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    At The Shrine Of St. Wagner

    by Mark Twain
    • Rate it:
    Launch Reading Mode
    Bayreuth, Aug. 2d, 1891

    It was at Nuremberg that we struck the inundation of music-
    mad strangers that was rolling down upon Bayreuth. It had been
    long since we had seen such multitudes of excited and struggling
    people. It took a good half-hour to pack them and pair them into
    the train--and it was the longest train we have yet seen in
    Europe. Nuremberg had been witnessing this sort of experience a
    couple of times a day for about two weeks. It gives one an
    impressive sense of the magnitude of this biennial pilgrimage.
    For a pilgrimage is what it is. The devotees come from the very
    ends of the earth to worship their prophet in his own Kaaba in
    his own Mecca.

    If you are living in New York or San Francisco or Chicago or
    anywhere else in America, and you conclude, by the middle of May,
    that you would like to attend the Bayreuth opera two months and a
    half later, you must use the cable and get about it immediately
    or you will get no seats, and you must cable for lodgings, too.
    Then if you are lucky you will get seats in the last row and
    lodgings in the fringe of the town. If you stop to write you
    will get nothing. There were plenty of people in Nuremberg when
    we passed through who had come on pilgrimage without first
    securing seats and lodgings. They had found neither in Bayreuth;
    they had walked Bayreuth streets a while in sorrow, then had gone
    to Nuremberg and found neither beds nor standing room, and had
    walked those quaint streets all night, waiting for the hotels to
    open and empty their guests into trains, and so make room for
    these, their defeated brethren and sisters in the faith. They
    had endured from thirty to forty hours' railroading on the
    continent of Europe--with all which that implies of worry,
    fatigue, and financial impoverishment--and all they had got and
    all they were to get for it was handiness and accuracy in kicking
    themselves, acquired by practice in the back streets of the two
    towns when other people were in bed; for back they must go over
    that unspeakable journey with their pious mission unfulfilled.
    These humiliated outcasts had the frowsy and unbrushed and
    apologetic look of wet cats, and their eyes were glazed with
    drowsiness, their bodies were adroop from crown to sole, and all
    kind-hearted people refrained from asking them if they had been
    to Bayreuth and failed to connect, as knowing they would lie.

    We reached here (Bayreuth) about mid-afternoon of a rainy
    Saturday. We were of the wise, and had secured lodgings and
    opera seats months in advance.

    I am not a musical critic, and did not come here to write
    essays about the operas and deliver judgment upon their merits.
    The little children of Bayreuth could do that with a finer
    sympathy and a broader intelligence than I. I only care to bring
    four or five pilgrims to the operas, pilgrims able to appreciate
    them and enjoy them. What I write about the performance to put
    in my odd time would be offered to the public as merely a cat's
    view of a king, and not of didactic value.

    Next day, which was Sunday, we left for the opera-house--
    that is to say, the Wagner temple--a little after the middle of
    the afternoon. The great building stands all by itself, grand
    and lonely, on a high ground outside the town. We were warned
    that if we arrived after four o'clock we should be obliged to pay
    two dollars and a half extra by way of fine. We saved that; and
    it may be remarked here that this is the only opportunity that
    Europe offers of saving money. There was a big crowd in the
    grounds about the building, and the ladies' dresses took the sun
    with fine effect. I do not mean to intimate that the ladies were
    in full dress, for that was not so. The dresses were pretty, but
    neither sex was in evening dress.

    The interior of the building is simple--severely so; but
    there is no occasion for color and decoration, since the people
    sit in the dark. The auditorium has the shape of a keystone,
    with the stage at the narrow end. There is an aisle on each
    side, but no aisle in the body of the house. Each row of seats
    extends in an unbroken curve from one side of the house to the
    other. There are seven entrance doors on each side of the
    theater and four at the butt, eighteen doors to admit and emit
    1,650 persons. The number of the particular door by which you
    are to enter the house or leave it is printed on your ticket, and
    you can use no door but that one. Thus, crowding and confusion
    are impossible. Not so many as a hundred people use any one
    door. This is better than having the usual (and useless)
    elaborate fireproof arrangements. It is the model theater of the
    world. It can be emptied while the second hand of a watch makes
    its circuit. It would be entirely safe, even if it were built of
    lucifer matches.

    If your seat is near the center of a row and you enter late
    you must work your way along a rank of about twenty-five ladies
    and gentlemen to get to it. Yet this causes no trouble, for
    everybody stands up until all the seats are full, and the filling
    is accomplished in a very few minutes. Then all sit down, and
    you have a solid mass of fifteen hundred heads, making a steep
    cellar-door slant from the rear of the house down to the stage.

    All the lights were turned low, so low that the congregation
    sat in a deep and solemn gloom. The funereal rustling of dresses
    and the low buzz of conversation began to die swiftly down, and
    presently not the ghost of a sound was left. This profound and
    increasingly impressive stillness endured for some time--the best
    preparation for music, spectacle, or speech conceivable. I should
    think our show people would have invented or imported that simple
    and impressive device for securing and solidifying the attention
    of an audience long ago; instead of which there continue to this
    day to open a performance against a deadly competition in the
    form of noise, confusion, and a scattered interest.

    Finally, out of darkness and distance and mystery soft rich
    notes rose upon the stillness, and from his grave the dead
    magician began to weave his spells about his disciples and steep
    their souls in his enchantments. There was something strangely
    impressive in the fancy which kept intruding itself that the
    composer was conscious in his grave of what was going on here,
    and that these divine souls were the clothing of thoughts which
    were at this moment passing through his brain, and not recognized
    and familiar ones which had issued from it at some former time.

    The entire overture, long as it was, was played to a dark
    house with the curtain down. It was exquisite; it was delicious.
    But straightway thereafter, or course, came the singing, and it
    does seem to me that nothing can make a Wagner opera absolutely
    perfect and satisfactory to the untutored but to leave out the
    vocal parts. I wish I could see a Wagner opera done in pantomime
    once. Then one would have the lovely orchestration unvexed to
    listen to and bathe his spirit in, and the bewildering beautiful
    scenery to intoxicate his eyes with, and the dumb acting couldn't
    mar these pleasures, because there isn't often anything in the
    Wagner opera that one would call by such a violent name as
    acting; as a rule all you would see would be a couple of silent
    people, one of them standing still, the other catching flies. Of
    course I do not really mean that he would be catching flies; I
    only mean that the usual operatic gestures which consist in
    reaching first one hand out into the air and then the other might
    suggest the sport I speak of if the operator attended strictly to
    business and uttered no sound.

    This present opera was "Parsifal." Madame Wagner does not
    permit its representation anywhere but in Bayreuth. The first
    act of the three occupied two hours, and I enjoyed that in spite
    of the singing.

    I trust that I know as well as anybody that singing is one
    of the most entrancing and bewitching and moving and eloquent of
    all the vehicles invented by man for the conveying of feeling;
    but it seems to me that the chief virtue in song is melody, air,
    tune, rhythm, or what you please to call it, and that when this
    feature is absent what remains is a picture with the color left
    out. I was not able to detect in the vocal parts of "Parsifal"
    anything that might with confidence be called rhythm or tune or
    melody; one person performed at a time--and a long time, too--
    often in a noble, and always in a high-toned, voice; but he only
    pulled out long notes, then some short ones, then another long
    one, then a sharp, quick, peremptory bark or two--and so on and
    so on; and when he was done you saw that the information which he
    had conveyed had not compensated for the disturbance. Not
    always, but pretty often. If two of them would but put in a duet
    occasionally and blend the voices; but no, they don't do that.
    The great master, who knew so well how to make a hundred
    instruments rejoice in unison and pour out their souls in mingled
    and melodious tides of delicious sound, deals only in barren
    solos when he puts in the vocal parts. It may be that he was
    deep, and only added the singing to his operas for the sake of
    the contrast it would make with the music. Singing! It does
    seem the wrong name to apply to it. Strictly described, it is a
    practicing of difficult and unpleasant intervals, mainly. An
    ignorant person gets tired of listening to gymnastic intervals in
    the long run, no matter how pleasant they may be. In "Parsifal"
    there is a hermit named Gurnemanz who stands on the stage in one
    spot and practices by the hour, while first one and then another
    character of the cast endures what he can of it and then retires
    to die.

    During the evening there was an intermission of three-
    quarters of an hour after the first act and one an hour long
    after the second. In both instances the theater was totally
    emptied. People who had previously engaged tables in the one
    sole eating-house were able to put in their time very
    satisfactorily; the other thousand went hungry. The opera was
    concluded at ten in the evening or a little later. When we
    reached home we had been gone more than seven hours. Seven hours
    at five dollars a ticket is almost too much for the money.

    While browsing about the front yard among the crowd between
    the acts I encountered twelve or fifteen friends from different
    parts of America, and those of them who were most familiar with
    Wagner said that "Parsifal" seldom pleased at first, but that
    after one had heard it several times it was almost sure to become
    a favorite. It seemed impossible, but it was true, for the
    statement came from people whose word was not to be doubted.

    And I gathered some further information. On the ground I
    found part of a German musical magazine, and in it a letter
    written by Uhlic thirty-three years ago, in which he defends the
    scorned and abused Wagner against people like me, who found fault
    with the comprehensive absence of what our kind regards as
    singing. Uhlic says Wagner despised "JENE PLAPPERUDE MUSIC," and
    therefore "runs, trills, and SCHNORKEL are discarded by him." I
    don't know what a SCHNORKEL is, but now that I know it has been
    left out of these operas I never have missed so much in my life.
    And Uhlic further says that Wagner's song is true: that it is
    "simply emphasized intoned speech." That certainly describes it
    --in "Parsifal" and some of the operas; and if I understand
    Uhlic's elaborate German he apologizes for the beautiful airs in
    "Tannh:auser." Very well; now that Wagner and I understand each
    other, perhaps we shall get along better, and I shall stop
    calling Waggner, on the American plan, and thereafter call him
    Waggner as per German custom, for I feel entirely friendly now.
    The minute we get reconciled to a person, how willing we are to
    throw aside little needless puctilios and pronounce his name

    Of course I came home wondering why people should come from
    all corners of America to hear these operas, when we have lately
    had a season or two of them in New York with these same singers
    in the several parts, and possibly this same orchestra. I
    resolved to think that out at all hazards.

    TUESDAY.--Yesterday they played the only operatic favorite I
    have ever had--an opera which has always driven me mad with
    ignorant delight whenever I have heard it--"Tannh:auser." I
    heard it first when I was a youth; I heard it last in the last
    German season in New York. I was busy yesterday and I did not
    intend to go, knowing I should have another "Tannh:auser"
    opportunity in a few days; but after five o'clock I found myself
    free and walked out to the opera-house and arrived about the
    beginning of the second act. My opera ticket admitted me to the
    grounds in front, past the policeman and the chain, and I thought
    I would take a rest on a bench for an hour and two and wait for
    the third act.

    In a moment or so the first bugles blew, and the multitude
    began to crumble apart and melt into the theater. I will explain
    that this bugle-call is one of the pretty features here. You
    see, the theater is empty, and hundreds of the audience are a
    good way off in the feeding-house; the first bugle-call is blown
    about a quarter of an hour before time for the curtain to rise.
    This company of buglers, in uniform, march out with military step
    and send out over the landscape a few bars of the theme of the
    approaching act, piercing the distances with the gracious notes;
    then they march to the other entrance and repeat. Presently they
    do this over again. Yesterday only about two hundred people were
    still left in front of the house when the second call was blown;
    in another half-minute they would have been in the house, but
    then a thing happened which delayed them--the only solitary thing
    in this world which could be relied on with certainty to
    accomplish it, I suppose--an imperial princess appeared in the
    balcony above them. They stopped dead in their tracks and began
    to gaze in a stupor of gratitude and satisfaction. The lady
    presently saw that she must disappear or the doors would be
    closed upon these worshipers, so she returned to her box. This
    daughter-in-law of an emperor was pretty; she had a kind face;
    she was without airs; she is known to be full of common human
    sympathies. There are many kinds of princesses, but this kind is
    the most harmful of all, for wherever they go they reconcile
    people to monarchy and set back the clock of progress. The
    valuable princes, the desirable princes, are the czars and their
    sort. By their mere dumb presence in the world they cover with
    derision every argument that can be invented in favor of royalty
    by the most ingenious casuist. In his time the husband of this
    princess was valuable. He led a degraded life, he ended it with
    his own hand in circumstances and surroundings of a hideous sort,
    and was buried like a god.

    In the opera-house there is a long loft back of the
    audience, a kind of open gallery, in which princes are displayed.
    It is sacred to them; it is the holy of holies. As soon as the
    filling of the house is about complete the standing multitude
    turn and fix their eyes upon the princely layout and gaze mutely
    and longingly and adoringly and regretfully like sinners looking
    into heaven. They become rapt, unconscious, steeped in worship.
    There is no spectacle anywhere that is more pathetic than this.
    It is worth crossing many oceans to see. It is somehow not the
    same gaze that people rivet upon a Victor Hugo, or Niagara, or
    the bones of the mastodon, or the guillotine of the Revolution,
    or the great pyramid, or distant Vesuvius smoking in the sky, or
    any man long celebrated to you by his genius and achievements, or
    thing long celebrated to you by the praises of books and
    pictures--no, that gaze is only the gaze of intense curiosity,
    interest, wonder, engaged in drinking delicious deep draughts
    that taste good all the way down and appease and satisfy the
    thirst of a lifetime. Satisfy it--that is the word. Hugo and
    the mastodon will still have a degree of intense interest
    thereafter when encountered, but never anything approaching the
    ecstasy of that first view. The interest of a prince is
    different. It may be envy, it may be worship, doubtless it is a
    mixture of both--and it does not satisfy its thirst with one
    view, or even noticeably diminish it. Perhaps the essence of the
    thing is the value which men attach to a valuable something which
    has come by luck and not been earned. A dollar picked up in the
    road is more satisfaction to you than the ninety-and-nine which
    you had to work for, and money won at faro or in stocks snuggles
    into your heart in the same way. A prince picks up grandeur,
    power, and a permanent holiday and gratis support by a pure
    accident, the accident of birth, and he stands always before the
    grieved eye of poverty and obscurity a monumental representative
    of luck. And then--supremest value of all-his is the only high
    fortune on the earth which is secure. The commercial millionaire
    may become a beggar; the illustrious statesman can make a vital
    mistake and be dropped and forgotten; the illustrious general can
    lose a decisive battle and with it the consideration of men; but
    once a prince always a prince--that is to say, an imitation god,
    and neither hard fortune nor an infamous character nor an addled
    brain nor the speech of an ass can undeify him. By common
    consent of all the nations and all the ages the most valuable
    thing in this world is the homage of men, whether deserved or
    undeserved. It follows without doubt or question, then, that the
    most desirable position possible is that of a prince. And I
    think it also follows that the so-called usurpations with which
    history is littered are the most excusable misdemeanors which men
    have committed. To usurp a usurpation--that is all it amounts
    to, isn't it?

    A prince is not to us what he is to a European, of course.
    We have not been taught to regard him as a god, and so one good
    look at him is likely to so nearly appease our curiosity as to
    make him an object of no greater interest the next time. We want
    a fresh one. But it is not so with the European. I am quite
    sure of it. The same old one will answer; he never stales.
    Eighteen years ago I was in London and I called at an
    Englishman's house on a bleak and foggy and dismal December
    afternoon to visit his wife and married daughter by appointment.
    I waited half an hour and then they arrived, frozen. They
    explained that they had been delayed by an unlooked-for
    circumstance: while passing in the neighborhood of Marlborough
    House they saw a crowd gathering and were told that the Prince of
    Wales was about to drive out, so they stopped to get a sight of
    him. They had waited half an hour on the sidewalk, freezing with
    the crowd, but were disappointed at last--the Prince had changed
    his mind. I said, with a good deal of surprise, "Is it possible
    that you two have lived in London all your lives and have never
    seen the Prince of Wales?"

    Apparently it was their turn to be surprised, for they
    exclaimed: "What an idea! Why, we have seen him hundreds of

    They had seem him hundreds of times, yet they had waited
    half an hour in the gloom and the bitter cold, in the midst of a
    jam of patients from the same asylum, on the chance of seeing him
    again. It was a stupefying statement, but one is obliged to
    believe the English, even when they say a thing like that. I
    fumbled around for a remark, and got out this one:

    "I can't understand it at all. If I had never seen General
    Grant I doubt if I would do that even to get a sight of him."
    With a slight emphasis on the last word.

    Their blank faces showed that they wondered where the
    parallel came in. Then they said, blankly: "Of course not. He
    is only a President."

    It is doubtless a fact that a prince is a permanent
    interest, an interest not subject to deterioration. The general
    who was never defeated, the general who never held a council of
    war, the only general who ever commanded a connected battle-front
    twelve hundred miles long, the smith who welded together the
    broken parts of a great republic and re-established it where it
    is quite likely to outlast all the monarchies present and to
    come, was really a person of no serious consequence to these
    people. To them, with their training, my General was only a man,
    after all, while their Prince was clearly much more than that--a
    being of a wholly unsimilar construction and constitution, and
    being of no more blood and kinship with men than are the serene
    eternal lights of the firmament with the poor dull tallow candles
    of commerce that sputter and die and leave nothing behind but a
    pinch of ashes and a stink.

    I saw the last act of "Tannh:auser." I sat in the gloom and
    the deep stillness, waiting--one minute, two minutes, I do not
    know exactly how long--then the soft music of the hidden
    orchestra began to breathe its rich, long sighs out from under
    the distant stage, and by and by the drop-curtain parted in the
    middle and was drawn softly aside, disclosing the twilighted wood
    and a wayside shrine, with a white-robed girl praying and a man
    standing near. Presently that noble chorus of men's voices was
    heard approaching, and from that moment until the closing of the
    curtain it was music, just music--music to make one drunk with
    pleasure, music to make one take scrip and staff and beg his way
    round the globe to hear it.

    To such as are intending to come here in the Wagner season
    next year I wish to say, bring your dinner-pail with you. If you
    do, you will never cease to be thankful. If you do not, you will
    find it a hard fight to save yourself from famishing in Bayreuth.
    Bayreuth is merely a large village, and has no very large hotels
    or eating-houses. The principal inns are the Golden Anchor and
    the Sun. At either of these places you can get an excellent
    meal--no, I mean you can go there and see other people get it.
    There is no charge for this. The town is littered with
    restaurants, but they are small and bad, and they are overdriven
    with custom. You must secure a table hours beforehand, and often
    when you arrive you will find somebody occupying it. We have had
    this experience. We have had a daily scramble for life; and when
    I say we, I include shoals of people. I have the impression that
    the only people who do not have to scramble are the veterans--the
    disciples who have been here before and know the ropes. I think
    they arrive about a week before the first opera, and engage all
    the tables for the season. My tribe had tried all kinds of
    places--some outside of the town, a mile or two--and have
    captured only nibblings and odds and ends, never in any instance
    a complete and satisfying meal. Digestible? No, the reverse.
    These odds and ends are going to serve as souvenirs of Bayreuth,
    and in that regard their value is not to be overestimated.
    Photographs fade, bric-a-brac gets lost, busts of Wagner get
    broken, but once you absorb a Bayreuth-restaurant meal it is your
    possession and your property until the time comes to embalm the
    rest of you. Some of these pilgrims here become, in effect,
    cabinets; cabinets of souvenirs of Bayreuth. It is believed
    among scientists that you could examine the crop of a dead
    Bayreuth pilgrim anywhere in the earth and tell where he came
    from. But I like this ballast. I think a "Hermitage" scrap-up
    at eight in the evening, when all the famine-breeders have been
    there and laid in their mementoes and gone, is the quietest thing
    you can lay on your keelson except gravel.

    THURSDAY.--They keep two teams of singers in stock for the
    chief roles, and one of these is composed of the most renowned
    artists in the world, with Materna and Alvary in the lead. I
    suppose a double team is necessary; doubtless a single team would
    die of exhaustion in a week, for all the plays last from four in
    the afternoon till ten at night. Nearly all the labor falls upon
    the half-dozen head singers, and apparently they are required to
    furnish all the noise they can for the money. If they feel a
    soft, whispery, mysterious feeling they are required to open out
    and let the public know it. Operas are given only on Sundays,
    Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, with three days of ostensible
    rest per week, and two teams to do the four operas; but the
    ostensible rest is devoted largely to rehearsing. It is said
    that the off days are devoted to rehearsing from some time in the
    morning till ten at night. Are there two orchestras also? It is
    quite likely, since there are one hundred and ten names in the
    orchestra list.

    Yesterday the opera was "Tristan and Isolde." I have seen
    all sorts of audiences--at theaters, operas, concerts, lectures,
    sermons, funerals--but none which was twin to the Wagner audience
    of Bayreuth for fixed and reverential attention. Absolute
    attention and petrified retention to the end of an act of the
    attitude assumed at the beginning of it. You detect no movement
    in the solid mass of heads and shoulders. You seem to sit with
    the dead in the gloom of a tomb. You know that they are being
    stirred to their profoundest depths; that there are times when
    they want to rise and wave handkerchiefs and shout their
    approbation, and times when tears are running down their faces,
    and it would be a relief to free their pent emotions in sobs or
    screams; yet you hear not one utterance till the curtain swings
    together and the closing strains have slowly faded out and died;
    then the dead rise with one impulse and shake the building with
    their applause. Every seat is full in the first act; there is
    not a vacant one in the last. If a man would be conspicuous, let
    him come here and retire from the house in the midst of an act.
    It would make him celebrated.

    This audience reminds me of nothing I have ever seen and of
    nothing I have read about except the city in the Arabian tale
    where all the inhabitants have been turned to brass and the
    traveler finds them after centuries mute, motionless, and still
    retaining the attitudes which they last knew in life. Here the
    Wagner audience dress as they please, and sit in the dark and
    worship in silence. At the Metropolitan in New York they sit in
    a glare, and wear their showiest harness; they hum airs, they
    squeak fans, they titter, and they gabble all the time. In some
    of the boxes the conversation and laughter are so loud as to
    divide the attention of the house with the stage. In large
    measure the Metropolitan is a show-case for rich fashionables who
    are not trained in Wagnerian music and have no reverence for it,
    but who like to promote art and show their clothes.

    Can that be an agreeable atmosphere to persons in whom this
    music produces a sort of divine ecstasy and to whom its creator
    is a very deity, his stage a temple, the works of his brain and
    hands consecrated things, and the partaking of them with eye and
    ear a sacred solemnity? Manifestly, no. Then, perhaps the
    temporary expatriation, the tedious traversing of seas and
    continents, the pilgrimage to Bayreuth stands explained. These
    devotees would worship in an atmosphere of devotion. It is only
    here that they can find it without fleck or blemish or any
    worldly pollution. In this remote village there are no sights to
    see, there is no newspaper to intrude the worries of the distant
    world, there is nothing going on, it is always Sunday. The
    pilgrim wends to his temple out of town, sits out his moving
    service, returns to his bed with his heart and soul and his body
    exhausted by long hours of tremendous emotion, and he is in no
    fit condition to do anything but to lie torpid and slowly gather
    back life and strength for the next service. This opera of
    "Tristan and Isolde" last night broke the hearts of all witnesses
    who were of the faith, and I know of some who have heard of many
    who could not sleep after it, but cried the night away. I feel
    strongly out of place here. Sometimes I feel like the sane
    person in a community of the mad; sometimes I feel like the one
    blind man where all others see; the one groping savage in the
    college of the learned, and always, during service, I feel like a
    heretic in heaven.

    But by no means do I ever overlook or minify the fact that
    this is one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. I
    have never seen anything like this before. I have never seen
    anything so great and fine and real as this devotion.

    FRIDAY.--Yesterday's opera was "Parsifal" again. The others
    went and they show marked advance in appreciation; but I went
    hunting for relics and reminders of the Margravine Wilhelmina,
    she of the imperishable "Memoirs." I am properly grateful to her
    for her (unconscious) satire upon monarchy and nobility, and
    therefore nothing which her hand touched or her eye looked upon
    is indifferent to me. I am her pilgrim; the rest of this
    multitude here are Wagner's.

    TUESDAY.--I have seen my last two operas; my season is
    ended, and we cross over into Bohemia this afternoon. I was
    supposing that my musical regeneration was accomplished and
    perfected, because I enjoyed both of these operas, singing and
    all, and, moreover, one of them was "Parsifal," but the experts
    have disenchanted me. They say:

    "Singing! That wasn't singing; that was the wailing,
    screeching of third-rate obscurities, palmed off on us in the
    interest of economy."

    Well, I ought to have recognized the sign--the old, sure
    sign that has never failed me in matters of art. Whenever I
    enjoy anything in art it means that it is mighty poor. The
    private knowledge of this fact has saved me from going to pieces
    with enthusiasm in front of many and many a chromo. However, my
    base instinct does bring me profit sometimes; I was the only man
    out of thirty-two hundred who got his money back on those two operas.
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