As there was no theatre in Fontainebleau large enough to hold the huge audience, the concert 마사지알바 was given in the Ménage d’Artillerie, which had been hastily converted into a concert hall. It proved excellent for this purpose, except that as soon as we began playing, hundreds of birds, which had had undisturbed possession of the rafters and of the musical privileges of this building for years, were evidently disturbed and angered by our intrusion. They suddenly flew out from their nests and burst into shrill songs of protest, which mingled, not without interesting results, with the harmonies of the “New World Symphony,” played by special request of the sous-préfet, M. Fragnaud, who is himself an excellent amateur oboe player.

In the front rows of the audience were hundreds of school-children who had been dressed “en Américaine,” with enormous bows and sashes composed of the American stars and stripes. That there were several hundred of these I can testify, as I had to shake hands with every one of them after the concert.

The following day, before leaving for Belgium, I received the welcome news that a rather disagreeable matter concerning our three concerts at the Paris Opéra had been most amicably settled. The Opera House, which is the property of the French Government, had been offered to us by the Ministère des Beaux Arts “free of rent,” but we were to pay for the actual expenses of light, heat, and service incurred. When I first arrived in Paris our local manager informed us that the Director of the Opera, who holds a lease of the building, intended to charge us thirty thousand francs for his “expenses.” This seemed to me excessive, and I remonstrated with M. Leon, the Director of the Beaux Arts. The Director of the Opera, who had lost millions of francs at the opera during the war, was a man of wealth to whom the opera was more or less of a personal toy, but he evidently wished to recoup somewhat on us, for he argued that, inasmuch as he might have given opera performances on the days and hours when we had our concerts, we should be charged with the pro-rata expense of his singers, orchestra, chorus, and ballet. This argument, however, did not seem valid to us, as since time immemorial there had never been any opera performances on those days of the week. I presented our case to M. Leon and told him that as I had never had any dealing or arrangement with the Director of the Opera but only with the Ministère des Beaux Arts, I was compelled to leave the matter entirely in their hands. We were their guests, and if they felt that we should pay thirty thousand francs for “expenses” we would most certainly do so. The results were most satisfactory, but not entirely unexpected by me, and the sum which we finally paid was a perfectly fair amount.

We went to Brussels on June 3 by motor, through a great part of the devastated regions and all the horror and misery of destroyed villages, field after field pock-marked by shell explosions and dreary remains of a few stumps of trees where had been acres and acres of forest.

On our arrival we were welcomed with open arms by our ambassador, Brand Whitlock, and his wife. He told me that but two weeks before he had been suddenly informed that we could not play at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie because a socialist organization of Brussels claimed the right to it for an entertainment of their own. There had been a mix-up because the director of the opera, who had promised us the theatre, had died and the new incumbent claimed to have no knowledge of our coming. They intended to place us in a Flemish theatre, which of course did not have the dignity of the Royal Opera House, and Mr. Whitlock promptly told them that, as we were there by invitation of the Belgian Government and as our coming had an international significance, he could not permit us to be euchred out of our rightful possession of the Théâtre de la Monnaie, and if we could not have that he would telegraph to me urging us to cancel the concert. This evidently produced results. The socialist organization was appealed to, and immediately and courteously said that it would do anything for an American orchestra.

The same lack of what we would call proper management of concerts seemed to exist in Brussels as in many cities of France and Italy. Large advertisements, such as fill the amusement columns of American papers, are hardly ever used. Two lines inserted only once or twice are the rule. Reading notices, giving the programme or other information regarding the concert, are printed only if paid for at so much a line. Small posters, which are pasted on street corners for a week or two, are almost the only advertising indulged in.

Transfer companies—such as in our country meet a musical or theatrical organization at the station with a specified number of trucks to carry the musical baggage or scenery to the theatre—are not known. We had put this important part of our tour into the hands of Thomas Cook and Sons, and their representative, on the arrival of the train, would negotiate with this or that driver lounging around the station and lazily looking for jobs. In Italy the porters again and again simply refused to transport our stuff because the weather was too hot, and they would only begin at six or seven o’clock in the evening, when thirty little handcarts, pushed by as many men, would carry the musical instruments to the theatre. Luckily concerts in Italy begin at nine or nine-thirty, so we always managed in one way or another to get our instruments transported. Several times, however, even soldiers and military camions were bribed into service. This slovenliness, which is maddening to an American, is so universal in Europe, especially since the war, that one marvels how anything can be accomplished; and yet with the exception of places where strikes interfered we got along, even though we were sometimes wild with anxiety and foolishly furious at what we considered to be their national characteristics.