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put on the painful grin of a prize- “Why, of course, I sent on the fighter who has received a staggerer, manager to say that Mademoiselle and grinned all through the part, Schwaub was taken seriously ill; though there is little in it to grin at. that we had been fearing we must
She also suffered by having to play break faith with the public, for to a “Faust” milked of his poetry, the first time. But that a canand self-smitten with a tremolo,"
," tatrice, who had left the stage, which, as I said before, is the voice appreciated our difficulty, and had, of palsy, and is not, nor ever was, with rare kindness, come to our aid nor ever will be, the voice of pas- for this one night : we felt sure a sion. Bless your heart ! passion is Humbug audience—what am I saya manly thing, a womanly thing, a ing?—a Homburg audience would grand thing; not a feeble, quavering, appreciate this, and make due allowpalsied, anile, senile thing. Learn ance for a performance undertaken that, ye trembling, quavering idiots in such a spirit, and with imperfect of song!
rehearsals, &c.—in short, the usual “They let me down," whispered patter; and the usual effect, great Ina Klosking to her faithful Ash- applause. Indeed the only applause mead. "I feel all out of tune. that I have heard in this theatre toI shall never be able. And the night. Ashmead ahead of Gounod, audience so cold. It will be like singing in a sepulchre."
Ina Klosking put both hands • What would you
think of them before her face, and gave a little if they applauded?" said Ashmead.
She had really a soul above “I should say they were good, these artifices. So then,” said she, charitable souls, and the very audi- “if they do receive me, it will be ence I shall want in five minutes." out of charity."
“No, no," said Ashmead; "all you “No, no ; but on your first night want is a discriminating audience; you must have two strings to your and this is one. Remember they bow." have all seen Patti in Marguerite.' “But I have only one. These Is it likely they would applaud this cajoling speeches are a waste of tin stick?”
breath. A singer can sing, or she Ina turned the conversation with can not sing, and they find out feminine quickness. “ Mr Ash- which it is, as soon as she opens her mead, have you kept your pro- mouth." mise? my name is not in the pro- “Well, then, you open your mouth gramme?”
--that is just what half the singers " It is not; and a great mistake, can't do—and they will soon find too."
out you can sing." “I have not been announced by “I hope they may; I do not name in any way?”
know. I am discouraged ; I'm “No. But of course I have terrified; I think it is stage-fright," nursed you a bit."
and she began to tremble visibly, “Nursed me? What is that? for the time drew near. Oh, what have you been doing?
Ashmead ran off, and brought No charlatanerie, I hope."
her some brandy-and-water. She “Nothing of the kind,” said Ash- put up her hand against it with mead, stoutly; "only the regular royal scorn. .
“No, sir !-if the business."
theatre and the lights-and the “And pray what is the regular bus- people—the mind of Goethe-and iness ?" inquired Ina, distrustfully. the music of Gounod, can't excite me without that, put me at the counter She was quite content, however, of a café, for I have no business She met Ashmead, as she came off, here."
and said, “Al is well, my friend, The power, without violence, and so far.
so far. They are sitting in judgthe grandeur with which she said ment on me, like sensible people, this, would have brought down the and not in a hurry. I rather like house had she spoken it in a play that." without a note of music; and Ash- “Your own fault," said Joseph. mead drew back respectfully, but “You should have been announced. chuckled internally at the idea of Prejudice is a surer card than judgthis Minerva giving change in a ment. The public is an ass.' café.
“ It must come to the same thing And now her cue was coming in the end," said the Klosking, firmShe ordered everybody out of the ly. “One can sing, or one cannot." entrance not very ceremoniously, and drew well back. Then, at her cue, Her next song was encored, and she made a stately rush, and so, she came off flushed with art and being in full swing before she clear- gratified pride. “I have no fears ed the wing, she swept into the now," said she, to her Achates, centre of the stage with great rapid- firmly. “I have my barometer; á ity and resolution ; no trace either of young lady in the stalls. Oh, such her sorrowful heart or her quaking a beautiful creature, with black hair limbs was visible from the front. and eyes! She applauds me fear
There was a little applause, all lessly. Her glorious eyes speak to due to Ashmead's preliminary apol- mine, and inspire me. She is happy, ogy, but there was no real reception; she is. I drink sunbeams at her. for Germany is large and musical
, I shall act and sing 'Le Parlate and she was not immediately recog- d’Amor' for her—and you will see." nised at Homburg. But there was that indescribable flutter which Between the acts, who should marks a good impression and keen come in but Ned Severne, and glidexpectation suddenly aroused. She ed into the vacant stall by Zoe's side. was beautiful on the stage, for one She quivered at his coming near thing; her figure rather tall and her; he saw it, and felt a thrill of stately, and her face full of power : pleasure himself. and then the very way she came on
“ How is ‘S. T.'?” said she, kindly. showed the step and carriage of an
"*S. T.'?" said he, forgetting. artist at home upon the boards. “Why, your sick friend, to be
She cast a rapid glance round the sure.” house, observed its size, and felt her “Oh, not half so bad as he way. She sang her first song even- thought. I was a fool to lose an ly, but not tamely, yet with re- hour of you for him. strained power; but the tones were hipped; had lost all his money at so full and flexible, the expression rouge et noir. So I lent him fifty so easy yet exact, that the judges pounds, and that did him more good saw there was no effort, and sus- than the doctor. You forgive me?" pected something big might be yet “Forgive you? I approve. Are in store to-night. At the end of you going back to him ?” said she, her song she did let out for a mo- demurely. ment, and, at this well-timed fore- “No, thank you, I have made taste of her power, there was ap- sacrifices enough.” plause, but nothing wonderful. And so indeed he had, having
got cleaned out of £300, through He murmured in her ear, “ You preferring gambling to beauty. are Marguerite,' for you could fire
“Singers good ?” he inquired. a man's heart so that he would sell
“Wretched; all but one—and his soul to gain yon.” she is divine."
It was the accent of passion, and “ Indeed! Who is she?" the sensitive girl quivered. Yet
“I don't know. A gentleman in she defended herself—in words : black came out
“Hush !” said she; “that is wicked “Mephistopheles ?"
-out of an opera. Fanny would “No ;-how dare you ?--and said laugh at you, if she heard.” a singer that had retired would per- Here were two reasons for not form the part of 'Siebel,' to oblige; making such hot love in the stalls and she has obliged me for one of an opera. Which of the two She is, oh, so superior to the others ! weighed most with the fair reasoner Such a heavenly contralto; and her shall be left to her own sex. upper notes honey dropping from The brief scene ended with the the comb. And then she is so declaration of the evil spirit that inodest, so dignified, and so beau- Marguerite' is lost. tiful. She is fair as a lily; and “There,” said Zoe, naïvely, “that such a queen-like brow, and deep, is over, thank goodness : now you deep, grey eyes, full of sadness and will hear my singer.” soul. I'm afraid she is not happy. “ Siebel” and “ Marta" came on Once or twice she fixed them on from opposite sides of the stage. me, and they magnetised me, and “See !
“ See !” said Zoe, “isn't she lovedrew me to her. So I magnetised ly?" and she turned her beaming her in return. I should know her face full on Severne, to share her anywhere fifty years hence. Now, pleasure with him. To her amazeif I was a man, I should love that ment the man seemed transformed : woman, and make her love me." a dark cloud had come
“ Then I am very glad you are sunny countenance. He sat, pale, not a man,” said Severne, tenderly. and seemed to stare at the tall, ma
“So am I,” whispered Zoe, and jestic, dreamy singer, who stood blushed.
immovable, dressed like a velvet The curtain rose.
youth, yet looking like no earthly “Listen now, Mr Chatterbox," boy, but a draped statue of Mercury, said Zoe.
“New lighted on a heaven-kissing hill.' Ned Severne composed himself to
but Fraulein Graas had not The blood left his lips, and sung many bars before he revolted. Zoe thought he was faint; but “Listen to what?” said he ; "and the next moment he put his handlook at what? The only · Marguer- kerchief hastily to his nose, and ite' in the place is by my side.” wriggled his way out, with a rush
Zoe coloured with pleasure ; but and a crawl, strangely combined, her good sense was not to be blinded. at the very moment when the singer “The only good black Mephistophe- delivered her first commanding note less you mean,” said she. “To be of recitative.
Marguerite,' one must be great, and Everybody about looked surprissweet, and tender; yes, and far more ed and disgusted at so ill-timed an lovely than ever woman was. That exit; but Zoe, who had seen his lady is a better colour for the part white face, was seriously alarmed, than I am : but neither she nor I and made a movement to rise too, shall ever be · Marguerite.'” and watch, or even follow him: but,
when he got to the side, he looked She curtsied with admirable digback to her, and made her a signal nity, modesty, and respectful grathat his nose was bleeding, but it vity, and the applause thundered, was of no great consequence. He and people rose at her in clusters even pointed with his finger out about the house, and waved their and then back again, indicating he hats and handkerchiefs at her, and should not be long gone.
a little Italian recognised her, and This reassured her greatly; for cried out as loud as he could, she had always been told a little “Vivat la Klosking, vivat !” and bleeding of that sort was good for she heard that, and it gave her hot-headed young people.
a thrill; and Zoe Vizard, being Then the singer took complete out of England, and therefore hold of her. The composer, to brave as a lioness, stood boldly up balance the delightful part of at her full height, and taking her “Marguerite," has given "Siebel” bouquet in the right hand, carried a melody, with which wonders can it swiftly to her left ear, and so be done; and the Klosking had made flung it, with a free backhanded a considerable reserve of her powers sweep more oriental than English, for this crowning effort. After a into the air, and it lighted by the recitative that rivalled the silver singer; and she saw the noble trumpet, she flung herself with motion, and the bouquet fly, and, immediate and electrifying ardour when she made her last curtsy at into the melody; the orchestra, the wing, she fixed her eyes on taken by surprise, fought feebly for Zoe, and then put her hand to her the old ripple, but the Klosking, heart with a most touching gesture, resolute by nature,
that said, “Most of all I value your mighty as Neptune, and would have bouquet and your praise. her big waves. The momentary
Then the house buzzed, and ranks struggle, in which she was loyally were levelled ; little people spoke to seconded by the conductor, evoked big people, and big to little, in her grand powers. Catgut had to mutual congratulation ; for at such yield to brains, and the whole rare moments (except in Angloorchestra, composed, after all, of Saxony) instinct seems to tell men good musicians, soon caught the that true art is a sunshine of the divine afflatus, and the little theatre soul, and blesses the rich and the seemed on fire with music: the poor alike. air, sung with a large rhythm, One person was affected in answelled and
way. Harrington Vizard sat breast with amazement and delight; rapt in attention, and never took the house hung breathless; by- his eyes off her, yet said not a word. and-by there were pale cheeks, Several Russian and Prussian panting bosoms, and wet eyes, the grandees sought an introduction to true, rare triumphs of the sove- the new singer ; but she pleaded reigns of song; and, when the last fatigue. The manager entreated note had pealed and ceased to her to sup with him, and meet the vibrate, the pent-up feelings broke Grand Duke of Hesse. She said forth in a roar of applause, which she had a prior engagement. shook the dome, followed by a clap- She went quietly home, and ping of hands like a salvo, that supped with her faithful Ashmead, never stopped till Ina Klosking, and very heartily too; for nature who had retired, came forward was exhausted, and agitation had again.
quite spoiled her dinner.
Joseph Ashmead, in the pride of operating with triumph and claret, his heart, proposed a bottle of cham- kept Ashmead in a great flow of pagne. The Queen of Song, with spirits. He traced her a brilliant triumph flushed, looked rather blue career. To be photographed to-morat that. “My friend,” said she, in row morning as “Siebel,” and in a meek, deprecating way, “we are plain dress. Paragraphs in Era, working people : is not bordeaux Figaro, Galignani, Independance good enough for us?”
Belge, and the leading dailies. Large “Yes;
but it is not good enough woodcuts before leaving Homburg for the occasion,” said Joseph, a for Paris, London, Vienna, Peterslittle testily. “Well, never mind ;" burg, and New York.” and he muttered to himself, “ that “I'm in your hands," said she, and is the worst of good women; they smiled languidly, to please him. are so terribly stingy."
But by-and-by he looked at her, The Queen of Song, with triumph and found she was taking a little flushed, did not catch these words, cry all to herself. but only a little growling. However, “Dear me!” said he; "what is as supper proceeded, she became the matter ?" uneasy. So she rang the bell, and " My friend, forgive me. He was ordered a pint : of this she drank not there to share my triumph,” one spoonful. The remainder, co
As the opera drew to an end, Zoe These two ladies brushed hair began to look round more and more together in Zoe's room. That is for Severne ; but he did not come, a soothing operation, my masters, and Lord Uxmoor offered his arm and famous for stimulating females earnestly. She took it; but hung to friendly gossip; but this time back a moment on his very arm, to there was, for once, a guarded retell Harrington Mr Severne had serve. Zoe was irritated, puzzled, been taken ill.
mortified, and even grieved, by At the railway station the truant Severne's conduct. Fanny was emerged suddenly, just as the train gnawed by jealousy, and out of was leaving ; but Lord Uxmoor had temper. She had forgiven Zoe secured three seats, and the de- Ned Severne.
But that young faulter had to go with Harrington. lady was insatiable; Lord UxOn reaching the hotel, the ladies moor, too, had fallen openly in love took their bed-candles; but Ux- with her; openly to a female eye : moor found time to propose an ex- so then a blonde had no chance, cursion next day, Sunday, to with a dark girl by: thus reasoned lovely little lake-open carriage, she, and it was intolerable. four horses. The young ladies ac- It was some time before either cepted, but Mr Severne declined ; spoke an atom of what was upperhe thanked Lord Uxmoor politely, most in her mind. They each doled but he had arrears of correspon- out a hundred sentences that missed dence.
the mind and mingled readily with Zoe cast a mortified, and rather a the atmosphere, being in fact mere haughty glance on him; and Fanny preliminary and idle air : so two shrugged her shoulders incredu- deer, in duel, go about and about, lously
and even affect to look another way,