Having made the reader acquainted with the musical sphere in which Chopin moved, I shall take up the thread of the narrative where I left it, and the reader may follow without fear of being again detained by so long an interruption.
Fourteen days in Berlin (From September 14 to 28, 1828).—Return by Posen (Prince Radziwill) and Zullichau (anecdotes) to Warsaw.— Chopin’s doings there in the following winter and spring.—his home-life, companions, and preparations for a journey to Vienna.
Chopin, leaving his apprenticeship behind him, was now entering on that period of his life which we may call his Wanderjahre (years of travel). This change in his position and circumstances demands a simultaneous change in the manner of the biographical treatment. Hitherto we have been much occupied with the agencies that made and moulded the man, henceforth we shall fix our main attention on his experiences, actions, and utterances. The materials at our disposal become now more abundant and more trustworthy. Foremost in importance among them, up to Chopin’s arrival in Paris, are the letters he wrote at that time, the publication of which we owe to Karasowski. As they are, however, valuable only as chronicles of the writer’s doings and feelings, and not, like Mendelssohn’s and Berlioz’s, also as literary productions, I shall, whilst fully availing myself of the information they contain, confine my quotations from them to the characteristic passages.
Chopin’s long-projected and much-desired visit to Berlin came about in this way. In 1828 Frederick William III of Prussia requested the Berlin University to invite the most eminent natural philosophers to take part in a congress to be held in that city under the presidency of Alexander von Humboldt. Nicholas Chopin’s friend Dr. Jarocki, the zoologist and professor at the Warsaw University, who had studied and obtained his degree at Berlin, was one of those who were honoured with an invitation. The favourable opportunity which thus presented itself to the young musician of visiting in good company one of the centres of civilisation—for the professor intended to comply with the invitation, and was willing to take his friend’s son under his wing—was not allowed to slip by, on the contrary, was seized eagerly. With what feelings, with what an infinitude of youthful hopes and expectations, Chopin looked forward to this journey may be gathered from some