Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

water-seeker, and very possibly thought him wrong in the head, or, as Livingstone puts it, that "he had water on the brain,” he gave orders to his chiefs and people that the traveller was to be allowed to go wherever he had a mind, and treated him with much consideration. He availed himself of his proffered help to survey Lake Moero ; while doing so he acquired a great deal of information from the natives about the undiscovered lake to the south-east, and also concerning a strange country on the west side of Moero called Rua. They told him that in that country the people lived in underground houses, and on inquiries of men who had seen them, he says, “I find that they are very extensive, ranging along mountain-sides for twenty or thirty miles, and in one part a river flows inside. In some cases the doorways are level with the country adjacent; in others ladders are used to climb up to them; inside they are said to be very large, so that all the people in the country in case of need can find shelter in them, and the natives say that they are not the work of men, but of God.” He was very curious to visit them, and to see the old inscriptions which were said to be written on the rocks, but it would have taken him out of his right course, and would have diverted him from his present purpose. It was, therefore, not to be entertained, but he purposed, after he had explored the great lake to the south-east, to come round that way and examine tham. A purpose, alas ! he never lived to accomplish.

He now leaves Casembe and Moero, and pushes on towards the unknown waters of the south. They start on the 11th of June, 1868, and after a difficult journey of about six weeks they discover Lake Bemba, or rather Bangweolo, as he learnt, for Bemba is rather the name of the country in which the lake is situated. He was the first European that had ever looked upon this great body of water, which is no doubt one of the largest lakes in Africa, and the first, as Livingstone thought, of those series of waters that constitute the great and inexhaustible sources of the Nile. Bangweolo is a buge body of fresh water two hundred miles long by one hundred wide, into the eastern end of which the Chambeze flows. It is fed in all directions by innumerable rivers and water-courses, and out of the western end runs the Luapula, a stream at its source five miles wide. He spent some time in examining this lake, and the country and tribes about it. He could not finish his work, however, by reason of the rains, and also the disturbed state of the country, which exposed him to great delay and danger. All was turmoil and panic. Casembe and the Arab traders were at war with the Mazitu, and then, when this war was over, Casembe and his allies went to war with the Arabs. The result was that the whole country was in great confusion, and it was impossible for the Doctor to prosecute his journey. However, after long and patient waiting, he at length gets on the way once more, determined to brave all dangers. He now makes bis way back again to Lake Tanganyika, and along the western side of that lake to a place called Paera, where he crosses, and arrives at the great Arab settlement of Ujiji, on its eastern shore. He was eight months in accomplishing this journey, which must have been upwards of six hundred miles, during the greater part of which he was ill, and sometimes had to be carried in a kitander by two of his men.

He expected to find supplies at Ujiji, as well as letters and papers from England. He expected also to be able to spend some time at this place, to recruit his wasted powers before recommencing his labours. He was doomed, however, to bitter disappointment. When he arrived there he found that the supplies sent from Zanzibar had all been either stolen or wasted, and that the parties furnished with letters and papers had proved unfaithful to their trust. They had concluded that he was dead, that he would never more be seen, so they treated his goods as if they had been their own. This disappointment to a man shattered in health, craving for letters and stores, after baving been shut out from the civilised world for four long weary years, and broken in spirit, must have been great indeed. Still he did not give way to despair, but kept up a brave heart. He could not be idle, so he formed the design, while waiting at Ujiji, among rascally Arab traders and their slaves, and equally rascally natives corrupted by their association with those worthless representatives of the civilisation he had been cut off from for so long, to explore the shores of Tanganyika and settle the question of its affluent. But here again he was doomed to be disappointed, sor Arabs and natives alike were so bent on plundering him for every service rendered, that he was compelled to abandon his project. For four months he waited and suffered at Ujiji, but he waited and suffered in vain. His supplies and men did not turn up. He grew tired of his inactivity; so, though worn in body, and but scantily provided with stores and men, he recrosses the lake, and starts on a march of between four and five hundred miles through the Manyuema country, with the intention of striking the Lualaba, a magnificent lacustrine stream which he knew flowed porthward out of Lake Moero.

(To be continued.)

MOZART.–No. III. MOZART was not only a prodigy in music, but he had the ill luck to be witty and sarcastic. It was sufficiently formidable to encounter whole legions of envious musicians; it augmented the difficulty and the danger when keen, withering shafts of irony winged their way over Europe and exasperated those who were more than a match for Mozart in malice and intrigue, though less than his equal in gifts and attainments. At Mannheim Mozart spoke of Vogler, the second Kapelmeister, as a “musical jester-a fellow who imagined great things, and executed little," Fancy Vogler's delight when willing tale-bearers reported this to him! He would be sure to accumulate all the stumbling-blocks he could in the way of his soft-smiting critic.

At Mannheim Mozart made great progress in the good opinion of the Elector and the nobility generally. He had plenty of kissing of hands, applause, and presents, but could find no way of making money. Let the following extract from a letter tell its own tale :-"I had to go yesterday with Cannabich to Count Savioli to fetch my present, which was, as I imagined it would be, nothing in money, but a bandsome gold watch. I would rather have had ten carolins than the watch-although with its chain and devices it is worth twenty carolins— for on a journey money is necessary. I have now, with your permission, five watches, and I have a great mind to have another watch-pocket made in all my clothes in order that when I visit noblemen I may wear two watches, and at least prevent any of them from presenting me with another watch.”

This genius, burdened with gold watches, deficient in gold coins, was at church one day in Mannheim, and when the priest gave out the “Gloria ” he made a cadence. A universal stare spread over the congregation, and some actually exclaimed audibly, it was 80 different from anything ever heard there. Mozart took a phrase from the “Sanctus” and fugued upon it. Before service concluded he played another fugue on another phrase which had been used that morning. The people in the orchestra laughed with surprised delight, and made all kinds of grimaces with their faces while Mozart played. Behold that light, slim stripling, so delicate, so like a child even yet! He cannot get an honourable situation. He flings off fugues ard other offsprings of genius and learning as if they were mere trifles, lost to the world now, but which would have made the fame and fortune of many another man.

Here we have Mozart staying long months at Mannheim, dancing attendance on the vacillating Elector, longing for an appointment there, now and then performing prodigies on the organs in various churches, because " it came from my heart,” he says. What keeps him, pray? Well, among other things, a certain M. Weber has a daughter who possesses a pure and beautiful voice, sings admirably, and is just fifteen years of age. She has nothing to study but the action to be a prima donna on any stage. She sings my air from ‘De Amicis' admirably." This quotation is from a letter to his father, in which Mozart mentions for the first time this clever daughter of M. Weber. Evidently she has produced a deep impression on Mozart's mind and feelings. It is not a safe business at all for this poor genius, inspired by youth and sentiment, afflicted with empty pockets, to be listening to M. Weber's daughter.

About this time Mozart paid a visit to the Princess of Weilburg's, at Kirchhiem-Poland, in company with M. Weber and his daughter. This was a lovely excursion in several senses. The princess was a wonderful amateur in music. Mozart played for her, composed for her, and was in capital spirits. He was well paid by her Royal Highness, and thus spent eight dreamy, happy days, basking in the sunshine of Royalty, displaying his wondrous gifts, and drinking in nectar from the looks and voice of M. Weber's daughter,

** As a dream when one awaketh,” so was the terrible reality when Mozart returned to Mannheim. He had composed his wondrous Twelfth Mass in vain. The naked truth forced itself upon him, he had nothing to hope for in Mannheim, Hope deferred made his heart sick, and he set out for Paris. Before his departure he received a letter from his father, too long for quotation, full of wise counsel and paternal solicitude. Leopold Mozart had ventured much

for his gifted children; he had incurred heavy expenses ; he felt himself getting old and near his end. He put bis whole heart into this long letter-sad, pious, affectionate, and disappointed as that heart was. The letter thus concludes : “I am persuaded that you do not only consider me as your father, but as your truest and most faithful friend, and that you know and see that our happiness or unhappiness—nay, more, my longer life or speedy death-is, under God, in your hands. If I know you aright I have nothing but pleasure to expect from you, which thought must console me in your absence for the paternal loss in not seeing, hearing, and embracing you. Lead the life of a good Catholic Christian, love and fear God, pray to Him with devotion and sincerity, and let your conduct be such that should I never see you more, the hour of my death may be free from apprehension. From my heart I bless you, and remain till death, your faithful father, and most sincere friend, LEOPOLD MOZART.”

Mozart and his mother arrived in Paris on March 23, 1778. The great commotion occasioned by the rivalries of Gluck and Piccini had just terminated in the triumph of the former. From Gluck the French vocalists had learned to scream and shout in an ear-piercing manner, under the impression that that was impressive singing, which sorely afflicted the delicate nerves and ears of Mozart. Marie Antoinnette was at Paris, and French society was displaying that lurid glare which preceded the first French Revolution.

Those unfortunate beings called the “common people” often cast longing looks towards the fashionable circles and higher classes of society, and think what heaven and bliss it must be to penetrate those charmed enclosures. This felicity was often afforded Mozart at Paris. Here is his own description of a visit to the Duchesse de Bourbon :

“ On my arrival I was ushered into a great room without any fire, and as cold as ice, and there I had to wait for half an hour till the duchess came. At length she appeared, and very politely requested me to excuse the clavier, as not one in the house was in order, but said she would be very glad to hear me play. I replied that I should be most happy to play something, but that at present it was impossible, as I could not feel my fingers from cold, and I requested that she would have the goodness to let me go into a room where there was a fire.”

After politely allowing this, the interview thus proceeded :

"She then sat down and began to draw in company with several gentlemen, who all made a circle round a large table. This lasted : for an hour, during which time I had the honour to be in attendance. The windows and doors were open, and my hands were not merely as cold as ice, but my feet and body too, and my head began to ache. There was total silence, and I could not tell what was to come of the cold, and headache, and tediousness. I at last played on the wretched, miserable piano. What most annoyed me was that madame and all the gentlemen continued their drawing without a moment's cessation, and consequently I was obliged to play to the walls, chairs, and tables. Such a combination of vexatious circumstances quite overcame my patience, and after going through one half of the · Fischer' variations I rose up. Put me down to the best

clavier in Europe, but with people for hearers who either do not or will not understand, and I should lose all pleasure in playing.”

While Mozart was waiting in Paris for an appointment he had abundant opportunities of studying the French character at that time. He describes in letters to his father the want of thought and the want of heart in the upper classes, which were the outgrowth of centuries of misrule, outside religion, and frivolous manners. He looked at the world from the musician's point of view, but he saw many symptoms of that social and political eruption which so terribly convulsed Europe. We may not wander so far afield as to write about the French Revolution, and may therefore ask how did Mozart support himself during those long, anxious months ? Chiefly by teaching music. Teaching is not the poetic side of this divine art, as many teachers can testify.

One of Mozart's pupils was a daughter of the Duke de Guines. The duke was an admirable flute player, the daughter could play well on the harp. She had such a memory that she could play 200 pieces without looking at the book, but she had no genius. The father wished her to learn composition, and paid Mozart handsomely to give her two hours' instruction daily. The following is an account of the fourth lesson :

“We now commenced writing in three parts. She tried it, and fatigued herself in attempts, but in vain; it was impossible to help her, and we cannot move on. In science one must advance by the proper gradations. She has no genius, and nothing comes. I have tried her in every imaginable way. Among others it occurred to me to place a very simple minuet before her, to see whether she could make a variation upon it. That was all to no purpose. Now, thought I, she does not know how to begin, so I varied the first bar for her, and told her to continue the variation pursuing that idea ; and at length she got through tolerably well. I next requested her to begin something herself—the first part only-a' melody ; but after a quarter of an hour's cogitation nothing came." In this way the genius of Mozart was chained to dullness and drudgery in order to obtain a livelihood. This work paid better than the creations of his genius.

The letters of Leopold Mozart have been greatly admired for their prudence, fulness, and minuteness. Such letters have seldom passed between father and son. The plan on which he worked is thus described by himself in one of his letters to Mozart when in Paris :"I should forget a hundred things that I wished to write to you about, it I were not to make brief memoranda on a sheet of paper, which I especially reserve for that purpose. When anything strikes me which it is desirable I should communicate to you, I note it down in a few words, and when I write to you I take this sheet of paper, and first extract the novelties, then read your last letter through, and reply to it.” So it appears in these letters there were not only affection and solicitude, but business, thoroughness, and systematic industry.

While Mozart was waiting at Paris, writing operas which were never performed, instructing persons of distinction in the mysteries of composition, waiting for an appointment or an opportunity, an event occurred, the saddest and most melancholy which had crossed

« AnteriorContinuar »