英日対訳:トーマス・ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第5章「学校に通う」(2/2)








It was in the summer of 1893 that my father took me with him on a visit to the United States. This was a great event in the life of an obscure member of the Lower School and I was an object of envy to masters and boys alike. We sailed on the Campam'a, then the largest ship afloat, and on board was a distinguished party of artists all bound for the Chicago Exhibition, a celebration which had been advertised to the world as the greatest of its kind that ever had been or would ever be again on this earth. Among the group was Ben Davies, then at the height of his reputation, and at the usual concert of the voyage I played his accompaniments as well as those of the other vocalists. His was a voice of uncommon beauty, round, full, and expressive, less inherently tenor than baritone, and, like all organs of this mixed genre, thinned out perceptibly on the top. Later on the upper notes disappeared entirely, but the middle range preserved to the end of a prolonged spell of singing days most of its former opulence and charm. We reached New York toward the end of August and went to stay at the old Astor House, at that time one of the leading hotels of the city. The temperature was tropical and in my search for cooling drinks I made acquaintance with the ice cream soda, which I at once decided was every bit as good as any nectar served to the dwellers on Olympus. But mosquitoes, which were and still are the terror of my existence, beset me day and night and I was hardly sorry when my father gave the sign to set out for Chicago. There we stayed in a hotel on the lake which enjoyed a welcome breeze for the greater part of the day and for two weeks gave ourselves up to the delights of the magnificent entertainment we had come to view. Since that time I have seen dozens of the same kind of event but never anything to compare with this. Years afterwards, whenever I ventured to repeat this opinion my hearers would pooh-pooh it on the grounds of my extreme youth at the time or the impressions of a mind new to such a spectacle. But I had only to produce photographs of the various pavilions, notably those representing New York State and California (the latter housing the most brilliant display of the products of the earth ever contained under one roof), for them all to come round to my view.  




Our itinerary of travel was not extensive, owing to my father’s preoccupation with business in two or three large cities, but we managed to squeeze in a trip to Niagara and another by pleasure steamer up the Hudson River to Albany, from where we went on by train to Boston. At the last moment he found it impossible to get through his work in time to catch the boat which we had planned to take and I was obliged to return alone. The assemblage on board was this time far less glamorous than on the voyage westward, and I was beginning to think that the inevitable concert which I helped to organize was going to be a distinctly dull affair. But one day a fellow passenger approached me and with a slight air of mystery inquired if I knew that one of the world’s greatest singers was on board and had not been asked to take part in it. I told him it was no fault of mine and begged him to produce this gift from the gods. He went off in search of his friend and returned after a while to announce that the latter would meet me in about half-an-hour in the big salon, which would probably then be empty as most of the passengers would be dressing for dinner. Just before the appointed time I went below and awaited the arrival of the illustrious stranger with some excitement, for although I had had the opportunity of meeting and playing accompaniments for a fair number of well-known singers, I had not yet met a star of the very first magnitude. Presently there entered one of the largest men I have ever seen. So prodigious was his bulk that he could scarcely walk at all and supported himself on two sticks. At first I hardly knew what to say, his whole appearance being so utterly unlike anything I had 

ever associated with public performance. Then he began to sing, having selected as his opening number the “Abendstem” from Tannhaiiser, and inexperienced as I was I knew at once that here was something quite phenomenal. There being no one else in the room and finding that I had knowledge of most of the baritone songs from the popular operas, he went on happily for quite a time to my wonder and delight. The voice was of great range and uncommon power, and like that of Plangon, rolled out in immense waves of sound with the easiest production and the most consummate control. Afterwards his companion told me that he had been one of the great opera singers of the day but had been obliged to quit the stage because of this unfortunate physical over-growth which the medical science of the day was impotent to reduce. He sang at the concert to an audience as astonished and enchanted as myself, but only on that one occasion, nor did I see him again until the moment of landing at Liverpool, when I caught a glimpse of a huge and unwieldy object being assisted down the gangway by a small contingent of stewards and deckhands. But some forty years later, while conducting a series of concerts in Stockholm, I went to a representation at the Royal Opera and in one of the intervals walked around the foyer to inspect the memorials to singers of a bygone day. There in the center were two statues, one of Jenny Lind and the other of my ship companion, Carl Frederich Lundqvist, the greatest baritone voice that ever came out of Sweden.  




I got back to school a week or two after the term had begun and my friends were agog to hear of my adventures. I think I must have disappointed them more than a little for I then suffered from a disability which has never wholly left me, the incapacity to talk very much about an event which has made an impression on me until some time after it has happened. But I had my albums of pictures to show, and these were more convincingly descriptive than any oral accounts that I could have given them. The winter holidays I passed much the same way as in the year before, crowding into one brief month all I could in the way of opera and concert-going to make up for the slender musical diet of the previous twelve weeks. Yet it would be hardly fair if I conveyed the impression that we never had music of any kind worth hearing at Rossall. Now and then some artist of minor celebrity would pay us a visit, and in the following year, 1894, we had a really grand festivity, the jubilee of the school, which included in its program of events several choral and orchestral concerts. For these a large contingent of the Halle orchestra was rought from Manchester and I was enrolled as a temporary member in the percussion department. It was also about this time that I began to play the piano at the school concerts, and when in 1896 I became the captain of my house I was permitted to have an instrument of my own in my study. But as this departure from  

precedent began and ended with me, I could never ascertain from the guarded comments of my superiors whether it was rated a success or not. Influenced more by the urgings of one of my formmasters than by any overpowering aesthetic impulse I let myself in for playing the big drum in a military band. Rossall was the first school in the country to found a Cadet Corps and to practice all the operations and maneuvers of a miniature army; and my chief recollection of this quasi-patriotic effort was tramping up and down the country on what seemed like endless and fruitless quests, clad in a tight and ill-fitting uniform and burdened with a gigantic object which every five minutes I longed to heave into the nearest ditch. Probably like most other people I have passed the greater part of my life doing things I have not wanted to do, but I cannot recall any task which ever irked me more than this rash association with the Rossall Cadet Corps.  




I took part in nearly all games but with a well-calculated absence of zeal, as I saw that a fuller absorption in them would rob me of many of the hours I preferred to give to books and music. This coolness of mine toward the supreme value of athletics was regarded by nearly everyone with mixed feelings. My prowess at the keyboard was in one way recognized as an asset to school prestige, but that anyone should choose to devote days and weeks to the practice necessary for an adequate rendering of a difficult piano piece, when he might be winning life’s greatest crown in a football or hockey team, was the subject of a fairly general if compassionate disapproval. It was not as if I were wholly without  

capacity for sport. I was strong, active, and exceptionally quick on my feet, and on those infrequent occasions when I did turn out on the playing fields displayed an aptitude which perhaps was overestimated because of its unexpectedness. Accordingly it was not until my last year that, influenced a little by mob psychology and rather more by the entreaties of my house master, I agreed to propitiate the offended deities of the establishment by the sacrifice of some of the precious time I might have spent profitably in other ways. My virtue was rewarded by a place in the school cricket eleven, and it may surprise those who associate artistic ament with high emotional impulse to learn that my chief value to the side was a cautious stolidity which, although  

unproductive of many runs, enabled me to keep my wicket up for hours. It was not very exciting for me, and it must have been definitely unattractive to the spectator, but I found some compensation in observing the exasperation and recklessness produced in the opposition bowling by my defensive tactics. If we fail to find enjoyment in some tedious effort that has been forced upon us, it is always a pleasing source of comfort that others involved in it may be suffering even more.