The True Tale of Trilby Tersely Told
you read Trilby?
A novel by George DeMaurier? (copyright 1895)
Illustrated by the Author. For sale at all booksellers: Cloth $1.75
“A charming story with exquisite grace and tenderness” – N.Y. Tribune
Have you read the tale of “Trilby,”
Have you seen the startling play
That is causing such excitement
In the busy world to-day?
Have you studied out the story
Of the great hypnotic power
Shown by mesmerist Svengali –
The sensation of the hour?
In a studio in Paris,
The three Englishmen are seen,
Artists all are, Little Billee,
Taffy and the “Laird” serene.
Little Billee loves the model
“Trilby” who his love returns,
Tho’ each of his artist comrades
For her favors also yearns.
Loving also Little Billee,
In his favor they retire,
Learning that he is the only
One that Trilby can admire.
Then appears the knave Svengali,
Music master, fiend as well,
Who, when Trilby has a headache,
Cures her by his mystic spell.
Finding out his magic power,
O’er the foolish little elf,
Then Svengali vows to use it,
Just to benefit himself.
Making Trilby world-wide famous
As a singer of renown,
And compels her to abandon
Billee, and with him leave town.
So beneath his spell hypnotic,
With Svengali she elopes,
Leaving all hers friends behind her,
Dashing little Billee’s hopes.
Five years pass. Her reputation
As a singer of great worth,
Is acknowledged by each nation,
Civilized throughout the earth.
She can sing with power and fervor,
While Svengali holds the spell,
But without his aid she cannot
One note from another tell!
And for years he has sustained her,
Made her famous by her voice,
Princes Emperors and statesmen
At her singing oft rejoice.
But one luckless night in Paris
When the theatre is filled
With admirers of her singing
Suddenly her voice is still’d!
For that moment in the foyer,
Has Svengali met his fate,
The three Englishmen accuse him
And he dies, expressing hate!
Trilby’s vocal powers leave her
As Svengali’s life gives out,
Dazed and wild she stares about her,
Brain-bewildered beyond doubt!
By degrees she recognizes
Little Billee and her friends,
But the memory of Svengali,
Kills her—and the story ends!
Yes, the world is full of Trilbys,
Just as foolish, perhaps as she,
Who when troubled with a headache
Seek some silly remedy.
Had she spurned Svengali’s offer
When her headache made her sick,
And just taken Bromo-Seltzer,
‘Twould have cured her just as quick.
‘Twould have made her nervous system
Strong enough to neutralize
All attempts of base Svengali,
Her young will to hypnotize.
‘Twould have cleared her brain and freed her
From dread headache’s awful pain,
Bromo-Seltzer is the soother
Of mankind’s severest strain.
1890s advertising booklet,
Acquired by Richard K Riley,
December 9, 2005