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Boris Lensky   By: (1854-1934)

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Transcriber's Note: 1. Page scan source: 2. Ossip Schubin is the pseudonym for Lola Kirschner. 3. There are 4 missing words or two word phrases in the 3d para., Page 54; and 6 missing words or two word phrases in the 2nd para. page 55. Missing text is indicated with "[...]" sequences.



From the German


Translated by √Člise L. Lathrop



Copyright, 1891, by WORTHINGTON CO.

Press of J. J. Little & Co. Astor Place, New York


"He had many faults, but one greatest of all faults he had not, that of quackery

"With all his faults he was a man, fiery real from the great fire bosom of nature herself." Carlyle.


"Whoever wishes to know how great is the power which the charm of music can exercise over humanity must visit one of Boris Lensky's concerts.

"Boris Lensky! The name in itself has a legendary sound a magic fascination surrounds the man and his violin. For every one who has attended one of his concerts, the longing, listening expression on the faces of the women who hear him is something which remains forever interwoven in remembrance with the complaining sweetness of his art. The best and noblest of women, when they listen to his wonderful violin, fall into a feverish trance which makes them lose all power over themselves.

"In Russia they call Boris Lensky the devil's violinist, and in explanation of the godless charm which glows in his art, the following neat little tale is told:

"Almost fifty years ago, crept through the poorest quarter of Moscow a neglected, ugly child, who, in order to earn his scanty food, scraped his violin as best he might, and sometimes received a copeck, but never a caress. This child was Boris Lensky. His heart languished for tenderness, like that of all repulsed ones. Then the devil met him, and allured him with splendid temptations. He would lay the whole world at his feet, if the boy would give him his soul for his own in exchange. But the boy felt a terror at this hellish slavery and said: 'No.' Then the devil at first went his way, and gnashed his teeth that he had not succeeded in capturing a human soul. But suddenly he turned back and called to the boy: 'I desire nothing of you; keep your soul; but you shall accept a present from me a gift. In your art shall dwell a charm which no one can resist.'

"Then the boy was astonished at the devil's generosity, and accepted the gift. But the devil rejoiced, for he said to himself: 'If I have lost one soul, I have taken ten thousand others for it.' But the violinist soon noticed what a curse had fallen to his share.

"Denying all nobility, and still feeling a horror of the degrading power within him, he now goes through the world, restless, joyless, and without power over his own demoniac art a resisting tool in the devil's hand. And he longs despairingly to find a being who could resist the fiendish charm, but he finds none.

"Thus the Russian tale.

"Now Lensky has grown old and gray in the service of the devil. His friends with fright notice in him the evermore plainly noticeable signs of physical decay. In his art he stands greater than ever, and from his violin sounds out to the public a wild, triumphing, and despairing swan song!"

This somewhat exaggerated production an old lady read aloud with declamatory emphasis, in whom at the first glance one perceived the Englishwoman and the spinster... Continue reading book >>

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