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A Series of Brief Papers concerning the Great Musicians.



one of his own compositions on the programme.

Few musicians passed through Berlin without atNO STRONGER contrast to the unhappy fate of tending these performances, so that besides the Schubert could be presented than the life of Jacob practice in conducting, and the pleasure of having Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, born at his own compositions played, Felix had the further Hamburg, February 3, 1809. He was one of a advantage of hearing the best musical criticism. gifted family, every member of which was lovable In 1822 the family traveled through Italy and Switzand interesting. His grandfather, Moses Mendels- erland, and before returning, they again visited sohn, was a man great in mind and heart; and Goethe, who was delighted to renew his acquaintAbraham Mendelssohn, the father of Felix, was ance with the little musician. He loved to hear a man of power and character. He never attained, Felix improvise, and said to the lad's mother, however, the fame of his father nor of his son,


“A charming, delightful boy ; send him again he used to say in his later life: “Formerly I was soon, that I may get all the pleasure I can out the son of my father, and now I am the father of of him.” On his fifteenth birthday, when his my son.” He gave the most careful attention to health was proposed, Zelter said he was no longer his children's education, and they always sought an apprentice, but a musician, and hailed him as his advice and counsel. Felix's mother, too, was one “in the name of Mozart, Haydn and old an able and accomplished woman, who sang well, father Bach.” Nothing could be more charming played on the piano, spoke French, English, and than the life and surroundings of this favored Italian, read Greek, made beautiful drawings, and family. The Mendelssohns' house was lofty and added to all these attainments the power of attract- spacious, with a beautiful park laid out in trees and ing the most cultured society in Berlin to her house. vines. In summer, the children lived in it. Here, These parents gave their children the best education in company with some young friends, they started that love could dictate and money procure. Felix's a little paper called the Garden-Times, changing sister Fanny, four years older than he, had remark- the title in winter to that of the Tea-and-Snowable musical talent. She composed some of the Times. Each one was obliged to contribute some“Songs Without Words,” which Felix never tired thing, serious or humorous, to its columns, and it of admiring. Her brother and herself were through- was a source of great amusement to them all. out their lives the dearest friends and confidants. Felix could often be found in some snug corner

Their mother gave the children lessons, and with a copy of Shakespeare in his hand, and always superintended their practicing ; but she amid such happy and delightful scenes, and soon felt their need of a professional teacher, and while reading the comedy, Mendelssohn really Zelter, an enthusiastic disciple of Bach, undertook wrote his “Midsummer Night's Dream” overture, the children's musical education.

which he copied twenty years afterward without The children worked very hard at their music, changing a note. In 1829, the Bach Passion Music rising at five to practice; nor was their general was given, chiefly through his efforts; he always education neglected, for they had the best masters considered Bach his master, and said that he was in every department. When Felix was eleven the source of all that was most needful in music. years old, he and his music teacher visited Goethe, During that year, Felix left home for a season of the great German author, who loved to hear the travel; the journey was undertaken not merely little genius extemporize. Sir Julius Benedict, who to study his art and to win reputation, but, what met him at this time, says, “I shall never forget was just now far more important to him, to see the impression of that day on beholding the beau- places and people; in short, for general as well as tiful youth, with his auburn hair clustering in for musical culture. His absence left a blank at ringlets round his shoulders, the ingenuous ex- home, which was felt by no one more than Fanny; pression of his clear eyes, and the smile of inno- but they were all somewhat consoled by the affeccence and candor on his lips.”

tionate and interesting letters he sent them. In Felix now worked very steadily at his music, London he was entertained by Moscheles, and and 1818 a series of matinees were inaugurated, enthusiastically received by the public; his intelat which he conducted an orchestra, always placing lectual and social gifts were only less rare than his


musical genius. At the end of the season, Felix times he would lean over the keys as if he expected made a tour through Scotland, where he met Sir to see the music flow through his fingers to the Walter Scott. He delighted also in the air and scen- piano. ery, and his letters are filled with charming de- In 1833, he accepted a position as musical directscriptions of his tour. On returning to England, or at Dusseldorf, and while there he experienced he staid for some time at Chester, where he was the first real grief that came into his life, in the entertained by a Mr. Taylor. We have in Men- death of his beloved father. Mendelssohn not delssohn's letters a beautiful picture of the simple only fondly loved his father, but he had been acout-of-door life he led there, and we are impressed customed from his childhood to look to him for by his high spirits, and his entire freedom from help and guidance, and not one of the family sufconceit. He loved afterward to tell of the charm fered more under this blow than did he. which the meadow and brook, the trees and In 1837, Mendelssohn married Cécile Jeanregrass had for him there. He spent much time in neaud, a woman lovely in face and disposition, sketching and painting; but his head was full of who sympathized in all his tastes and desires. The music, and everything suggested a musical idea to Leipsic people idolized Mendelssohn; everywhere him. He was very fond of carnations, and he set he met with enthusiastic love and admiration, and a bunch of them to music in the album of a daugh- had the greatest influence in musical affairs. He ter of his host, with a drawing of the flowers over had been partly influenced in coming to Leipsic by the notes; not forgetting to set some delicate the thought that he would live in the city sacred to arpeggios in the music for the scent of the flow- “father Bach”; once settled there, he determined

On seeing the younger sister with some bell- to erect some kind of a monument to him, and shaped flowers in her hair, he said that the fairies for this object he gave an organ concert. Schumight dance on the trumpets, and he set them to mann, who heard the performance, said that he a capriccio. He never tired of merry-making, and would love to write of the evening in “golden one afternoon toward dusk, he, with a number of letters," and added that for him there can be no young people, was one of a happy young company greater happiness in music than to hear one masthat was picnicking in a thicket. Some one gayly ter interpret the works of another. proposed a fire; and all began to drag the boughs From that time on, Mendelssohn's life had few and twigs into place, so that soon they had a fine incidents. In his last years he overworked himself bonfire. While still lingering around it, Mendels- in his zeal for his art, and became melancholy and sohn began to ask for some music, but nothing low-spirited, his sadness increasing, till he died, could be found save a worn-out fiddle of the Nov. 4, 1847. His death was deeply mourned not gardener's. Mendelssohn, all undismayed, began only throughout Germany, but in England, where to play, shouting with laughter at his perform- he had many dear personal friends. With him the ance; but soon there was a hush in the chat and greatest light of the Mendelssohn family went out. sport, and the whole party sat spell-bound at the To few men has it been given to have so happy lovely music which he drew from even that de- or so accomplished a life as to Felix Mendelssohn. spised fiddle. He would sit for hours, improvising Music was much, very much to him, but it was dance-tunes, and liked nothing better than to not all. If he had never played a note of music, entertain his friends with his music. He always he could have made a fine painter; if he had looked back on his visit to Chester as one of the neither played nor painted, he was so full of brightest spots in a bright life.

intellectual resources, he could have led a broad, Such a youth was Mendelssohn at twenty,– useful life, attracting the rarest spirits to himself. simple, lovable, and gifted. He had beautiful dark- But he had all these, and it is a marvel that he brown eyes and fine wavy hair, and a delicate could find time for all he did and all he was. His mouth. Fascinating in face, in disposition, and published letters show the completeness of his in attainments, what wonder that all hearts were character and his life. He was a happy musician, drawn to him, and that everybody loved him ? and his life is reflected in his music. It is a reIt is said that, when improvising, his hands seemed lief sometimes to turn from the deep, passionate almost like living creatures; his eyes glowed and strains wrung from the aching heart of Schubert seemed to become larger and larger; but his whole or Mozart to the sweet, delicate, beautiful music manner was very quiet and unassuming. Some of Mendelssohn.

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It did not take the masons long to point up and

strengthen the old foundations, and early in SepTHE CLOSE OF THE YEAR.

tember everything was under full headway, the

sound of hammer, saw, and plane resounding all As was stated early in this simple history, the day long. It was Winnie's and Bobsey's task to original barn was built on a side-hill, the rear facing gather up the shavings and refuse bits of lumber the south; and, since the foundations were still in and carry them to the wood-house. fair condition and the site convenient, I determined “The ease and quickness with which we can to build on the same spot, at the same time modi- build fires next winter," I said, “is a pleasant fying the old plan somewhat.

thing to think of.” I had decided that the poultry-house and pig- Meanwhile the garden was not neglected. The sty should form an extension to the barn and that early flight of summer-boarders had greatly reboth should be built in the side of the bank also. duced the demand for vegetables, and now we The poultry-house, between the barn and sty, began to hoard for our own use. The lima-beans was to be built so that its side facing the south- were allowed to dry on the vines, the matured pods of east should be chiefly of glass, and so constructed the bush-beans were spread in the attic, and thither as to secure the greatest amount of light and also the ripened onions were brought and placed warmth. Eggs in winter form the most profitable in shallow boxes. As far as possible we had saved item in poultry keeping.

our own seed. I had made a box and had cor

me, and

ered it with tin so as to be mouse-proof, and in ground, and then leaned the stalks against those this we placed the different varieties, carefully of an uncut hill. This he continued to do until labeled. Although it was not an apple year, quite he had made what he called a “stout,” or a bunch a number of our trees were in bearing. Twice in of stalks about as large as he could conveniently each week, the best of the wind-falls were picked up encircle with his arms, the uncut hill of stalks and sent to the village, with the tomatoes and such forming a support in the center. Then he took a other vegetables as were in demand. As fast as wisp of the rye-straw, divided it evenly, and putcrops matured, the ground was cleared, and all of ting the two ends together, twisted it speedily into the refuse that contained no injurious seeds was a sort of a rope.

With this he bound the stout saved as a winter covering for the strawberry plants. tightly above the ears by a simple method which

Our main labor, however, after digging the rest one lesson made plain to me. of the potatoes, was the setting of that half acre in Well, you are a good neighbor!" I exclaimed. the later varieties of the strawberry. Although “ Pshaw! What does this amount to?" he rethe early part of September was very dry and plied. “You forget that I 've sold you a lot of warm, we managed to set out two or three rows rye-straw, and so have the best of you, after all.” nearly every afternoon. The nights had now grown “ I don't forget anything, Mr. Jones. As you so long and cool that one thorough watering seemed say, I believe we shall 'make a go' of it here, but to establish the plants. Near the middle of the we always remember how much we owe to you and month, there came a fine rain, and we set the re- Junior. You ’ve let me pay for some things in a mainder of the ground in one day, all the children way that saved my self-respect, and made me feel aiding me in the task. Those first planted were that I could go to you as often as I wished, but you now strong, splendid plants, with a bunch of foliage have never taken advantage of

you have six inches in diameter.

kept smart people from doing it. Do you know, Thus, between helping in the work on the new Mr. Jones, that in every country village there are barn and other labors, September saw a renewal weasel-like people who encourage new-comers by of our early summer activity.

bleeding their pocket-books at every chance? In “ The winds are whispering of winter in the securing you as a neighbor, our battle was half trees,” I said to the children, “and all thrifty won, for no one needs a good, practical friend more creatures, ants, bees, and squirrels, are laying up than a city man beginning life in the country.” their stores. So must we.

“ Jerusalem ! how you talk ! I'm goin' right I had watched our ripening corn with great home and tell my wife to call me “Saint Jones." satisfaction. For a long time Merton could walk Then I 'll get a tin halo and wear it, for my straw through it without his straw hat being seen above hat is about played out," and away he went, chuckthe nodding tassels. But one day, Mr. Jones came ling over his odd conceits, but pleased, as all men over with some bundles of long rye-straw in his are, when their good-will is appreciated. One kind wagon and said :

of meanness that disgusts human nature, is a selYou can't guess what these are for."

fish, unthankful reception of kindness. “Some useful purpose, or you wouldn't have After an early supper I drove to the village with brought them,” I replied.

what I had to sell, and returned with two corn“ We'll see. Come with me to the corn patch.” hooks. And by night of the following day, Bagley

As we started, he took a bundle under his arm, and I had the corn cut and tied up. and I saw that he had a tool called a corn-knife in On the next afternoon I helped Bagley sharpen his hand. Going through the rows, he occasionally the hooks and we began to cut the fodder-corn stripped down the husks from an ear and then which now stood, green and succulent, averaging said :

two feet in height throughout the field. “Yes, it's ready. Don't you see that the kernels The barn was now up and the carpenters were are plump and glazed ? Junior and I are going to roofing it in, while two days more of work would tackle our corn to-morrow, and, says I to myself, complete the pig-sty and poultry-house. Every if ours is ready to cut, so is neighbor Durham’s. stroke of the hammer told rapidly, and we all exThe sooner it's cut after it's ready, the better. The ulted over our new and better appliances for carrystalks are worth more for fodder, and you run no ing out our plan of country life. Since the work risk from an early frost, which would spoil it all. was being done by contract, I contented myself by You and Merton must pitch in as you usually do. seeing that it was done thoroughly. Meanwhile, And now I 'll show you how to work at it.” Merton was busy with the cart drawing rich earth

Gathering the stalks together above the ears from the banks of the creek. The proper · use with his left ha he cut the entire hill off with of fertilizers had given such a ma ed increase one blow of the corn-knife within six inches of the to our crops that it became clear that our best

prospect of growing rich was to make the land winter, with the three younger children. Merton, rich.

however, was to begin school as soon as posDuring the last week of September the nights sible, but he pleaded hard for a reprieve until the were so cool as to suggest frost, and I said to last of October, saying that he did not wish to Mousie :

begin before Junior. As we still had a great deal “I think we 'd better take up your geraniums to do, and as the boy had set his heart on some and other window plants and put them in pots and fall shooting, I yielded, and he promised to study boxes. We can then stand them under a tree, all the harder when he began. I added, however: which would shelter them from a slight frost. “The evenings have grown so long that you can Should there be serious danger, it would take us but write for half-an-hour after supper, and then we a few minutes to bring them into the house. You will review your arithmetic together. It will benhave taken such care of them all summer that efit me as well as you.” I do not intend that you shall lose them now. During the ensuing weeks we carried out this Refer to your flower-book, and read what kind of plan after a fashion, but at the close of a busy day soil they grow best in during the winter, and in the open air, we were apt to nod over our tasks. then Merton can help you gather it.”

We were both taught the soundness of the rule that brain-work should precede physical exercise.

The first day of October was bright, clear, and mild, and we gladly welcomed the true beginning of fall in our latitude. This month competes with May in its ideal country life. The children voted it first of all the months, feeling that a vista of unalloyed delights was opening before them. Already the butternuts were falling from several large trees on the place, and the burrs on the chestnuts were plump with their well-shielded treasures. Winnie and Bobsey had begun to gather some of these burrs from the lower limbs of an immense tree, twenty-four feet in circumference, and to stamp out the half-brown nuts within.

“One or two frosts will ripen them and open the

burrs,” I said, and then the children began to long The New for the frost, which I dreaded. Barn. While I still kept the younger children busy in

the garden, for a few hours on every clear morning

and especially at clipping the runners from the strawThe child was all solicitude about her pets, and berry plants in the field, they were given ample after dinner she and Merton, the latter trundling time to gather their winter hoard of nuts. This a wheelbarrow, went down to the creek and ob- prospect seemed to afford them endless items for tained a lot of fine sand and some leaf-mold from talk, Bobsey modestly assuring us that he alone under the trees in the woods. These ingredients would gather about a million bushels of butternuts we carefully mixed with rich soil from the flower and almost as many chestnuts and walnuts. bed, and put it in the pots and boxes around the “What will the squirrels do then?” I asked. roots of as many plants as there was room for on “They must do as I do,” he cried: “pick up the table by the sunny kitchen window. Having and carry off as fast as they can. They 'll have a watered them thoroughly, we stood them under a better chance than I 'll have, too, for they can tree, there to remain until a certain sharpness in gather all day long. The little scamps are already the air should warn us to carry them to their win- taking the nuts off the trees. I've seen 'em, and ter quarters.

I wish Merton would shoot 'em all.” The lima-beans, as fast as the pods grew dry, or “ Well, Merton," said I, laughing, “I suppose even yellow, were picked and spread in the attic. that squirrels are proper game for you, but I hope They could be shelled at our leisure on stormy you and Junior will not shoot many robins. They winter days.

are too useful to be killed wantonly, and I feel Early in September my wife had begun to give grateful for all the music they 've given us during Mousie, Winnie, and Bobsey their lessons again. the past summer. I know the law permits you Since we were at some distance from a school-house, to shoot them now, but you and Junior should be we decided to continue this arrangement for the more civilized than such a law."

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