Mozart's Youth - George Upton

The Wonder Child

Vice Chapel-master Leopold Mozart of Salzburg paced to and fro in his apartment, evidently disturbed and anxious. He stopped several times at the door of the adjoining room and listened intently to every sound within. Then he would resume his monotonous walk from one corner of the room to another. From time to time he whispered a hurried prayer. Great drops of sweat fell from his brow. His face was pale, and showed unmistakable signs of trouble and misgiving.

The hands of the house clock, which persistently kept up its monotonous ticking, moved slowly forward. Minute after minute passed, and with every minute the vice chapel-master grew more and more anxious. A piano stood at one side of the room. To divert his thoughts he went to it, and with trembling hands struck a few chords, whose soft, full tones seemed to exert a quieting influence upon him. He wiped the perspiration from his brow, and his dimmed eyes grew brighter as he went to the window and looked up at the sky.

"Let the dear God do as He wills," he gently said to himself. "He will surely do everything that is for our best and highest good."

He stood at the window several minutes with clasped hands and uplifted eyes. The sky was overcast with dark clouds, with here and there occasional glimpses of the blue. The air was sultry and oppressive, and seemed to threaten a storm. Suddenly the dark cloud-veil was rent, as it were, and the dazzling sun shed a brilliantly glorious flood of light upon the beautify scenery of Salzburg. The glistening sunbeams also streamed into the vice chapel-master's room, and Father Mozart welcomed them with a serene smile.

"Behold, it is as if the eye of God were shining out of heaven in token of his inexhaustible goodness and mercy," he said to himself. "I will accept it as a good omen, Lord, my God."

A cheery little nurse with smiling face entered, carrying in her arms a little boy, vigorously crowing and kicking.

Look, Herr Vice Chapel-master," she said with an expression of the heartiest delight; "this is what the beautiful sunlight, even yet glistening upon the roofs like gold, has brought us. If this is not a good omen, why, then, I am no prophet."

The vice chapel-master stretched out his arms to the little boy, held his hands in blessing over his head, and made no effort to restrain the tears of joy which ran down his cheeks.

"My God and Lord," he said with trembling voice, "accept my thanks for this happy moment, and let Thy blessing rest upon the head of this child whom Thou hast given me for my comfort." Thereupon he bent down, kissed the boy's forehead, and looked at him for some time with an expression of the greatest delight.

"And the mother, my good woman?" he asked hastily, as if awakening from a beautiful dream.

"All is well, Herr Vice Chapel-master," was her reply. "The dear little woman is as lively as a fish in the water. See for yourself."

He needed no second invitation. In three steps the happy father was in the next room. His wife, somewhat pale, smilingly stretched out both her delicate hands, which Father Mozart affectionately kissed.

"My dear wife, you have made me very happy," he said in a tone which came straight from the heart.

"Not any happier than I feel myself," the mother replied. "Let us both praise God for His merciful help."

"Yes, but I must insist that you do your praising apart from each other," interposed the woman, who stood one side with the still vigorously kicking and screaming boy in her arms. "You must withdraw at once, Herr Vice Chapel-master, for your little wife must have some rest. You ought to be satisfied, for you have seen with your own eyes that everything has been done for the best. So go, or I shall be offended."

Father Mozart smilingly obeyed, after he had kissed his wife, and returned to his room. He could not keep quiet long, however. His heart was too full. He must relieve it in the glorious freedom of nature. He took his hat and cane, quietly slipped out of the house, and hurried through the narrow streets of Salzburg to the beautiful avenue leading to the Archbishop's chateau at Heilbronn. Here he could give vent to his feelings without interruption or restraint, for the avenue was usually quiet, and frequented by only a few solitary pedestrians.

Father Mozart, ordinarily a very calm, sedate, self-possessed man, was hardly himself to-day, for by the blessing of God a wish, long and secretly cherished in his heart, had been realized. A little son had been given him. When he reflected that he would educate and instruct him, inspire him in his early years with a love for his beautiful art of music, and, with divine aid, develop him into a great musician, a thousand hymns of joy exultantly sang themselves in his heart, and his fancy painted bright pictures of the future. He was oblivious of all around him. He had no eyes for the attractions of the unsurpassably beautiful country stretching out in every direction like a blooming garden. He thought of nothing but his little son. He rubbed his hands together exultantly, muttered unintelligible words to himself, looked up with radiant glance into the blue and now cloudless sky, and so far forgot himself as to indulge in loud and joyous peals of laughter—laughing upon the public highway!—something which no one before had ever known the vice chapel-master to do. He acted really like one completely beside himself, and so absent-mindedly, indeed, that he failed to observe a gentleman approaching him from Heilbronn, who had been watching him for some little time with a quiet smile. The new-comer stepped behind a tree trunk, and as the happy father was going by without seeing him, he came up behind him, tapped him on the shoulder, and said in good-natured banter:

Mozart's Father


"Why, why, my respected friend and vice chapel-master Leopold Mozart, what kind of a whimsical notion are you carrying about in your pate that makes you behave on the public thoroughfares like one out of his senses? Never before in all my life have I seen you laughing and acting like this. Its must be something extraordinary that has brought about such a radical change."

"Guess, friend Adlgasser," replied Mozart, good-humoredly, as he freely joined in the laughter of his old, true friend, who had been appointed court musician in the chapel of the Archbishop of Salzburg. "Guess! Indeed, it is something extraordinary. Just think of it, Adlgasser, when the sunshine first broke through the dark clouds to-day, the dear God gave us a strong, healthy baby, at the very instant of the first gleam! Is not that well-nigh a miracle, and should not a father's heart leap for joy?"

"Oh, friend, if that is the case, all is explained, and I congratulate you as an honest friend and faithful comrade should," replied Adlgasser, as with joyous face he stretched out both hands to the vice chapel-master. "My hearty good wishes. May the little one grow up to be a joy to us all, and some time become as skilful a musician as his father, our always esteemed Leopold Mozart. It surely was a significant omen, for it means that this little one will some day illuminate the whole world like the sun, and all the earth will regard him with admiration as a true light from heaven. I do not know whence the thought comes to me, Mozart, but I have a presentiment that this is not only true, but that he will accomplish this result in a very short time."

"God grant that you speak truly, dear friend," replied Mozart, excitedly. "At least, let us hope we may live to take comfort with the little one, and that we may bring him up to be a valiant follower of our noble Mistress Musica."

"Amen! may it be so," said Adlgasser, heartily shaking the vice chapel-master's hand.

Arm in arm the two went on, discussing for some time the little world-citizen who had come fresh from the other side with the sunbeams, until the sky was all aflame and the towering peaks of the neighboring Untersberg were transfused as with a golden glory.

A beautiful evening," said Adlgasser, "but, if I mistake not, still more beautiful days will follow it. God has given you a son, Mozart, and, as I believe, a wonder child. Let us hope he will fill the whole world with the light of his genius."

"Yes, let us so hope, but let us put our trust in the help of the Almighty," said Father Mozart, with much emotion. "Everything shall be done, so far as lies in my power, that will make this child a great artist."

By this time they had reached the city, where their ways separated. They parted with a hearty handshake, and each betook himself to his own house. Father Mozart's way led him straight to the cradle of his boy. The little one was peacefully sleeping. He gently kissed him, and in a silent prayer commended him to the protection of the Lord. Then he went to his own room, took his violin, and in sweetest tones gave melodious expression to the happiness of his heart. That was always his way when his emotions were aroused. He had not played so beautifully for a long, long time as on that evening; perhaps he never played so beautifully in his life. Never before, indeed, had there been such a joyous and satisfactory inducement.

The Little Virtuoso

The little Mozart was christened Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus, and was called by his parents and his sister Nannie, "Wolfgangerl," at least as long as he wore children's shoes. On the fourteenth of December, 1759, he being then three years and ten months old, a pleasant family feast was given by the relatives and friends of the sincerely and heartily beloved Father Mozart, in honor of his fortieth birthday. On that day the solicitous mother had been actively engaged making preparations since early morning, and although her little eight-year-old daughter Nannie was an industrious helper, there still remained so much to be done that she could pay little or no attention to Wolfgang, who consequently passed away the time until noon just as he pleased. Dressed in his best clothes, the little fellow sat at the window, quietly looking out into the street, and softly repeating, over and over again, the words of a little poem, with which, in childish festive fashion, he intended to welcome his father when he came home from his duties at noon. A friend of the family had written the verses, and Nannie and his mother had recited them to him so often that he knew them by heart. Suddenly, however, the little fellow stopped; his handsome, good-natured face was illumined with a smile, and he sprang up and knocked sharply on the window-pane.

"Hey! Andreas," he loudly cried; "Andreas, come in a little while. I am all alone."

The door was immediately opened, and a boy of Wolfgang's age, Andreas Schachtner, his devoted playmate, entered the room with a look of astonishment.

"Why, Wolfgang, how is it you are so nicely dressed?" said he. "This is not Sunday, nor a feast day."

"No, but it is a birthday," replied little Wolfgang, with an air of importance,—"father's birthday. We are going to have cake and wine, Andreas! Just think how good they will taste!"

"Yes, to you; but what does it matter to me?" said Andreas, trying to keep the tears back.

"Well, what are you crying for?" replied Wolfgang, quickly, and with affectionate impulsiveness. "Do you think I would not share a piece of cake with you and let you drink out of my glass? Oh, no, I am not so mean as that! So don't mind; and let us play a little while together, that the time may pass more quickly until noon."

"But what shall we play? It's too cold to go out doors, Wolfgangerl," said Andreas, appeased at once by the prospect of having some cake and wine.

"Let us stay in and turn somersaults," cried Wolfgang. "That's great fun, if you don't fall on your nose."

Andreas made no objection, and with loud and merry shouts of laughter the two little fellows ran about, turned somersaults, wrestled, and tumbled around on the sand-strewn floor, Wolfgang utterly forgetting that he was dressed in his best clothes. Their uproar rang through the house, and at last reached his mother's ears. In alarm she hastened to ascertain the cause of the tumult.

"Look at yourself, Wolfgangerl, you naughty child!" she exclaimed, as she entered the room and found the little fellows covered with dust and sand from head to foot. "What have you been doing? How you have soiled your clothes! What if your father should see you now! Oh, you bad, bad child!"

Little Wolfgang stood amazed, and looked confusedly, now at his mother, now at the sorry figure he presented. Shame and sorrow struggled in his childish face, and at last tears rolled down his flushed cheeks. "Oh, darling mother," he suddenly exclaimed, rushing to her with outstretched arms, "Oh, my darling mother, do not be angry! We have only turned a few somersaults, but we will not do it again. We will be real nice, only don't be angry with me, dear mother."

The good woman could not resist the little one's appeal. Displeasure vanished from her face, and she gently stroked her little son's blond locks. "You are indeed a harum-scarum," said she; "and see, your hair too is full of sand. Well, we will over look it this time, but if you are naughty again to-day, you shall have neither cake nor wine."

"Oh, I will be good, perfectly good," replied Wolfgang, stroking, pressing, and kissing his mother's hand in a coaxing way. "Please forgive me, and be nice to me again."

The good mother bent over her little one and embraced him with maternal tenderness. Wolfgang was soothed and contented. Then his mother brushed him clean, put his hair and dress in order, and looked upon him with evident pride.

"Now it is all right again," she said, "but there must be no more foolishness, Wolfgangerl, or your father will be angry. Don't you know that these fine clothes cost a good deal of money, and that your father has to work very hard to earn it? So you must be a good child, and see that you do not soil or spoil them. Will you not do so, naughty little one?"

"Yes, certainly I will, for I love my father so dearly that I would not do anything to trouble him for all the world," the boy replied, and in such a tone of sincerity that his mother was satisfied.

"Well, now, I will leave you alone again, "said she; "but what will you do next, if you are not going to turn somersaults any more?"

"Oh, I know, dear mother," he at once replied; "we will play soldiers, and tramp around the room, and I will play a nice march."

"Oh, I know your march will be fine," said Frau Mozart, smiling. I wish I could hear it."

"You can, right off," replied the little fellow. "Attention, Andreas! In position—so—now, forward march."

Andreas obeyed. Wolfgang stationed himself by his side, held both hands to his mouth as if he had a trumpet in them, and then began playing, or rather singing, a charming march, in such correct time that his mother was completely surprised. The two children marched exultantly around the room, as well satisfied as if all the world were watching them.

"It's all right now," at last said his mother. "Now, after this, be good children, and each of you shall have a big piece of the birthday cake."

With these words she graciously nodded to the children and went away. Wolfgang and Andreas marched and trumpeted for some time. At last Wolfgang's voice gave out and Andreas complained that his legs were tired. "This is enough for now," he said to Wolfgang, wiping the sweat from his forehead. "I can't march any longer, it is so warm."

"Then we will play schoolmaster," said Wolfgang in great glee. "You sit there on the stool, for you are the pupil and I am the teacher. Now pay attention, for I am going to give you some examples on the blackboard. There is some chalk in the drawer."

While Andreas comfortably seated himself, Wolfgang took a big piece of chalk and began scribbling upon the floor and walls as earnestly as if he really were executing a task of the utmost importance. They were not actual figures, for he did not yet know how to make them, but rather meaningless hieroglyphics, which soon made the polished boards and the walls of the room look as if a dozen white-footed crows had been hopping over them.

"Wolfgang, you naughty boy, what nonsense is this?" suddenly exclaimed a childish voice. Nannie, Wolfgang's sister, stood in the doorway, regarding with astonishment the disfigured boards and walls.

"Why, what is the matter, Nannerl? We are only playing school, and having some lessons in arithmetic," replied Wolfgang, looking at his sister in the most innocent manner and with an expression of absolute delight.

"Yes, but you entirely forget that mother and I have been toiling since early this morning to get things clean and in good order," said Nannie, beginning to cry. "Now we must begin all over again, and there is no one more to blame for it than you. You are a naughty, naughty child. Go away; I do not wish to see you any more."

When little Wolfgang saw tears glistening in his sister's eyes and noticed her manifest grief, it came over him all at once that he had behaved improperly. Thoroughly surprised, he was at her side in an instant. He gently pulled at her dress and softly said: "Don't be angry, dear Nannerl, I beg of you. Little Wolfgang has been naughty, but he will not do so again. Only don't be angry, my dear, darling Nannerl."

He begged so piteously, appeared so thoroughly contrite, and raised his little clasped hands so imploringly to his sister, that she could not remain offended. She turned a kindly face to him, and Wolfgang was not slow in noticing it.

"Now you are again my good Nannerl, and you have forgiven me," he loudly exclaimed, as he put up his mouth to her.

"Well, this shall be overlooked," said his sister, as she lovingly kissed her brother's little lips, "but don't make any more trouble. I will quickly rub it all out, so that mother will never know how naughty you have been."

Little Wolfgang sat quietly by while Nannie rubbed out the chalk-marks with nimble hands. In a few minutes everything was again clean and orderly, and Wolfgang embraced her, and over and over again called her his "dear, good Nannerl."

"You are a good-for-nothing," she replied, half laughing, half angry, "but I cannot help being good to you because you have a good heart; but don't play any more of your silly tricks, for your father will soon be here, and then you must recite your little piece. Can you do it now?"

"Oh, yes, every line of it," he answered. "I guess papa will be astonished for once. Listen."

At that instant the house door opened, men's voices were heard in the hall, and soon Vice Chapel-master Leopold Mozart entered with some of his friends. Wolfgang joyously flew to him and embraced him. "God greet you, father," he cried. "I congratulate you a thousand times on your birthday."

"Thank you, thank you, my little one," replied Father Mozart, kissing him. "Do you love your father very much?"

"Yes, father," said Wolfgang, looking at him with beaming eyes, "I love you very, very much, and, do you know, after the dear God comes my dear, good papa."

"This greatly pleases me, little fellow. Keep both in your heart as long as you live and all will be well with you," said Father Mozart, with great emotion, as he laid his hand in blessing upon the child's curly head. The mother and sister also entered and offered their congratulations. While this was going on little Wolfgang mounted the stool, struck an attitude, and recited his little address, not only correctly and in good voice, but with heartfelt emotion. It ran thus:

"This day my heart exults with joy,

This day that sweetest welcome brings;

It greets me in my own young day,

And to my youthful heart it sings:

I bring both happiness and blessing.

Yes, happiness is truly mine,

Oh, day so rare, oh, day so fine;

My father's life, so true, so strong,

And God's own love to me belong;

His counsel wise I will obey,

Hold to the right, take virtue's way;

Yes, father, I am thine my whole life long,

My heart is yours; 'so ends my song."

A loud "brava" followed the little poem, which had truly come from his heart, and all complimented Wolfgang because he had acquitted himself so well. Tears stood in his mother's eyes, and even the men displayed emotion, as if they realized that an unusual inspiration was already manifesting itself in the little one. Wolfgang, however, was somewhat disconcerted by the serious mood of the company. Jumping down from his stool, he loudly shouted, "Let us go to the table, for I am hungry, and mamma has promised me a glass of wine and a big piece of cake."

All laughed and followed the little fellow into an adjoining room, where the table was spread, handsomely decorated with flowers and growing plants. They seated themselves, and more than an hour passed in lively conversation and general intercourse. They were tried and true friends. What they said came truthfully and sincerely from the heart. The afternoon called the father to his duties, for he would not neglect them, even on his birthday, and his guests left at the same time. Toward evening, however, he returned, contented and pleased after a day's duties well performed. "I have been very happy to-day, mother," he said to his wife, as he affectionately embraced her. "I am going to begin to-day what I have contemplated for some time, namely, giving piano lessons to our Nannerl. Come here, child. You shall have one at once."

"And give me one too, papa," said Wolfgang, eagerly. "You will find I can do just as well as Nannerl."

"Why, you silly boy, you can hardly stretch four keys with your little fingers," said his father, laughing. "Play and laugh with your comrades all you will, and never mind the piano."

Thus severely admonished, Wolfgang retired to a corner of the room with a sorrowful face. Nannie seated herself at the piano, and Father Mozart began the lesson. It had not continued long before Wolfgang became restless. He stole nearer and nearer, on tiptoe, until he was behind his father's chair, where he listened intently to his words and instructions. There he remained until the lesson was over. Nannie left for the kitchen, to help her mother to get supper. Father Mozart began reading a book in his armchair. Wolfgang stood at the piano, thoughtfully looking at the keys. After a little, and apparently unconscious of what he was doing, he placed his hands on the keyboard and began striking thirds as he had just seen his sister do. At the sound of the instrument his countenance lit up, his eyes glowed, and utterly absorbed by the passion of music he forgot all else.

Father Mozart at first paid no notice to his son's playing. Gradually, however, as the tones grew fuller and stronger, he became attentive, laid aside the book he had been reading, and watched little Wolfgang with constantly increasing astonishment. He listened eagerly, and was more and more delighted when he found that Wolfgang repeated accurately and without a slip the little exercise which he had played over shortly before to Nannie. Tears of joy stood in his eyes. He arose, and going to Wolfgang, folded him in his arms and, overcome by his emotions, exclaimed: "Wolfgang, my heart's own little one, surely, and beyond all question, you are already a true musician." Then he called the mother and sister and told them the good news, and Wolfgang had to repeat the little pieces, which he did excellently. All were delighted. His mother embraced and kissed him, his sister joyfully clapped her hands, and his father looked on with beaming face. Little Wolfgang alone remained calm, and wondered that his playing caused such a commotion. "Why, that is nothing," he said. "I have known all that from the first; but you will see, papa, that I shall soon know far more than this."

"God grant it. For my part, I have no further doubt of it," said his father, deeply moved. "I will not fail to teach you all that I know."

Meanwhile bedtime had come, and little Wolfgang was tired. This time his father himself put him to bed, said the evening prayer as his mother was accustomed to do, and tucked him up nice and warm. It was hardly done before the little fellow was sound asleep, but Father Mozart knelt a while at the bedside, and raised his heart and soul to the Eternal Father in heaven.

"Lord, my God," he silently prayed. "Thou least given me a rare and beautiful flower. Give me also strength and perseverance, that I may tend it and bring it to its perfect blossoming, for thy honor and my happiness."

God heard the prayer. It rose to His throne in heaven, found favor in His eyes, and was granted.

In the Wide World

It was the height of summer. The Archbishop of Salzburg had ordered his chapel to the neighboring Chateau of Heilbronn to entertain a number of invited guests with table music, and had sent them on in advance without any instructions, in his usually provoking and imperious manner. Although the members of his chapel were distinguished artists, he had no more respect for them, and particularly for Vice Chapel-master Mozart, than for the dust under his feet, and treated them no better, sometimes,—indeed even worse,—than the lowest of his lackeys. Upon this occasion he several times displayed his contempt for them in a manner so utterly devoid of decency that Father Mozart resented it, and in depressed spirits returned to Salzburg on foot. Naturally his artistic pride rebelled against such treatment; but when tempted, as he often was, to break the galling litters of this servitude, consideration for his family forced him to be patient, and to endure it uncomplainingly. The trifling compensation which he annually received for his service as vice chapel-master was not sufficient to relieve himself and family from anxiety; but even these few hundred guldens he could not spare, except at the risk of impoverishment, and as the small sums received from private instruction were not large enough to support the family, he was forced to submit to this indignity, and conceal his resentment as best he could, by the exercise of the strongest self-control.

As he proceeded along the shaded avenue to Salzburg, absorbed in mournful contemplation, and vainly seeking to calm his disturbed spirit, a friend and patron unexpectedly met him. He had been attached to Mozart for a long time, because he knew his worth and thoroughly appreciated his faithfulness and industry.

"Good day, my dear Mozart," he cordially said. "Where are you going? And why are you so troubled? I did not suppose a good musician and a master of art like you could ever be out of humor."

"Oh, if you only knew, Count von Herbenstein," replied Mozart, pleasantly surprised by his patron's greeting. The shoe often pinches us poor musicians in more than one place, and sometimes so hard that the best disposition cannot stand it. You were there this very day, Herr Count, when the Archbishop treated us so shabbily. Did he not insult us before all the guests by calling us a 'dissolute rabble,' 'frivolous fellows,' and 'a good-for-nothing pack'? I could have sunk into the earth for shame. What must these distinguished strangers have thought of us when we were treated in such manner by our own master? Really, sometimes I would rather be a wood-chopper or a boot-black than the Archbishop's vice chapel-master."

"Restrain yourself, dear Mozart," said Count Herbenstein, gently placing his hand on the vice chapel-master's shoulder. "We all know the Archbishop, and what to expect from him. Believe me, you are not lowered in our estimation by his aspersions. Do not let them disturb you. Seek consolation in your beautiful art. I know that you are a great violin virtuoso, and that you have written a famous 'Violin School.' I have thought for some time of asking you to write me some nice chamber music, for which I will advance you twenty-five ducats."

"Oh, you are too generous, Herr Count," replied Mozart, delightedly. "It will be a welcome addition to my meagre income, and I will thankfully undertake your kind commission. It will help to pay the expenses of a journey to Vienna, which I am going to make as soon as possible with my Wolfgang."

"Ah! so you are going with your little son to Vienna, "said Count Herbenstein. The conversation now took a new turn. "Is it really true that your little Wolfgang is such an extraordinary genius as I hear on all sides?"

Whenever his son was mentioned, Father Mozart was aflame with enthusiasm. "Certainly it is, Herr Count," he replied, excitedly. "I cannot say too much for that child. It is perfectly astonishing the progress Wolfgang has made in such short time. It absolutely surprises me. Just think of it, notwithstanding his hands are so little, he already plays the piano finely; better, indeed, than his sister, who is older than he, and. who is not without talent herself. When he has been to a concert, he can play every piece by memory."

"This is really extraordinary," said the Count. "And does he actually play intelligently and correctly?"

"Correctly and sometimes brilliantly," answered Father Mozart. "He learns with incredible facility. It hardly takes him half an hour to learn a minuet or any other small concert piece, and play it clearly and neatly."

"Impossible! Impossible!" exclaimed the Count.

"Do you not believe me, Herr Count?" said Father Mozart. "If you will give me the honor of your company and go home with me, you shall have proof of my statements, and see for yourself that I have not exaggerated."

The Count consented to go, for he was really curious to see the little Wolfgang. "All right, dear friend, I will go with you," he said. "Your Wolfgang must be a marvellous little fellow if all they say of him is true."

They soon reached the house and entered. They came at an opportune time, for an interesting spectacle greeted them. Little Wolfgang was seated at his father's desk, writing upon a sheet of paper with such eagerness that he did not notice their entrance. The vice chapel-master beckoned to the Count to approach nearer, and both looked over the boy's shoulders. It was a singular looking paper. Half of it was covered with notes, and smudged over with blots, which in his haste he had wiped out with his hand, leaving dingy curves, resembling big and little comets, in the midst of which the notes looked like black stars. The little fellow kept on writing, not in the least minding when he jabbed his pen to the bottom of the inkstand and blotted his paper anew. He would coolly wipe it off with the palm of his hand as before, and go on writing until the paper was covered with notes and blots from top to bottom. All at once he jumped up and gleefully clapped his hands when he saw his father and the Count. His eyes shone with unusual lustre, his cheeks glowed, and he was evidently deeply excited.

"What are you doing there, Wolfgangerl?" asked his father. "Have you been spoiling more paper with your scribbling?"

"No, not spoiling it, dearest father," replied the boy, flourishing the paper exultantly in the air. "See, I am writing a concerto on it. The first part is all done. Look at it yourself."

"Yes, it must be fine stuff you have been scrawling, you silly little fellow," said his father, laughing. He took the paper and at first only hastily glanced at it, but suddenly his gaze was riveted upon it, and the utmost astonishment was manifest in his countenance. At last he looked up and addressed the Count. "Truly, this is a correct concerto, Herr Count," he said exultantly, while tears of delight and surprise stood in his eyes. "It is written in accordance with the rules of the art, only it is too difficult for any one to play."

"It is only a concerto," replied little Wolfgang. "It must be practised some time before one can play it; but after all, it is not so difficult as you think. I will show you how it goes on the piano, papa."

The little fellow, barely five years old, eagerly ran to the piano and began playing with enthusiasm. Of course he hesitated a little at first, and the more difficult passages did not go well at the first trial; but it was not long before he had it so completely in hand that the working up of the themes was clearly apparent. Father Mozart stood speechless with rapture. Count Herbenstein was overcome with astonishment, and both contemplated the boy with something like reverence.

"Herr Vice Chapel-master," at last said Count Herbenstein, "I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart. If God spare your child's life, he will one day be a great artist."

"Yes, he will be a great artist," repeated Father Mozart, in the exuberance of his joy, as he took little Wolfgang in his arms and kissed him. "If Heaven will keep him safe and well, I will never again complain of anything, or envy the power and greatness of the Archbishop."

"With such a treasure as this you will have no occasion to do so," said the Count, pointing to Wolfgang. "And now, God keep you. May we have a speedy and happy reunion." He shook hands heartily with Father Mozart, kissed little Wolfgang, and went away to tell his friends what wonderful things he had seen at the vice chapel-master's.

From this time on Father Mozart took unusual pains with the instruction of his children, particularly with Wolfgang. The result was so satisfactory that before his son had finished his sixth year he decided to make a concert tour with him and his sister, introduce the two little artists to the great world, and challenge its admiration. In reality, he ran no risk. Success was assured in advance, for Wolfgang's ability increased with such wonderful rapidity as to astonish even his father, who was by no means easily satisfied, but on the contrary very exacting. The little man not only displayed extraordinary facility and dexterity in piano playing, but he also composed a large number of pretty pieces, which he played over to his father, who wrote them out.' He no longer cared for anything but his loved music. He took no part in the sports of children of his age after his father began his instruction. He also displayed unusual interest in the study of mathematics, and was completely absorbed in melody and harmony.

Preparations for the journey were soon made, and little Mozart was delighted with the prospect. He had not the slightest fear of appearing before strangers in public. On the contrary, he was eager to

The first of Mozart's compositions catalogued by Kochel is a minuet and trio for piano. Upon the manuscript, which is still preserved, his sister has written: "The undersigned witnesses that this piece was composed by her brother in his fifth year." The original is without title, and bears the date 1761, surprise them with his rare talent. Their first visit was to Vienna, where Father Mozart hoped to find patrons and friends who could secure their presentation at the royal court. They made the journey by way of Linz, and thence by the regular passenger boat down the Danube. He took the whole family with him, and as all were buoyant with hope, the journey was a pleasant one. Wolfgang particularly enjoyed himself because of his open and trusting disposition. He mingled freely in his lively way with the passengers, chatted with each and every one, was fondled and caressed by all, and even made friends with the rough crew by his merry antics.

On the way they reached the little village of Ipo, on the Danube, where the vessel remained a short time, as some of the passengers wished to visit a monastery in the vicinity. Father Mozart and his family also went there. It was solitary, silent, and solemn in the great auditorium of the church, for the monks were at dinner. Thoughtful and awe-struck, Wolfgang looked at the lofty building, its tall, slender columns and brilliantly stained windows, until at last his gaze rested upon a magnificent organ. His eyes flashed.

"Explain the pedals to me, papa," said he. "I should like to see if I can play the organ."

His father complied, and Wolfgang listened attentively until he understood the mechanism of the instrument, then he requested a servitor of the church to blow for him, pushed the organ bench to one side, and, standing by the pedals, trod them and struck the keys as correctly as if he had practised for months. The music, continually growing more powerful and majestic, rolled in grand and solemn volume through the great hall of the church, and melody followed melody in the consecrated solitude. The monks in the refectory near by laid down knife and fork and, marvelling greatly, entered the church. The brother organist was among them, and gazed at his organ as if terror-stricken. It had never been played like this before. Who could it be letting loose such a flood of music from those rigid pipes? The monks looked at each other with blanched faces.

The organ seemed to be playing itself; for the little performer could not be seen from below. Some of the brothers crossed themselves in fear. Some whispered, "Satan himself is playing," while others said, "This is a miracle. It has never happened before." At last some of them mustered up courage, and with the prior at their head, went up into the organ-loft, where they stood transfixed with astonishment at sight of the child, who was still playing as if inspired, and did not observe them until his father aroused him from his spell. Then all gathered about him, praising and admiring him. The brother organist, pale with excitement, laid his trembling hand upon the boy's head and blessed him, saying, "Thou wilt yet accomplish great things for the honor of God, and may God be with thee in all thy ways as thy strong protector."

Little Wolfgang looked about him in surprise, and pleasantly smiled as if he had done nothing to occasion such a demonstration. His power was indeed great, but he was not in the least aware that he possessed it.

The influence of this power was again manifested before the family reached Vienna,—this time in an accidental and somewhat amusing manner. Before the passengers were allowed to go into the city their baggage was searched by a custom-house official for articles liable to duty. This occasioned considerable delay as well as vexation. Little Wolfgang was impatient over it, and in his saucy, impetuous manner accosted one of the higher officials, and boldly addressed him. "Dear Sir," said he, "why do you open the trunks and bags of these people and search them? Don't you know you are hindering them from going on their way?"

"Why, youngster, that is our duty," replied the official, laughing. "But what are you in search of in our beautiful Kaiser city?"

"I? I have come here to play the piano," said Wolfgang, with an air of importance.

"You! You little snip! You play the piano!" said the official. "Much you can do with those little claws! Go ahead, but look out that they don't laugh at you."

"We will see whether any one dares to laugh at me," said Wolfgang, angrily. "See, there is our piano which we brought with us from Salzburg, packed in that big box. If it were only open I would soon show you whether I can play the piano or not."

The official was curious to hear him, for the little fellow spoke so confidently that he could hardly doubt him.

"Well, we will let you try," said he, as he ordered a workman to unpack the box. Wolfgang opened the piano, seated himself at it, and played some lively dances with his usual skill. The official opened his eyes in astonishment, and vigorously applauded him. All those in the custom house—officials, passengers, and servants—crowded around Wolfgang, and listened with delight to the melodies which he elicited from the keys with his "little claws." Then with a smile he stopped and turned to the official. "Now do I know anything about piano playing?" said he, roguishly. "You can laugh at me, sir, if you like."

"No, youngster," replied the delighted official, as he stroked the boy's red cheeks; "you are truly a little master musician. Those who hear you will not laugh at you. With thanks to you and your father for your beautiful playing, we will soon discharge you, so that you may go to your hotel and rest."

It was done at once. The official performed his duty in the most courteous and agreeable manner, and Father Mozart and his family were soon comfortably ensconced in their hotel, while the other passengers had to wait in the custom house for their permits.

Such was the influence of his great skill. As Amphion, according to the legend, set the rocks to dancing, so little Wolfgang moved the usually flinty heart of the customs official until it became his willing servant.

At the Imperial Court

The reputation of the family had preceded them, and greatly to their advantage, for the nobility of Vienna were enthusiastically interested in them. They received almost daily invitations to entertainments, where Wolfgang's extraordinary skill created the utmost astonishment. Count Palssy, in particular, who had heard Wolfgang play in Linz, and Countess Sinzendorf took them under their protection, introduced them to the homes of the best families, and at last procured the special invitation to Court which Father Mozart had so long hoped and waited for. Wolfgang himself was still too little and childish to appreciate the high honor paid him. He was simply pleased at the opportunity he would have to see the splendors of the Court. As to the playing, he relied upon his skill and courage, which had never yet failed him.

Presentation day came. At three o'clock in the afternoon the royal equipage was at the door, and Baron von Stauffen, his Majesty's private treasurer, invited the family to take seats in the elegant state coach. Little Mozart's heart beat more quickly as he rode through the streets of the Court quarter. A few minutes later he was in the ante-chamber of her Majesty the Empress, waiting the moment which should reveal to him all the glories of her Court. That moment quickly came. The folding doors of the music hall were thrown open. Her Majesty's first gentleman in waiting beckoned to the family to come forward, and a moment later they were in the presence of the renowned Empress, Maria Theresa, and her noble consort, Francis the First, the royal household standing in the background.

Wolfgang had never seen such splendor before. He was in a rich and brilliantly decorated hall, with silken tapestries, tall mirrors in glistening gold frames, heavy silken curtains, and polished inlaid floor. In a chair a little above the rest, over which glistened a golden crown, sat a majestic woman—the Empress. At her side stood the princes and princesses, and a little farther on the Emperor, leaning against a beautiful piano.

Wolfgang cast hardly more than a fleeting glance at the splendor all about him. His gaze was fixed upon the Empress, whom he regarded for some time with childish love and reverence. The little archduchess, Marie Antoinette, afterwards the unhappy spouse of Louis the Sixteenth of France, with her beautiful curly head resting upon her mother's arm, watched Wolfgang with curious eyes. After a little the Emperor advanced to Wolfgang and led him to the Empress, who outstretched both hands with true maternal tenderness, and greeted him with a gracious smile. Although forty-five years of age at this time, she was still a very beautiful woman, and one whose fascinating manners could not help making a deep impression upon the susceptible young artist.

And so you are the little piano-player of whom we have heard so much," said she.

"Yes," replied Wolfgang, as naturally and as unembarrassed as if he were talking with his own mother. "It is true I am only a child, but not-withstanding that I can play the piano, as I shall be very glad to prove to the Lady Empress."

The easy and familiar manner in which Wolfgang addressed the august lady nearly paralyzed the courtiers, who were accustomed to the most rigid etiquette, but the Empress was not in the least offended with his childish frankness; on the other hand, she appeared pleased with this sincere, cordial, and informal artist nature.

"Oh, yes, child," she kindly said; "but are you so sure of all this? I warn you there are several persons behind us who know a great deal about music, and they will criticise you pretty severely."

"Those there?" replied Wolfgang, turning a little to one side and casting a sharp glance at the brilliant assemblage. "Those?" he repeated, shaking his head contemptuously. "No, Lady Empress, begging your pardon, they do not look as if they were good musicians. Certainly not."

"And why not, you saucy boy?" said the Empress, restraining a smile with some difficulty.

"Well, they don't show any signs of it, Your Majesty. They are altogether too stiff."

At this naive reply, which nearly threw the whole royal train into a panic, Maria Theresa could no longer restrain herself. She laughed loudly, and as a matter of etiquette her attendants had to laugh also, though they were not particularly flattered at the low estimate the little virtuoso had placed upon their musical ability.

"Well, you are truly a saucy child," said the Empress, still laughing, as she patted Wolfgang's cheeks with her white hands. "Really, Franz, he is a cunning little imp and ought to make a diplomat or a statesman, if physiognomy counts for anything."

"He certainly does not lack for courage," said the Emperor, smiling and turning to the Empress, who had addressed her last remark to him.

"Well, then, let us keep him here," said the little Marie Antoinette, raising her head and looking at the Empress with her large, kindly eyes. "I like him very much."

"Yes, there would be one advantage in keeping him," replied the Empress, good-naturedly. "You could at least learn from him how to play the piano properly."

"Does he play so very well?" said the little princess.

"Magnificently, I hear from all sides," replied the Empress.

"Then why may we not hear him right away? I am really very curious about it," said Marie Antoinette, looking at Wolfgang as if challenging him to play.

Wolfgang's artistic pride was aroused, for there was something in the manner of the little princess that impelled him to do the best he could. With kindling eyes he looked about him, and stepped up to the piano to give them an example of his skill. The Emperor, however, interposed. "Hold, little man," said he. "You have just asserted that none of these ladies and gentlemen know enough to judge of your playing—who then shall be the umpire?"

With scarcely an instant's hesitation Wolfgang replied, "Oh, I know an excellent one,—Herr Wagenseil, the Empress's music teacher. He understands music. If convenient, send for him."

"All right; it shall be done," said the Emperor, who at once ordered a servant to summon that famous composer and pianist. In the meantime Wolfgang went to his sister, took her by the hand, and led her to the Empress without any ceremony. "See, Your Majesty," said he, introducing her, "this is Nannerl, my sister. She plays as well as I do." The Empress laughed heartily at the odd ways of the little fellow, addressed a few kind words to Nannie, and then beckoned to Father Mozart, with whom she conversed most affably about the children and music. In the meantime Wolfgang and Nannie chatted with the princes and princesses, and Wolfgang was so loud in his praises of his sister that it attracted Maria Theresa's notice. "Look here, little one," she said, stretching her hands out to him as before, "do you really love your Nannerl so very much?"

"Oh, yes, Lady Empress," eagerly replied Wolfgang, pressing her Majesty's hand with childlike freedom. "Of course I love her, but I also love you, for you please me very much."

"That is extremely flattering to me," replied the Empress, "but how can you convince me of it?"

"By giving you a kiss, thus," he exclaimed; and before any one could stop him, or prevent such unheard-of audacity, he sprang into the Empress's lap, threw both arms around her neck, and kissed her tenderly and impulsively.

The Empress in her infinite goodness indulged the boy and laughed, perhaps more heartily than she had ever done before, at his childish boldness. The Emperor and the princes and princesses also laughed until the tears stood in their eyes, and the others, following the example of their superiors, dutifully simpered, though some of these stiff ladies and gentlemen nearly fainted away in their amazement at the temerity of this common lad. Such an occurrence had never before been known at the royal court in their recollection.

At last Herr Wagenseil came, and the Emperor, after introducing them, requested Wolfgang to play. He was all ready, kissed the Emperor's hand, and hurried to the piano. "I am glad you are here," he said to Herr Wagenseil. "I will play a concerto of yours, and would like to have you turn the leaves for me."

Herr Wagenseil came forward with a smile, and after rapidly running over a few passages, Wolfgang played the concerto. His performance took every one by surprise. Whatever their expectations, Wolfgang was resolved to surpass them. He played with a fire and intelligence which astonished all. It grew more and more quiet. The Emperor, the Empress, the princes and princesses, and the rest of the company kept their eyes fixed upon the little virtuoso, and Herr Wagenseil's manner betrayed his extreme surprise.

When the concerto was finished, and Wolfgang had played the last note, it was naturally supposed he would stop, but instead of doing so, he continued playing, taking a theme from the concerto and improvising upon it beautifully for nearly a quarter of an hour. He drew from the instrument expressions of sorrow and joy, pain and ecstasy, melancholy and divine happiness. A stream of richest melodies seemed to gush from under his hands as the clear, silvery brook leaps from the rocks. All listened as if entranced, until he closed with a brilliant cadenza, and then sprang from his seat with flashing eyes.

For some time deep silence followed his playing. Then the Empress expressed her great delight by applause. All present imitated her, and overwhelmed the little player with compliments. Even the quiet and sedate Herr Wagenseil frankly expressed his surprise. Wolfgang calmly accepted the ovation, keeping his delighted gaze upon the Empress, and said, "Now, your Majesty, have I not done my work well?"

"Yes," said the exalted sovereign; "not-withstanding your youth, you are already a great musician, whom we must admire. We heartily wish that your skill may increase with your years, until at last you reach the very summit of your art.

"With divine help, Lady Empress," replied the happy Wolfgang, "which will not fail me, I shall strive to deserve your praise."

Nannie also played, revealing surprising skill for one so young; but in reality she had neither the intellectual nor the artistic ability of her brother, and consequently had to be satisfied with less enthusiastic applause from the audience.

During a pause in the music, the Empress turned to Father Mozart and said: "I sincerely congratulate you that you have these children. They are a gift from Heaven, such as is rarely vouchsafed to man. Educate them well, so that their fine natural ability may be developed and produce the highest results."

While the vice chapel-master was assuring her Majesty upon this point, there was a sudden outburst of merry laughter near her. She turned with an expression of surprise and displeasure. Her rising anger, however, was dispelled when the Emperor came forward and said with a smile: "This Wolfgang is a witty genius. I asked him whom he considered the greatest musician in the past, and he replied, 'The trumpeter who blew down the walls of Jericho.' "

The Empress could not help laughing at the droll answer. The Emperor continued: "I may not succeed, but I am going to try to catch him. Look here, Wolfgang, I acknowledge that you have played very beautifully, but you have done it with all ten fingers, and that is not much of a feat. Show us what you can do with one finger, or with the keyboard covered, then we can tell whether you really are a true musician."

"All right," replied Wolfgang. "I have never tried either way, but I will."

Saying this, he went to the piano again, and skilfully executed some very difficult passages with one finger. Then he covered the keyboard with a cloth and played some charming little pieces as clearly and accurately as if he had always practised them that way.

"He is a little magician," said the astonished Emperor, "and so skilful that he compels you to admire him, whether you will or no."

The audience over, the Mozart family took leave of the royal family in the most friendly manner. The Empress gave Wolfgang and Nannie two beautiful diamond rings and graciously expressed her satisfaction to Father Mozart.

"Your children have delighted me," said she, "and I hope we may see them again ere long."

Delighted with her condescension, Father Mozart and the children returned home, and blessed the day which had been so happy and fortunate for them. But still greater joy and surprise were in store. Some days after the presentation the royal equipage again drove up, and the private treasurer, Baron Stauffen, brought instructions and gifts from the Empress. Father Mozart received a hundred ducats, and each of his children an elegant costume which had been made for some of the little royal highnesses. They were also invited by the Baron, in the name of the Empress, to the imperial table for that day,—of course only as spectators, to witness the pomp and ceremony of a state dinner.

"Her Majesty, our exalted Empress, desires that the children shall appear in these court dresses," said the Baron, "and will send a carriage at six o'clock to bring you all to the castle." Thereupon he took leave with a stiff bow, for he was an exceedingly ceremonious person, and in fact was somewhat displeased that he had to come in contact with these common persons at the command of his royal mistress. The Mozart family, however, did not trouble themselves in the least about his high mightiness. They were all delighted at the graciousness of the Empress, who had shown them so many delicate attentions.

The children were dressed and all ready at half-past five, and looked charming. Wolfgang strutted about the room with mock dignity in a lily-colored waistcoat with broad gold borders, while Nannie admired her beautifully embroidered white silk dress in the mirror with expressions of delight.

The carriage drove up at the appointed time, and a few minutes later the family were in the so-called golden hall "of the castle, where the highest grandees were to be served at seven tables. The centre table, a little higher than the others, canopied with heavy silk and embroidered cloth of gold, was set apart for the royal family. The others, three on the right and three on the left, were for the royal household. They were not yet assembled, so Wolfgang had time to admire the splendor displayed in the arrangements. Massive gold and silver plate, beautiful sets of china, and superb displays of flowers in vases of the most exquisite designs, decorated the tables, while numberless candelabra above shed a brilliant light over all. After a little the folding doors of an adjoining apartment opened, and the Empress and Emperor, surrounded by the prince and princesses of the royal house, entered the dining hall. All present bowed low before the majestic sovereign, who slowly advanced, with a gracious word here and a kindly glance there, and seated herself at table with her immediate circle. A shrill fanfare accompanied this ceremony, signifying also that the rest were to take their places according to their rank and dignity. They were hardly seated when the imperial court chapel, which on these occasions furnished the table music, began playing. The splendid apartment was filled with exquisite melody. Wolfgang, who had never heard such music before, was transported with delight. The moment it began, he forgot all the magnificence around him, and was absorbed in its performance until the last tones softly died away. Then he awoke with a sigh, as if from a dream, and once more realized where he was.

At this instant a beautiful voice broke the stillness, and Wolfgang was surprised to hear his name spoken. It was the Empress, who was calling and beckoning to him, much to the astonishment of the company. Though a little surprised himself, Wolfgang knew how to behave. He advanced through the room, carrying his head high, and looking like a little prince in his new costume, ascended with firm step to the royal table, and bowing low to their Majesties, stood a few paces away from the Empress. "What a cavalierish bow the little fellow makes," said she, with a kindly smile and a slight inclination of her head, "and how well he looks in his new waistcoat! One would suppose he had always been at Court."

"Oh, well, Your Majesty," replied Wolfgang, boldly, and with the utmost composure, "I have seen Herr Baron Stauffen do that." The Empress could not help laughing loudly, for Wolfgang had exactly imitated the stiff, formal manner of the pompous courtier, even to the swelling out of his breast.

"Look out," said the Empress, warning the boy with her finger; "have a care that the Baron does not hear you. He may be tempted to upset the carriage some day."

"It is a matter of no consequence if he does hear me, Your Majesty," replied Wolfgang, smiling contemptuously, "for nothing could tempt him to disarrange his ruffles or break his perfume box."

"Silence, child," interposed the Empress; "you have a very disrespectful way of talking, which you must stop. Come nearer."

Wolfgang obeyed, and the kind Empress gave him some dainties from her own plate, which he ate with evident relish. "Good," said the Empress, "now you can go; but I shall expect you after dinner in my own apartments, where you can play with my children a while."

"I shall be glad to go, Your Majesty," replied Wolfgang. "Will her little Royal Highness with the blond hair be there too?

"You mean my Marie Antoinette?" replied the Empress. "Yes, she will be there, and will be delighted to see you. Adieu till then."

Radiant with joy, Wolfgang bowed again, and proudly enough marched back to his father's side. Their Majesties soon arose at the sound of the trumpets, the signal that dinner was finished. After affably bowing to the assembled guests, the royal train left in the same stately way it had entered, and Chapel-master Mozart and his family were conducted by a servant to the ante-chamber of the Empress to await further orders.

They did not have to wait long. The Empress was in her dressing-room, and while her maid was arranging her toilet, Wolfgang and Nannie performed by turns upon a piano in the waiting-room. Wolfgang played with an inspired enthusiasm, which enabled him to overcome the greatest difficulties with ease. The condescension and maternal kindness of the noble lady had won his heart, and he improved this opportunity to express his love and gratitude by an extraordinary display of his skill. He continued in this manner until the Empress herself at last checked his enthusiasm. "Enough, enough, my child," she graciously said. "We do not wish you to make yourself sick by overdoing. You have again shown us you are a great magician; now show us that you can be a child among children."

The little archduchesses Elizabeth and Marie Antoinette, who had been listening with delight to Wolfgang's playing, understood their exalted mother's hint, and while she engaged in conversation with Father Mozart and Nannie, they took Wolfgang by the hand and led him through the magnificent state rooms which the Empress usually occupied. They called his attention in the most courteous manner to the beautiful pictures and furniture, pointed out remarkable objects, and talked as freely with him as if they were brother and sisters. An amusing incident shortly happened, growing out of the fact that Wolfgang was not as much at home in the castle as the charming little archduchesses. As they went along, looking at the statues and pictures on the walls, Wolfgang did not notice the smoothness of the inlaid floor, stumbled on a particularly slippery spot, and fell his whole length. The sight was amusing; so amusing that Elizabeth could not refrain from laughing loudly. Marie Antoinette, on the other hand, did not see the laughable side of the mishap. She was frightened, and, bending over Wolfgang, helped him to arise. "Poor child, have you hurt yourself?" she said compassionately.

"Oh, no," replied Wolfgang, giving the pretty little archduchess a grateful look. "No, I do not think I have, but your Royal Highness, you are so good and kind to me that I will marry you if you are willing."

Marie Antoinette received the marriage proposal quite pleasantly, and laughed over it. "Let us wait a bit, little one," she graciously replied, shaking her curly head. "I will ask my mother at once, and see what she thinks of it." Taking him by the hand, she went along with him until they were once more at the Empress's dressing-room. Leading him to her, she said coquettishly, "Mother, Your Majesty, Wolfgangerl has offered to marry me."

Father Mozart was so shocked at the boy's boldness that he felt like sinking through the floor. Maria Theresa looked at the audacious little fellow with evident pleasure. "Well, well," she said with a smile, "this is a great honor you have offered us, Wolfgangerl, but may I ask how you came to make such a flattering proposal to my daughter?"

"Certainly, Your Majesty," replied Wolfgang, modestly and affectionately. "I was grateful to her little Royal Highness for being so kind to me when I slipped and fell. The Archduchess Elizabeth laughed at me, but Marie Antoinette helped me up, and I could not help saying what was uppermost in my heart."

"Well, that is very nice of you, Wolfgangerl," said the Empress. "A thankful heart is worth more than gold, and we should always be thankful; but as to this marriage proposal, we must consider it for a while, you are both so young."

Father Mozart was happy that the event ended so well, and Wolfgang, perfectly contented, chatted again with the archduchesses until the family were kindly dismissed. They returned to their hotel, happy over the generosity of the good Empress, and loud in their praises of the powerful sovereign who had shown them such generosity and affection.

The Second Violin

Overloaded with attentions, honors, and distinctions, the Mozart family returned to Salzburg for a time and resumed the old quiet life. The journey to Vienna had been advantageous in many ways.

Father Mozart brought back quite a little sum of gold; but of still greater value was the reputation which Wolfgang had so quickly acquired. His talent had been surprising from his infancy, and now his first introduction into the great world was in every way a success. His fame as a rising star of the first magnitude in the musical firmament was already beginning to spread all over Europe.

Wolfgang, young as he was, appreciated this, and it was a spur that urged him to attempt the highest artistic achievements. After the Vienna journey nothing but music had any attraction for him. He practised almost incessantly. The customary amusements of childhood no longer interested him. He was absorbed in a dominating passion—the passion of music.

It was noticeable, as well as curious, that Wolfgang in his earlier years, notwithstanding his love for music, had an irresistible aversion to the sound of metallic instruments, and particularly to the shrill tone of the trumpet. He revelled in the music of string instruments and the piano, like a butterfly among fragrant flowers, but the loud noise of trumpets and trombones seemed to scare him, and cause him actual pain. His father, of course, soon noticed this, and it caused him great anxiety. How could his son conduct great musical performances, in which the brasses were indispensable, if he did not succeed in overcoming this aversion? Remonstrance and reasoning alike were of no avail. As soon as he heard a trumpet, even in the distance, he would either run out of hearing or stop both his ears. His father decided to adopt vigorous measures, and one day asked a trumpeter to his room.

"Come here, Wolfgangerl, and be sensible," he said to his son, who was looking at the dreadful trumpet with a shudder, and was about to take to his heels as usual. "You must stop this nonsense. You must get used to the trumpet or you never can be a chapel-master."

"I cannot do it, papa, I cannot do it," replied Wolfgang. "Please, father, send the trumpeter away.

This time, however, his father was remorseless. He firmly held Wolfgang, and ordered the trumpeter to sound one of his shrillest fanfares. Of course he obeyed. Hardly, however, had he blown the first cruel notes when the boy, with a cry of pain, grew deadly pale. He trembled in every limb, cold sweat stood on him, and he fainted. Father Mozart was alarmed, and sent the trumpeter away at once. When Wolfgang was himself once more, his father went to the family physician, told him his trouble, and requested him to assist in overcoming his son's peculiar sensibility. The physician reassured him. "Do not worry about this, Herr Vice Chapel-master," he said. "Medical treatment can do nothing for him. Wolfgangerl is still but a tender child, and the cause of his aversion to loud, shrill, and piercing noises lies in his delicate organism. Let him alone a few years. When he has greater physical strength his dislike of the trumpet will disappear of itself. But upon no account try to compel him to become accustomed to it or make any more such forcible attempts as you have done to-day. It might be his ruin."

Mozart and his teacher


The father was relieved by the assurances of the skilful physician, and did not repeat the experiment. The latter's statements were ultimately confirmed. Wolfgang not only became accustomed to the brasses, but he employed them for years in his larger works more effectively than any of his predecessors had done. But though he could not yet overcome his aversion to piercing noises, he could overcome other difficulties with the utmost ease which would have cost an ordinary person almost incredible exertion.

One day he determined to learn the violin. "I am no longer satisfied with the piano alone," he said to himself. "I must do something more in music.

All by himself, and without letting a soul know what he was doing, he began the new study. When his father was away from home he would take a little violin which had been given him in Vienna, quietly steal off by himself, so that his mother and sister should not hear him, and practise assiduously. Not a word ever escaped from him about it.

Some weeks passed in this way. A wonderfully beautiful spring morning promised a perfect day. Father Mozart could not let it pass without enjoying it to the utmost, and invited his friends Schachtner, Adlgasser, and Lipp to take a glass of wine with him that afternoon in a beautiful little garden near the gates of Salzburg, which was his personal property, and which he often used in summer for friendly gatherings. His devoted associates of course gladly accepted the cordial invitation, and the afternoon found them all in the garden. Frau Mozart was not of the company, as she was detained at home by household duties, but she sent the gentlemen by Nannie a goodly supply of wine and cold lunch for their refreshment.

The day was one of rare loveliness. There was not a cloud in the deep blue, crystalline heavens, and the jagged peaks of the neighboring mountains stood out clearly before the eye. The rushing Salza, like a great glistening serpent, wound through meadows, fields, and clumps of trees. The trimly arranged garden beds were rich with blossoms and fragrance. Violets, lilies of the valley, and snow-drops profusely exhaled their sweet perfume. Hyacinths and tulips were arranged in their most gorgeous colors, and the branches of the ornamental shrubs, a short time ago leafless, were decked in delicate mantles of green. It was an exquisite and enjoyable scene. The friends revelled in the mild spring air and admired both the wide, beautiful prospect and the floral beauty near at hand.

After setting the table in the little summer-house, Nannie returned home. The wine and viands had been served, and the chairs were pushed back, when Father Mozart heard a knock at the garden door. Little Wolfgang and a family friend entered, and were heartily greeted by all. "A thousand times welcome, dearest Wenzel," exclaimed the vice chapel-master, advancing to meet him and shaking both his hands. "This is fortunate, for you have come at a most auspicious time. I am very glad to see you."

While the others were greeting the new-comer, Wolfgang slipped away to one side lest he should be seen and sent home again. He well knew there would be music in the summer-house, because the guests had brought their instruments, and music was the joy of his life. No one paid any attention to him. His father conversed intimately with Herr Wenzel, a clever young violinist who for some time had been taking lessons of him in composition; and the others, even if they had noticed Wolfgang's presence, would not have had him sent away, for they were very fond of him. Young Wenzel admired the beautiful garden and its charming location, much to the satisfaction of Father Mozart. "Yes, I am very devoted to my little garden," said he. "I never enjoy myself more in summer than I do here."

"I can well believe it," replied Wenzel. "How pleasant it must be to stroll here! How delightful the prospect and the flowers! How one could think and dream here! It must be a great satisfaction to work, compose, and meditate in this garden."

"Yes; you have hit it exactly, Herr Wenzel," said Father Mozart. "Whenever a good idea comes to me it is here in this cosy solitude. But what about your own affairs, my friend? You certainly have not come out here without some good reason for it. I see a roll of paper peeping out of your pocket which looks as if it might contain something nice."

"The Herr Vice Chapel-master really should be the Archbishop's privy councillor, he is such a good guesser," replied Wenzel, blushing and slightly embarrassed. "I brought a few little compositions with me, having learned from your good wife that you were all here with your instruments. May I ask you to run through them so that I may have your judgment on them?"

"Certainly; we shall be a thousand times glad to play them," replied Father Mozart. "What are these nice things?"

"Six violin trios," answered Wenzel, taking them from his pocket and handing them to Father Mozart. "Their composition has been a great pleasure to me, but whether my poor talent will satisfy you is another question."

"Well, we shall soon see," said Father Mozart. "We will play the trios through and then have some of the food and drink my good wife has so generously provided. Let us get to work, dear friends. You, Wenzel, shall play the first violin, friend Schachtner the second, and I will undertake the bass upon the viola."

They were all willing, and went to the garden-house where their violins were. The scores were placed on the racks, the instruments perfectly tuned, and the playing was about to begin, when little Wolfgang, who had quietly stolen up, lightly nudged his father's elbow. "What is it, child?" said he. "Where did you come from? Say what you wish quickly, for we are all ready to begin."

Wolfgang had been concealing something under his coat, but he now took it out, and his father saw a little but excellent violin, which he had brought from Vienna. "What does this mean?" he said with some surprise.

"It means, father, I. would like to play the violin with you," replied Wolfgang. Please let me play the second violin."

"Why, you silly child," said his father, laughing, "what put such a notion as that in your head? You can make believe you are playing with us, but as to playing in earnest, you cannot do it. Perhaps the time may come when you can."

"I can now, really and truly," said Wolfgang, with flashing eyes and a look of absolute confidence.

"Did you learn to play the violin in your sleep?" said his father, jokingly.

"No, not in my sleep, but when I was awake," replied Wolfgang. "Just let me try once, papa, and then I will explain it all to you."

His father, of course, had not the slightest idea that Wolfgang had secretly learned the violin, and consequently thought the boy was only in sport. "When we go home, we will try a little minuet, Wolfgang, but don't disturb us any more now."

"A minuet! That is easy," answered the boy. "Let me play Herr Wenzel's trio with you. Then I will show you what I can do."

His father now began to grow seriously displeased at the boy's persistence, which seemed to him little else than idle boasting, and he somewhat unwillingly pushed him back. "Go away, go away," said he. "Because you can play the piano it does not follow that you understand the violin. Go away, and don't make yourself ridiculous."

"But, father," replied Wolfgang, tearfully, "it does not require much skill to play the second violin."

"Silly child; your head must be a little turned or you would not talk such nonsense," replied his father, at last really vexed, for he thought his son's remark was disrespectful to his friends, Schachtner and Wenzel. "Go away, and don't annoy us any longer. You need not fancy you know everything because the good God has given you a little skill. That is childish folly, and you must quit it. Remember that."

Wolfgang was so overcome by the harsh reproof of his father, who was usually so kind to him, that the tears came into his eyes, and he nearly cried out loud. He sadly took his violin under his arm, and was about to slip away, when just at the right time his friends interposed in his behalf.

"Let him stay, Herr Vice Chapel-master," said Schachtner, "and play with us a little. If he does not make it go, it will be time then to stop him."

"Well," replied Father Mozart, graciously,—for in reality it had greatly pained him to be harsh with his darling,—" you can play with Herr Schachtner, but play softly, so that we shall not hear your scraping, and don't howl if any one says a word to you. Come here and play, but, as I said, play softly."

At these words sorrow disappeared instantly from Wolfgang's countenance, and in its place came a look of intense satisfaction. He wiped away his tears with his sleeve, took his place by Herr Schachtner, and the playing began.

The piece was not very easy. Herr Schachtner himself had to give his whole mind to it, and followed it at first with such close attention that he entirely forgot his associate. But soon he heard such a clear, pure tone at his side that he listened with surprise, and watched Wolfgang with the utmost astonishment. The child played with an accuracy, precision, and purity which seemed to him inspired. Delight and satisfaction were pictured in his joyous manner and beaming eyes. Herr Schachtner could hardly believe his senses. He played more and more softly, so as not to lose a tone of Wolfgang's violin, and after a little stopped entirely, dropped his arms, and gave Wolfgang's father a significant look.

Father Mozart himself had noticed for some time the beauty, clearness, and correctness with which his son was playing, and when their glances met tears of joy and delight were in his eyes. The performance was not interrupted, however. He indicated to Herr Schachtner that he understood, and kept on playing. Wolfgang was doing the same, for he was so completely absorbed in his work that he had not observed the little intermezzo between Herr Schachtner and his father. He bowed and fingered accurately and skilfully, and played all six trios through, keeping up with the others without even a hitch. When the last note was played Father Mozart laid down his viola, joyfully hastened to Wolfgang, took him in his arms, and kissed him. "Why, Wolfgangerl, you marvel, when and where did you learn all this?" he loudly exclaimed.

"When you were at church or away from home giving lessons," replied the boy. "Did I claim too much, father? Now you shall see that I can also play the first violin."

As he had demonstrated his ability by actual test, all were convinced that the seven-year-old little fellow could accomplish even this more difficult task, and they were anxious for him to begin at once. He did so. He played the first violin, with several curious and irregular fingerings, to be sure, but he did not have to stop, and he kept correct time with the other players. All were greatly pleased at the surprise the lad had given them as well as his father by his skill. The latter kissed and caressed him, and the others heartily congratulated him.

"Now, Wolfgang," said his father, when it was quiet, "some request of yours shall be granted. You have given me great pleasure, and I am grateful for it. Have you a wish? If so, mention it, and I will grant it if it is in my power to do so."

"Oh, yes, I have a wish, and a very pleasant one," said Wolfgang, snuggling up to his father and whispering in his ear.

"What is it?" said his father, just as softly.

"I should like to make another concert trip, father," said Wolfgang. "I cannot tell you how eager I am to get out into the great world."

"Good, my child," replied his father, with a smile of satisfaction; "this is a happy coincidence. We have the same wish, for I have already decided to undertake another trip."

"And where, father?" asked Wolfgang, excitedly.

"To Paris!"

"To Paris!" shouted the lad. "Oh, that is beautiful, the beautiful thing I have dreamed of so often. Let us go as soon as it is convenient. You may he sure I will do my best when we get to the great city."

His father promised the journey should be made as soon as possible. The company again assembled at the table that they might congratulate him upon his good fortune. They ate and drank, chatted and laughed, expressing wishes for a happy trip and a successful future, until evening came, and the joyous party separated to meet at some other time. All went home delighted, and Father Mozart most delighted of all over this newly discovered talent of his son, which justified the brightest hopes for his future.

In Paris

A carriage was driven along at a quick trot toward Paris one hot summer's day, and had just reached the village of Choissy, when the careless coachman drove over a rock and upset the vehicle. There was an outcry of alarm from the inside. The door was forced open, and four persons crawled out, one after another, and stood around the wreck in dismay. They are old acquaintances—Herr Vice Chapel-master Mozart, his wife and children.

"Well, this is a pretty business," said Father Mozart, indignantly. "Here we are, hardly two hours away from Paris, upset in a wretched village, and, worst of all, with broken axletrees. We are expected at an early hour this evening by Count Van Eyck, the Bavarian ambassador, and now we cannot get there before late at night."

"Don't worry, dear husband," interposed Frau Mozart, "the accident is not so bad as it might have been, for we have all escaped without injury. Let us thank God, and hope that the little mishap is not a bad omen."

"Never fear, little mother," said Wolfgang, cheerfully. I shall not break down in Paris. You can rely upon that."

Father Mozart had to laugh at the boy's amusing consolation, and his indignation speedily subsided. "Well," said he, "what has happened can't be altered. With divine help we can bear this ill-luck patiently. I wonder if there is a smith or a wheelwright in the village who can repair the carriage. Say, driver, how soon can you have the damage your carelessness has caused made good?"

"We can go on in a couple of hours," replied the driver.

"And what shall we do meanwhile to pass the time away in this miserable spot?"

"I can help you about that, sir," said the driver in a most amicable tone, hoping they might over-look his carelessness if he were civil. "The beautiful castle, Choissy-le-Roi, where her Majesty the Queen has her summer residence, is near here. You can go there and stroll about the elegant park, and the hours will pass like minutes."

"Your suggestion sounds well," replied Father Mozart. "What do you think of it, dear wife? As we have nothing else to do, suppose we go over there a while." The mother gave her assent, and both the children were delighted at the prospect of frolicking about in the open air for two hours after having been so long closely crowded in a carriage on the dusty roads. They set off at once, while the driver went for help to mend the broken vehicle.

The park, which they soon reached, was shadowy and cool. The trimly kept walks were arched with a roof of beautiful green foliage. Stags and deer were browsing here and there on the grass patches, and above the tree-tops gleamed the towers of the castle, noted at that time for its stateliness. They greatly enjoyed themselves in the cool shade, and gradually approached the castle. No one was to be seen except our travellers. Wolfgang noticed an open door in a building standing by itself, which, from its construction, he judged must be the castle chapel. His curiosity impelled him to enter, and Nannie and his parents followed him. It was a fair-sized chapel and superbly decorated. A very beautiful organ particularly attracted Wolfgang's attention, and he could not resist the temptation to play on it. As the chapel was empty, and no one could be seen in the vicinity, Father Mozart ventured to gratify his son's wish. He went to the bellows, and soon a flood of beautiful, captivating music streamed through the chapel and out into the park.

Two richly dressed ladies of distinguished bearing and unusual beauty were just at this time walking in the park, and heard with surprise the wonderfully rich tones which seemed to them to come from the sky. They approached the chapel nearer and nearer, and at last stopped and concealed themselves behind some thick shrubbery, that they might enjoy the magnificent music unperceived. It continued a little longer and then closed with beautiful harmony, softly dying away. Silence once more reigned in the great solitary park.

"It is wonderful," said one of the ladies to her companion. "It seems to me I have never heard such beautiful, such ravishing music before. Who can the organist be? Our old organist is an excellent player, but he has no idea of such melody and harmony as that."

"If you wish I will inquire," said the other lady; but the quickest and easiest way would be to enter the chapel and see for ourselves."

"No, no, dear," said the first lady, about to turn away. "Those truly heavenly sounds have put me in an exalted mood, which I would not have disturbed. Let us go on. Perhaps we may learn in the morning who this extraordinary artist is, and the occasion of his performance." With these words the lady turned into a denser and more shadowy part of the park, and her companion followed her without further suggestion.

Father Mozart and his family left the chapel about the same time and happened to go in the same direction. They intended to return to the village and look after the carriage, but not being familiar with the labyrinthine windings of the park, which were made still more confusing by high rows of yews and beeches here and there, they soon lost their way, and after wandering about aimlessly for half an hour they at last stood helpless. "It is too bad that we cannot find our way out," said Father Mozart, with some uneasiness. "The whole park is deserted; there is not a person to be seen anywhere."

"Oh, yes, father, there is!" exclaimed Wolfgang, whose sharp eyes saw everything, even through the foliage of the hedges. "Look there, father! Two beautiful ladies! They can tell us and set us right if they only will. I will go and ask them." No sooner said than done. In his usually bold, informal way, he ran up to the ladies, greeted them courteously, and said in German: "Beautiful ladies, will you have the goodness to tell me where we really are?"

Mozart and ladies


The ladies, one of them in particular, who was of exceptionally distinguished presence, at first seemed displeased with his boldness; but when her eyes rested upon the pretty boy, who was accosting her so familiarly, she smiled and replied, also in German, "In the park of Choissy, my little one. You ought to have known that."

"Oh, yes, I know that," answered Wolfgang, "but the park is so big and has so many walks, and they cross and recross so often, that we can't find our way back to the village whence we came."

"Oh, that is another thing," said the lady, kindly. "You are now on the right way. Go down that walk there and you will find Choissy on your left. But tell me who you are, and how you come to be so far away from Germany."

"I am Wolfgang Mozart," he replied, looking as important as possible, "and these are my dear parents, and the little girl is my sister Nannerl. We are on our way to Paris, where Nannerl and I are to play before the King and Queen."

"You, child!" said the lady in surprise. "What can you play?"

"The piano, violin, or organ, just which is most desired."

"Impossible! It is impossible for such a little man as you."

"Why is it impossible? I played last winter before the Empress Maria Theresa, in Vienna. Why should I not play here? Have you not heard anything about me?"

"No, my child, to tell the truth I have not."

"Then you do not read the papers much," said Wolfgang. "They have had whole columns about me. Try to remember, fair lady; you must have heard of Wolfgang Mozart."

"It would be useless," said the lady, smiling, "for I scarcely ever read a paper. But it is a matter of little consequence anyway. If you play at Court I shall be there, and shall be delighted to renew our acquaintance."

"Ah! So you are also attached to the Court? I am so pleased," said Wolfgang. "When you get there you will know all about me. I do not play badly if I am a little boy."

"Dear me," said the lady to herself, "can it be possible that—listen, my child," she said, turning again to Wolfgang, "can you tell me who was playing the organ just now in the castle chapel?"

"It was I, and my father was blowing for me," replied Wolfgang.

The lady was overcome with astonishment. She could hardly believe his assertion; but all doubt disappeared when she looked into his frank, open countenance and honest eyes.

"Well," she said at last, "if this is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, then indeed you are a great artist, and I promise to use all my influence to secure your presentation at Court."

"That is splendid, and I thank you for it in advance," replied Wolfgang. "When you see the Queen, greet her many times for me. The Countess Lillibonne has already told me she is a dear, good, lovely woman, and she certainly has heard of the little Mozart."

"I promise you, my child, that I will convey your greetings to her," said the lady. "And now adieu. Your parents must be getting impatient, and I have much to look after before the day closes. Adieu." She extended her hand to Wolfgang. He kissed it and took his leave.

"She is a lovely lady," he said, when he got back to his parents. "She says she belongs to the royal household, and has promised her help in securing our presentation to the Queen."

Father Mozart did not attach much importance to chance promises of this sort. It was of more consequence to him that Wolfgang had found the right way to the village of Choissy, and thither they repaired. They found the carriage all right again, and resumed their journey to Paris, which they reached without further mishaps before nightfall.

With his usual consideration and far-sightedness, Father Mozart had provided himself with letters of introduction to several of the best families in Paris, which secured him an unexpectedly courteous and kindly reception. The leading people planned a public appearance for the children in a style befitting their reputation, and succeeded in engaging a prominent theatre for their concerts,—a favor rarely granted to travelling artists. The concerts were duly announced and given, and, as usual, Wolfgang was enthusiastically received by large audiences of the highest social standing. Father Mozart was greatly pleased, for his wellnigh empty pockets were filling up again with bright gold-pieces, and this of course kept him in good humor. After a few weeks' stay the situation became still more satisfactory.

Baron von Grimm, a friend of the family and a German by birth, but very influential in Paris, brought the welcome intelligence one day that the family would shortly be invited to Court. "For some curious reason," he said, "the Queen herself has shown a most extraordinary interest in our little Wolfgang. It is mainly due to this that we have succeeded so quickly—more quickly indeed than I had expected."

"Aha!" said Wolfgang, gleefully clapping his little hands, "do you not see, papa, this is the work of that beautiful lady at Choissy? She has at last accomplished what she promised."

"What lady?" said Baron Grimm in surprise. Wolfgang and his father by turns narrated the little adventure in the park of Choissy, and Baron Grimm smilingly but eagerly listened. "Ah! is that so?" said he in a somewhat significant tone. "The riddle is now clearly solved. This is a very agreeable surprise."

"But when shall I play before the Queen?" said Wolfgang, impatiently. "I am very eager to know."

"Soon, perhaps, my child," said Baron Grimm. It is not possible to say exactly when, but we will do all we can to hasten the time."

Wolfgang was satisfied with this assurance. He was not kept on the rack long, however, for, a few days after this, Baron Hebert, the Queen's lord high treasurer, was announced, and invited the family to be present at an appointed hour in her apartments at the palace of Versailles.

The hour came at last, and Wolfgang found himself in the midst of the splendors of the French Court, which eclipsed those of the Court in Vienna. The highest nobility of the land, arrayed in gold-embroidered costumes and blazing with diamonds, were assembled in a grand salon from which opened, right and left, elegant suites of rooms flooded with the brilliancy of hundreds of wax tapers. The family could see this magnificence only from a distance, for the King had not yet appeared, and his signal had to be awaited before they could enter. After a little, a movement in the salon indicated that Louis the Fifteenth had entered, and about half an hour later Baron Hebert accosted the family. "Come," he said in a pompous manner; "his Majesty orders that you be presented to the Queen."

They followed him. As they entered the salon, Wolfgang, not in the least embarrassed by the splendor, uttered a cry of joy. He saw the lady with whom he had conversed in the park of Choissy and gazed at her with sparkling eyes. "Oh, it is so nice that you are here," he said excitedly, at the same time kissing her hand, which was graciously extended to him. "You have kept your word, and I heartily thank you over and over again. But tell me, where is the Queen?"

"Have you not divined, dear child?" replied the lady, with a smile. "I am the Queen."

"I am overjoyed," exclaimed Mozart, surprised and delighted. "I shall love you still more, for you have been very good to me."

"And this," turning to a gentleman standing near her, "this is his Majesty, the King, who also wishes to hear you play."

Wolfgang bowed gracefully to his Majesty, who acknowledged the courtesy with a slight inclination of his head. As he did not clearly understand the situation, the Queen explained how she came to be acquainted with the pretty child, and then Wolf gang's father and sister were presented. The King addressed a few kindly words to each, and then resumed a card game with some of his courtiers. Wolfgang continued his conversation with the Queen, who also presented him to the French princesses, Victoire and Adelaide, both of whom fortunately spoke German. Victoire, the younger, was greatly interested in Wolfgang, for she had heard glowing reports about him from others and was herself a clever musician. While Wolfgang was having a pleasant chat with her, the King suddenly turned round, and, looking up from the card-table, said: "Eh, bien! Are we not soon to hear our little musician?"

There was a deep hush at these words. Wolfgang and Nannie, acting upon the King's suggestion, instantly went to the piano and began a four-handed sonata, which they performed with great skill and brilliancy. In fact the children played with extraordinary effect. The King, however, did not stop his card game, and as he apparently paid no attention to the children's playing, the rest of the company followed his example. The performance would have passed entirely unnoticed had not the Queen and Princess Victoire listened with the closest attention. They rewarded it with hearty applause, and sought to allay the feeling of disappointment which the indifference of the rest of the company had caused. The sensitive feelings and artistic pride of the children had been deeply grieved, however. The tears came into Nannie's eyes, and Wolfgang, indignant at the conduct of his audience, made no effort to conceal his anger. "Come, papa," he said in a loud tone to his father, at the same time slapping the leaves of his music-book together, "come, let us go. It is easy to see that these people know nothing about music."

The vice chapel-master was alarmed at this loud expression of his son's indignation. He feared, and not without reason, that they might incur the royal displeasure, and he also realized the harm it would do them in the world if it were known that Wolfgang's playing had failed to make an impression at the French Court. He kept his presence of mind, therefore, and quietly said: "Just as you like, Wolfgang. We will go if you are resolved not to play anymore, but think how you will feel when the world says, 'Little Wolfgang Mozart has failed at the Court of Versailles.' How could you stand such disgrace? And the world will not fail to say this if we sneak away now without accomplishing our purpose."

"You are right, father," proudly replied Wolfgang. His sense of honor was now aroused for the first time, as could be seen by his flashing eyes. "I will make them hear me, and once they listen I shall succeed." Boldly advancing to the card-table, he bowed, and said to the King: "Will Your Majesty have the kindness to give me a theme for improvising?"

The King looked up with surprise, for it now occurred to him he had been so engrossed with card-playing that he had utterly forgotten the children. "Ah, it is you, is it?" said he. "What do you wish?"

"He wishes you would give him a theme for improvising," promptly replied the Princess Adelaide. The King, with an exclamation of surprise, cast a searching glance at Wolfgang. "Certainly," said he. "Try this," humming a melody from a favorite opera at that time.

"I hope to satisfy Your Majesty," replied Wolfgang, with confidence, as he returned to the piano.

The King's attention had been aroused by the boldness of the child, and although he did not stop his game, he heard Wolfgang's playing just the same. Suddenly he laid down his cards, arose, and said to those around him, "This is really extraordinary."

Wolfgang heard him, and there was a gleam of triumph in his face. He continued playing with increasing beauty, power, and brilliancy, and closed with a technical display surpassing anything ever before exhibited. Now all were attentive. Only the tones of Wolfgang's music were heard in the great hall. The Queen and the princesses listened with delight. Tears of sympathy stood in Princess Victoire's eyes. The King remained standing, overcome with astonishment, and now and then passed his hand over his brow as if to convince himself he was not dreaming. As the last note died away, his loud "brava" was the signal for such a storm of applause as had never been heard at Versailles before. Princess Victoire, unmindful of Court etiquette, rushed to Wolfgang, embraced him, and kissed him repeatedly.

Besides the Queen, there was another lady present who at that time had great influence with the King, and consequently was all-powerful at Court—the famous Marquise de Pompadour. Like the rest, she was overcome by the fascinating performance, and expressing to the King her wish to see the boy more closely, he brought Wolfgang to her. "A little man," said she, "but a great genius notwithstanding. Put him on the table."

This was done. When the beautiful Marquise—for she was really an exceedingly beautiful woman—looked at him with her large, brilliant eyes and smiled, Wolfgang bent forward to kiss her. He was not a little surprised, however, when she drew back and turned herself away. He could not restrain his impetuous disposition, and in his deep mortification he cried out contemptuously: "Ah, who is this that will not kiss me? Has not the Empress kissed me?"

Fortunately for him, and perhaps for the rest of the family, he spoke in German, and no one at Court understood that language except the Queen and the princesses, who were not at all displeased at the contempt which Wolfgang then and afterwards displayed for the hated Marquise.

To prevent any further imprudent outbreaks on the part of the audacious little fellow, he was induced to return to the piano, where he delighted the company anew with his charming and graceful playing. He also repeated the feat of playing upon the covered keyboard, which he had performed for the Emperor of Austria. It was greeted with even more applause and made a greater impression than his legitimate playing, and this still further vexed and angered him. "They do not understand music here at all," he said to the Princess Victoire, to whom he had freely opened his heart. "You are the only exception, and I will play for you as a token of affection. Give me some task to perform."

"What kind of one?" replied the princess. "Can you play a minuet and write in the bass part before-hand?"

"Why not? I can if you will give me the melody."

The princess requested her music teacher, Mons. Le Grand, to arrange a minuet theme for Wolfgang. Le Grand obeyed, but with a doubtful shake of the head. When it was ready Wolfgang took the composition, went to a desk, and without stopping or hesitating an instant, wrote in the correct bass. Mons. Le Grand was surprised, for, though he was an excellent musician, he could not do anything like that. It was an easy task, however, for Wolfgang.

"Now then, child, since you have successfully performed my sister's task," said the Princess Adelaide to him, "will you try another?

"With pleasure," replied Wolfgang. "What shall it be?"

"Something very difficult," said Princess Adelaide. "I will sing an Italian cavatina which I know by heart. Do you think you can accompany me on the piano without knowing the melody, entirely by ear?"

"That is impossible, absolutely impossible!" exclaimed Mons. Le Grand.

"It is not very easy," said Wolfgang, "but I will try."

He sat down to the piano, and Princess Adelaide, who was really a fine singer, began the cavatina. Wolfgang accompanied her, imperfectly of course, and sometimes incorrectly, for, as every musician knows, it is almost impossible to divine every modulation and digression in an unknown melody. The princess had hardly ended before Wolfgang requested her to repeat the cavatina, and this time accomplished what human ears had seldom, if ever, heard before. He not only played the melody with his right hand, but the bass accompaniment with his left, apparently with the greatest facility. Ten times over he requested the princess to begin again, and each time he played an absolutely correct accompaniment, each time varying it.

The performance was simply incredible, and it is not remarkable that this feat of almost superhuman skill was greeted with a storm of applause. All were enraptured. Princess Victoire took Wolfgang in her lap, hugged and kissed him as if he were her own child, and gave him a magnificent diamond brooch which she unfastened from her breast. The Queen lavished dainties upon him, and fed him as if he had been a little bird. Even the King conversed with the sharp little fellow, his replies being translated into French by the Queen. The troop of courtiers stood staring at the wonder child who had thus been honored above all other artists in the world.

The Cavalier of Music

After six months stay in Paris, the Mozart family left France, going first to England, and thence to Holland. Wolfgang was very ill at the Hague, but speedily recovered, thanks to the careful nursing of his parents, and resumed his studies with renewed zeal. Paris was also revisited, and about the close of 1766, crowned with the laurels of fame, he returned to Salzburg.

Wolfgang spent a few years there in quiet seclusion, interrupted only by a visit to Vienna, where he distinguished himself on several occasions, and won the esteem and approbation of the famous Chapel-master Hasse. ")?> He also received at home a distinguished honor for a boy of twelve, from the Archbishop of Salzburg, who appointed him concert master of his chapel after repeated tests of his ability.

Everything conspired to increase his fame. His artistic skill was admired and appreciated wherever he went. There was but one thing lacking in his effort to reach the summit of his art—the approbation of Italy.

Italy was at this time the home of art. The greatest musicians and composers lived there, and it was Wolfgang's highest ambition to secure their recognition and to win honors at their hands. "To Italy," was his watchword. Although his father fully appreciated the risk of the experiment, he at last yielded to his son's solicitations. The Italian journey took place in 1769. This time father and son went alone. Nannie remained at home with her mother.

There was at that time a Philharmonic Academy in Bologna, which was recognized throughout the world as the final authority in all musical matters. Musicians considered it the highest honor to be a member of this Academy, and with good reason, for those only were admitted who had passed the severest tests. Padre Martini, universally recognized as the most learned of musical scholars, and his faithful friend, the renowned singer, Farinelli, who had retired after receiving most extraordinary honors, and was living at a charming villa near Bologna, were at the head of this famous institution. They were acquainted with the reputation of Wolfgang Mozart, and they were not surprised, therefore, that when he reached Bologna he expressed the desire to become a member of the Academy.

Padre Martini, as well as Farinelli, welcomed Wolfgang with sincere cordiality, and his agreeable and unaffected demeanor soon commended him to the goodwill of these renowned men. His extraordinary endowments were quickly recognized and appreciated by them, and yet Padre Martini doubted whether the boy could pass the severe examination necessary for admission to the Academy. He did not conceal his doubts from his friend Farinelli.

One day, after Wolfgang had called upon them, Padre Martini said to Farinelli: "This boy certainly is a wonder child and a rare flower of our beautiful art, but it is my duty to assign him the severest of tests, and I fear he is not skilful enough to succeed. 'I fear,' I repeat, for the lad has won my heart, and I shall be deeply grieved if he fail."

"I do not share your apprehensions," replied Farinelli. "His career abroad, as well as the proofs of his ability at home, speaks for him. Paris, London, Holland, and Vienna have been captivated by this wonder child."

"Yes, ' by this child,'" answered Padre Martini; "but Wolfgang is now leaving childhood. Although a boy, he is no longer a child, and he must now establish his claim as an artist. Though all the world may recognize him as such, he must first of all demonstrate it here. If our decision should elevate him to the rank of Cavaliere Filarmonico, his fame will be established. His piano, violin, and organ record cannot help him here. He must prove that he is a scientifically educated musician, and thoroughly grounded in counterpoint. It is this that makes me doubt."

"Well, we shall see," replied Farinelli, who had greater confidence in the young man. "What test will you assign him?"

"The most difficult one I know," replied Padre Martini. "He must set an antiphon from the Antiphonarium, in four parts."

It was Farinelli's turn to be anxious, for the test was so hard that its accomplishment required an absolute and perfect knowledge of musical science.

"You ought not to require that of him," he said, with some emotion.

"I must do it. He must submit to the most difficult test. The boy is yet very young, and the honor of the Academy is at stake," replied Padre Martini, unmoved by his friend's protest. "If he do not succeed it will be no disgrace for one so young, and he will have the consolation of knowing that older musicians have failed in like manner; but should he succeed in this hard contest, then, Farinelli, his fame will be as lofty and enduring as the stars."

"Manage this matter according to your best judgment," replied Farinelli, for he realized that nothing could induce the resolute old master to change his purpose. "For my part I wish the boy success."

"Not more than I," said Padre Martini, with emotion. "I love this child with my whole heart, and for that very reason I would have him accomplish something great."

Wolfgang in the meantime awaited his hard task with a serenity which would have appeared fool-hardy had he not been sure of his ability to overcome the greatest difficulties without much exertion. The gifted boy had not passed his leisure days at Salzburg in idleness. He had resolutely and industriously devoted them to the study of his art, both practically and theoretically. He had thoroughly analyzed the compositions of such great masters as Stradella, Scarlatti, Durante, Hasse, Bach, Handel, and others, and counterpoint had no difficulties for him. Knowing that he was well equipped, he eagerly awaited his test, anticipating it with impatience rather than with anxiety. It was the height of his ambition to show the world that he was a recognized master of music, and thus secure the friendship and esteem of Padre Martini, whom the Italians almost worshipped, and whose judgment on all musical questions was all-important because it was absolutely decisive.

On the day fixed for the test the cultivated people of Bologna were all astir. A great crowd gathered in front of the large and elegant building where the Accademia Filarmonica held its sessions, and waited with intense eagerness for the result of the test. The public were not allowed to enter the building, but awaited the news of the victory or defeat of a candidate, which was announced from a balcony. This was the old-time custom. The people already knew and admired young Mozart, for he had roused their enthusiasm by his wonderful playing in his concerts, and when he made his appearance about one o'clock that afternoon at the hall, an enthusiastic "Evviva" welcomed him on all sides. His frank, handsome face showed no trace of anxiety or doubt; on the contrary, he mingled with the people as freely and with as much unconcern as if the coming hours did not affect his interests, his honor, his fame, and his future, all of which were at stake. Should he fail, his artistic career would be at an end, and the laurels he had won would be of no more value than heaps of dust and ashes. He might be assigned a fair place in the ranks of artists, but no one would concede him any higher position.

Knowing all this, Wolfgang was calm when he appeared with his father, whose face wore an anxious look, in the hall of the Academy. Padre Martini, Farinelli, and all the other members at that time in Bologna, most of them old and famous chapel-masters and composers, were already assembled there. They received the boy in a dignified manner. It was a solemn moment. Father Mozart's heart beat with secret fear and his limbs trembled, as he stood before the stern and stately judges of his son. Wolfgang, however, was undisturbed as he looked at their array, but he displayed no sign of overconfidence.

After the formal greeting Father Mozart was conducted outside into the library. Wolfgang was requested to approach. After a few instructions the judges arose and handed him the paper containing the test. It was, as Padre Martini had said, the arrangement for four voices of an antiphon from the "Antiphonarium Romanum," which Wolfgang must accomplish in a closed room, three hours being allowed for its completion.

Wolfgang took the paper, made a low bow of reverence, and with quick step and confident manner followed an official, who conducted him to an apartment and locked him in. Anxiously and with secret misgivings Padre Martini and Farinelli watched the exit of this boy so full of life, animation, and courage. They had ample reasons for their anxiety, for they knew of course the difficulty of the test. They also remembered that many clever musicians had been wrecked by it, and that others had labored the entire three hours, exerting their utmost ability to arrange an antiphon of even fewer parts. The members watched him go in silence. Here and there they whispered together. Padre Martini and his friend Farinelli walked quietly up and down the hall. All were deeply moved. The majority of the judges wished the young candidate good luck, but there were some who were envious of the young artist's ability and secretly cherished the hope that he would not accomplish his task. Eager expectation was visible on every face. Some were anxious and hopeful, others were jealous and envious.

Thus a half hour passed. No one dreamed that the painful waiting was so nearly over, when the door of the hall was suddenly thrown open, and the official who such a short time before had locked Wolfgang in his room, entered. He looked pale and uneasy, and was evidently overcome with astonishment. "What is it? What has happened?" asked Padre Martini, breathlessly.

"Signor, I am almost afraid to tell you," replied the official. "I can hardly trust my own ears. The young Mozart has given the signal that he has completed his task."

"Impossible! In so short a time? Impossible!" exclaimed Padre Martini, his face growing somewhat pale.

"Impossible!" repeated several other members, who were amazed at the official's announcement. "The young man is either foolhardy or out of his head."

"We shall soon see," said Padre Martini, calmly. "Nothing is impossible to a great genius, and Mozart's genius is far above the ordinary."

"But the Academy has flourished a hundred years, and such a thing as this has never occurred before," said one member.

"That has little significance. What has never yet happened may have happened now," replied Padre Martini, who tried to conceal his anxiety behind outward composure. "The signal has been given. Come, gentlemen censors, and receive the young man's work and test it here in pleno."

They arose and followed Padre Martini, who led them with quiet dignity, though at heart he was not so quiet as he appeared. He was really afraid Wolfgang had underestimated the difficulty of his task and made errors. His heart beat violently as the official unlocked the door, and his eager eyes rested upon young Mozart, who was standing in the middle of the room in his easy, careless manner, with uplifted head, smiling countenance, and eyes glowing with the certainty of success. He handed the paper to Padre Martini with a graceful bow. The latter took it and cast a hurried, anxious glance at it. Almost instantly his face lit up with satisfaction.

"He has succeeded," he said to himself with a sigh of relief. "It is greater, grander, more artistic than I had dared to think or hope." Then he turned in a dignified manner to the censors: "Let us return to the hall, gentlemen. The work of the young musician must be thoroughly analyzed and passed upon."

With a gracious inclination of his head and a smile of delight, Padre Martini took leave of Wolfgang, who was again locked in to await the final announcement. Nearly an hour had passed when the boy heard some one hurriedly approaching. The door was again opened, and Padre Martini with tears of joy entered and embraced him. "Come with me, my son," he said with choking voice, as he led Wolfgang back to the hall.

When the youth entered by the side of the grand old master all the members arose, greeted him with long-continued and enthusiastic hand-clapping, and shouted:

"Evviva il maestro! Evviva it Cavaliere Filarmonico!"

Wolfgang was pale with joyous excitement. He had achieved his most glorious victory. His work had been unanimously adjudged the highest honors. He was now a member of the Academy, a recognized master, a knight of the exalted art to which he had consecrated his whole life. Two arms enfolded him with affectionate tenderness—the arms of his happy father. Wolfgang shed tears of delight. There was a silence of sympathy in the hall, broken all at once by the jubilant shouts of thousands in the street, the acclamations of a vast multitude resounding like the surge of the sea, and repeating the same words which had just rung through the hall:

"Evviva il maestro! Evviva it Cavaliere Filarmonico!"

With this inspiring and exciting scene Mozart's boyhood closed. He was no longer a child. Though in years a boy, in deeds he was a man,—a man in the full sense of the term, a sovereign in the empire of music, the idol of the Italians, soon to be the favorite of the world. What the child had promised, the man had achieved. His works bear witness to the greatness of that achievement. They shine like brilliant stars in the musical firmament. They assure his universal and imperishable fame.