Wagner at Home (English Edition) by Judith Gautier

Wagner at Home (English Edition)

byJudith Gautier, Effie Dunreith Massie

Kobo ebook | October 13, 2014

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WAGNER AT HOME

PART FIRST

I

The train moved slowly, as becomes a well-conducted Swiss train that winds through beautiful country, and has no intention of blurring the views by undue haste. At each station there was a long stop, a slow renewal of leisurely motion.
To our little company of impatient French people within the compartment this slow progress was very trying. A feverish excitement possessed us; we could not sit still; from time to time we thrust our heads between the curtains to gaze in advance of the train. Villiers de l'Isle-Adam was one of us and most enthusiastic of all, his emotion continually bubbling over into spasmodic laughter and disjointed phrases.
On an ordinary excursion this slowness of the train would not have troubled us—but to-day—to-day we were going to Lucerne to see for the first time—Richard Wagner!
The swiftest "Express" would have seemed slow to us, yet we half dreaded the moment of arrival—when we should see the Master, hear him, speak to him!
What this wonderful genius meant to us it would have been difficult to make clear to those who were not of us, at that time when only a little group of disciples stood by the Master upholding him against the jeers of the masses who failed to comprehend him. Even to-day, when the triumph of the cause we supported has surpassed our hopes, it is not easy to explain our exaltation. We had the fanaticism of priests and martyrs—even to the slaying of our adversaries! It would, in fact, have been impossible to convince us that we should not be entirely justified in annihilating all those scoffers—blind to the new radiance which was so clear to us.
Each Sunday, when Pasdeloup played selections from Wagner, Homeric defiances were hurled between the opposing camps in the body of the concert hall and the interference of the town-guard was often required to prevent actual hand-to-hand conflict.
We had never dreamed that one day we should look upon the face of the Master. He was for us as inaccessible as Jupiter on the heights of Olympus or Jehovah behind the flaming triangle, yet now we were going to him!
"It is to you, my dear Judith, that we owe this incredible good fortune," exclaimed Villiers, throwing himself upon the seat beside me and pressing my hand between both his own.
In truth it was due to me, and my pride in the fact would not allow me to make light of it.
For, carried away by my enthusiasm and relying upon my instinct alone, I had had the audacity a few months before to publish a series of articles upon Richard Wagner. I had done this with a truly French impulsiveness, as I had then heard only a few fragments, indifferently rendered by orchestra, of all his stupendous work. I had even dared to attack an article upon Glück and Wagner, published by Earnest Reyer, a friend who had known me from my babyhood, and who was amazed by such unexpected aggression—truly youth stops at nothing—he had, however, replied very courteously, and this musical passage of arms had created some little sensation.
After much hesitation I had sent the articles to Wagner—then at Lucerne—and with them a letter in which I begged him to forgive and to correct whatever errors there might be. Then, with what trepidation I looked and longed for a reply! Would he write?—I could hardly hope for that. Yet I suffered a pang of disappointment each morning when the postman came and went, leaving no longed-for letter. One day, at last, I saw an envelope bearing a Lucerne stamp and an unfamiliar handwriting which I nevertheless knew at once. With what emotions, and in what fear and trembling I opened it. Could it be possible?—Four whole pages of fine, close writing, clear and elegant, and below the last line the magic signature!... Here is the letter:—

 

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Title:Wagner at Home (English Edition)Format:Kobo ebookPublished:October 13, 2014Publisher:NEW YORK JOHN LANE COMPANY MCMXILanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN:9990046049679

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