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332 Is the Musical Idea Masculine?

[March,
mise that it may have been a sandhill It was a long wait in the dreary little
cvane, a bird which is said to have such station ; or rather it would have been,
a habit. had not the tedium of it been relieved
As I left the boat I had a little ex- by the presence of a newly married
perience of the seamy side of Southern couple, whose honeymoon was just then
travel; nothing to be angry about, per- at the full. Their delight in each other
haps, but annoying, nevertheless, on a was exuberant, effervescent, beatific, —
hot day. I surrendered my check to what shall I say ? — quite beyond veil-
the purser of the boat, and the deck ing or restraint. At first I bestowed
hands put my trunk upon the landing at upon them sidewise and cornerwise
Blue Spring. But there was no one glances only, hiding bashfully behind
tliere to receive it, and the station was my spectacles, as it were, and pretend-
locked. We had missed the noon train, ing to see nothing; but I soon perceived
with which we were advertised to con- that I was to them of no more conse-
nect, by so many hours that I had ceased quence than a fly on the wall. If they
to think about it. Finally, a negro, one saw me, which sometimes seemed doubt-
of several who were fishing thereabouts, ful, — for love is blind, — they evident-
advised me to go " up to the house," ly thought me too sensible, or too old,
which he pointed out behind some woods, to mind a little billing and cooing.
and see the agent. This I did, and the And they were right in their opinion.
agent, in turn, advised me to walk up What was I in Florida for, if not for
the track to the " Junction," and be sure the study of natural history ? And truly,
to tell the conductor, when the evening I have seldom seen birds less sophisti-
train arrived, as it probably would do cated, less troubled with that uncomfort-
some hours later, that I had a trunk at able knowledge of good and evil which
the landing. Otherwise the train would is commonly understood to have resulted
not run down to the river, and my from the eating of forbidden fruit, and
baggage would lie there till Monday. which among prudish people goes by
He would go down presently and put it the name of modesty. It was refresh-
under cover. Happily, he fulfilled his ing. Charles Lamb himself would have
promise, for it was already beginning to enjoyed it, and, I should hope, would
thunder, and soon it rained in torrents, have added some qualifying footnotes to
with a cold wind that made the hot wea- a certain unamiable essay of his concern-
ther all at once a thing of the past. ing the behavior of married people.
Bradford Torrey.

IS THE MUSICAL IDEA MASCULINE?

SOME years ago, an American girl mar- lot. Had she chosen a milliner or a dress-
ried a composer who at that time was maker, her fate could not have been worse,
known on both sides of the Atlantic, who nor so bad ; the successful ladies' tailor
is known to-day all over the world. A must have high practical qualities as well
certain great mercantile man, an acquaint- as an artist's eye. And yet this mer-
ance of the bride, heard of her marriage cantile man was not all a Philistine ; he
with scorn bordering on disgust. '•'•A com- could sometimes listen to music, provid-
poser! " said he, and shook his big busi- ed it was not too modern, and he read
ness head over the hopelessness of her Homer for relaxation.

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In the practical business world gener- music, not even remarkably good music.
ally music has not been reckoned one of What is the reason ? When it is asked,
the manly arts. The composer is only a in regard to other matters, why women
part of a man; a very charming part, per- have accomplished so little, the question
haps, but at the best only a poor sort of is promptly answered by saying that they
poet, a maker of empty sounds ; nothing have not been given the opportunity, or
more. Music is all very well, one of the that opportunity has not as yet been theirs
necessary luxuries of mankind, — chiefly long enough to show their full capabili-
of womankind ; it must needs be that mu- ties. But this reply will not serve for
sic exist, but woe unto them by whom it the present case. If there is one thing,
exists ! (And truly, for the most part it outside of household affairs, the pursuit
has been woe to them. If the blood of of which has been permitted to woman in
martyrs was the seed of the Church, the all ages, that thing is music. Whatever
woes of composers may be said to have else was denied her, this was granted.
been the seed of all that is great in the The lute was put into her hands many
House of Sweet Sounds.) Yet music is centuries before the pen, and musical no-
acknowledged, even by our scornful mer- tation must have been familiar to her
chant, to be one of the fine arts. This while book knowledge yet remained an
being so, the artists — those worthy the unknown province.
name — deserve consideration, if not so- Moreover, since music — and let it be
cial recognition. And who are the ar- understood that by music is here meant
tists ? Hen, not women. Never women, the musical thought or idea, not the ex-
though there is, indeed, a list of nearly pression of it by harmonic symbols, nor
fifty women who have written music of the interpretation of it by voice or in-
sufficient importance to deserve record. strument — since nnisic has for its sphere
But who knows their work ? A few the emotions, which sphere is claimed to
song-writers, like Virginia Gabriel, have be also especially woman's, the wonder
won a well-merited fame, yet not one of redoubles that an art so feminine in its
these has given us a melody, the lowest essence should have found in her no su-
form of music, which has caught and pereminent exponent. If ever a woman
clung, and which promises to live for- had been born with a true creative mu-
ever. For the rest, — composers of sona- sical genius, it seems reasonable to sup-
tas, concertos, operas, and overtures, — pose that she would have evinced i t ;
their names, if mentioned, would be un- and to those who consider the subject for
recognized by the larger part of the mu- the first time, the fact that she has not
sical world. Even Fanny Mendelssohn, done so seems inexplicable. For this gift
perhaps the best known of all, who in develops spontaneously, nor is a liberal
her short day gained a certain success education required for its highest frui-
with songs and piano music, is not oidy tion. Few of the great composers, not
accorded no separate mention in the mu- one of the very greatest, had any educa-
sical encyclopaedias, but is not spoken of tion to speak of, being born and reared
therein as a composer. It is said that in poverty and obscurity.
some of the Songs Without Words, now The musical idea is more persistent
attributed to her brother Felix, wore writ- than the poetical, even: the latter is easi-
ten by her; yet supposing that the very ly stunted, crushed, or blighted ; the for-
choicest numbers in that charming col- mer will struggle forth and live and grow
lection were proved to be hers, she could and flourish without encouragement, as
hardly on that account claim the title of the pine-tree grows strong and tall amid
great composer. rock crevices, often with less earth about
No, women have not produced great its roots than goes to nourish the com-

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334 Is the Musical Idea Masculine? [March,
monest garden plant. Its name is pre- aware, a rather old-timey flavor in these
cocity ; it waits not for the full growth days of the JSmancipirte Frauenzimmer,
of other powers, but is born f uU fledged of girl athletes, of senior wrangleresses
and coeval with the soul. I t is, as Scho- and the triumphant petticoats of Har-
penhauer said, " itself the idea of the vard Annex. Woman has of late fallen
world ; not an image of the ideas, as the into the way of posing as the greater man,
other arts are, but an image of the will and people are found everywhere who
itself." Hence it needs no help from believe her capable of anything she may
phenomena; outward knowledges are not be allowed to try her head or hands at;
its models; " Godlike, it sees the heart insomuch that rumors are already on the
only." wing to the effect that " envious men "
What did the baby Mozart know when, are bethinking themselves, as in " antique
at five years, he brought to his amazed times," how to
father a concerto " too difficult to be
" Coin straight lawa to curb her liberty."
played " ? God whispered him something
in the ear, and he wrote it down. Why One runs the risk of trial as a heretic
did not God whisper something in his who dares, in this year of gracp, so much
sister's ear ? She, too, could have writ- as to hint at an inequality in the sexes.
ten it down as well as her brother Wolf- But " lesser" does not of necessity
gang. Would the father have refused to mean " lower." It may have reference
look at her work because it was a girl's ? to quality rather than to quantity; nor
Doubtless not, for she was very accom- in this sense need it be taken to mean
plished in the performance of music, and " poorer," as linen lawn, though so slight
made grand concert tours with her little a thing in comparison with canvas, can-
brother. not be said to be poorer than it. There
When excuse is demanded for woman's are very high purposes which require the
artistic or scientific deficiencies, it is cus- lesser instruments for their execution.
tomary to urge marriage, motherhood, Can the circular saw do the work of the
and the cares of domestic life as tending plane or the chisel ? Is the lancet less
to quench her creative fires. And they noble than the sword or the battle-axe ?
certainly have this tendency, though they And — though this is outside of the ar-
did not interfere with the production of gument — is there any eternal reason
Uncle Tom's Cabin, nor prevent Mary why woman should enter every one of
Somerville from becoming adept in the the lists set up for man, and why she
most abstruse mathematical science. Be- should be expected to come out of them
sides, of late years, among civilized na- all peer, if not conqueror ?
tions, the marriageable age has been con- But there are, perhaps, many who are
sidei'ably set forward; and, moreover, willing to admit more than is here asked
marriage itself has not been regarded as for as to the secondary position of wo-
an absolute necessity for women. Why, man in the scheme of the universe, who
among the thousands of unmarried girls will at once scout the assertion regard-
of leisure and education, has no musical ing her emotional inferiority. If she is
genius even approaching the first rank not emotional, it will be asked, who then
arisen ? I answer, tliat because woman, is ? The answer has already been hint-
as the lesser man, is comparatively defi- ed a t : man is. Man, not woman, is the
cient in active emotional force, she can- emotional being par excellence. And
not for this reason produce that which, at heaping heterodoxy on heterodoxy, I will
its best, is the highest and strongest of still further assert that, so far as mu-
all modes of emotional expression ; part, sical composition goes, woman is better
at least, of which sentiment has, I am equipped intellectually than emotionally.

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She can master the exact science of har- stronger emotional nature — though he
mony, thorough bass, counterpoint and may not make lavish display of it — to
all; but, as somebody said of a wonder- balance his other stronger faculties; with-
ful German girl who spoke fluently in out it, he would be an unlovable monster,
seven languages, " she can't say anything which he distinctly is not.
worth listening to in any one of them." This conservation of force fits even
And this is because of a certain lack in the average man for exhausting and sus-
her emotional nature. tained labor such as would kill any but
The ready-made opinion of the world the very strongest woman. The average
is flat against tliis view; almost every woman, on the other hand, possessed in
one will, at first blush, dispute it. But I the start of less emotional force, spends
believe the opposite view to be a fallacy, what she has to little or no purpose.
founded upon a popular and erroneous That man is possessed of a more intense
idea of the term " emotion." Much of degree of force in this direction than wo-
what passes in women for true emotion man I believe to be logically true. The
is mere nervous excitability. Because actual strength of emotion must be pro-
they are easily moved, because they ha- portionate to physical and intellectual
bitually judge and act by their feelings, vigor. This can be proved from women
it is therefore assumed that as emotional themselves, leaving men altogether out
beings they are the superiors of men, who of the question. Weak-minded or stupid
rarely show feeling, but are the embodi- women are rarely emotional, in the high
ments of reason, living by conscious de- sense of the word; they are often seem-
duction, induction, and similar cold, cal- ingly without the least capacity for true
culating faculties. feeling, which includes not only the pas-
But though men do live mostly by rea- sive idea of mere soul sensations, but
son, not feeling, it is hardly fair to deny also the idea of a forceful, moving power.
them the latter. The tradition of man- On the other hand, women in whom this
hood must not be overlooked. The boy moving power is of the strongest are
baby cries no less than the girl baby ; the conscious that it may be materially weak-
little boy is quite as sensitive as the little ened by illness, and often, for a time,
girl, and as demonstrative in his sensi- almost suspended by great fatigue. In
tiveness as she, until he hears the word every case that I can now recall, it is
or breathes in the idea " manly." Then the well woman, or the mentally vigor-
he begins to smother his feelings, which ous woman, or, notably, the woman who
a stronger frame, if not a stronger will, is both well and mentally vigorous, whose
enables him to do; and the requirements movements of the mind and of the soul
of his whole life, from the time that he are at all energetic or profound. And
sloughs off his petticoats, put emotional- if, as I maintain it to be, her whole make-
ism out of the question for him. up, even at its best, is slighter than man's,
But it cannot be that he loses his feel- it follows that she must fall below him
ings by smothering them, though it is fre- in the strength of these soul movements
quently stated (by woman) that he does ; which we name emotions. Hence, it
already more intense than hers, they seems to me, however fine her mental
gather intensity by concealment. And equipment, aided by education, may be,
compensation holds beautifully here: wo- she must come out behind in the long run,
man's finer, frailer organization, subject- when matched against man in the highest
ed to constant demands from her nervous spheres of attainment; at least, in those
system and from her affections, would spheres in which the greatest amount of
be torn to pieces were her emotions ex- emotional force is required, such as mu-
cessively powerful; while man needs the sic. For music is emotion ; its concep-

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336 Is the Musical Idea Masculine ? [March,
tion, its working out, demand concentra- come to the greatest men, that it seems
tion not of the intellect alone, but of the quite natural to say there is no difference.
very forces of the soul. Woman cannot Yet they do stop short; there is a lack,
endure this double strain. Her soul not in knowledge of life nor of books;
movements are true, pure, lofty, but it is something inherent, essential, some-
not powerful. Her emotional fires burn thing that makes itself felt even in the
clearly, steadily, but their heat is insuf- comparatively weak or stupid man : it
ficient ; her intellect may be finely com- is virility, the dynamo of the emotions,
posed and well balanced, yet fail of cer- which gives to brains, as it gives to
tain high accomplishments because of a muscles, a quality such as no femineity
defect in the driving-force. For emo- can infuse. George Eliot, undoubtedly
tion, not intellect, is the fire of life, it the peer of men in everything but this,
is the true creative force; emotion keeps must step down when the question is of
the intellect going ; it turns the machin- emotion. I could name a dozen writers,
ery that turns the world. men of the second, yes, and third rank,
When we look for what woman has who outrival her on this score.
accomplished in other spheres of art be- Middlemarch, one of the few greatest
sides music, what do we find ? Plenty novels, lacks a really great scene. The
of thought, evidences of deep and broad most powerful portion of the Bulstrode
observation, no lack of technical skill, episode is not where the pious criminal
abundance of feeling, using the word to is confronted by his accusers, as it might
express the sympathetic qualities. But so readily have been; it is rather to be
evidences of great emotional power we found in those long analytical pages where
rarely find ; not in her poetry, not in her we are wonderfully led through the laby-
pictures. It is there, — I am not trying rinth of Bulstrode's mind. In her diary,
to prove her wholly destitute in this re- George Eliot tells how she " brought
gard, any more than I am trying to prove Dorothea and Rosamond together under
that every man is superior in every way great excitement; " and in reading of
to any woman, — i t is there ; she is a hu- the meeting we feel an intense interest,
man being; she is homo, but — homun- but somehow we do not experience the
culus. author's degree of excitement. A cer-
Turning to prose fiction, success in tain amount of dynamic force must have
which presupposes .a more comprehensive been hers to produce the scene, which is
array of faculties than any other art, let a strong and beautiful one ; but there
us take " the two Georges ; " it is only was enough only for herself, not enough
fair to take the greatest. The works of to " carry away" her readers.
these women are not ranked with wo- It is the same with all her other books.
men's works, but with men's. In con- They are powerful, but their chief power
struction, in description, in appreciation is not emotional. Her wit and wisdom
of types, in analysis of character, in broad, and humanity are unquestioned; she
rich humor, in pathos, in deep philo- stimulates us delightfully ; she enchains,
sophical observation, these two are be- absorbs us; nor is her hold ephemeral;
hind no one. But I challenge anybody but she is incapable of that soul-carrying
to show me in either writer a passage rush, that culminating crescendo of emo-
which has the almost elemental emotion- tional force, which makes largely the
al force of certain scenes in Esmond, A overwhelming effect of Browning's po-
Tale of Two Cities, Richard Feverel, etry, of Macaulay's and Ruskin's prose,
Anna Kar^nina. of Wagner's operas.
So much do these two great women — Leaving art for a moment, let us con-
the Georges — possess, so near do they sider life. How is it with love, the great-

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est of all emotional manifestations ? quently charged with inconstancy as with
Here, surely, woman is preeminent. Can a crime, when it is but the inevitable re-
she not love more and love longer than sult of his strong tendency to idealiza-
man ? Is she not the very symhol of tion ; which tendency, it goes without
constancy ? Yes, she is, and rightly. In saying, results from his superior faculty
constancy to the actual heing whom she of imagination.
loves no man can excel her. Yet I claim And now some will be smelling out
that her constancy does not arise from another heresy, — a heresy both heinous
emotional superiority, but rather from a and absurd. What, then ! is wretched
lesser faculty of ideality, a high degree woman, already deprived of her tradi-
of which faculty is necessary in the pro- tional emotional precedence, to be robbed
duction of great artistic works, and espe- also of her darling imaginative faculties ?
cially of great music. No, not entirely, for, as before said, she
The maiden has her ideal as well as is homo. Yet do I feel compelled to in-
the youth, but she does not hold to it so sist ujjon the inferiority in her of these
firmly; she is ready to cast it aside for same faculties. Here, again, certain,
the first real man who, for one reason or weaknesses of her nervous organization
another, strongly strikes her fancy. No- get the credit of high mental manifesta-
thing is more common than to hear from tions ; while the sternly practical and
the lips of a young fiancee, " I never material asjjcct of a man's life often
dreamed of caring for this sort of man ; makes us forget that for success in large
my ideal was something quite different." enterprises, even of the most prosaic
Nevertheless, she gladly takes him as she nature, imagination is required no less
finds him; sees him as he is, in all his than judgment, caution, and their kin-
divergences from that loved ideal; and dred traits. Far more is it needed in
loves him in spite of those divei'gences, the great businesses of the world than
— nay, loves him the more tenderly on in a household. Imagination is " the
their very account, since a woman's tru- great spring of human activity, the prin-
est love is always strangely mingled with cipal source of human improvement."
pity. It has its grades, or differing qualities ;
The youth, on the contrary, will never the star of commerce ditfereth from the
admit that his sweetheart is not the wo- star of poesy. It varies in women as
man of his dream, whom he had " never in men ; but, quality apart, it appears
hoped to find." He has found her, and at its highest in the most powerful or-
his love is, assuredly, no less ardent than ganizations, and does any one question
hers. It is, indeed, often a far more that such are generally found in men ?
spiritualized — that is, idealized — thing If women fail when they come to pit
than hers ; he loves the veiled being for themselves against men in the great
what he desires and believes her to be. businesses, I believe it will be more on
He demands that his wife shall be an account of a lack in this spiritual quality
angel; she is content that her husband of imagination than in the more practi-
shall be a man. But just because he de- cal requirements. And if this be so, it
mands so much he is the more liable to is a sufticient reason why there has not
disappointment; while she, having from been nor ever can be a female Homer or
the first steadfastly forced herself to see Dante; it is a more than sufficient rea-
and acknowledge the actual being, her son wh}^ there has not been nor ever can
lover, has less to lose. Her ideal, feebly be a female Beethoven or Wagner.
held, she relinquished long ago ; the real But there is yet another and, I think,
man, at least, remains to her unclianged. a more conclusive reason why the themes
And so it comes that tlie man is fre- and harmonies of Tristan and of the
voL. Lxxiii. —NO. 437. 22

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338 Is the Musical Idea llasculine ? [March,
Ninth Symphony will probably never be unquestioning devotee in religion that she
matched in the compositions of any wo- has always been; it causes her to hold on
man. Tlie possession of the musical idea to the material portions of the creeds;
(which term, it will by this time be well more than man does she cling to the ac-
understood, here means not the mere abil- tual resurrection of the body ; it is diffi-
ity to make a tune, nor even to write good cult for her to divest heaven of its gates,
harmony, but the capacity for conceiving streets, and harps. In discussions upon
and expressing the greatest of musical abstruse matters, she asks always for de-
thoughts, — such thoughts as we name finite and familiar illustrations ; in ar-
immortal) presupposes more than the gument, — if she can argue at all, — she
most tremendous active emotional force tends to bring everything home to her
and high qualities of the imagination, own j)ersonal experience, or to the expe-
which force and which qualities some rience of those whom she knows.
women are found to have to a consider- This aptitude of hers for dealing with
able degree. In order to awaken those the concrete makes her a good house-
" unheard melodies " that play through keeper and manager of a family; it
the soul in wondrous answer to the heard helps her admirably for working in or-
melodies of the masters, something else ganizations for benevolence or for nm-
is essential. The imagination must be tual improvement; by it she may, even
able to soar to the region of abstract emo- without great ideality, paint famous if
tion, for there has music its highest dwell- not great pictures, as Rosa Bonheur has
ing-place ; and not alone to soar thither, done ; especially does it fit her for pro-
like a strayed bird that can but flutter ducing works of fiction, which first of
and perish in the lofty, thin atmosphere, all must deal with the concrete life of
but to rise confidently, and to rest there every-day beings. Nor does it keep her
unterrified, as in an assured abode, where from being a poet, in which department
lungs and wings have fuller, freer play, of art she has done some charming and
and wliere songs are more spontaneous noble work, her best being of the lyric
and sweet. order, short poems of her own feelings,
Now, woman is not at home in the sometimes narrative or descriptive poems,
abstract. The region has undoubted at- — the dramatic and epic in their highest
tractions for her, — from a distance, — forms being seemingly beyond her. And
and sometimes she is led to visit it; but so, while her strong tendency towards the
its vast, vague loneliness and chilly un- concrete has made it easy for her suc-
certainty drive her back. She is like a cessfully to set to music simple words,
cat in a strange garret, or a child in the such as express definite incidents or indi-
dark ; or rather, to change the figure, she vidual experiences, her instinctive shrink-
is like an unaccustomed swimmer, who, ing from the abstract has kept her from
stepping farther and farther out through interpreting, as in the composition of
the breakers, is suddenly horror-struck at great operas, life and passion in their
finding nothing but water beneath him, broad, universal aspects ; and'from pro-
and stretches out his feet wildly for the ducing great symphonies, in which, in
comfortable ocean bed. So woman ven- the transcendental realm of harmony,
tures timidly, ofttimes boldly, into the life and passion have their very essence.
shoreless deeps of the abstract. For a Such an art does not suit woman's spir-
while she may disport herself prettily itual conformation. It is too vague and
there, — in the shallows, so to speak ; but formless for her; she cannot picture the
she is never quite happy nor at ease un- hole after the pile of sand has been taken
less the terra firma of the concrete be at away. Moreover, — I say it at the risk
least within reach. This makes her the of abuse, — I do verily believe that she

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is at all times more interested in the pile Heaven forbid ! — she will not in any
of sand than she is in the hole. At its future age excel in the art of musical
best a hole is but an empty place, the composition, an art which, to quote Scho-
mere contemplation of which makes one penhauer once more, " never expresses
feel friendless and homeless ; while with- phenomena, but solely the inner being,
out the sand it is nothing less than the the essence of phenomena, the will; "
spectre of infinity! which, therefore, " expresses not this or
The fact of this repulsion from the ab- that single or particular joy, this or that
stract felt by woman (evidences of which sorrow, this or that pain or horror or
repulsion are met with in those most gift- exultation or hilarity or repose of mind
ed in imagination and emotional force) itself, but, as it were in abstracto, the
makes it appear highly probable that, essentials of these, without their concom-
unless her nature be changed, — which itants, and hence without their motives."
Edith Brower.

A T T H E C O N C E R T : A WAGNER NUMBER.

A CRASH of the drum and cymbals,


A long, keen, wailing cry ;
A throb as of wings of mighty things.
That with whirring din sweep by.

They come, with their thunder-chorus,


Vast shai)es, of a stronger race ;
An alien throng from some star of song
In the undiscovered space.

I thrill to their eager calling,


I shrink from their fierce control;
They have pressed and pried the great doors wide
That were closed to guard my soul.
Marion Coutliouy Smith.

TWO STRINGS TO H I S BOW.

IN TWO PARTS. PAKT TWO.

MEANWHILE, Robert Kenworthy •— gan by following up the list of advertise-


as the Rev. CressweU Price had now be- ments he had gatheied, making up his
come — had quietly settled himself in a mind not to be in haste, but to get by de-
respectable boarding-place which suited grees a clear notion of what would be ex-
his condition. As he stepped from the pected of him; to learn the ruling rates
train at the Grand Central, he felt that of wages, so as not to set his terms too
his old life had been left behind. He be- high or too low; to find out the privileges

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