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INA KLOSKING worked night and day upon "Siebel" in Gounod's "Faust," and upon the songs that had been added to give weight to the part.

She came early to the theatre at night, and sat, half dressed, fatigued, and nervous, in her dressing-room.

Crash the first coup d'archet announced the overture, and roused her energy, as if Ithuriel's spear had pricked her. She came down dressed, to listen at one of the upper entrances, to fill herself with the musical theme, before taking her part in it, and also to gauge the audience, and the singers.

The man "Faust" was a German; but the musical part "Faust" seems better suited to an Italian or a Frenchman. Indeed some say that, as a rule, the German genius excels in creation, and the Italian in representation or interpretation. For my part I am unable to judge nations in the lump, as some fine fellows do, because nations are composed of very different individuals, and I know only one to the million; but

VOL. CXX.-NO. DCCXXIX.

I do take on me to say that the individual Herr who executed Doctor Faustus at Homburg that night, had everything to learn, except what he had to unlearn. His person was obese; his delivery of the words was mouthing, chewing, and gurgling; and he uttered the notes in tune, but without point, pathos, or passion; a steady lay-clerk from York or Durham Cathedral would have done a little better, because he would have been no colder at heart, and more exact in time, and would have sung clean, whereas this gentleman set his windpipe trembling, all through the business, as if palsy was passion. By what system of leverage such a man came to be hoisted on to such a pinnacle of song as "Faust," puzzled our English friends in front as much as it did the Anglo-Danish artist at the wing; for English girls know what is what in Opera.

The "Marguerite " had a voice of sufficient compass, and rather sweet, though thin. The part demands a better actress than Patti, and this Fraulein was not half as good: she

A

put on the painful grin of a prizefighter who has received a staggerer, and grinned all through the part, though there is little in it to grin at. She also suffered by having to play to a "Faust" milked of his poetry, and self-smitten with a "tremolo," which, as I said before, is the voice of palsy, and is not, nor ever was, nor ever will be, the voice of passion. Bless your heart! passion is a manly thing, a womanly thing, a grand thing; not a feeble, quavering, palsied, anile, senile thing. Learn that, ye trembling, quavering idiots of song!

"They let me down," whispered Ina Klosking to her faithful Ashmead. "I feel all out of tune. I shall never be able. And the audience so cold. It will be like singing in a sepulchre."

"What would you think of them if they applauded?" said Ashmead. "I should say they were good, charitable souls, and the very audience I shall want in five minutes."

"No, no," said Ashmead; "all you want is a discriminating audience; and this is one. Remember they have all seen Patti in Marguerite.' Is it likely they would applaud this tin stick?"

Ina turned the conversation with

feminine quickness. "Mr Ashmead, have you kept your promise? my name is not in the programme?"

"It is not; and a great mistake, too."

"I have not been announced by name in any way?"

"No. But of course I have nursed you a bit."

"Nursed me? What is that? Oh, what have you been doing? No charlatanerie, I hope."

"Nothing of the kind," said Ashmead, stoutly; "only the regular business."

"And pray what is the regular business?" inquired Ina, distrustfully.

"Why, of course, I sent on the manager to say that Mademoiselle Schwaub was taken seriously ill; that we had been fearing we must break faith with the public, for the first time. But that a cantatrice, who had left the stage, appreciated our difficulty, and had, with rare kindness, come to our aid for this one night: we felt sure a Humbug audience-what am I saying?-a Homburg audience would appreciate this, and make due allowance for a performance undertaken in such a spirit, and with imperfect rehearsals, &c.-in short, the usual patter; and the usual effect, great applause. Indeed the only applause that I have heard in this theatre tonight. Ashmead ahead of Gounod,

so far."

nioan.

Ina Klosking put both hands before her face, and gave a little She had really a soul above these artifices. "So then," said she, "if they do receive me, it will be out of charity."

"No, no; but on your first night you must have two strings to your bow."

These

"But I have only one. cajoling speeches are a waste of breath. A singer can sing, or she can not sing, and they find out which it is, as soon as she opens her mouth."

"Well, then, you open your mouth -that is just what half the singers can't do and they will soon find out you can sing."

"I hope they may; I do not know. I am discouraged; I'm terrified; I think it is stage-fright," and she began to tremble visibly, for the time drew near.

Ashmead ran off, and brought her some brandy-and-water. She put up her hand against it with royal scorn. "No, sir!-if the theatre-and the lights-and the people-the mind of Goethe-and the music of Gounod, can't excite me

without that, put me at the counter of a café, for I have no business here."

The power, without violence, and the grandeur with which she said this, would have brought down the house had she spoken it in a play without a note of music; and Ashmead drew back respectfully, but chuckled internally at the idea of this Minerva giving change in a café.

And now her cue was coming. She ordered everybody out of the entrance not very ceremoniously, and drew well back. Then, at her cue, she made a stately rush, and so, being in full swing before she cleared the wing, she swept into the centre of the stage with great rapidity and resolution; no trace either of her sorrowful heart or her quaking limbs was visible from the front.

There was a little applause, all due to Ashmead's preliminary apology, but there was no real reception; for Germany is large and musical, and she was not immediately recognised at Homburg. But there was that indescribable flutter which marks a good impression and keen expectation suddenly aroused. She was beautiful on the stage, for one thing; her figure rather tall and stately, and her face full of power: and then the very way she came on showed the step and carriage of an artist at home upon the boards.

She cast a rapid glance round the house, observed its size, and felt her way. She sang her first song evenly, but not tamely, yet with restrained power; but the tones were so full and flexible, the expression so easy yet exact, that the judges saw there was no effort, and suspected something big might be yet in store to-night. At the end of her song she did let out for a moment, and, at this well-timed foretaste of her power, there was applause, but nothing wonderful.

She was quite content, however. She met Ashmead, as she came off, and said, "All is well, my friend, so far. so far. They are sitting in judgment on me, like sensible people, and not in a hurry. I rather like that."

"Your own fault," said Joseph. "You should have been announced. Prejudice is a surer card than judgment. The public is an ass."

"It must come to the same thing in the end," said the Klosking, firmly. "One can sing, or one cannot."

Her next song was encored, and she came off flushed with art and gratified pride. "I have no fears now," said she, to her Achates, firmly. "I have my barometer; a young lady in the stalls. Oh, such a beautiful creature, with black hair and eyes! She applauds me fearlessly. Her glorious eyes speak to mine, and inspire me. She is happy, she is. I drink sunbeams at her. I shall act and sing 'Le Parlate d'Amor' for her-and you will see."

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