Jean-Christophe Chapter I SHIFTING SANDS

Free! He felt that he was free!… Free of others and of himself! The network of passion in which he had been enmeshed for more than a year had suddenly been burst asunder. How? He did not know. The filaments had given before the growth of his being. It was one of those crises of growth in which robust natures tear away the dead casing of the year that is past, the old soul in which they are cramped and stifled.

Christophe breathed deeply, without understanding what had happened. An icy whirlwind was rushing through the great gate of the town as he returned from taking Gottfried on his way. The people were walking with heads lowered against the storm. Girls going to their work were struggling against the wind that blew against their skirts: they stopped every now and then to breathe, with their nose and cheeks red, and they looked exasperated, and as though they wanted to cry. He thought of that other torment through which he had passed. He looked at the wintry sky, the town covered with snow, the people struggling along past him: he looked about him, into himself: he was no longer bound. He was alone!… Alone! How happy to be alone, to be his own! What joy to have escaped from his bonds, from his torturing memories, from the hallucinations of faces that he loved or detested! What joy at last to live, without being the prey of life, to have become his own master!…

He went home white with snow. He shook himself gaily like a dog. As he passed his mother, who was sweeping the passage, he lifted her up, giving little inarticulate cries of affection such as one makes to a tiny child. Poor old Louisa struggled in her son’s arms: she was wet with the melting snow: and she called him, with a jolly laugh, a great gaby.

He went up to his room three steps at a time.—He could hardly see himself in his little mirror it was so dark. But his heart was glad. His room was low and narrow and it was difficult to move in it, but it was like a kingdom to him. He locked the door and laughed with pleasure. At last he was finding himself! How long he had been gone astray! He was eager to plunge into thought like a bather into water. It was like a great lake afar off melting into the mists of blue and gold. After a night of fever and oppressive heat he stood by the edge of it, with his legs bathed in the freshness of the water, his body kissed by the wind of a summer morning. He plunged in and swam: he knew not whither he was going, and did not care: it was joy to swim whithersoever he listed. He was silent, then he laughed, and listened for the thousand thousand sounds of his soul: it swarmed with life. He could make out nothing: his head was swimming: he felt only a bewildering happiness. He was glad to feel in himself such unknown forces: and indolently postponing putting his powers to the test he sank back into the intoxication of pride in the inward flowering, which, held back for months, now burst forth like a sudden spring.

His mother called him to breakfast. He went down: he was giddy and light-headed as though he had spent a day in the open air: but there was such a radiance of joy in him that Louisa asked what was the matter. He made no reply: he seized her by the waist and forced her to dance with him round the table on which the tureen was steaming. Out of breath Louisa cried that he was mad: then she clasped her hands.

"Dear God!" she said anxiously. "Sure, he is in love again!"

Christophe roared with laughter. He hurled his napkin into the air.

"In love?…" he cried. "Oh! Lord!… but no! I’ve had enough! You can be easy on that score. That is done, done, forever!… Ouf!"

He drank a glassful of water.

Louisa looked at him, reassured, wagged her head, and smiled.

"That’s a drunkard’s pledge," she said. "It won’t last until to-night."

"Then the day is clear gain," he replied good-humoredly.

"Oh, yes!" she said. "But what has made you so happy?"

"I am happy. That is all."

Sitting opposite her with his elbows on the table he tried to tell her all that he was going to do. She listened with kindly skepticism and gently pointed out that his soup was going cold. He knew that she did not hear what he was saying: but he did not care: he was talking for his own satisfaction.

They looked at each other smiling: he talking: she hardly listening. Although she was proud of her son she attached no great importance to his artistic projects: she was thinking: "He is happy: that matters most."—While he was growing more and more excited with his discourse he watched his mother’s dear face, with her black shawl tightly tied round her head, her white hair, her young eyes that devoured him lovingly, her sweet and tranquil kindliness. He knew exactly what she was thinking. He said to her jokingly:

"It is all one to you, eh? You don’t care about what I’m telling you?"

She protested weakly:

"Oh, no! Oh, no!"

He kissed her.

"Oh, yes! Oh, yes! You need not defend yourself. You are right. Only love me. There is no need to understand me—either for you or for anybody else. I do not need anybody or anything now: I have everything in myself…."

"Oh!" said Louisa. "Another maggot in his brain!… But if he must have one

I prefer this to the other."

* * * * *

What sweet happiness to float on the surface of the lake of his thoughts!… Lying in the bottom of a boat with his body bathed in sun, his face kissed by the light fresh wind that skims over the face of the waters, he goes to sleep: he is swung by threads from the sky. Under his body lying at full length, under the rocking boat he feels the deep, swelling water: his hand dips into it. He rises: and with his chin on the edge of the boat he watches the water flowing by as he did when he was a child. He sees the reflection of strange creatures darting by like lightning…. More, and yet more…. They are never the same. He laughs at the fantastic spectacle that is unfolded within him: he laughs at his own thoughts: he has no need to catch and hold them. Select? Why select among So many thousands of dreams? There is plenty of time!… Later on!… He has only to throw out a line at will to draw in the monsters whom he sees gleaming in the water. He lets them pass…. Later on!…

The boat floats on at the whim of the warm wind and the insentient stream.

All is soft, sun, and silence.

* * * * *

At last languidly he throws out his line. Leaning out over the lapping water he follows it with his eyes until it disappears. After a few moments of torpor he draws it in slowly: as he draws it in it becomes heavier: just as he is about to fish it out of the water he stops to take breath. He knows that he has his prey: he does not know what it is: he prolongs the pleasure of expectancy.

At last he makes up his mind: fish with gleaming, many-colored scales appear from the water: they writhe like a nest of snakes. He looks at them curiously, he stirs them with his finger: but hardly has he drawn them from the water than their colors fade and they slip between his fingers. He throws them back into the water and begins to fish for others. He is more eager to see one after another all the dreams stirring in him than to catch at any one of them: they all seem more beautiful to him when they are freely swimming in the transparent lake….

He caught all kinds of them, each more extravagant than the last. Ideas had been heaped up in him for months and he had not drawn upon them, so that he was bursting with riches. But it was all higgledy-piggledy: his mind was a Babel, an old Jew’s curiosity shop in which there were piled up in the one room rare treasures, precious stuffs, scrap-iron, and rags. He could not distinguish their values: everything amused him. There were thrilling chords, colors which rang like bells, harmonies which buzzed like bees, melodies smiling like lovers’ lips. There were visions of the country, faces, passions, souls, characters, literary ideas, metaphysical ideas. There were great projects, vast and impossible, tetralogies, decalogies, pretending to depict everything in music, covering whole worlds. And, most often there were obscure, flashing sensations, called forth by a trifle, the sound of a voice, a man or a woman passing in the street, the pattering of rain. An inward rhythm.—Many of these projects advanced no further than their title: most of them were never more than a note or two: it was enough. Like all very young people, he thought he had created what he dreamed of creating.

* * * * *

But he was too keenly alive to be satisfied for long with such fantasies. He wearied of an illusory possession: he wished to seize his dreams.—How to begin? They seemed to him all equally important. He turned and turned them: he rejected them, he took them up again…. No, he never took them up again: they were no longer the same, they were never to be caught twice: they were always changing: they changed in his hands, under his eyes, while he was watching them. He must make haste: he could not: he was appalled by the slowness with which he worked. He would have liked to do everything in one day, and he found it horribly difficult to complete the smallest thing. His dreams were passing and he was passing himself: while he was doing one thing it worried him not to be doing another. It was as though it was enough to have chosen one of his fine subjects for it to lose all interest for him. And so all his riches availed him nothing. His thoughts had life only on condition that he did not tamper with them: everything that he succeeded in doing was still-born. It was the torment of Tantalus: within reach were fruits that became stones as soon as he plucked them: near his lips was a clear stream which sank away whenever he bent down, to drink.

To slake his thirst lie tried to sip at the springs that he had conquered, his old compositions…. Loathsome in taste! At the first gulp, he spat it out again, cursing. What! That tepid water, that insipid music, was that his music?—He read through all his compositions: he was horrified: he understood not a note of them, he could not even understand how he had come to write them. He blushed. Once after reading through a page more foolish than the rest he turned round to make sure that there was nobody in the room, and then he went and hid his face in his pillow like a child ashamed. Sometimes they seemed to him so preposterously silly that they were quite funny, and he forgot that they were his own….

"What an idiot!" he would cry, rocking with laughter.

But nothing touched him more than those compositions in which he had set out to express his own passionate feelings: the sorrows and joys of love. Then he would bound in his chair as though a fly had stung him: he would thump on the table, beat his head, and roar angrily: he would coarsely apostrophize himself: he would vow himself to be a swine, trebly a scoundrel, a clod, and a clown—a whole litany of denunciation. In the end he would go and stand before his mirror, red with shouting, and then he would take hold of his chin and say:

"Look, look, you scurvy knave, look at the ass-face that is yours! I’ll teach you to lie, you blackguard! Water, sir, water."

He would plunge his face into his basin, and hold it under water until he was like to choke. When he drew himself up, scarlet, with his eyes starting from his head, snorting like a seal, he would rush to his table, without bothering to sponge away the water trickling down him: he would seize the unhappy compositions, angrily tear them in pieces, growling:

"There, you beast!… There, there, there!…"

Then he would recover.

What exasperated him most in his compositions was their untruth. Not a spark of feeling in them. A phraseology got by heart, a schoolboy’s rhetoric: he spoke of love like a blind man of color: he spoke of it from hearsay, only repeating the current platitudes. And it was not only love: it was the same with all the passions, which had been used for themes and declamations.—And yet he had always tried to be sincere.—But it is not enough to wish to be sincere: it is necessary to have the power to be so: and how can a man be so when as yet he knows nothing of life? What had revealed the falseness of his work, what had suddenly digged a pit between himself and his past was the experience which he had had during the last six months of life. He had left fantasy: there was now in him a real standard to which he could bring all the thoughts for judgment as to their truth or untruth.

The disgust which his old work, written without passion, roused in him, made him decide with his usual exaggeration that he would write no more until he was forced to write by some passionate need: and leaving the pursuit of his ideas at that, he swore that he would renounce music forever, unless creation were imposed upon him in a thunderclap.

* * * * *

He made this resolve because he knew quite well that the storm was coming.

Thunder falls when it will, and where it will. But there are peaks which attract it. Certain places—certain souls—breed storms: they create them, or draw them from all points of the horizon: and certain ages of life, like certain months of the year, are so saturated with electricity, that thunderstorms are produced in them,—if not at will—at any rate when they are expected.

The whole being of a man is taut for it. Often the storm lies brooding for days and days. The pale sky is hung with burning, fleecy clouds. No wind stirs. The still air ferments, and seems to boil. The earth lies in a stupor: no sound comes from it. The brain hums feverishly: all nature awaits the explosion of the gathering forces, the thud of the hammer which is slowly rising to fall back suddenly on the anvil of the clouds. Dark, warm shadows pass: a fiery wind rises through the body, the nerves quiver like leaves…. Then silence falls again. The sky goes on gathering thunder.

In such expectancy there is voluptuous anguish. In spite of the discomfort that weighs so heavily upon you, you feel in your veins the fire which is consuming the universe. The soul surfeited boils in the furnace, like wine in a vat. Thousands of germs of life and death are in labor in it. What will issue from it? The soul knows not. Like a woman with child, it is silent: it gazes in upon itself: it listens anxiously for the stirring in its womb, and thinks: "What will be born of me?"…

Sometimes such waiting is in vain. The storm passes without breaking: but you wake heavy, cheated, enervated, disheartened. But it is only postponed: the storm will break: if not to-day, then to-morrow: the longer it is delayed, the more violent will it be….

Now it comes!… The clouds have come up from all corners of the soul. Thick masses, blue and black, torn by the frantic darting of the lightning: they advance heavily, drunkenly, darkening the soul’s horizon, blotting out light. An hour of madness!… The exasperated Elements, let loose from the cage in which they are held bound by the Laws which hold the balance between the mind and the existence of things, reign, formless and colossal, in the night of consciousness. The soul is in agony. There is no longer the will to live. There is only longing for the end, for the deliverance of death….

And suddenly there is lightning!

Christophe shouted for joy.

* * * * *

Joy, furious joy, the sun that lights up all that is and will be, the godlike joy of creation! There is no joy but in creation. There are no living beings but those who create. All the rest are shadows, hovering over the earth, strangers to life. All the joys of life are the joys of creation: love, genius, action,—quickened by flames issuing from one and the same fire. Even those who cannot find a place by the great fireside: the ambitious, the egoists, the sterile sensualists,—try to gain warmth in the pale reflections of its light.

To create in the region of the body, or in the region of the mind, is to issue from the prison of the body: it is to ride upon the storm of life: it is to be He who Is. To create is to triumph over death.

Wretched is the sterile creature, that man or that woman who remains alone and lost upon the earth, scanning their withered bodies, and the sight of themselves from which no flame of life will ever leap! Wretched is the soul that does not feel its own fruitfulness, and know itself to be big with life and love, as a tree with blossom in the spring! The world may heap honors and benefits upon such a soul: it does but crown a corpse.

* * * * *

When Christophe was struck by the flash of lightning, an electric fluid coursed through his body: he trembled under the shock. It was as though on the high seas, in the dark night, he had suddenly sighted land. Or it was as though in a crowd he had gazed into two eyes saluting him. Often it would happen to him after hours of prostration when his mind was leaping desperately through the void. But more often still it came in moments when he was thinking of something else, talking to his mother, or walking through the streets. If he were in the street a certain human respect kept him from too loudly demonstrating his joy. But if he were at home nothing could keep him back. He would stamp. He would sound a blare of triumph: his mother knew that well, and she had come to know what it meant. She used to tell Christophe that he was like a hen that has laid an egg.

He was permeated with his musical imagination. Sometimes it took shape in an isolated phrase complete in itself: more often it would appear as a nebula enveloping a whole work: the structure of the work, its general lines, could be perceived through a veil, torn asunder here and there by dazzling phrases which stood out from the darkness with the clarity of sculpture. It was only a flash: sometimes others would come in quick succession: each lit up other corners of the night. But usually, the capricious force haying once shown itself unexpectedly, would disappear again for several days into its mysterious retreats, leaving behind it a luminous ray.

This delight in inspiration was so vivid that Christophe was disgusted by everything else. The experienced artist knows that inspiration is rare and that intelligence is left to complete the work of intuition: he puts his ideas under the press and squeezes out of them the last drop of the divine juices that are in them—(and if need be sometimes he does not shrink from diluting them with clear water)—Christophe was too young and too sure of himself not to despise such contemptible practices. He dreamed impossibly of producing nothing that was not absolutely spontaneous. If he had not been deliberately blind he would certainly have seen the absurdity of his aims. Ho doubt he was at that time in a period of inward abundance in which there was no gap, no chink, through which boredom or emptiness could creep. Everything served as an excuse to his inexhaustible fecundity: everything that his eyes saw or his ears heard, everything with which he came in contact in his daily life: every look, every word, brought forth a crop of dreams. In the boundless heaven of his thoughts he saw circling millions of milky stars, rivers of living light.—And yet, even then, there were moments when everything was suddenly blotted out. And although the night could not endure, although he had hardly time to suffer from these long silences of his soul, he did not escape a secret terror of that unknown power which came upon him, left him, came again, and disappeared…. How long, this time? Would it ever come again?—His pride rejected that thought and said: "This force is myself. When it ceases to be, I shall cease to be: I shall kill myself."—He never ceased to tremble: but it was only another delight.

But, if, for the moment, there was no danger of the spring running dry, Christophe was able already to perceive that it was never enough to fertilize a complete work. Ideas almost always appeared rawly: he had painfully to dig them out of the ore. And always they appeared without any sort of sequence, and by fits and starts: to unite them he had to bring to bear on them an element of reflection and deliberation and cold will, which fashioned them into new form. Christophe was too much of an artist not to do so: but he would not accept it: he forced himself to believe that he did no more than transcribe what was within himself, while he was always compelled more or less to transform it so as to make it intelligible.—More than that: sometimes he would absolutely forge a meaning for it. However violently the musical idea might come upon him it would often have been impossible for him to say what it meant. It would come surging up from the depths of life, from far beyond the limits of consciousness: and in that absolutely pure Force, which eluded common rhythms, consciousness could never recognize in it any of the motives which stirred in it, none of the human feelings which it defines and classifies: joys, sorrows, they were all merged in one single passion which was unintelligible, because it was above the intelligence. And yet, whether it understood or no, the intelligence needed to give a name to this form, to bind it down to one or other of the structures of logic, which man is forever building indefatigably in the hive of his brain.

So Christophe convinced himself—he wished to do so—that the obscure power that moved him had an exact meaning, and that its meaning was in accordance with his will. His free instinct, risen from the unconscious depths, was willy-nilly forced to plod on under the yoke of reason with perfectly clear ideas which had nothing at all in common with it. And work so produced was no more than a lying juxtaposition of one of those great subjects that Christophe’s mind had marked out for itself, and those wild forces which had an altogether different meaning unknown to himself.

* * * * *

He groped his way, head down, borne on by the contradictory forces warring in him, and hurling into his incoherent works a fiery and strong quality of life which he could not express, though he was joyously and proudly conscious of it.

The consciousness of his new vigor made him able for the first time to envisage squarely everything about him, everything that he had been taught to honor, everything that he had respected without question: and he judged it all with insolent freedom. The veil was rent: he saw the German lie.

Every race, every art has its hypocrisy. The world is fed with a little truth and many lies. The human mind is feeble: pure truth agrees with it but ill: its religion, its morality, its states, its poets, its artists, must all be presented to it swathed in lies. These lies are adapted to the mind of each race: they vary from one to the other: it is they that make it so difficult for nations to understand each other, and so easy for them to despise each other. Truth is the same for all of us: but every nation has its own lie, which it calls its idealism: every creature therein breathes it from birth to death: it has become a condition of life: there are only a few men of genius who can break free from it through heroic moments of crisis, when they are alone in the free world of their thoughts.

It was a trivial thing which suddenly revealed to Christophe the lie of German art. It was not because it had not always been visible that he had not seen it: he was not near it, he had not recoiled from it. Now the mountain appeared to his gaze because he had moved away from it.

He was at a concert of the Städtische Townhalle. The concert was given in a large hall occupied by ten or twelve rows of little tables—about two or three hundred of them. At the end of the room was a stage where the orchestra was sitting. All round Christophe were officers dressed up in their long, dark coats,—with broad, shaven faces, red, serious, and commonplace: women talking and laughing noisily, ostentatiously at their ease: jolly little girls smiling and showing all their teeth: and large men hidden behind their beards and spectacles, looking like kindly spiders with round eyes. They got up with every fresh glass to drink a toast: they did this almost religiously: their faces, their voices changed: it was as though they were saying Mass: they offered each other the libations, they drank of the chalice with a mixture of solemnity and buffoonery. The music was drowned under the conversation and the clinking of glasses. And yet everybody was trying to talk and eat quietly. The Herr Konzertmeister, a tall, bent old man, with a white beard hanging like a tail from his chin, and a long aquiline nose, with spectacles, looked like a philologist.—All these types were familiar to Christophe. But on that day he had an inclination—he did not know why—to see them as caricatures. There are days like that when, for no apparent reason, the grotesque in people and things which in ordinary life passes unnoticed, suddenly leaps into view.

The programme of the music included the Egmont overture, a valse of Waldteufel, Tannhäuser’s Pilgrimage to Rome, the overture to the Merry Wives of Nicolai, the religious march of Athalie, and a fantasy on the North Star. The orchestra played the Beethoven overture correctly, and the valse deliciously. During the Pilgrimage of Tannhäuser, the uncorking of bottles was heard. A big man sitting at the table next to Christophe beat time to the Merry Wives by imitating Falstaff. A stout old lady, in a pale blue dress, with a white belt, golden pince-nez on her flat nose, red arms, and an enormous waist, sang in a loud voice Lieder of Schumann and Brahms. She raised her eyebrows, made eyes at the wings, smiled with a smile that seemed to curdle on her moon-face, made exaggerated gestures which must certainly have called to mind the café-concert but for the majestic honesty which shone in her: this mother of a family played the part of the giddy girl, youth, passion: and Schumann’s poetry had a faint smack of the nursery. The audience was in ecstasies.—But they grew solemn and attentive when there appeared the Choral Society of the Germans of the South (Süddeutschen Männer Liedertafel), who alternately cooed and roared part songs full of feeling. There were forty and they sang four parts: it seemed as though they had set themselves to free their execution of every trace of style that could properly be called choral: a hotch-potch of little melodious effects, little timid puling shades of sound, dying pianissimos, with sudden swelling, roaring crescendos, like some one heating on an empty box: no breadth or balance, a mawkish style: it was like Bottom:

"Let me play the lion. I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove. I will roar you as it were a nightingale."

Christophe listened: foam the beginning with growing amazement. There was nothing new in it all to him. He knew these concerts, the orchestra, the audience. But suddenly it all seemed to him false. All of it: even to what he most loved, the Egmont overture, in which the pompous disorder and correct agitation hurt him in that hour like a want of frankness. No doubt it was not Beethoven or Schumann that he heard, but their absurd interpreters, their cud-chewing audience whose crass stupidity was spread about their works like a heavy mist.—No matter, there was in the works, even the most beautiful of them, a disturbing quality which Christophe had never before felt.—What was it? He dared not analyze it, deeming it a sacrilege to question his beloved masters. But in vain did he shut his eyes to it: he had seen it. And, in spite of himself, he went on seeing it: like the Vergognosa at Pisa he looked: between his fingers.

He saw German art stripped. All of them—the great and the idiots—laid bare their souls with a complacent tenderness. Emotion overflowed, moral nobility trickled down, their hearts melted in distracted effusions: the sluice gates were opened to the fearful German tender-heartedness: it weakened the energy of the stronger, it drowned the weaker under its grayish waters: it was a flood: in the depths of it slept German thought. And, what thoughts were those of a Mendelssohn, a Brahms, a Schumann, and, following them, the whole legion of little writers of affected and tearful Lieder! Built on sand. Never rock. Wet and shapeless clay.—It was all so foolish, so childish often, that Christophe could not believe that it never occurred to the audience. He looked about him: but he saw only gaping faces, convinced in advance of the beauties they were hearing and the pleasure that they ought to find in it. How could they admit their own right to judge for themselves? They were filled with respect for these hallowed names. What did they not respect? They were respectful before their programmes, before their glasses, before themselves. It was clear that mentally they dubbed everything excellent that remotely or nearly concerned them.

Christophe passed in review the audience and the music alternately: the music reflected the audience, the audience reflected the music. Christophe felt laughter overcoming him and he made faces. However, he controlled himself. But when the Germans of the South came and solemnly sang the Confession that reminded him of the blushes of a girl in love, Christophe could not contain himself. He shouted with laughter. Indignant cries of "Ssh!" were raised. His neighbors looked at him, scared: their honest, scandalized faces filled him with joy: he laughed louder than ever, he laughed, he laughed until he cried. Suddenly the audience grew angry. They cried: "Put him out!" He got up, and went, shrugging his shoulders, shaking with suppressed laughter. His departure caused a scandal. It was the beginning of hostilities between Christophe and his birthplace.

* * * * *

After that experience Christophe shut himself up and set himself to read once more the works of the "hallowed" musicians. He was appalled to find that certain of the masters whom he loved most had lied. He tried hard to doubt it at first, to believe that he was mistaken.—But no, there was no way out of it. He was staggered by the conglomeration of mediocrity and untruth which constitutes the artistic treasure of a great people. How many pages could bear examination!

From that time on he could begin to read other works, other masters, who were dear to him, only with a fluttering heart…. Alas! There was some spell cast upon him: always there was the same discomfiture. With some of them his heart was rent: it was as though he had lost a dear friend, as if he had suddenly seen that a friend in whom he had reposed entire confidence had been deceiving him for years. He wept for it. He did not sleep at night: he could not escape his torment. He blamed himself: perhaps he had lost his judgment? Perhaps he had become altogether an idiot?—No, no. More than ever he saw the radiant beauty of the day and with more freshness and love than ever he felt the generous abundance of life: his heart was not deceiving him….

But for a long time he dared not approach those who were the best for him, the purest, the Holy of Holies. He trembled at the thought of bringing his faith in them to the test. But how resist the pitiless instinct of a brave and truthful soul, which will go on to the end, and see things as they are, whatever suffering may be got in doing so?—So he opened the sacred works, he called upon the last reserve, the imperial guard…. At the first glance he saw that they were no more immaculate than the others. He had not the courage to go on. Every now and then he stopped and closed the book: like the son of Noah, he threw his cloak about his father’s nakedness….

Then he was prostrate in the midst of all these ruins. He would rather have lost an arm, than have tampered with his blessed illusions. In his heart he mourned. But there was so much sap in him, so much reserve of life, that his confidence in art was not shaken. With a young man’s naïve presumption he began life again as though no one had ever lived it before him. Intoxicated by his new strength, he felt—not without reason, perhaps—that with a very few exceptions there is almost no relation between living passion and the expression which art has striven to give to it. But he was mistaken in thinking himself more happy or more true when he expressed it. As he was filled with passion it was easy for him to discover it at the back of what he had written: but no one else would have recognized it through the imperfect vocabulary with which he designated its variations. Many artists whom he condemned were in the same case. They had had, and had translated profound emotions: but the secret of their language had died with them.

Christophe was no psychologist: he was not bothered with all these arguments: what was dead for him had always been so. He revised his judgment of the past with all the confident and fierce injustice of youth. He stripped the noblest souls, and had no pity for their foibles. There were the rich melancholy, the distinguished fantasy, the kindly thinking emptiness of Mendelssohn. There were the bead-stringing and the affectation of Weber, his dryness of heart, his cerebral emotion. There was Liszt, the noble priest, the circus rider, neo-classical and vagabond, a mixture in equal doses of real and false nobility, of serene idealism and disgusting virtuosity. Schubert, swallowed up by his sentimentality, drowned at the bottom of leagues of stale, transparent water. The men of the heroic ages, the demi-gods, the Prophets, the Fathers of the Church, were not spared. Even the great Sebastian, the man of ages, who bore in himself the past and the future,—Bach,—was not free of untruth, of fashionable folly, of school-chattering. The man who had seen God, the man who lived in God, seemed sometimes to Christophe to have had an insipid and sugared religion, a Jesuitical style, rococo. In his cantatas there were languorous and devout airs—(dialogues of the Soul coquetting with Jesus)—which sickened Christophe: then he seemed to see chubby cherubim with round limbs, and flying draperies. And also he had a feeling that the genial Cantor always wrote in a closed room: his work smacked of stuffiness: there was not in his music that brave outdoor air that was breathed in others, not such great musicians, perhaps, but greater men—more human—than he. Like Beethoven or Händel. What hurt him in all of them, especially in the classics, was their lack of freedom: almost all their works were "constructed." Sometimes an emotion was filled out with all the commonplaces of musical rhetoric, sometimes with a simple rhythm, an ornamental design, repeated, turned upside down, combined in every conceivable way in a mechanical fashion. These symmetrical and twaddling constructions—classical, and neo-classical sonatas and symphonies—exasperated Christophe, who, at that time, was not very sensible of the beauty of order, and vast and well-conceived plans. That seemed to him to be rather masons’ work than musicians’.

But he was no less severe with the romantics. It was a strange thing, and he was more surprised by it than anybody,—but no musicians irritated him more than those who had pretended to be—and had actually been—the most free, the most spontaneous, the least constructive,—those, who, like Schumann, had poured drop by drop, minute by minute, into their innumerable little works, their whole life. He was the more indignantly in revolt against them as he recognized in them his adolescent soul and all the follies that he had vowed to pluck out of it. In truth, the candid Schumann could not be taxed with falsity: he hardly ever said anything that he had not felt. But that was just it: his example made Christophe understand that the worst falsity in German art came into it not when the artists tried to express something which they had not felt, but rather when they tried to express the feelings which they did in fact feel—feelings which were false. Music is an implacable mirror of the soul. The more a German musician is naïve and in good faith, the more he displays the weaknesses of the German soul, its uncertain depths, its soft tenderness, its want of frankness, its rather sly idealism, its incapacity for seeing itself, for daring to come face to face with itself. That false idealism is the secret sore even of the greatest—of Wagner. As he read his works Christophe ground his teeth. Lohengrin seemed to him a blatant lie. He loathed the huxtering chivalry, the hypocritical mummery, the hero without fear and without a heart, the incarnation of cold and selfish virtue admiring itself and most patently self-satisfied. He knew it too well, he had seen it in reality, the type of German Pharisee, foppish, impeccable, and hard, bowing down before its own image, the divinity to which it has no scruple about sacrificing others. The Flying Dutchman overwhelmed him with its massive sentimentality and its gloomy boredom. The loves of the barbarous decadents of the Tetralogy were of a sickening staleness. Siegmund carrying off his sister sang a tenor drawing-room song. Siegfried and Brünnhilde, like respectable German married people, in the Götterdämmerung laid bare before each other, especially for the benefit of the audience, their pompous and voluble conjugal passion. Every sort of lie had arranged to meet in that work: false idealism, false Christianity, false Gothicism, false legend, false gods, false humans. Never did more monstrous convention appear than in that theater which was to upset all the conventions. Neither eyes, nor mind, nor heart could be deceived by it for a moment: if they were, then they must wish to be so.—They did wish to be so. Germany was delighted with that doting, childish art, an art of brutes let loose, and mystic, namby-pamby little girls.

And Christophe could do nothing: as soon as he heard the music he was caught up like the others, more than the others, by the flood, and the diabolical will of the man who had let it loose. He laughed, and he trembled, and his cheeks burned, and he felt galloping armies rushing through him! And he thought that those who bore such storms within themselves might have all allowances made for them. What cries of joy he uttered when in the hallowed works which he could not read without trembling he felt once more his old emotion, ardent still, with nothing to tarnish the purity of what he loved! These were glorious relics that he saved from the wreck. What happiness they gave him! It seemed to him that he had saved a part of himself. And was it not himself? These great Germans, against whom he revolted, were they not his blood, his flesh, his most precious life? He was only severe with them because he was severe with himself. Who loved them better than he? Who felt more than he the goodness of Schubert, the innocence of Haydn, the tenderness of Mozart, the great heroic heart of Beethoven? Who more often than he took refuge in the murmuring of the forests of Weber, and the cool shade of the cathedrals of John Sebastian, raising against the gray sky of the North, above the plains of Germany, their pile of stone, and their gigantic towers with their sun-tipped spires?—But he suffered from their lies, and he could not forget them. He attributed them to the race, their greatness to themselves. He was wrong. Greatness and weaknesses belong equally to the race whose great, shifting thought flows like the greatest river of music and poetry at which Europe comes to drink.—And in what other people would he have found the simple purity which now made it possible for him to condemn it so harshly?

He had no notion of that. With the ingratitude of a spoiled child he turned against his mother the weapons which he had received from her. Later, later, he was to feel all that he owed to her, and how dear she was to him….

But he was in a phase of blind reaction against all the idols of his childhood. He was angry with himself and with them because he had believed in them absolutely and passionately—and it was well that it was so. There is an age in life when we must dare to be unjust, when we must make a clean sweep of all admiration and respect got at second-hand, and deny everything—truth and untruth—everything which we have not of ourselves known for truth. Through education, and through everything that he sees and hears about him, a child absorbs so many lies and blind follies mixed with the essential verities of life, that the first duty of the adolescent who wishes to grow into a healthy man is to sacrifice everything.

* * * * *

Christophe was passing through that crisis of healthy disgust. His instinct was impelling him to eliminate from his life all the undigested elements which encumbered it.

First of all to go was that sickening sweet tenderness which sucked away the soul of Germany like a damp and moldy riverbed. Light! Light! A rough, dry wind which should sweep away the miasmas of the swamp, the misty staleness of the Lieder, Liedchen, Liedlein, as numerous as drops of rain in which inexhaustibly the Germanic Gemüt is poured forth: the countless things like Sehnsucht (Desire), Heimweh (Homesickness), Aufschwung (Soaring), Trage (A question), Warum? (Why?), an den Mond (To the Moon), an die Sterne (To the Stars), an die Nachtigall (To the Nightingale), an den Frühling (To Spring), an den Sonnenschein (To Sunshine): like Frühlingslied (Spring Song), Frühlingslust (Delights of Spring), Frühlingsgruss (Hail to the Spring), Frülingsfahrt (A Spring Journey), Frülingsnacht (A Spring Night), Frühlingsbotschaft (The Message of Spring): like Stimme der Liebe (The Voice of Love), Sprache der Liebe (The Language of Love), Trauer der Liebe (Love’s Sorrow), Geist der Liebe (The Spirit of Love), Fülle der Liebe (The Fullness of Love): like Blumenlied (The Song of the Flowers), Blumenbrief (The Letter of the Flowers), Blumengruss (Flowers’ Greeting): like Herzeleid (Heart Pangs), Mein Herz ist schwer (My Heart is Heavy), Mein Herz ist betrübt (My Heart is Troubled), Mein Aug’ ist trüb (My Eye is Heavy): like the candid and silly dialogues with the Röselein (The Little Rose), with the brook, with the turtle dove, with the lark: like those idiotic questions: "If the briar could have no thorns?"—"Is an old husband like a lark who has built a nest?"—"Is she newly plighted?": the whole deluge of stale tenderness, stale emotion, stale melancholy, stale poetry…. How many lovely things profaned, rare things, used in season or out! For the worst of it was that it was all useless: a habit of undressing their hearts in public, a fond and foolish propensity of the honest people of Germany for plunging loudly into confidences. With nothing to say they were always talking! Would their chatter never cease?—As well bid frogs in a pond be silent.

It was in the expression of love that Christophe was most rawly conscious of untruth: for he was in a position to compare it with the reality. The conventional love songs, lacrymose and proper, contained nothing like the desires of man or the heart of woman. And yet the people who had written them must have loved at least once in their lives! Was it possible that they could have loved like that? No, no, they had lied, as they always did, they had lied to themselves: they had tried to idealize themselves…. Idealism! That meant that they were afraid of looking at life squarely, were incapable of seeing things like a man, as they are.—Everywhere the same timidity, the same lack of manly frankness. Everywhere the same chilly enthusiasm, the same pompous lying solemnity, in their patriotism, in their drinking, in their religion. The Trinklieder (Drinking Songs) were prosopopeia to wine and the bowl: "Du, herrlich Glas …" ("Thou, noble glass …"). Faith—the one thing in the world which should be spontaneous, springing from the soul like an unexpected sudden stream—was a manufactured article, a commodity of trade. Their patriotic songs were made for docile flocks of sheep basking in unison…. Shout, then!—What! Must you go on lying—"idealizing"—till you are surfeited, till it brings you to slaughter and madness!…

Christophe ended by hating all idealism. He preferred frank brutality to such lying. But at heart he was more of an idealist than the rest, and he had not—he could not have—any more real enemies than the brutal realists whom he thought he preferred.

He was blinded by passion. He was frozen by the mist, the anæmic lying, "the sunless phantom Ideas." With his whole being he reached upwards to the sun. In his youthful contempt for the hypocrisy with which he was surrounded, or for what he took to be hypocrisy, he did not see the high, practical wisdom of the race which little by little had built up for itself its grandiose idealism in order to suppress its savage instincts, or to turn them to account. Not arbitrary reasons, not moral and religious codes, not legislators and statesmen, priests and philosophers, transform the souls of peoples and often impose upon them a new nature: but centuries of misfortune and experience, which forge the life of peoples who have the will to live.

* * * * *

And yet Christophe went on composing: and his compositions were not examples of the faults which he found in others. In him creation was an irresistible necessity which would not submit to the rules which his intelligence laid down for it. No man creates from reason, but from necessity.—It is not enough to have recognized the untruth and affectation inherent in the majority of the feelings to avoid falling into them: long and painful endeavor is necessary: nothing is more difficult than to be absolutely true in modern society with its crushing heritage of indolent habits handed down through generations. It is especially difficult for those people, those nations who are possessed by an indiscreet mania for letting their hearts speak—for making them speak—unceasingly, when most generally it had much better have been silent.

Christophe’s heart was very German in that: it had not yet learned the virtue of silence: and that virtue did not belong to his age. He had inherited from his father a need for talking, and talking loudly. He knew it and struggled against it: bat the conflict paralyzed part of his forces.—And he had another gift of heredity, no less burdensome, which had come to him from his grandfather: an extraordinary difficulty—in expressing himself exactly.—He was the son of a virtuoso. He was conscious of the dangerous attraction of virtuosity: a physical pleasure, the pleasure of skill, of agility, of satisfied muscular activity, the pleasure of conquering, of dazzling, of enthralling in his own person the many-headed audience: an excusable pleasure, in a young man almost an innocent pleasure, though none the less destructive of art and soul: Christophe knew it: it was in his blood: he despised it, but all the same he yielded to it.

And so, torn between the instincts of his race and those of his genius, weighed down by the burden of a parasitical past, which covered him with a crust that he could not break through, he floundered along, and was much nearer than he thought to all that he shunned and banned. All his compositions were a mixture of truth and turgidness, of lucid strength and faltering stupidity. It was only in rare moments that his personality could pierce the casing of the dead personality which hampered his movements.

He was alone. He had no guide to help him out of the mire. When he thought he was out of it he slipped back again. He went blindly on, wasting his time and strength in futile efforts. He was spared no trial: and in the disorder of his creative striving he never knew what was of greatest worth in what he created. He tied himself up in absurd projects, symphonic poems, which pretended to philosophy and were of monstrous dimensions. He was too sincere to be able to hold to them for long together: and he would discard them in disgust before he had stretched out a single movement. Or he would set out to translate into overtures the most inaccessible works of poetry. Then he would flounder about in a domain which was not his own. When he drew up scenarios for himself—(for he stuck at nothing)—they were idiotic: and when he attacked the great works of Goethe, Hebbel, Kleist, or Shakespeare, he understood them all wrong. It was not want of intelligence but want of the critical spirit: he could not yet understand others, he was too much taken up with himself: he found himself everywhere with his naïve and turgid soul.

But besides these monsters who were not really begotten, he wrote a quantity of small pieces, which were the immediate expression of passing emotions—the most eternal of all: musical thoughts, Lieder. In this as in other things he was in passionate reaction against current practices. He would take up the most famous poems, already set to music, and was impertinent enough to try to treat them differently and with greater truth than Schumann and Schubert. Sometimes he would try to give to the poetic figures of Goethe—to Mignon, the Harpist in Wilhelm Meister, their individual character, exact and changing. Sometimes he would tackle certain love songs which the weakness of the artists and the dullness of the audience in tacit agreement had clothed about with sickly sentimentality: and he would unclothe them: he would restore to them their rough, crude sensuality. In a word, he set out to make passions and people live for themselves and not to serve as toys for German families seeking an easy emotionalism on Sundays when they sat about in some Biergarten.

But generally he would find the poets, even the greatest of them, too literary: and he would select the simplest texts for preference: texts of old Lieder, jolly old songs, which he had read perhaps in some improving work: he would take care not to preserve their choral character: he would treat them with a fine, lively, and altogether lay audacity. Or he would take words from the Gospel, or proverbs, sometimes even words heard by chance, scraps of dialogues of the people, children’s thoughts: words often awkward and prosaic in which there was only pure feeling. With them he was at his ease, and he would reach a depth with them which was not in his other compositions, a depth which he himself never suspected.

Good or bad, more often bad than good, his works as a whole had abounding vitality. They were not altogether new: far from it. Christophe was often banal, through his very sincerity: he repeated sometimes forms already used because they exactly rendered his thought, because he also felt in that way and not otherwise. Nothing would have induced him to try to be original: it seemed to him that a man must be very commonplace to burden himself with such an idea. He tried to be himself, to say what he felt, without worrying as to whether what he said had been said before him or not. He took a pride in believing that it was the best way of being original and that Christophe had only been and only would be alive once. With the magnificent impudence of youth, nothing seemed to him to have been done before: and everything seemed to him to be left for doing—or for doing again. And the feeling of this inward fullness of life, of a life stretching endless before him, brought him to a state of exuberant and rather indiscreet happiness. He was perpetually in a state of jubilation, which had no need of joy: it could adapt itself to sorrow: its source overflowed with life, was, in its strength, mother of all happiness and virtue. To live, to live too much!… A man who does not feel within himself this intoxication of strength, this jubilation in living—even in the depths of misery,—is not an artist. That is the touchstone. True greatness is shown in this power of rejoicing through joy and sorrow. A Mendelssohn or a Brahms, gods of the mists of October, and of fine rain, have never known the divine power.

Christophe was conscious of it: and he showed his joy simply, impudently. He saw no harm in it, he only asked to share it with others. He did not see how such joy hurts the majority of men, who never can possess it and are always envious of it. For the rest he never bothered about pleasing or displeasing: he was sure of himself, and nothing seemed to him simpler than to communicate his conviction to others,—to conquer. Instinctively he compared his riches with the general poverty of the makers of music: and he thought that it would be very easy to make his superiority recognized. Too easy, even. He had only to show himself.

He showed himself.

* * * * *

They were waiting for him.

Christophe had made no secret of his feelings. Since he had become aware of German Pharisaism, which refuses to see things as they are, he had made it a law for himself that he should be absolutely, continually, uncompromisingly sincere in everything without regard for anything or anybody or himself. And as he could do nothing without going to extremes, he was extravagant in his sincerity: he would say outrageous things and scandalize people a thousand times less naïve than himself. He never dreamed that it might annoy them. When he realized the idiocy of some hallowed composition he would make haste to impart his discovery to everybody he encountered: musicians of the orchestra, or amateurs of his acquaintance. He would pronounce the most absurd judgments with a beaming face. At first no one took him seriously: they laughed at his freaks. But it was not long before they found that he was always reverting to them, insisting on them in a way that was really bad taste. It became evident that Christophe believed in his paradoxes: and they became less amusing. He was a nuisance: at concerts he would make ironic remarks in a loud voice, or would express his scorn for the glorious masters in no veiled fashion wherever he might be.

Everything passed from mouth to mouth in the little town: not a word was lost. People were already affronted by his conduct during the past year. They had not forgotten the scandalous fashion in which he had shown himself abroad with Ada and the troublous times of the sequel. He had forgotten, it himself: one day wiped out another, and he was very different from what he had been two months before. But others had not forgotten: those who, in all small towns, take upon themselves scrupulously to note down all the faults, all the imperfections, all the sad, ugly, and unpleasant happenings concerning their neighbors, so that nothing is ever forgotten. Christophe’s new extravagances were naturally set, side by side with his former indiscretions, in the scroll. The former explained the latter. The outraged feelings of offended morality were now bolstered up by those of scandalized good taste. The kindliest of them said:

"He is trying to be particular."

But most alleged:

"Total verrückt!" (Absolutely mad.)

An opinion no less severe and even more dangerous was beginning to find currency—an opinion assured of success by reason of its illustrious origin: it was said that, at the Palace, whither Christophe still went upon his official duties, he had had the bad taste in conversation with the Grand Duke himself, with revolting lack of decency, to give vent to his ideas concerning the illustrious masters: it was said that he had called Mendelssohn’s Elijah "a clerical humbug’s paternoster," and he had called certain Lieder of Schumann "Backfisch Musik": and that in the face of the declared preference of the august Princess for those works! The Grand Duke had cut short his impertinences by saying dryly:

"To hear you, sir, one would doubt your being a German." This vengeful utterance, coming from so lofty an eminence, reached the lowest depths: and everybody who thought he had reason to be annoyed with Christophe, either for his success, or for some more personal if not more cogent reason, did not fail to call to mind that he was not in fact pure German. His father’s family, it was remembered, came originally from Belgium. It was not surprising, therefore, that this immigrant should decry the national glories. That explained everything and German vanity found reasons therein for greater self-esteem, and at the same time for despising its adversary.

Christophe himself most substantially fed this Platonic vengeance. It is very imprudent to criticise others when you are yourself on the point of challenging criticism. A cleverer or less frank artist would have shown more modesty and more respect for his predecessors. But Christophe could see no reason for hiding his contempt for mediocrity or his joy in his own strength, and his joy was shown in no temperate fashion. Although from childhood Christophe had been turned in upon himself for want of any creature to confide in, of late he had come by a need of expansiveness. He had too much joy for himself: his breast was too small to contain it: he would have burst if he had not shared his delight. Failing a friend, he had confided in his colleague in the orchestra, the second Kapellmeister, Siegmund Ochs, a young Wurtemberger, a good fellow, though crafty, who showed him an effusive deference. Christophe did not distrust him: and, even if he had, how could it have occurred to him that it might be harmful to confide his joy to one who did not care, or even to an enemy? Ought they not rather to be grateful to him? Was it not for them also that he was working? He brought happiness for all, friends and enemies alike.—He had no idea that there is nothing more difficult than to make men accept a new happiness: they almost prefer their old misery: they need food that has been masticated for ages. But what is most intolerable to them is the thought that they owe such happiness to another. They cannot forgive that offense until there is no way of evading it: and in any case, they do contrive to make the giver pay dearly for it.

There were, then, a thousand reasons why Christophe’s confidences should not be kindly received by anybody. But there were a thousand and one reasons why they should not be acceptable to Siegmund Ochs. The first Kapellmeister, Tobias Pfeiffer, was on the point of retiring: and, in spite of his youth, Christophe had every chance of succeeding him. Ochs was too good a German not to recognize that Christophe was worthy of the position, since the Court was on his side. But he had too good an opinion of himself not to believe that he would have been more worthy had the Court known him better. And so he received Christophe’s effusions with a strange smile when, he arrived at the theater in the morning with a face that he tried hard to make serious, though it beamed in spite of himself.

"Well?" he would say slyly as he came up to him, "another masterpiece?"

Christophe would take his arm.

"Ah! my friend. It is the best of all … If you could hear it!… Devil take me, it is too beautiful! There has never been anything like it. God help the poor audience! They will only long for one thing when they have heard it: to die."

His words did not fall upon deaf ears. Instead of smiling, or of chaffing Christophe about his childish enthusiasm—he would have been the first to laugh at it and beg pardon if he had been made to feel the absurdity of it—Ochs went into ironic ecstasies: he drew Christophe on to further enormities: and when he left him made haste to repeat them all, making them even more grotesque. The little circle of musicians chuckled over them: and every one was impatient for the opportunity of judging the unhappy compositions.—They were all judged beforehand.

At last they appeared—Christophe had chosen from the better of his works an overture to the Judith of Hebbel, the savage energy of which had attracted him, in his reaction against German atony, although he was beginning to lose his taste for it, knowing intuitively the unnaturalness of such assumption of genius, always and at all costs. He had added a symphony which bore the bombastic title of the Basle Boecklin, "The Dream of Life," and the motto: "Vita somnium breve." A song-cycle completed the programme, with a few classical works, and a Festmarsch by Ochs, which Christophe had kindly offered to include in his concert, though he knew it to be mediocre.

Nothing much happened during the rehearsals. Although the orchestra understood absolutely nothing of the composition it was playing and everybody was privately disconcerted by the oddities of the new music, they had no time to form an opinion: they were not capable of doing so until the public had pronounced on it. Besides, Christophe’s confidence imposed on the artists, who, like every good German orchestra, were docile and disciplined. His only difficulties were with the singer. She was the blue lady of the Townhalle concert. She was famous through Germany: the domestic creature sang Brünnhilde Kundry at Dresden and Bayreuth with undoubted lung-power. But if in the Wagnerian school she had learned the art of which that school is justly proud, the art of good articulation, of projecting the consonants through space, and of battering the gaping audience with the vowels as with a club, she had not learned—designedly—the art of being natural. She provided for every word: everything was accentuated: the syllables moved with leaden feet, and there was a tragedy in every sentence. Christophe implored her to moderate her dramatic power a little. She tried at first graciously enough: but her natural heaviness and her need for letting her voice go carried her away. Christophe became nervous. He told the respectable lady that he had tried to make human beings speak with his speaking-trumpet and not the dragon Fafner. She took his insolence in bad part—naturally. She said that, thank Heaven! she knew what singing was, and that she had had the honor of interpreting the Lieder of Maestro Brahms, in the presence of that great man, and that he had never tired of hearing her.

"So much the worse! So much the worse!" cried Christophe.

She asked him with a haughty smile to be kind enough to explain the meaning of his energetic remark. He replied that never in his life had Brahms known what it was to be natural, that his eulogies were the worst possible censure, and that although he—Christophe—was not very polite, as she had justly observed, never would he have gone so far as to say anything so unpleasant.

The argument went on in this fashion: and the lady insisted on singing in her own way, with heavy pathos and melodramatic effects—until one day when Christophe declared coldly that he saw the truth: it was her nature and nothing could change it: but since the Lieder could not be sung properly, they should not be sung at all: he withdrew them from the programme.—It was on the eve of the concert and they were counting on the Lieder: she had talked about them: she was musician enough to appreciate certain of their qualities: Christophe insulted her: and as she was not sure that the morrow’s concert would not set the seal on the young man’s fame, she did not wish to quarrel with a rising star. She gave way suddenly: and during the last rehearsal she submitted docilely to all Christophe’s wishes. But she had made up her mind—at the concert—to have her own way.

* * * * *

The day came. Christophe had no anxiety. He was too full of his music to be able to judge it. He realized that some of his works in certain places bordered on the ridiculous. But what did that matter? Nothing great can be written without touching the ridiculous. To reach the heart of things it is necessary to dare human respect, politeness, modesty, the timidity of social lies under which the heart is stifled. If nobody is to be affronted and success attained, a man must be resigned all his life to remain bound by convention and to give to second-rate people the second-rate truth, mitigated, diluted, which they are capable of receiving: he must dwell in prison all his life. A man is great only when he has set his foot on such anxieties. Christophe trampled them underfoot. Let them hiss him: he was sure of not leaving them indifferent. He conjured up the faces that certain people of his acquaintance would make as they heard certain rather bold passages. He expected bitter criticism: he smiled at it already. In any case they would have to be blind—or deaf—to deny that there was force in it—pleasant or otherwise, what did it matter?—Pleasant! Pleasant!… Force! That is enough. Let it go its way, and bear all before it, like the Rhine!…

He had one setback. The Grand Duke did not come. The royal box was only occupied by Court people, a few ladies-in-waiting. Christophe was irritated by it. He thought: "The fool is cross with me. He does not know what to think of my work: he is afraid of compromising himself." He shrugged his shoulders, pretending not to be put out by such idiocy. Others paid more attention to it: it was the first lesson for him, a menace of his future.

The public had not shown much more interest than the Grand Duke: quite a third of the hall was empty. Christophe could not help thinking bitterly of the crowded halls at his concerts when he was a child. He would not have been surprised by the change if he had had more experience: it would have seemed natural to him that there were fewer people come to hear him when he made good music than when he made bad: for it is not music but the musician in which the greater part of the public is interested: and it is obvious that a musician who is a man and like everybody else is much less interesting than a musician in a child’s little trowsers or short frock, who tickles sentimentality or amuses idleness.

After waiting in vain for the hall to fill, Christophe decided to begin. He tried to pretend that it was better so, saying, "A few friends but good."—His optimism did not last long.

His pieces were played in silence.—There is a silence in an audience which seems big and overflowing with love. But there was nothing in this. Nothing. Utter sleep. Blankness. Every phrase seemed to drop into depths of indifference. With his back turned to the audience, busy with his orchestra, Christophe was fully aware of everything that was happening in the hall, with those inner antennæ which every true musician is endowed, so that he knows whether what he is playing is waking an echo in the hearts about him. He went on conducting and growing excited while he was frozen by the cold mist of boredom rising from the stalls and the boxes behind him.

At last the overture was ended: and the audience applauded. It applauded coldly, politely, and was then silent. Christophe would rather have had them hoot…. A hiss! One hiss! Anything to give a sign of life, or at least of reaction against his work!… Nothing.—He looked at the audience. The people were looking at each other, each trying to find out what the other thought. They did not succeed and relapsed into indifference.

The music went on. The symphony was played.—Christophe found it hard to go on to the end. Several times he was on the point of throwing down his baton and running away. Their apathy overtook him: at last he could not understand what he was conducting: he could not breathe: he felt that he was falling into fathomless boredom. There was not even the whispered ironic comment which he had anticipated at certain passages: the audience were reading their programmes. Christophe heard the pages turned all together with a dry rustling: and then, once more there was silence until the last chord, when the same polite applause showed that they had not understood that the symphony was finished.—And yet there were four pairs of hands went on clapping when the others had finished: but they awoke no echo, and stopped ashamed: that made the emptiness seem more empty, and the little incident served to show the audience how bored it had been.

Christophe took a seat in the middle of the orchestra: he dared not look to right or left. He wanted to cry: and at the same time he was quivering with rage. He was fain to get up and shout at them: "You bore me! Ah! How you bore me! I cannot bear it!… Go away! Go away, all of you!…"

The audience woke up a little: they were expecting the singer,—they were accustomed to applauding her. In that ocean of new music in which they were drifting without a compass, she at least was sure, a known land, and a solid, in which there was no danger of being lost. Christophe divined their thoughts exactly, and he laughed bitterly. The singer was no less conscious of the expectancy of the audience: Christophe saw that in her regal airs when he came and told her that it was her turn to appear. They looked at each other inimically. Instead of offering her his arm, Christophe thrust his hands into his pockets and let her go on alone. Furious and out of countenance she passed him. He followed her with a bored expression. As soon as she appeared the audience gave her an ovation: that made everybody happier: every face brightened, the audience grew interested, and glasses were brought into play. Certain of her power she tackled the Lieder, in her own way, of course, and absolutely disregarded Christophe’s remarks of the evening before. Christophe, who was accompanying her, went pale. He had foreseen her rebellion. At the first change that she made he tapped on the piano and said angrily:


She went on. He whispered behind her back in a low voice of fury:

"No! No! Not like that!… Not that!"

Unnerved by his fierce growls, which the audience could not hear, though the orchestra caught every syllable, she stuck to it, dragging her notes, making pauses like organ stops. He paid no heed to them and went ahead: in the end they got out of time. The audience did not notice it: for some time they had been saying that Christophe’s music was not made to seem pleasant or right to the ear: but Christophe, who was not of that opinion, was making lunatic grimaces: and at last he exploded. He stopped short in the middle of a bar:

"Stop," he shouted.

She was carried on by her own impetus for half a bar and then stopped:

"That’s enough," he said dryly.

There was a moment of amazement in the audience. After a few seconds he said icily:

"Begin again!"

She looked at him in stupefaction: her hands trembled: she thought for a moment of throwing his book at his head: afterwards she did not understand how it was that she did not do so. But she was overwhelmed by Christophe’s authority and his unanswerable tone of voice: she began again. She sang the song-cycle, without changing one shade of meaning, or a single movement: for she felt that he would spare her nothing: and she shuddered at the thought of a fresh insult.

When she had finished the audience recalled her frantically. They were not applauding the Lieder—(they would have applauded just the same if she had sung any others)—but the famous singer who had grown old in harness: they knew that they could safely admire her. Besides, they wanted to make up to her for the insult she had just received. They were not quite sure, but they did vaguely understand that the singer had made a mistake: and they thought it indecent of Christophe to call their attention to it. They encored the songs. But Christophe shut the piano firmly.

The singer did not notice his insolence: she was too much upset to think of singing again. She left the stage hurriedly and shut herself up in her box: and then for a quarter of an hour she relieved her heart of the flood of wrath and rage that was pent up in it: a nervous attack, a deluge of tears, indignant outcries and imprecations against Christophe,—she omitted nothing. Her cries of anger could be heard through the closed door. Those of her friends who had made their way there told everybody when they left that Christophe had behaved like a cad. Opinion travels quickly in a concert hall. And so when Christophe went to his desk for the last piece of music the audience was stormy. But it was not his composition: it was the Festmarsch by Ochs, which Christophe had kindly included in his programme. The audience—who were quite at their ease with the dull music—found a very simple method of displaying their disapproval of Christophe without going so far as to hiss him: they acclaimed Ochs ostentatiously, recalled the composer two or three times, and he appeared readily. And that was the end of the concert.

The Grand Duke and everybody at the Court—the bored, gossiping little provincial town—lost no detail of what had happened. The papers which were friendly towards the singer made no allusion to the incident: but they all agreed in exalting her art while they only mentioned the titles of the Lieder which she had sung. They published only a few lines about Christophe’s other compositions, and they all said almost the same things: "… Knowledge of counterpoint. Complicated writing. Lack of inspiration. No melody. Written with the head, not with the heart. Want of sincerity. Trying to be original…." Followed a paragraph on true originality, that of the masters who are dead and buried, Mozart, Beethoven, Loewe, Schubert, Brahms, "those who are original without thinking of it."—Then by a natural transition they passed to the revival at the Grand Ducal Theater of the Nachtlager von Granada of Konradin Kreutzer: a long account was given of "the delicious music, as fresh and jolly as when it was first written."

Christophe’s compositions met with absolute and astonished lack of comprehension from the most kindly disposed critics: veiled hostility from those who did not like him, and were arming themselves for later ventures: and from the general public, guided by neither friendly nor hostile critics, silence. Left to its own thoughts the general public does not think at all: that goes without saying.

* * * * *

Christophe was bowled over.

And yet there was nothing surprising in his defeat. There were reasons, three to one, why his compositions should not please. They were immature. They were, secondly, too advanced to be understood at once. And, lastly, people were only too glad to give a lesson to the impertinent youngster.—But Christophe was not cool-headed enough to admit that his reverse was legitimate. He had none of that serenity which the true artist gains from the mournful experience of long misunderstanding at the hands of men and their incurable stupidity. His naïve confidence in the public and in success which he thought he could easily gain because he deserved it, crumbled away. He would have thought it natural to have enemies. But what staggered him was to find that he had not a single friend. Those on whom he had counted, those who hitherto had seemed to be interested in everything that he wrote, had not given him a single word of encouragement since the concert. He tried to probe them: they took refuge behind vague words. He insisted, he wanted to know what they really thought: the most sincere of them referred back to his former works, his foolish early efforts.—More than once in his life he was to hear his new works condemned by comparison, with the older ones,—and that by the same people who, a few years before, had condemned his older works when they were new: that is the usual ordering of these things. Christophe did not like it: he exclaimed loudly. If people did not like him, well and good: he accepted that: it even pleased him since he could not be friends with everybody. But that people should pretend to be fond of him and not allow him to grow up, that they should try to force him all his life to remain a child, was beyond the pale! What is good at twelve is not good at twenty: and he hoped not to stay at that, but to change and to go on changing always…. These idiots who tried to stop life!… What was interesting in his childish compositions was not their childishness and silliness, but the force in them hungering for the future. And they were trying to kill his future!… No, they had never understood what he was, they had never loved him, never then or now: they only loved the weakness and vulgarity in him, everything that he had in common with others, and not himself, not what he really was: their friendship was a misunderstanding….

He was exaggerating, perhaps. It often happens with quite nice people who are incapable of liking new work which they sincerely love when it is twenty years old. New life smacks too strong for their weak senses—the scent of it must evaporate in the winds of Time. A work of art only becomes intelligible to them when it is crusted over with the dust of years.

But Christophe could not admit of not being understood when he was present and of being understood when he was past. He preferred to think that he was not understood at all, in any case, even. And he raged against it. He was foolish enough to want to make himself understood, to explain himself, to argue. Although no good purpose was served thereby: he would have had to reform the taste of his time. But he was afraid of nothing. He was determined by hook or by crook to clean up German taste. But it was utterly impossible: he could not convince anybody by means of conversation, in which he found it difficult to find words, and expressed himself with an excess of violence about the great musicians and even about the men to whom he was talking: he only succeeded in making a few more enemies. He would have had to prepare his ideas beforehand, and then to force the public to hear him….

And just then, at the appointed hour, his star—his evil star—gave him the means of doing so.

* * * * *

He was sitting in the restaurant of the theater in a group of musicians belonging to the orchestra whom he was scandalizing by his artistic judgments. They were not all of the same opinion: but they were all ruffled by the freedom of his language. Old Krause, the alto, a good fellow and a good musician, who sincerely loved Christophe, tried to turn the conversation: he coughed, then looked out for an opportunity of making a pun. But Christophe did not hear him: he went on: and Krause mourned and thought:

"What makes him say such things? God bless him! You can think these things: but you must not say them."

The odd thing was that he also thought "these things": at least, he had a glimmering of them, and Christophe’s words roused many doubts in him: but he had not the courage to confess it, or openly to agree—half from fear of compromising himself, half from modesty and distrust of himself.

Weigl, the cornet-player, did not want to know anything: he was ready to admire anything, or anybody, good or bad, star or gas-jet: everything was the same to him: there were no degrees in his admiration: he admired, admired, admired. It was a vital necessity to him: it hurt him when anybody tried to curb him.

Old Kuh, the violoncellist, suffered even more. He loved bad music with all his heart. Everything that Christophe hounded down with his sarcasm and invective was infinitely dear to him: instinctively his choice pitched on the most conventional works: his soul was a reservoir of tearful and high-flown emotion. Indeed, he was not dishonest in his tender regard for all the sham great men. It was when he tried to pretend that he liked the real great men that he was lying to himself—in perfect innocence. There are "Brahmins" who think to find in their God the breath of old men of genius: they love Beethoven in Brahms. Kuh went one better: he loved Brahms in Beethoven.

But the most enraged of all with. Christophe’s paradoxes was Spitz, the bassoon. It was not so much his musical instinct that was wounded as his natural servility. One of the Roman Emperors wished to die standing. Spitz wished to die, as he had lived, crawling: that was his natural position: it was delightful to him to grovel at the feet of everything that was official, hallowed, "arrived": and he was beside himself when anybody tried to keep him from playing the lackey, comfortably.

So, Kuh groaned, Weigl threw up his hands in despair, Krause made jokes, and Spitz shouted in a shrill voice. But Christophe went on imperturbably shouting louder than the rest: and saying monstrous things about Germany and the Germans.

At the next table a young man was listening to him and rocking with laughter. He had black curly hair, fine, intelligent eyes, a large nose, which at its end could not make up its mind to go either to right or left, and rather than go straight on, went to both sides at once, thick lips, and a clever, mobile face: he was following everything that Christophe said, hanging on his lips, reflecting every word with a sympathetic and yet mocking attention, wrinkling up his forehead, his temples, the corners of his eyes, round his nostrils and cheeks, grimacing with laughter, and every now and then shaking all over convulsively. He did not join in the conversation, but he did not miss a word of it. He showed his joy especially when he saw Christophe, involved in some argument and heckled by Spitz, flounder about, stammer, and stutter with anger, until he had found the word he was seeking,—a rock with which to crush his adversary. And his delight knew no bounds when Christophe, swept along by his passions far beyond the capacity of his thought, enunciated monstrous paradoxes which made his hearers snort.

At last they broke up, each of them tired out with feeling and alleging his own superiority. As Christophe, the last to go, was leaving the room he was accosted by the young man who had listened to his words with such pleasure. He had not yet noticed him. The other politely removed his hat, smiled, and asked permission to introduce himself:

"Franz Mannheim."

He begged pardon for his indiscretion in listening to the argument, and congratulated Christophe on the maestria with which he had pulverized his opponents. He was still laughing at the thought of it. Christophe was glad to hear it, and looked at him a little distrustfully:

"Seriously?" he asked. "You are not laughing at me?"

The other swore by the gods. Christophe’s face lit up.

"Then you think I am right? You are of my opinion?"

"Well," said Mannheim, "I am not a musician. I know nothing of music. The only music I like—(if it is not too flattering to say so)—is yours…. That may show you that my taste is not so bad…."

"Oh!" said Christophe skeptically, though he was flattered all the same, "that proves nothing."

"You are difficult to please…. Good!… I think as you do: that proves nothing. And I don’t venture to judge what you say of German musicians. But, anyhow, it is so true of the Germans in general, the old Germans, all the romantic idiots with their rancid thought, their sloppy emotion, their senile reiteration which we are asked to admire, ’the eternal Yesterday, which has always been, and always will be, and will be law to-morrow because it is law to-day.’ …!"

He recited a few lines of the famous passage in Schiller:

"… Das ewig Gestrige, Das immer war imd immer wiederkehrt…."

"Himself, first of all!" He stopped in the middle of his recitation.

"Who?" asked Christophe.

"The pump-maker who wrote that!"

Christophe did not understand. But Mannheim went on:

"I should like to have a general cleaning up of art and thought every fifty years—nothing to be left standing."

"A little drastic," said Christophe, smiling.

"No, I assure you. Fifty years is too much: I should say thirty…. And even less!… It is a hygienic measure. One does not keep one’s ancestors in one’s house. One gets rid of them, when they are dead, and sends, them elsewhere,—there politely to rot, and one places stones on them to be quite sure that they will not come back. Nice people put flowers on them, too. I don’t mind if they like it. All I ask is to be left in peace. I leave them alone! Each for his own side, say I: the dead and the living."

"There are some dead who are more alive than the living."

"No, no! It would be more true to say that there are some living who are more dead than the dead."

"Maybe. In any case, there are old things which are still young."

"Then if they are still young we can find them for ourselves…. But I don’t believe it. What has been good once never is good again. Nothing is good but change. Before all we have to rid ourselves of the old men and things. There are too many of them in Germany. Death to them, say I!"

Christophe listened to these squibs attentively and labored to discuss them: he was in part in sympathy with them, he recognized certain of his own thoughts in them: and at the same time he felt a little embarrassed at having them so blown out to the point of caricature. But as he assumed that everybody else was as serious as himself, he thought that perhaps Mannheim, who seemed to be more learned than himself and spoke more easily, was right, and was drawing the logical conclusions from his principles. Vain Christophe, whom so many people could not forgive for his faith in himself, was really most naïvely modest often tricked by his modesty when he was with those who were better educated than himself,—especially, when they consented not to plume themselves on it to avoid an awkward discussion. Mannheim, who was amusing himself with his own paradoxes, and from one sally to another had reached extravagant quips and cranks, at which he was laughing immensely, was not accustomed to being taken seriously: he was delighted with the trouble that Christophe was taking to discuss his nonsense, and even to understand it: and while he laughed, he was grateful for the importance which Christophe gave him: he thought him absurd and charming.

They parted very good friends: and Christophe was not a little surprised three hours later at rehearsal to see Mannheim’s head poked through the little door leading to the orchestra, smiling and grimacing, and making mysterious signs at him. When the rehearsal was over Christophe went to him. Mannheim took his arm familiarly.

"You can spare a moment?… Listen. I have an idea. Perhaps you will think it absurd…. Would not you like for once in a way to write what you think of music and the musicos? Instead of wasting your breath in haranguing four dirty knaves of your band who are good for nothing but scraping and blowing into bits of wood, would it not be better to address the general public?"

"Not better? Would I like?… My word! And when do you want me to write? It is good of you!…"

"I’ve a proposal for you…. Some friends and I: Adalbert von Waldhaus, Raphael Goldenring, Adolf Mai, and Lucien Ehrenfeld,—have started a Review, the only intelligent Review in the town: the Dionysos.—(You must know it….)—We all admire each other and should be glad if you would join us. Will you take over our musical criticism?"

Christophe was abashed by such an honor: he was longing to accept: he was only afraid of not being worthy: he could not write.

"Oh! come," said Mannheim, "I am sure you can. And besides, as soon as you are a critic you can do anything you like. You’ve no need to be afraid of the public. The public is incredibly stupid. It is nothing to be an artist: an artist is only a sort of comedian: an artist can be hissed. But a critic has the right to say: ’Hiss me that man!’ The whole audience lets him do its thinking. Think whatever you like. Only look as if you were thinking something. Provided you give the fools their food, it does not much matter what, they will gulp down anything."

In the end Christophe consented, with effusive thanks. He only made it a condition that he should be allowed to say what he liked.

"Of course, of course," said Mannheim. "Absolute freedom! We are all free."

He looked him up at the theater once more after the performance to introduce him to Adalbert von Waldhaus and his friends. They welcomed him warmly.

With the exception of Waldhaus, who belonged to one of the noble families of the neighborhood, they were all Jews and all very rich: Mannheim was the son of a banker: Mai the son of the manager of a metallurgical establishment: and Ehrenfeld’s father was a great jeweler. Their fathers belonged to the older generation of Jews, industrious and acquisitive, attached to the spirit of their race, building their fortunes with keen energy, and enjoying their energy much more than their fortunes. Their sons seemed to be made to destroy what their fathers had builded: they laughed at family prejudice and their ant-like mania for economy and delving: they posed as artists, affected to despise money and to fling it out of window. But in reality they hardly ever let it slip through their fingers: and in vain did they do all sorts of foolish things: they never could altogether lead astray their lucidity of mind and practical sense. For the rest, their parents kept an eye on them, and reined them in. The most prodigal of them, Mannheim, would sincerely have given away all that he had: but he never had anything: and although he was always loudly inveighing against his father’s niggardliness, in his heart he laughed at it and thought that he was right. In fine, there was only Waldhaus really who was in control of his fortune, and went into it wholeheartedly and reckless of cost, and bore that of the Review. He was a poet. He wrote "Polymètres" in the manner of Arno Holz and Walt Whitman, with lines alternately very long and very short, in which stops, double and triple stops, dashes, silences, commas, italics and italics, played a great part. And so did alliteration and repetition—of a word—of a line—of a whole phrase. He interpolated words of every language. He wanted—(no one has ever known why)—to render the Cézanne into verse. In truth, he was poetic enough and had a distinguished taste for stale things. He was sentimental and dry, naïve and foppish: his labored verses affected a cavalier carelessness. He would have been a good poet for men of the world. But there are too many of the kind in the Reviews and artistic circles: and he wished to be alone. He had taken it into his head to play the great gentleman who is above the prejudices of his caste. He had more prejudices than anybody. He did not admit their existence. He took a delight in surrounding himself with Jews in the Review which he edited, to rouse the indignation of his family, who were very anti-Semite, and to prove his own freedom of mind to himself. With his colleagues, he assumed a tone of courteous equality. But in his heart he had a calm and boundless contempt for them. He was not unaware that they were very glad to make use of his name and money: and he let them do so because it pleased him to despise them.

And they despised him for letting them do so: for they knew very well that it served his turn. A fair exchange, Waldhaus lent them his name and fortune: and they brought him their talents, their eye for business and subscribers. They were much more intelligent than he. Not that they had more personality. They had perhaps even less. But in the little town they were, as the Jews are everywhere and always,—by the mere fact of their difference of race which for centuries has isolated them and sharpened their faculty for making observation—they were the most advanced in mind, the most sensible of the absurdity of its moldy institutions and decrepit thought. Only, as their character was less free than their intelligence, it did not help them, while they mocked, from trying rather to turn those institutions and ideas to account than to reform them. In spite of their independent professions of faith, they were like the noble Adalbert, little provincial snobs, rich, idle young men of family, who dabbled and flirted with letters for the fun of it. They were very glad to swagger about as giant-killers: but they were kindly enough and never slew anybody but a few inoffensive people or those whom they thought could never harm them. They cared nothing for setting by the ears a society to which they knew very well they would one day return and embrace all the prejudices which they had combated. And when they did venture to make a stir on a little scandal, or loudly to declare war on some idol of the day,—who was beginning to totter,—they took care never to burn their boats: in case of danger they re-embarked. Whatever then might be the issue of the campaign,—when it was finished it was a long time before war would break out again: the Philistines could sleep in peace. All that these new Davidsbündler wanted to do was to make it appear that they could have been terrible if they had so desired: but they did not desire. They preferred to be on friendly terms with artists and to give suppers to actresses.

Christophe was not happy in such a set. They were always talking of women and horses: and their talk was not refined. They were stiff and formal. Adalbert spoke in a mincing, slow voice, with exaggerated, bored, and boring politeness. Adolf Mai, the secretary of the Review, a heavy, thick-set, bull-necked, brutal-looking young man, always pretended to be in the right: he laid down the law, never listened to what anybody said, seemed to despise the opinion of the person he was talking to, and also that person. Goldenring, the art critic, who had a twitch, and eyes perpetually winking behind his large spectacles,—no doubt in imitation of the painters whose society he cultivated, wore long hair, smoked in silence, mumbled scraps of sentences which he never finished, and made vague gestures in the air with his thumb. Ehrenfeld was little, bald, and smiling, had a fair beard and a sensitive, weary-looking face, a hooked nose, and he wrote the fashions and the society notes in the Review. In a silky voice he used to talk obscurely: he had a wit, though of a malignant and often ignoble kind.—All these young millionaires were anarchists, of course: when a man possesses everything it is the supreme luxury for him to deny society: for in that way he can evade his responsibilities. So might a robber, who has just fleeced a traveler, say to him: "What are you staying for? Get along! I have no more use for you."

Of the whole bunch Christophe was only in sympathy with Mannheim: he was certainly the most lively of the five: he was amused by everything that he said and everything that was said to him: stuttering, stammering, blundering, sniggering, talking nonsense, he was incapable of following an argument, or of knowing exactly what he thought himself: but he was quite kindly, bearing no malice, having not a spark of ambition. In truth, he was not very frank: he was always playing a part: but quite innocently, and he never did anybody any harm.

He espoused all sorts of strange Utopias—most often generous. He was too subtle and too skeptical to keep his head even in his enthusiasms, and he never compromised himself by applying his theories. But he had to have some hobby: it was a game to him, and he was always changing from one to another. For the time being his craze was for kindness. It was not enough for him to be kind naturally: he wished to be thought kind: he professed kindness, and acted it. Out of reaction against the hard, dry activity of his kinsfolk, and against German austerity, militarism, and Philistinism, he was a Tolstoyan, a Nirvanian, an evangelist, a Buddhist,—he was not quite sure what,—an apostle of a new morality that was soft, boneless, indulgent, placid, easy-living, effusively forgiving every sin, especially the sins of the flesh, a morality which did not conceal its predilection for those sins and much less readily forgave the virtues—a morality which was only a compact of pleasure, a libertine association of mutual accommodations, which amused itself by donning the halo of sanctity. There was in it a spice of hypocrisy which was a little offensive to delicate palates, and would have even been frankly nauseating if it had taken itself seriously. But it made no pretensions towards that: it merely amused itself. His blackguardly Christianity was only meant to serve until some other hobby came along to take its place—no matter what: brute force, imperialism, "laughing lions."—Mannheim was always playing a part, playing with his whole heart: he was trying on all the feelings that he did not possess before becoming a good Jew like the rest and with all the spirit of his race. He was very sympathetic, and extremely irritating. For some time Christophe was one of his hobbies. Mannheim swore by him. He blew his trumpet everywhere. He dinned his praises into the ears of his family. According to him Christophe was a genius, an extraordinary man, who made strange music and talked about it in an astonishing fashion, a witty man—and a handsome: fine lips, magnificent teeth. He added that Christophe admired him.—One evening he took him home to dinner. Christophe found himself talking to his new friend’s father, Lothair Mannheim, the banker, and Franz’s sister, Judith.

It was the first time that he had been in a Jew’s house. Although there were many Jews in the little town, and although they played an important part in its life by reason of their wealth, cohesion, and intelligence, they lived a little apart. There were always rooted prejudices in the minds of the people and a secret hostility that was credulous and injurious against them. Christophe’s family shared these prejudices. His grandfather did not love Jews: but the irony of fate had decreed that his two best pupils should be of the race—(one had become a composer, the other a famous virtuoso): for there had been moments when he was fain to embrace these two good musicians: and then he would remember sadly that they had crucified the Lord: and he did not know how to reconcile his two incompatible currents of feeling. But in the end he did embrace them. He was inclined to think that the Lord would forgive them because of their love for music.—Christophe’s father, Melchior, who pretended to be broad-minded, had had fewer scruples about taking money from the Jews: and he even thought it good to do so: but he ridiculed them, and despised them.—As for his mother, she was not sure that she was not committing a sin when she went to cook for them. Those whom she had had to do with were disdainful enough with her: but she had no grudge against them, she bore nobody any ill-will: she was filled with pity for these unhappy people whom God had damned: sometimes she would be filled with compassion when she saw the daughter of one of them go by or heard the merry laughter of their children.

"So pretty she is!… Such pretty children!… How dreadful!…" she would think.

She dared not say anything to Christophe, when he told her that he was going to dine with the Mannheims: but her heart sank. She thought that it was unnecessary to believe everything bad that was said about the Jews—(people speak ill of everybody)—and that there are honest people everywhere, but that it was better and more proper to keep themselves to themselves, the Jews on their side, the Christians on theirs.

Christophe shared none of these prejudices. In his perpetual reaction against his surroundings he was rather attracted towards the different race. But he hardly knew them. He had only come in contact with the more vulgar of the Jews: little shopkeepers, the populace swarming in certain streets between the Rhine and the cathedral, forming, with the gregarious instinct of all human beings, a sort of little ghetto. He had often strolled through the neighborhood, catching sight of and feeling a sort of sympathy with certain types of women with hollow cheeks, and full lips, and wide cheek-bones, a da Vinci smile, rather depraved, while the coarse language and shrill laughter destroyed this harmony that was in their faces when in repose. Even in the dregs of the people, in those large-headed, beady-eyed creatures with their bestial faces, their thick-set, squat bodies, those degenerate descendants of the most noble of all peoples, even in that thick, fetid muddiness there were strange phosphorescent gleams, like will-o’-the-wisps dancing over a swamp: marvelous glances, minds subtle and brilliant, a subtle electricity emanating from the ooze which fascinated and disturbed Christophe. He thought that hidden deep were fine souls struggling, great hearts striving to break free from the dung: and he would have liked to meet them, and to aid them: without knowing them, he loved them, while he was a little fearful of them. And he had never had any opportunity of meeting the best of the Jews.

His dinner at the Mannheims’ had for him the attraction of novelty and something of that of forbidden fruit. The Eve who gave him the fruit sweetened its flavor. From the first moment Christophe had eyes only for Judith Mannheim. She was utterly different from all the women he had known. Tall and slender, rather thin, though solidly built, with her face framed in her black hair, not long, but thick and curled low on her head, covering her temples and her broad, golden brow; rather short-sighted, with large pupils, and slightly prominent eyes: with a largish nose and wide nostrils, thin cheeks, a heavy chin, strong coloring, she had a fine profile showing much energy and alertness: full face, her expression was more changing, uncertain, complex: her eyes and her cheeks were irregular. She seemed to give revelation of a strong race, and in the mold of that race, roughly thrown together, were manifold incongruous elements, of doubtful and unequal quality, beautiful and vulgar at the same time. Her beauty lay especially in her silent lips, and in her eyes, in which there seemed to be greater depth by reason of their short-sightedness, and darker by reason of the bluish markings round them.

It needed to be more used than Christophe was to those eyes, which are more those of a race than of an individual, to be able to read through the limpidity that unveiled them with such vivid quality, the real soul of the woman whom he thus encountered. It was the soul of the people of Israel that he saw in her sad and burning eyes, the soul that, unknown to them, shone forth from them. He lost himself as he gazed into them. It was only after some time that he was able, after losing his way again and again, to strike the track again on that oriental sea.

She looked at him: and nothing could disturb the clearness of her gaze: nothing in his Christian soul seemed to escape her. He felt that. Under the seduction of the woman’s eyes upon him he was conscious of a virile desire, clear and cold, Which stirred in him brutally, indiscreetly. There was no evil in the brutality of it. She took possession of him: not like a coquette, whose desire is to seduce without caring whom she seduces. Had she been a coquette she would have gone to greatest lengths: but she knew her power, and she left it to her natural instinct to make use of it in its own way,—especially when she had so easy a prey as Christophe.—What interested her more was to know her adversary—(any man, any stranger, was an adversary for her,—an adversary with whom later on, if occasion served, she could sign a compact of alliance).—She wished to know his quality. Life being a game, in which the cleverest wins, it was a matter of reading her opponent’s cards and of not showing her own. When she succeeded she tasted the sweets of victory. It mattered little whether she could turn it to any account. It was purely for her pleasure. She had a passion for intelligence: not abstract intelligence, although she had brains enough, if she had liked, to have succeeded in any, branch of knowledge and would have made a much better successor to Lothair Mannheim, the banker, than her brother. But she preferred intelligence in the quick, the sort of intelligence which studies men. She loved to pierce through to the soul and to weigh its value—(she gave as scrupulous an attention to it as the Jewess of Matsys to the weighing of her gold)—with marvelous divination she could find the weak spot in the armor, the imperfections and foibles which are the key to the soul,—she could lay her hands on its secrets: it was her way of feeling her sway over it. But she never dallied with her victory: she never did anything with her prize. Once her curiosity and her vanity were satisfied she lost her interest and passed on to another specimen. All her power was sterile. There was something of death in her living soul. She had the genius of curiosity and boredom.

* * * * *

And so she looked at Christophe and he looked at her. She hardly spoke. An imperceptible smile was enough, a little movement of the corners of her mouth: Christophe was hypnotized by her. Every now and then her smile would fade away, her face would become cold, her eyes indifferent: she would attend to the meal or speak coldly to the servants: it was as though she were no longer listening. Then her eyes would light up again: and a few words coming pat would show that she had heard and understood everything.

She coldly examined her brother’s judgment of Christophe: she knew Franz’s crazes: her irony had had fine sport when she saw Christophe appear, whose looks and distinction had been vaunted by her brother—(it seemed to her that Franz had a special gift for seeing facts as they are not: or perhaps he only thought it a paradoxical joke).—But when she looked at Christophe more closely she recognized that what Franz had said was not altogether false: and as she went on with her scrutiny she discovered in Christophe a vague, unbalanced, though robust and bold power: that gave her pleasure, for she knew, better than any, the rarity of power. She was able to make Christophe talk about whatever she liked, and reveal his thoughts, and display the limitations and defects of his mind: she made him play the piano: she did not love music but she understood it: and she saw Christophe’s musical originality, although his music had roused no sort of emotion in her. Without the least change in the coldness of her manner, with a few short, apt, and certainly not flattering, remarks she showed her growing interest in Christophe.

Christophe saw it: and he was proud of it: for he felt the worth of such judgment and the rarity of her approbation. He made no secret of his desire to win it: and he set about it so naïvely as to make the three of them smile: he talked only to Judith and for Judith: he was as unconcerned with the others as though they did not exist.

Franz watched him as he talked: he followed his every word, with his lips and eyes, with a mixture of admiration and amusement: and he laughed aloud as he glanced at his father and his sister, who listened impassively and pretended not to notice him.

Lothair Mannheim,—a tall old man, heavily built, stooping a little, red-faced, with gray hair standing straight up on end, very black mustache and eyebrows, a heavy though energetic and jovial face, which gave the impression of great vitality—had also studied Christophe during the first part of the dinner, slyly but good-naturedly: and he too had recognized at once that there was "something" in the boy. But he was not interested in music or musicians: it was not in his line: he knew nothing about it and made no secret of his ignorance: he even boasted of it—(when a man of that sort confesses his ignorance of anything he does so to feed his vanity).—As Christophe had clearly shown at once, with a rudeness in which there was no shade of malice, that, he could without regret dispense with the society of the banker, and that the society of Fräulein Judith Mannheim would serve perfectly to fill his evening, old Lothair in some amusement had taken his seat by the fire: he read his paper, listening vaguely and ironically to Christophe’s crotchets and his queer music, which sometimes made him laugh inwardly at the idea that there could be people who understood it and found pleasure in it. He did not trouble to follow the conversation: he relied on his daughter’s cleverness to tell him exactly what the newcomer was worth. She discharged her duty conscientiously.

When Christophe had gone Lothair asked Judith:

"Well, you probed him enough: what do you think of the artist?"

She laughed, thought for a moment, reckoned up, and said:

"He is a little cracked: but he is not stupid."

"Good," said Lothair. "I thought so too. He will succeed, then?"

"Yes, I think so. He has power,"

"Very good," said Lothair with the magnificent logic of the strong who are only interested in the strong, "we must help him."

* * * * *

Christophe went away filled with admiration for Judith Mannheim. He was not in love with her as Judith thought. They were both—she with her subtlety, he with his instinct which took the place of mind in him,—mistaken about each other. Christophe was fascinated by the enigma and the intense activity of her mind: but he did not love her. His eyes and his intelligence were ensnared: his heart escaped.—Why?—It were difficult to tell. Because he had caught a glimpse of some doubtful, disturbing quality in her?—In other circumstances that would have been a reason the more for loving: love is never stronger than when it goes out to one who will make it suffer.—If Christophe did not love Judith it was not the fault of either of them. The real reason, humiliating enough for both, was that he was still too near his last love. Experience had not made him wiser. But he had loved Ada so much, he had consumed so much faith, force, and illusion in that passion that there was not enough left for a new passion. Before another flame could be kindled he would have to build a new pyre in his heart: short of that there could only be a few flickerings, remnants of the conflagration that had escaped by chance, which asked only to be allowed to burn, cast a brief and brilliant light and then died down for want of food. Six months later, perhaps, he might have loved Judith blindly. Now he saw in her only a friend,—a rather disturbing friend in truth—but he tried to drive his uneasiness back: it reminded him of Ada: there was no attraction in that memory: he preferred not to think of it. What attracted him in Judith was everything in her which was different from other women, not that which she had in common with them. She was the first intelligent woman he had met. She was intelligent from head to foot. Even her beauty—her gestures, her movements, her features, the fold of her lips, her eyes, her hands, her slender elegance—was the reflection of her intelligence: her body was molded by her intelligence: without her intelligence she would have passed unnoticed: and no doubt she would even have been thought plain by most people. Her intelligence delighted Christophe. He thought it larger and more free than it was: he could not yet know how deceptive it was. He longed ardently to confide in her and to impart his ideas to her. He had never found anybody to take an interest in his dreams: he was turned in upon, himself: what joy then to find a woman to be his friend! That he had not a sister had been one of the sorrows of his childhood: it seemed to him that a sister would have understood him more than a brother could have done. And when he met Judith he felt that childish and illusory hope of having a brotherly love spring up in him. Not being in love, love seemed to him a poor thing compared with friendship.

Judith felt this little shade of feeling and was hurt by it. She was not in love with Christophe, and as she had excited other passions in other young men of the town, rich young men of better position, she could not feel any great satisfaction in knowing Christophe to be in love with her. But it piqued her to know that he was not in love. No doubt she was pleased with him for confiding his plans: she was not surprised by it: but it was a little mortifying for her to know that she could only exercise an intellectual influence over him—(an unreasoning influence is much more precious to a woman).—She did not even exercise her influence: Christophe only courted her mind. Judith’s intellect was imperious. She was used to molding to her will the soft thoughts of the young men of her acquaintance. As she knew their mediocrity she found no pleasure in holding sway over them. With Christophe the pursuit was more interesting because more difficult. She was not interested in his projects: but she would have liked to direct his originality of thought, his ill-grown power, and to make them good,—in her own way, of course, and not in Christophe’s, which she did not take the trouble to understand. She saw at once that she could not succeed without a struggle: she had marked down in Christophe all sorts of notions and ideas which she thought childish and extravagant: they were weeds to her: she tried hard to eradicate them. She did not get rid of a single one. She did not gain the least satisfaction for her vanity. Christophe was intractable. Not being in love he had no reason for surrendering his ideas to her.

She grew keen on the game and instinctively tried for some time to overcome him. Christophe was very nearly taken in again in spite of his lucidity of mind at that time. Men are easily taken in by any flattery of their vanity or their desires: and an artist is twice as easy to trick as any other man because he has more imagination. Judith had only to draw Christophe into a dangerous flirtation to bowl him over once more more thoroughly than ever. But as usual she soon wearied of the game: she found that such a conquest was hardly worth while: Christophe was already boring her: she did not understand him.

She did not understand him beyond a certain point. Up to that she understood everything. Her admirable intelligence could not take her beyond it: she needed a heart, or in default of that the thing which could give the illusion of one for a time: love. She understood Christophe’s criticism of people and things: it amused her and seemed to her true enough: she had thought much the same herself. But what she did not understand was that such ideas might have an influence on practical life when it might be dangerous or awkward to apply them. The attitude of revolt against everybody and everything which Christophe had taken up led to nothing: he could not imagine that he was going to reform the world…. And then?… It was waste of time to knock one’s head against a wall. A clever man judges men, laughs at them in secret, despises them a little: but he does as they do—only a little better: it is the only way of mastering them. Thought is one world: action is another. What boots it for a man to be the victim of his thoughts? Since men are so stupid as not to be able to bear the truth, why force it on them? To accept their weakness, to seem to bow to it, and to feel free to despise them in his heart, is there not a secret joy in that? The joy of a clever slave? Certainly. But all the world is a slave: there is no getting away from that: it is useless to protest against it: better to be a slave deliberately of one’s own free will and to avoid ridiculous and futile conflict. Besides, the worst slavery of all is to be the slave of one’s own thoughts and to sacrifice everything to them. There is no need to deceive one’s self.—She saw clearly that if Christophe went on, as he seemed determined to do, with his aggressive refusal to compromise with the prejudices of German art and German mind, he would turn everybody against him, even his patrons: he was courting inevitable ruin. She did not understand why he so obstinately held out against himself, and so took pleasure in digging his own ruin.

To have understood him she would have had to be able to understand that his aim was not success but his own faith. He believed in art: he believed in his art: he believed in himself, as realities not only superior to interest, but also to his own life. When he was a little out of patience with her remarks and told her so in his naïve arrogance, she just shrugged her shoulders: she did not take him seriously. She thought he was using big words such as she was accustomed to hearing from her brother when he announced periodically his absurd and ridiculous resolutions, which he never by any chance put into practice. And then when she saw that Christophe really believed in what he said, she thought him mad and lost interest in him.

After that she took no trouble to appear to advantage, and she showed herself as she was: much more German, and average German, than she seemed to be at first, more perhaps than she thought.—The Jews are quite erroneously reproached with not belonging to any nation and with forming from one end of Europe to the other a homogeneous people impervious to the influence of the different races with which they have pitched their tents. In reality there is no race which more easily takes on the impress of the country through which it passes: and if there are many characteristics in common between a French Jew and a German Jew, there are many more different characteristics derived from their new country, of which with incredible rapidity they assimilate the habits of mind: more the habits than the mind, indeed. But habit, which is a second nature to all men, is in most of them all the nature that they have, and the result is that the majority of the autochthonous citizens of any country have very little right to reproach the Jews with the lack of a profound and reasonable national feeling of which they themselves possess nothing at all.

The women, always more sensible to external influences, more easily adaptable to the conditions of life and to change with them—Jewish women throughout Europe assume the physical and moral customs, often exaggerating them, of the country in which they live,—without losing the shadow and the strange fluid, solid, and haunting quality of their race.—This idea came to Christophe. At the Mannheims’ he met Judith’s aunts, cousins, and friends. Though there was little of the German in their eyes, ardent and too close together, their noses going down to their lips, their strong features, their red blood coursing under their coarse brown skins: though almost all of them seemed hardly at all fashioned to be German—they were all extraordinarily German: they had the same way of talking, of dressing,—of overdressing.—Judith was much the best of them all: and comparison with them made all that was exceptional in her intelligence, all that she had made of herself, shine forth. But she had most of their faults just as much as they. She was much more free than they morally—almost absolutely free—but socially she was no more free: or at least her practical sense usurped the place of her freedom of mind. She believed in society, in class, in prejudice, because when all was told she found them to her advantage. It was idle for her to laugh at the German spirit: she followed it like any German. Her intelligence made her see the mediocrity of some artist of reputation: but she respected him none the less because of his reputation: and if she met him personally she would admire him: for her vanity was flattered. She had no love for the works of Brahms and she suspected him of being an artist of the second rank: but his fame impressed her: and as she had received five or six letters from him the result was that she thought him the greatest musician of the day. She had no doubt as to Christophe’s real worth, or as to the stupidity of Lieutenant Detlev von Fleischer: but she was more flattered by the homage the lieutenant deigned to pay to her millions than by Christophe’s friendship: for a dull officer is a man of another caste: it is more difficult for a German Jewess to enter that caste than for any other woman. Although she was not deceived by these feudal follies, and although she knew quite well that if she did marry Lieutenant Detlev von Fleischer she would be doing him a great honor, she set herself to the conquest: she stooped so low as to make eyes at the fool and to flatter his vanity. The proud Jewess, who had a thousand reasons for her pride—the clever, disdainful daughter of Mannheim the banker lowered herself, and acted like any of the little middle-class German women whom she despised.

* * * * *

That experience was short. Christophe lost his illusions about Judith as quickly as he had found them. It is only just to say that Judith did nothing to preserve them. As soon as a woman of that stamp has judged a man she is done with him: he ceases to exist for her: she will not see him again. And she no more hesitates to reveal her soul to him, with calm impudence, that to appear naked before her dog, her cat, or any other domestic animal. Christophe saw Judith’s egoism and coldness, and the mediocrity of her character. He had not had time to be absolutely caught. But he had been enough caught to make him suffer and to bring him to a sort of fever. He did not so much love Judith as what she might have been—what she ought to have been. Her fine eyes exercised a melancholy fascination over him: he could not forget them: although he knew now the drab soul that slumbered in their depths he went on seeing them as he wished to see them, as he had first seen them. It was one of those loveless hallucinations of love which take up so much of the hearts of artists when they are not entirely absorbed by their work. A passing face is enough to create it: they see in it all the beauty that is in it, unknown to its indifferent possessor. And they love it the more for its indifference. They love it as a beautiful thing that must die without any man having known its worth or that it even had life.

Perhaps he was deceiving himself, and Judith Mannheim could not have been anything more than she was. But for a moment Christophe had believed in her: and her charm endured: he could not judge her impartially. All her beauty seemed to him to be hers, to be herself. All that was vulgar in her he cast back upon her twofold race, Jew and German, and perhaps he was more indignant with the German than with the Jew, for it had made him suffer more. As he did not yet know any other nation, the German spirit was for him a sort of scapegoat: he put upon it all the sins of the world. That Judith had deceived him was a reason the more for combating it: he could not forgive it for having crushed the life out of such a soul.

Such was his first encounter with Israel. He had hoped much from it. He had hoped to find in that strong race living apart from the rest an ally for his fight. He lost that hope. With the flexibility of his passionate intuition, which made him leap from one extreme to another, he persuaded himself that the Jewish race was much weaker than it was said to be, and much more open—much too open—to outside influence. It had all its own weaknesses augmented by those of the rest of the world picked up on its way. It was not in them that he could find assistance in working the lever of his art. Rather he was in danger of being swallowed with them in the sands of the desert.

Having seen the danger, and not feeling sure enough of himself to brave it, he suddenly gave up going to the Mannheims’. He was invited several times and begged to be excused without giving any reason. As up till then he had shown an excessive eagerness to accept, such a sudden change was remarked: it was attributed to his "originality": but the Mannheims had no doubt that the fair Judith had something to do with it: Lothair and Franz joked about it at dinner. Judith shrugged her shoulders and said it was a fine conquest, and she asked her brother frigidly not to make such a fuss about it. But she left no stone unturned in her effort to bring Christophe back. She wrote to him for some musical information which no one else could supply: and at the end of her letter she made a friendly allusion to the rarity of his visits and the pleasure it would give them to see him. Christophe replied, giving the desired information, said that he was very busy, and did not go. They met sometimes at the theater. Christophe obstinately looked away from the Mannheims’ box: and he would pretend not to see Judith, who held herself in readiness to give him her most charming smile. She did not persist. As she did not count on him for anything she was annoyed that the little artist should let her do all the labor of their friendship, and pure waste at that. If he wanted to come, he would. If not—oh, well, they could do without him….

They did without him: and his absence left no very great gap in the Mannheims’ evenings. But in spite of herself Judith was really annoyed with Christophe. It seemed natural enough not to bother about him when he was there: and she could allow him to show his displeasure at being neglected: but that his displeasure should go so far as to break off their relationship altogether seemed to her to show a stupid pride and a heart more egoistic than in love.—Judith could not tolerate her own faults in others.

She followed the more attentively everything that Christophe did and wrote. Without seeming to do so, she would lead her brother to the subject of Christophe: she would make him tell her of his intercourse with him: and she would punctuate the narrative with clever ironic comment, which never let any ridiculous feature escape, and gradually destroyed Franz’s enthusiasm without his knowing it.

At first all went well with the Review. Christophe had not yet perceived the mediocrity of his colleagues: and, since he was one of them, they hailed him as a genius. Mannheim, who had discovered him, went everywhere repeating that Christophe was an admirable critic, though he had never read anything he had written, that he had mistaken his vocation, and that he, Mannheim, had revealed it to him. They advertised his articles in mysterious terms which roused curiosity: and his first effort was in fact like a stone falling into a duck-pond in the atony of the little town. It was called: Too much music.

"Too much music, too much drinking, too much eating," wrote Christophe. "Eating, drinking, hearing, without hunger, thirst, or need, from sheer habitual gormandizing. Living like Strasburg geese. These people are sick from a diseased appetite. It matters little what you give them: Tristram or the Trompeter von Säkkingen, Beethoven or Mascagni, a fugue or a two-step, Adam, Bach, Puccini, Mozart, or Marschner: they do not know what they are eating: the great thing is to eat. They find no pleasure in it. Look at them at a concert. Talk of German gaiety! These people do not know what gaiety means: they are always gay! Their gaiety, like their sorrow, drops like rain: their joy is dust: there is neither life nor force in it. They would stay for hours smilingly and vaguely drinking in sounds, sounds, sounds. They think of nothing: they feel nothing: they are sponges. True joy, or true sorrow—strength—is not drawn out over hours like beer from a cask. They take you by the throat and have you down: after they are gone there is no desire left in a man to drink in anything: he is full!…

"Too much music! You are slaying each other and it. If you choose to murder each other that is your affair: I can’t help it. But where music is concerned,—hands off! I will not suffer you to debase the loveliness of the world by heaping up in the same basket things holy and things shameful, by giving, as you do at present, the prelude to Parsifal between a fantasia on the Daughter of the Regiment and a saxophone quartette, or an adagio of Beethoven between a cakewalk and the rubbish of Leoncavallo. You boast of being a musical people. You pretend to love music. What sort of music do you love? Good or bad? You applaud both equally. Well, then, choose! What exactly do you want? You do not know yourselves. You do not want to know: you are too fearful of taking sides and compromising yourselves…. To the devil with your prudence!—You are above party, do you say?—Above? You mean below…."

And he quoted the lines of old Gottfried Keller, the rude citizen of Zurich—one of the German writers who was most dear to him by reason of his vigorous loyalty and his keen savor of the soil:

"Wer über den Parlein sich wähnt mit stolzen Mienen Der steht zumeist vielmehr beträchtlich unter ihnen."

("He who proudly preens himself on being above parties is rather immeasurably beneath them.")

"Have courage and be true," he went on. "Have courage and be ugly. If you like bad music, then say so frankly. Show yourselves, see yourselves as you are. Kid your souls of the loathsome burden of all your compromise and equivocation. Wash it in pure water. How long is it since you have seen. yourselves in a mirror? I will show you yourselves. Composers, virtuosi, conductors, singers, and you, dear public. You shall for once know yourselves…. Be what you like: but, for any sake, be true! Be true even though art and artists—and I myself—have to suffer for it! If art and truth cannot live together, then let art disappear. Truth is life. Lies are death."

Naturally, this youthful, wild outburst, which was all of a piece, and in very bad taste, produced an outcry. And yet, as everybody was attacked and nobody in particular, its pertinency was not recognized. Every one is, or believes himself to be, or says that he is the best friend of truth: there was therefore no danger of the conclusions of the article being attacked. Only people were shocked by its general tone: everybody agreed that it was hardly proper, especially from an artist in a semi-official position. A few musicians began to be uneasy and protested bitterly: they saw that Christophe would not stop at that. Others thought themselves more clever and congratulated Christophe on his courage: they were no less uneasy about his next articles.

Both tactics produced the same result. Christophe had plunged: nothing could stop him: and as he had promised, everybody was passed in survey, composers and interpreters alike.

The first victims were the Kapellmeisters. Christophe did not confine himself to general remarks on the art of conducting an orchestra. He mentioned his colleagues of his own town and the neighboring towns by name: or if he did not name them his allusions were so transparent that nobody could be mistaken. Everybody recognized the apathetic conductor of the Court, Alois von Werner, a cautious old man, laden with honors, who was afraid of everything, dodged everything, was too timid to make a remark to his musicians and meekly followed whatever they chose to do,—who never risked anything on his programme that had not been consecrated by twenty years of success, or, at least, guaranteed by the official stamp of some academic dignity. Christophe ironically applauded his boldness: he congratulated him on having discovered Gade, Dvorak, or Tschaikowsky: he waxed enthusiastic over his unfailing correctness, his metronomic equality, the always fein-nuanciert (finely shaded) playing of his orchestra: he proposed to orchestrate the École de la Vélocité of Czerny for his next concert, and implored him not to try himself so much, not to give rein to his passions, to look after his precious health.—Or he cried out indignantly upon the way in which he had conducted the Eroica of Beethoven:

"A cannon! A cannon! Mow me down these people!… But have you then no idea of the conflict, the fight between human stupidity and human ferocity,—and the strength which tramples them underfoot with a glad shout of laughter?—How could you know it? It is you against whom it fights! You expend all the heroism that is in you in listening or in playing the Eroica of Beethoven without a yawn—(for it bores you…. Confess that it bores you to death!)—or in risking a draught as you stand with bare head and bowed back to let some Serene Highness pass."

He could not be sarcastic enough about the pontiffs of the Conservatories who interpreted the great men of the past as "classics."

"Classical! That word expresses everything. Free passion, arranged and expurgated for the use of schools! Life, that vast plain swept by the winds,—inclosed within the four walls of a school playground! The fierce, proud beat of a heart in anguish, reduced to the tic-tacs of a four-tune pendulum, which goes its jolly way, hobbling and imperturbably leaning on the crutch of time!… To enjoy the Ocean you need to put it in a bowl with goldfish. You only understand life when you have killed it."

If he was not kind to the "bird-stuffers" as he called them, he was even less kind to the ringmen of the orchestra, the illustrious Kapellmeisters who toured the country to show off their flourishes and their dainty hands, those who exercised their virtuosity at the expense of the masters, tried hard to make the most familiar works unrecognizable, and turned somersaults through the hoop of the Symphony in C minor. He made them appear as old coquettes, prima donnas of the orchestra, gipsies, and rope-dancers.

The virtuosi naturally provided him with splendid material. He declared himself incompetent when he had to criticise their conjuring performances. He said that such mechanical exercises belonged to the School of Arts and Crafts, and that not musical criticism but charts registering the duration, and number of the notes, and the energy expended, could decide the merit of such labors. Sometimes he would set at naught some famous piano virtuoso who during a two hours’ concert had surmounted the formidable difficulties, with a smile on his lips and his hair hanging down into his eyes—of executing a childish andante of Mozart.—He did not ignore the pleasure of overcoming difficulties. He had tasted it himself: it was one of the joys of life to him. But only to see the most material aspect of it, and to reduce all the heroism of art to that, seemed to him grotesque and degrading. He could not forgive the "lions" or "panthers" of the piano.—But he was not very indulgent either towards the town pedants, famous in Germany, who, while they are rightly anxious not to alter the text of the masters, carefully suppress every flight of thought, and, like E. d’Albert and H. von Bülow, seem to be giving a lesson in diction when they are rendering a passionate sonata.

The singers had their turn. Christophe was full to the brim of things to say about their barbarous heaviness and their provincial affectations. It was not only because of his recent misadventures with the enraged lady, but because of all the torture he had suffered during so many performances. It was difficult to know which had suffered most, ears or eyes. And Christophe had not enough standards of comparison to be able to have any idea of the ugliness of the setting, the hideous costumes, the screaming colors. He was only shocked by the vulgarity of the people, their gestures and attitudes, their unnatural playing, the inability of the actors to take on other souls than their own, and by the stupefying indifference with which they passed from one rôle to another, provided they were written more or less in the same register. Matrons of opulent flesh, hearty and buxom, appeared alternately as Ysolde and Carmen. Amfortas played Figaro.—But what most offended Christophe was the ugliness of the singing, especially in the classical works in which the beauty of melody is essential. No one in Germany could sing the perfect music of the eighteenth century: no one would take the trouble. The clear, pure style of Gluck and Mozart which, like that of Goethe, seems to be bathed in the light of Italy—the style which begins to change and to become vibrant and dazzling with Weber—the style ridiculed by the ponderous caricatures of the author of Crociato—had been killed by the triumph of Wagner. The wild flight of the Valkyries with their strident cries had passed over the Grecian sky. The heavy clouds of Odin dimmed the light. No one now thought of singing music: they sang poems. Ugliness and carelessness of detail, even false notes were let pass under pretext that only the whole, only the thought behind it mattered….

"Thought! Let us talk of that. As if you understood it!… But whether or no you do understand it, I pray you respect the form that thought has chosen for itself. Above all, let music be and remain music!"

And the great concern of German artists with expression and profundity of thought was, according to Christophe, a good joke. Expression? Thought? Yes, they introduced them into everything—everything impartially. They would have found thought in a skein of wool just as much—neither more nor less—as in a statue of Michael Angelo. They played anything, anybody’s music with exactly the same energy. For most of them the great thing in music—so he declared—was the volume of sound, just a musical noise. The pleasure of singing so potent in Germany was in some sort a pleasure of vocal gymnastics. It was just a matter of being inflated with air and then letting it go vigorously, powerfully, for a long time together and rhythmically.—And by way of compliment he accorded a certain great singer a certificate of good health. He was not content with flaying the artists. He strode over the footlights and trounced the public for coming, gaping, to such performances. The public was staggered and did not know whether it ought to laugh or be angry. They had every right to cry out upon his injustice: they had taken care not to be mixed up in any artistic conflict: they stood aside prudently from any burning question: and to avoid making any mistake they applauded everything! And now Christophe declared that it was a crime to applaud!… To applaud bad works?—That would have been enough! But Christophe went further: he stormed at them for applauding great works:

"Humbugs!" he said. "You would have us believe that you have as much enthusiasm as that?… Oh! Come! Spare yourselves the trouble! You only prove exactly the opposite of what you are trying to prove. Applaud if you like those works and passages which in some measure deserve applause. Applaud those loud final movements which are written, as Mozart said, ’for long ears.’ Applaud as much as you like, then: your braying is anticipated: it is part of the concert.—But after the Missa Solemnis of Beethoven!… Poor wretches!… It is the Last Judgment. You have just seen the maddening Gloria pass like a storm over the ocean. You have seen the waterspout of an athletic and tremendous well, which stops, breaks, reaches up to the clouds clinging by its two hands above the abyss, then plunging once more into space in full swing. The squall shrieks and whirls along. And when the hurricane is at its height there is a sudden modulation, a radiance of sound which cleaves the darkness of the sky and falls upon the livid sea like a patch of light. It is the end: the furious flight of the destroying angel stops short, its wings transfixed by these flashes of lightning. Around you all is buzzing and quivering. The eye gazes fixedly forward in stupor. The heart beats, breathing stops, the limbs are paralyzed…. And hardly has the last note sounded than already you are gay and merry. You shout, you laugh, you criticise, you applaud…. But you have seen nothing, heard nothing, felt nothing, understood nothing, nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing! The sufferings of an artist are a show to you. You think the tears of agony of a Beethoven are finely painted. You would cry ’Encore’ to the Crucifixion. A great soul struggles all its life long in sorrow to divert your idleness for an hour!…"

So, without knowing it, he confirmed Goethe’s great words: but he had not yet attained his lofty serenity:

"The people make a sport of the sublime. If they could see it as it is, they would be unable to bear its aspect."

If he had only stopped at that!—But, whirled along by his enthusiasm, he swept past the public and plunged like a cannon ball into the sanctuary, the tabernacle, the inviolable refuge of mediocrity: Criticism. He bombarded his colleagues. One of them had taken upon himself to attack the most gifted of living composers, the most advanced representative of the new school, Hassler, the writer of programme symphonies, extravagant in truth, but full of genius. Christophe who—as perhaps will be remembered—had been presented to him when he was a child, had always had a secret tenderness for him in his gratitude for the enthusiasm and emotion that he had had then. To see a stupid critic, whose ignorance he knew, instructing a man of that caliber, calling him to order, and reminding him of set principles, infuriated him:

"Order! Order!" he cried. "You do not know any order but that of the police. Genius is not to be dragged along the beaten track. It creates order, and makes its will a law."

After this arrogant declaration he took the unlucky critic, considered all the idiocies he had written for some time past, and administered correction.

All the critics felt the affront. Up to that time they had stood aside from the conflict. They did not care to risk a rebuff: they knew Christophe, they knew his efficiency, and they knew also that he was not long-suffering. Certain of them had discreetly expressed their regret that so gifted a composer should dabble in a profession not his own. Whatever might be their opinion (when they had one), and however hurt they might be by Christophe, they respected in him their own privilege of being able to criticise everything without being criticised themselves. But when they saw Christophe rudely break the tacit convention which bound them, they saw in him an enemy of public order. With one consent it seemed revolting to them that a very young man should take upon himself to show scant respect for the national glories: and they began a furious campaign against him. They did not write long articles or consecutive arguments—(they were unwilling to venture upon such ground with an adversary better armed than themselves: although a journalist has the special faculty of being able to discuss without taking his adversary’s arguments into consideration, and even without having read them)—but long experience had taught them that, as the reader of a paper always agrees with it, even to appear to argue was to weaken its credit with him: it was necessary to affirm, or better still, to deny—(negation is twice as powerful as affirmation: it is a direct consequence of the law of gravity: it is much easier to drop a stone than to throw it up).—They adopted, therefore, a system of little notes, perfidious, ironic, injurious, which were repeated day by day, in an easily accessible position, with unwearying assiduity. They held the insolent Christophe up to ridicule, though they never mentioned him by name, but always transparently alluded to him. They twisted his words to make them look absurd: they told anecdotes about him, true for the most part, though the rest were a tissue of lies, nicely calculated to set him at loggerheads with the whole town, and, worse still, with the Court: even his physical appearance, his features, his manner of dressing, were attacked and caricatured in a way that by dint of repetition came to be like him.

* * * * *

It would have mattered little to Christophe’s friends if their Review had not also come in for blows in the battle. In truth, it served rather as an advertisement: there was no desire to commit the Review to the quarrel: rather the attempt was made to cut Christophe off from it: there was astonishment that it should so compromise its good name, and they were given to understand that if they did not take care steps would be taken, however unpleasant it might be, to make the whole editorial staff responsible. There were signs of attack, gentle enough, upon Adolf Mai and Mannheim, which stirred up the wasps’ nest. Mannheim only laughed at it: he thought that it would infuriate his father, his uncles, cousins, and his innumerable family, who took upon themselves to watch everything he did and to be scandalized by it. But Adolf Mai took it very seriously and blamed Christophe for compromising the Review. Christophe sent him packing. The others who had not been attacked found it rather amusing that Mai, who was apt to pontificate over them, should be their scapegoat. Waldhaus was secretly delighted: he said that there was never a fight without a few heads being broken. Naturally he took good care that it should not be his own: he thought he was sheltered from onslaught by the position of his family; and his relatives: and he saw no harm in the Jews, his allies, being mauled a little. Ehrenfeld and Goldenring, who were so far untouched, would not have been worried by attack: they could reply. But what did touch them on the raw was that Christophe should go on persistently putting them in the wrong with their friends, and especially their women friends. They had laughed loudly at the first articles and thought them good fun: they admired Christophe’s vigorous window-smashing: they thought they had only to give the word to check his combativeness, or at least to turn his attack from men and women whom they might mention.—But no. Christophe would listen to nothing: he paid no heed to any remark and went on like a madman. If they let him go on there would be no living in the place. Already their young women friends, furious and in tears, had come and made scenes at the offices of the Review. They brought all their diplomacy to bear on Christophe to persuade him at least to moderate certain of his criticisms: Christophe changed nothing. They lost their tempers: Christophe lost his, but he changed nothing. Waldhaus was amused by the unhappiness of his friends, which in no wise touched him, and took Christophe’s part to annoy them. Perhaps also he was more capable than they of appreciating Christophe’s extravagance, who with head down hurled himself upon everything without keeping any line of retreat, or preparing any refuge for the future. As for Mannheim he was royally amused by the farce: it seemed to him a good joke to have introduced this madman among these correct people, and he rocked with laughter both at the blows which Christophe dealt and at those which he received. Although under his sister’s influence he was beginning to think that Christophe was decidedly a little cracked, he only liked him the more for it—(it was necessary for him to find those who were in sympathy with him a little absurd).—And so he joined Waldhaus in supporting Christophe against the others.

As he was not wanting in practical sense, in spite of all his efforts to pretend to the contrary, he thought very justly that it would be to his friend’s advantage to ally himself with the cause of the most advanced musical party in the country.

As in most German towns, there was in the town a Wagner-Verein, which represented new ideas against the conservative element.—In truth, there was no great risk in defending Wagner when his fame was acknowledged everywhere and his works included in the repertory of every Opera House in Germany. And yet his victory was rather won by force than by universal accord, and at heart the majority were obstinately conservative, especially in the small towns such as this which have been rather left outside the great modern movements and are rather proud of their ancient fame. More than anywhere else there reigned the distrust, so innate in the German people, of anything new, the sort of laziness in feeling anything true or powerful which has not been pondered and digested by several generations. It was apparent in the reluctance with which—if not the works of Wagner which are beyond discussion—every new work inspired by the Wagnerian spirit was accepted. And so the Wagner-Vereine would have had a useful task to fulfil if they had set themselves to defend all the young and original forces in art. Sometimes they did so, and Bruckner or Hugo Wolf found in some of them their best allies. But too often the egoism of the master weighed upon his disciples: and just as Bayreuth serves only monstrously to glorify one man, the offshoots of Bayreuth were little churches in which Mass was eternally sung in honor of the one God. At the most the faithful disciples were admitted to the side chapels, the disciples who applied the hallowed doctrines to the letter, and, prostrate in the dust, adored the only Divinity with His many faces: music, poetry, drama, and metaphysics.

The Wagner-Verein of the town was in exactly this case.—However, they went through the form of activity: they were always trying to enroll young men of talent who looked as though they might be useful to it: and they had long had their eyes on Christophe. They had discreetly made advances to him, of which Christophe had not taken any notice, because he felt no need of being associated with anybody: he could not understand the necessity which drove his compatriots always to be banding themselves together in groups, being unable to do anything alone: neither to sing, nor to walk, nor to drink. He was averse to all Vereinswesen. But on the whole he was more kindly disposed to the Wagner-Verein than to any other Verein: at least they did provide an excuse for fine concerts: and although he did not share all the Wagnerian ideas on art, he was much nearer them than to those of any other group in music. He could he thought find common ground with a party which was as unjust as himself towards Brahms and the "Brahmins." So he let himself be put up for it. Mannheim introduced him: he knew everybody. Without being a musician he was a member of the Wagner-Verein.—The managing committee had followed the campaign which Christophe was conducting in the Review. His slaughter in the opposing camp had seemed to them to give signs of a strong grip which it would be as well to have in their service. Christophe had also let fly certain disrespectful remarks about the sacred fetish: but they had preferred to close their eyes to that: and perhaps his attacks, not yet very offensive, had not been without their influence, unconsciously, in making them so eager to enroll Christophe before he had time to deliver himself manfully. They came and very amiably asked his permission to play some of his compositions at one of the approaching concerts of the Association. Christophe was flattered, and accepted: he went to the Wagner-Verein, and, urged by Mannheim, he was made a member.

At that time there were at the head of the Wagner-Verein two men, of whom one enjoyed a certain notoriety as a writer, and the other as a conductor. Both had a Mohammedan belief in Wagner. The first, Josias Kling, had compiled a Wagner Dictionary—Wagner Lexikon—which made it possible in a moment to know the master’s thoughts de omni re scibili: it had been his life’s work. He was capable of reciting whole chapters of it at table, as the French provincials used to troll the songs of the Maid. He used also to publish in the Bayreuther Blätter articles on Wagner and the Aryan Spirit. Of course, Wagner was to him the type of the pure Aryan, of whom the German race had remained the last inviolable refuge against the corrupting influences of Latin Semitism, especially the French. He declared that the impure French spirit was finally destroyed, though he did not desist from attacking it bitterly day by day as though the eternal enemy were still a menace. He would only acknowledge one great man in France: the Count of Gobineau. Kling was a little man, very little, and he used to blush like a girl.—The other pillar of the Wagner-Verein, Erich Lauber, had been manager of a chemical works until four years before: then he had given up everything to become a conductor. He had succeeded by force of will, and because he was very rich. He was a Bayreuth fanatic: it was said that he had gone there on foot, from Munich, wearing pilgrim’s sandals. It was a strange thing that a man who had read much, traveled much, practised divers professions, and in everything displayed an energetic personality, should have become in music a sheep of Panurge: all his originality was expended in his being a little more stupid than the others. He was not sure enough of himself in music to trust to his own personal feelings, and so he slavishly followed the interpretations of Wagner given by the Kapellmeisters, and the licensees of Bayreuth. He desired to reproduce even to the smallest detail the setting and the variegated costumes which delighted the puerile and barbarous taste of the little Court of Wahnfried. He was like the fanatical admirer of Michael Angelo who used to reproduce in his copies even the cracks in the wall of the moldy patches which had themselves been hallowed by their appearance in the hallowed pictures.

Christophe was not likely to approve greatly of the two men. But they were men of the world, pleasant, and both well-read: and Lauber’s conversation was always interesting on any other subject than music. He was a bit of a crank: and Christophe did not dislike cranks: they were a change from the horrible banality of reasonable people. He did not yet know that there is nothing more devastating than an irrational man, and that originality is even more rare among those who are called "originals" than among the rest. For these "originals" are simply maniacs whose thoughts are reduced to clockwork.

Josias Kling and Lauber, being desirous of winning Christophe’s support, were at first very keenly interested in him. Kling wrote a eulogistic article about him and Lauber followed all his directions when he conducted his compositions at one of the concerts of the Society. Christophe was touched by it all. Unfortunately all their attentions were spoiled by the stupidity of those who paid them. He had not the facility of pretending about people because they admired him. He was exacting. He demanded that no one should admire him for the opposite of what he was: and he was always prone to regard as enemies those who were his friends, by mistake. And so he was not at all pleased with Kling for seeing in him a disciple of Wagner, and trying to see connections between passages of his Lieder and passages of the Tetralogy, which had nothing in common but certain notes of the scale. And he had no pleasure in hearing one of his works sandwiched—together with a worthless imitation by a Wagnerian student—between two enormous blocks of Wagnerian drama.

It was not long before he was stifled in the little chapel. It was just another Conservatoire, as narrow as the old Conservatoires, and more intolerant because it was the latest comer in art. Christophe began to lose his illusions about the absolute value of a form of art or of thought. Hitherto he had always believed that great ideas bear their own light within themselves. Now he saw that ideas may change, but that men remain the same: and, in fine, nothing counted but men: ideas were what they were. If they were born mediocre and servile, even genius became mediocre in its passage through their souls, and the shout of freedom of the hero breaking his bonds became the act of slavery of succeeding generations.—Christophe could mot refrain from expressing his feelings. He let no opportunity slip of jeering at fetishism in art. He declared that there was no need of idols, or classics of any sort, and that he only had the right to call himself the heir of the spirit of Wagner who was capable of trampling Wagner underfoot and so walking on and keeping himself in close communion with life. Kling’s stupidity made Christophe aggressive. He set out all the faults and absurdities he could see in Wagner. The Wagnerians at once credited him with a grotesque jealousy of their God. Christophe for his part had no doubt that these same people who exalted Wagner since he was dead would have been the first to strangle him in his life: and he did them an injustice. The Klings and the Laubers also had had their hour of illumination: they had been advanced twenty years ago: and then like most people they had stopped short at that. Man has so little force that he is out of breath after the first ascent: very few are long-winded enough to go on.

Christophe’s attitude quickly alienated him from his new friends. Their sympathy was a bargain: he had to side with them if they were to side with him: and it was quite evident that Christophe would not yield an inch: he would not join them. They lost their enthusiasm for him. The eulogies which he refused to accord to the gods and demi-gods who were approved by the cult, were withheld from him. They showed less eagerness to welcome his compositions: and some of the members began to protest against his name being too often on the programmes. They laughed at him behind his back, and criticism went on: Kling and Lauber by not protesting seemed to take part in it. They would have avoided a breach with Christophe if possible: first because the minds of the Germans of the Rhine like mixed solutions, solutions which are not solutions, and have the privilege of prolonging indefinitely an ambiguous situation: and secondly, because they hoped in spite of everything to be able to make use of him, by wearing him down, if not by persuasion.

Christophe gave them no time for it. Whenever he thought he felt that at heart any man disliked him, but would not admit it and tried to cover it up so as to remain on good terms with him, he would never rest until he had succeeded in proving to him that he was his enemy. One evening at the Wagner-Verein when he had come up against a wall of hypocritical hostility, he could bear it no longer and sent in his resignation to Lauber without wasting words. Lauber could not understand it: and Mannheim hastened to Christophe to try and pacify him. At his first words Christophe burst out:

"No, no, no,—no! Don’t talk to me about these people. I will not see them again…. I cannot. I cannot…. I am disgusted, horribly, with men: I can hardly bear to look at one."

Mannheim laughed heartily. He was thinking much less of smoothing

Christophe down than of having the fun of it.

"I know that they are not beautiful," he said; "but that is nothing new: what new thing has happened?"

"Nothing. I have had enough, that is all…. Yes, laugh, laugh at me: everybody knows I am mad. Prudent people act in accordance with the laws of logic and reason and sanity. I am not like that: I am a man who acts only on his own impulse. When a certain quantity of electricity is accumulated in me it has to expend itself, at all costs: and so much the worse for the others if it touches them! And so much the worse for them! I am not made for living in society. Henceforth I shall belong only to myself."

"You think you can do without everybody else?" said Mannheim. "You cannot play your music all by yourself. You need singers, an orchestra, a conductor, an audience, a claque…."

Christophe shouted.

"No! no! no!"

But the last word made him jump.

"A claque! Are you not ashamed?"

"I am not talking of a paid claque—(although, indeed, it is the only means yet discovered of revealing the merit of a composition to the audience).—But you must have a claque: the author’s coterie is a claque, properly drilled by him: every author has his claque: that is what friends are for."

"I don’t want any friends!"

"Then you will be hissed."

"I want to be hissed!"

Mannheim was in the seventh heaven.

"You won’t have even that pleasure for long. They won’t play you."

"So be it, then! Do you think I care about being a famous man?… Yes. I was making for that with all my might…. Nonsense! Folly! Idiocy!… As if the satisfaction of the vulgarest sort of pride could compensate for all the sacrifices—weariness, suffering, infamy, insults, degradation, ignoble concessions—which are the price of fame! Devil take me if I ever bother my head about such things again! Never again! Publicity is a vulgar infamy. I will be a private citizen and live for myself and those whom I love…."

"Good," said Mannheim ironically. "You must choose a profession. Why shouldn’t you make shoes?"

"Ah! if I were a cobbler like the incomparable Sachs!" cried Christophe. "How happy my life would be! A cobbler all through the week,—and a musician on Sunday, privately, intimately, for my own pleasure and that of my friends! What a life that would be!… Am I mad, to waste my time and trouble for the magnificent pleasure of being a prey to the judgment of idiots? Is it not much better and finer to be loved and understood by a few honest men than to be heard, criticised, and toadied by thousands of fools?… The devil of pride and thirst for fame shall never again take me: trust me for that!"

"Certainly," said Mannheim. He thought:

"In an hour he will say just the opposite." He remarked quietly:

"Then I am to go and smooth things down with the Wagner-Verein?"

Christophe waved his arms.

"What is the good of my shouting myself hoarse with telling you ’No’, for the last hour?… I tell you that I will never set foot inside it again! I loathe all these Wagner-Vereine, all these Vereine, all these flocks of sheep who have to huddle together to be able to baa in unison. Go and tell those sheep from me that I am a wolf, that I have teeth, and am not made far the pasture!"

"Good, good, I will tell them," said Mannheim, as he went. He was delighted with his morning’s entertainment. He thought:

"He is mad, mad, mad as a hatter…."

His sister, to whom he reported the interview, at once shrugged her shoulders and said:

"Mad? He would like us to think so!… He is stupid, and absurdly vain…."

* * * * *

Christophe went on with his fierce campaign in Waldhaus’s Review. It was not that it gave him pleasure: criticism disgusted him, and he was always wishing it at the bottom of the sea. But he stuck to it because people were trying to stop him: he did not wish to appear to have given in.

Waldhaus was beginning to be uneasy. As long as he was out of reach he had looked on at the affray with the calmness of an Olympian god. But for some weeks past the other papers had seemed to be beginning to disregard his inviolability: they had begun to attack his vanity as a writer with a rare malevolence in which, had Waldhaus been more subtle, he might have recognized the hand of a friend. As a matter of fact, the attacks were cunningly instigated by Ehrenfeld and Goldenring: they could see no other way of inducing him to stop Christophe’s polemics. Their perception was justified. Waldhaus at once declared that Christophe was beginning to weary him: and he withdrew his support. All the staff of the Review then tried hard to silence Christophe! But it were as easy to muzzle a dog who is about to devour his prey! Everything they said to him only excited him more. He called them poltroons and declared that he would say everything—everything that he ought to say. If they wished to get rid of him, they were free to do so! The whole town would know that they were as cowardly as the rest: but he would not go of his own accord.

They looked at each other in consternation, bitterly blaming Mannheim for the trick he had played them in bringing such a madman among them. Mannheim laughed and tried hard to curb Christophe himself: and he vowed that with the next article Christophe would water his wine. They were incredulous: but the event proved that Mannheim had not boasted vainly. Christophe’s next article, though not a model of courtesy, did not contain a single offensive remark about anybody. Mannheim’s method was very simple: they were all amazed at not having thought of it before: Christophe never read what he wrote in the Review, and he hardly read the proofs of his articles, only very quickly and carelessly. Adolf Mai had more than once passed caustic remarks on the subject: he said that a printer’s error was a disgrace to a Review: and Christophe, who did not regard criticism altogether as an art, replied that those who were upbraided in it would understand well enough. Mannheim turned this to account: he said that Christophe was right and that correcting proofs was printers’ work: and he offered to take it over. Christophe was overwhelmed with gratitude: but they told him that such an arrangement would be of service to them and a saving of time for the Review. So Christophe left his proofs to Mannheim and asked him to correct them carefully. Mannheim did: it was sport for him. At first he only ventured to tone down certain phrases and to delete here and there certain ungracious epithets. Emboldened by success, he went further with his experiments: he began to alter sentences and their meaning: and he was really skilful in it. The whole art of it consisted in preserving the general appearance of the sentence and its characteristic form while making it say exactly the opposite of what Christophe had meant. Mannheim took far more trouble to disfigure Christophe’s articles than he would have done to write them himself: never had he worked so hard. But he enjoyed the result: certain musicians whom Christophe had hitherto pursued with his sarcasms were astounded to see him grow gradually gentle and at last sing their praises. The staff of the Review were delighted. Mannheim used to read aloud his lucubrations to them. They roared with laughter. Ehrenfeld and Goldenring would say to Mannheim occasionally:

"Be careful! You are going too far."

"There’s no danger," Mannheim would say. And he would go on with it.

Christophe never noticed anything. He used to go to the office of the Review, leave his copy, and not bother about it any more. Sometimes he would take Mannheim aside and say:

"This time I really have done for the swine. Just read…."

Mannheim would read.

"Well, what do you think of it?"

"Terrible, my dear fellow, there’s nothing left of them!"

"What do you think they will say?"

"Oh! there will be a fine row."

But there never was a row. On the contrary, everybody beamed at Christophe: people whom he detested would bow to him in the street. One day he came to the office uneasy and scowling: and, throwing a visiting card on the table, he asked:

"What does this mean?"

It was the card of a musician whom he slaughtered.

"A thousand thanks."

Mannheim replied with a laugh:

"It is ironical."

Christophe was set at rest.

"Oh!" he said. "I was afraid my article had pleased him."

"He is furious," said Ehrenfeld: "but he does not wish to seem so: he is posing as the strong man, and is just laughing."

"Laughing?… Swine!" said Christophe, furious once more. "I shall write another article about him. He laughs best who laughs last."

"No, no," said Waldhaus anxiously. "I don’t think he is laughing at you. It is humility: he is a good Christian. He is holding out the other cheek to the smiter."

"So much the better!" said Christophe. "Ah! Coward! He has asked for it: he shall have his flogging."

Waldhaus tried to intervene. But the others laughed.

"Let him be…." said Mannheim.

"After all …" replied Waldhaus, suddenly reassured, "a little more or less makes no matter!…"

Christophe went away. His colleagues rocked and roared with laughter. When they had had their fill of it Waldhaus said to Mannheim:

"All the same, it was a narrow squeak…. Please be careful. We shall be caught yet."

"Bah!" said Mannheim. "We have plenty of time…. And besides, I am making friends for him."