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43. To Frederic Chopin
[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.-- The great Polish tone-poet (1809-49) was most intimate with Liszt in Paris. The latter, in his work "F. Chopin" 1851, second edition 1879, Breitkopf and Hartel; German translation by La Mara, 1880), raised an imperishable monument to him.]
M. Benacci, a member of the Maison Troupenas, and in my opinion the most intelligent editor, and the most liberal in business matters, in France, asks me for a letter of introduction to you.
I give it all the more willingly, as I am convinced that under all circ.u.mstances you will have every reason to be satisfied with his activity and with whatever he does. Mendelssohn, whom he met in Switzerland two years ago, has made him his exclusive editor for France, and I, for my part, am just going to do the same. It would be a real satisfaction to me if you would entrust some of your ma.n.u.scripts to him, and if these lines should help in making you do so I know he will be grateful to me.
Yours ever, in true and lively friendship,
Lyons, May 21st, 1845
44. To George Sand.
[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.-- A friendship of long years subsisted between Liszt and France's greatest female writer, George Sand. At her home of Nohant he was a frequent guest, together with the Comtesse d'Agoult. Three letters which he wrote (in 1835 and 1837) for the Gazette Musicale--clever talks about Art, Nature, Religion, Freedom, etc.--bear George Sand's address.]
Without wishing to add to your other inevitable troubles that of a correspondence for which you care little, allow me, dear George, to claim for myself your old indulgence for people who write to you without requiring an answer, and let me recall myself to you by these few lines through M. Benacci. Their ostensible object is to recommend the above-mentioned Benacci, so that you, in your turn, may recommend him more particularly to Chopin (and I may add in parenthesis that I should abstain from this negotiation were I not firmly persuaded that Chopin will never regret entering into business relations with Benacci, who, in his capacity of member of the firm of Troupenas, is one of the most important and most intelligent men of his kind); but the real fact of the matter is that I am writing to you above all-- and why should I not confess it openly?--for the pleasure of conversing with you for a few moments. Therefore don't expect anything interesting from me, and if my handwriting bothers you, throw my letter into the fire without going any further.
Do you know with whom I have just had endless conversations about you, in sight of Lisbon and Gibraltar? With that kind, excellent, and original Blavoyer, the Ahasuerus of commerce, whom I had already met several times without recognising him, until at last I remembered our dinners at the "Ecu" (Crown) at Geneva, and the famous Pipe!
During the month's voyage from Lisbon to Barcelona we emptied I cannot tell you how many bottles of sherry in your honor and glory; and one fine evening he confided to me in so simple and charming a manner his vexation at being unable to find several letters that you had written to him in Russia, I think, and which have been stolen from him, that I took a liking to him, and he did the same to me. The fact is that there could not possibly be two Blavoyers under the sun, and his own person is the only pattern of which he cannot furnish goods wholesale, for there is no sort of thing that he does not supply to all parts of the globe.
A propos of Lisbon and supplies, have you a taste for camellias?
It would be a great pleasure to me to send you a small cargo of them from Oporto, but I did not venture to do it without knowing, in case you might perhaps have a decided antipathy to them.
In spite of the disinterestedness with which I began this letter, I come round, almost without knowing how, to beg you to write to me. Don't do more than you like; but in any case forgive me for growing old and arriving at the point when n.o.ble recollections grow in proportion as the narrowing meannesses of daily life find their true level. Yes, even if you thought me more of a fool than formerly, it would be impossible for me to hold your friendship cheap, or not to prize highly the fact that, somehow or other, it has not come to be at variance nor entirely at an end.
As the exigencies of my profession will not allow me leisure to return so soon to Paris, I shall probably not have the opportunity of seeing you for two years. Towards the middle of July I go to Bonn for the inauguration of the Beethoven Monument.
Were it not that a journey to the Rhine is so commonplace, I should beg you to let me do the honors of the left and of the right bank to you, as well as to Chopin (a little less badly than I was able to do the honors of Geneva!). My mother and my children are to join me at Cologne in five or six weeks, but I cannot hope for such good luck as that we might meet in those parts, although after your winters of work and fatigue a journey of this kind would be a refreshing distraction for you both.
At the close of the autumn I shall resume my duties at Weymar; later on I shall go to Vienna and Hungary, and proceed thence to Italy by way of Constantinople, Athens, and Malta.
If, therefore, one of these fine days you should happen to be in the humor, send me a word in reply about the camellias; if you will send your letter to my mother (20, Rue Louis le Grand) I shall get it immediately. In every way, count upon my profound friendship and most respectful devotion always and everywhere.
Lyons, May 21st, 1845
45. T Abbe De Lamennais
[Autograph in the possession of M. Alfred Bovet at Valentigney.]
Oh no, there is not, and there never could be, any indiscretion from you towards me. Believe me that I do not deceive myself as to the motive which determined you to write to me with such great kindness, and if it happened that I replied too sanguinely and at too great length I beg you to excuse me. Above all do not punish me by withdrawing from me the smallest particle of your sacred friendship.
M. de Lamartine, with whom I have been spending two or three days at Montceau, told me that you had read to him "Les Forgerons," so I played him the music. Permit me still to hope that some day you may be willing to complete the series, and that I, on my side, may not be unworthy of this task.
Yours most heartily,
Dijon, June 1st, 1845
46. To Gaetano Belloni in Paris
[Autograph in the possession of M. Etienne Charavay in Paris.-- Addressed to Liszt's valued secretary during his concert tours in Europe from 1841-1847.]
Dear and Most Excellent Belloni,
Everything is moving on, and shall not stop either. Bonn is in a flutter since I arrived and I shall easily put an end to the paltry, under-hand opposition which had been formed against me.
By the time you arrive I shall have well and duly conquered my true position.
[This refers to the Festival in Bonn, of several days' duration, for the unveiling of the Beethoven Monument (by Hahnel), in which Liszt, the generous joint-founder of the monument, took part as pianist, composer, and conductor.]
Will you please add to the list of your commissions:
The cross of Charles III.
and the cross of Christ of Portugal, large size? You know it is worn on the neck.
Don't lose time and don't be too long in coming.
July 23rd, 1845.
Kindest regards to Madame Belloni.--I enclose a few lines for Benacci, which you will kindly give him.
47. To Madame Rondonneau at Sedan
[Autograph in the possession of M. Etienne Charavay in Paris.]
In spite of rain, snow, hail, and frost, here I am at last, having reached the hotel of the Roman Emperor at Frankfort after forty-eight hours' travelling, and I take the first opportunity of telling you anew, though not for the last time, how much I feel the charming and affectionate reception which you have given me during my too short, and, unhappily for me, too unfortunate stay at Sedan. Will you, dear Madame, be so kind as to be my mouthpiece and special pleader to Madame Dumaitre, who has been so uncommonly kind and cordial to me? a.s.suredly I could not confide my cause (bad as it may be) to more delicate hands and to a more persuasive eloquence, if eloquence only consists in reality of "the art of saying the right thing, the whole of the right thing, and nothing but the right thing," as La Rochefoucauld defined it; a definition from which General Foy drew a grand burst of eloquence--"The Charter, the whole Charter (excepting, however, Article 14 and other peccadilloes!), and nothing but the Charter."
"But don't let us talk politics any longer," as Lablache so happily remarked to Giulia Grisi, who took it into her head one fine day to criticize Don Juan!
Let us talk once more of Sedan, and let me again say to you how happy I should be to be able one day to show those whose acquaintance I have made through you in what grateful remembrance I keep it.