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“ Jolly fun, eh?" or, “Glad you tried it?" or, guessed. He found that he could never resist “ All right?"
gobbling it up. And Nick would shout back, rapturously: “Fun, “ Tired?” again asked the collegian, knowing and no mistake! Go on!”
with the penetration of youth that something had The ice had frozen suddenly, and in clear come over Nick. weather, so that hardly a dash of white broke “Oh, no! But I wish we were at home, and the extraordinary blackness beneath them, which had one of mother's apple-pies !” was splendidly terrifying. To float over what he “And a good glass of creamy milk, too, would knew was almost endless depth, as if it were water suit me,” said the collegian. in a still but liquid state, made Nick's hair curl “And you ought to try the doughnuts !” Nick over, and his heart warm within him. Great exclaimed, as if he were about to hand them across gulping reports flew back and forth through the a table. pond, as they scudded on, as though it were “And some steaming tea in an old-fashioned laughing, and would soon immerse them in a tea-cup,” added the stranger. dangerous smile from its parted surface. Once “And Johnny-cake," said Nick. the young collegian flew toward the center of the They might have known better! Two more pond, wishing to cross by a central route; but restless, desperate creatures than they were not to somehow he switched aside just in time. Why? be found anywhere in the vicinity, after calmly Oh, because the ice did not quite reach from shore calling up before them food that could not really to shore, so very deep were the waters. Nick be tasted. guffawed with surprise, and a rejoicing that he still “I think we must be going home, at all lived. Boom! gulp! went the cracking stretches events,” concluded Nick's companion. about them; whir! went the sled; click! went the Up jumped Nick immediately. skates; boom! went the lake, again. The moon was “ To my home,” he said. “My mother always suddenly looking at them, slender and silvery in the likes to have me bring my friends home; and immense, sparkling heaven. But Nick could never she gives them the best she has. I have schoolhave enough of such pastime as this. As he sat on mates whose mothers never let them invite anyhis sled, behind the never-tiring youth who faith- body.” fully held the cord, he almost believed he had come They were well on their way by this time, and to a land of magic, and would never cease flying. Nick's new friend cheerily replied: He reflected that if he put his hand into his pocket, “I like you better now than I did to begin with, now, to feel Buddha's smooth hooded crown, he and you seemed a fine little chap then. Go home would find the sage gone.
He could not really be to supper with you? I would n’t miss it for the Nick Woolson any more, nor his coat his.
world!." “ Tired?” called back the young man.
They chatted busily, hardly daring to stop a Nick gasped with astonishment.
moment, lest the pangs of famine should make “I? — not if I know myself !” Which was, as them speechless forever after. Nick's head swam has been seen, by no means a certainty. But ex- around, until his nose seemed facing the pond, pressions mattered less now than usual.
he was in such a faint hurry. His sled was And on they flew. And then they stopped. very heavy and cross, and he wished it were good The young man dropped the sled-cord, and drew to eat. a deep breath. Nick laughed. It seemed to indi- At last - it is marvelous how soon that distant cate just what they both felt so well that the col- time of " at last” comes about — Nick shouted : legian grinned, in a benevolent way.
“There's Mother's !” and he ran in at the gate. “This is a perfect cove we 're in,” he said. The stranger followed, bound simply upon hon"You sit still, and I 'll show you some patterns.” est amusement, and wisely setting aside annoying With these words he revolved and revolved, first scruples. The result was that he and every one in one style and then in another, with nervous else were very jolly and sociable. turns ending in graceful sweeps. Nick's eyes were Mrs. Woolson had been very much frightened, fastened upon him in a fascinated manner. for Nick was particularly careful to be on time
All at once a terrible sensation pervaded Nick's for meals, although he never could guess correctly being. He no longer had a moment's doubt as to about school-hours. His father had laughed the his existing in a downright world, with Buddha matter off at supper, and remarked that Nick was occupying his pocket. He was hungry. And growing older, and would soon begin to do all sorts there were two miles and a half of snow to strug- of surprising things. If it were summer-time now, gle over before he could get anything to eat. He he said, he should have supposed the boy had run never carried food in his pocket, for a reason easily away to sea, as he had tried to do himself. But none
of the females of the household were mystified by the first of them had announced Mr. Fairfax's the good farmer's philosophical behavior, for they love of old porcelain. knew very well that Mr. Woolson's only son was his The two famished persons ate and ate; and daily comfort and delight, and that he was a little when they wanted a particularly unwarrantable anxious at Nick's absence.
relay of any good thing on the table, they would When Nick entered out of the bleak evening spin a wilder yarn than before about their exploits; air, Mrs. Woolson probably had a vague sense of and then pass their plates; and while Elspeth's astonishment that a tall figure should be looming gray eyes were stretched at their widest and her up behind him, as if her son had brought his mouth was silently opened in admiring delight, she future manhood along, having come across it on would heap up chicken and butter, or carve a his winter ramble. But she would not have greatly huge ungeometrical portion of apple-pie. And Mrs. minded if Nick had brought twenty men at his Woolson shook the tea-pot frantically for the fifth back, so long as he came himself, as round and rosy as ever, and merrier than she had seen him in all his life.
“Oh, Mother, I hope you kept supper
We've had such a glorious time! But hungry!-oh!"
“Nick,” whispered his sister Elspeth, “who is this?”
“Oh, I don't know his name. Mother, I don't know what his name is, but this is a new friend I've met to day, and brought to tea ; I told him you were always jolly about my doing so."
Mrs. Woolson was evidently suppressing several emotions, from laughter to ejaculations of dismay; and Elspeth was leaning up against the entry-wall, with eyes fixed upon the new-comer.
“Glad to see you !” said Mr. Woolson, holding out his hand to the collegian as his deep voice reverberated up the stairs and through all the bedrooms (for the house had always been too small for his height and breadth). 6. We've been a-waitin' for you quite a while, sir !'
“AWAY THEY ALL SHOT,- SKATES, SLED, YOUNG MAN, AND NICK." Everybody laughed right out, and the young man joined in as he shook hands, time ; while cousin Dabby Larkin tipped up the and then slapped his knee.
milk-pitcher at Nick's glass so often that, as she “ Thank you, sir !” he answered. “That's the said afterward, she “would n't have been inside best welcome I ever had, for I never deserved any his jacket for twopence ! so little. My name is Fairfax, and by profession I What an evening it was ! How Mr. Fairfax was am a student, and we'll tell you the rest when taken into the midst of the Woolson heart, for bebut, by this time, Elspeth was bustling about and ing the dear, downright, roguish fellow that he Mrs. Woolson was sitting at the tea-tray. Mr. Fair- was! Nick felt as if he had returned from a long fax was made to feel perfectly at home, and had journey. He was never quite the same boy afterhis tea from an old-fashioned cup,- one of those ward, although his life seemed just the same. which Mrs. Woolson valued as highly as she did But it is good to feel that one has changed. the memories of her wedding year; for Nick Inside there, where one's thoughts wake up, and had rattled out a great many pieces of information sometimes will appear to be a little too much like instead of breathing (so it seemed), and among rows and rows of twins. It was good for Nick to feel that he cared more for the great pond Nick never forgot the pleasures which this young than he had cared yesterday for swapping strings man had brought in his wake. But if he felt that for empty physic-bottles, which was then the an enchanting outlook had been given, once for most exciting thing he had experienced. Not all, to his quiet existence through his glimpse of that he could ever despise strings and bottles, a wonder of nature in company with some one but he realized that there was something higher from a gayer sphere than his own, Mr. Fairfax, on and larger than either of those interesting inven- his side, often remembered, when feeling lost in tions.
the wide world, that he had a true young friend unWhen Mr. Fairfax was ready to start back to der the apple-trees, whose honest eyes and dauntless the village, a fine snow was falling, which was the figure had once captivated him in the most unexbeginning of a long storm; and Nick never had pected way. Two people can not strike hands another chance of stepping upon the pond cordially,-- without a shadow of disagreeable in winter. But, until he returned to college, Mr. reserve, -and not gain from each other someFairfax often walked to the farm for a chat with thing, and, perhaps, even the most treasured inthe Woolsons. In the whole course of his life fluence of their lives.
FROM BACH TO WAGNER.
BY AGATHA TUNIS.
in Shakespeare that he decided to write a tragedy.
For two long years he toiled, and during this WILHELM RICHARD WAGNER was born at period he contrived to kill off forty-two people in Leipzig, May 22, 1813. Great as critic, poet, his drama. He was forced to relent, however, and and musician, the life of no composer offers a to recall them as ghosts in the last act in order to more fascinating history than does his, from the have performers enough to play the parts. Meanmoment that his mission first shaped itself in his time he had left Dresden, where he had been mind until the final triumph of his hopes.
living, and entered a school at Leipzig, but he had His parents were people in moderate circum- so neglected his studies for musical composition, stances; his father, a policeman, died when the that he was put back a class; this so discouraged child was a baby. His step-father, Ludwig Geyer, him that he gave himself entirely to his tragedy. an actor and painter, wished to make a painter of When he had nearly finished it, he first heard little Richard, but the child showed no taste for Beethoven's music. This had so strong an influthat art. Geyer died when Richard was in his ence over him that he determined to set his tragedy seventh year, and when his mother told him to music, and purchased a book on thorough-bass that his step-father had hoped he would be some- to prepare himself for his task. So fascinated did thing, he was much moved, and as he himself re- he become with the study, that he determined to lates, “then I too thought I should be something." be a poet no longer, but that music should have When he was nine, he went to school, where he the devotion of his life. When his family learned was the despair of the teacher who instructed him of his tragedy, they were much troubled, for they in music; he paid no attention to his practicing, felt it was the cause of his backwardness at school; but seized every opportunity of repeating the mel- but when they found him to be writing music, they odies that he had heard, especially those of “Der were in despair, for they believed it to be nothing Freischütz,” which had already kindled his power- more than a fancy, and that it might do the ful imagination. Ancient history, mythology, boy great harm. He was not to be discouraged, Greek and Latin were his favorite studies, but his however, and composed in secret. But at last he heart was really in none of these, for he had a was placed under the instruction of Theodore secret aim which absorbed all his thoughts and Weinlig, a man steeped in the spirit of “Father feelings -- he was a poet! In his eleventh year, he Bach,” who put him through a six months' study won a prize for the best poem on a dead school- of counterpoint. Now he learned and loved mate, and soon after this he translated the first Mozart, but Beethoven's wonderful strains held his twelve books of the Odyssey. He taught himself heart by day and night. English, and immediately became so absorbed In 1834, he accepted a position as conductor in the Magdeburg theater, where he only remained a year. and gained him many enemies. In the revolution Filled with the music of Beethoven's symphonies, of 1848, he was obliged to flee from Berlin and seek a most of what he heard seemned dull and trivial, and refuge in Paris. While there, Liszt — who was living he determined to write an opera; he worked with at Weimar-secured the production there of Wagthe greatest enthusiasm, and in 1839 he started for ner's “Lohengrin,” and Wagner now no longer Paris to produce his “Rienzi.” In company with felt the pang of exile, for his opera had found a his wife he embarked on a sailing vessel bound for home on German soil. And soon a greater hapLondon; the voyage was long and tedious, doubly piness was to be his. On his return to Germany, so to Wagner, whose heart was beating with love King Ludwig had just ascended the throne of for his opera, and who could scarcely wait to hear Bavaria ; and one of the first acts of the young it sung. While on the sea his thoughts ran largely prince was to hold out a helping hand to Wagner. on the legend of the “Flying Dutchman” — the He bade him write, and assured him of the royal man who is doomed to wander forever over the sea, protection and help,- a royal promise, and an exile from home and all he holds most dear. royally kept; for, from that time, the prince and The story fascinated Wagner, for he too felt far the musician were the closest friends. Wagner from home. Arriving at Paris, he found that it took up his residence at Munich, where he devoted was impossible to have his opera produced, even himself to writing, and determined to build a though Meyerbeer interested himself in it. After theater of his own, for only in such a house could many struggles and disappointments, he felt there his operas be correctly interpreted. To underwas no hope for him in Paris, and his heart turned again to Germany. A deep longing for the fatherland possessed him; he determined to write a great work, which should be worthy to be sung there. As he sought for a subject on which to found his opera, he remembered the story of the “Flying Dutchman.” He took this for his theme, and into it he poured all the homesickness of his own soul. While composing it, he was obliged to support himself by writing popular operettas, but he was content to do this, for he was working with a high purpose. After finishing the work, he sent it to Leipzig and Munich, where it was rejected. Great as this blow was to him, he was somewhat encouraged on hearing that his “Rienzi," through Meyerbeer's influence, had been accepted at Berlin. He now set out for Germany, and as he looked down into the Rhine the tears swam in his eyes, and “poor artist as I was,” he says, “I swore to be true to the fatherland." His life shows how true he was to his vow. His one dream and ambition was to build up German art. The German stage had long played only French and Italian operas, but he determined to give it a German opera, that the country which had produced a Bach, a. Mozart, and a Beethoven should no longer stand why this was necessary, we must glance at turn to any other country for its opera. He reached some of Wagner's views on art. Germany filled with this high resolve ; this alone In the Italian and French operas, which, until he determined to live for — if need be, to die for. Wagner's day, had been played throughout Ger
In 1842 “Rienzi," and in 1843 “Tannhauser," many, the whole stress is laid on the arias which the were given at Dresden ; but, though they were re- various artists are to sing. People go to such an ceived at first with great enthusiasm, the public opera to be amused, and, after hearing it, give no neither appreciated nor understood them, and thought to the libretto nor to the composer, but Wagner felt there was no hope for him even in the talk only of the singers' voices; the opera itself is German theater. The aim of the stage was not of little consequence; the people are only conhigh,-indeed, it had no aim; and Wagner, in cerned with the singers. The artists themselves disgust at its frivolity, wrote a series of articles look upon the operas simply as opportunities to against it, which drew upon him a bitter opposition, show their voices to the best possible advantage.
Wagner believed that an opera should have a In 1882 Wagner's last opera was produced. In noble aim. So in everything he has given us, this opera of “Parsifal,” his aims are carried to there is some divine struggle going on between the the highest point; the opera is religious in its tone, characters of right and wrong, in which the right and those who listened to it felt as if they were triumphs. As the contest progresses, we ourselves listening to a religious service. So thoroughly was are lost in the characters before us, our noblest this Wagner's intention that he left explicit injuncfeelings are aroused and strengthened. Wagner tions that nowhere outside of Bayreuth should the believed, furthermore, that the subject and words opera be produced. In the summer of 1882, he of an opera were not less important than the took a trip through Italy; while at Venice he commusic; and he has expended as much of his plained of feeling ill, and suddenly died of heart own spirit in writing the librettos of his operas disease, February 13, 1883. as he has poured into his music. No note of the Few in any art have had a loftier or nobler music is for show; every one interprets some word career than Richard Wagner. Had he not been or idea that is in the words; and every thought a great musician he would undoubtedly have been and act of the character is interpreted in the music, a poet; but music took him to herself. With even if it be so insignificant a circumstance as noble aims, he battled against all that was low jumping up a bank or running down a fight of and false in art. Though tried by poverty and steps. The performers, too, are expected to love persecution, he remained faithful to his highest their work, and to sink themselves in their parts; convictions. He was one of the rare souls who they must cease to be themselves and be the char
“ Thought it happier to be dead, acters they represent. So that in one of Wagner's
To die for beauty than live for bread." operas, every one, down to the smallest person connected with it, is necessary to its production; poet, musician, artists, orchestra,—all are great, for each In reading the lives of these masters “From Bach can say, “but for me this could not be !” In order to Wagner,” we find there are a few threads that to accomplish his ideas, Wagner decided to build bind them all together. Perhaps that which has in the heart of Germany a theater in which a impressed us most deeply is the sorrow that most yearly festival should be held, and where German of them were called on to suffer. And yet through opera should be sung by German artists, so that all, how loyal they remained to their art, cherishing the people who came thither from all Germany it like the very lamp of life when all else was dark should know at last that Germany, too, had about them! To Beethoven it was friends, to
He addressed a circular to all in Mozart it was food, to Schubert it was life. So sympathy with him, for help; Wagner societies far from feeling that genius gave them a right to were formed throughout Germany and other shirk labor, they thought it laid them under bonds countries for the purpose of contributing money to to dedicate their lives to it — from Bach, who has his project; and, in 1872, the corner-stone was laid taught every musician who succeeded him, to at Bayreuth, with an address by Wagner and a per- Wagner, who felt that he had a message for the fect rendering of the Ninth Symphony. In 1876, whole world. Nor can we who wish to interpret the theater was finished, and at last the great com- the music of such men succeed solely by drudging poser had carried out all his aims. The theater is at the piano, great as that toil is, but we must very plain ; there is no ornamentation within to throw our whole heart into the music. “Play as distract the eye from the stage, and everything is you feel,” said Chopin; but if one feels nothing, sacrificed to the opera itself.
how can one really play? So we must cultivate Wagner now settled at Bayreuth in a beauti- ourselves in every direction, educating ourselves ful house given him by the King of Bavaria. in every department of study, and in music espeWithin, one is constantly reminded of the com- cially by hearing the best music rendered by the poser's work; a beautiful frieze in one of the halls best performers, by listening to the symphonies is covered with pictures from his opera of the and solos at the Symphony and Philharmonic con“Niebelungen”; his dogs were called Frigga, certs or rehearsals, the oratorios given by Oratorio Freya, and Wotan, after characters in his works, Societies, and the operas as we may have the and a son was named Siegfreid, after one of his opportunity. It were worth all this and more, far famous heroes.
more, to draw music from the piano.