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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 170 pages of information about Great Singers, Second Series.

Malibran’s second season in Paris confirmed the estimate which had been placed on her genius, but the incessant labors of her professional life and the ardor with which she pursued the social enjoyments of life were commencing to undermine her health.  She never hesitated to sacrifice herself and her time for the benefit of her friends, in spite of her own physical debility.  One night she had promised to sing at the house of her friend, Mme. Merlin, and was amazed at the refusal of her manager to permit her absence from the theatre on a benefit-night.  She said to him:  “It does not signify; I sing at the theatre because it is my duty, but afterward I sing at Mme. Merlin’s because it is my pleasure.”  And so after one o’clock in the morning, wearied from the arduous performance of “Semiramide,” she appeared at her friend’s and sang, supped, and waltzed till daybreak.  This excess in living every moment of her life and utter indifference to the requirements of health were characteristic of her whole career.  One night she fainted in her dressing-room before going on the stage.  In the hurry of applying restoratives, a vinaigrette containing some caustic acid was emptied over her lips, and her mouth was covered with blisters.  The manager was in despair; but Mme. Malibran, quietly stepping to the mirror, cut off the blisters with a pair of scissors, and sang as usual.  Such was the indomitable courage of the woman that she was always faithful to her obligations, come what might; a conscientiousness which was afterward the immediate cause of her death.

IV.

It was in Paris, in 1830, that Mme. Malibran’s romantic attachment to M. Charles de Beriot, the famous Belgian violinist, had its beginning.  M. de Beriot had been warmly and hopelessly enamored of Malibran’s rival, Mdlle.  Sontag, in spite of the fact that the latter lady was known to be the fiancee of Count Rossi.  The sympathies of Malibran’s warm and affectionate heart were called out by her friend’s disappointment, for gossip in the musical circles of Paris discussed De Beriot’s unfortunate love-affair very freely.  With her usual impulsive candor she expressed her interest in the brilliant young violinist without reserve, and it was not long before De Beriot made Malibran his confidante, and found consolation for his troubles in her soothing companionship.  The result was what might have been expected.  Malibran’s beauty, tenderness, and genius speedily displaced the former idol in the heart of the Belgian artist, while she learned that it was but a short step between pity and love.  This mutual affection was the cause of a dispute between Maria and her friend Mme. Naldi, whose austere morality disapproved the intimacy, and there was a separation, our singer moving into lodgings of her own.

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