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THE glamour of one of the most brilliant
Courts of modern times hovers round the memory of this marvellously gifted musician; a Court whose splendours vanished like the fleeting glories of the rainbow before the war-clouds culminating in the lurid storm of Sedan.
Pianiste à Sa Majesté l'Impératrice des Français ! was the proud title of this distinguished virtuoso, which, like the golden wand of a magician, conjures up a host of charming visions of one who was the pride and glory of her people when in the zenith of imperial motherhood, and whose brief span of regal power arose, flashed, and set like a meteor in the course of royal events. A pale and languid face, on whose pain-contracted lips a world once hung, starts into life beside the radiant loveliness of Eugénie, while the smiling eyes and spiritual beauty of the debonair young
Prince completes the trio. Husband and sonthe dazzling glitter and prestige of the one lost, swallowed up for ever in the mighty waves of disastrous defeat; the joyous youth, the fond hopes, the proud future of the other drowned for ever in the life-blood welling up beneath the thrust of a Zulu spear !
Death spared Ascher the pain of witnessing the deplorable events which culminated in the downfall of his beloved and gracious patroness, as he fell a victim to a complication of diseases which terminated his life before the fatal year of '70.
Joseph Ascher was born in London, of German parentage, in the year 1831, and when a mere lad attracted the attention of Moscheles, who soon found the brilliant gifts of his pupil fully justified the interest he took in him ; but it was not until the patronage of Eugénie established his fame that the genius discovered by Moscheles was stamped with the seal of public recognition and appreciation accorded it by that master of the pianoforte.
The year 1849 was an eventful one in the life of the young virtuoso, for it was the year of his advent in Paris. He was then in the very golden prime of youth, in the romantic age of man's life when everything in the world seems