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Givet. In a short time he was quite at home in Glück's study, and soon discovered all the peculiarities of the maestro. Etienne often sat for hours by his side, looking with his sensible eyes at the notes which Glück's hands wrote down, or else listening to his wondrous performance. Now and then, too, he ventured to bring him small compositions, and the maestro looked over them with kindly attention. At times, too, the chevalier, in the midst of his playing, would tell his protégé about Vienna and life in the palace, and anecdotes of Maria Theresa and her lovely daughters. The portrait of Marie Antoinette, too, held the post of honour over the pianoforte. But another feminine portrait on the opposite wall attracted Etienne's eyes far more powerfully than the haughty face of the emperor's daughter-a sweet, loving, girlish face, with blue eyes, which looked unspeakably sad. And he once plucked up the courage to ask Glück about this enchanting creature; and the maestro, thereupon, told him a most touching story. It was the portrait of Gluck's niece, Anna, who died in her seventeenth year, whose delicious voice the Abbate Millico had developed, but who was fated to die, a young and broken bud.
"She died of love for me," said the narrator, on one occasion, "for she loved the son of my enemy, young Piccini, and yet wished to subdue this love, in order not to offend me. As if a person can say to love, 'Begone!' Poor child! she died in the struggle: but in her last hour she confessed everything to me. Oh, guard against love, Etienne
This happy life was interrupted by Glück's departure. Etienne parted from his kind patron in deep emotion. "Let me soon hear something good from you," were Glück's parting words. And ere a year had passed the pupil was able to write at the end of a letter, in which he told his master all about his studies and compositions, and sent him the score of an overture, "La Chasse de Henri IV.:"
"The Parisians are foolish enough already to speak and write about the 'great Mehul.' But with you I shall remain until life's end ‘little Etienne.'
Although Mehul studied and composed so zealously, and began to be celebrated, he did not neglect his "premiers amours, "the little singing girl and Desirée Edelmann. To the former he was also bound by the tie of gratitude, for without her he would never have had the fortune to become a pupil of the great German. It was, in truth, a very easy task to show oneself grateful towards so pretty a creature as Marion was. Since the death of her blind aunt, Edelmann had taken her into his house, as she had long been a most intimate friend of Desirée. The music-master's daughter, however, not only grew up into a charming girl, but also an artiste: she was her father's best scholar, and her pianoforte-playing aroused the admiration of all hearers.
Etienne Mehul had long given up his lessons, but every evening he went to Edelmann's small house as of yore. Two graceful girls tripped to meet him—and the musician, whom all Paris was beginning to appreciate, played with them at battledore, just as if he had never done aught else, and there was no counterpoint in the world. And Etienne, cleverer than his playmates, compelled them to pay for every miss with a kiss-and there was thus no end to the fun and sport.
Now and then, though, it happened that he stopped in his play, looked serious, pulled out his pocket-book, and wrote down all sorts of notes.
"What are you doing there?" his ex-teacher once asked him.
"I am composing an opera for the Beaumênil; I promised it to her, and time is slipping away, and it must be finished in a year."
And in a year it was finished, that charming opera called "Une Folie," which was performed amid tremendous applause, the Beaumênil herself undertaking the chief part. This was the memorable evening on which Etienne omitted for the first time to play at battledore.
The storms of the revolution broke out-the cheerful scene was altered; well-known forms disappeared, and new, wonderful, and terrible ones rose up-it was a fearful time. Etienne Mehul, however, had nothing to fear, for he was carried on the waves of popular favour: he composed fiery songs for the revolutionists, and his melodies were on the lips of all. His songs were as well known and admired in the salons of the aristocrats as they were in the streets. And one small house, quite at the end of the Faubourg Montmartre, hidden among bushes and trees, was called Mehul's house, and it was spared. Here lived his old teacher, who, palsied by illness, and bowed by sorrow at the terrible events of the time, had found a refuge there with his daughter and her friend. But they no longer played at battledore : little Etienne stood at the pianoforte, and Desirée noted down his new compositions. How lovely she appeared, with her tall, graceful form, her delicate, thoughtful face, and deep blue eyes. Quite like a disguised aristocrat! And by her side stood the charming Marion, the child of the people, who in spite of the terrible times had not forgotten her roguish smile, and was called the sunshine of the houseMarion, who sang little Etienne's songs for the first time with a voice that resembled the jubilation of a lark.
This life appeared to Etienne full of unending happiness, until one day a friend asked him jokingly, "Why do not marry one you
your pretty companions?" From this moment all his calmness deserted him, for he could not but think of the remark whenever he saw the two girls. To-day he looked at Desirée with the resolution, "She shall be my wife;" to-morrow, Marion's gay laugh made him form the same resolve about her. In this way time passed and Paris became calm again. Desirée Edelmann began to give lessons and to play in public, amid general admiration; while Marion, on the other hand, was removed to an atmosphere full of splendour by an unexpected legacy left her by a distant relation. The delicious hours of practising suffered considerable interruptions in consequence of these changes. Then it happened that Etienne one summer evening invited Desirée in the garden to accept his hand and heart. But his teacher's daughter heard him pale and trembling, and answered him through her tears:
"It is too late, Etienne. Only yesterday I accepted a man who promised to buy back my father's little property, for which he yearns. In four weeks I shall marry citizen D. Oh! why did not you speak sooner? I loved you so dearly, Etienne !"
And on the day of Desirée's marriage we are forced to confess that Etienne made the same proposal to little Marion. She was looking too
tempting in her pink silk dress and the roses in her powdered hair. But the little woman laughed in his face and said:
"Too late, monsieur; I do not intend to marry now. A year ago would willingly have become your slave, but I now prefer to command slaves myself."
The consequence of this was that Etienne Mehul never married, and satisfied himself with the happiness of being a celebrated man. And he had conscientiously followed all the teaching of his great master except one, "Guard against love." Many a pretty face made his heart heavy for a season, but he never became melancholy, for he was a Frenchman, and a musician to boot.
Loved and honoured, he lived cheerily up to the day of his death. Etienne Mehul, the cèlebrated composer of "Joseph in Egypt," died in year 1817, as Professor of the Conservatoire at Paris, and Member of the Legion of Honour.
A CHANT FOR THE PRINCE,
BORN JANUARY 8, 1864.
BY MRS. ACTON TINDAL.
THE youngest Heir of the realms that lie
So flushes spring in thy Mother's land
Through beechen woods, over downs of sand,
Thou cam'st when hearts to a soft regret,
And a thoughtful joy were strung;
For years departing and opening, yet
The carol and dirge we sung;
While echoed round us the chiming bells
For vigil and festal high,
Leading us on through the page that tells
Of the Saviour's infancy;
And sages mild,
And the mother-maid He went,
Among martyrs innocent—
A motley train-but the light they brought
For the living and the dead,
Hath never ceased through the worlds of thought,
Thy Father's people afar and near
'Tis to none more dear,
To none more clear
Than to those who met Thee with prayer and cheer,
Our lands are locked in their wintry rest,
In the fabled West,
That burnt in the olden days.
Their best excuse,
Had they known its use,
Who work'd evil long ago;
We read of souls who have borne the brand
Of victims smote with unsparing hand,
They who swayed the rod,
Or crouched 'neath its stripes to moan;
For His grace sublime
Who hath suffered to atone,
Of the Quick and Dead,
Heir to the lessons a hundred Kings
'Mid examples rare,
Oh! well hath thy lot been cast-
In the Present light,
And not in the painful Past.
THE FROZEN LAKE. THE MORGUE.
PRIOR to the date at which this story begins, I had suffered pecuniary losses. These accounted for my being in Paris in the winter of 1859. I had found it necessary to leave my native country. In plain English, I had ran away from my creditors. My difficulties were of my own creating. I had no one to blame but myself, and I had blamed myself bitterly enough during the period intervening between my losses and 1859, when things reached their climax.
I like not to recal that period, and it is not my wish to enlist pity. I refer to these things merely to explain the state of feeling in which, now that the worst had come, I found myself in Paris. My misfortunes arose from error in judgment, from extravagance, from gambling, from temporary madness it might be, not from anything dishonourable. Clear of that taint had stood our house for three hundred years. I had lived on, it is true, after being ruined, as if I were not ruined-as if I was still entitled to retain the position in society our family had held; but as I did not increase my debt, I satisfied my conscience as well as I could by the reflection that I kept up appearances in order to avail myself of any facilities of extrication they might afford. That and my original folly were the head and front of my offending, and the mental suffering I had endured seemed to me more than a just punishment.
Enough of this. I had arrived in Paris the 20th of December, 1859, in good health and bad spirits, with thirty sovereigns in my pocket. I had taken care to get away without being observed, and thanks to the abolition of passports, thanks to the primitive habits of the place from which I had come, I had every reason to believe-and since I have had no reason to doubt that, with one exception, nobody in England knew where I had gone to. I was, moreover, tolerably certain that, with one exception also, no man in the brilliant metropolis of civilisation-nay, no one who owned the sway of Napoleon III.-had the remotest knowledge of my previous history, or the slightest interest in my future fate. My former existence was wiped out, and I was henceforth connected or related to no one.
I took up my quarters in the Rue de Richelieu, about the noisiest thoroughfare in Paris. It was midnight when I reached my hotel, and I lost no time in going to bed. But I could not sleep. Ever like the sea rose the noise of the streets, that indescribable and hopeless moan which all who have courted slumber in London or Paris with hearts ill at ease have felt.
I rose early and unrefreshed, and, after an uncomfortable breakfast, I set out to try a remedy for low spirits, which had never as yet failed me when in Paris. That remedy was simply a lounge in the principal streets. Nor did the Rue de Rivoli and the Italian Boulevard now fail in their accustomed effect; the sense of escape from disagreeable association, the novelty of scene, the frosty air, and the contagion of careless enjoyment caught from every one I met in this city consecrated to the laissez allez, soon braced my nerves, and restored me to that devil-me-care equanimity