Autobiography: Memories and Experiences of Moncure Daniel Conway - Vol. 2

By Moncure Daniel Conway | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII.

Concerts and Theatres--Mr. and Mrs. Jared Sparks--The Longfellows-- J. R. Lowell--Dr. Palfrey--Rev. Dr. Andrews Norton--The Plymouth Rock Myth--Theodore Parker--ProfessorConvers Francis --ProfessorG. R. Noyes--The Unitarian Clergy--Emerson at Divinity Hall--His Influence on Students.

THE three hundred dollars I carried to Cambridge, which would have been affluence in my Methodist circuit, swiftly diminished in value. Some half-starved tastes were awakened in me. I heard for the first time symphonies of Beethoven; in Boston Museum Theatre I witnessed the inimitable comic acting of Warren;* here were new kingdoms, but with ticket offices at their frontiers.

The most momentous experience was the first opera. It was at the Howard Athenæum, then the grand place, and I was invited by the Longfellows to a seat in their box. This first opera was "Somnambula"; the second was the "Barber of Seville"; but the third--oh, the third! It was dear Mrs. Sparks, wife of the historian, who invited me to "Don Giovanni." She had never seen that opera, and I fear could not enjoy it because she had taken me (a sort of protégé) to what she described to her husband on our return as a travesty of Byron "Don Juan" and quite as immoral. A startling thing to me was the discovery in Mozart's melodies of several hymn-tunes. The charm of Sontag's singing--the music, especially the minuet-- held me under a spell. I never got free from it, and to this day regard "Don Giovanni" as worth all other operas together.

My love of concerts and theatres requiring economy, I joined four other impecunious divinity students in forming a vegetarian table. Our only married student, Fowler, and his wife were

____________________
*
I have never seen the equal of Warren as an artist in that line. With a facial expression and some slight movement--such as turning around--he could without a word convulse an audience.

-139-

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Autobiography: Memories and Experiences of Moncure Daniel Conway - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Dedication and Preface. vii
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II 9
  • Chapter III 19
  • Chapter IV 32
  • Chapter V 43
  • Chapter VI 52
  • Chapter VII 58
  • Chapter IX 86
  • Chapter X 101
  • Chapter XI 112
  • Chapter XII 126
  • Chapter XIII 139
  • Chapter XIV 156
  • Chapter XV 165
  • Chapter XVI 179
  • Chapter XVII 196
  • Chapter XVIII 222
  • Chapter XIX 243
  • Chapter XX 259
  • Chapter XXI 281
  • Chapter XXII 302
  • Chapter XXIII 324
  • Chapter XXIV 345
  • Chapter XXV 351
  • Chapter XVII 362
  • Chapter XXVII 387
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