just as had been the case with my Tannhauser. The artificiality of this proceeding was, however, exposed by this fourth performance, at which I was present, and at which no one was under an obligation to the departed composer to attend. Even my niece was disgusted with it, and thought that the best singer in the world could not make a success of such a tedious opera. Whilst we were watching this miserable performance I managed to point out to the poet some weaknesses and faults that were to be found in the subject-matter. The latter reported my criticisms to Hiller, whereupon I received a warm and friendly letter from Dusseldorf, in which Hiller acknowledged the mistake he had made in rejecting my advice on this point. He gave me plainly to understand that it was not too late to alter the opera according to my suggestions; I should thus have had the inestimable benefit of having such an obviously well-intentioned, and, in its way, so significant, a work in the repertoire, but I never got so far as that.

On the other hand, I experienced the small satisfaction of hearing the news that two performances of my Rienzi had taken place in Berlin, for the success of which Conductor Taubert, as he informed me himself, thought he had won some credit on account of the extremely effective combinations he had arranged. In spite of this, I was absolutely convinced that I must abandon all hope of any lasting and profitable success from Berlin, and I could no longer hide from Luttichau that, if I were to continue in the discharge of my duties with the necessary good spirits, I must insist on a rise of salary, as, beyond my regular income, I could not rely on any substantial success wherewith to meet my unlucky publishing transactions. My income was so small that I could not even live on it, but I asked nothing more than to be placed on an equal footing with my colleague Reissiger, a prospect which had been held out to me from the beginning.

At this juncture Luttichau saw a favourable opportunity for making me feel my dependence on his goodwill, which could only be secured by my showing due deference to his wishes. After I had laid my case before the King, at a personal interview, and asked for the favour of the moderate increase in income which was my object, Luttichau promised to make the report he was obliged to give of me as favourable as possible. How great was my consternation and humiliation when one day he opened our interview by telling me that his report had come back from the King. In it was set forth that I had unfortunately overestimated my talent on account of the foolish praise of various friends in a high position (among whom he counted Frau v. Konneritz), and had thus been led to consider that I had quite as good a right to success as Meyerbeer. I had thereby caused such serious offence that it might, perhaps, be considered advisable to dismiss me altogether. On the other hand, my industry and my praiseworthy performance with regard to the revision of Gluck's Iphigenia, which had been brought to the notice of the management, might justify my being given another chance, in which case my material condition must be given due consideration. At this point I could read no further, and stupefied by surprise I gave my patron back the paper. He tried at once to remove the obviously bad impression it had made upon me by telling me that my wish had been granted, and I could draw the nine hundred marks belonging to me at once from the bank. I took my leave in silence, and pondered over what course of action I must pursue in face of this disgrace, as it was quite out of the question for me to accept the nine hundred marks.

But in the midst of these adversities a visit of the King of Prussia to Dresden was one day announced, and at the same time by his special request a performance of Tannhauser was arranged. He really did make his appearance in the theatre at this performance in the company of the royal family of Saxony, and stayed with apparent interest from beginning to end. On this occasion the King gave a curious explanation for having stayed away from the performances of Rienzi in Berlin, which was afterwards reported to me. He said he had denied himself the pleasure of hearing one of my operas in Berlin, because it was important to get a good impression of them, and he knew that in his own theatre they would only be badly produced. This strange event had, at any rate, the result of giving me back sufficient self-confidence to accept the nine hundred marks of which I was in such desperate need.

Luttichau also seemed to make a point of winning back my trust to some extent, and I gathered from his calm friendliness that I must suppose this wholly uncultured man had no consciousness of the outrage he had done me. He returned to the idea of having orchestral concerts, in accordance with the suggestions I had made in my rejected report on the orchestra, and in order to induce me to arrange such musical performances in the theatre, said the initiative had come from the management and not from the orchestra itself. As soon as I discovered that the profits were to go to the orchestra I willingly entered into the plan. By a special device of my own the stage of the theatre was made into a concert-hall (afterwards considered first-class) by means of a sounding board enclosing the whole orchestra, which proved a great success. In future six performances were to take place during the winter months. This time, however, as it was the end of the year, and we only had the second half of the winter before us, subscription tickets were issued for only three concerts, and the whole available space in the theatre was filled by the public. I found the preparations for this fairly diverting, and entered upon the fateful year 1848 in a rather more reconciled and amiable frame of mind.

Early in the New Year the first of these orchestral concerts took place, and brought me much popularity on account of its unusual programme. I had discovered that if any real significance were to be given to these concerts, in distinction to those consisting of heterogeneous scraps of music of every different species under the sun, and which are so opposed to all serious artistic taste, we could only afford to give two kinds of genuine music alternately if a good effect was to be produced. Accordingly between two symphonies I placed one or two longer vocal pieces, which were not to be heard elsewhere, and these were the only items in the whole concert. After the Mozart Symphony in D major, I made all the musicians move from their places to make room for an imposing choir, which had to sing Palestrina's Stabat Mater, from an adaptation of the original recitative, which I had carefully revised, and Bach's Motet for eight voices: Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied ('Sing unto the Lord a new song'); thereupon I let the orchestra again take its place to play Beethoven's Sinfonia Eroica, and with that to end the concert.

This success was very encouraging, and disclosed to me a somewhat consoling prospect of increasing my influence as musical conductor at a time when my disgust was daily growing stronger at the constant meddling with our opera repertoire, which made me lose more and more influence as compared with the wishes of my would-be prima donna niece, whom even Tichatschek supported. Immediately on my return from Berlin I had begun the orchestration of Lohengrin, and in all other respects had given myself up to greater resignation, which made me feel I could face my fate calmly, when I suddenly received a very disturbing piece of news.

In the beginning of February my mother's death was announced to me. I at once hastened to her funeral at Leipzig, and was filled with deep emotion and joy at the wonderfully calm and sweet expression of her face. She had passed the latter years of her life, which had before been so active and restless, in cheerful ease, and at the end in peaceful and almost childlike happiness. On her deathbed she exclaimed in humble modesty, and with a bright smile on her face: 'Oh! how beautiful! how lovely! how divine! Why do I deserve such favour?' It was a bitterly cold morning when we lowered the coffin into the grave in the churchyard, and the hard, frozen lumps of earth which we scattered on the lid, instead of the customary handful of dust, frightened me by the loud noise they made. On the way home to the house of my brother-in-law, Hermann Brockhaus, where the whole family were to gather together for an hour, Laube, of whom my mother had been very fond, was my only companion. He expressed his anxiety at my unusually exhausted appearance, and when he afterwards accompanied me to the station, we discussed the unbearable burden which seemed to us to lie like a dead weight on every noble effort made to resist the tendency of the time to sink into utter worthlessness. On my return to Dresden the realisation of my complete loneliness came over me for the first time with full consciousness, as I could not help knowing that with the loss of my mother every natural bond of union was loosened with my brothers and sisters, each of whom was taken up with his or her own family affairs. So I plunged dully and coldly into the only thing which could cheer and warm me, the working out of my Lohengrin and my studies of German antiquity.

Thus dawned the last days of February, which were to plunge Europe once more into revolution. I was among those who least expected a probable or even possible overthrow of the political world. My first knowledge of such things had been gained in my youth at the time of the July Revolution, and the long and peaceful reaction that followed it. Since then I had become acquainted with Paris, and from all the signs of public life which I saw there, I thought all that had occurred had been merely the preliminaries of a great revolutionary movement. I had been present at the erection of the forts detaches around Paris, which Louis Philippe had carried out, and been instructed about the strategic value of the various fixed sentries scattered about Paris, and I agreed with those who considered that everything was ready to make even an attempt at a rising on the part of the populace of Paris quite impossible. When, therefore, the Swiss War of Separation at the end of the previous year, and the successful Sicilian Revolution at the beginning of the New Year, turned all men's eyes in great excitement to watch the effect of these risings on Paris, I did not take the slightest interest in the hopes and fears which were aroused. News of the growing restlessness in the French capital did indeed reach us, but I disputed Rockel's belief that any significance could be attached to it. I was sitting in the conductor's desk at a rehearsal of Martha when, during an interval, Rockel, with the peculiar joy of being in the right, brought me the news of Louis Philippe's flight, and the proclamation of the Republic in Paris. This made a strange and almost astonishing impression on me, although at the same time the doubt as to the true significance of these events made it possible for me to smile to myself. I too caught the fever of excitement which had spread everywhere. The German March days were coming, and from all directions ever more alarming news kept coming in. Even within the narrow confines of my native Saxony serious petitions were framed, which the King withstood for a long time; even he was deceived, in a way which he was soon to acknowledge, as to the meaning of this commotion and the temper that prevailed in the country.

On the evening of one of these really anxious days, when the very air was heavy and full of thunder, we gave our third great orchestral concert, at which the King and his court were present, as on the two previous occasions. For the opening of this one I had chosen Mendelssohn's Symphony in A minor, which I had played on the occasion of his funeral. The mood of this piece, which even in the would-be joyful phrases is always tenderly melancholy, corresponded strangely with the anxiety and depression of the whole audience, which was more particularly accentuated in the demeanour of the royal family. I did not conceal from Lipinsky, the leader of the orchestra, my regret at the mistake I had made in the arrangement of that day's programme, as Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, also in a minor key, was to follow this minor symphony. With a merry twinkle in his eyes the eccentric Pole comforted me by exclaiming: 'Oh, let us play only the first two movements of the Symphony in C minor, then no one will know whether we have played Mendelssohn in the major or the minor key.' Fortunately before these two movements began, to our great surprise, a loud shout was raised by some patriotic spirit in the middle of the audience, who called out 'Long live the King!' and the cry was promptly repeated with unusual enthusiasm and energy on all sides. Lipinsky was perfectly right: the symphony, with the passionate and stormy excitement of the first theme, swelled out like a hurricane of rejoicing, and had seldom produced such an effect on the audience as on that night. This was the last of the newly inaugurated concerts that I ever conducted in Dresden.

Shortly after this the inevitable political changes took place. The King dismissed his ministry and elected a new one, consisting partly of Liberals and partly even of really enthusiastic Democrats, who at once proclaimed the well-known regulations, which are the same all over the world, for founding a thoroughly democratic constitution. I was really touched by this result, and by the heartfelt joy which was evident among the whole population, and I would have given much to have been able to gain access to the King, and convince myself of his hearty confidence in the people's love for him, which seemed to me so desirable a consummation. In the evening the town was gaily illuminated, and the King drove through the streets in an open carriage. In the greatest excitement I went out among the dense crowds and followed his movements, often running where I thought it likely that a particularly hearty shout might rejoice and reconcile the monarch's heart. My wife was quite frightened when she saw me come back late at night, tired out and very hoarse from shouting.

The events which took place in Vienna and Berlin, with their apparently momentous results, only moved me as interesting newspaper reports, and the meeting of a Frankfort parliament in the place of the dissolved Bundestag sounded strangely pleasant in my ears. Yet all these significant occurrences could not tear me for a single day from my regular hours of work. With immense, almost overweening satisfaction, I finished, in the last days of this eventful and historic month of March, the score of Lohengrin with the orchestration of the music up to the vanishing of the Knight of the Holy Grail into the remote and mystic distance.

About this time a young Englishwomen, Madame Jessie Laussot, who had married a Frenchman in Bordeaux, one day presented herself at my house in the company of Karl Ritter, who was barely eighteen years of age. This young man, who was born in Russia of German parents, was a member of one of those northern families who had settled down permanently in Dresden, on account of the pleasant artistic atmosphere of that place. I remembered that I had seen him once before not long after the first performance of Tannhauser, when he asked me for my autograph for a copy of the score of that opera, which was on sale at the music-shop. I now learned that this copy really belonged to Frau Laussot, who had been present at those performances, and who was now introduced to me. Overcome with shyness, the young lady expressed her admiration in a way I had never experienced before, and at the same time told me how great was her regret at being called away by family affairs from her favourite home in Dresden with the Ritter family, who, she gave me to understand, were deeply devoted to me. It was with a strange, and in its way quite a new, sensation that I bade farewell to this young lady. This was the first time since my meeting with Alwine Frommann and Werder, when the Fliegender Hollander was produced, that I came across this sympathetic tone, which seemed to come like an echo from some old familiar past, but which I never heard close at hand. I invited young Ritter to come and see me whenever he liked, and to accompany me sometimes on my walks. His extraordinary shyness, however, seemed to prevent him from doing this, and I only remember seeing him very occasionally at my house. He used to turn up more often with Hans von Bulow, whom he seemed to know pretty well, and who had already entered the Leipzig University as a student of law. This well-informed and talkative young man showed his warm and hearty devotion to me more openly, and I felt bound to reciprocate his affection. He was the first person who made me realise the genuine character of the new political enthusiasm. On his hat, as well as on his father's, the black, red, and gold cockade was paraded before my eyes.

Now that I had finished my Lohengrin, and had leisure to study the course of events, I could no longer help myself sympathising with the ferment aroused by the birth of German ideals and the hopes attached to their realisation. My old friend Franck had already imbued me with a fairly sound political judgment, and, like many others, I had grave doubts as to whether the German parliament now assembling would serve any useful purpose. Nevertheless, the temper of the populace, of which there could be no question, although it might not have been given very obvious expression, and the belief, everywhere prevalent, that it was impossible to return to the old conditions, could not fail to exercise its influence upon me. But I wanted actions instead of words, and actions which would force our princes to break for ever with their old traditions, which were so detrimental to the cause of the German commonwealth. With this object I felt inspired to write a popular appeal in verse, calling upon the German princes and peoples to inaugurate a great crusade against Russia, as the country which had been the prime instigator of that policy in Germany which had so fatally separated the monarchs from their subjects. One of the verses ran as follows:--

The old fight against the East Returns again to-day. The people's sword must not rust Who freedom wish for aye.

As I had no connection with political journals, and had learned by chance that Berthold Auerbach was on the staff of a paper in Mannheim, where the waves of revolution ran high, I sent him my poem with the request to do whatever he thought best with it, and from that day to this I have never heard or seen anything of it.

Whilst the Frankfort Parliament continued to sit on from day to day, and it seemed idle to conjecture whither this big talk by small men would lead, I was much impressed by the news which reached us from Vienna. In the May of this year an attempt at a reaction, such as had succeeded in Naples and remained indecisive in Paris, had been triumphantly nipped in the bud by the enthusiasm and energy of the Viennese people under the leadership of the students' band, who had acted with such unexpected firmness. I had arrived at the conclusion that, in matters directly concerning the people, no reliance could be placed on reason or wisdom, but only on sheer force supported by fanaticism or absolute necessity; but the course of events in Vienna, where I saw the youth of the educated classes working side by side with the labouring man, filled me with peculiar enthusiasm, to which I gave expression in another popular appeal in verse. This I sent to the Oesterreichischen Zeitung, where it was printed in their columns with my full signature.

In Dresden two political unions had been formed, as a result of the great changes that had taken place. The first was called the Deutscher Verein (German Union), whose programme aimed at 'a constitutional monarchy on the broadest democratic foundation.' The names of its principal leaders, among which, in spite of its broad democratic foundation, my friends Eduard Devrient and Professor Rietschel had the courage openly to appear, guaranteed the safety of its objects. This union, which tried to include every element that regarded a real revolution with abhorrence, conjured into existence an opposition club which called itself the Vaterlands-Verein (Patriotic Union). In this the 'democratic foundation' seemed to be the chief basis, and the 'constitutional monarchy' only provided the necessary cloak.

Rockel canvassed passionately for the latter, as he seemed to have lost all confidence in the monarchy. The poor fellow was, indeed, in a very bad way. He had long ago given up all hope of rising to any position in the musical world; his directorship had become pure drudgery, and was, unfortunately, so badly paid that he could not possibly keep himself and his yearly increasing family on the income he derived from his post. He always had an unconquerable aversion from teaching, which was a fairly profitable employment in Dresden among the many wealthy visitors. So he went on from bad to worse, running miserably into debt, and for a long time saw no hope for his position as the father of a family except in emigration to America, where he thought he could secure a livelihood for himself and his dependants by manual labour, and for his practical mind by working as a farmer, from which class he had originally sprung. This, though tedious, would at least be certain. On our walks he had of late been entertaining me almost exclusively with ideas he had gleaned from reading books on farming, doctrines which he applied with zeal to the improvement of his encumbered position. This was the mood in which the Revolution of 1848 found him, and he immediately went over to the extreme socialist side, which, owing to the example set by Paris, threatened to become serious. Every one who knew him was utterly taken aback at the apparently vital change which had so suddenly taken place in him, when he declared that he had at last found his real vocation--that of an agitator.

His persuasive faculties, on which, however, he could not rely sufficiently for platform purposes, developed in private intercourse into stupefying energy. It was impossible to stop his flow of language with any objection, and those he could not draw over to his cause he cast aside for ever. In his enthusiasm about the problems which occupied his mind day and night, he sharpened his intellect into a weapon capable of demolishing every foolish objection, and suddenly stood in our midst like a preacher in the wilderness. He was at home in every department of knowledge. The Vaterlands-Verein had elected a committee for carrying into execution a plan for arming the populace; this included Rockel and other thoroughgoing democrats, and, in addition, certain military experts, among whom was my old friend Hermann Muller, the lieutenant of the Guards who had once been engaged to Schroder-Devrient. He and another officer named Zichlinsky were the only members of the Saxon army who joined the political movement. The part I played in the meetings of this committee, as in everything else, was dictated by artistic motives. As far as I can remember, the details of this plan, which at last became a nuisance, afforded very sound foundation for a genuine arming of the people, though it was impossible to carry it out during the political crisis.

My interest and enthusiasm about the social and political problems which were occupying the whole world increased every day, until public meetings and private intercourse, and the shallow platitudes which formed the staple eloquence of the orators of the day, proved to me the terrible shallowness of the whole movement.

If only I could rest assured that, while such senseless confusion was the order of the day, people well versed in these matters would withhold from any demonstration (which to my great regret I observed in Hermann Franck, and told him of, openly), then, on the contrary, I should feel myself compelled, as soon as the opportunity arose, to discuss the purport of such questions and problems according to my judgment. Needless to say, the newspapers played an exciting and prominent part on this occasion. Once, when I went incidentally (as I might go to see a play) to a meeting of the Vaterlands-Verein, when they were assembled in a public garden, they chose for the subject of their discussion, 'Republic or Monarchy?' I was astonished to hear and to read with what incredible triviality it was carried on, and how the sum-total of their explanation was, that, to be sure, a republic is best, but, at the worst, one could put up with a monarchy if it were well conducted. As the result of many heated discussions on this point, I was incited to lay bare my views on the subject in an article which I published in the DRESDENER ANZEIGER, but which I did not sign. My special aim was to turn the attention of the few who really took the matter seriously, from the external form of the government to its intrinsic value. When I had pursued and consistently discussed the utmost idealistic conclusions of all that which, to my mind, was necessary and inseparable from the perfect state and from social order, I inquired whether it would not be possible to realise all this with a king at the head, and entered so deeply into the matter as to portray the king in such a fashion, that he seemed even more anxious than any one else that his state should be organised on genuinely republican lines, in order that he might attain to the fulfilment of his own highest aims. I must own, however, that I felt bound to urge this king to assume a much more familiar attitude towards his people than the court atmosphere and the almost exclusive society of his nobles would seem to render possible. Finally, I pointed to the King of Saxony as being specially chosen by Fate to lead the way in the direction I had indicated, and to give the example to all the other German princes. Rockel considered this article a true inspiration from the Angel of Propitiation, but as he feared that it would not meet with proper recognition and appreciation in the paper, he urged me to lecture on it publicly at the next meeting of the Vaterlands-Verein for he attached great importance to my discoursing on the subject personally. Quite uncertain as to whether I could really persuade myself to do this, I attended the meeting, and there, owing to the intolerable balderdash uttered by a certain barrister named Blode and a master-furrier Klette, whom at that time Dresden venerated as a Demosthenes and a Cleon, I passionately decided to appear at this extraordinary tribunal with my paper, and to give a very spirited reading of it to about three thousand persons.

The success I had was simply appalling. The astounded audience seemed to remember nothing of the speech of the Orchestral Conductor Royal save the incidental attack I had made upon the court sycophants. The news of this incredible event spread like wildfire. The next day I rehearsed Rienzi, which was to be performed the following evening. I was congratulated on all sides upon my self-sacrificing audacity. On the day of the performance, however, I was informed by Eisolt, the attendant of the orchestra, that the plans had been changed, and he gave me to understand that thereby there hung a tale. True enough, the terrible sensation I had made became so great, that the directors feared the most unheard-of demonstrations at any performance of Rienzi. Then a perfect storm of derision and vituperation broke loose in the press, and I was besieged on all sides to such an extent that it was useless to think of self-defence. I had even offended the Communal Guard of Saxony, and was challenged by the commander to make a full apology. But the most inexorable enemies I made were the court officials, especially those holding a minor office, and to this day I still continue to be persecuted by them. I learned that, as far as it lay in their power, they incessantly besought the King, and finally the director, to deprive me at once of my office. On account of this I thought it necessary to write to the monarch personally, in order to explain to him that my action was to be regarded more in the light of a thoughtless indiscretion than as a culpable offence. I sent this letter to Herr von Luttichau, begging him to deliver it to the King, and to arrange at the same time a short leave for me, so that the provoking disturbance should have a chance of dying down during my absence from Dresden. The striking kindness and goodwill which Herr von Luttichau showed me on this occasion made no little impression upon me, and this I took no pains to conceal from him. As in the course of time, however, his ill-controlled rage at various things, and especially at a good deal that he had misunderstood in my pamphlet, broke loose, I learned that it was not from any humane motives that he had spoken in such a propitiatory manner to me, but rather by desire of the King himself. On this point I received most accurate information, and heard that when everybody, and even von Luttichau himself, were besieging the King to visit me with punishment, the King had forbidden any further talk on the subject. After this very encouraging experience, I flattered myself that the King had understood not only my letter, but also my pamphlet, better than many others.

In order to change my mind a little, I determined for the present (it was the beginning of July) to take advantage of the short period of leave granted to me, by going to Vienna. I travelled by way of Breslau, where I looked up an old friend of my family, the musical director Mosewius, at whose house I spent an evening. We had a most lively conversation, but, unfortunately, were unable to steer clear of the stirring political questions of the day. What interested me most was his exceptionally large, or even, if I remember rightly, complete collection of Sebastian Bach's cantatas in most excellent copies. Besides this, he related, with a humour quite his own, several amusing musical anecdotes which were a pleasant memory for many a year. When Mosewius returned my visit in the course of the summer at Dresden, I played a part of the first act of Lohengrin on the piano for him, and the expression of his genuine astonishment at this conception was very gratifying to me. In later years, however, I found that he had spoken somewhat scoffingly about me; but I did not stop to reflect as to the truth of this information, or as to the real character of the man, for little by little I had had to accustom myself to the most inconceivable things. At Vienna the first thing I did was to call on Professor Fischhof, as I knew that he had in his keeping important manuscripts, chiefly by Beethoven, among which the original of the C minor Sonata, opus 111, I was particularly curious to see. Through this new friend, whom I found somewhat dry, I made the acquaintance of Herr Vesque von Puttlingen, who, as the composer of a most insignificant opera (Joan of Arc), which had been performed in Dresden, had with cautious good taste adopted only the last two syllables of Beethoven's name--Haven. One day we were at his house to dinner, and I then recognised in him a former confidential official of Prince Metternich, who now, with his ribbon of black, red, and gold, followed the current of the age, apparently quite convinced. I made another interesting acquaintance in the person of Herr von Fonton, the Russian state councillor, and attache at the Russian Embassy in Vienna. I frequently met this man, both at Fischhof's house and on excursions into the surrounding country; and it was interesting to me for the first time to run up against a man who could so strongly profess his faith in the pessimistic standpoint, that a consistent despotism guarantees the only order of things which can be tolerated. Not without interest, and certainly not without intelligence--for he boasted of having been educated at the most enlightened schools in Switzerland--he listened to my enthusiastic narration of the art ideal which I had in my mind, and which was destined to exercise a great and decided influence upon the human race. As he had to allow that the realisation of this ideal could not be effected through the strength of despotism, and as he was unable to foresee any rewards for my exertions, by the time we came to the champagne he thawed to such a degree of affable good-nature as to wish me every success. I learned later on that this man, of whose talent and energetic character I had at the time no small opinion, was last heard of as being in great distress.

Now, as I never undertook anything whatever without some serious object in view, I had made up my mind to avail myself of this visit to Vienna, in order to try in some practical manner to promote my ideas for the reform of the theatre. Vienna seemed to me specially suitable for this purpose, as at that, time it had five theatres, all totally different in character, which were dragging on a miserable existence. I quickly worked out a plan, according to which these various theatres might be formed into a sort of co-operative organisation, and placed under one administration composed not only of active members, but also of all those having any literary connection with the theatre. With a view to submitting my plan to them, I then made inquiries about persons with such capacities as seemed most likely to answer my requirements. Besides Herr Friedrich Uhl, whom I had got to know at the very beginning through Fischer, and who did me very good service, I was told of a Herr Franck (the same, I presume, who later on published a big epic work called Tannhauser), and a Dr. Pacher, an agent of Meyerbeer's, and a pettifogger of whose acquaintance later on I was to have no reason to be proud. The most sympathetic, and certainly the most important, of those chosen by me for the conference meeting at Fischhof's house, was undoubtedly Dr. Becher, a passionate and exceedingly cultivated man. He was the only one present who seriously followed the reading of my plan, although, of course, he by no means agreed with everything. I observed in him a certain wildness and vehemence, the impression of which returned to me very vividly some months later, when I heard of his being shot as a rebel who had participated in the October Insurrection at Vienna. For the present, then, I had to satisfy myself with having read the plan of my theatre reform to a few attentive listeners. All seemed to be convinced that the time was not opportune for putting forward such peaceable schemes of reform. On the other hand, Uhl thought it right to give me an idea of what was at present all the rage in Vienna, by taking me one evening to a political club of the most advanced tendencies. There I heard a speech by Herr Sigismund Englander, who shortly afterwards attracted much attention in the political monthly papers; the unblushing audacity with which he and others expressed themselves that evening with regard to the most dreaded persons in public power astounded me almost as much as the poverty of the political views expressed on that occasion. By way of contrast I received a very nice impression of Herr Grillparzer, the poet, whose name was like a fable to me, associated as it was, from my earliest days, with his Ahnfrau. I approached him also with respect to the matter of my theatre reform. He seemed quite disposed to listen in a friendly manner to what I had to say to him; he did not, however, attempt to conceal his surprise at my direct appeals and the personal demands I made of him. He was the first playwright I had ever seen in an official uniform.

After I had paid an unsuccessful visit to Herr Bauernfeld, relative to the same business, I concluded that Vienna was of no more use for the present, and gave myself up to the exceptionally stimulating impressions produced by the public life of the motley crowd, which of late had undergone such marked changes. If the student band, which was always represented in great numbers in the streets, had already amused me with the extraordinary constancy with which its members sported the German colours, I was very highly diverted by the effect produced when at the theatres I saw even the ices served by attendants in the black, red, and gold of Austria. At the Karl Theatre, in the Leopold quarter of the town, I saw a new farce, by Nestroy, which actually introduced the character of Prince Metternich, and in which this statesman, on being asked whether he had poisoned the Duke of Reichstadt, had to make his escape behind the wings as an unmasked sinner. On the whole, the appearance of this imperial city--usually so fond of pleasure--impressed one with a feeling of youthful and powerful confidence. And this impression was revived in me when I heard of the energetic participation of the youthful members of the population, during those fateful October days, in the defence of Vienna against the troops of Prince Windischgratz.

On the homeward journey I touched at Prague, where I found my old friend Kittl (who had grown very much more corpulent) still in the most terrible fright about the riotous events which had taken place there. He seemed to be of opinion that the revolt of the Tschech party against the Austrian Government was directed at him personally, and he thought fit to reproach himself with the terrible agitation of the time, which he believed he had specially inflamed by his composition of my operatic text of Die Franzosen vor Nizza, out of which a kind of revolutionary air seemed to have become very popular. To my great pleasure, on my homeward journey I had the company of Hanel the sculptor, whom I met on the steamer. There travelled with us also a Count Albert Nostitz, with whom he had just settled up his business concerning the statue of the Emperor Charles IV., and he was in the gayest mood, as the extremely insecure state of Austrian paper money had led to his being paid at a great profit to himself, in silver coin in accordance with his agreement. I was very pleased to find that, thanks to this circumstance, he was in such a confident mood, and so free from prejudice, that on, arriving at Dresden he accompanied me the whole way--a very long distance--from the landing-stage at which we had left the steamer to my house, in an open carriage; and this despite the fact that he very well knew that, only a few weeks before, I had caused a really terrible stir in this very city.

As far as the public were concerned, the storm seemed quite to have died down, and I was able to resume my usual occupations and mode of life without any further trouble. I am sorry to say, however, that my old worries and anxieties started afresh; I stood in great need of money, and had not the vaguest notion whither to go in search of it. I then examined very thoroughly the answer I had received during the preceding winter to my petition for a higher salary. I had left it unread, as the modifications made in it had already disgusted me. If I had till now believed that it was Herr von Luttichau who had brought about the increase of salary I had demanded, in the shape of a supplement which I was to receive annually--in itself a humiliating thing--I now saw to my horror that all the time there had been no mention save of one single supplement, and that there was nothing to show that this should be repeated annually. On learning this, I saw that I should now be at the hopeless disadvantage of coming too late with a remonstrance if I should attempt to make one; so there was nothing left for me but to submit to an insult which, under the circumstances, was quite unprecedented. My feelings towards Herr von Luttichau, which shortly before had been rather warm owing to his supposed kind attitude towards me during the last disturbance, now underwent a serious change, and I soon had a new reason (actually connected with the above-mentioned affair) for altering my favourable opinion of him, and for turning finally against him for good and all. He had informed me that the members of the Imperial Orchestra had sent him a deputation demanding my instant dismissal, as they thought that it affected their honour to be any longer under a conductor who had compromised himself politically to the extent which I had. He also informed me that he had not only reprimanded them very severely, but that he had also been at great pains to pacify them concerning me. All this, which Luttichau had put in a highly favourable light, had latterly made me feel very friendly towards him. Then, however, as the result of inquiries into the matter, I heard accidentally through members of the orchestra that the facts of the case were almost exactly the reverse. What had happened was this, that the members of the Imperial Orchestra had been approached on all sides by the officials of the court, and had been not only earnestly requested to do what Luttichau had declared they had done of their own accord, but also threatened with the displeasure of the King, and of incurring the strongest suspicion if they refused to comply. In order to protect themselves against this intrigue, and to avoid all evil consequences should they not take the required step, the musicians had turned to their principal, and had sent him a deputation, through which they declared that, as a corporation of artists, they did not in the least feel called upon to mix themselves up in a matter that did not concern them. Thus the halo with which my former attachment to Herr von Luttichau had surrounded him at last disappeared for good and all, and it was chiefly my shame at having been so very much upset by his false conduct that now inspired me for ever with such bitter feelings for this man. What determined this feeling even more than the insults I had suffered, was the recognition of the fact that I was now utterly incapable of ever being able to enlist his influence in the cause of theatrical reform, which was so dear to me. It was natural that I should learn to attach ever less and less importance to the mere retention of the post of orchestral conductor on so extraordinarily inadequate and reduced a salary; and in keeping to this office, I merely bowed to what was an inevitable though purely accidental circumstance of a wretched fate. I did nothing to make the post more intolerable, but, at the same time, I moved not a finger to ensure its permanence.

The very next thing I must do was to attempt to establish my hopes of a larger income, so sadly doomed hitherto, upon a very much sounder basis. In this respect it occurred to me that I might consult my friend Liszt, and beg him to suggest a remedy for my grievous position. And lo and behold, shortly after those fateful March days, and not long before the completion of my Lohengrin score, to my, very great delight and astonishment, the very man I wanted walked into my room. He had come from Vienna, where he had lived through the 'Barricade Days,' and he was going on to Weimar, where he intended to settle permanently. We spent an evening together at Schumann's, had a little music, and finally began a discussion on Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer, in which Liszt and Schumann differed so fundamentally that the latter, completely losing his temper, retired in a fury to his bedroom for quite a long time. This incident did indeed place us in a somewhat awkward position towards our host, but it furnished us with a most amusing topic of conversation on the way home, I have seldom seen Liszt so extravagantly cheerful as on that night, when, in spite of the cold and the fact that he was clad only in ordinary evening-dress, he accompanied first the music director Schubert, and then myself, to our respective homes. Subsequently I took advantage of a few days' holiday in August to make an excursion to Weimar, where I found Liszt permanently installed and, as is well known, enjoying a life of most intimate intercourse with the Grand Duke. Even though he was unable to help me in my affairs, except by giving me a recommendation which finally proved useless, his reception of me on this short visit was so hearty and so exceedingly stimulating, that it left me profoundly cheered and encouraged. On returning to Dresden I tried as far as possible to curtail my expenses and to live within my means; and, as every means of assistance failed me, I resorted to the expedient of sending out a circular letter addressed jointly to my remaining creditors, all of whom were really friends; and in this I told them frankly of my situation, and enjoined them to relinquish their demands for an indefinite time, till my affairs took a turn for the better, as without this I should certainly never be in a position to satisfy them. By this means they would, at all events, be in a position to oppose my general manager, whom I had every reason to suspect of evil designs, and who would have been only too glad to seize any signs of hostility towards me, on the part of my creditors, as a pretext for taking the worst steps against me. The assurance I required was given me unhesitatingly; my friend Pusinelli, and Frau Klepperbein (an old friend of my mother's), even going so far as to declare that they were prepared to give up all claim to the money they had lent me. Thus, in some measure reassured, and with my position relative to Luttichau so far improved that I could consult my own wishes as to whether and when I should give up my post entirely, I now continued to fulfil my duties as a conductor as patiently and conscientiously as I was able, while with great zeal I also resumed my studies, which were carrying me ever further and further afield.

Thus settled, I now began to watch the wonderful developments in the fate of my friend Rockel. As every day brought fresh rumours of threatened reactionary coups d'etat and similar violent outbreaks, which Rockel thought it right to prevent, he drew up an appeal to the soldiers of the army of Saxony, in which he explained every detail of the cause for which he stood, and which he then had printed and distributed broadcast. This was too flagrant a misdeed for the public prosecutors: he was therefore immediately placed under arrest, and had to remain three days in gaol while an action for high treason was lodged against him. He was only released when the solicitor Minkwitz stood bail for the requisite three thousand marks (equal to L150). This return home to his anxious wife and children was celebrated by a little public festival, which the committee of the Vaterlands-Verein had arranged in his honour, and the liberated man was greeted as the champion of the people's cause. On the other hand, however, the general management of the court theatre, who had before suspended him temporarily, now gave him his final dismissal. Rockel let a full beard grow, and began the publication of a popular journal called the Volksblatt, of which he was sole editor. He must have counted on its success to compensate him for the loss of his salary as musical director, for he at once hired an office in the Brudergasse for his undertaking. This paper succeeded in attracting the attention of a great many people to its editor, and showed up his talents in quite a new light, he never got involved in his style or indulged in any elaboration of words, but confined himself to matters of immediate importance and general interest; it was only after having discussed them in a calm and sober fashion, that he led up from them to further deductions of still greater interest connected with them. The individual articles were short, and never contained anything superfluous, in addition to which they were so clearly written, that they made an instructive and convincing appeal to the most uneducated mind. By always going to the root of things, instead of indulging in circumlocutions which, in politics, have caused such great confusion in the minds of the uneducated masses, he soon had a large circle of readers, both among cultivated and uncultivated people. The only drawback was that the price of the little weekly paper was too small to yield him a corresponding profit. Moreover, it was necessary to warn him that if the reactionary party should ever come into power again, it could never possibly forgive him for this newspaper. His younger brother, Edward, who was paying a visit at the time in Dresden, declared himself willing to accept a post as piano-teacher in England, which, though most uncongenial to him, would be lucrative and place him in a position to help Rockel's family, if, as seemed probable, he met his reward in prison or on the gallows. Owing to his connection with various societies, his time was so much taken up that my intercourse with him was limited to walks, which became more and more rare. On these occasions I often got lost in the most wildly speculative and profound discussions, while this wonderfully exciteable man always remained calmly reflective and clear-headed. First and foremost, he had planned a drastic social reform of the middle classes--as at present constituted--by aiming at a complete alteration of the basis of their condition. He constructed a totally new moral order of things, founded on the teaching of Proudhon and other socialists regarding the annihilation of the power of capital, by immediately productive labour, dispensing with the middleman. Little by little he converted me, by most seductive arguments, to his own views, to such an extent that I began to rebuild my hopes for the realisation of my ideal in art upon them. Thus there were two questions which concerned me very nearly: he wished to abolish matrimony, in the usual acceptation of the word, altogether. I thereupon asked him what he thought the result would be of promiscuous intercourse with women of a doubtful character. With amiable indignation he gave me to understand that we could have no idea about the purity of morals in general, and of the relations of the sexes in particular, so long as we were unable to free people completely from the yoke of the trades, guilds, and similar coercive institutions. He asked me to consider what the only motive would be which would induce a woman to surrender herself to a man, when not only the considerations of money, fortune, position, and family prejudices, but also the various influences necessarily arising from these, had disappeared. When I, in my turn, asked him whence he would obtain persons of great intellect and of artistic ability, if everybody were to be merged in the working classes, he met my objection by replying, that owing to the very fact that everybody would participate in the necessary labour according to his strength and capacity, work would cease to be a burden, and would become simply an occupation which would finally assume an entirely artistic character. He demonstrated this on the principle that, as had already been proved, a field, worked laboriously by a single peasant, was infinitely less productive than when cultivated by several persons in a scientific way. These and similar suggestions, which Rockel communicated to me with a really delightful enthusiasm, led me to further reflections, and gave birth to new plans upon which, to my mind, a possible organisation of the human race, which would correspond to my highest ideals in art, could alone be based. In reference to this, I immediately turned my thoughts to what was close at hand, and directed my attention to the theatre. The motive for this came not only from my own feelings, but also from external circumstances. In accordance with the latest democratic suffrage laws, a general election seemed imminent in Saxony; the election of extreme radicals, which had now taken place nearly everywhere else, showed us that if the movement lasted, there would be the most extraordinary changes even in the administration of the revenue. Apparently a general resolution had been passed to subject the Civil List to a strict revision; all that was deemed superfluous in the royal household was to be done away with; the theatre, as an unnecessary place of entertainment for a depraved portion of the public, was threatened with the withdrawal of the subsidy granted it from the Civil List. I now resolved, in view of the importance which I attached to the theatre, to suggest to the ministers that they should inform the members of parliament, that if the theatre in its present condition were not worth any sacrifice from the state, it would sink to still more doubtful tendencies--and might even become dangerous to public morals--if deprived of that state control which had for its aim the ideal, and, at the same time, felt itself called upon to place culture and education under its beneficial protection. It was of the highest importance to me to secure an organisation of the theatre, which would make the carrying out its loftiest ideals not only a possibility but also a certainty. Accordingly I drew up a project by which the same sum as that which was allotted from the Civil List for the support of a court theatre should be employed for the foundation and upkeep of a national theatre for the kingdom of Saxony. In showing the practical nature of the well-planned particulars of my scheme, I defined them with such great precision, that I felt assured my work would serve as a useful guide to the ministers as to how they should put this matter before parliament. The point now was to have a personal interview with one of the ministers, and it occurred to me that the best man to apply to in the matter would be Herr von der Pfordten, the Minister of Education. Although he already enjoyed the reputation of being a turncoat in politics, and was said to be struggling to efface the origin of his political promotion, which had taken place at a time of great agitation, the mere fact of his having formerly been a professor was sufficient to make me suppose that he was a man with whom I could discuss the question that I had so much at heart. I learned, however, that the real art institutions of the kingdom, such, for instance, as the Academy of Fine Arts, to whose number I so ardently desired to see the theatre added, belonged to the department of the Minister of the Interior. To this man--the worthy though not highly cultivated or artistic Herr Oberlander--I submitted my plans, not, however, without having first made myself known to Herr von der Pfordten, in order, for the reasons above stated, to command my project to him. This man, who apparently was very busy, received me in a polite and reassuring manner; but his whole bearing, indeed the very expression of his face, seemed to destroy all hopes I might ever have cherished of finding in him that understanding which I had expected. The minister Oberlander, on the other hand, earned my confidence by the straightforward earnestness with which he promised a thorough inquiry into the matter. Unfortunately, however, at the same time, he informed me with the most simple frankness, that he could entertain but very little hope of getting the King's authorisation for any unusual treatment of a question hitherto given over to routine. It must be understood that the relations of the King to his ministers were both strained and unconfidential, and that this was more especially so in the case of Oberlander, who never approached the monarch on any other business than that which the strictest discharge of his current duties rendered indispensable. He therefore thought it would be better if my plan could be brought forward, in the first place, by the Chamber of Deputies. As, in the event of the new Civil List being discussed, I was particularly anxious to avoid the question of the continuation of the court theatre being treated in the ignorant and shortsighted radical fashion, which was to be feared above all, I did not despair of making the acquaintance of some of the most influential among the new members of parliament. In this wise I found myself suddenly plunged into quite a new and strange world, and became acquainted with persons and opinions, the very existence of which until then I had not even suspected. I found it somewhat trying always to be obliged to meet these gentlemen at their beer and shrouded in the dense clouds of their tobacco smoke, and to have to discuss with them matters which, though very dear to me, must have seemed a little fantastic to their mind. After a certain Herr von Trutschler, a very handsome, energetic man, whose seriousness was almost gloomy, had listened to me calmly for some time, and had told me that he no longer knew anything about the state, but only about society, and that the latter would know, without either his or my aid, how it should act in regard to art and to the theatre, I was filled with such extraordinary feelings, half mingled with shame, that there and then I gave up, not only all my exertions, but all my hopes as well. The only reminder I ever had of the whole affair came some while, after when, on meeting Herr von Luttichau, I quickly gathered from his attitude to me that he had got wind of the episode, and that it only inspired him with fresh hostility towards me.

During my walks, which I now took absolutely alone, I thought ever more deeply--and much to the relief of my mind--over my ideas concerning that state of human society for which the boldest hopes and efforts of the socialists and communists, then busily engaged in constructing their system, offered me but the roughest foundation. These efforts could begin to have some meaning and value for me only when they had attained to that political revolution and reconstruction which they aimed at; for it was only then that I, in my turn, could start my reforms in art.

At the same time my thoughts were busy with a drama, in which the Emperor Frederick I. (surnamed 'Barbarossa') was to be the hero. In it the model ruler was portrayed in a manner which lent him the greatest and most powerful significance. His dignified resignation at the impossibility of making his ideals prevail was intended not only to present a true transcript of the arbitrary multifariousness of the things of this world, but also to arouse sympathy for the hero. I wished to carry out this drama in popular rhyme, and in the style of the German used by our epic poets of the Middle Ages, and in this respect the poem Alexander, by the priest Lambert, struck me as a good example; but I never got further with this play than to sketch its outline in the broadest manner possible. The five acts were planned in the following manner: Act i. Imperial Diet in the Roncaglian fields, a demonstration of the significance of imperial power which should extend even to the investiture of water and air; Act ii. the siege and capture of Milan; Act iii. revolt of Henry the Lion and his overthrow at Ligano; Act iv. Imperial Diet in Augsburg, the humiliation and punishment of Henry the Lion; Act v. Imperial Diet and grand court assembly at Mainz; peace with the Lombards, reconciliation with the Pope, acceptance of the Cross, and the departure for the East. I lost all interest, however, in the carrying out of this dramatic scheme directly I discovered its resemblance to the subject-matter of the Nibelungen and Siegfried myths, which possessed a more powerful attraction for me. The points of similarity which I recognised between the history and the legend in question then induced me to write a treatise on the subject; and in this I was assisted by some stimulating monographs (found in the royal library), written by authors whose names have now escaped my memory, but which taught me in a very attractive manner a considerable amount about the old original kingdom of Germany. Later on I published this fairly extensive essay with the title of Die Nibelungen, but in working it out I finally lost all inclination to elaborate the historical material for a real drama.

In direct connection with this I began to sketch a clear summary of the form which the old original Nibelungen myth had assumed in my mind in its immediate association with the mythological legend of the gods--a form which, though full of detail, was yet much condensed in its leading features. Thanks to this work, I was able to convert the chief part of the material itself into a musical drama. It was only by degrees, however, and after long hesitation that I dared to enter more deeply into my plans for this work; for the thought of the practical realisation of such a work on our stage literally appalled me. I must confess that it required all the despair which I then felt of ever having the chance of doing anything more for our theatre, to give me the necessary courage to begin upon this new work. Until that time I simply allowed myself to drift, while I meditated listlessly upon the possibility of things pursuing their course further under the existing circumstances. In regard to Lohengrin, I had got to that point when I hoped for nothing more than the best possible production of it at the Dresden theatre, and felt that I should have to be satisfied in all respects, and for all time, if I were able to achieve even that. I had duly announced the completion of the score to Herr von Luttichau; but, in consideration of the unfavourable nature of my circumstances at the time, I had left it entirely to him to decide when my work should be produced.

Meanwhile the time arrived when the keeper of the Archives of the Royal Orchestra called to mind that it was just three hundred years since this royal institution had been founded, and that a jubilee would therefore have to be celebrated. To this end a great concert festival was planned, the programme of which was to be made up of the compositions of all the Saxon orchestral conductors that had lived since the institution had been founded. The whole body of musicians, with both their conductors at their head, were first to present their grateful homage to the King in Pillnitz; and on this occasion a musician was, for the first time, to be elevated to the rank of Knight of the Civil Order of Merit of Saxony. This musician was my colleague Reissiger. Until then he had been treated by the court, and by the manager himself, in the most scornful manner possible, but had, owing to his conspicuous loyalty at this critical time, especially to me, found exceptional favour in the eyes of our committees. When he appeared before the public decorated with the wonderful order, he was greeted with great jubilation by the loyal audience that filled the theatre on the evening of the festival concert. His overture to Yelva was also received with a perfect uproar of enthusiastic applause, such as had never fallen to his lot; whereas the finale of the first act from Lohengrin, which was produced as the work of the youngest conductor, was accorded only an indifferent reception. This was all the more strange as I was quite unaccustomed to such coolness in regard to my work on the part of the Dresden public. Following upon the concert, there was a festive supper, and when this was over, as all kinds of speeches were being made, I freely proclaimed to the orchestra, in a loud and decided tone, my views as to what was desirable for their perfection in the future. Hereupon Marschner, who, as a former musical conductor in Dresden, had been invited to the jubilee celebrations, expressed the opinion that I should do myself a great deal of harm by holding too good an opinion of the musicians. He said I ought just to consider how uncultivated these people were with whom I had to deal; he pointed out that they were trained simply for the one instrument they played; and asked me whether I did not think that by discoursing to them on the aspirations of art I would produce not only confusion, but even perhaps bad blood? Far more pleasant to me than these festivities is the remembrance of the quiet memorial ceremony which united us on the morning of the Jubilee Day, with the object of placing wreaths on Weber's grave. As nobody could find a word to utter, and even Marschner was able to give expression only to the very driest and most trivial of speeches about the departed master, I felt it incumbent upon me to say a few heartfelt words concerning the memorial ceremony for which we were gathered together. This brief spell of artistic activity was speedily broken by fresh excitements, which kept pouring in upon us from the political world. The events of October in Vienna awakened our liveliest sympathy, and our walls daily blazed with red and black placards, with summonses to march on Vienna, with the curse of 'Red Monarchy,' as opposed to the hated 'Red Republic,' and with other equally startling matter. Except for those who were best informed as to the course of events--and who certainly did not swarm in our streets--these occurrences aroused great uneasiness everywhere. With the entry of Windischgratz into Vienna, the acquittal of Frobel and the execution of Blum, it seemed as though even Dresden were on the eve of an explosion. A vast demonstration of mourning was organised for Blum, with an endless procession through the streets. At the head marched the ministry, among whom the people were particularly glad to see Herr von der Pfordten taking a sympathetic share in the ceremony, as he had already become an object of suspicion to them. From that day gloomy forebodings of disaster grew ever more prevalent on every side. People even went so far as to say, with little attempt at circumlocution, that the execution of Blum had been an act of friendship on the part of the Archduchess Sophia to her sister, the Queen of Saxony, for during his agitation in Leipzig the man had made himself both hated and feared. Troops of Viennese fugitives, disguised as members of the student bands, began to arrive in Dresden, and made a formidable addition to its population, which from this time forth paraded the streets with ever-increasing confidence. One day, as I was on my way to the theatre to conduct a performance of Rienzi, the choir-master informed me that several foreign gentlemen had been asking for me. Thereupon half a dozen persons presented themselves, greeted me as a brother democrat, and begged me to procure them free entrance tickets. Among them I recognised a former dabbler in literature, a man named Hafner, a little hunchback, in a Calabrian hat cocked at a terrific angle, to whom I had been introduced by Uhl on the occasion of my visit to the Vienna political club. Great as was my embarrassment at this visit, which evidently astonished our musicians, I felt in no wise compelled to make any compromising admission, but quietly went to the booking-office, took six tickets and handed them to my strange visitors, who parted from me before all the world with much hearty shaking of hands. Whether this evening call improved my position as musical conductor in Dresden in the minds of the theatrical officials and others, may well be doubted; but, at all events, on no occasion was I so frantically called for after every act as at this particular performance of Rienzi.

Indeed, at this time I seemed to have won over to my side a party of almost passionate adherents among the theatre-going public, in opposition to the clique which had shown such marked coldness on the occasion of the gala concert already mentioned. It mattered not whether Tannhauser or Rienzi were being played, I was always greeted with special applause; and although the political tendencies of this party may have given our management some cause for alarm, yet it forced them to regard me with a certain amount of awe. One day Luttichau proposed to have my Lohengrin performed at an early date. I explained my reasons for not having offered it to him before, but declared myself ready to further his wishes, as I considered the opera company was now sufficiently powerful. The son of my old friend, F. Heine, had just returned from Paris, where he had been sent by the Dresden management to study scene-painting under the artists Desplechin and Dieterle. By way of testing his powers, with a view to an engagement at the Dresden Royal Theatre, the task of preparing suitable scenery for this opera was entrusted to him. He had already asked permission to do this for Lohengrin at the instigation of Luttichau, who wished to call attention to my latest work. Consequently, when I gave my consent, young Heine's wish was granted.

I regarded this turn of events with no little satisfaction, believing that in the study of this particular work I should find a wholesome and effective diversion from all the excitement and confusion of recent events. My horror, therefore, was all the greater, when young Wilhelm Heine one day came to my room with the news that the scenery for Lohengrin had been suddenly countermanded, and instructions given him to prepare for another opera. I did not make any remark, nor ask the reason for this singular behaviour. The assurances which Luttichan afterwards made to my wife--if they were really true--made me regret having laid the chief blame for this mortification at his door, and having thereby irrevocably alienated my sympathy from him. When she asked him about this many years later, he assured her that he had found the court vehemently hostile to me, and that his well-meant attempts to produce my work had met with insuperable obstacles.

However that may have been, the bitterness I now experienced wrought a decisive effect upon my feelings. Not only did I relinquish all hope of a reconciliation with the theatre authorities by a splendid production of my Lohengrin, but I determined to turn my back for ever on the theatre, and to make no further attempt to meddle with its concerns. By this act I expressed not merely my utter indifference as to whether I kept my position as musical conductor or no, but my artistic ambitions also entirely cut me off from all possibility of ever cultivating modern theatrical conditions again.

I at once proceeded to execute my long-cherished plans for Siegfried's Tod, which I had been half afraid of before. In this work I no longer gave a thought to the Dresden or any other court theatre in the world; my sole preoccupation was to produce something that should free me, once and for all, from this irrational subservience. As I could get nothing more from Rockel in this connection, I now corresponded exclusively with Eduard Devrient on matters connected with the theatre and dramatic art. When, on the completion of my poem, I read it to him, he listened with amazement, and at once realised the fact that such a production would be an absolute drug in the modern theatrical market, and he naturally could not agree to let it remain so. On the other hand, he tried so far to reconcile himself to my work as to try and make it less startling and more adapted for actual production. He proved the sincerity of his intentions by pointing out my error in asking too much of the public, and requiring it to supply from its own knowledge many things necessary for a right under-standing of my subject-matter, at which I had only hinted in brief and scattered suggestions. He showed me, for instance, that before Siegfried and Brunhilda are displayed in a position of bitter hostility towards each other, they ought first to have been presented in their true and calmer relationship. I had, in fact, opened the poem of SIEGFRIED'S TOD with those scenes which now form the first act of the GOTTERDAMMERUNG. The details of Siegfried's relation to Brunhilda had been merely outlined to the listeners in a lyrico-episodical dialogue between the hero's wife, whom he had left behind in solitude, and a crowd of Valkyries passing before her rock. To my great joy, Devrient's hint on this point directed my thoughts to those scenes which I afterwards worked out in the prologue of this drama.

This and other matters of a similar nature brought me into intimate contact with Eduard Devrient, and made our intercourse much more lively and pleasant. He often invited a select circle of friends to attend dramatic readings at his house in which I gladly took part, for I found, to my surprise, that his gift for declamation, which quite forsook him on the stage, here stood out in strong relief. It was, moreover, a consolation to pour into a sympathetic ear my worries about my growing unpopularity with the director. Devrient seemed particularly anxious to prevent a definite breach; but of this there was little hope. With the approach of winter the court had returned to town, and once more frequented the theatre, and various signs of dissatisfaction in high quarters with my behaviour as conductor began to be manifested. On one occasion the Queen thought that I had conducted NORMA badly, and on another that I 'had taken the time wrongly' in ROBERT THE DEVIL. As Luettichau had to communicate these reprimands to me, it was natural that our intercourse at such times should hardly be of a nature to restore our mutual satisfaction with each other.

Notwithstanding all this, it still seemed possible to prevent matters from coming to a crisis, though everything continued in a state of agitating uncertainty and fermentation. At all events the forces of reaction, which were holding themselves in readiness on every side, were not yet sufficiently certain that the hour of their triumph had come as not to consider it advisable for the present, at least, to avoid all provocation. Consequently our management did not meddle with the musicians of the royal orchestra, who, in obedience to the spirit of the times, had formed a union for debate and the protection of their artistic and civic interests. In this matter one of our youngest musicians, Theodor Uhlig, had been particularly active. He was a young man, still in his early twenties, and was a violinist in the orchestra. His face was strikingly mild, intelligent and noble, and he was conspicuous among his fellows on account of his great seriousness and his quiet but unusually firm character. He had particularly attracted my notice on several occasions by his quick insight and extensive knowledge of music. As I recognised in him a spirit keenly alert in every direction, and unusually eager for culture, it was not long before I chose him as my companion in my regular walks--a habit I still continued to cultivate--and on which Roeckel had hitherto accompanied me. He induced me to come to a meeting of this union of the orchestral company, in order that I might form an opinion about it, and encourage and support so praiseworthy a movement. On this occasion I communicated to its members the contents of my memorandum to the director, which had been rejected a year before, and in which I had made suggestions for reforms in the band, and I also explained further intentions and plans arising therefrom. At the same time I was obliged to confess that I had lost all hope of carrying out any projects of the kind through the general management, and must therefore recommend them to take the initiative vigorously into their own hands. They acclaimed the idea with enthusiastic approval. Although, as I have said before, Luettichau left these musicians unmolested in their more or less democratic union, yet he took care to be informed through spies of what took place at their highly treasonable gatherings. His chief instrument was a bugler named Lewy, who, much to the disgust of all his comrades in the orchestra, was in particularly high favour with the director. He consequently received precise, or rather exaggerated, accounts of my appearance there, and thought it was now high time to let me once more feel the weight of his authority. I was officially summoned to his presence, and had to listen to a long and wrathful tirade which he had been bottling up for some time about several matters. I also learned that he knew all about the plan of theatre reform which I had laid before the ministry. This knowledge he betrayed in a popular Dresden phrase, which until then I had never heard; he knew very well, he said, that in a memorandum respecting the theatre I had 'made him look ridiculous' (ihm an den Laden gelegt). In answer to this I did not refrain from telling him how I intended to act in retaliation, and when he threatened to report me to the King and demand my dismissal, I calmly replied that he might do as he pleased, as I was well assured that I could rely on his Majesty's justice to hear, not only his charges, but also my defence. Moreover, I added, this was the only befitting manner for me to discuss with the King the many points on which I had to complain, not only in my own interests, but also in those of the theatre and of art. This was not pleasant hearing for Luttichau, and he asked how it was possible for him to try and co-operate with me, when I for my part had openly declared (to use his own expression) that all labour was wasted upon him (Hopfen und Malz verloren seien). We had at last to part with mutual shruggings of the shoulder. My conduct seemed to trouble my former patron, and he therefore enlisted the tact and moderation of Eduard Devrient in his service, and asked him to use his influence with me to facilitate some further arrangement between us. But, in spite of all his zeal, Devrient had to admit with a smile, after we had discussed his message, that nothing much could be done; and as I persisted in my refusal to meet the director again in consultation respecting the service of the theatre, he had at last to recognise that his own wisdom would have to help him out of the difficulty.

Throughout the whole period during which I was fated to fill the post of conductor at Dresden, the effects of this dislike on the part of the court and the director continued to make themselves felt in everything. The orchestral concerts, which had been organised by me in the previous winter, were this year placed under Reissiger's control, and at once sank to the usual level of ordinary concerts. Public interest quickly waned, and the undertaking could only with difficulty be kept alive. In opera I was unable to carry out the proposed revival of the Fliegender Hollander, for which I had found in Mitterwurzer's maturer talent an admirable and promising exponent. My niece Johanna, whom I had destined for the part of Senta, did not like the role, because it offered little opportunity for splendid costumes. She preferred ZAMPA and FAVORITA, partly to please her new protector, my erstwhile RIENZI enthusiast, Tichatschck, partly for the sake of THREE BRILLIANT COSTUMES which the management had to furnish for each of these parts. In fact, these two ringleaders of the Dresden opera of that day had formed an alliance of rebellion against my vigorous rule in the matter of operatic repertoire. Their opposition, to my great discomfiture, was crowned by success when they secured the production of this FAVORITA of Donizetti's, the, arrangement of which I had once been obliged to undertake for Schlesinger in Paris. I had at first emphatically refused to have anything to do with this opera, although its principal part suited my niece's voice admirably, even in her father's judgment. But now that they knew of my feud with the director, and of my voluntary loss of influence, and finally of my evident disgrace, they thought the opportunity ripe for compelling me to conduct this tiresome work myself, as it happened to be my turn.

Besides this, my chief occupation at the royal theatre during this period consisted in conducting Flotow's opera MARTHA, which, although it failed to attract the public, was nevertheless produced with excessive frequency, owing to its convenient cast. On reviewing the results of my labours in Dresden--where I had now been nearly seven years--I could not help feeling humiliated when I considered the powerful and energetic impetus I knew I had given in many directions to the court theatre, and I found myself obliged to confess that, were I now to leave Dresden, not, the smallest trace of my influence would remain behind. From various signs I also gathered that, if ever it should come to a trial before the King between the director and myself, even if his Majesty were in my favour, yet out of consideration for the courtier the verdict would go against me.

Nevertheless, on Palm Sunday of the new year, 1849, I received ample amends. In order to ensure liberal receipts, our orchestra had again decided to produce Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Every one did his utmost to make this one of our finest performances, and the public took up the matter with real enthusiasm. Michael Bakunin, unknown to the police, had been present at the public rehearsal. At its close he walked unhesitatingly up to me in the orchestra, and said in a loud voice, that if all the music that had ever been written were lost in the expected world-wide conflagration, we must pledge ourselves to rescue this symphony, even at the peril of our lives. Not many weeks after this performance it really seemed as though this world-wide conflagration would actually be kindled in the streets of Dresden, and that Bakunin, with whom I had meanwhile become more closely associated through strange and unusual circumstances, would undertake the office of chief stoker.

It was long before this date that I first made the acquaintance of this most remarkable man. For years I had come across his name in the newspapers, and always under extraordinary circumstances. He turned up in Paris at a Polish gathering, but although he was a Russian, he declared that it mattered little whether a man were a Russian or a Pole, so long as he wanted to be a free man, and that this was all that mattered. I heard afterwards, through George Herwegh, that he had renounced all his sources of income as a member of an influential Russian family, and that one day, when his entire fortune consisted of two francs, he had given them away to a beggar on the boulevard, because it was irksome to him to be bound by this possession to take any thought for the morrow. I was informed of his presence in Dresden one day by Rockel, after the latter had become a rampant republican. He had taken the Russian into his house, and invited me to come and make his acquaintance. Bakunin was at that time being persecuted by the Austrian government for his share in the events which took place in Prague in the summer of 1848, and because he was a member of the Slav Congress which had preceded them. He had consequently sought refuge in our city, as he did not wish to settle too far from the Bohemian frontier. The extraordinary sensation he had created in Prague arose from the fact that, when the Czechs sought the protection of Russia against the dreaded Germanising policy of Austria, he conjured them to defend themselves with fire and sword against those very Russians, and indeed against any other people who lived under the rule of a despotism like that of the Tsars. This superficial acquaintance with Balumin's aims had sufficed to change the purely national prejudices of the Germans against him into sympathy. When I met him, therefore, under the humble shelter of Rockel's roof, I was immediately struck by his singular and altogether imposing personality. He was in the full bloom of manhood, anywhere between thirty and forty years of age. Everything about him was colossal, and he was full of a primitive exuberance and strength. I never gathered that he set much store by my acquaintance. Indeed, he did not seem to care for merely intellectual men; what he demanded was men of reckless energy. As I afterwards perceived, theory in this case had more weight with him than purely personal sentiment; and he talked much and expatiated freely on the matter. His general mode of discussion was the Socratic method, and he seemed quite at his ease when, stretched on his host's hard sofa, he could argue discursively with a crowd of all sorts of men on the problems of revolution. On these occasions he invariably got the best of the argument. It was impossible to triumph against his opinions, stated as they were with the utmost conviction, and overstepping in every direction even the extremest bounds of radicalism. So communicative was he, that on the very first evening of our meeting he gave me full details about the various stages of his development, he was a Russian officer of high birth, but smarting under the yoke of the narrowest martial tyranny, he had been led by a study of Rousseau's writings to escape to Germany under pretence of taking furlough. In Berlin he had flung himself into the study of philosophy with all the zest of a barbarian newly awakened to civilisation. Hegel's philosophy was the one which was the rage at that moment, and he soon became such an expert in it, that he had been able to hurl that master's most famous disciples from the saddle of their own philosophy, in a thesis couched in terms of the strictest Hegelian dialectic. After he had got philosophy off his chest, as he expressed it, he proceeded to Switzerland, where he preached communism, and thence wandered over France and Germany back to the borderland of the Slav world, from which quarter he looked for the regeneration of humanity, because the Slavs had been less enervated by civilisation. His hopes in this respect were centred in the more strongly pronounced Slav type characteristic of the Russian peasant class. In the natural detestation of the Russian serf for his cruel oppressor the nobleman, he believed he could trace a substratum of simple-minded brotherly love, and that instinct which leads animals to hate the men who hunt them. In support of this idea he cited the childish, almost demoniac delight of the Russian people in fire, a quality on which Rostopschin calculated in his strategic burning of Moscow. He argued that all that was necessary to set in motion a world-wide movement was to convince the Russian peasant, in whom the natural goodness of oppressed human nature had preserved its most childlike characteristics, that it was perfectly right and well pleasing to God for them to burn their lords' castles, with everything in and about them. The least that could result from such a movement would be the destruction of all those things which, rightly considered, must appear, even to Europe's most philosophical thinkers, the real source of all the misery of the modern world. To set these destructive forces in action appeared to him the only object worthy of a sensible man's activity. (Even while he was preaching these horrible doctrines, Bakunin, noticing that my eyes troubled me, shielded them with his outstretched hand from the naked light for a full hour, in spite of my protestations.) This annihilation of all civilisation was the goal upon which his heart was set. Meanwhile it amused him to utilise every lever of political agitation he could lay hands on for the advancement of this aim, and in so doing he often found cause for ironical merriment. In his retreat he received people belonging to every shade of revolutionary thought. Nearest to him stood those of Slav nationality, because these, he thought, would be the most convenient and effective weapons he could use in the uprooting of Russian despotism. In spite of their republic and their socialism a la Proudhon, he thought nothing of the French, and as for the Germans, he never mentioned them to me. Democracy, republicanism, and anything else of the kind he regarded as unworthy of serious consideration.

Every objection raised by those who had the slightest wish to reconstruct what had been demolished, he met with overwhelming criticism. I well remember on one occasion that a Pole, startled by his theories, maintained that there must be an organised state to guarantee the individual in the possession of the fields he had cultivated. 'What!' he answered; 'would you carefully fence in your field to provide a livelihood for the police again!' This shut the mouth of the terrified Pole. He comforted himself by saying that the creators of the new order of things would arise of themselves, but that our sole business in the meantime was to find the power to destroy. Was any one of us so mad as to fancy that he would survive the desired destruction? We ought to imagine the whole of Europe with St. Petersburg, Paris, and London transformed into a vast rubbish-heap. How could we expect the kindlers of such a fire to retain any consciousness after so vast a devastation? He used to puzzle any who professed their readiness for self-sacrifice by telling them it was not the so-called tyrants who were so obnoxious, but the smug Philistines. As a type of these he pointed to a Protestant parson, and declared that he would not believe he had really reached the full stature of a man until he saw him commit his own parsonage, with his wife and child, to the flames.

I was all the more perplexed for a while, in the face of such dreadful ideas, by the fact that Bakunin in other respects proved a really amiable and tender-hearted man. He was fully alive to my own anxiety and despair with regard to the risk I ran of forever destroying my ideals and hopes for the future of art. It is true, he declined to receive any further instruction concerning these artistic schemes, and would not even look at my work on the Nibelungen saga. I had just then been inspired by a study of the Gospels to conceive the plan of a tragedy for the ideal stage of the future, entitled Jesus of Nazareth. Bakunin begged me to spare him any details; and when I sought to win him over to my project by a few verbal hints, he wished me luck, but insisted that I must at all costs make Jesus appear as a weak character. As for the music of the piece, he advised me, amid all the variations, to use only one set of phrases, namely: for the tenor, 'Off with His head!'; for the soprano, 'Hang Him!'; and for the basso continuo, 'Fire! fire!' And yet I felt more sympathetically drawn towards this prodigy of a man when I one day induced him to hear me play and sing the first scenes of my Fliegender Hollander. After listening with more attention than most people gave, he exclaimed, during a momentary pause, 'That is stupendously fine!' and wanted to hear more.

As his life of permanent concealment was very dull, I occasionally invited him to spend an evening with me. For supper my wife set before him finely cut slices of sausage and meat, which he at once devoured wholesale, instead of spreading them frugally on his bread in Saxon fashion. Noticing Minna's alarm at this, I was guilty of the weakness of telling him how we were accustomed to consume such viands, whereupon he reassured me with a laugh, saying that it was quite enough, only he would like to eat what was set before him in his own way. I was similarly astonished at the manner in which he drank wine from our ordinary-sized small glasses. As a matter of fact he detested wine, which only satisfied his craving for alcoholic stimulants in such paltry, prolonged, and subdivided doses; whereas a stiff glass of brandy, swallowed at a gulp, at once produced the same result, which, after all, was only temporarily attained. Above all, he scorned the sentiment which seeks to prolong enjoyment by moderation, arguing that a true man should only strive to still the cravings of nature, and that the only real pleasure in life worthy of a man was love.

These and other similar little characteristics showed clearly that in this remarkable man the purest impulses of an ideal humanity conflicted strangely with a savagery entirely inimical to all civilisation, so that my feelings during my intercourse with him fluctuated between involuntary horror and irresistible attraction. I frequently called for him to share my lonely wanderings. This he gladly did, not only for the sake of necessary bodily exercise, but also because he could do so in this part of the world without fear of meeting his pursuers. My attempts during our conversations to instruct him more fully regarding my artistic aims remained quite unavailing as long as we were unable to quit the field of mere discussion. All these things seemed to him premature. He refused to admit that out of the very needs of the evil present all laws for the future would have to be evolved, and that these, moreover, must be moulded upon quite different ideas of social culture. Seeing that he continued to urge destruction, and again destruction, I had at last to inquire how my wonderful friend proposed to set this work of destruction in operation. It then soon became clear, as I had suspected it would, and as the event soon proved, that with this man of boundless activity everything rested upon the most impossible hypotheses. Doubtless I, with my hopes of a future artistic remodelling of human society, appeared to him to be floating in the barren air; yet it soon became obvious to me that his assumptions as to the unavoidable demolition of all the institutions of culture were at least equally visionary. My first idea was that Bakunin was the centre of an international conspiracy; but his practical plans seem originally to have been restricted to a project for revolutionising Prague, where he relied merely on a union formed among a handful of students. Believing that the time had now come to strike a blow, he prepared himself one evening to go there. This proceeding was not free from danger, and he set off under the protection of a passport made out for an English merchant. First of all, however, with the view of adapting himself to the most Philistine culture, he had to submit his huge beard and bushy hair to the tender mercies of the razor and shears. As no barber was available, Rockel had to undertake the task. A small group of friends watched the operation, which had to be executed with a dull razor, causing no little pain, under which none but the victim himself remained passive. We bade farewell to Bakunin with the firm conviction that we should never see him again alive. But in a week he was back once more, as he had realised immediately what a distorted account he had received as to the state of things in Prague, where all he found ready for him was a mere handful of childish students. These admissions made him the butt of Rockel's good-humoured chaff, and after this he won the reputation among us of being a mere revolutionary, who was content with theoretical conspiracy. Very similar to his expectations from the Prague students were his presumptions with regard to the Russian people. These also afterwards proved to be entirely groundless, and based merely on gratuitous assumptions drawn from the supposed nature of things. I consequently found myself driven to explain the universal belief in the terrible dangerousness of this man by his theoretical views, as expressed here and elsewhere, and not as arising from any actual experience of his practical activity. But I was soon to become almost an eye-witness of the fact that his personal conduct was never for a moment swayed by prudence, such as one is accustomed to meet in those whose theories are not seriously meant. This was shortly to be proved in the momentous insurrection of May, 1849.

The winter of this year, up to the spring of 1849, passed in a many-sided development of my position and temper, as I have described them, that is to say, in a sort of dull agitation. My latest artistic occupation had been the five-act drama, Jesus of Nazareth, just mentioned. Henceforth I lingered on in a state of brooding instability, full of expectation, yet without any definite wish. I felt fully convinced that my activity in Dresden, as an artist, had come to an end, and I was only waiting for the pressure of circumstances to shake myself free. On the other hand, the whole political situation, both in Saxony and the rest of Germany, tended inevitably towards a catastrophe. Day by day this drew nearer, and I flattered myself into regarding my own personal fate as interwoven with this universal unrest. Now that the powers of reaction were everywhere more and more openly bracing themselves for conflict, the final decisive struggle seemed indeed close at hand. My feelings of partisanship were not sufficiently passionate to make me desire to take any active share in these conflicts. I was merely conscious of an impulse to give myself up recklessly to the stream of events, no matter whither it might lead.

Just at this moment, however, an entirely new influence forced itself in a most strange fashion into my fortunes, and was at first greeted by me with a smile of scepticism. Liszt wrote announcing an early production in Weimar of my Tannhauser under his own conductorship--the first that had taken place outside Dresden--and he added with great modesty that this was merely a fulfilment of his own personal desire. In order to ensure success he had sent a special invitation to Tichatschek to be his guest for the two first performances. When the latter returned he said that the production had, on the whole, been a success, which surprised me very much. I received a gold snuff-box from the Grand Duke as a keepsake, which I continued to use until the year 1864. All this was new and strange to me, and I was still inclined to regard this otherwise agreeable occurrence as a fleeting episode, due to the friendly feeling of a great artist. 'What does this mean for me?' I asked myself. 'Has it come too early or too late?' But a very cordial letter from Liszt induced me to visit Weimar for a few days later on, for a third performance of Tannhausar, which was to be carried out entirely by native talent, with a view to the permanent addition of this opera to the repertoire. For this purpose I obtained leave of absence from my management for the second week in May.

Only a few days elapsed before the execution of this little plan; but they were destined to be momentous ones. On the 1st of May the Chambers were dissolved by the new Beust ministry, which the King had charged with carrying out his proposed reactionary policy. This event imposed upon me the friendly task of caring for Rockel and his family. Hitherto his position as a deputy had shielded him from the danger of criminal prosecution; but as soon as the Chambers were dissolved this protection was withdrawn, and he had to escape by flight from being arrested again. As I could do little to help him in this matter, I promised at least to provide for the continued publication of his popular Volksblatt, mainly because the proceeds from this would support his family. Scarcely was Rockel safely across the Bohemian frontier, while I was still toiling at great inconvenience to myself in the printer's office, in order to provide material for an issue of his paper, when the long-expected storm burst over Dresden. Emergency deputations, nightly mob demonstrations, stormy meetings of the various unions, and all the other signs that precede a swift decision in the streets, manifested themselves. On the 3rd May the demeanour of the crowds moving in our thoroughfares plainly showed that this consummation would soon be reached, as was undoubtedly desired. Each local deputation which petitioned for the recognition of the German constitution, which was the universal cry, was refused an audience by the government, and this with a peremptoriness which at last became startling. I was present one afternoon at a committee meeting of the Vaterlands-Verein, although merely as a representative of Rockel's Volksblatt, for whose continuance, both from economic as well as humane motives, I felt pledged. Here I was at once absorbed in watching the conduct and demeanour of the men whom popular favour had raised to the leadership of such unions. It was quite evident that events had passed beyond the control of these persons; more particularly were they utterly at a loss as to how to deal with that peculiar terrorism exerted by the lower classes which is always so ready to react upon the representatives of democratic theories. On every side I heard a medley of wild proposals and hesitating responses. One of the chief subjects under debate was the necessity of preparing for defence. Arms, and how to procure them, were eagerly discussed, but all in the midst of great disorder; and when at last they discovered that it was time to break up, the only impression I received was one of the wildest confusion. I loft the hall with a young painter named Kaufmann, from whose hand I had previously seen a series of cartoons in the Dresden Art Exhibition, illustrating 'The History of the Mind.' One day I had seen the King of Saxony standing before one of these, representing the torture of a heretic under the Spanish Inquisition, and observed him turn away with a disapproving shake of the head from so abstruse a subject. I was on my way home, deep in conversation with this man, whose pale face and troubled look betrayed that he foresaw the disaster that was imminent, when, just as we reached the Postplatz, near the fountain erected from Semper's design, the clang of bells from the neighbouring tower of St. Ann's Church suddenly sounded the tocsin of revolt. With a terrified cry, 'Good God, it has begun!' my companion vanished from my side. He wrote to me--afterwards to say that he was living as a fugitive in Berne, but I never saw his face again.

The clang of this bell, so close at hand, made a profound impression upon me also. It was a very sunny afternoon, and I at once noticed the same phenomenon which Goethe describes in his attempt to depict his own sensations during the bombardment of Valmy. The whole square looked as though it were illuminated by a dark yellow, almost brown, light, such as I had once before seen in Magdeburg during an eclipse of the sun. My most pronounced sensation beyond this was one of great, almost extravagant, satisfaction. I felt a sudden strange longing to play with something hitherto regarded as dangerous and important. My first idea, suggested probably by the vicinity of the square, was to inquire at Tichatschek's house for the gun which, as an enthusiastic Sunday sportsman, he was accustomed to use. I only found his wife at home, as he was away on a holiday tour. Her evident terror as to what was going to happen provoked me to uncontrollable laughter. I advised her to lodge her husband's gun in a place of safety, by handing it to the committee of the Vaterlands-Verein in return for a receipt, as it might otherwise soon be requisitioned by the mob. I have since learned that my eccentric behaviour on this occasion, was afterwards reckoned against me as a serious crime. I then returned to the streets, to see whether anything beyond a ringing of bells and a yellowish eclipse of the sun might be going on in the town, I first made my way to the Old Market-place, where I noticed a group of men gathered round a vociferous orator. It was also an agreeable surprise to me to see Schroder-Devrient descending at the door of a hotel. She had just arrived from Merlin, and was keenly excited by the news which had reached her, that the populace had already been fired upon. As she had only recently seen an abortive insurrection crushed by arms in Berlin, she was indignant to find the same things happening in her 'peaceful Dresden' as she termed it.

When she turned to me from the stolid crowd, which had complacently been listening to her passionate outpourings, she seemed relieved at finding some one to whom she could appeal to oppose these horrible proceedings with all his might. I met her on another occasion at the house of my old friend Heine, where she had taken refuge. When she noticed my indifference she again adjured me to use every possible effort to prevent the senseless, suicidal conflict. I heard afterwards that a charge of high treason on account of sedition had been brought against Schroder-Devrient by reason of her conduct in regard to this matter. She had to prove her innocence in a court of law, so as to establish beyond dispute her claim to the pension which she had been promised by contract for her many years' service in Dresden as an opera-singer.

On the 3rd of May I betook myself direct to that quarter of the town where I heard unpleasant rumours of a sanguinary conflict having taken place. I afterwards learned that the actual cause of the dispute between the civil and military power had arisen when the watch had been changed in front of the Arsenal. At that moment the mob, under a bold leader, had seized the opportunity to take forcible possession of the armoury. A display of military force was made, and the crowd was fired upon by a few cannon loaded with grape-shot. As I approached the scene of operations through the Rampische Gasse, I met a company of the Dresden Communal Guards, who, although they were quite innocent, had apparently been exposed to this fire. I noticed that one of the citizen guards, leaning heavily on the arm of a comrade, was trying to hurry along, in spite of the fact that his right leg seemed to be dragging helplessly behind him. Some of the crowd, seeing the blood on the pavement behind him, shouted 'He is bleeding.' In the midst of this excitement I suddenly became conscious of the cry raised on all sides: 'To the barricades! to the barricades!' Driven by a mechanical impulse I followed the stream of people, which moved once more in the direction of the Town Hall in the Old Market-place. Amid the terrific tumult I particularly noticed a significant group stretching right across the street, and striding along the Rosmaringasse. It reminded me, though the simile was rather exaggerated, of the crowd that had once stood at the doors of the theatre and demanded free entrance to Rienzi; among them was a hunchback, who at once suggested Goethe's Vansen in Egmont, and as the revolutionary cry rose about his ears, I saw him rub his hands together in great glee over the long-desired ecstasy of revolt which he had realised at last.

I recollect quite clearly that from that moment I was attracted by surprise and interest in the drama, without feeling any desire to join the ranks of the combatants. However, the agitation caused by my sympathy as a mere spectator increased with every step I felt impelled to take. I was able to press right into the rooms of the town council, escaping notice in the tumultuous crowd, and it seemed to me as if the officials were guilty of collusion with the mob. I made my way unobserved into the council-chamber; what I saw there was utter disorder and confusion. When night fell I wandered slowly through the hastily made barricades, consisting chiefly of market stalls, back to my house in the distant Friedrichstrasse, and next morning I again watched these amazing proceedings with sympathetic interest.

On Thursday, 4th May, I could see that the Town Hall was gradually becoming the undoubted centre of the revolution. That section of the people who had hoped for a peaceful understanding with the monarch was thrown into the utmost consternation by the news that the King and his whole court, acting on the advice of his minister Beust, had left the palace, and had gone by ship down the Elbe to the fortress of Konigstein. In those circumstances the town council saw they were no longer able to face the situation, and thereupon took part in summoning those members of the Saxon Chamber who were still in Dresden. These latter now assembled in the Town Hall to decide what steps should be taken for the protection of the state. A deputation was sent to the ministry, but returned with the report that they were nowhere to be found. At the same moment news arrived from all sides that, in accordance with a previous compact, the King of Prussia's troops would advance to occupy Dresden. A general outcry immediately arose for measures to be adopted to prevent this incursion of foreign troops.

Simultaneously with this, came the intelligence of the national uprising in Wurtemberg, where the troops themselves had frustrated the intentions of the government by their declaration of fidelity to the parliament, and the ministry had been compelled against their will to acknowledge the Pan-German Constitution. The opinion of our politicians, who were assembled in consultation, was that the matter might still be settled by peaceful means, if it were possible to induce the Saxon troops to take up a similar attitude, as by this means the King would at least be placed under the wholesome necessity of offering patriotic resistance to the Prussian occupation of his country.

Everything seemed to depend on making the Saxon battalions in Dresden understand the paramount importance of their action. As this seemed to me the only hope of an honourable peace in this senseless chaos, I confess that, on this one occasion, I did allow myself to be led astray so far as to organise a demonstration which, however, proved futile.

I induced the printer of Rockel's Volksblatt, which was for the moment at a standstill, to employ all the type he would have used for his next number, in printing in huge characters on strips of paper the words: Seid Ihr mit uns gegen fremde Truppen? ('Are you on our side against the foreign troops?'). Placards bearing these words were fixed on those barricades which it was thought would be the first to be assaulted, and were intended to bring the Saxon troops to a halt if they were commanded to attack the revolutionaries. Of course no one took any notice of these placards except intending informers. On that day nothing but confused negotiations and wild excitement took place which threw no light on the situation. The Old Town of Dresden, with its barricades, was an interesting enough sight for the spectators. I looked on with amazement and disgust, but my attention was suddenly distracted by seeing Bakunin emerge from his hiding-place and wander among the barricades in a black frockcoat. But I was very much mistaken in thinking he would be pleased with what he saw; he recognised the childish inefficiency of all the measures that had been taken for defence, and declared that the only satisfaction he could feel in the state of affairs was that he need not trouble about the police, but could calmly consider the question of going elsewhere, as he found no inducement to take part in an insurrection conducted in such a slovenly fashion. While he walked about, smoking his cigar, and making fun of the naivete of the Dresden revolution, I watched the Communal Guards assembling under arms in front of the Town Hall at the summons of their commandant. From the ranks of its most popular corps, the Schutzen-Compagnie, I was accosted by Rietschel, who was most anxious about the nature of the rising, and also by Semper. Rietschel, who seemed to think I was better informed of the facts than he was, assured me that he felt his position was a very difficult one. He said the select company to which he belonged was very democratic, and as his professorship at the Fine Arts Academy placed him in a peculiar position, he did not know how to reconcile the sentiments he shared with his company with his duty as a citizen. The word 'citizen' amused me; I glanced sharply at Semper and repeated the word 'citizen.' Semper responded with a peculiar smile, and turned away without further comment.

The next day (Friday the 5th of May), when I again took my place as a passionately interested spectator of the proceedings at the Town Hall, events took a decisive turn. The remnant of the leaders of the Saxon people there assembled thought it advisable to constitute themselves into a provisional government, as there was no Saxon government in existence with which negotiations could be conducted. Professor Kochly, who was an eloquent speaker, was chosen to proclaim the new administration. He performed this solemn ceremony from the balcony of the Town Hall, facing the faithful remnant of the Communal Guards and the not very numerous crowd. At the same time the legal existence of the Pan-German Constitution was proclaimed, and allegiance to it was sworn by the armed forces of the nation. I recollect that these proceedings did not seem to me imposing, and Bakunin's reiterated opinion about their triviality gradually became more comprehensible. Even from a technical point of view these reflections were justified when, to my great amusement and surprise, Semper, in the full uniform of a citizen guard, with a hat bedecked with the national colours, asked for me at the Town Hall, and informed me of the extremely faulty construction of the barricades in the Wild Strufergasse and the neighbouring Brudergasse. To pacify his artistic conscience as an engineer I directed him to the office of the 'Military Commission for the Defence.' He followed my advice with conscientious satisfaction; possibly he obtained the necessary authorisation to give instructions for the building of suitable works of defence at that neglected point. After that I never saw him again in Dresden; but I presume that he carried out the strategic works entrusted to him by that committee with all the conscientiousness of a Michael Angelo or a Leonardo da Vinci.

The rest of the day passed in continuous negotiations over the truce which, by arrangement with the Saxon troops, was to last until noon of the next day. In this business I noticed the very pronounced activity of a former college friend, Marschall von Bieberstein, a lawyer who, in his capacity as senior officer of the Dresden Communal Guard, distinguished himself by his boundless zeal amid the shouts of a mighty band of fellow-orators. On that day a certain Heinz, formerly a Greek colonel, was placed in command of the armed forces. These proceedings did not seem at all satisfactory to Bakunin, who put in an occasional appearance. While the provisional government placed all its hopes on finding a peaceful settlement of the conflict by moral persuasion, he, on the contrary, with his clear vision foresaw a well-planned military attack by the Prussians, and thought it could only be met by good strategic measures. He therefore urgently pressed for the acquisition of some experienced Polish officers who happened to be in Dresden, as the Saxon revolutionaries appeared to be absolutely lacking in military tactics. Everybody was afraid to take this course; on the other hand, great expectations were entertained from negotiations with the Frankfort States Assembly, which was on its last legs. Everything was to be done as far as possible in legal form. The time passed pleasantly enough. Elegant ladies with their cavaliers promenaded the barricaded streets during those beautiful spring evenings. It seemed to be little more than an entertaining drama. The unaccustomed aspect of things even afforded me genuine pleasure, combined with a feeling that the whole thing was not quite serious, and that a friendly proclamation from the government would put an end to it. So I strolled comfortably home through the numerous barricades at a late hour, thinking as I went of the material for a drama, Achilleus, with which I had been occupied for some time.

At home I found my two nieces, Clara and Ottilie Brockhaus, the daughters of my sister Louisa. They had been living for a year with a governess in Dresden, and their weekly visits and contagious good spirits delighted me. Every one was in a high state of glee about the revolution; they all heartily approved of the barricades, and felt no scruples about desiring victory for their defenders. Protected by the truce, this state of mind remained undisturbed the whole of Friday (5th May). From all parts came news which led us to believe in a universal uprising throughout Germany. Baden and the Palatinate were in the throes of a revolt on behalf of the whole of Germany. Similar rumours came in from free towns like Breslau. In Leipzig, volunteer student corps had mustered contingents for Dresden, which arrived amid the exultation of the populace. A fully equipped defence department was organised at the Town Hall, and young Heine, disappointed like myself in his hopes of the performance of Lohengrin, had also joined this body. Vigorous promises of support came from the Saxon Erzgebirge, as well as announcements that armed contingents were forthcoming. Every one thought, therefore, that if only the Old Town were kept well barricaded, it could safely defy the threat of foreign occupation. Early on Saturday, 6th May, it was obvious that the situation was becoming more serious. Prussian troops had marched into the New Town, and the Saxon troops, which it had not been considered advisable to use for an attack, were kept loyal to the flag. The truce expired at noon, and the troops, supported by several guns, at once opened the attack on one, of the principal positions held by the people on the Neumarkt.

So far I had entertained no other conviction than that the matter would be decided in the most summary fashion as soon as it came to an actual conflict, for there was no evidence in the state of my own feelings (or, indeed, in what I was able to gather independently of them) of that passionate seriousness of purpose, without which tests as severe as this have never been successfully withstood. It was irritating to me, while I heard the sharp rattle of fire, to be unable to gather anything of what was going on, and I thought by climbing the Kreuz tower I might get a good view. Even from this elevation I could not see anything clearly, but I gathered enough to satisfy myself that after an hour of heavy firing the advance artillery of the Prussian troops had retired, and had at last been completely silenced, their withdrawal being signalled by a loud shout of jubilation from the populace. Apparently the first attack had exhausted itself; and now my interest in what was going on began to assume a more and more vivid hue. To obtain information in greater detail I hurried back to the Town Hall. I could extract nothing, however, from the boundless confusion which I met, until at last I came upon Bakunin in the midst of the main group of speakers. He was able to give me an extraordinarily accurate account of what had happened. Information had reached headquarters from a barricade in the Neumarkt where the attack was most serious, that everything had been in a state of confusion there before the onslaught of the troops; thereupon my friend Marschall von Bieberstein, together with Leo von Zichlinsky, who were officers in the citizen corps, had called up some volunteers and conducted them to the place of danger. Kreis-Amtmann Heubner of Freiberg, without a weapon to defend himself, and with bared head, jumped immediately on to the top of the barricade, which had just been abandoned by all its defenders. He was the sole member of the provisional government to remain on the spot, the leaders, Todt and Tschirner, having disappeared at the first sign of a panic. Heubner turned round to exhort the volunteers to advance, addressing them in stirring words. His success was complete, the barricade was taken again, and a fire, as unexpected as it was fierce, was directed upon the troops, which, as I myself saw, were forced to retire. Bakunin had been in close touch with this action, he had followed the volunteers, and he now explained to me that however narrow might be the political views of Heubner (he belonged to the moderate Left of the Saxon Chamber), he was a man of noble character, at whose service he had immediately placed his own life.

Bakunin had only needed this example to determine his own line of conduct; he had decided to risk his neck in the attempt and to ask no further questions. Heubner too was now bound to recognise the necessity for extreme measures, and no longer recoiled from any proposal on the part of Bakunin which was directed to this end. The military advice of experienced Polish officers was brought to bear on the commandant, whose incapacity had not been slow to reveal itself; Bakunin, who openly confessed that he understood nothing of pure strategy, never moved from the Town Hall, but remained at Heubner's side, giving advice and information in every direction with wonderful sangfroid. For the rest of the day the battle confined itself to skirmishes by sharpshooters from the various positions. I was itching to climb the Kreuz tower again, so as to get the widest possible survey over the whole field of action. In order to reach this tower from the Town Hall, one had to pass through a space which was under a cross-fire of rifle-shots from the troops posted in the royal palace. At a moment when this square was quite deserted, I yielded to my daring impulse, and crossed it on my way to the Kreuz tower at a slow pace, remembering that in such circumstances the young soldier is advised never to hurry, because by so doing he may draw the shot upon himself. On reaching this post of vantage I found several people who had gathered there, some of them driven by a curiosity like my own, others in obedience to an order from the headquarters of the revolutionaries to reconnoitre the enemy's movements. Amongst them I made the acquaintance of a schoolmaster called Berthold, a man of quiet and gentle disposition, but full of conviction and determination. I lost myself in an earnest philosophical discussion with him which extended to the widest spheres of religion. At the same time he showed a homely anxiety to protect us from the cone-shaped bullets of the Prussian sharpshooters by placing us ingeniously behind a barricade consisting of one of the straw mattresses which he had cajoled out of the warder. The Prussian sharpshooters were posted on the distant tower of the Frauenkirche, and had chosen the height occupied by us as their target. At nightfall I found it impossible to make up my mind to go home and leave my interesting place of refuge, so I persuaded the warder to send a subordinate to Friedrichstadt with a few lines to my wife, and with instructions to ask her to let me have some necessary provisions. Thus I spent one of the most extraordinary nights of my life, taking turns with Berthold to keep watch and sleep, close beneath the great bell with its terrible groaning clang, and with the accompaniment of the continuous rattle of the Prussian shot as it beat against the tower walls.

Sunday (the 7th of May) was one of the most beautiful days in the year. I was awakened by the song of a nightingale, which rose to our ears from the Schutze garden close by. A sacred calm and peacefulness lay over the town and the wide suburbs of Dresden, which were visible from my point of vantage. Towards sunrise a mist settled upon the outskirts, and suddenly through its folds we could hear the music of the Marseillaise making its way clearly and distinctly from the district of the Tharanderstrasse. As the sound drew nearer and nearer, the mist dispersed, and the glow of the rising sun spread a glittering light upon the weapons of a long column which was winding its way towards the town. It was impossible not to feel deeply impressed at the sight of this continuous procession. Suddenly a perception of that element which I had so long missed in the German people was borne in upon me in all its essential freshness and vital colour. The fact that until this moment I had been obliged to resign myself to its absence, had contributed not a little to the feelings by which I had been swayed. Here I beheld some thousand men from the Erzgebirge, mostly miners, well armed and organised, who had rallied to the defence of Dresden. Soon we saw them march up the Altmarkt opposite the Town Hall, and after receiving a joyful welcome, bivouac there to recover from their journey. Reinforcements continued to pour in the whole day long, and the heroic achievement of the previous day now received its reward in the shape of a universal elevation of spirits. A change seemed to have been made in the plan of attack by the Prussian troops. This could be gathered from the fact that numerous simultaneous attacks, but of a less concentrated type, were made upon various positions. The troops which had come to reinforce us brought with them four small cannon, the property of a certain Herr Thade von Burgk, whose acquaintance I had made before on the occasion of the anniversary of the founding of the Dresden Choral Society, when he had made a speech which was well intentioned but wearisome to the point of being ludicrous. The recollection of this speech returned to me with peculiar irony, now that his cannon were being fired from the barricade upon the enemy. I felt a still deeper impression, however, when, towards eleven o'clock, I saw the old Opera House, in which a few weeks ago I had conducted the last performance of the Ninth Symphony, burst into flames. As I have had occasion to mention before, the danger from fire to which this building was exposed, full as it was with wood and all kind of textile fabric, and originally built only for a temporary purpose, had always been a subject of terror and apprehension to those who visited it.

I was told that the Opera House had been set alight on strategical grounds, in order to face a dangerous attack on this exposed side, and also to protect the famous 'Semper' barricade from an overpowering surprise. From this I concluded that reasons of this kind act as far more powerful motives in the world than aesthetic considerations. For a long time men of taste had vainly cried aloud for abolition of this ugly building which was such an eyesore by the side of the elegant proportions of the Zwinger Gallery in its neighbourhood. In a few moments the Opera House (which as regards size was, it is true, an imposing edifice), together with its highly inflammable contents, was a vast sea of flames. When this reached the metal roofs of the neighbouring wings of the Zwinger, and enveloped them in wonderful bluish waves of fire, the first expression of regret made itself audible amongst the spectators. What a disaster! Some thought that the Natural History collection was in danger; others maintained that it was the Armoury, upon which a citizen soldier retorted that if such were the case, it would be a very good job if the 'stuffed noblemen' were burnt to cinders. But it appeared that a keen sense of the value of art knew how to curb the fire's lust for further dominion, and, as a matter of fact, it did but little damage in that quarter. Finally our post of observation, which until now had remained comparatively quiet, was filled itself with swarms and swarms of armed men, who had been ordered thither to defend the approach from the church to the Altmarkt, upon which an attack was feared from the side of the ill-secured Kreuzgasse. Unarmed men were now in the way; moreover, I had received a message from my wife summoning me home after the long and terrible anxiety she had suffered.

At last, after meeting with innumerable obstacles and overcoming a host of difficulties, I succeeded, by means of all sorts of circuitous routes, in reaching my remote suburb, from which I was cut off by the fortified portions of the town, and especially by a cannonade directed from the Zwinger. My lodgings were full to overflowing with excited women who had collected round Minna; among them the panic-stricken wife of Rockel, who suspected her husband of being in the very thick of the fight, as she thought that on the receipt of the news that Dresden had risen he would probably have returned. As a matter of fact, I had heard a rumour that Rockel had arrived on this very day, but as yet I had not obtained a glimpse of him. My young nieces helped once more to raise my spirits. The firing had put them into a high state of glee, which to some extent infected my wife, as soon as she was reassured as to my personal safety. All of them were furious with the sculptor Hanel, who had never ceased insisting upon the expedience of bolting the house to prevent an entry of the revolutionaries. All the women without exception were joking about his abject terror at the sight of some men armed with scythes who had appeared in the street In this way Sunday passed like a sort of family jollification.

On the following morning (Monday, 8th May) I tried again to get information as to the state of affairs by forcing my way to the Town Hall from my house, which was cut off from the place of action. As in the course of my journey I was making my way over a barricade near St. Ann's Church, one of the Communal Guard shouted out to me, 'Hullo, conductor, your der Freude schoner Gotterfunken [Footnote: These words refer to the opening of the Ninth Symphony chorus: 'Freude, Freude, Freude, schoner gotterfunken Tochter aus Elysium'--(Praise her, praise oh praise Joy, the god-descended daughter of Elysium.) English version by Natalia Macfarren.--Editor.] has indeed set fire to things. The rotten building is rased to the ground.' Obviously the man was an enthusiastic member of the audience at my last performance of the Ninth Symphony. Coming upon me so unexpectedly, this pathetic greeting filled me with a curious sense of strength and freedom. A little further on, in a lonely alley in the suburb of Plauen, I fell in with the musician Hiebendahl, the first oboist in the royal orchestra, and a man who still enjoyed a very high reputation; he was in the uniform of the Communal Guards, but carried no gun, and was chatting with a citizen in a similar costume. As soon as he saw me, he felt he must immediately make an appeal to me to use my influence against Rockel, who, accompanied by ordnance officers of the revolutionary party, was instituting a search for guns in this quarter. As soon as he realised that I was making sympathetic inquiries about Rockel, he drew back frightened, and said to me in tones of the deepest anxiety: 'But, conductor, have you no thought for your position, and what you may lose by exposing yourself in this fashion?' This remark had the most drastic effect upon me; I burst into a loud laugh, and told him that my position was not worth a thought one way or the other. This indeed was the expression of my real feelings, which had long been suppressed, and now broke out into almost jubilant utterance. At that moment I caught sight of Rockel, with two men of the citizen army who were carrying some guns, making his way towards me. He gave me a most friendly greeting, but turned at once to Hiebendahl and his companion and asked him why he was idling about here in uniform instead of being at his post. When Hiebendahl made the excuse that his gun had been requisitioned, Rockel cried out to him, 'You're a fine lot of fellows!' and went away laughing. He gave me a brief account as we proceeded of what had happened to him since I had lost sight of him, and thus spared me the obligation of giving him a report of his Volksblatt. We were interrupted by an imposing troop of well-armed young students of the gymnasium who had just entered the city and wished to have a safe conduct to their place of muster. The sight of these serried ranks of youthful figures, numbering several hundreds, who were stepping bravely to their duty, did not fail to make the most elevating impression upon me. Rockel undertook to accompany them over the barricade in safety to the mastering place in front of the Town Hall. He took the opportunity of lamenting the utter absence of true spirit which he had hitherto encountered in those in command. He had proposed, in case of extremity, to defend the most seriously threatened barricades by tiring them with pitch brands; at the mere word the provisional government had fallen into a veritable state of panic. I let him go his way in order that I might enjoy the privilege of a solitary person and reach the Town Hall by a short cut, and it was not until thirteen years later that I again set eyes upon him.

In the Town Hall I learned from Bakunin that the provisional government had passed a resolution, on his advice, to abandon the position in Dresden, which had been entirely neglected from the beginning, and was consequently quite untenable for any length of time. This resolution proposed an armed retreat to the Erzgebirge, where it would be possible to concentrate the reinforcements pouring in from all sides, especially from Thuringia, in such strength, that the advantageous position could be used to inaugurate a German civil war that would sound no hesitating note at its outset. To persist in defending isolated barricaded streets in Dresden could, on the other hand, lend little but the character of an urban riot to the contest, although it was pursued with the highest courage. I must confess that this idea seemed to me magnificent and full of meaning. Up to this moment I had been moved only by a feeling of sympathy for a method of procedure entered upon at first with almost ironical incredulity, and then pursued with the vigour of surprise. Now, however, all that had before seemed incomprehensible, unfolded itself before my vision in the form of a great and hopeful solution. Without either feeling that I was in any way being compelled, or that it was my vocation to get some part or function allotted to me in these events, I now definitely abandoned all consideration for my personal situation, and determined to surrender myself to the stream of developments which flowed in the direction towards which my feelings had driven me with a delight that was full of despair. Still, I did not wish to leave my wife helpless in Dresden, and I rapidly devised a means of drawing her into the path which I had chosen, without immediately informing her of what my resolve meant. During my hasty return to Friedrichstadt I recognised that this portion of the town had been almost entirely cut off from the inner city by the occupation of the Prussian troops; I saw in my mind's eye our own suburb occupied, and the consequences of a state of military siege in their most repulsive light. It was an easy job to persuade Minna to accompany me on a visit, by way of the Tharanderstrasse, which was still free, to Chemnitz, where my married sister Clara lived. It was only a matter of a moment for her to arrange her household orders, and she promised to follow me to the next village in an hour with the parrot. I went on in advance with my little dog Peps, in order to hire a carriage in which to proceed on our journey to Chemnitz. It was a smiling spring morning when I traversed for the last time the paths I had so often trod on my lonely walks, with the knowledge that I should never wander along them again. While the larks were soaring to dizzy heights above my head, and singing in the furrows of the fields, the light and heavy artillery did not cease to thunder down the streets of Dresden. The noise of this shooting, which had continued uninterruptedly for several days, had hammered itself so indelibly upon my nerves, that it continued to re-echo for a long time in my brain; just as the motion of the ship which took me to London had made me stagger for some time afterwards. Accompanied by this terrible music, I threw my parting greeting to the towers of the city that lay behind me, and said to myself with a smile, that if, seven years ago, my entry had taken place under thoroughly obscure auspices, at all events my exit was conducted with some show of pomp and ceremony.

When at last I found myself with Minna in a one-horse carriage on the way to the Erzgebirge, we frequently met armed reinforcements on their way to Dresden. The sight of them always kindled an involuntary joy in us; even my wife could not refrain from addressing words of encouragement to the men; at present it seemed not a single barricade had been lost. On the other hand, a gloomy impression was made upon us by a company of regulars which was making its way towards Dresden in silence. We asked some of them whither they were bound; and their answer, 'To do their duty,' had been obviously impressed upon them by command. At last we reached my relations in Chemnitz. I terrified all those near and dear to me when I declared my intention to return to Dresden on the following day at the earliest possible hour, in order to ascertain how things were going there. In spite of all attempts to dissuade me, I carried out my decision, pursued by a suspicion that I should meet the armed forces of the Dresden people on the country highroad in the act of retreat. The nearer I approached the capital, the stronger became the confirmation of the rumours that, as yet, there was no thought in Dresden of surrender or withdrawal, but that, on the contrary, the contest was proving very favourable for the national party. All this appeared to me like one miracle after another. On this day, Tuesday, 9th of May, I once more forced my way in a high state of excitement over ground which had become more and more inaccessible. All the highways had to be avoided, and it was only possible to make progress through such houses as had been broken through. At last I reached the Town Hall in the Altstadt, just as night was falling. A truly terrible spectacle met my eyes, for I crossed those parts of the town in which preparations had been made for a house-to-house fight. The incessant groaning of big and small guns reduced to an uncanny murmur all the other sounds that came from armed men ceaselessly crying out to one another from barricade to barricade, and from one house to another, which they had broken through. Pitch brands burnt here and there, pale-faced figures lay prostrate around the watch-posts, half dead with fatigue, and any unarmed wayfarer forcing a path for himself was sharply challenged. Nothing, however, that I have lived through can be compared with the impression that I received on my entry into the chambers of the Town Hall. Here was a gloomy, and yet fairly compact and serious mass of people; a look of unspeakable fatigue was upon all faces; not a single voice had retained its natural tone. There was a hoarse jumble of conversation inspired by a state of the highest tension. The only familiar sight that survived was to be found in the old servants of the Town Hall in their curious antiquated uniform and three-cornered hats. These tall men, at other times an object of considerable fear, I found engaged partly in buttering pieces of bread, and cutting slices of ham and sausage, and partly in piling into baskets immense stores of provisions for the messengers sent by the defenders of the barricades for supplies. These men had turned into veritable nursing mothers of the revolution.

As I proceeded further, I came at last upon the members of the provisional government, among whom Todt and Tschirner, after their first panic-stricken flight, were once more to be found gliding to and fro, gloomy as spectres, now that they were chained to the performance of their heavy duties. Heubner alone had preserved his full energy; but he was a really piteous sight: a ghostly fire burned in his eyes which had not had a wink of sleep for seven nights. He was delighted to see me again, as he regarded my arrival as a good omen for the cause which he was defending; while on the other hand, in the rapid succession of events, he had come into contact with elements about which no conclusion could shape itself to his complete satisfaction. I found Bakunin's outlook undisturbed, and his attitude firm and quiet. He did not show the smallest change in his appearance, in spite of having had no sleep during the whole time, which I afterwards heard was a fact. With a cigar in his mouth he received me, seated on one of the mattresses which lay distributed over the floor of the Town Hall. At his side was a very young Pole (a Galician) named Haimberger, a violinist whom he had once asked me to recommend to Lipinsky, in order that he might give him lessons, as he did not want this raw and inexperienced boy, who had become passionately attached to him, to get drawn into the vortex of the present upheavals. Now that Haimberger had shouldered a gun, and presented himself for service at the barricades, however, Bakunin had greeted him none the less joyfully. He had drawn him down to sit by his side on the couch, and every time the youth shuddered with fear at the violent sound of the cannon-shot, he slapped him vigorously on the back and cried out: 'You are not in the company of your fiddle here, my friend. What a pity you didn't stay where you were!' Bakinin then gave me a short and precise account of what had happened since I had left him on the previous morning. The retreat which had then been decided upon soon proved unadvisable, as it would have discouraged the numerous reinforcements which had already arrived on that day. Moreover, the desire for fighting had been so great, and the force of the defenders so considerable, that it had been possible to oppose the enemy's troops successfully so far. But as the latter had also got large reinforcements, they again had been able to make an effective combined attack on the strong Wildstruf barricade. The Prussian troops had avoided fighting in the streets, choosing instead the method of fighting from house to house by breaking through the walls. This had made it clear that all defence by barricades had become useless, and that the enemy would succeed slowly but surely in drawing near the Town Hall, the seat of the provisional government. Bakunin had now proposed that all the powder stores should be brought together in the lower rooms of the Town Hall, and that on the approach of the enemy it should be blown up. The town council, who were still in consultation in a back room, had remonstrated with the greatest vehemence. Bakunin, however, had insisted with great firmness on the execution of the measure, but in the end had been completely outwitted by the removal of all the powder stores. Moreover, Heubner, to whom Bakunin could refuse nothing, had been won over to the other side. It was now decided that as everything was ready, the retreat to the Erzgebirge, which had originally been intended for the previous day, should be fixed for the early morrow. Young Zichlinsky had already received orders to cover the road to Plauen so as to make it strategically safe. When I inquired after Rockel, Bakunin replied swiftly that he had not been seen since the previous evening, and that he had most likely allowed himself to be caught: he was in such a nervous state. I now gave an account of what I had observed on my way to and from Chemnitz, describing the great masses of reinforcements, amongst which was the communal guard of that place, several thousands strong. In Freiberg I had met four hundred reservists, who had come in excellent form to back the citizen army, but could not proceed further, as they were tired out by their forced march. It seemed obvious that this was a case in which the necessary energy to requisition wagons had been lacking, and that if the bounds of loyalty were transgressed in this matter, the advent of fresh forces would be considerably promoted. I was begged to make my way back at once, and convey the opinion of the provisional government to the people whose acquaintance I had made. My old friend Marschall von Bieberstein immediately proposed to accompany me. I welcomed his offer, as he was an officer of the provisional government, and was consequently more fitted than I was to communicate orders. This man, who had been almost extravagant in his enthusiasm before, was now utterly exhausted by sleeplessness, and unable to emit another word from his hoarse throat. He now made his way with me from the Town Hall to his house in the suburb of Plauen by the devious ways that had been indicated to us, in order to requisition a carriage for our purpose from a coachman he knew, and to bid farewell to his family, from whom he assumed he would in all probability have to separate himself for some time.

While we were waiting for the coachman we had tea and supper, talking the while, in a fairly calm and composed manner, with the ladies of the house. We arrived at Freiberg early the following morning, after various adventures, and I set out forthwith to find the leaders of the reservist contingent with whom I was already acquainted. Marschall advised them to requisition horses and carts in the villages wherever they could do so. When they had all set off in marching order for Dresden, and while I was feeling impelled by my passionate interest in the fate of that city to return to it once more, Marschall conceived the desire to carry his commission further afield, and for this purpose asked to be allowed to leave me. Whereupon I again turned my back on the heights of the Erzgebirge, and was travelling by special coach in the direction of Tharand, when I too was overcome with sleep, and was only awakened by violent shouts and the sound of some one holding a parley with the postillion. On opening my eyes I found, to my astonishment, that the road was filled with armed revolutionaries marching, not towards, but away from Dresden, and some of them were trying to commandeer the coach to relieve their weariness on the way back.

'What is the matter?' I cried. 'Where are you going?'

'Home,' was the reply. 'It is all over in Dresden. The provincial government is close behind us in that carriage down there.'

I shot out of the coach like a dart, leaving it at the disposal of the tired men, and hurried on, down the steeply sloping road, to meet the ill-fated party. And there I actually found them-- Heubner, Bakunin, and Martin, the energetic post-office clerk, the two latter armed with muskets--in a smart hired carriage from Dresden which was coming slowly up the hill. On the box were, as I supposed, the secretaries, while as many as possible of the weary National Guard struggled for seats behind. I hastened to swing myself into the coach, and so came in for a conversation which thereupon took place between the driver, who was also the owner of the coach, and the provisional government. The man was imploring them to spare his carriage, which, he said, was very lightly sprung and quite unequal to carrying such a load; he begged that the people should be told not to seat themselves behind and in front. But Bakunin remained quite unconcerned, and elected to give me a short account of the retreat from Dresden, which had been successfully achieved without loss. He had had the trees in the newly planted Maximilian Avenue felled early in the morning to form a barricade against a possible flank attack of cavalry, and had been immensely entertained by the lamentations of the inhabitants, who during the process did nothing but bewail their Scheene Beeme. [FOOTNOTE: Saxon corruption of schtine Bourne, beautiful trees.--EDITOR.] All this time our driver's lamentations over his coach were growing more importunate. Finally he broke into loud sobs and tears, upon which Bakunin, regarding him with positive pleasure, called out: 'The tears of a Philistine are nectar for the gods.' He would not vouchsafe him a word, but Heubner and I found the scene tiresome, whereupon he asked me whether we two at least should not get out, as he could not ask it of the others. As a matter of fact, it was high time to leave the coach, as some new contingents of revolutionaries had formed up in rank and file all along the highway to salute the provisional government and receive orders. Heubner strode down the line with great dignity, acquainted the leaders with the state of affairs, and exhorted them to keep their trust in the righteousness of the cause for which so many had shed their blood. All were now to retire to Freiberg, there to await further orders.

A youngish man of serious mien now stepped forward from the ranks of the rebels to place himself under the special protection of the provisional government. He was a certain Menzdorff, a German Catholic priest whom I had had the advantage of meeting in Dresden. (It was he who, in the course of a significant conversation, had first induced me to read Feuerbach.) He had been dragged along as a prisoner and abominably treated by the Chemnitz municipal guard on this particular march, having originally been the instigator of a demonstration to force that body to take up arms and march to Dresden. He owed his freedom only to the chance meeting with other better disposed volunteer corps. We saw this Chemnitz town guard ourselves, stationed far away on a hill. They sent representatives to beseech Heubner to tell them how things stood. When they had received the information required, and had been told that the fight would be continued in a determined manner, they invited the provisional government to quarter at Chemnitz. As soon as they rejoined their main body we saw them wheel round and turn back.

With many similar interruptions the somewhat disorganised procession reached Freiberg. Here some friends of Heubner's came to meet him in the streets with the urgent request not to plunge their native place into the misery of desperate street-fighting by establishing the provisional government there. Heubner made no reply to this, but requested Bakunin and myself to accompany him into his house for a consultation. First we had to witness the painful meeting between Heubner and his wife; in a few words he pointed out the gravity and importance of the task assigned to him, reminding her that it was for Germany and the high destiny of his country that he was staking his life.

Breakfast was then prepared, and after the meal, during which a fairly cheerful mood prevailed, Heubner made a short speech to Bakunin, speaking quietly but firmly. 'My dear Bakunin,' he said (his previous acquaintance with Bakunin was so slight that he did not even know how to pronounce his name), 'before we decide anything further, I must ask you to state clearly whether your political aim is really the Red Republic, of which they tell me you are a partisan. Tell me frankly, so that I may know if I can rely on your friendship in the future?'

Bakunin explained briefly that he had no scheme for any political form of government, and would not risk his life for any of them. As for his own far-reaching desires and hopes, they had nothing whatever to do with the street-fighting in Dresden and all that this implied for Germany. He had looked upon the rising in Dresden as a foolish, ludicrous movement until he realised the effect of Heubner's noble and courageous example. From that moment every political consideration and aim had been put in the background by his sympathy with this heroic attitude, and he had immediately resolved to assist this excellent man with all the devotion and energy of a friend. He knew, of course, that he belonged to the so-called moderate party, of whose political future he was not able to form an opinion, as he had not profited much by his opportunities of studying the position of the various parties in Germany.

Heubner declared himself satisfied by this reply, and proceeded to ask Bakunin's opinion of the present state of things--whether it would not be conscientious and reasonable to dismiss the men and give up a struggle which might be considered hopeless. In reply Bakunin insisted, with his usual calm assurance, that whoever else threw up the sponge, Heubner must certainly not do so. He had been the first member of the provisional government, and it was he who had given the call to arms. The call had been obeyed, and hundreds of lives had been sacrificed; to scatter the people again would look as if these sacrifices had been made to idle folly. Even if they were the only two left, they still ought not to forsake their posts. If they went under their lives might be forfeit, but their honour must remain unsullied, so that a similar appeal in the future might not drive every one to despair.

This was quite enough for Heubner. He at once made out a summons for the election of a representative assembly for Saxony, to be held at Chemnitz. He thought that, with the assistance of the populace and of the numerous insurgent bands who were arriving from all quarters, he would be able to hold the town as the headquarters of a provisional government until the general situation in Germany had become more settled. In the midst of these discussions, Stephan Born walked into the room to report that he had brought the armed bands right into Freiberg, in good order and without any losses. This young man was a compositor who had contributed greatly to Heubner's peace of mind during the last three days in Dresden by taking over the chief command. His simplicity of manner made a very encouraging impression on us, particularly when we heard his report. When, however, Heubner asked whether he would undertake to defend Freiberg against the troops which might be expected to attack at any moment, he declared that this was an experienced officer's job, and that he himself was no soldier and knew nothing of strategy. Under these circumstances it seemed better, if only to gain time, to fall back on the more thickly populated town of Chemnitz. The first thing to be done, however, was to see that the revolutionaries, who were assembled in large numbers at Freiberg, were properly cared for, and Born went off immediately to make preliminary arrangements. Heubner also took leave of us, and went to refresh his tired brain by an hour's sleep. I was left alone on the sofa with Bakunin, who soon fell towards me, overcome by irresistible drowsiness, and dropped the terrific weight of his head on to my shoulder. As I saw that he would not wake if I shook off this burden, I pushed him aside with some difficulty, and took leave both of the sleeper and of Heubner's house; for I wished to see for myself, as I had done for many days past, what course these extraordinary events were taking. I therefore went to the Town Hall, where I found the townspeople entertaining to the best of their ability a blustering horde of excited revolutionaries both within and without the walls. To my surprise, I found Heubner there in the full swing of work. I thought he was asleep at home, but the idea of leaving the people even for an hour without a counsellor had driven away all thought of rest. He had lost no time in superintending the organisation of a sort of commandant's office, and was again occupied with drafting and signing documents in the midst of the uproar that raged on all sides. It was not long before Bakunin too put in an appearance, principally in search of a good officer--who was not, however, forthcoming. The commandant of a large contingent from the Vogtland, an oldish man, raised Bakunin's hopes by the impassioned energy of his speeches, and he would have had him appointed commandant-general on the spot. But it seemed as if any real decision were impossible in that frenzy and confusion, and as the only hope of mastering it seemed to be in reaching Chemnitz, Heubner gave the order to march on towards that town as soon as every one had had food. Once this was settled, I told my friends I should go on in advance of their column to Chemnitz, where I should find them again next day; for I longed to be quit of this chaos. I actually caught the coach, the departure of which was fixed for that time, and obtained a seat in it. But the revolutionaries were just marching off on the same road, and we were told that we must wait until they had passed to avoid being caught in the whirlpool. This meant considerable delay, and for a long while I watched the peculiar bearing of the patriots as they marched out. I noticed in particular a Vogtland regiment, whose marching step was fairly orthodox, following the beat of a drummer who tried to vary the monotony of his instrument in an artistic manner by hitting the wooden frame alternately with the drumhead. The unpleasant rattling tone thus produced reminded me in ghostly fashion of the rattling of the skeletons' bones in the dance round the gallows by night which Berlioz had brought home to my imagination with such terrible realism in his performance of the last movement of his Sinfonie Fantastique in Paris.

Suddenly the desire seized me to look up the friends I had left behind, and travel to Chemnitz in their company if possible. I found they had quitted the Town Hall, and on reaching Heubner's house I was told that he was asleep. I therefore went back to the coach, which, however, was still putting off its departure, as the road was blocked with troops. I walked nervously up and down for some time, then, losing faith in the journey by coach, I went back again to Heubner's house to offer myself definitely as a travelling companion. But Heubner and Bakunin had already left home, and I could find no traces of them. In desperation I returned once more to the coach, and found it by this time really ready to start. After various delays and adventures it brought me late at night to Chemnitz, where I got out and betook myself to the nearest inn. At five o'clock the next morning I got up (after a few hours' sleep) and set out to find my brother-in-law Wolfram's house, which was about a quarter of an hour's walk from the town. On the way I asked a sentinel of the town guard whether he knew anything about the arrival of the provisional government.

'Provisional government?' was the reply. 'Why, it's all up with that.' I did not understand him, nor was I able to learn anything about the state of things when I first reached the house of my relatives, for my brother-in-law had been sent into the town as special constable. It was only on his return home, lute in the afternoon, that I heard what had taken place in one hotel at Chemnitz while I had been resting in another inn. Heubner, Bakunin, and the man called Martin, whom I have mentioned already, had, it seemed, arrived before me in a hackney-coach at the gates of Chemnitz. On being asked for their names Heubner had announced himself in a tone of authority, and had bidden the town councillors come to him at a certain hotel. They had no sooner reached the hotel than they all three collapsed from excessive fatigue. Suddenly the police broke into the room and arrested them in the name of the local government, upon which they only begged to have a few hours' quiet sleep, pointing out that flight was out of the question in their present condition. I heard further that they had been removed to Altenburg under a strong military escort. My brother-in-law was obliged to confess that the Chemnitz municipal guard, which had been forced to start for Dresden much against its will, and had resolved at the very outset to place itself at the disposal of the royal forces on arriving there, had deceived Heubner by inviting him to Chemnitz, and had lured him into the trap. They had reached Chemnitz long before Heubner, and had taken over the guard at the gates with the object of seeing him arrive and of preparing for his arrest at once. My brother-in-law had been very anxious about me too, as he had been told in furious tones by the leaders of the town guard that I had been seen in close association with the revolutionaries. He thought it a wonderful intervention of Providence that I had not arrived at Chemnitz with them and gone to the same inn, in which case their fate would certainly have been mine. The recollection of my escape from almost certain death in duels with the most experienced swordsmen in my student days flashed across me like a flash of lightning. This last terrible experience made such an impression on me that I was incapable of breathing a word in connection with what had happened. My brother-in-law, in response to urgent appeals--from my wife in particular, who was much concerned for my personal safety--undertook to convey me to Altenburg in his carriage by night. From there I continued my journey by coach to Weimar, where I had originally planned to spend my holidays, little thinking that I should arrive by such devious ways.

The dreamy unreality of my state of mind at this time is best explained by the apparent seriousness with which, on meeting Liszt again, I at once began to discuss what seemed to be the sole topic of any real interest to him in connection with me--the forthcoming revival of Tannhauser at Weimar. I found it very difficult to confess to this friend that I had not left Dresden in the regulation way for a conductor of the royal opera. To tell the truth, I had a very hazy conception of the relation in which I stood to the law of my country (in the narrow sense). Had I done anything criminal in the eye of the law or not? I found it impossible to come to any conclusion about it. Meanwhile, alarming news of the terrible conditions in Dresden continued to pour into Weimar. Genast, the stage manager, in particular, aroused great excitement by spreading the report that Rockel, who was well known at Weimar, had been guilty of arson. Liszt must soon have gathered from my conversation, in which I did not take the trouble to dissimulate, that I too was suspiciously connected with these terrible events, though my attitude with regard to them misled him for some time. For I was not by any means prepared to proclaim myself a combatant in the recent fights, and that for reasons quite other than would have seemed valid in the eyes of the law. My friend was therefore encouraged in his delusion by the unpremeditated effect of my attitude. When we met at the house of Princess Caroline of Wittgenstein, to whom I had been introduced the year before when she paid her flying visit to Dresden, we were able to hold stimulating conversations on all sorts of artistic topics. One afternoon, for instance, a lively discussion sprang up from a description I had given of a tragedy to be entitled Jesus of Nazareth. Liszt maintained a discreet silence after I had finished, whereas the Princess protested vigorously against my proposal to bring such a subject on to the stage. From the lukewarm attempt I made to support the paradoxical theories I had put forward, I realised the state of my mind at that time. Although it was not very evident to onlookers, I had been, and still was, shaken to the very depths of my being by my recent experiences.

In due course an orchestral rehearsal of Tannhauser took place, which in various ways stimulated the artist in me afresh. Liszt's conducting, though mainly concerned with the musical rather than the dramatic side, filled me for the first time with the flattering warmth of emotion roused by the consciousness of being understood by another mind in full sympathy with my own. At the same time I was able, in spite of my dreamy condition, to observe critically the standard of capacity exhibited by the singers and their chorus-master. After the rehearsal I, together with the musical director, Stohr, and Gotze the singer, accepted Liszt's invitation to a simple dinner, at a different inn from the one where he lived. I thus had occasion to take alarm at a trait in his character which was entirely new to me. After being stirred up to a certain pitch of excitement his mood became positively alarming, and he almost gnashed his teeth in a passion of fury directed against a certain section of society which had also aroused my deepest indignation. I was strongly affected by this strange experience with this wonderful man, but I was unable to see the association of ideas which had led to his terrible outburst. I was therefore left in a state of amazement, while Liszt had to recover during the night from a violent attack of nerves which his excitement had produced. Another surprise was in store for me the next morning, when I found my friend fully equipped for a journey to Karlsruhe--the circumstances which made it necessary being absolutely incomprehensible to me. Liszt invited Director Stohr and myself to accompany him as far as Eisenach. On our way there we were stopped by Beaulieu, the Lord Chamberlain, who wished to know whether I was prepared to be received by the Grand Duchess of Weimar, a sister of the Emperor Nicolas, at Eisenach castle. As my excuse on the score of unsuitable travelling costume was not admitted, Liszt accepted in my name, and I really met with a surprisingly kind reception that evening from the Grand Duchess, who chatted with me in the friendliest way, and introduced me to her chamberlain with all due ceremony. Liszt maintained afterwards that his noble patroness had been informed that I should be wanted by the authorities in Dresden within the next few days, and had therefore hastened to make my personal acquaintance at once, knowing that it would compromise her too heavily later on.

Liszt continued his journey from Eisenach, leaving me to be entertained and looked after by Stohr and the musical director Kuhmstedt, a diligent and skilful master of counterpoint with whom I paid my first visit to the Wartburg, which had not then been restored. I was filled with strange musings as to my fate when I visited this castle. Here I was actually on the point of entering, for the first time, the building which was so full of meaning for me; here, too, I had to tell myself that the days of my further sojourn in Germany were numbered. And in fact the news from Dresden, when we returned to Weimar the next day, was serious indeed. Liszt, on his return on the third day, found a letter from my wife, who had not dared to write direct to me. She reported that the police had searched my house in Dresden, to which she had returned, and that she had, moreover been warned on no account to allow me to return to that city, as a warrant had been taken out against me, and I was shortly to be served with a writ and arrested. Liszt, who was now solely concerned for my personal safety, called in a friend who had some experience of law, to consider what should be done to rescue me from the danger that threatened me. Von Watzdorf, the minister whom I had already visited, had been of opinion that I should, if required, submit quietly to being taken to Dresden, and that the journey would be made in a respectable private carriage. On the other hand, reports which had reached us of the brutal way in which the Prussian troops in Dresden had gone to work in applying the state of siege were of so alarming a nature that Liszt and his friends in council urged my speedy departure from Weimar, where it would be impossible to protect me. But I insisted on taking leave of my wife, whose anxiety was great, before leaving Germany, and begged to be allowed to stay a little longer at least in the neighbourhood of Weimar. This was taken into consideration, and Professor Siebert suggested my taking temporary shelter with a friendly steward at the village of Magdala, which was three hours distant. I drove there the following morning to introduce myself to this kind steward and protector as Professor Werder from Berlin, who, with a letter of recommendation from Professor Siebert, had come to turn his financial studies to practical account in helping to administer these estates. Here in rural seclusion I spent three days, entertainment of a peculiar nature being provided by the meeting of a popular assembly, which consisted of the remainder of the contingent of revolutionaries which had marched off towards Dresden and had now returned in disorder. I listened with curious feelings, amounting almost to contempt, to the speeches on this occasion, which were of every kind and description. On the second day of my stay my host's wife came back from Weimar (where it was market-day) full of a curious tale: the composer of an opera which was being performed there on that very day had been obliged to leave Weimar suddenly because the warrant for his arrest had arrived from Dresden. My host, who had been let into my secret by Professor Seibert, asked playfully what his name was. As his wife did not seem to know, he came to her assistance with the suggestion that perhaps it was Rockel whose name was familiar at Weimar.

'Yes,' she said, 'Rockel, that was his name, quite right.'

My host laughed loudly, and said that he would not be so stupid as to let them catch him, in spite of his opera.

At last, on 22nd May, my birthday, Minna actually arrived at Magdala. She had hastened to Weimar on receiving my letter, and had proceeded from there according to instructions, bent on persuading me at all costs to flee the country immediately and for good. No attempt to raise her to the level of my own mood was successful; she persisted in regarding me as an ill-advised, inconsiderate person who had plunged both himself and her into the most terrible situation. It had been arranged that I should meet her the next evening in the house of Professor Wolff at Jena to take a last farewell. She was to go by way of Weimar, while I took the footpath from Magdala. I started accordingly on my walk of about six hours, and came over the plateau into the little university town (which now received me hospitably for the first time) at sunset. I found my wife again at the house of Professor Wolff, who, thanks to Liszt, was already my friend, and with the addition of a certain Professor Widmann another conference was held on the subject of my further escape. A writ was actually out against me for being strongly suspected of participation in the Dresden rising, and I could not under any circumstances depend on a safe refuge in any of the German federal states. Liszt insisted on my going to Paris, where I could find a new field for my work, while Widmann advised me not to go by the direct route through Frankfort and Baden, as the rising was still in full swing there, and the police would certainly exercise praiseworthy vigilance over incoming travellers with suspicious-looking passports. The way through Bavaria would be the safest, as all was quiet there again; I could then make for Switzerland, and the journey to Paris from there could be engineered without any danger. As I needed a passport for the journey, Professor Widmann offered me his own, which had been issued at Tubingen and had not been brought up to date. My wife was quite in despair, and the parting from her caused me real pain. I set off in the mail-coach and travelled, without further hindrance, through many towns (amongst them Rudolstadt, a place full of memories for me) to the Bavarian frontier. From there I continued my journey by mail-coach straight to Lindau. At the gates I, together with the other passengers, was asked for my passport. I passed the night in a state of strange, feverish excitement, which lasted until the departure of the steamer on Lake Constance early in the morning. My mind was full of the Swabian dialect, as spoken by Professor Widmann, with whose passport I was travelling. I pictured to myself my dealings with the Bavarian police should I have to converse with them in accordance with the above-mentioned irregularities in that document. A prey to feverish unrest, I spent the whole night trying to perfect myself in the Swabian dialect, but, as I was amused to find, without the smallest success. I had braced myself to meet the crucial moment early the next morning, when the policeman came into my room and, not knowing to whom the passports belonged, gave me three at random to choose from. With joy in my heart I seized my own, and dismissed the dreaded messenger in the most friendly way. Once on board the steamer I realised with true satisfaction that I had now stepped on to Swiss territory. It was a lovely spring morning; across the broad lake I could gaze at the Alpine landscape as it spread itself before my eyes. When I stepped on to Republican soil at Rorschach, I employed the first moments in writing a few lines home to tell of my safe arrival in Switzerland and my deliverance from all danger. The coach drive through the pleasant country of St. Gall to Zurich cheered me up wonderfully, and when I drove down from Oberstrass into Zurich that evening, the last day in May, at six o'clock, and saw for the first time the Glarner Alps that encircle the lake gleaming in the sunset, I at once resolved, though without being fully conscious of it, to avoid everything that could prevent my settling here.

I had been the more willing to accept my friends' suggestion to take the Swiss route to Paris, as I knew I should find an old acquaintance, Alexander Muller, at Zurich. I hoped with his help to obtain a passport to France, as I was anxious not to arrive there as a political refugee. I had been on very friendly terms with Muller once upon a time at Wurzburg. He had been settled at Zurich for a long time as a teacher of music; this I learned from a pupil of his, Wilhelm Baumgartner, who had called on me in Dresden some years back to bring me a greeting from this old friend. On that occasion I entrusted the pupil with a copy of the score of Tannhauser for his master, by way of remembrance, and this kind attention had not fallen on barren soil: Muller and Baumgartner, whom I visited forthwith, introduced me at once to Jacob Sulzer and Franz Hagenbuch, two cantonal secretaries who were the most likely, among all their good friends, to compass the immediate fulfilment of my desire. These two people, who had been joined by a few intimates, received me with such respectful curiosity and sympathy that I felt at home with them at once. The great assurance and moderation with which they commented on the persecutions which had overtaken me, as seen from their usual simple republican standpoint, opened to me a conception of civil life which seemed to lift me to an entirely new sphere. I felt so safe and protected here, whereas in my own country I had, without quite realising it, come to be considered a criminal owing to the peculiar connection between my disgust at the public attitude towards art and the general political disturbances. To prepossess the two secretaries entirely in my favour (one of them, Sulzer, had enjoyed an excellent classical education), my friends arranged a meeting one evening at which I was to read my poem on the Death of Siegfried. I am prepared to swear that I never had more attentive listeners, among men, than on that evening. The immediate effect of my success was the drawing up of a fully valid federal passport for the poor German under warrant of arrest, armed with which I started gaily on my journey to Paris after quite a short stay at Zurich. From Strassburg, where I was enthralled by the fascination of the world-famous minster, I travelled towards Paris by what was then the best means of locomotion, the so-called malle-poste. I remember a remarkable phenomenon in connection with this conveyance. Till then the noise of the cannonade and musketry in the fighting at Dresden had been persistently re-echoing in my ears, especially in a half-waking condition; now the humming of the wheels, as we rolled rapidly along the highroad, cast such a spell upon me that for the whole of the journey I seemed to hear the melody of Freude, schoner Gotterfunken [Footnote: See note on page 486.] from the Ninth Symphony being played, as it were, on deep bass instruments.

From the time of my entering Switzerland till my arrival in Paris my spirits, which had sunk into a dreamlike apathy, rose gradually to a level of freedom and comfort that I had never enjoyed before. I felt like a bird in the air whose destiny is not to founder in a morass; but soon after my arrival in Paris, in the first week of June, a very palpable reaction set in. I had had an introduction from Liszt to his former secretary Belloni, who felt it his duty, in loyalty to the instructions received, to put me into communication with a literary man, a certain Gustave Vaisse, with the object of being commissioned to write an opera libretto for production in Paris. I did not, however, make the personal acquaintance of Vaisse. The idea did not please me, and I found sufficient excuse for warding off the negotiations by saying I was afraid of the epidemic of cholera which was said to be raging in the city. I was staying in the Rue Notre Dame de Lorette for the sake of being near Belloni. Through this street funeral processions, announced by the muffled drum boats of the National Guard, passed practically every hour. Though the heat was stifling, I was strictly forbidden to touch water, and was advised to exercise the greatest precaution with regard to diet in every respect. Besides this weight of uneasiness on my spirits, the whole outward aspect of Paris, as it then appeared, had the most depressing effect on me. The motto, liberte, egalite, fraternite was still to be seen on all the public buildings and other establishments, but, on the other hand, I was alarmed at seeing the first garcons caissiers making their way from the bank with their long money-sacks over their shoulders and their large portfolios in their hands. I had never met them so frequently as now, just when the old capitalist regime, after its triumphant struggle against the once dreaded socialist propaganda, was exerting itself vigorously to regain the public confidence by its almost insulting pomp. I had gone, as it were, mechanically into Schlesinger's music-shop, where a successor was now installed--a much more pronounced type of Jew named Brandus, of a very dirty appearance. The only person there to give me a friendly welcome was the old clerk, Monsieur Henri. After I had talked to him in loud tones for some time, as the shop was apparently empty, he at length asked me with some embarrassment whether I had not seen my master (votre maitre) Meyerbeer.

'Is Monsieur Meyerbeer here?' I asked.

'Certainly,' was the even more embarrassed reply; 'quite near, over there behind the desk.'

And, sure enough, as I walked across to the desk Meyerbeer came out, covered with confusion. He smiled and made some excuse about pressing proof-sheets. He had been hiding there quietly for over ten minutes since first hearing my voice. I had had enough after my strange encounter with this apparition. It recalled so many things affecting myself which reflected suspicion on the man, in particular the significance of his behaviour towards me in Berlin on the last occasion. However, as I had now nothing more to do with him, I greeted him with a certain easy gaiety induced by the regret I felt at seeing his manifest confusion on becoming cognisant of my arrival in Paris. He took it for granted that I should again seek my fortune there, and seemed much surprised when I assured him, on the contrary, that the idea of having any work there was odious to me.

'But Liszt published such a brilliant article about you in the Journal des Debats,' he said.

'Ah,' I replied, 'it really had not occurred to me that the enthusiastic devotion of a friend should be regarded as a mutual speculation.'

'But the article made a sensation. It is incredible that you should not seek to make any profit out of it.'

This offensive meddlesomeness roused me to protest to Meyerbeer with some violence that I was concerned with anything rather than with the production of artistic work, particularly just at that time when the course of events seemed to indicate that the whole world was undergoing a reaction.

'But what do you expect to get out of the revolution?' he replied. 'Are you going to write scores for the barricades?'

Whereupon I assured him that I was not thinking of writing any scores at all. We parted, obviously without having arrived at a mutual understanding.

In the street I was also stopped by Moritz Schlesinger, who, being equally under the influence of Liszt's brilliant article, evidently considered me a perfect prodigy. He too thought I must be counting on making a hit in Paris, and was sure that I had a very good chance of doing so.

'Will you undertake my business?' I asked him. 'I have no money. Do you really think the performance of an opera by an unknown composer can be anything but a matter of money?'

'You are quite right,' said Moritz, and left me on the spot.

I turned from these disagreeable encounters in the plague-stricken capital of the world to inquire the fate of my Dresden companions, for some of those with whom I was intimate had also reached Paris, when I called on Desplechins, who had painted the scenery for Tannhauser. I found Semper there, who had, like myself, been deposited in this city. We met again with no little pleasure, although we could not help smiling at our grotesque situation. Semper had retired from the battle when the famous barricade, which he in his capacity of architect kept under close observation, had been surrounded. (He thought it impossible for it to be captured.) All the same, he considered that he had exposed himself quite sufficiently to make it state of siege and were occupying Dresden. He considered himself lucky as a native of Holstein to be dependent, not on the German, but on the Danish government for a passport, as this had helped him to reach Paris without difficulty. When I expressed my real and heartfelt regret at the turn of affairs which had torn him from a professional undertaking on which he had just started--the completion of the Dresden Museum--he refused to take it too seriously, saying it had given him a great deal of worry. In spite of our trying situation, it was with Semper that I spent the only bright hours of my stay in Paris. We were soon joined by another refugee, young Heine, who had once wished to paint my Lohengrin scenery. He had no qualms about his future, for his master Desplechins was willing to give him employment. I alone felt I had been pitched quite aimlessly into Paris. I had a passionate desire to leave this cholera-laden, atmosphere, and Belloni offered me an opportunity which I promptly and joyfully seized. He invited me to follow himself and his family to a country place near La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, where I could be refreshed by pure air and absolute quiet, and wait for a change for the better in my position. I made the short journey to Rueil after another week in Paris, and took for the time being a poor lodging (one room, built with recesses) in the house of Monsieur Raphael, a wine merchant, close by the village mairie where the Belloni family were staying. Here I waited further developments. During the period when all news from Germany ceased I tried to occupy myself as far as possible with reading. After going through Proudhon's writings, and in particular his De la propriete, in such a manner as to glean comfort for my situation in curiously divers ways, I entertained myself for a considerable time with Lamartine's Histoire des Girondins, a most alluring and attractive work. One day Belloni brought me news of the unfortunate rising in Paris, which had been attempted on the 13th June by the Republicans under Ledru-Rollin against the provisional government, which was then in the full tide of reaction. Great as was the indignation with which the news was received by my host and the mayor of the place (a relative of his, at whose table we ate our modest daily meal), it made, on the whole, little impression on me, as my attention was still fixed in great agitation on the events which were taking place on the Rhine, and particularly on the grand-duchy of Baden, which had been made forfeit to a provisional government. When, however, the news reached me from this quarter also that the Prussians had succeeded in subduing a movement which had not at first seemed hopeless, I felt extraordinarily downcast.

I was compelled to consider my position carefully, and the necessity of conquering my difficulties helped to allay the excitement to which I was a prey. The letters from my Weimar friends, as well as those from my wife, now brought me completely to my senses. The former expressed themselves very curtly about my behaviour with regard to recent events. The opinion was, that for the moment there would be nothing for me to do, and especially not in Dresden, or at the grand-ducal court, 'as one could not very well knock at battered doors'; 'on ne frappe pas a des portes enfoncees' (Princess von Wittgenstein to Belloni).

I did not know what to reply, for I had never dreamt of expecting anything to come from their intervening on my behalf in that quarter; consequently I was quite satisfied that they sent me temporarily financial assistance. With this money I made up my mind to leave for Zurich and ask Alex Muller to give me shelter for a while, as his house was sufficiently large to accommodate a guest. My saddest moment came when, after a long silence, I at last received a letter from my wife. She wrote that she could not dream of living with me again; that after I had so unscrupulously thrown away a connection and position, the like of which would never again present itself to me, no woman could reasonably be expected to take any further interest in my future enterprises.

I fully appreciated my wife's unfortunate position; I could in no way assist her, except by advising her to sell our Dresden furniture, and by making an appeal on her behalf to my relatives in Leipzig.

Until then I had been able to think more lightly of the misery of her position, simply because I had imagined her to be more deeply in sympathy with what agitated me. Often during the recent extraordinary events I had even believed that she understood my feelings. Now, however, she had disillusioned me on this point: she could see in me no more than what the public saw, and the one redeeming point of her severe judgment was that she excused my behaviour on the score that I was reckless. After I had begged Liszt to do what he could for my wife, I soon began to regard her unexpected behaviour with more equanimity. In reply to her announcement that she would not write to me again for the present, I said that I had also resolved to spare her all further anxiety about my very doubtful fate, by ceasing from communicating with her. I surveyed the panorama of our long years of association critically in my mind's eye, beginning with that first stormy year of our married life, that had been so full of sorrow. Our youthful days of worry and care in Paris had undoubtedly been of benefit to us both. The courage and patience with which she had faced our difficulties, while I on my part had tried to end them by dint of hard work, had linked us together with bonds of iron. Minna was rewarded for all these privations by Dresden successes, and more especially by the highly enviable position I had held there. Her position as wife of the conductor (Frau Kapellmeisterin) had brought her the fulfilment of her dearest wishes, and all those things which conspired to make my work in this official post so intolerable to me, were to her no more than so many threats directed against her smug content. The course I had adopted with regard to Tannhauser had already made her doubtful of my success at the theatres, and had robbed her of all courage and confidence in our future. The more I deviated from the path which she regarded as the only profitable one, due partly to the change of my views (which I grew ever less willing to communicate to her), and partly to the modification in my attitude towards the stage, the more she retreated from that position of close fellowship with me which she had enjoyed in former years, and which she thought herself justified in connecting in some way with my successes.

She looked upon my conduct with regard to the Dresden catastrophe as the outcome of this deviation from the right path, and attributed it to the influence of unscrupulous persons (particularly the unfortunate Rockel), who were supposed to have dragged me with them to ruin, by appealing to my vanity. Deeper than all these disagreements, however, which, after all, were concerned only with external circumstances, was the consciousness of our fundamental incompatibility, which to me had become ever more and more apparent since the day of our reconciliation. From the very beginning we had had scenes of the most violent description: never once after these frequent quarrels had she admitted herself in the wrong or tried to be friends again.

The necessity of speedily restoring our domestic peace, as well as my conviction (confirmed by every one of her extravagant outbursts) that, in view of the great disparity of our characters and especially of our educations, it devolved upon me to prevent such scenes by observing great caution in my behaviour, always led me to take the entire blame for what had happened upon myself, and to mollify Minna by showing her that I was sorry. Unfortunately, and to my intense grief, I was forced to recognise that by acting in this way I lost all my power over her affections, and especially over her character. Now we stood in a position in which I could not possibly resort to the same means of reconciliation, for it would have meant my being inconsistent in all my views and actions. And then I found myself confronted by such hardness in the woman whom I had spoilt by my leniency, that it was out of the question to expect her to acknowledge the injustice done to myself. Suffice it to say that the wreck of my married life had contributed not inconsiderably to the ruin of my position in Dresden, and to the careless manner in which I treated it, for instead of finding help, strength, and consolation at home, I found my wife unwittingly conspiring against me, in league with all the other hostile circumstances which then beset me. After I had got over the first shock of her heartless behaviour, I was absolutely clear about this. I remember that I did not suffer any great sorrow, but that on the contrary, with the conviction of being now quite helpless, an almost exalted calm came over me when I realised that up to the present my life had been built on a foundation of sand and nothing more. At all events, the fact that I stood absolutely alone did much towards restoring my peace of mind, and in my distress I now found strength and comfort even in the fact of my dire poverty. At last assistance arrived from Weimar. I accepted it eagerly, and it was the means of extricating me from my present useless life and stranded hopes.

My next move was to find a place of refuge--one, however, which had but little attraction for me, seeing that in it there was not the slightest hope of my being able to make any further headway in the paths along which I had hitherto progressed. This refuge was Zurich, a town devoid of all art in the public sense, and where for the first time I met simple-hearted people who knew nothing about me as a musician, but who, as it appeared, felt drawn towards me by the power of my personality alone. I arrived at Muller's house and asked him to let me have a room, at the same time giving him what remained of my capital, namely twenty francs. I quickly discovered that my old friend was embarrassed by my perfectly open confidence in him, and that he was at his wit's end to know what to do with me. I soon gave up the large room containing a grand piano, which he had allotted to me on the impulse of the moment, and retired to a modest little bedroom. The meals were my great trial, not because I was fastidious, but because I could not digest thorn. Outside my friend's house, on the contrary, I enjoyed what, considering the habits of the locality, was the most luxurious reception. The same young men who had been so kind to me on my first journey through Zurich again showed themselves anxious to be continually in my company, and this was especially the case with one young fellow called Jakob Sulzer. He had to be thirty years of age before he was entitled to become a member of the Zurich government, and he therefore still had several years to wait. In spite of his youth, however, the impression he made on all those with whom he came in contact was that of a man of riper years, whose character was formed. When I was asked long afterwards whether I had ever met a man who, morally speaking, was the beau-ideal of real character and uprightness, I could, on reflection, think of none other than this newly gained friend, Jakob Sulzer.

He owed his early appointment as permanent Cantonal Secretary (Staatsschreiber), one of the most excellent government posts in the canton of Zurich, to the recently returned liberal party, led by Alfred Escher. As this party could not employ the more experienced members of the older conservative side in the public offices, their policy was to choose exceptionally gifted young men for these positions. Sulzer showed extraordinary promise, and their choice accordingly soon lighted on him. He had only just returned from the Berlin and Bonn universities with the intention of establishing himself as professor of philology at the university in his native town, when he was made a member of the new government. To fit himself for his post he had to stay in Geneva for six months to perfect himself in the French language, which he had neglected during his philological studies. He was quick-witted and industrious, as well as independent and firm, and he never allowed himself to be swayed by any party tactics. Consequently he rose very rapidly to high positions in the government, to which he rendered valuable and important services, first as Minister of Finance, a post he held for many years, and later with particular distinction as member of the School Federation. His unexpected acquaintance with me seemed to place him in a sort of dilemma; from the philological and classical studies which he had entered upon of his own choice, he suddenly found himself torn away in the most bewildering manner by this unexpected summons from the government. It almost seemed as if his meeting with me had made him regret having accepted the appointment. As he was a person of great culture, my poem, Siegfried's Death, naturally revealed to him my knowledge of German antiquity. He had also studied this subject, but with greater philological accuracy than I could possibly have aspired to. When, later on, he became acquainted with my manner of writing music, this peculiarly serious and reserved man became so thoroughly interested in my sphere of art, so far removed from his own field of labour, that, as he himself confessed, he felt it his duty to fight against these disturbing influences by being intentionally brusque and curt with me. In the beginning of my stay in Zurich, however, he delighted in being led some distance astray in the realms of art. The old-fashioned official residence of the first Cantonal Secretary was often the scene of unique gatherings, composed of people such as I would be sure to attract. It might even be said that these social functions occurred rather more frequently than was advisable for the reputation of a civil servant of this little philistine state. What attracted the musician Baumgartner more particularly to these meetings was the product of Sulzer's vineyards in Winterthur, to which our hosts treated his guests with the greatest liberality. When in my moods of mad exuberance I gave vent in dithyrambic effusions to my most extreme views on art and life, my listeners often responded in a manner which, more often than not, I was perfectly right in ascribing to the effects of the wine rather than to the power of my enthusiasm. Once when Professor Ettmuller, the Germanist and Edda scholar, had been invited to listen to a reading of my Siegfried and had been led home in a state of melancholy enthusiasm, there was a regular outburst of wanton spirits among those who had remained behind. I conceived the absurd idea of lifting all the doors of the state official's house off their hinges.

Herr Hagenbuch, another servant of the state, seeing what exertion this cost me, offered me the help of his gigantic physique, and with comparative ease we succeeded in removing every single door, and laying it aside, a proceeding at which Sulzer merely smiled good-naturedly. The next day, however, when we made inquiries, he told us that the replacing of those doors (which must have been a terrible strain on his delicate constitution) had taken him the whole night, as he had made up his mind to keep the knowledge of our orgies from the sergeant, who always arrived at a very early hour in the morning.

The extraordinary birdlike freedom of my existence had the effect of exciting me more and more. I was often frightened at the excessive outbursts of exaltation to which I was prone--no matter whom I was with--and which led me to indulge in the most extraordinary paradoxes in my conversation. Soon after I had settled in Zurich I began to write down my various ideas about things at which I had arrived through my private and artistic experiences, as well as through the influence of the political unrest of the day. As I had no choice but to try, to the best of my ability, to earn something by my pen, I thought of sending a series of articles to a great French journal such as the National, which in those days was still extant. In these articles I meant to propound my ideas (in my revolutionary way) on the subject of modern art in its relation to society. I sent six of them to an elderly friend of mine, Albert Franck, requesting him to have them translated into French and to get them published. This Franck was the brother of the better-known Hermann Franck, now the head of the Franco-German bookselling firm, which had originally belonged to my brother-in-law, Avenarius. He sent me back my work with the very natural remark that it was out of the question to expect the Parisian public to understand or appreciate my articles, especially at such a critical moment.

I headed the manuscript Kunst und Revolution ('Art and Revolution') and sent it to Otto Wigand in Leipzig, who actually undertook to publish it in the form of a pamphlet, and sent me five louis d'or for it. This unexpected success induced me to continue to exploit my literary gifts. I looked among my papers for the essay I had written the year before as the outcome of my historical studies of the 'Nibelungen' legend; I gave it the title of Die Nibelungen Weltgeschichte aus der Sage, and again tried my luck by sending it to Wigand.

The sensational title of Kunst und Revolution, as well as the notoriety the 'royal conductor' had gained as a political refugee, had made the radical publisher hope that the scandal that would arise on the publication of my articles would redound to his benefit! I soon discovered that he was on the point of issuing a second edition of Kunst und Revolution, without, however, informing me of the fact. He also took over my new pamphlet for another five louis d'or. This was the first time I had earned money by means of published work, and I now began to believe that I had reached that point when I should be able to get the better of my misfortunes. I thought it over, and decided to give public lectures in Zurich on subjects related to my writings during the coming winter, hoping in that free and haphazard fashion to keep body and soul together for a little while, although I had no fixed appointment and did not intend to work at music.

It seemed necessary for me to resort to these means, as I did not know how otherwise to keep myself alive. Shortly after my arrival in Zurich I had witnessed the coming of the fragments of the Baden army, dispersed over Swiss territory, and accompanied by fugitive volunteers, and this had made a painful and uncanny impression upon me. The news of the surrender near Villagos by Gorgey paralysed the last hopes as to the issue of the great European struggle for liberty, which so far had been left quite undecided. With some misgiving and anxiety I now turned my eyes from all these occurrences in the outside world inwards to my own soul.

I was accustomed to patronise the cafe litteraire, where I took my coffee after my heavy mid-day meal, in a smoky atmosphere surrounded by a merry and joking throng of men playing dominoes and 'fast.' One day I stared at its common wall-paper representing antique subjects, which in some inexplicable way recalled a certain water-colour by Genelli to my mind, portraying 'The education of Dionysos by the Muses.' I had seen it at the house of my brother-in-law Brockhaus in my young days, and it had made a deep impression on me at the time. At this same place I conceived the first ideas of my Kunstwerk der Zukunft ('The Art-Work of the Future'), and it seemed a significant omen to me to be roused one day out of one of my post-prandial dreams by the news that Schroder-Devrient was staying in Zurich. I immediately got up with the intention of calling on her at the neighbouring hotel, 'Zum Schwerte,' but to my great dismay heard that she had just left by steamer. I never saw her again, and long afterwards only heard of her painful death from my wife, who in later years became fairly intimate with her in Dresden.

After I had spent two remarkable summer months in this wild and extraordinary fashion, I at last received reassuring news of Minna, who had remained in Dresden. Although her manner of taking leave of me had been both harsh and wounding, I could not bring myself to believe I had completely parted from her. In a letter I wrote to one of her relations, and which I presumed they would forward, I made sympathetic inquiries about her, while I had already done all that lay in my power, through repeated appeals to Liszt, to ensure her being well cared for. I now received a direct reply, which, in addition to the fact that it testified to the vigour and activity with which she had fought her difficulties, at the same time showed me that she earnestly desired to be reunited with me. It was almost in terms of contempt that she expressed her grave doubts as to the possibility of my being able to make a living in Zurich, but she added that, inasmuch as she was my wife, she wished to give me another chance. She also seemed to take it for granted that I intended making Zurich only our temporary home, and that I would do my utmost to promote my career as a composer of opera in Paris. Whereupon she announced her intention of arriving at Rorschach in Switzerland on a certain date in September of that year, in the company of the little dog Peps, the parrot Papo, and her so-called sister Nathalie. After having engaged two rooms for our new home, I now prepared to set out on foot for St. Gall and Rorschach through the lovely and celebrated Toggenburg and Appenzell, and felt very touched after all when the peculiar family, which consisted half of pet animals, landed at the harbour of Rorschach. I must honestly confess that the little dog and the bird made me very happy. My wife at once threw cold water on my emotions, however, by declaring that in the event of my behaving badly again she was ready to return to Dresden any moment, and that she had numerous friends there, who would be glad to protect and succour her if she were forced to carry out her threat. Be this as it may, one look at her convinced me how greatly she had aged in this short time, and how much I ought to pity her, and this feeling succeeded in banishing all bitterness from my heart.

I did my utmost to give her confidence and to make her believe that our present misfortunes were but momentary. This was no easy task, as she would constantly compare the diminutive aspect of the town of Zurich with the more noble majesty of Dresden, and seemed to feel bitterly humiliated. The friends whom I introduced to her found no favour in her eyes. She looked upon the Cantonal Secretary, Sulzer, as a 'mere town clerk who would not be of any importance in. Germany'; and the wife of my host Muller absolutely disgusted her when, in answer to Minna's complaints about my terrible position, she replied that my greatness lay in the very fact of my having faced it. Then again Minna appeased me by tolling me of the expected arrival of some of my Dresden belongings, which she thought would be indispensable to our new home.

The property of which she spoke consisted of a Breitkopf and Hartel grand-piano that looked better than it sounded, and of the 'title-page' of the Nibelungen by Cornelius in a Gothic frame that used to hang over my desk in Dresden.

With this nucleus of household effects we now decided to take small lodgings in the so-called 'hinteren Escherhausern' in the Zeltweg. With great cleverness Minna had succeeded in selling the Dresden furniture to advantage, and out of the proceeds of this sale she had brought three hundred marks with her to Zurich to help towards setting up our new home. She told me that she had saved my small but very select library for me by giving it into the safe custody of the publisher, Heinrich Brockhaus (brother of my sister's husband and member of the Saxon Diet), who had insisted upon looking after it. Great, therefore, was her dismay when, upon asking this kind friend to send her the books, he replied that he was holding them as security for a debt of fifteen hundred marks which I had contracted with him during my days of trouble in Dresden, and that he intended to keep them until that sum was returned. As even after the lapse of many years I found it impossible to refund this money, these books, collected for my own special wants, were lost to me for ever.

Thanks more particularly to my friend Sulzer, the Cantonal Secretary, whom my wife at first despised so much on account of his title which she misunderstood, and who, although he was far from well-off himself, thought it only natural that he should help me, however moderately, out of my difficulties, we soon succeeded in making our little place look so cosy that my simple Zurich friends felt quite at home in it. My wife, with all her undeniable talents, hero found ample scope in which to distinguish herself, and I remember how ingeniously she made a little what-not out of the box in which she had kindly brought my music and manuscript to Zurich.

But it was soon time to think of how to earn enough money to provide for us all. My idea of giving public lectures was treated with contempt by my wife, who looked upon it as an insult to her pride. She could acquiesce only in one plan, that suggested by Liszt, namely, that I should write an opera for Paris. To satisfy her, and in view of the fact that I could see no chance of a remunerative occupation close at hand, I actually reopened a correspondence on this matter with my great friend and his secretary Belloni in Paris. In the meantime I could not be idle, so I accepted an invitation from the Zurich musical society to conduct a classical composition at one of their concerts, and to this end I worked with their very poor orchestra at Beethoven's Symphony in A major. Although the result was successful, and I received five napoleons for my trouble, it made my wife very unhappy, for she could not forget the excellent orchestra, and the much more appreciative public, which a short time before in Dresden would have seconded and rewarded similar efforts on my part. Her one and only ideal for me was that, by hook or by crook, and with a total disregard of all artistic scruples, I should make a brilliant reputation for myself in Paris. While we were both absolutely at a loss to discover whence we should obtain the necessary funds for our journey to Paris and our sojourn there, I again plunged into my philosophical study of art, as being the only sphere still left open to me.

Harrassed by the cares of a terrible struggle for existence, I wrote the whole of Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft in the chilly atmosphere of a sunless little room on the ground floor during the months of November and December of that year. Minna had no objection to this occupation when I told her of the success of my first pamphlet, and the hope I had of receiving even better pay for this more extensive work.

Thus for a while I enjoyed comparative peace, although in my heart a spirit of unrest had begun to reign, thanks to my growing acquaintance with Feuerbach's works. I had always had an inclination to fathom the depths of philosophy, just as I had been led by the mystic influence of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to search the deepest recesses of music. My first efforts at satisfying this longing had failed. None of the Leipzig professors had succeeded in fascinating me with their lectures on fundamental philosophy and logic. I had procured Schelling's work, Transcendental Idealism, recommended to me by Gustav Schlesinger, a friend of Laube's, but it was in vain that I racked my brains to try and make something out of the first pages, and I always returned to my Ninth Symphony.

During the latter part of my stay in Dresden I had returned to these old studies, the longing for which suddenly revived within me, and to these I added the deeper historical studies which had always fascinated me. As an introduction to philosophy I now chose Hegel's Philosophy of History. A good deal of this impressed me deeply, and it now seemed as if I should ultimately penetrate into the Holy of Holies along this path. The more incomprehensible many of his speculative conclusions appeared, the more I felt myself desirous of probing the question of the 'Absolute' and everything connected therewith to the core. For I so admired Hegel's powerful mind that it seemed to me he was the very keystone of all philosophical thought.

The revolution intervened; the practical tendencies of a social reconstruction distracted my attention, and as I have already stated, it was a German Catholic priest and political agitator (formerly a divinity student named Menzdorff, who used to wear a Calabrian hat) [Footnote: A broad-rimmed, tall, white felt hat, tapering to a point, originally worn by the inhabitants of Calabria, and in 1848 a sign of Republicanism.--EDITOR.] who drew my attention to 'the only real philosopher of modern times,' Ludwig Feuerbach. My new Zurich friend, the piano teacher, Wilhelm Baumgartner, made me a present of Feuerbach's book on Tod und Unsterblichkeit ('Death and Immortality'). The well-known and stirring lyrical style of the author greatly fascinated me as a layman. The intricate questions which he propounds in this book as if they were being discussed for the first time by him, and which he treats in a charmingly exhaustive manner, had often occupied my mind since the very first days of my acquaintance with Lehrs in Paris, just as they occupy the mind of every imaginative and serious man. With me, however, this was not lasting, and I had contented myself with the poetic suggestions on these important subjects which appear here and there in the works of our great poets.

The frankness with which Feuerbach explains his views on these interesting questions, in the more mature parts of his book, pleased me as much by their tragic as by their social-radical tendencies. It seemed right that the only true immortality should be that of sublime deeds and great works of art. It was more difficult to sustain any interest in Das Wesen des Christenthums ('The Essence of Christianity') by the same author, for it was impossible whilst reading this work not to become conscious, however involuntarily, of the prolix and unskilful manner in which he dilates on the simple and fundamental idea, namely, religion explained from a purely subjective and psychological point of view. Nevertheless, from that day onward I always regarded Feuerbach as the ideal exponent of the radical release of the individual from the thraldom of accepted notions, founded on the belief in authority. The initiated will therefore not wonder that I dedicated my Kunstwerk der Zukunft to Feuerbach and addressed its preface to him.

My friend Sulzer, a thorough disciple of Hegel, was very sorry to see me so interested in Feuerbach, whom he did not even recognise as a philosopher at all. He said that the best thing that Feuerbach had done for me was that he had been the means of awakening my ideas, although he himself had none. But what had really induced me to attach so much importance to Feuerbach was the conclusion by means of which he had seceded from his master Hegel, to wit, that the best philosophy was to have no philosophy--a theory which greatly simplified what I had formerly considered a very terrifying study--and secondly, that only that was real which could be ascertained by the senses.

The fact that he proclaimed what we call 'spirit' to be an aesthetic perception of our senses, together with his statement concerning the futility of philosophy--these were the two things in him which rendered me such useful assistance in my conceptions of an all-embracing work of art, of a perfect drama which should appeal to the simplest and most purely human emotions at the very moment when it approached its fulfilment as Kunstwerk der Zukunft. It must have been this which Sulzer had in his mind when he spoke deprecatingly of Feuerbach's influence over me. At all events, after a while I certainly could not return to his works, and I remember that his newly published book, Uber das Wesen der Religion ('Lectures on the Essence of Religion'), scared me to such an extent by the dullness of its title alone, that when Herwegh opened it for my benefit, I closed it with a bang under his very nose.

At that time I was working with great enthusiasm upon the draft of a connected essay, and was delighted one day to receive a visit from the novelist and Tieckian scholar, Eduard von Billow (the father of my young friend Billow), who was passing through Zurich. In my tiny little room I read him my chapter on poetry, and could not help noticing that he was greatly startled at my ideas on literary drama and on the advent of the new Shakespeare. I thought this all the more reason why Wigand the publisher should accept my new revolutionary book, and expected him to pay me a fee which would be in proportion to the greater size of the work. I asked for twenty louis d'or, and this sum he agreed to pay me.

The prospect of receiving this amount induced me to carry out the plan, which need had forced upon me, of travelling to Paris and of trying my luck there as a composer of opera. This plan had very serious drawbacks; not only did I hate the idea, but I knew that I was doing an injustice to myself by believing in the success of my enterprise, for I felt that I could never seriously throw myself into it heart and soul. Everything, however, combined to make me try the experiment, and it was Liszt in particular who, confident of this being my only way to fame, insisted upon my reopening the negotiations into which Belloni and I had entered during the previous summer. To show with what earnestness I tried to consider the chances of carrying out my plan, I drafted out the plot of the opera, which the French poet would only have to put into verse, because I never for a moment fancied that it would be possible for him to think out and write a libretto for which I would only need to compose the music. I chose for my subject the legend of Wieland der Schmied, upon which I commented with some stress at the end of my recently finished Kunstwerk der Zukunft, and the version of which by Simrock, taken from the Wilkyna legend, had greatly attracted me.

I sketched out the complete scenario with precise indication of the dialogue for three acts, and with a heavy heart decided to hand it over to my Parisian author to be worked out. Liszt thought he saw a means of making my music known through his relations with Seghers, the musical director of a society then known as the 'Concerts de St. Cecile.' In January of the following year the Tannhauser Overture was to be given under his baton, and it therefore seemed advisable that I should reach Paris some time before this event. This undertaking, which appeared to be so difficult owing to my complete lack of funds, was at last facilitated in a manner quite unexpected.

I had written home for help, and had appealed to all the old friends I could think of, but in vain. By the family of my brother Albert in particular, whose daughter had recently entered upon a brilliant theatrical career, I was treated in much the same way as one treats an invalid by whom one dreads to become infected. In contrast to their harshness I was deeply touched by the devotion of the Ritter family, who had remained in Dresden; for, apart from my acquaintance with young Karl, I scarcely knew these people at all. Through the kindness of my old friend Heine, who had been informed of my position, Frau Julie Ritter, the venerable mother of the family, had thought it her duty to place, through a business friend, the sum of fifteen hundred marks at my disposal. At about the same time I received a letter from Mme. Laussot, who had called upon me in Dresden the year before, and who now in the most affecting terms assured me of her continued sympathy.

These were the first signs of that new phase in my life upon which I entered from this day forth, and in which I accustomed myself to look upon the outward circumstances of my existence as being merely subservient to my will. And by this means I was able to escape from the hampering narrowness of my home life.

For the moment the proffered financial assistance was very distasteful to me, for it seemed to forbid my raising any further objections to the realisation of the detested Paris schemes. When, however, on the strength of this favourable change in my affairs, I suggested to my wife that we might, after all, content ourselves with remaining in Zurich, she flew into the most violent passion over my weakness and lack of spirit, and declared that if I did not make up my mind to achieve something in Paris, she would lose all faith in me. She said, moreover, that she absolutely refused to be a witness of my misery and grief as a wretched literary man and insignificant conductor of local concerts in Zurich.

We had entered upon the year 1850; I had decided to go to Paris, if only for the sake of peace, but had to postpone my journey on account of ill-health. The reaction following upon the terrible excitement of recent times had not failed to have its effect on my overwrought nerves, and a state of complete exhaustion had followed. The continual colds, in spite of which I had been obliged to work in my very unhealthy room, had at last given rise to alarming symptoms. A certain weakness of the chest became apparent, and this the doctor (a political refugee) undertook to cure by the application of pitch plasters. As the result of this treatment and the irritating effect it had upon my nerves, I lost my voice completely for a while; whereupon I was told that I must go away for a change. On going out to buy my ticket for the journey, I felt so weak and broke out into such terrible perspiration that I hastened to return to my wife in order to consult her as to the advisability, in the circumstances, of abandoning the idea of the expedition altogether. She, however, maintained (and perhaps rightly) not only that my condition was not dangerous, but that it was to a large extent due to imagination, and that, once in the right place, I would soon recover.

An inexpressible feeling of bitterness stimulated my nerves as in anger and despair I quickly left the house to buy the confounded ticket for the journey, and in the beginning of February I actually started on the road to Paris. I was filled with the most extraordinary feelings, but the spark of hope which was then kindled in my breast certainly had nothing whatever to do with the belief that had been imposed upon me from without, that I was to make a success in Paris as a composer of operas.

I was particularly anxious to find quiet rooms, for peace had now become my first necessity, no matter where I happened to be staying. The cabman who drove me from street to street through the most isolated quarters, and whom I at last accused of keeping always to the most animated parts of the city, finally protested in despair that one did not come to Paris to live in a convent. At last it occurred to me to look for what I wanted in one of the cites through which no vehicle seemed to drive, and I decided to engage rooms in the Cite de Provence.

True to the plans which had been forced upon me, I at once called on Herr Seghers about the performance of the Tannhauser Overture.

It turned out that in spite of my late arrival I had missed nothing, for they were still racking their brains as to how to procure the necessary orchestral parts.

I therefore had to write to Liszt, asking him to order the copies, and had to wait for their arrival. Belloni was not in town, things were therefore at a standstill, and I had plenty of time to think over the object of my visit to Paris, while an unceasing accompaniment was poured out to my meditations by the barrel-organs which infest the cites of Paris.

I had much difficulty in convincing an agent of the government, from whom I received a visit soon after my arrival, that my presence in Paris was due to artistic reasons, and not to my doubtful position as a political refugee.

Fortunately he was impressed by the score, which I showed him, as well as by Liszt's article on the Tannhauser Overture, written the year before in the Journal des Debats, and he left me, politely inviting me to continue my avocations peacefully and industriously, as the police had no intention of disturbing me,

I also looked up my older Parisian acquaintances. At the hospitable house of Desplechins I met Semper, who was trying to make his position as tolerable as possible by writing some inferior artistic work. He had left his family in Dresden, from which town we soon received the most alarming news. The prisons were gradually filling there with the unfortunate victims of the recent Saxon movement Of Rockel, Bakunin, and Heubner, all we could hear was that they had been charged with high treason, and that they were awaiting the death sentence.

In view of the tidings which continually arrived concerning the cruelty and brutality with which the soldiers treated the prisoners, we could not help considering our own lot a very happy one.

My intercourse with Semper, whom I saw frequently, was generally enlivened by a gaiety which was occasionally of rather a risky nature; he was determined to rejoin his family in London, where the prospect of various appointments was open to him. My latest attempts at writing, and the thoughts expressed in my work, interested him greatly, and gave rise to animated conversations in which we were joined by Kietz, who was at first amusing, but evidently boring Semper considerably. I found the former in the identical position in which I had left him many years ago: he had made no headway with his painting, and would have been glad if the revolution had taken a more decided turn, so that, under cover of the general confusion, he might have escaped from his embarrassing position with his landlord. He made at this time quite a good pastel portrait of me in his very best and earliest style. While I was sitting I unfortunately spoke to him about my Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft, and thereby laid the foundation for him of troubles that lasted many years, as he tried to instil my new ideas into the Parisian bourgeoisie at whose tables he had hitherto been a welcome guest. Notwithstanding, he remained as of old a good, obliging, true-hearted fellow, and even Semper could not help putting up with him cheerfully. I also looked up my friend Anders. It was a difficult matter to find him at any hour of the day, since out of sleeping hours he was closeted in the library, where he could receive no one, and afterwards retired to the reading-room to spend his hours of rest, and generally went to dine with certain bourgeois families where he gave music lessons. He had aged considerably, but I was glad to find him, comparatively speaking, in better health than the state in which I had last seen him had allowed me to hope, as when I left Paris before he had seemed to be in a decline. Curiously enough, a broken leg had been the means of improving his health, the treatment necessary for it having taken him to a hydro, where his condition had much improved. His one idea was to see me achieve a great success in Paris, and he wished to secure a seat in advance for the first performance of my opera, which he took for granted was to appear, and kept repeating that it would be so very trying for him to occupy a place in any part of the theatre where there would be likely to be a crush. He could not see the use of my present literary work; in spite of this I was again engaged on it exclusively, as I soon ascertained there was no likelihood of my overture to Tannhauser being produced. Liszt had shown the greatest zeal in obtaining and forwarding the orchestral parts; but Herr Seghers informed me that as far as his own orchestra was concerned, he found himself in a republican democracy where each instrument had an equal right to voice its opinion, and it had been unanimously decided that for the remainder of the winter season, which was now drawing to a close, my overture could be dispensed with. I gathered enough from this turn of affairs to realise how precarious my position was.

It is true, the result of my writings was hardly less discouraging. A copy of the Wigand edition of my Kunstwerk der Zukunft was forwarded to me full of horrible misprints, and instead of the expected remuneration of twenty louis d'or, my publisher explained that for the present he could only pay me half this sum, as, owing to the fact that at first the sale of the Kunst und Revolution had been very rapid, he had been led to attach too high a commercial value to my writings, a mistake he had speedily discovered when he found there was no demand for Die Nibelungen.

On the other hand, I received an offer of remunerative work from Adolph Kolatschek, who was also a fugitive, and was just going to bring out a German monthly journal as the organ of the progressive party. In response to this invitation I wrote a long essay on Kunst und Klima ('Art and Climate'), in which I supplemented the ideas I had already touched upon in my Kunstwerk der Zukunft. Besides this I had, since my arrival in Paris, worked out a more complete sketch of Wieland der Schmied. It is true that this work had no longer any value, and I wondered with apprehension what I could write home to my wife, now that the last precious remittance had been so aimlessly sacrificed. The thought of returning to Zurich was as distasteful to me as the prospect of remaining any longer in Paris. My feelings with regard to the latter alternative were intensified by the impression made upon me by Meyerbeer's opera The Prophet, which had just been produced and which I had not heard before. Rearing itself on the ruins of the hopes for new and more noble endeavour which had animated the better works of the past year--the only result of the negotiations of the provisional French republic for the encouragement of art--I saw this work of Meyerbeer's break upon the world like the dawn heralding this day of disgraceful desolation. I was so sickened by this performance, that though I was unfortunately placed in the centre of the stalls and would willingly have avoided the disturbance necessarily occasioned by one of the audience moving during the middle of an act, even this consideration did not deter me from getting up and leaving the house. When the famous mother of the prophet finally gives vent to her grief in the well-known series of ridiculous roulades, I was filled with rage and despair at the thought that I should be called upon to listen to such a thing, and never again did I pay the slightest heed to this opera.

But what was I to do next? Just as the South American republics had attracted me during my first miserable sojourn in Paris, so now my longing was directed towards the East, where I could live my life in a manner worthy of a human being far away from this modern world. While I was in this frame of mind I was called upon to answer another inquiry as to my state of health from Mme. Laussot in Bordeaux. It turned out that my answer prompted her to send me a kind and pressing invitation to go and stay at her house, at least for a short time, to rest and forget my troubles. In any circumstances an excursion to more southerly regions, which I had not yet seen, and a visit to people who, though utter strangers, showed such friendly interest in me, could not fail to prove attractive and flattering. I accepted, settled my affairs in Paris, and went by coach via Orleans, Tours, and Angouleme, down the Gironde to the unknown town, where I was received with great courtesy and cordiality by the young wine merchant Eugene Laussot, and presented to my sympathetic young friend, his wife. A closer acquaintance with the family, in which Mrs. Taylor, Mme. Laussot's mother, was now also included, led to a clearer understanding of the character of the sympathy bestowed upon me in such a cordial and unexpected manner by people hitherto unknown to me. Jessie, as the young wife was called at home, had, during a somewhat lengthy stay in Dresden, become very intimate with the Ritter family, and I had no reason to doubt the assurance given me, that the Laussots' interest in me and my work was principally owing to this intimacy. After my flight from Dresden, as soon as the news of my difficulties had reached the Ritters, a correspondence had been carried on between Dresden and Bordeaux with a view to ascertaining how best to assist me. Jessie attributed the whole idea to Frau Julie Ritter who, while not being well enough off herself to make me a sufficient allowance, was endeavouring to come to an understanding with Jessie's mother, the well-to-do widow of an English lawyer, whose income entirely supported the young couple in Bordeaux. This plan had so far succeeded, that shortly after my arrival in Bordeaux Mrs. Taylor informed me that the two families had combined, and that it had been decided to ask me to accept the help of three thousand francs a year until the return of better days. My one object now was to enlighten my benefactors as to the exact conditions under which I should be accepting such assistance. I could no longer reckon upon achieving any success as a composer of opera either in Paris or elsewhere; what line I should take up instead I did not know; but, at all events, I was determined to keep myself free from the disgrace which would reflect upon my whole life if I used such means as this offer presented to secure success. I feel sure I am not wrong in believing that Jessie was the only one who understood me, and though I only experienced kindness from the rest of the family, I soon discovered the gulf by which she, as well as myself, was separated from her mother and husband. While the husband, who was a handsome young man, was away the greater part of the day attending to his business, and the mother's deafness excluded her to a great extent from our conversations, we soon discovered by a rapid exchange of ideas that we shared the same opinions on many important matters, and this led to a great feeling of friendship between us. Jessie, who was at that time about twenty-two, bore little resemblance to her mother, and no doubt took after her father, of whom I heard most flattering accounts. A large and varied collection of books loft by this man to his daughter showed his tastes, for besides carrying on his lucrative profession as a lawyer, he had devoted himself to the study of literature and science. From him Jessie had also learned German as a child, and she spoke that language with great fluency. She had been brought up on Grimm's fairy-tales, and was, moreover, thoroughly acquainted with German poetry, as well as with that of England and France, and her knowledge of them was as thorough as the most advanced education could demand. French literature did not appeal to her much. Her quick powers of comprehension were astonishing. Everything which I touched upon she immediately grasped and assimilated. It was the same with music: she read at sight with the greatest facility, and was an accomplished player. During her stay in Dresden she had been told that I was still in search of the pianist who could play Beethoven's great Sonata in B flat major, and she now astonished me by her finished rendering of this most difficult piece. The emotion aroused in me by finding such an exceptionally developed talent suddenly changed to anxiety when I heard her sing. Her sharp, shrill voice, in which there was strength but no real depth of feeling, so shocked me that I could not refrain from begging her to desist from singing in future. With regard to the execution of the sonata, she listened eagerly to my instructions as to how it should be interpreted, though I could not feel that she would succeed in rendering it according to my ideas. I read her my latest essays, and she seemed to understand even the most extraordinary descriptions perfectly. My poem on Siegfried's Tod moved her deeply, but she preferred my sketch of Wieland der Schmied. She admitted afterwards that she would prefer to imagine herself filling the role of Wieland's worthy bride than to find herself in the position and forced to endure the fate of Gutrune in Siegfried. It followed inevitably that the presence of the other members of the family proved embarrassing when we wanted to talk over and discuss these various subjects. If we felt somewhat troubled at having to confess to ourselves that Mrs. Taylor would certainly never be able to understand why I was being offered assistance, I was still more disconcerted at realising after a time the complete want of harmony between the young couple, particularly from an intellectual point of view. The fact that Laussot had for some time been well aware of his wife's dislike for him was plainly shown when he one day so far forgot himself as to complain loudly and bitterly that she would not even love a child of his if she had one, and that he therefore thought it fortunate that she was not a mother. Astonished and saddened, I suddenly gazed into an abyss which was hidden here, as is often the case, under the appearance of a tolerably happy married life. About this time, and just as my visit, which had already lasted three weeks, was drawing to a close, I received a letter from my wife that could not have had a more unfortunate effect on my state of mind. She was, on the whole, pleased at my having found new friends, but at the same time explained that if I did not immediately return to Paris, and there endeavour to secure the production of my overture with the results anticipated, she would not know what to think of me, and would certainly fail to understand me if I returned to Zurich without having effected my purpose. At the same time my depression was intensified in a terrible way by a notice in the papers announcing that Rockel, Bakunin, and Heubner had been sentenced to death, and that the date of their execution was fixed. I wrote a short but stirring letter of farewell to the two first, and as I saw no possibility of having it conveyed to the prisoners, who were confined in the fortress of Konigstein, I decided to send it to Frau von Luttichau, to be forwarded to them by her, because I thought she was the only person in whose power it might lie to do this for me, while at the same time she had sufficient generosity and independence of mind to enable her to respect and carry out my wishes, in spite of any possible difference of opinion she might entertain. I was told some time afterwards that Luttichau had got hold of the letter and thrown it into the fire. For the time being this painful impression helped me to the determination to break with every one and everything, to lose all desire to learn more of life or of art, and, even at the risk of having to endure the greatest privations, to trust to chance and put myself beyond the reach of everybody. The small income settled upon me by my friends I wished to divide between myself and my wife, and with my half go to Greece or Asia Minor, and there, Heaven alone knew how, seek to forget and be forgotten. I communicated this plan to the only confidante I had left to me, chiefly in order that she might be able to enlighten my benefactors as to how I intended disposing of the income they had offered me. She seemed pleased with the idea, and the resolve to abandon herself to the same fate seemed to her also, in her resentment against her position, to be quite an easy matter. She expressed us much by hints and a word dropped here and there. Without clearly realising what it would lead to, and without coming to any understanding with her, I left Bordeaux towards the end of April, more excited than soothed in spirit, and filled with regret and anxiety. I returned to Paris, for the time being, stunned and full of uncertainty as to what to do next. Feeling very unwell, exhausted, and at the same time excited from want of sleep, I reached my destination and put up at the Hotel Valois, where I remained a week, struggling to gain my self-control and to face my strange position. Even if I had wished to resume the plans which had been instrumental in bringing me to Paris, I soon convinced myself that little or nothing could be done. I was filled with distress and anger at being called upon to waste my energies in a direction contrary to my tastes, merely to satisfy the unreasonable demands made upon me. I was at length obliged to answer my wife's last pressing communication, and wrote her a long and detailed letter in which I kindly, but at the same time frankly, retraced the whole of our life together, and explained that I was fully determined to set her free from any immediate participation in my fate, as I felt quite incapable of so arranging it so as to meet with her approval. I promised her the half of whatever means I should have at my disposal now or in the future, and told her she must accept this arrangement with a good grace, because the occasion had now arisen to take that step of parting from me which, on our first meeting again in Switzerland, she had declared herself ready to do. I ended my letter without bidding her a final farewell. I thereupon wrote to Bordeaux immediately to inform Jessie of the step I had taken, though my means did not as yet allow of my forming any definite plan which I could communicate to her for my complete flight from the world. In return she announced that she was determined to do likewise, and asked for my protection, under which she intended to place herself when once she had set herself free. Much alarmed, I did all in my power to make her realise that it was one thing for a man, placed in such a desperate situation as myself, to cut himself adrift in the face of insurmountable difficulties, but quite another matter for a young woman, at least to all outward appearances, happily settled, to decide to break up her home, for reasons which probably no one except myself would be in a position to understand. Regarding the unconventionality of her resolve in the eyes of the world, she assured me that it would be carried out as quietly as possible, and that for the present she merely thought of arranging to visit her friends the Ritters in Dresden. I felt so upset by all this that I yielded to my craving for retirement, and sought it at no great distance from Paris. Towards the middle of April I went to Montmorency, of which I had heard many agreeable accounts, and there sought a modest hiding-place. With great difficulty I dragged myself to the outskirts of the little town, where the country still bore a wintry aspect, and turned into the little strip of garden belonging to a wine merchant, which was filled with visitors only on Sundays, and there refreshed myself with some bread and cheese and a bottle of wine. A crowd of hens surrounded me, and I kept throwing them pieces of bread, and was touched by the self-sacrificing abstemiousness with which the cock gave all to his wives though I aimed particularly at him. They became bolder and bolder, and finally flew on to the table and attacked my provisions; the cock flew after them, and noticing that everything was topsy-turvy, pounced upon the cheese with the eagerness of a craving long unsatisfied. When I found myself being driven from the table by this chaos of fluttering wings, I was filled with a gaiety to which I had long been a stranger. I laughed heartily, and looked round for the signboard of the inn. I thereby discovered that my host rejoiced in the name of Homo. This seemed a hint from Fate, and I felt I must seek shelter here at all costs. An extraordinarily small and narrow bedroom was shown me, which I immediately engaged. Besides the bed it held a rough table and two cane-bottomed chairs. I arranged one of these as a washhand-stand, and on the table I placed some books, writing materials, and the score of Lohengrin, and almost heaved a sigh of content in spite of my extremely cramped accommodation. Though the weather remained uncertain and the woods with their leafless trees did not seem to offer the prospect of very enticing walks, I still felt that here there was a possibility of my being forgotten, and being also in my turn allowed to forget the events that had lately filled me with Midi desperate anxiety. My old artistic instinct awoke again. I looked over my Lohengrin score, and quickly decided to send it to Liszt and leave it to him to bring it out as best he could. Now that I had got rid of this score also, I felt as free as a bird and as careless as Diogenes about what might befall me. I even invited Kietz to come and stay with me and share the pleasures of my retreat. He did actually come, as he had done during my stay in. Mendon; but he found me even more modestly installed than I had been there. He was quite prepared to take pot-luck, however, and cheerfully slept on an improvised bed, promising to keep the world in touch with me upon his return to Paris. I was suddenly startled from my state of complacency by the news that my wife had come to Paris to look me up. I had an hour's painful struggle with myself to settle the course I should pursue, and decided not to allow the step I had taken in regard to her to be looked upon as an ill-considered and excusable vagary. I left Montmorency and betook myself to Paris, summoned Kietz to my hotel, and instructed him to tell my wife, who had already been trying to gain admittance to him, that he knew nothing more of me except that I had left Paris. The poor fellow, who felt as much pity for Minna as for me, was so utterly bewildered on this occasion, that he declared that he felt as though he were the axis upon which all the misery in the world turned. But he apparently realised the significance and importance of my decision, as it was necessary he should, and acquitted himself in this delicate matter with intelligence and good feeling. That night t left Paris by train for Clermont-Tonnerre, from whence I travelled on to Geneva, there to await news from Frau Ritter in Dresden. My exhaustion was such that, even had I possessed the necessary means, I could not as yet have contemplated undergoing the fatigue of a long journey. By way of gaining time for further developments I retired to Villeneuve, at the other end of the Lake of Geneva, where I put up at the Hotel Byron, which was quite empty at the time. Here I learned that Karl Ritter had arrived in Zurich, as he said he would, with the intention of paying me a visit. Impressing upon him the necessity for the strictest secrecy, I invited him to join me at the Lake of Geneva, and in the second week in May we met at the Hotel Byron. The characteristic which pleased me in him was his absolute devotion, his quick comprehension of my position and the necessity of my resolutions, as well as his readiness to submit without question to all my arrangements, even where he himself was concerned. He was full of my latest literary efforts, told me what an impression they had made on his acquaintances, and thereby induced me to spend the few days of rest I was enjoying in preparing my poem of Siegfried's Tod for publication.

I wrote a short preface dedicating this poem to my friends as a relic of the time when I had hoped to devote myself entirely to art, and especially to the composition of music. I sent this manuscript to Herr Wigand in Leipzig, who returned it to me after some time with the remark, that if I insisted on its being printed in Latin characters he would not be able to sell a single copy of it. Later on I discovered that he deliberately refused to pay me the ten louis d'or due to me for Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft, which I had directed him to send to my wife. Disappointing as all this was, I was nevertheless unable to engage in any further work, as only a few days after Karl's arrival the realities of life made themselves felt in an unexpected manner, most upsetting to my tranquillity of mind. I received a wildly excited letter from Mme. Laussot to tell me that she had not been able to resist telling her mother of her intentions, that in so doing she had immediately aroused the suspicion that I was to blame, and in consequence of this her disclosure had been communicated to M. Laussot, who vowed he would search everywhere for me in order to put a bullet through my body. The situation was clear enough, and I decided to go to Bordeaux immediately in order to come to an understanding with my opponent I at once wrote fully to M. Eugene, endeavouring to make him see matters in their true light, but at the same time declared myself incapable of understanding how a man could bring himself to keep a woman with him by force, when she no longer wished to remain. I ended by informing him that I should reach Bordeaux at, the same time as my letter, and immediately upon my arrival there would let him know at what hotel to find me; also that I would not tell his wife of the step I was taking, and that he could consequently act without restraint. I did not conceal from him, what indeed was the fact, that I was undertaking this journey under great difficulties, as under the circumstances I considered it impossible to wait to have my passport endorsed by the French envoy. At the same time I wrote a few lines to Mme. Laussot, exhorting her to be calm and self-possessed, but, true to my purpose, refrained from even hinting at any movement on my part. (When, years afterwards, I told Liszt this story, he declared I had acted very stupidly in not, telling Mme. Laussot of my intentions.) I took leave of Karl the same day, in order to set out next morning from Geneva on my tedious journey across France. But I was so exhausted by all this that I could not help thinking I was going to die. That same night I wrote to Frau Ritter in Dresden, to this effect, giving her a short account of the incredible difficulties I had been drawn into. As a matter of fact, I suffered great inconvenience at the French frontier on account of my passport; I was made to give my exact place of destination, and it was only upon my assuring them that pressing family affairs required my immediate presence, that the authorities showed exceptional leniency and allowed me to proceed.

I travelled by Lyons through Auvergne by stage-coach for three days and two nights, till at length I reached Bordeaux. It was the middle of May, and as I surveyed the town from a height at early dawn I saw it lit up by a fire that had broken out. I alighted at the Hotel Quatre Soeurs, and at once sent a note to M. Laussot, informing him that I held myself at his disposal and would remain in all day to receive him. It was nine o'clock in the morning when I sent him this message. I waited in vain for an answer, till at last, late in the afternoon, I received a summons from the police-station to present myself immediately. There I was first of all asked whether my passport was in order. I acknowledged the difficulty I found myself in with regard to it, and explained that family matters had necessitated my placing myself in this position.

I was thereupon informed that precisely this family matter, which had no doubt brought me there, was the cause of their having to deny me the permission to remain in Bordeaux any longer. In answer to my question, they did not conceal the fact that these proceedings against me were being carried out at the express wish of the family concerned. This extraordinary revelation immediately restored my good-humour. I asked the police inspector whether, after such a trying journey, I might not be allowed a couple of days' rest before returning; this request he readily granted, and told me that in any case there could be no chance of my meeting the family in question, as they had left Bordeaux at mid-day. I used these two days to recover from my fatigue, and also wrote a letter to Jessie, in which I told her exactly what had taken place, without concealing my contempt at the behaviour of her husband, who could expose his wife's honour by a denunciation to the police. I also added that our friendship could certainly not continue until she had released herself from so humiliating a position. The next thing was to get this letter safely delivered. The information furnished me by the police officials was not sufficient to enlighten me as to what had exactly taken place in the Laussot family, whether they had left home for some length of time or merely for a day, so I simply made up my mind to go to their house. I rang the bell and the door sprang open; without meeting any one I walked up to the first-floor flat, the door of which stood open, and went from room to room till I reached Jessie's boudoir, where I placed my letter in her work-basket and returned the way I had come. I received no reply, and set out upon my return journey as soon as the term of rest granted me had expired. The fine May weather had a cheering effect upon me, and the clear water, as well as the agreeable name of the Dordogne, along whose banks the post-chaise travelled for some distance, gave me great pleasure.

I was also entertained by the conversation of two fellow-travellers, a priest and an officer, about the necessity of putting an end to the French Republic. The priest showed himself much more humane and broad-minded than his military interlocutor, who could only repeat the one refrain, 'Il faut en finir.' I now had a look at Lyons, and in a walk round the town tried to recall the scenes in Lamartine's Histoire des Girondins, where he so vividly describes the siege and surrender of the town during the period of the Convention Nationale. At last I arrived at Geneva, and returned to the Byron hotel, where Karl Hitter was awaiting me. During my absence he had heard from his family, who wrote very kindly concerning me. His mother had at once reassured him as to my condition, and pointed out that with people suffering from nervous disorders the idea of approaching death was a frequent symptom, and that there was consequently no occasion to feel anxious about me. She also announced her intention of coming to visit us in Villeneuve with her daughter Emilie in a few days' time. This news made me take heart again; this devoted family, so solicitous for my welfare, seemed sent by Providence to lead me, as I so longed to be led, to a new life. Both ladies arrived in time to celebrate my thirty-seventh birthday on the twenty-second of May. The mother, Frau Julie, particularly made a deep impression upon me. I had only met her once before in Dresden, when Karl had invited me to be present at the performance of a quartette of his own composition, given at his mother's house. On this occasion the respect and devotion shown me by each member of the family had delighted me. The mother had hardly spoken to me, but when I was leaving she was moved to tears as she thanked me for my visit. I was unable to understand her emotion at the time, but now when I reminded her of it she was surprised, and explained that she had felt so touched at my unexpected kindness to her son.

She and her daughter remained with us about a week. We sought diversion in excursions to the beautiful Valais, but did not succeed in dispelling Frau Hitter's sadness of heart, caused by the knowledge of recent events of which she had now been informed, as well as by her anxiety at the course my life was taking. As I afterwards learned, it had cost the nervous, delicate woman a great effort to undertake this journey, and when I urged her to leave her house to come and settle in Switzerland with her family, so that we might all be united, she at last pointed out to me that in proposing what seemed to her such an eccentric undertaking, I was counting upon a strength and energy she no longer possessed. For the present she commended her son, whom she wished to leave with me, to my care, and gave me the necessary means to keep us both for the time being. Regarding the state of her fortune, she told me that her income was limited, and now that it was impossible to accept any help from the Laussots, she did not know how she would be able to come to my assistance sufficiently to assure my independence. Deeply moved, we took leave of this venerable woman at the end of a week, and she returned to Dresden with her daughter, and I never saw her again.

Still bent upon discovering a means of disappearing from the world, I thought of choosing a wild mountain spot where I could retire with Karl. For this purpose we sought the lonely Visper Thal in the canton Valais, and not without difficulty made our way along the impracticable roads to Zermatt. There, at the foot of the colossal and beautiful Matterhorn, we could indeed consider ourselves cut off from the outer world. I tried to make things as comfortable as I could in this primitive wilderness, but discovered only too soon that Karl could not reconcile himself to his surroundings. Even on the second day he owned that he thought it horrid, and suggested that it would be more pleasant in the neighbourhood of one of the lakes. We studied the map of Switzerland, and chose Thun for our next destination. Unfortunately I again found myself reduced to a state of extreme nervous fatigue, in which the slightest effort produced a profuse and weakening perspiration. Only by the greatest strength of will was I able to make my way out of the valley; but at last we reached Thun, and with renewed courage engaged a couple of modest but cheerful rooms looking out on to the road, and proposed to wait and see how we should like it. In spite of the reserve which still betrayed his shyness of character, I found conversation with my young friend always pleasant and enlivening. I now realised the pitch of fluent and overflowing vivacity to which the young man could attain, particularly at night before retiring to rest, when he would squat down beside my bed, and in the agreeable, pure dialect of the German Baltic provinces, give free expression to whatever had excited his interest. I was exceedingly cheered during these days by the perusal of the Odyssey, which I had not read for so long and which had fallen into my hands by chance. Homer's long-suffering hero, always homesick yet condemned to perpetual wandering, and always valiantly overcoming all difficulties, was strangely sympathetic to me. Suddenly the peaceful state I had scarcely yet entered upon was disturbed by a letter which Karl received from Mme. Laussot. He did not know whether he ought to show it to me, as he thought Jessie had gone mad. I tore it out of his hand, and found she had written to say that she felt obliged to let my friend know that she had been sufficiently enlightened about me to make her drop my acquaintance entirely. I afterwards discovered, chiefly through the help of Frau Ritter, that in consequence of my letter and my arrival in Bordeaux, M. Laussot, together with Mrs. Taylor, had immediately taken Jessie to the country, intending to remain there until the news was received of my departure, to accelerate which he had applied to the police authorities. While they were away, and without telling her of my letter and my journey, they had obtained a promise from the young woman to remain quiet for a year, give up her visit to Dresden, and, above all, to drop all correspondence with me; since, under these conditions, she was promised her entire freedom at the end of that time, she had thought it better to give her word. Not content with this, however, the two conspirators had immediately set about calumniating me on all sides, and finally to Mme. Laussot herself, saying that I was the initiator of this plan of elopement. Mrs. Taylor had written to my wife complaining of my intention to commit adultery, at the same time expressing her pity for her and offering her support; the unfortunate Minna, who now thought she had found a hitherto unsuspected reason for my resolve to remain separated from her, wrote back complaining of me to Mrs. Taylor. The meaning of an innocent remark I had once made had been strangely misinterpreted, and matters wore now aggravated by making it appear as though I had intentionally lied. In the course of playful conversation Jessie had once told me that she belonged to no recognised form of religion, her father Having teen a member of a certain sect which did not baptise either according to the Protestant or the Roman Catholic ritual; whereupon I had comforted her by assuring her that I had come in contact with much more questionable sects, as shortly after my marriage in Konigsberg I had learned that it had been solemnised by a hypocrite. God alone knows in what form this had been repeated to the worthy British matron, but, at all events, she told my wife that I had said I was 'not legally married to her.' In any case, my wife's answer to this had no doubt furnished further material with which to poison Jessie's mind against me, and this letter to my young friend was the result. I must admit that, seen by this light, the circumstance at which I felt most indignant was the way my wife had been treated, and while I was perfectly indifferent as to what the rest of the party thought of me, I immediately accepted Karl's offer to go to Zurich and see her, so as to give her the explanation necessary to her peace of mind. While awaiting his return, I received a letter from Liszt, telling me of the deep impression made upon him by my Lohengrin score, which had caused him to make up his mind as to the future in store for me. He at the same time announced that, as I had given him the permission to do so, he intended doing all in his power to bring about the production of my opera at the forthcoming Herder festival in Weimar. About this time I also heard from Frau Ritter, who, in consequence of events of which she was well aware, thought herself called upon to beg me not to take the matter too much to heart. At this moment Karl also returned from Zurich, and spoke with great warmth of my wife's attitude. Not having found me in Paris, she had pulled herself together with remarkable energy, and in pursuance of an earlier wish of mine, had rented a house on the lake of Zurich, installed herself comfortably, and remained there in the hope of at last hearing from me again. Besides this, he had much to tell me of Sulzer's good sense and friendliness, the latter having stood by, my wife and shown her great sympathy. In the midst of his narrative Karl suddenly exclaimed, 'Ah! these could be called sensible people; but with such a mad Englishwoman nothing could be done.' To all this I said not a word, but finally with a smile asked him whether he would like to go over to Zurich? He sprang up exclaiming, 'Yes, and as soon as possible.' 'You shall have your way,' said I; 'let us pack. I can see no sense in anything either here or there.' Without breathing another syllable about all that had happened, we left the next day for Zurich.