Were he [Chopin] not the most retiring and unambitious of all living musicians, he would before this time have been celebrated as the inventor of a new style, or school, of pianoforte composition. During his short visit to the metropolis last season, but few had the high gratification of hearing his extemporaneous performance. Those who experienced this will not readily lose its remembrance. He is, perhaps, par eminence, the most delightful of pianists in the drawing- room. The animation of his style is so subdued, its tenderness so refined, its melancholy so gentle, its niceties so studied and systematic, the tout-ensemble so perfect, and evidently the result of an accurate judgment and most finished taste, that when exhibited in the large concert- room, or the thronged saloon, it fails to impress itself on the mass. The “Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik” of September 8, 1837, brought the piece of news that Chopin was then at a Bohemian watering-place. I doubt the correctness of this statement; at any rate, no other information to that effect has come to my knowledge, and the ascertained facts do not favour the assumption of its truth.
Never robust, Chopin had yet hitherto been free from any serious illness. Now, however, the time of his troubles begins. In a letter, undated, but very probably written in the summer of 1837, which he addressed to Anthony Wodzinski, who had been wounded in Spain, where civil war was then raging, occur remarks confirmatory of Mendelssohn’s and Moscheles’ statements:—
My dearest life! Wounded! Far from us—and I can send you nothing....Your friends are thinking only of you. For mercy’s sake recover as soon as possible and return. The newspaper accounts say that your legion is completely annihilated. Don’t enter the Spanish army....Remember that your blood may serve a better purpose....Titus [Woyciechowski] wrote to ask me if I could not meet him somewhere in Germany. During the winter I was again ill with influenza. They wanted to send me to Ems. Up to the present, however, I have no thought of going, as I am unable to move. I write and prepare manuscript. I think far more of you than you imagine, and love you as much as ever.
Believe me, you and Titus are enshrined in my memory.
On the margin, Chopin writes—
I may perhaps go for a few days to George Sand’s, but keep your mind easy, this will not interfere with the forwarding of your money, for I shall leave instructions with Johnnie [Matuszynski].
With regard to this and to the two preceding letters to members of the Wodzinski family, I have yet to state that I found them in M. A. Szulc’s “Fryderyk Chopin.”
GEORGE SAND: HER EARLY LIFE (1804—1836); AND HER CHARACTER AS A WOMAN, THINKER, AND LITERARY ARTIST.