The efforts of the French Secret Service to obtain important papers relating to the Coast Defence of England are the motif of its remarkable plot. Mr. Oppenheim has never written a better story than "A Millionaire of Yesterday."
The man is represented by three themes: a motif full of spirit and humour, a thoughtful motif, and a motif expressing eager and enthusiastic action. The woman has only two themes: one expressing caprice, and the other love and tenderness.
The basis is the newly awakening ideal of German unity but Arnim fails to express this clearly, and the concluding motif, that Germany's crown is to be spiritually won, resolves the whole into a frosty allegory.
I was told that nothing could be made out of shilling editions; but that book was well reviewed and now and then I have met elderly people who read the cheap edition and liked it. The motif of the book was the jealousy which husbands are apt to feel of their wives' relations. As if the most desirable wife was an amiable orphan if an heiress, so much the better.
She is an artist, really a great artist. And a poet." "He is from Paris; he knows," said the others. And all drank. Then they talked about music, with great display of knowledge concerning things operatic. First one, then another went to the piano and ran through some motif that the rest hummed a little first, then shouted in a rousing chorus.
With which secret toast to the absent beloved he sets the horn to his lips and drains it to the motif of Evil Enchantment, the motif of the Cup of Forgetfulness, closely resembling the Tarnhelm-motif, but sweeter, cruel as a treacherous caress. This whole passage, surpassingly exquisite to the ear, is painful to the heart as hardly another in the opera, fertile as this is in tragic moments.
Hark! is that the nightingale in the trees, or only the silvery notes of a violin, which comes stealing through the steady throb and swing of the heavier stringed instruments? Ah! why does the rhythm stop? A few chords breaking up the dream, the sound of a bugle calling you away, and the valse goes into the farewell motif with its tender longing and passionate anguish. Good-bye! you will be true?
It was the question he had asked in his "Tosca Symphony": that symphony of helpless, human wonder and sorrow. And the question, repeated for the last time in the great motif of the finale, was still unanswered.
The dear companion has long been found. Hard upon this motif of the grown-up Siegfried comes a wholly new motif, the motif of Brünnhilde Wedded, wonderful for its entwining tenderness, yet the elevation it combines with its immensely feminine quality. It is given over and over; the instruments pass it from one to the other, like a watchword.
It had the effect of heightening, mysteriously and indescribably, the joy, the madness, and the splendor. And it was dominant, insistent. Like some great and unintelligible motif it ran ringing and sounding through the vast rhythmic tumult of physical energy. Not for a moment did he connect it with the increasing interest that he took in the appearance of the Young Ladies of the Poly. Gym.