The artist accompanied us to the street door and bade us farewell, in his kindly dignified manner.
As the door closed and we were in the street, my friend said:
“A wonderful man and a rare artist. Where shall we find his like to-day?”
A VISIT TO MME. LILLI LEHMANN
A number of years before the great war, a party of us were spending a few weeks in Berlin. It was midsummer; the city, filled as it was for one of us at least, with dear memories of student days, was in most alluring mood. Flowers bloomed along every balcony, vines festooned themselves from windows and doorways, as well as from many unexpected corners. The parks, large and small, which are the delight of a great city, were at their best and greenest—gay with color. Many profitable hours were spent wandering through the galleries and museums, hearing concerts and opera, and visiting the old quarters of the city, so picturesque and full of memories.
Two of us, who were musicians, were anxious to meet the famous dramatic soprano, Lilli Lehmann, who was living quietly in one of the suburbs of the city. Notes were exchanged, and on a certain day we were bidden to come, out of the regular hours for visitors, by “special exception.”
How well I remember the drive through the newer residential section of Berlin. The path before long led us through country estates, past beautifully kept gardens and orchards. Our destination was the little suburb of Gruenewald, itself like a big garden, with villas nestling close to each other, usually set back from the quiet, shaded streets. Some of the villas had iron gratings along the pathway, through which one saw gay flowers and garden walks, often statuary and fountains. Other homes were secluded from the street by high brick walls, frequently decorated on top by urns holding flowers and drooping vines.
Behind such a picturesque barrier, we found the gateway which led to Mme. Lehmann’s cottage. We rang and soon a trim maid came to undo the iron gate. The few steps leading to the house door did not face us as we entered the inclosure, but led up from the side. We wanted to linger and admire the shrubs and flowering plants, but the maid hastened before us so we had to follow.
From the wide entrance hall doors led into rooms on either hand. We were shown into a salon on the left, and bidden to await Madame’s coming.
In the few moments of restful quiet before she entered, we had time to glance over this sanctum of a great artist. To say it was filled with mementos and objets d’art hardly expresses the sense of repleteness. Every square foot was occupied by some treasure. Let the eye travel around the room. At the left, as one entered the doorway, stood a fine bust of the artist, chiseled in pure white marble, supported on a pedestal of black marble.