In the year 1817 Rossini, Meyerbeer, and Paganini were at Rome during Carnival time, and the trio determined on a grand frolic. Rossini had composed a very clever part-song, “Carnavale, Carnavale,” known in English as “We are Poor Beggars,” and the three great musicians, having disguised themselves as beggars, sang it with great effect through the streets. Rossini during this Carnival produced his “Cenerentola,” and Paganini gave a series of concerts which excited great enthusiasm. Shortly after this, Paganini’s health gave way completely at Naples, and the landlord of the hotel where he was stopping got the impression that his sickness was infectious. In the most brutal manner he turned the sick musician into the street. Fortunately, at this moment a violoncello player, Ciandelli, who knew Paga-nini well, was passing by, and came to the rescue, and his anger was so great, when he saw what had happened to the great violinist, that he belabored the barbarous landlord unmercifully with a stick, and conveyed the invalid to a comfortable lodging where he was carefully attended to. Some time subsequently Paganini had an opportunity of repaying this kindness, for he gave Ciandelli some valuable instruction, which enabled him in the course of a few years to become transformed from a very indifferent performer into an artist of considerable eminence.
At the age of thirty-six Paganini again found himself at Milan, and there organized a society of musical amateurs, called “Gli Orfei.” He conducted several of their concerts. But either the love of a roving life or the necessity of wandering in order to fill his exchequer kept him constantly on the move; and, though during these travels he is said to have met with many extraordinary adventures, very little reliance can be placed upon the accounts that have come down to us, the more so when we consider that Paga-nini’s mode of life was, as we shall see presently, become by this time extremely sober. It was not until he was forty-four years old that he finally quitted Italy to make himself better known in foreign countries. He had been encouraged to visit Vienna by Prince Metternich, who had heard and admired his playing at Rome in 1817, and had repeatedly made plans to visit Germany, but his health had been so wretched as to prevent his departure from his native country. But a sojourn in the balmy climate of Sicily for a few months had done him so much good that in 1828 he put his long-deferred plans into execution. The first concert in March of that year made an unparalleled sensation. He gave a great number of concerts in Vienna, among them several for the poor. A fever seized all classes of society. The shop windows were crowded with goods a la Paganini; a good stroke at billiards was called un coup a la Paganini; dishes Avere named after him; his portrait was enameled on snuff-boxes, and the Viennese dandies carried his bust on the head of their walking-sticks. A cabman wheedled out of the reluctant violinist permission to print on his cab, Cabriolet de Paganini. By this cunning device, Jehu so augmented his profits that he was able to rent a large house and establish a hotel, in which capacity Paganini found him when he returned again to Vienna.