May 30 Thursday – Sam again accompanied Livy and Clara Spaulding to Mannheim for an opera, this time Lohengrin [MTNJ 2: 46; 92]. From Sam’s notebook:
May 30— Mannheim—Went to a shivaree—(this is John) polite name, Opera.
In midst of it John who had not moved or spoken from the beginning, but looked the picture of patient suffering, was asked how he was getting along. He said in a tremulous voice that he had not had such a good time since he had his teeth fixed.
I have attended Operas whenever I could not help it, for fourteen years, now, & I am sure I know of no agony comparable to the listening to an unfamiliar Opera…what long, arid, heart-breaking & head-aching between-times expanses of that sort of intense but incoherent noise which so reminds me of the time the orphan asylum burned down [ 93].