But he didn’t neglect his music, that is...?
No. He made enormous efforts to get his violin before the public. And several times he was “discovered” by men who could have made him famous overnight. We all believe that genius will out, despite anything, but it doesn’t always. Musicians respected him, but they were afraid of him, too. He criticized them for their shortcomings in other things, just as he criticized others for their shortcomings in art. He wouldn’t accept any talent, no matter how fine, if it went with anything small or destructive. You can imagine the china shops he left in fragments! Just think! Once in Berlin it was all arranged for him to have a recital—he was working furiously on his program and I was dancing on air—when just at the last moment he heard the director make some light remark or other about women. Paul was raging! He threw the words back in the fellow’s teeth, and made him apologize, but there we were. They called off the recital, naturally. And I couldn’t blame Paul. I was just beginning to understand. Another time ... no, he never had luck. Paul had bad luck. I often think of the Greek tragedies.
Another time—it was in Warsaw—we had gone with a letter of introduction to Sbarovitch—
VERA The Sbarovitch?
Yes. It was a chance in ten thousand. We pawned stuff to get there. Well, Paul played like a god. Sbarovitch was quite overcome. He swore he would compose something especially for Paul. We had visions of playing before the Czar.
But what happened?