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Fragments of an Autobiography   By: (1833-1917)

Fragments of an Autobiography by Felix Moscheles

First Page:

Fragments of an Autobiography

DEDICATED TO MY WIFE

[Illustration: Charlotte Moscheles]

Fragments of an Autobiography

BY FELIX MOSCHELES AUTHOR OF "IN BOHEMIA WITH DU MAURIER," ETC.

London JAMES NISBET & CO., LTD. 21 BERNERS STREET 1899

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. At the Ballantyne Press

PREFACE

I have often found it hard to read a preface; much harder do I find it to day to write one. If I do so, it is because it gives me an opportunity of owning that I have strung these my reminiscences together most unceremoniously and unsystematically. They are to be taken only as "Fragments of an Autobiography," very much on the same lines as the first volume which recorded my adventures in Bohemia with Du Maurier. If the reader, thus duly forewarned, elects to follow me over the uneven road, he will, I trust, not mind a little jolting. If, however, he judges that the gaps and omissions in my life story are unjustifiable, he must not be surprised should I attempt to set things right in a third volume. I should be all the more inclined to do so as there are some other fragments and segments waiting to be pieced together which are connected with the brightest days of my life.

The writing of the present chapters has often been a source of genuine pleasure to me, for I say with Bolingbroke in Richard II .: "I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good friends."

And now that I have come to a full stop, I am left in that pleasant frame of mind in which I would fain believe in the proverbial kindness of the reader that deity from times immemorial appealed to by the preface writer, a frame of mind unduly optimistic perhaps, but which emboldens me to hope that I may find some new friends amongst those who will care to read what I have to say about the old ones.

F. M.

LONDON, February 1899 .

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

PAGE

EARLY IMPRESSIONS 1

CHAPTER II

WILL YOU SIT FOR ME, FRIDA? 58

CHAPTER III

LEIPSIC IN 1847 AND 1848 MENDELSSOHN'S DEATH 92

CHAPTER IV

MY FIRST COMMISSION 110

CHAPTER V

CLAUDE RAOUL DUPONT 116

CHAPTER VI

A TRIP TO AMERICA IN 1883 208

CHAPTER VII

GROVER CLEVELAND "VIEWED" 234

CHAPTER VIII

GIUSEPPE MAZZINI 246

CHAPTER IX

ROSSINI 271

CHAPTER X

PARIS AFTER THE COMMUNE 300

CHAPTER XI

SOME INCIDENTS OF ROBERT BROWNING'S VISITS TO THE STUDIO 317

FRAGMENTS OF AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

CHAPTER I

EARLY IMPRESSIONS

I well remember the terrors of a certain night when the wind was howling and the rain was beating down in torrents over the arid plains of the L√ľneburger Haide; between them they had blown or blotted out the flickering lights of a heavy, lumbering travelling carriage such as one used to hire in the so called good old times. The horses were plunging in the mire, the postillion was swearing, and a very small boy was howling. That boy was I, and the incident marks my first entrance into that conscious life which registers events in our memories. Not that I exactly remember what happened, and how we got out of the ankle deep mud, and finally reached our destination; but I have no doubt that my father and the "brother in law," as the German postillion was addressed in those days, had to get the wheels out of the ruts as best they could without assistance, for there was no traveller, weary or otherwise, of the regulation first chapter pattern, to come to the rescue.

No I remember but little of it, but I have lived it all over again every time I have heard the dramatic strains of Schubert's Erl king. Great artists, gifted with the power of song, have depicted the whole scene to me in thrilling accents; dear old Rubinstein, the friend, alas, I lost all too soon grand old Rubinstein, the master whose magic touch swept the keyboard as the hurricane sweeps the plain could conjure up visions of a misty past in my mind... Continue reading book >>




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