3608 UNIVERSAL HISTORY--THE MODERN WORLD.
one of the great artistes came to be one
of the celebrated features of the day.
This singer was Marthe Chenal, and for
months, nightly, she sang this song of
war songs at the Opera Comique to large
audiences. She also sang it to wounded
soldiers and to soldiers going Into battle
and never failed to arouse burning patriotic ardor in the hearts of her hearers.
One of the best bits of writing produced
during the war was written by Wythe
Williams, Paris correspondent of the New
York Times, describing Chenal's singing
the national hymn at the opera. First
came an operetta entitled "Ballet of the
Nations. After it came "Le Chant du
Depart," the famous song of the Revolution. There was a magnificent soldier
chorus and a thrilling fanfare of trumpets
and drums. "I concluded," wrote Williams,
"that the best Chenal could do with the
'Marseillaise,' which was next on the
program, would be an anti-climax.
"The orchestra played the opening bars
of the martial music. With the first notes
the vast audience rose. I looked up at the
row of wounded leaning heavily against
the rail, their eyes fixed and staring on the
curtain. I noticed the officers in the boxes,
their eyes glistening. I heard a convulsive
catch in the throats of persons about me.
Then the curtain lifted.
"I do not remember what was the stage
setting. I do not believe I saw it. All
I remember was Chenal standing at the
top of a short flight of steps, in the center
near the back drop. I indistinctly remember that the rest of the stage was
filled with the soldier chorus and that
near the footlights on either side were
clusters of little children.
" 'Up, sons of France, the call of glory'-"Chenal swept down to the footlights.
The words of the song swept over the
audience like a bugle call. The singer
wore a white silk gown draped in perfect