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   Chapter 6 ROBERT SCHUMANN AND CLARA WIECK

The Love Affairs of Great Musicians, Volume 2 By Rupert Hughes Characters: 88296

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03


"I am not satisfied with any man who despises music. For music is a gift of God. It will drive away the devil and makes people cheerful. Occupied with it, man forgets all anger, unchastity, pride, and other vices. Next to theology, I give music the next place and highest praise."-MARTIN LUTHER.

By a little violence to chronology, I am putting last of all the story of Schumann's love-life, because it marks the highest point of musical amour.

If music have any effect at all upon character, especially upon the amorous development and activity of character, that effect ought to be discoverable-if discoverable it is-with double distinctness where two musicians have fallen in love with each other, and with each other's music. There are many instances where both the lovers were musically inclined, but in practically every case, save in one, there has been a great disparity between their abilities.

The whimsical Fates, however, decided to make one trial of the experiment of bringing two musicians of the first class into a sphere of mutual influence and affection. The result was so beautiful, so nearly ideal, that-needless to say-it has not been repeated. But while the experiment has not been duplicated, the story well merits a repetition, especially in view of the fact that the woman's side of the romance has only recently been given to the public in Litzmann's biography, only half of which has been published in German and none in English.

There can surely be no dispute that Robert Schumann was one of the most original and individual of composers, and one of the broadest and deepest-minded musicians in the history of the art. Nor can there be any doubt that Clara Wieck was one of the richest dowered musicians who ever shed glory upon her sex. Henry T. Finck was, perhaps, right, when he called her "the most gifted woman that has ever chosen music as a profession."

Robert Schumann showed his determined eccentricity before he was born, for surely no child ever selected more unconventional parents. Would you believe it? It was the mother who opposed the boy's taking up music as a career! the father who wished him to follow his natural bent! and it was the father who died while Schumann was young, leaving him to struggle for years against his mother's will!

Not that Frau Schumann was anything but a lovable and a most beloved mother. Robert's letters to her show a remarkable affection even for a son. Indeed, as Reissmann says in his biography:

"As in most cases, Robert's youthful years belonged almost wholly to his mother, and indeed her influence chiefly developed that pure fervour of feeling to which his whole life bore witness; this, however, soon estranged him from the busy world and was the prime factor in that profound melancholy which often overcame him almost to suicide."

Frau Schumann wished Robert to study law, and sent him to the University at Leipzig for that purpose and later to Heidelberg. He was not the least interested in his legal studies, but loved to play the piano, and write letters, and dream of literature, to idolise Jean Paul Richter and to indulge a most commendable passion for good cigars. He was not dilatory at love, and went through a varied apprenticeship before his heart seemed ready for the fierce test it was put to in his grand passion.

In 1827, he being then seventeen years old, we find him writing to a schoolfellow a letter of magnificent melancholy; the tone of its allusions to a certain young woman reminds one of Chopin's early love letters. How sophomoric and seventeen-year-oldish they sound!

"Oh, friend! were I but a smile, how would I flit about her eyes! ... were I but joy, how gently would I throb in all her pulses! yea, might I be but a tear, I would weep with her, and then, if she smiled again, how gladly would I die on her eyelash, and gladly, gladly, be no more."

"My past life lies before me like a vast, vast evening landscape, over which faintly quivers a rosy kiss from the setting sun."

He bewails two dissipated ideals. One, named "Liddy," "a narrow-minded soul, a simple maiden from innocent Eutopia; she cannot grasp an idea." And yet she was very beautiful, and if she were "petrified," every critic would pronounce her perfection. The boy sighs with that well-known senility of seventeen:

"I think I loved her, but I knew only the outward form in which the roseate tinted fancy of youth often embodies its inmost longings. So I have no longer a sweetheart, but am creating for myself other ideals, and have in this respect also broken with the world."

Again he looks back upon his absorbing passion for a glorious girl called "Nanni," but that blaze is now "only a quietly burning sacred flame of pure divine friendship and reverence."

A month after this serene resignation he goes to Dresden, and finds his heart full of longing for this very "Nanni." He roves the streets looking under every veil that flutters by him in the street, in the hope that he might see her features; he remembers again "all the hours which I dreamed away so joyfully, so blissfully in her arms and her love." He did not see her, but later, to his amazement, he stumbles upon the supposedly finished sweetheart "Liddy." She is bristling with "explanations upon explanations." She begs him to go up a steep mountain alone with her. He goes "from politeness, perhaps also for the sake of adventure." But they are both dumb and tremulous and they reach the peak just at sunset. Schumann describes that sunset more gaudily than ever chromo was painted. But at any rate it moved him to seize Liddy's hand and exclaim, somewhat mal-à-propos: "Liddy, such is our life."

He plucked a rose and was about to give it to her when a flash of lightning and a cloud of thunder woke him from his dreams; he tore the rose to pieces, and they returned home in silence.

In 1828, at Augsburg, he cast his affectionate eyes upon Clara von Kurer, the daughter of a chemist; but found her already engaged. It was now that he entered the University at Leipzig to study law. The wife of Professor Carus charmed him by her singing and inspired various songs. At her house he met the noted piano teacher, Friedrich Wieck, and thus began an acquaintance of strange vicissitude and strange power for torment and delight.

Wieck, who was then forty-three, chiefly lived in the career of his wonder-child, a pianist, Clara Josephine Wieck. She had been born at Leipzig on September 13, 1819, and was only nine years old, and nine years younger than Schumann, when they met. She made a sensational début in concert the same year. And, child as she was, she excited at once the keenest and most affectionate admiration in Schumann. He did not guess then how deeply she was doomed to affect him, but while she was growing up his heart seemed merely to loaf about till she was ready for it.

For a time he became Wieck's pupil, hoping secretly to be a pianist, not a lawyer. He dreamed already of storming America with his virtuosity.

In 1829, while travelling, he wrote his mother, "I found it frightfully hard to leave Leipzig at the last. A girl's soul, beautiful, happy, and pure, had enslaved mine." But this soul was not Clara's. A few months later, he made a tour through Italy, and wrote of meeting "a beautiful English girl, who seemed to have fallen in love, not so much with myself as my piano playing, for all English women love with the head-I mean they love Brutuses, or Lord Byrons, or Mozart and Raphaels." Surely one of the most remarkable statements ever made, and appropriately demolished by the very instances brought to substantiate it, for, to the best of my knowledge, Mozart, Brutus, and Raphael had affairs with other than English women; and so did, for the matter of that, Lord Byron.

A week later Schumann wrote from Venice, whither he had apparently followed the English beauty:

"Alas, my heart is heavy ... she gave me a spray of cypress when we parted.... She was an English girl, very proud, and kind, and loving, and hating ... hard but so soft when I was playing-accursed reminiscences!"

The wound was not mortal. A little later, and he was showing almost as much enthusiasm in his reference to his cigars. "Oh, those cigars!" We find him smoking one at five A.M., on July 30th, at Heidelberg. He had risen early to write, "the most important letter I have ever written," pleading ardently with his mother to let him be a musician. She decided to leave the decision concerning her son's future to Wieck, who, knowing Schumann's attainments and promise, voted for music. Schumann, wild with delight and ambition, fled from Heidelberg and the law. He went to Mainz on a steamer with many English men and women, and he writes his mother, "If ever I marry, it will be an English girl." He did not know what was awaiting him in the home of Wieck, whose house he entered as pupil and lodger, almost as a son.

Here he worked like a fiend at his theory and practice. He suffered from occasional attacks of the most violent melancholy, obsessions of inky gloom, which kept returning upon him at long intervals. But when he threw off the spell, he was himself again, and could write to his mother of still new amours:

"I have filled my cup to the brim by falling in love the day before yesterday. The gods grant that my ideal may have a fortune of 50,000."

In 1830 he flirted with the beautiful Anita Abegg; her name suggested to him a theme for his Opus I, published in 1831, and based upon the notes A-B-E-G-G. He apologised to his family for not dedicating his first work to them, but explained that it was not good enough. It is published with an inscription to "Pauline, Comtesse d'Abegg," a disguise which puzzled his family, until he explained that he himself was the "father" of the "Countess" d'Abegg.

It was two years before he confessed another flirtation. In 1833, he went to Frankfort to hear Paganini, and there it was a case of "pretty girl at the willow-bush-staring match through opera-glasses-champagne." The next year he was torn between two admirations. One, the daughter of the German-born American consul at Liepzig,-her name was Emily List; she was sixteen, and he described her "as a thoroughly English girl, with black sparkling eyes, black hair, and firm step; and full of intellect, and dignity, and life."

The other was Ernestine von Fricken, daughter-by adoption, though this he did not know-of a rich Bohemian baron. Of her he wrote:

"She has a delightfully pure, child-like mind, is delicate and thoughtful, deeply attached to me and everything artistic, and uncommonly musical-in short just such a one as I might wish to have for a wife; and I will whisper it in your ear, my good mother, if the Future were to ask me whom I should choose, I would answer unhesitatingly, 'This one,' But that is all in the dim distance; and even now I renounce the prospect of a more intimate relationship, although, I dare say, I should find it easy enough."

Ernestine, like Robert, was a pupil and boarder at the home of the Wiecks. She and Robert had acted as godparents to one of Wieck's children, possibly Clara's half-sister, Marie, also in later years a prominent pianist and teacher.

The affair with Ernestine grew more serious. In 1834 he wrote a letter of somewhat formal and timid devotion to her. A little later, with fine diplomacy, he also wrote a fatherly letter to her supposed father, praising some of the baron's compositions with certain reservations, and adding, as a coup de grace, the statement that he himself was writing some variations on a theme of the baron's own.

The same month Ernestine and Robert became engaged. He was deeply, joyously fond of her, and he poured out his soul to her friend, who was also a distinguished musician, Henrietta Voigt. To her he wrote of Ernestine:

"Ernestine has written to me in great delight. She has sounded her father by means of her mother; and he gives her to me! Henrietta, he gives her to me! do you understand that? And yet I am so wretched; it seems as though I feared to accept this jewel, lest it should be in unworthy hands. If you ask me to put a name to my grief I cannot do it. I think it is grief itself; but alas, it may be love itself, and mere longing for Ernestine. I really cannot stand it any longer, so I have written to her to arrange a meeting one of these days. If you should ever feel thoroughly happy, then think of two souls who have placed all that is most sacred to them in your keeping, and whose future happiness is inseparably bound up with your own."

This Madame Voigt, who died at the age of thirty-one, once said that on a beautiful summer evening, she and Schumann, after playing various music, had rowed out in a boat, and, shipping the oars, had sat side by side in complete silence-that deathlike silence which so often enveloped Schumann even in the circles of his friends at the taverns. When they returned after a mute hour, Schumann pressed her hand and exclaimed, "Today we have understood each other perfectly."

It was under Ernestine's inspiration, which Schumann called "a perfect godsend," that he fashioned the various jewels that make up the music of his "Carnéval," using for his theme the name of Ernestine's birthplace, "Asch," which he could spell in music in two ways: A-ES-C-H, or AS-C-H, for ES is the German name for E flat, while AS is our A flat and H our B natural. He was also pleased to note that the letters S-C-H-A were in his own name.

While all this flirtation and loving and getting betrothed was going on in the home of Wieck, there was another member of the same household, another pupil of the same teacher, who was not deriving so much delight from the arrangement. Through it all, a great-eyed, great-hearted, greatly suffering little girl of fifteen was learning, for the first time, sorrow. This was Clara Wieck, who was already electrifying the most serious critics and captivating the most cultured audiences by the maturity of her art, already winning an encore with a Bach fugue,-an unheard-of miracle. As Wieck wrote in the diary, which he and his daughter kept together, "This marked a new era in piano music." At the age of twelve, she played with absolute mastery the most difficult music ever written.

But her public triumph made her only half-glad, for she was watching at home the triumph of another girl over the youth she loved. Can't you see her now in her lonely room, reeling off from under her fleet fingers the dazzling arpeggios, while the tears gather in her eyes and fall upon her hands?

Four years later she could write to Schumann:

"I must tell you what a silly child I was then. When Ernestine came to us I said, 'Just wait till you learn to know Schumann, he is my favorite of all my acquaintances,' But she did not care to know you, since she said she knew a gentleman in Asch, whom she liked much better. That made me mad; but it was not long before she began to like you better and it soon went so far that every time you came I had to call her. I was glad to do this since I was pleased that she liked you. But you talked more and more with her and cut me short; that hurt me a good deal; but I consoled myself by saying it was only natural since you were with me all the time; and, besides, Ernestine was more grown-up than I. Still queer feelings filled my heart, so young it was, and so warmly it beat even then. When we went walking you talked to Ernestine and poked fun at me. Father shipped me off to Dresden on that account, where I again grew hopeful, and I said to myself, 'How pretty it would be if he were only your husband,'"

From Dresden, Clara wrote to "Lieber Herr Schumann," a quizzical letter advising him to drink "less Bavarian beer; not to turn night into day; to let your girl friends know that you think of them; to compose industriously, and to write more in your paper, since the readers wish it."

Schumann, unconsciously to himself, had given Clara reason enough to persuade a child of her years that he loved her more than he did, or more than he thought he did. He thought he was interested only in the marvellous child-artist. He found in the musical newspaper which he edited an opportunity to promulgate his high opinion of her. It is needless to say that the praises he lavished in print, would be no more cordial than those he bestowed on her in the privacy of the home. For he and she seemed to be as son and daughter to old Wieck, who was also greatly interested in the critical ideals of Schumann, and joined him zealously in the organisation and conducting of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. This, Schumann made the most wonderfully catholic and prophetic critical organ that ever existed for art; and in the editing of it he approved himself to posterity as a musical critic never approached for discriminating the good from the bad; for daring to discover and to acclaim new genius without fear, or without waiting for death to close the lifelong catalogue or to serve as a guide for an estimate. For some time Wieck joined hands and pen with Schumann in this great cause, till gradually his fears for the career of the jealously guarded Clara caused a widening rift between the old man and the young.

Clara was to Schumann first a brilliant young sister, for whom he prophesied such a career as that of Schubert, Paganini, and Chopin, and for whom he cherished an affectionate concern. Yet as early as 1832, when she was only thirteen, and he twenty-two, he could write to his "Dear honoured Clara," "I often think of you, not as a brother of his sister, or merely in friendship, but rather as a pilgrim thinking of a distant shrine." He began to dedicate compositions to her, and he took her opinion seriously. His Opus 5, written in 1833, was based on a theme by Clara, and, according to Reissman, showed a feeling of "reverence for her genius rather than of love."

He began also to publish most enthusiastic criticisms of her concerts, calling her "the wonder-child," and "the first German artist," one who "already stands on the topmost peak of our time." He even printed verses upon her genius. In a letter to Wieck, in 1833, he says, "It is easy to write to you, but I do not feel equal to write to Clara." She was still, however, the child to him; the child whom he used to frighten with his gruesome ghost-stories, especially of his "Doppelg?nger," a name, Clara afterwards took to herself. Child as she was, he watched her with something of fascination, and wrote his mother:

"Clara is as fond of me as ever, and is just as she used to be of old, wild and enthusiastic, skipping and running about like a child, and saying the most intensely thoughtful things. It is a pleasure to see how her gifts of mind and heart keep developing faster and faster, and, as it were, leaf by leaf. The other day, as we were walking back from Cannovitz (we go for a two or three hours' tramp almost every day), I heard her say to herself: 'Oh, how happy I am! how happy!' Who would not love to hear that? On this same road there are a great many useless stones lying about in the middle of the footpath. Now, when I am talking, I often look more up than down, so she always walks behind me and gently pulls my coat at every stone to prevent my falling; meantime she stumbles over them herself."

What an allegory of womanly devotion is here!

Gradually Schumann let himself write to Clara a whit more like a lover than a brother, with an occasional "Longingly yours." He begged her to keep mental trysts with him, and, acknowledging a composition she had dedicated to him, he hinted:

"If you were present, I would press your hand even without your father's leave. Then I might express a hope that the union of our names on the title-page might foreshadow the union of our ideas in the future. A poor fellow like myself cannot offer you more than that.... Today a year ago we drove to Schleusig, how sorry I am that I spoiled your pleasure on that occasion."

Of this last, we can only imagine some too ardent compliment, or perhaps some subjection to one of his dense melancholies. In the very midst of his short infatuation with Ernestine von Fricken, he is still corresponding with Clara. Their tone is very cordial, and, knowing the sequel, it is hard not to read into them perhaps more than Schumann meant. The letters could hardly have seemed to him to be love letters, since he writes to Clara that he has been considering the publication of their correspondence in his "Zeitschrift," though he was probably not serious at this, seeing that he also plans to fill a balloon with his unwritten thoughts and send it to her, "properly addressed with a favourable wind."

"I long to catch butterflies to be my messengers to you. I thought of getting my letters posted in Paris, so as to arouse your curiosity and make you believe that I was there. In short a great many quaint notions came to my head and have only just been dispersed by a postilion's horn; the fact is, dear Clara, that the postilion has much the same effect upon me as the most excellent champagne."

Here is perhaps the secret of much of his correspondence; the pure delight of letting his "fingers chase the pen, and the pen chase the ink." The aroma of the ink-bottle has run away with how many brains.

He wants to send her "perfect bales of letters," he prefers to write her at the piano, especially in the chords of the ninth and the thirteenth. He paints her a pleasant portrait of herself in a letter which, he says, is written like a little sonata, "namely, a chattering part, a laughing part, and a talking part."

Clara seemed from his first sight of her to exercise over him a curious mingling of profound admiration and of teasing amusement. He portrays her vividly to herself in such words as these:

"Your letter was yourself all over. You stood before me laughing and talking; rushing from fun to earnest as usual, diplomatically playing with your veil. In short, the letter was Clara herself, her double."

All these expressions of tenderness and fascinations were ground enough for the child Clara to build Spanish hopes upon, but in the very same letter Schumann could refer to that torment of Clara's soul, Ernestine, and speak of her as "your old companion in joy and sorrow, that bright star which we can never appreciate enough."

A change, however, seems to have come over Ernestine. Clara found her taciturn and mistrustful, and when the Baron von Fricken came for her, Wieck himself wrote in the diary, "We have not missed her; for the last six weeks she has been a stranger in our house; she had lost completely her lovable and frank disposition." He compares her to a plant, which only prospers under attention, but withers and dies when left to itself. He concludes, "The sun shone too sharply upon her, i.e., Herr Schumann."

But the sun seemed to withdraw from the flower it had scorched. During her absence, Ernestine wrote to Schumann many letters, chiefly remarkable for their poor style and their worse grammar. To a man of the exquisite sensibility of Schumann, and one who took literature so earnestly, this must have been a constant torture. It humiliated his own love, and greatly undermined the romance, which crumpled absolutely when he learned that she was not the baron's own daughter, but only an adopted child, and of an illegitimate birth at that. He had not learned these facts from her; indeed she had practised elaborate deceptions upon him. But the breaking of the engagement-a step almost as serious as divorce in the Germany of that day-he seems to have conducted with his characteristic gentleness and tact; for Ernestine did not cease to be his friend and Clara's. Later, when he was accused of having severed the ties with Ernestine, he wrote:

"You say something harsh, when you say that I broke the engagement with Ernestine. That is not true; it was ended in proper form with both sides agreeing. But concerning this whole black page of my life, I might tell you a deep secret of a heavy psychic disturbance that had befallen me earlier. It would take a long time, however, and it includes the years from the summer of 1833 on. But you shall learn of it sometime, and you will have the key to all my actions and my peculiar manner."

That explanation, however, does not seem to be extant; all we can know is that Ernestine and he parted as friends, and that six years later he dedicated to her a volume of songs (Opus 13). Three years after the separation she married, to become Frau von Zedtwitz; but her husband did not live long, nor did she survive him many years.

Aside from the disillusionment that had taken the glamour from Ernestine, Schumann had been slowly coming more and more under the spell of Clara Wieck. The affair with Ernestine seemed to have been only a transient modulation, and his heart like a sonata returned to its home in the original key of "carissima Clara, Clara carissima." Clara, who had found small satisfaction in her fame out-of-doors, since she was defeated in her love in her home, had the joy of seeing the gradual growth in Schumann's heart of a tenderness that kept increasing almost to idolatry. Her increasing beauty was partly to blame for it, but chiefly it was the nobility yet exuberant joy of her soul, and her absolute sympathy with his ideals in music, criticism, literature, and life.

To both of them, art was always a religion; there was no philistinism or charlatanism in the soul or the career of either. At this time, when Schumann found it difficult to get any attention paid to his compositions, Clara, from childhood, was able both to conquer their difficulties and to express their deep meanings. While Schumann was earning his living and a wide reputation by publishing the praises of other composers, by burrowing in all the obscure meaning of new geniuses, and revealing their messages to the world, his own great works were lying ignored and uncomprehended and seemingly forgotten. At this time he found a young girl of brilliant fame, honoured by Chopin, Liszt, by Goethe, by the king, by the public; and yet devoted to the soul and the art of the fellow pupil of her father. Even before he broke his engagement with Ernestine, he found Clara's charms irresistible.

Chopin came to Leipzig in 1834, and in Schumann's diary after his name stands the entry: "Clara's eyes and her love." And later, "The first kiss in November."

It was on the 25th. He had been calling on Clara, and when it came time to go home, she carried a lamp to light him down the steps. He could keep his secret no longer from himself or from her; he declared his love then and there. But she reminded him of Ernestine, and, with that trivial perjury to which lovers are always apt, he informed her that Ernestine was already engaged to some one else. There was no further resistance, but nearly a serious accident. The kiss that set their hearts afire came near working the same effect upon the house. As Clara wrote afterward:

"When you gave me that first kiss, then I felt myself near swooning. Before my eyes it grew black!... The lamp I brought to light you, I could hardly hold."

Schumann writes a few days later in his diary: "Mit Ernestine gebrochen." Schumann consoled himself later by saying that he did Ernestine no wrong, for it would have been a greater and more terrible misery had they married. "Earlier or later my old love and attachment for you would have awakened again, and then what misery!... Ernestine knew right well that she had first driven you out of my heart, that I loved you before I knew Ernestine."

Ernestine herself wrote him often.

"I always believed that you could love Clara alone, and still believe it."

In January, 1836, the engagement with Ernestine was formally broken. Shortly after this, Robert's mother died. He was compelled to leave Leipzig in dismal gloom. He said to Clara simply, "Bleib mir treu," and she nodded her head a little, very sadly. How she kept her word! Two nights later he wrote:

"While waiting for the coach at Zwickau,

"10 P.M., Feb. 13, 1836.

"Sleep has been weighing on my eyes. I have been waiting two hours for the express coach. The roads are so bad that perhaps we shall not get away till two o'clock. How you stand before me, my beloved Clara; ah, so near you seem to me that I could almost seize you. Once I could put everything daintily in words, telling how strongly I liked any one, but now I cannot any more. And if you do not know, I cannot tell you. But love me well; do you hear? ... I demand much since I give much. To-day I have been excited by various feelings; the opening of mother's will; hearing all about her death, etc. But your radiant image gleams through all the darkness and helps me to bear everything better.... All I can tell you now is, that the future is much more assured. Still I cannot fold my hands in my lap. I must accomplish much to obtain that which you see when by chance you walk past the mirror. In the meantime you also remain an artist and not a Countess Rossi. You will help me; work with me; and endure joy and sorrow with me.

"At Leipzig my first care shall be to put my worldly affairs in order. I am quite clear about my heart. Perhaps your father will not refuse if I ask him for his blessing. Of course there is much to be thought of and arranged. But I put great trust in our guardian angel. Fate always intended us for one another. I have known that a long time, but my hopes were never strong enough to tell you and get your answer before.

"What I write to-day briefly and incompletely, I will later explain to you, for probably you cannot read me at all. But simply realise, that I love you quite unspeakably. The room is getting dark. Passengers near me are going to sleep. It is sleeting and snowing outside. But I will squeeze myself right into a corner, bury my face in the cushions, and think only of you. Farewell, my Clara.

"Your ROBERT."

Close upon this letter, which must have been answered with no hesitation and no inferiority of passion, came the summons to battle for the prize. Wieck, who had been a cordial father, declined with undue enthusiasm the r?le of father-in-law. He had viewed with hope Robert's entrance into the career of music, had advised the mother to let him make it his life; then the youth ruined his chances of earning large moneys as a concert performer by practising until his right hand was permanently injured and the third finger useless. As early as 1831 Wieck is quoted as objecting to Schumann's habits, and saying that, if he had no money at all, he might turn out well; for Schumann, while never rich, never knew poverty. But their friendship continued cordial and intimate, and Wieck went into partnership with him in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik; he was a member of the famous Davids-bündler, that mystical brotherhood of art, wherein Clara is alluded to as "Chiara," perhaps also as "Zilia." None the less, or perhaps all the more, Wieck objected to seeing his famous and all-conquering child marry herself away to the dreamer and eccentric.

Wieck's own domestic affairs had not flowed too smoothly; he had married the daughter of Cantor Tromlitz, who was the mother of Clara and four other children, but the marriage, though begun in love, was unhappy, and after six years was ended in divorce. Clara remained with her father, while her mother married a music-teacher named Bargiel, and bore him a son, Waldemar, well known as a composer and a good friend and disciple of Robert Schumann. Wieck had married again, in 1828, Clementine Fechner, by whom he had a daughter, Marie, who also attained some prominence as pianist and teacher.

On February 13, 1836, we have seen Schumann write his love to Clara. The number of the day, the stormy night, and the remembrance of his mother's death were all appropriate omens. Wieck stormed about Clara's head with rebuke and accusations, and threatened like another Capulet, till he scared the seventeen-year-old girl into giving him Schumann's letters. Then he threatened to shoot Schumann if she did not promise never to speak to him again. She made the promise, and the manner in which she did not keep it adds the necessary human touch to this most beautiful of true love stories. Schumann was never underhanded by choice, or at all, except a little on occasion in this love affair; so now he called at once upon his old teacher, friend and colleague.

The interview must have been brief and stormy, for, on the 1st of March, 1836, Schumann writes to August Kahlert, a stranger but a fellow musical journalist, at Breslau, where Clara had gone:

"I am not going to give you anything musical to spell out today, and, without beating about the bush, will come to the point at once. I have a particular favour to ask you. It is this: Will you not devote a few moments of your life to acting as messenger between two parted souls? At any rate, do not betray them. Give me your word that you will not!

"Clara Wieck loves, and is loved in return. You will soon find that out from her gentle, almost supernatural ways and doings. For the present don't ask me the name of the other one. The happy ones, however, acted, met, talked, and exchanged their vows, without the father's knowledge. He has found them out, wants to take violent measures, and forbids any sort of intercourse on pain of death. Well, it has all happened before, thousands of times. But the worst of it is that she has gone away. The latest news came from Dresden. But we know nothing for certain, though I suspect, indeed I am nearly convinced, that they are at Breslau. Wieck is sure to call upon you at once, and will invite you to come and hear Clara play. Now, this is my ardent request, that you should let me know all about Clara as quickly as possible,-I mean as to the state of mind, the life she leads, in fact any news you can obtain. All that I have told you is a sacred trust, and don't mention this letter to either the old man or anybody else.

"If Wieck speaks of me, it will probably not be in very flattering terms. Don't let that put you out. You will learn to know him. He is a man of honour, but a rattle-brain (Er ist ein Ehrenmann, aber ein Rappelkopf). I may further remark that it will be an easy thing for you to obtain Clara's confidence and favour, as I (who am more than partial to the lovers), have often told her that I correspond with you. She will be happy to see you, and to give you a look. Give me your hand, unknown one; I believe your disposition to be so noble that it will not disappoint me. Write soon. A heart, a life depends upon it-my own-. For it is I, myself, for whom I have been pleading."

Kahlert met Clara, but she was embarrassed and mistrustful of the stranger's discretion. The next day Schumann wrote to his sister-in-law Theresa still with a little hope: "Clara is at Breslau. My stars are curiously placed. God grant it may all end happily."

In April, Clara and her father returned to Leipzig, but the lovers, now reunited in the same town, were further removed than ever. Clara's promise compelled her to treat Schumann as a stranger on the casual meetings that happened to the torment rather than the liking of both. The nagging uncertainty, the simulating of indifference, a stolen glance, or a hasty clasp of the hand, in which one or the other seemed not to express warmth enough, caused a certain impatience which Wieck and his wife were eager enough to turn into mistrust.

Schumann's compositions no longer frequented Clara's programmes. He was driven elsewhere for society, and when the taverns and the boisterous humour of his friends wearied him, he turned again to Frau Voigt. In March he had written to his sister:

"I am in a critical position; to extricate myself I must be calm and clear-sighted; it has come to this, either I can never speak to her again, or she must be mine."

By November such an estrangement had come between the lovers that he could write his sister-in-law:

"Clara loves me as dearly as ever, but I am resigned. I am often at the Voigts."

Since February of the year 1836, they had not spoken or exchanged any letters. He never heard her beloved music, except at two concerts, or when at night he would stand outside of her house and listen in secret loneliness. In May he dedicated to her his Sonata in F Sharp Minor. It was, as he expressed it: "One long cry of my heart for you, in which a theme of yours appears in all possible forms." His Opus 6, dated the same year, was his wonderfully emotional group, "The Davidsbündlert?nze." The opening number is based upon a theme by Clara Wieck, and in certain of the chords written in syncopation, I always feel that I hear him calling aloud, "Clara! Clara!"

His hope that this musical appeal might bring her to him was in vain, and he began to doubt her faith. He passed through one of those terrific crises of melancholia which at long intervals threatened his reason. On the eve of the New Year, he wrote to his sister-in-law:

"Oh, continue to love me-sometimes I am seized with mortal anguish, and then I have no one but you who really seem to hold me in your arms and to protect me. Farewell."

To Clara, at a later time, he described this trial of his hope:

"I had given up and then the old anguish broke out anew-then I wrung my hands-then I often prayed at night to God: 'Only let me live through this one torment without going mad.' I thought once to find your engagement announced in the paper-that bowed my neck to the dust till I cried aloud. Then I wished to heal myself by forcing myself to love a woman who already had me half in her net."

Love by act of Parliament, or by individual resolve, has never been accomplished; and Schumann's efforts were foredoomed. In the meanwhile, the Wiecks tried the same treatment upon Clara, whose singing-teacher, Carl Banck, had been deceived by her friendship into thinking that he could persuade her to love him. His ambition suited eminently the family politics of Father Wieck. He made his first mistake by slandering Schumann, not knowing the A B C of a woman's heart. For a lover slandered is twice recommended. As Clara wrote later: "I was astounded at his black heart. He wanted to betray you, and he only insulted me."

One of the attempts to undermine Schumann was the effort to poison Clara's mind against him; because when a piano Concerto of hers was played (Opus 7), Schumann did not review it in his paper, but left it to a friend of his named Becker. In the next number Schumann wrote an enthusiastic criticism upon a Concerto by Sterndale Bennett. The attempt failed, however, and Schumann's letter is in existence in which he had asked Becker to review the Concerto, because, in view of the publicity given to the estrangement with the Wiecks, praise from him would be in poor taste.

Soon Clara at a public concert in Leipzig dared to put upon the programme the F Sharp Minor Sonata, in which Schumann had given voice to his heart's cry ("Herzensschrei nach der Geliebten"). Schumann's name did not appear on the programme, but it was credited to two of his pen-names, Eusebius and Florestan. Now, as Litzman notes, the answer to that outcry came back to him over the head of the audience. Clara knew he would be there, and that he would understand. Her fingers seemed to be giving expression not only to his own yearning, but to her answer and her like desire. It was a bold effort to declare her love before the world, and, as she wrote him later: "Do you not realise that I played it since I knew no other way to express my innermost feelings at all. Secretly, I did not dare express them, though I did it openly. Do you imagine that my heart did not tremble?"

The musical message renewed in Schumann's heart a hope and determination that had been dying slowly for two years. His friend Becker came to Leipzig, and took up the cause of the lovers with great enthusiasm. He carried letters to and fro with equal diplomacy and delight. He appeared in time to play a leading role in a drama Schumann was preparing. Wieck's enmity to Schumann had been somewhat mitigated after two years of meeting no opposition. Schumann was encouraged to hope that, if he wrote a letter to Wieck on Clara's birthday, September 13, 1837, it might find the old bear in a congenial mood. He had written to Clara the very morning after the concert at daybreak, saying: "I write this in the very light of Aurora. Would it be that only one more daybreak should separate us." He tells her of his plan, asking only one word of approval. Clara, overcome with emotion when Becker brought her the first letter she had received in so long a time from Schumann, was so delighted at the inspiration that she wrote:

"Only a simple 'Ja' do you ask. Such a tiny little word ... so weighty though ... could a heart, as full of unspeakable love as mine not speak this tiny little word with the whole soul? I do it and my soul whispers it for ever. The grief of my heart, the many tears, could I but describe them ... oh, no! Your plan seems to me risky, but a loving heart fears no obstacles. Therefore once more I say yes! Could God turn my eighteenth birthday into a day of mourning? Oh, no! that were far too gruesome. Ah, I have long felt 'it must be,' and nothing in the world shall make me waver, and I will convince my father that a youthful heart can also be steadfast. Very hastily,

"Your CLARA."

And now, letters began to fly as thickly as swallows at evening. She found a better messenger than Becker, in her faithful maid, "Nanny," whom she recommended to complete confidence: "So Nanny can serve as a pen to me." At last the lovers met clandestinely by appointment, as Clara returned from a visit to Emily List. Both were so agitated that Clara almost fainted, and Schumann was formal and cold. She wrote later:

"The moon shone so beautifully on your face when you lifted your hat and passed your hand across your forehead; I had the sweetest feeling that I ever had; I had found my love again."

It was in this time of frenzied enthusiasm, of alternate hope and despondency, that Schumann wrote the seventh of his "Davidsbündlert?nze." The birthday came, and with it the letter went to Wieck:

"It is so simple what I have to say to you-and yet the right words fail me constantly. A trembling hand will not let the pen run quietly.... To-day is Clara's birthday,-the day when the dearest being in the world, for you as for me, first saw the light of the world."

He tells how through all the obstacles that had met their way he had deeply loved her and she him.

"Ask her eyes whether I have told the truth. Eighteen months long have you tested me. If you have found me worthy, true and manly, then seal this union of souls; it lacks nothing of the highest bliss, except the parental blessing. An awful moment it is until I learn your decision, awful as the pause between lightning and thunder in the tempest, where man does not know whether it will give destruction or benediction. Be again a friend to one of your oldest friends, and to the best of children be the best of fathers."

With this letter he enclosed one to Wieck's wife: "In your hands, dear lady, I lay our future happiness, and in your heart-no stepmotherly heart, I am sure."

The letter made a sensation in the Wieck home. Clara's father spoke no word to her about it. He and his wife locked themselves up in a room to answer it. Clara wept alone all the long birthday. Her father asked her why she was so unhappy, and when she told him the truth, he showed her Schumann's letter, and said: "I did not want you to read it, but, since you are so unreasonable, read." Clara was too proud, and would not. Schumann wrote to Becker concerning Wieck's answer, saying:

"Wieck's answer was so confused, and he declined and accepted so vaguely, that now I really don't know what to

do. Not at all. He was not able to make any valid objections; but as I said before, one could make nothing of his letter. I have not spoken to C. yet; her strength is my only hope."

To Clara he wrote that an interview he had with her father was frightful. "This iciness, ill-will, such confusion, such contradictions. He has a new way to wound; he drives his knife to the hilt into my heart. What next then, my dear Clara, what next? Your father himself said to me the fearful words: 'Nothing shall shake me.' Fear everything from him, he will compel you by force if he cannot by trickery. Fürchten Sie Alles!" Wieck consented to permit them to meet publicly and with a third person, but not alone, and to correspond only when Clara was travelling. His reasons were his ambition for her, her youth. But Schumann knew better:

"There is nothing in this, believe me; he will throw you to the first comer who has gold and title enough. His highest ambition then is concert giving and travelling. Further than that he lets your heart bleed, destroys my strength in the midst of my ambition to do beautiful things in the world. Besides he laughs at all your tears.... Ah! how my head swims. I could laugh at death's own agony!"

His only hope was now her steadfastness. Her message promised him that, and warned him also to be true, or else "you will have broken a heart that loves but once."

It is only now, strange to say, that they began to use the "Du," that second person singular of intimacy which all languages keep except the English, which has banished its "thee and thou" to cold and formal usages.

It was typical of Clara's attitude throughout this whole long struggle that she was always as true to her father's wishes as could humanly be expected. She obeyed him always, until he became unreasonable and a tyrant beyond even the endurance of a German daughter. So now, though Robert begged her to write him secretly, she refused with tears. But, fortunately for them both, she did not long remain in the town where they were separated like prisoners in neighbouring cells. She could soon write him from other cities. As for Schumann, he determined to make the most of the new hope, and to establish himself socially and financially in a position which Wieck could not assail.

Gradually, with that same justice which made him able to criticise appreciatively the music of men who wrote in another style than his, he was able to feel an understanding for the position of even his tormentor Wieck.

"Now we have only to obtain the affection and confidence of your father, to whom I should so love to give that name, to whom I owe so many of the joys of my life, so much good advice, and some sorrow as well-and whom I should like to make so happy in his old days, that he might say: 'What good children!' If he understood me better he would have saved me many worries and would never have written me a letter which made me two years older. Well, it is all over and forgiven now; he is your father, and has brought you up to be everything that is noble; he would like to weigh your future happiness as in a pair of scales, and wishes to see you just as happy and well-protected as you have always been under his fatherly care. I cannot argue with him."

Schumann works with new fury at his compositions, and plans ever larger and larger works; but through all his music there reigns the influence of Clara in a way unequalled, or at least never equally confessed by any other musician. He writes her that the Davidsbündlert?nze were written in happiness and are full of "bridal thoughts, suggested by the most delicious excitement that I have ever remembered." Of his "Ende vom Lied" he says:

"When I was composing it, I must confess that I thought: 'Well, the end of it all will be a jolly wedding,' but towards the end, my sorrow about you came over me again, so that wedding and funeral bells are ringing together."

He plans how they shall write music together when they are married, and says:

"When you are standing by me as I sit at the piano, then we shall both cry like children-I know I shall be quite overcome. Then you must not watch me too closely when I am composing; that would drive me to desperation; and for my part, I promise you, too, only very seldom to listen at your door. Well, we shall lead a life of poetry and blossoms, and we shall play and compose together like angels, and bring gladness to mankind."

He would have "a pretty cottage not far from town-you at my side-to work-to live with me blissful and calm" (selig und still). And when she wishes to tour: "We'll pack our diamonds together and go live in Paris."

He writes her, complaining that her father called him phlegmatic, and said that he had written nothing in the Zeitschrift for six weeks. He insists that he is leading a very serious life:

"I am a young man of twenty-eight with a very active mind, and an artist, to boot; yet for eight years I have not been out of Saxony, and have been sitting still, saving my money without a thought of spending it on amusement or horses, and quietly going my own way as usual. And do you mean to say that all my industry and simplicity, and all that I have done are quite lost upon your father?"

Sometimes the strain under which the two lovers lived caused a little rift within the lute. Poor Clara, forced to defend Robert against her father's contempt, and her father against Robert's indignation, preserved her double and contradictory dignity with remarkable skill, with a fidelity to both that makes her in the last degree both admirable and lovable. When she advised patience or postponement, the impatient Robert saw her father's hand moving the pen, and complained; but in his next letter he was sure to return to his attitude of tenderness for her in her difficulties, and determination to yield everything to circumstances except the final possession of the woman of his heart.

Musicians seem to be naturally good writers of letters. In the first place, those whose fingers grow tired of playing notes or writing them, seem to find recreation in the reeling off of letters. They have acquired an instinctive sense of form, and an instinct for smoothing over its rough edges, and modulating from one mood into another. Besides, music is so thoroughly an expression of mood, and a good letter has so necessarily a unity of mood, that musicians, ex officio, tend to write correspondence that is literary without trying to be so, sincere without stupidity. But in the volumes and volumes of musicians' letters, which it has been my fortune to read, I have never found any others which were so ardent and yet so earnest, so throbbing with longing and yet so full of honesty, so eloquent and so dramatic with the very highest forms of eloquence and romance as those of Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck.

The woes of the two lovers were as different as possible, though equally balanced; and the honourableness of their undertaking was equally high.

Clara was torn betwixt filial piety toward a father who could be ursine to a miserable degree, and a lover who was not only eating his heart out in loneliness, but who needed her personality to complete his creative powers in music. While Schumann had no such problem to meet, he lacked Clara's elastic and buoyant nature, and it must never be forgotten that when he was sad, he was dismal to the point of absolute madness. He would sit for hours in the company of hilarious tavern-friends, and speak never a word.

Clara at length gave up her attempt to keep from writing to Schumann, in the face of her father's actions; for in spite of the promises he had given them, he could break out in such speeches as this: "If Clara marries Schumann, I will say it even on my death-bed, she is not worthy of being my daughter."

Now began that clandestine correspondence which seems to have implicated and inculpated half the musicians of Europe. There were almost numberless go-betweens who carried letters for the lovers, or received them in different towns. There were zealous messengers ranging from the Russian Prince Reuss-K?striz, through all grades of society, down to the devoted housemaid "Nanny." Chopin, and Mendelssohn, and many another musician, were touched by the fidelity of the lovers, and Liszt in one of his letters describes how he had broken off acquaintance with his old friend Wieck, because of indignation at his treatment of Schumann and Clara.

Schumann's works were now beginning to attract a little attention, though not much, and even Clara was impelled to beg him to write her something more in the concert style that the public would understand. But while the musician Schumann was not arriving at understanding, the critic Schumann was already famous for the swiftness of his discoveries and the bravery of his proclamations of genius. As for Clara, though already in her eighteenth year, she was one of the most famous pianists in the world, and favourably compared, in many respects, especially in point of poetical interpretation, with Liszt, Thalberg, Chopin, and Europe's brilliantest virtuosos. But Schumann had delighted her heart by writing: "I love you not because you are a great artist; no, I love you because you are so good." That praise, she wrote him, had rejoiced her infinitely, and that praise any one who knows her life can echo with Schumann.

Such fame the love-affair of the Schumanns had gained that to the musical world it was like following a serial romance in instalments. Doctor Weber in Trieste offered to give Schumann ten thousand thalers-an offer which could not of course be accepted. At Easter, 1838, Schumann received one thousand thalers (about $760) from his brothers Eduard and Carl.

But the lovers had agreed to wait two years-until Easter, 1840, before they should marry-and the two years were long and wearisome in the prospect and in the endurance. As Clara wrote:

"My sole wish is-I wish it every morning-that I could sleep two years; could over-sleep all the thousand tears that shall yet flow. Foolish wish! I am sometimes such a silly child. Do you remember that two years ago on Christmas Eve you gave me white pearls and mother said then: 'Pearls mean tears'? She was right, they followed only too soon."

Schumann busied himself in so many ways that again for a little while he somewhat melted Wieck's wrath, and Clara hoped that some day he could again be received at home as a friend. She was made the court pianist at this time, and it was a quaint whimsy of fate that, in connection with the award, Schumann was asked to give her father a "character." It need hardly be said that he gave him extra measure of praise.

Clara's new dignity stirred Schumann to hunt some honour for himself. Robert decided, that while he was content "to die an artist, it would please a certain girl to see 'Dr.' before his name." He was willing to become either a doctor of philosophy or of music. He began at once to set both of these schemes to work.

Now old Wieck returned to his congenial state of wrath. He declared that Clara was far too extravagant ever to live on Schumann's earnings, though she insisted that Schumann was assured of one thousand thalers a year, and she could earn an equal sum with one concert a winter in Dresden, where prices were so high. But just then the prosperity of Schumann's paper began to slough off. It occurred to the lovers that they would prefer to live in Vienna, and that the Zeitschrift could prosper there. There were endless difficulties, a censorship to pacify, and many commercial schemes to arrange, but nothing must be left untried. The scheme was put under way. Meanwhile, as usual, the Wiecks were trying on their part; to separate the lovers. Schumann was accused of infidelity to her, and he admitted that a Mrs. Laidlaw seemed to be in love with him, but not he with her. They attacked his character, and accused him of being too fond of Bavarian beer. On this charge, he answered with dignity:

"Pooh!--I should not be worth being spoken to, if a man trusted by so good and noble a girl as you, should not be a respectable man and not control himself in everything. Let this simple word put you at ease for ever."

Failing here, Wieck presented another candidate for Clara's heart, a Doctor D----, who met the same fate as Banck. There were further hopes that she would find some one in Paris or London, whither she was bound; but she wrote Schumann that if the whole aristocracy of both places fell at her feet, she would let them lie there and turn to the simple artist, the dear, noble man, and lay her heart at his feet. ("Alle Lords von London und alle Cavaliere von Paris, k?nnten mir zu Füssen liegen," etc.) Clara was also tormented by the persistent suit of Louis Rackerman, of Bremen, who could not see how vain was his quest.

One rainy night, Schumann stood a half-hour before her house and heard her play. And he wrote her: "Did you not feel that I was there?" He could even see his ring glitter on her finger. Another day Clara saw him taking his coffee with his sister-in-law, and she repeated his query: "Did you not feel that I was there?"

Old Wieck stooped to everything, and even told Clara that he had written to Ernestine to demand a statement that she fully released Schumann from his former engagement to her-it being remembered that among Germans a betrothal always used to be almost as difficult a bond to sever as a marriage tie. This drove Clara to resolve a great resolve, and she wrote Schumann:

"Twice has my father in his letters underlined the words: 'Never will I give my consent.' What I had feared has come true. I must act without my father's consent and without my father's blessing."

An elopement was seriously considered. It was planned that Clara was to go to Schumann's sister-in-law. At this time also another friend offered Schumann one thousand thalers (about $760) and he said: "Ask of me what you will, I will do everything for you and Clara." But this crisis did not arrive, though the two were kept under espionage. Even now in November, 1838, a new and merely nagging attempt was made to postpone the marriage till the latter part of 1840, but Clara wrote that she would be with Robert on Easter, 1840, without fail. Then he went to Vienna to establish his journal there, and from there he sent a bundle of thirty short poems written in her praise. While he was in Vienna, her father shipped her off to Paris, so sure now of cleaving their hearts asunder that he sent her alone without even an elderly woman for a companion. He little knew that he was putting her to the test she had never yet undergone: that of living far from him and depending solely upon herself. It is a curious coincidence that one of her best friends in Paris was the same American girl, Emily List, who had once been Ernestine's rival for Robert's heart.

The French people did not please Clara and she feared to go on to London alone. She dreamed only of hurrying back to Leipzig and Schumann and a home with him; in her letters the famous pianist seriously discusses learning to cook.

Unhappy as she was in Paris, Robert was unhappier in Vienna, for the Zeitschrift made no success, and he was driven to the bitter humiliation of taking it back to Leipzig in 1839. His brother died at this time also, and their sympathies had been so close that the shock was very heavy. Everything seemed to be going wrong. He could not even find consolation in his music. At this gloomy moment Clara hoped to win over her father by a last concession. She wrote from Paris that it would be well to postpone the marriage a few months longer than they had first intended, and Emily List wrote a long letter advocating the same and explaining how much it grieved Clara to ask this. She advised Robert to take up the book business of his brother, who had succeeded his father's prosperous trade. Even while Clara's tear-stained appeal was going to him, another letter of his crossed hers. It was full of joy and told her how well they would get along on their united resources. He gave them in detail and it is interesting to pry into the personal affairs of so great a musician. He wrote: "Am I not an expert accountant? and can't we once in a while drink champagne?"

Clara's letter provoked in Schumann a wild outcry of disappointment, that after all these years he should accept as his dole only further procrastination. He wrote her that his family were beginning to say that if she loved him she would ask no further delay. Clara's letter seems to have been only her last tribute to her father, for, at Schumann's first protest, she hastened to write that she could endure anything, except his doubt; that she would be with him on Easter, 1840, come what would. This cheered him mightily, and he wrote that, while he was still unable to compose, owing to his loneliness, a beautiful future was awaiting him. He described his dreams of the life of art and love they should lead, composing and making all manner of beautiful music.

"Once I call you mine, you shall hear plenty of new things, for I think you will encourage me; and hearing more of my compositions will be enough to cheer me up. And we will publish some things under our two names, so that posterity may regard us as one heart and one soul, and may not know which is yours and which is mine. How happy I am! From your Romanze I again see plainly that we are to be man and wife. Every one of your thoughts comes out of my soul, just as I owe all my music to you."

Now he sent for her decision a formidable document, an appeal to the court, to compel the father's consent. Clara wrote her father an ultimatum on the subject, and received a long letter in reply, in which he consented to the marriage under such terms that they were better off before. For his consent was to be made on the following six stipulations: 1. That Robert and Clara, so long as Wieck lived, should not make their residence in Saxony; but that Schumann must none the less make as much money in the new home as his Zeitschrift brought him in Leipzig. 2. That Wieck should control Clara's property for five years, paying her, during that time, five per cent. 3. That Schumann should make out a sworn statement of his income which he had given Wieck in Leipzig in September, 1837, and turn it over to Wieck's lawyer. 4. That Schumann should not communicate with him verbally or by letter, until he himself expressed the wish. 5. That Clara should renounce all claims as to her inheritance. 6. That the marriage should take place September 29, 1839.

This insolent and mercenary protocol drove Clara to bay. She wrote her father from the depths of grief, and declared to him finally that she would wed Schumann on the 24th of June. Schumann wrote a short note to the old man, telling him that if he did not hear in eight days, silence would be taken as the last refusal. The answer was simply a letter from Frau Wieck, acknowledging Schumann's "impertinent letter," and saying that Wieck would not hold any communication with him.

Then the lawsuit began. On the 16th of July he made his appeal and wrote to Clara that she must be personally present in six or seven weeks. She had written him a letter of great cheer and sent him from Paris a portrait she had had painted and a cigar case she had made with her own hands.

On her way home Clara stopped at Berlin, where her own mother lived as the wife of Bargiel.

Clara's life under her father's guardianship had gradually drifted almost out of the ken of her own mother. Her stepmother had done everything possible to make her life miserable, spying upon her and making it impossible to be alone long enough to write Schumann a letter. Now, in her loneliness, Clara turned to the woman whose flesh she was; and she found there an immediate and passionate support.

From Wieck and the Wieck family, Clara had received while in Paris not one penny of money and not a single trinket. They always wrote her: "You have your own money." This grieved her deeply, and her father's sending her to Paris without a chaperon of any kind and writing her never a word of tenderness but only and always reproaches, had orphaned her indeed. Her heart was doubly ripe for a little mothering, and Frau Bargiel seized the moment. She wrote letters of greatest warmth and sweetness to her child in Paris, and to Schumann she wrote an invitation to come to Berlin. He accepted and spent several pleasant days. Frau Bargiel wrote Clara how she had delighted in the talent and person of Schumann, and Robert wrote her how fine a mother she had. On the 14th of August, Clara and her friend Henrietta Reissman left Paris.

Meanwhile Schumann had sunk into another awesome abyss of melancholia. The humiliation of having to go to law for his wife, and airing the family scandal in public, crushed him to the dust. He wrote his friend Becker: "I hardly think I shall live to hear the decision of the court." As soon as Clara left Paris he hastened toward her and met her at Altenburg. It was a blissful reunion after a year of separation, and they went together to Berlin, where they knew the bliss of sitting once more at the piano together, playing Bach fugues. She found his genius still what it was,-"er fantasiert himmlisch"-but his health was in such serious condition that she was greatly frightened.

Now her father proceeded to destroy every claim he may ever have had on her sympathy by his ferocity toward a daughter who had been so patient and so gentle toward him. He not only neglected her in Paris, except to write her merciless letters, but when she returned and he saw himself confronted with the lawsuit for her liberty, he offered a revision of his terms, which was in itself worse than the original. Clara describes the new offer:

"I must surrender the 2,000 thalers (about $1,500) which I have saved from seven years' concerts, and give it to my brothers.

"He would give back my effects and instruments, but I must later pay 1,000 thalers and give this also to my brothers.

"Robert must transfer to me 8,000 thalers of his capital, the interest of which shall come to me, also the capital, in case of a separation-What a hideous thought! Robert has 12,000 thalers, and shall he give his wife two-thirds?"

Robert had already given her four hundred thalers in bonds. The new terms being rejected, Wieck put everything possible in the way of a speedy termination of the lawsuit. He made it impossible for Clara to get back to Paris, as she wished, to earn more money before the marriage. He demanded that she should postpone her wedding and take a concert tour for three months with him for a consideration of six thousand thalers. Clara declined the arrangement.

One day she sent her maid to the house of her father, and asked him for her winter cloak. He gave this answer to the maid: "Who then is this Mam'selle Wieck? I know two Fr?ulein Wieck only; they are my two little daughters here. I know no other!" As Litzmann says: "With so shrill a dissonance ended Clara's stay at Leipzig." He compares this exile of the daughter by the father to the story of King Lear and Cordelia. But it was the blind and tyrannical old Lear of the first act, driving from his home his most loving child. On October 3d, Clara went back to Berlin to her mother. Her father moved heaven and earth to make Clara suspect Schumann's fidelity, and he gave the love affair as unpleasant a notoriety as possible. For an instance of senile spite: Clara had always been given a Behrens piano for her concerts in Berlin. Wieck wrote to a friend to go to Behrens, and warn him that he must not lend Clara his pianos, because she was used to the hard English action, and would ruin any others! He wrote that he hoped the honour of the King of Prussia would prevent his disobedient daughter from appearing in public concerts in Berlin. It need hardly be said that Clara was neither forbidden her piano nor her concerts; indeed, the king appeared in person at her concert and applauded the runaway vigorously. By a curious chance at the end of her pièce de résistance, a string broke on the piano; but as a correspondent of Schumann's paper wrote, it came "just at the end, like a cry of victory." After this, Wieck wrote to Behrens protesting against his lending a hand to "a demoralised girl without shame." Clara learned that such of her letters as had gone through the Wieck home were opened, and she received an anonymous letter which she knew must have been dictated by her father. Her suspicions were later proved. The worst of the affair was the diabolical malice that led Wieck to have the letter put into her hand just before her chief Berlin concert.

Next, he announced that his reason for not granting his consent was that Schumann was a drunkard. Robert found witnesses enough to be sponsors for his high respectability, but the accusation was a staggering blow in the midst of the deep melancholia into which the endless struggle and the recent death of Henrietta Voigt had plunged him. Clara had the rare agony of seeing him weep. It was now the turn of the strong Clara to break down, and only with the doctor's aid she continued her concerts. Her father's effort to undermine her good name extended to the publication of a lithographed account of his side of the story. But while certain old friends snubbed her, the lies that were told against her met their truest answer in the integrity of her whole career, and in the purity and honour of her life. This her own father was the first and the last ever to slander.

It is noteworthy, in view of the lightness of so many of the love affairs of the musicians, such as the case of Liszt, who twice eloped with married women and discussed the formality of divorce afterward, that through the long and ardent and greatly tormented love story of the Schumanns there never appears a line in any of their multitudinous letters which shows or hints the faintest dream of any procedure but the most upright. Always they encouraged each other with ringing beautiful changes on the one theme of their lives: Be true to me as I am true to you. Despair not.

The lawsuit dragged on and on. Wieck exhausted all the devices of postponement in which the law is so fertile. Schumann found himself the victim of a pamphlet of direct assault and downright libel, but all these things were only obstacles to exercise fidelity. The lovers felt that no power on earth could cut them apart. They began to dream of their marriage as more certain than the dawn. Schumann writes to Clara-"Mein Herzensbrautm?dchen"-that he wishes her to study and prepare for his exclusive hearing a whole concert of music, the bride's concert. She responds that he too must prepare for her music of his own, for a bridegroom's concert. He writes and begs her to compose some music and dedicate it to him; he implores her not to ignore her genius. She writes that she cannot find inspiration; that he is the family's genius for original work. Always they mingled music with love.

The composer Hiller gave a notable dinner to Liszt, who, after toasting Mendelssohn, toasted Schumann, "and spoke of me in such beautiful French and such tender words, that I turned blood-red." January 31, 1840, Schumann had taken up his plan to gain himself a doctor's degree to match Clara's titles. He had asked a friend to appeal to the University of Jena to give him an honorary degree, or set him an examination to pass; for his qualifications he mentioned modestly:

"My sphere of action as editor on a high-class paper, which has now existed for seven years; my position as composer and the fact of my having really worked hard, both as editor and musician."

He began an essay on Shakespeare's relation to music, but without waiting for this the University of Jena granted him his doctorate on February 24, 1840, a bit of speed which must have been marvellously refreshing to this poor victim of so much delay.

The very day the degree was granted, he had decided to take legal steps for libel against the attack of Wieck's, which had been printed in pamphlet form and distributed. Toward Wieck he is still pitiful, "The wretched man is torturing himself; let it be his punishment." The libel suit was not prosecuted and his anger vanished in the rapture of being made a doctor of philosophy in flattering terms. As he confesses:

"Of course the first I did was to send a copy to the north for my betrothed; who is exactly like a child and will dance at being engaged to a doctor."

In May he went to Berlin and visited Clara's mother for a fortnight; here he had two weeks' bliss listening to Mendelssohn's singing to Clara's accompaniment some of the manifold songs that were suddenly beginning to bubble up from Schumann's heart. It was to his happiness that he credited this lyric outburst, for he had hitherto written only instrumental music.

"While I was composing them I was quite lost in thoughts of you. If I were not engaged to such a girl, I could not write such music."

Songs came with a rush from his soul, and he exclaims:

"I have been composing so much that it really seems quite uncanny at times. I cannot help it, and should like to sing myself to death like a nightingale."

He begged Clara to come to him and drag him away from his music. Yet all he wished was to be "where I can have a piano and be near you."

On July 4, 1840, he made her a present of a grand piano as a surprise, taking her out for a long walk until the piano could be placed in her rooms and hers taken to his.

It will not be possible to tell here in detail the story of the process of law, or its many postponements or disappointments. Long ago they had set their hearts upon marrying on Easter Day, 1840; they had determined not to permit their father to drive them past this date. But they went meekly enough under the yoke of the law and passed many a month until it seemed to the litigants that the condition of waiting for a decision was to be their permanent manner of life. But suddenly, as Litzmann says, "there stood Happiness, long besought, on the stoop, and knocked with tender fingers on the door."

On the 7th of July, 1840, Clara was told the good news that the father had withdrawn the evidence upon which he based his opposition. The case was not ended, but the lovers immediately began to hunt for a place to live. On the sixteenth of July they found a little, but cosy, lodging on the Insel Strasse. Grief had not yet finally done with them, however, for Clara must write in her journal:

"I have not for my wedding what the simplest girl in town has, a trousseau."

On the 1st of August the case reached a stage where the father had but ten days more to make his final appeal. Worn out and lacking in further weapons of any kind, he let the occasion pass, and rested on the decision of the court. Clara went for one last concert tour as Clara Wieck.

On the 12th of August, the super-deliberate court handed down its awesome verdict. It was a verdict of reward for the lovers. Since Wieck had withdrawn his evidence, the verdict was strongly worded in favour of the lovers. Schumann wrote Clara, "On this day, Clara, three years ago, I proposed for your hand."

There was no delay in crying the banns, and the lovers went about as in a dream of rapture.

On September the 12th, between ten and eleven o'clock of a Saturday, at Schoenefeld, a village near Leipzig, they were married by an old school friend of Schumann's. On the 13th, a Sunday, and Clara's birthday-her twenty-first-she was the wife of the man who had for four years made her possession his chief ambition, and who had loved her better than he knew, long years before that.

Thus the lovers gained only one day by their lawsuit, for Clara was now of age. But who could estimate the value of the struggle in strengthening and deepening their love for each other and their worthiness for each other? It is the struggle for existence and the battle with resistance that bring about the evolution of strength in the physical world, and in the mental. Can we not say the same of the sentimental?

Would it not be a great pity if there were never such a gymnasium as parental resistance for lovers to exercise their hearts in? Shall we not, then, thank old Wieck for his fine lessons in psychical culture? His daughter Marie, by the way, Clara's half-sister, has only this year (1903) published a defence of the old man in answer to the first volume of Litzmann's new biography.

On Clara's marriage-day she wrote in her diary a little triumph song of joy. The wedding had been very simple and-

"There was a little dancing. Though no hilarity reigned, still in every face there was an inner content; it was a beautiful day, and the sun himself, who had been hidden for many days, poured his mild beams upon us in the morning as we went to the wedding, as if he would bless our union. There was nothing disturbing on this day, and so let it be inscribed in this book as the most beautiful and the most important day of my life. A period in my existence has now closed. I have endured very many sorrows in my young years, but also many joys which I shall never forget. Now begins a new life, a beautiful life, that life which one loves more than anything, even than self; but heavy responsibilities also rest upon me, and Heaven grant me strength to fulfil them truly and as a good wife. Heaven has always stood by me and will not cease now. I have always had a great belief in God, and shall always keep it."

As for the old Wieck, his bitterness must have been almost suicidal. He did not forgive his daughter even after the birth of her first child, on September 1, 1841, the year also of Schumann's first symphony. It was only after a second child was born, in April, 1843, that Schumann could write to a friend:

"There has been a reconciliation between Clara and old Wieck, which I am glad of for Clara's sake. He has been trying to make it up with me too, but the man can have no feelings or he could not attempt such a thing. So you can see the sky is clearing. I am glad for Clara's sake."

But the cherishing of such a grudge even with such foundation was not like Schumann, and a year later, from Petersburg, where he had accompanied Clara on a triumphal tour and where they had the most cordial recognition from the Czar and Czarina, he addressed old Wieck as "Dear Father," and described to him with contagious pride the immense success of his wife. A little later he reminded him that "It is the tenth birthday Of our Zeitschrift, I dare say you remember." And yet again he writes to him as "Dear Papa," adding "best love to your wife and children, till we all meet again happily." And so ended the feud between the two men.

The romance of Robert and Clara did not end at the little village church, but rather they seemed to issue thence into a very Eden of love and art commingled. The gush of song from his heart continued, he dedicated to her his "Myrthen" and collaborated with her in the twelve songs called "Love's Springtime." As Spitta, his biographer, writes:

"As far as anything human can be imagined, the marriage was perfectly happy. Besides their genius both husband and wife had simple domestic tastes and were strong enough to bear the admiration of the world, without becoming egotistical. They lived for one another and for their children. He created and wrote for his wife, and in accordance with their temperament; while she looked upon it as her highest privilege to give to the world the most perfect interpretation of his works, or at least to stand as mediatrix between him and his audience, and to ward off all disturbing or injurious impressions from his sensitive soul, which day by day became more irritable. Now that he found perfect contentment in his domestic relations, he withdrew from his intercourse with others and devoted himself exclusively to his family and work. The deep joy of his married life, produced the direct result of a mighty advance in his artistic progress. Schumann's most beautiful works in the larger forms date almost entirely from the years 1841-5."

He went with her on many of her tours. They even planned an American trip. Once they were received with a public banquet; these two whom Reissman calls "the marvellous couple." In his letters there are always loving allusions to "my Clara," and though he could not himself play because of his lame finger, she was to him his "right hand." Once in referring to a prospective concert he even wrote, "We shall play" such and such numbers.

In 1853 he and Clara went to the Netherlands, where he found his music well known and himself highly honoured, though they say that the King of Holland, after praising Clara's playing, turned to Robert and said: "Are you also musical?" But then one does not expect much from a king. The musicians knew Schumann's work, and he rejoiced at finding friends of his art in a far-away country. "But," says Reissman, "this was destined to be his last happiness."

For the dread affliction which throws a spell of horror across his life and his wife's devotion, did not long delay in seizing upon him after his marriage. As early as 1833, the ferocious onslaughts of melancholia had affected him at long intervals. In 1845, on the doctor's advice, he moved to Dresden. His trouble seems to have been "an abnormal formation of irregular masses of bone in the brain." He was afraid to live above the ground floor, or to go high in any building, lest he throw himself from the window in a sudden attack. He was subject to moods of long, and one might almost say violent, silence. In 1845 he described it as "a mysterious complaint which, when the doctor tries to take hold of it, disappears. I dare say better times are coming, and when I look upon my wife and children, I have joy enough."

Later he wrote to Mendelssohn, that he preferred staying at home, even when his wife went out.

"Wherever there is fun and enjoyment, I must still keep out of the way; the only thing to be done is hope ... hope ... and I will!"

His wife was still "a gift from above," and his allusions to her were affectionate to the utmost. In 1846, and again in the summer of 1847, he suffered a violent melancholia. In these periods he experienced an inability to remember his own music long enough to write it down. He saw but few friends, among them the charming widow of Von Weber, Ferdinand Hiller, Mendelssohn, Joachim, and a few others. Wagner wrote some articles for Schumann's journal and was highly thought of at first, but Schumann soon lost sympathy with him; the final sign of the break-up of his wonderful appreciation of other men's music.

His life was more and more his home, and that more and more a voluntary prison. In 1853 he presented his wife on her birthday with a grand piano, and several new compositions. He took great delight in his family, and could even compose amid the hilarity and noise of his children. Concerning children he had written in 1845 to Mendelssohn, whose wife had presented him with a second child, "We are looking forward to a similar event, and I always tell my wife, 'one cannot have enough.' It is the greatest blessing we have on earth."

Clara bore him eight children, and at her concerts there was usually a nurse with a babe in arms waiting for her in the wings. Schumann wrote three sonatas for his three daughters, and other compositions for them. His famous "Kinderscenen" were, however, composed before his marriage.

It was in 1853 that his old enthusiasm for new composers broke forth in his ardent welcome to Brahms (who was then twenty years old), who became a devoted friend and was of much comfort to Frau Schumann after Schumann's death. This was not far off, but before life went, he must suffer a death in life.

Worst of all in that final disintegration of his great soul was the interest he took in the atrocious frauds of spiritualism. He was even duped into believing in the cheap swindle of table-tipping. The bliss of Robert Browning's home was broken up in this same form, of all-encompassing credulity, only it was Mrs. Browning who was the spiritualist in this case and resisted Browning's sanity in the matter.

Schumann fancied that he heard spirit voices rebuking and praising him, and he rose once in the night to write down a theme given him by the ghosts of Schubert and Mendelssohn, on which he afterward wrote variations which were never finished and were the last pathetic exercise of his magnificent mind.

He was also distracted by hearing one eternal note ringing in his ears-the same horror that drove the composer Smetana mad, after he had embodied the nightmare in one of his compositions. Clara herself in later life was long distressed by hearing a continual pattern of "sequences" in her head, and Bizet's early death was a release from two notes that dinned his ears interminably.

Schumann's eccentricities became a proverb. Alice Mangold Diehl tells of meeting Robert and Clara, and finding him peevish and her a model of meekness and patience. Poor Schumann realised his failings and his own danger, and often suggested retirement to an asylum. But the idea was too ghastly to endure.

On February 27, 1854, after an especial attack of the bewilderment and helpless terror that thrilled him, he stole away unobserved, and leaped from a bridge into the Rhine. He was saved by boatmen and taken home. He recovered, but it was now thought best that he should be placed under restraint, and he passed his last two years in a private asylum, near Bonn. Periods of complete sanity, when he received his friends and wrote to them, alternated with periods of absolute despair. Under the weight of his affliction, his soul, like Giles Corey's body in the Salem witchcraft times, was gradually crushed to death, and at the age of forty-six he died. Clara, who had been away on a concert tour to earn much-needed funds, hastened back from London just in time to give him her own arms as his resting-place in his last agony.

After his funeral she and her children went to Berlin to live with her mother. She found it necessary to travel as a performer and to teach until 1882, when her health forbade her touring longer. She had shown herself a woman worth fighting for, even as Schumann fought for her, and she had given him not only the greatest ambition and the greatest solace his life had known, but she had been also the perfect helpmeet to his art.

Schumann's music was not an easy music for the world to learn, and it is to Clara Wieck's eternal honour, that she not only inspired Schumann to write this music, and gave him her support under the long discouragement of its neglect and the temptations to be untrue to his best ideals; but that she travelled through Europe and promulgated his art, until with her own power of intellect and persuasion she had coaxed and compelled the world to understand its right value, and his great messages.

She never married again, but devoted her long widowhood to his memory personally as well as artistically. She edited his works and published his letters in 1885, with a preface, saying that her desire was to make him known for himself as well as he was loved and honoured in his artistic importance. As she had written in 1871, "the purity of his life, his noble aspirations, the excellence of his heart, can never be fully known except through the communication of his family and friends."

In return for her devotion he never made genius an excuse for infidelity or selfishness. It seems actually and beautifully true, as Reissman says, that "Schumann's devotions were as chaste and devout as those of the soul of a pure woman."

Such a love, such a courtship, and such a wedlock as that of Robert and Clara Schumann ennoble not only the art and history of music, but those as well of humanity.

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