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- In the Courts of Memory 1858-1875. - 1/69 -
[Illustration: MADAME CHARLES MOULTON]
IN THE COURTS OF MEMORY 1858-1875 FROM CONTEMPORARY LETTERS
BY L. DE HEGERMANN-LINDENCRONE
ILLUSTRATIONS MADAME CHARLES MOULTON THE FAY HOUSE, CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS EMPEROR NAPOLEON III EMPRESS EUGÉNIE DANIEL FRANÇOIS ESPRIT AUBER FACSIMILE OF LETTER FROM THE DUKE DE MORNY JENNY LIND THE MAIN FAÇADE--CHÂTEAU DE COMPIÈGNE SALLE DES FÊTES--CHÂTEAU DE COMPIÈGNE CHÂTEAU DE PIERREFONDS THE MUSIC HALL--CHÂTEAU DE COMPIÈGNE FACSIMILE OF LETTER FROM JENNY LIND FACSIMILE OF LISZT LETTER MÉRIMÉE'S SIGNATURE AND ANSWERS TO MADAME MOULTON'S QUESTIONS LA SALLE DES PREUX--CHÂTEAU DE PIERREFONDS.... PRINCE METTERNICH'S SIGNATURE AND ANSWERS TO MADAME MOULTON'S QUESTIONS NAPOLEON'S SIGNATURE AND ANSWERS TO MADAME MOULTON'S QUESTIONS EMPRESS EUGÉNIE'S SIGNATURE AND ANSWERS TO MADAME MOULTON'S QUESTIONS ELIHU WASHBURN RUE DE RIVOLI, WHERE THE HÔTEL CONTINENTAL NOW STANDS RAOUL RIGAULT FACSIMILE OF PASSPORT ISSUED TO MADAME MOULTON DURING THE COMMUNE FACSIMILE OF THE GOVERNMENT PERMIT TO KEEP COWS PLACE VENDÔME AFTER THE FALL OF THE COLUMN FACSIMILE OF TICKET TO PLACE VENDÔME FACSIMILE OF ENVELOPE ADDRESSED BY THE EMPRESS EUGÉNIE TO PRINCE METTERNICH GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI
These letters, written by me in my younger days to a dear and indulgent mother and aunt, were returned to me after their death. In writing them I allowed myself to go into the smallest details, even the most insignificant ones, as I was sure that they would be welcome and appreciated by those to whom they were addressed. They were certainly not intended to be made public.
If I have decided, after much hesitation, to publish these letters, it is because many of my friends, having read them, have urged me to do so, thinking that they might be of interest, inasmuch as they refer to some important events of the past, and especially to people of the musical world whose names and renown are not yet forgotten.
LILLIE DE HEGERMANN-LINDENCRONE. BERLIN, _July, 1912._
Madame de Hegermann-Lindencrone, the writer of these letters, which give so vivid a picture of the brilliant court of the last Napoleon, is the wife of the present Danish Minister to Germany. She was formerly Miss Lillie Greenough, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she lived with her grandfather, Judge Fay, in the fine old Fay mansion, now the property of Radcliffe College.
As a child Miss Greenough developed the remarkable voice which later was to make her well known, and when only fifteen years of age her mother took her to London to study under Garcia. Two years later Miss Greenough became the wife of Charles Moulton, the son of a well-known American banker, who had been a resident in Paris since the days of Louis Philippe. As Madame Charles Moulton, the charming American became an appreciated guest at the court of Napoleon III. The Paris papers of the days of the Second Empire are filled with the praises of her personal attractions and exquisite singing.
After nine years of gaiety in the gayest city in the world came the war of 1870 and the Commune. Upon the fall of the Empire, Mrs. Moulton returned to America, where Mr. Moulton died, and a few years afterward she married M. de Hegermann-Lindencrone, at that time Danish Minister to the United States, and later successively his country's representative at Stockholm, Rome, and Paris.
Few persons of her day have known so many of those whom the world has counted great. Among her friends have been not only the ruling monarchs of several countries, and the most distinguished men and women of their courts, but almost all the really important figures in the world of music of the past half-century, among them Wagner, Liszt, Auber, Gounod, and Rossini. And of many of these great men the letters give us glimpses of the most fascinatingly intimate sort.
IN THE COURTS OF MEMORY
DEAR M.,--You say in your last letter, "Do tell me something about your school." If I only had the time, I could write volumes about my school, and especially about my teachers.
To begin with, Professor Agassiz gives us lectures on zoölogy, geology, and all other ologies, and draws pictures on the blackboard of trilobites and different fossils, which is very amusing. We call him "Father Nature," and we all adore him and try to imitate his funny Swiss accent.
Professor Pierce, who is, you know, the greatest mathematician in the world, teaches us mathematics and has an awful time of it; we must be very stupid, for the more he explains, the less we seem to understand, and when he gets on the rule of three we almost faint from dizziness. If he would only explain the rule of one! The Harvard students say that his book on mathematics is so intricate that not one of them can solve the problems.
We learn history and mythology from Professor Felton, who is very near- sighted, wears broad-brimmed spectacles, and shakes his curly locks at us when he thinks we are frivolous. He was rather nonplussed the other day, when Louise Child read out loud in the mythology lesson something about "Jupiter and ten." "What," cried Mr. Felton, "what are you reading? You mean 'Jupiter and Io,' don't you?" "It says ten here," she answered.
Young Mr. Agassiz teaches us German and French; we read Balzac's _Les Chouans_ and Schiller's _Wallenstein_.
Our Italian teacher, Luigi Monti, is a refugee from Italy, and has a sad and mysterious look in his black eyes; he can hardly speak English, so we have things pretty much our own way during the lessons, for he cannot correct us. One of the girls, translating _capelli neri_, said "black hats," and he never saw the mistake, though we were all dying of laughter.
No one takes lessons in Greek from long-bearded, fierce-eyed Professor Evangelinus Apostolides Sophocles, so he is left in peace. He does not come more than once a week anyway, and then only to say it is no use his coming at all.
Cousin James Lowell replaces Mr. Longfellow the days he can't come. He reads selections of "literary treasures," as he calls them, and on which he discourses at length. He seems very dull and solemn when he is in school; not at all as he is at home. When he comes in of an afternoon and reads his poems to aunty and to an admiring circle of cousins and sisters- in-law, they all roar with laughter, particularly when he reads them with a Yankee accent. He has such a rippling little giggle while reading, that it is impossible not to laugh.
The other day he said to me, "Cousin Lillie, I will take you out for a walk in recess." I said, "Nothing I should like better, but I can't go." "Why not?" said he. "Because I must go and be a beggar." "What do you mean?" he asked. "I mean that there is a duet that Mrs. Agassiz favors just now, from Meyerbeer's 'Le Prophète,' where she is beggar number one and I am beggar number two." He laughed. "You are a lucky little beggar, anyway. I envy you." "Envy me? I thought you would pity me," I said. "No, I do not pity you, I envy you being a beggar with a voice!"
I consider myself a victim. In recess, when the other girls walk in Quincy Street and eat their apples, Mrs. Agassiz lures me into the parlor and makes me sing duets with her and her sister, Miss Carey. I hear the girls filing out of the door, while I am caged behind the piano, singing, "Hear Me, Norma," wishing Norma and her twins in Jericho.
There are about fourteen pupils now; we go every morning at nine o'clock and stay till two o'clock. We climb up the three stories in the Agassiz house and wait for our teachers, who never are on time. Sometimes school does not begin for half an hour.
Mrs. Agassiz comes in, and we all get up to say good morning to her. As there is nothing else left for her to teach, she teaches us manners. She looks us over, and holds up a warning finger smilingly. She is so sweet and gentle.
I don't wonder that you think it extraordinary that all these fine teachers, who are the best in Harvard College, should teach us; but the reason is, that the Agassiz's have built a new house and find it difficult to pay for it, so their friends have promised to help them to start this school, and by lending their names they have put it on its legs, so to speak.
The other day I was awfully mortified. Mr. Longfellow, who teaches us literature, explained all about rhythm, measures, and the feet used in poetry. The idea of poetry having feet seemed so ridiculous that I thought out a beautiful joke, which I expected would amuse the school immensely; so when he said to me in the lesson, "Miss Greenough, can you tell me what blank verse is?" I answered promptly and boldly, "Blank verse is like a blank-book; there is nothing in it, not even feet," and looked around for
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