We got off the train at Jenbach and left our trunks there. Then on the same platform, but behind it, and a few yards beyond the station, there is a curious little hunchbacked engine and an open car. Into this car we climbed with our handbags, and beheld on the same seat with Mrs. Jimmie a beautiful woman in a gown unmistakably from Paris, who looked so familiar that we could scarcely keep from staring her out of countenance. Finally Bee leaned across and whispered:
“Don’t look, but isn’t that Madame Carreno?”
Without heeding Bee’s polite warning, I turned and pounced upon my idol.
“My dear child!”
“What in the world are you doing here?”
“Why I live here! And you? How came you to find your way to this inaccessible spot?”
“We are going to the Achensee—to the Hotel Rhiner, to hear Fraeulein Therese—”
“You have heard of my little friend Therese, and you have come—how many thousand miles?—to hear her sing and play on her zither?”
“To do all that, but mostly to see if she will tell me her love story.”
“How do you know she had one?” inquired Madame Carreno, quickly.
“I heard of it in England. Some one who knew the duke told me.”
“It was a lucky escape for her, and I think she will tell you all about it. You see it happened, ah, so many years ago.”
To my mind, Madame Carreno is the most wonderful genius of modern times at the piano. I have heard all the others scores of times, so don’t argue with me. You may all worship whom you will, but the whole musical part of my heart is at Madame Carreno’s feet, with a small corner saved for Vladimir de Pachmann, when he plays Chopin. She claims to be an American, but she plays with a heart of a Slav, and as one whose untamed spirit can never be held in leash even by her music. Her playing is so intoxicating that it goes through my veins like wine. The last time I heard her play was in an enormous hall in the West, when her audience was composed of music lovers of every class and description. Just back of me was a woman whose whole soul seemed to respond to Carreno’s hypnotic genius. Carreno had just finished Liszt’s “Rhapsodic Hongroise” No. 2, and had followed it up with a mad Tschaikowsky fragment. I was so excited I was on the verge of tears when I heard the woman behind me catch her breath with a sob and exclaim: