The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899, November 24, 1892, Page 11, Image 11

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young, and hud been there nil his life, until
ho hud a stroke ot paralysis, which made his
nnn so weak that; his bowing was uncertain.
Then they told him he could go. Those were
"rent days at the theatre, lie had plenty to
drink then, and wore a dress coat every
evening, and there were always parties after
the play. He could play in those days, ay,
that he could ! lie could never read the notes
well, so he did not play iirst; but his touch,
he had a touch indeed, so llcrr MikilsdofT,
who led the orchestra, had said. Sometimes
now Peter thought he could plow better if he
could only bow as he used to. He had seen
all the lovely women in the world there, all
the great singers and the great players. He
was in the orchestra when Rachel played,
and he heard Liszt play when the Countess
(VAgoult sat in the stage box and threw the
master white lillies. Once, a French woman
came and played for weeks, he did not re
member her name now. He did not remem
ber her face very well either, for it changed
so, it was never twice the same. But the
beauty of it, and the great, hunger men felt
at the sight of it, that he remembered. Most
of all he remembered her voice. Ho did not
know French, and could not understand a
word she said, but it seemed to him that she
must be talking the music of Chopin. And
her voice, he thought he should know that in
the other world. The last night she played
a play In which a man touched her arm, and
she stabbed him. As Peter sat among the
smoking gas jets down below the footlights
with his fiddle on his knee, and looked up
at her, he thought he would like to die, too,
if lie could touch her arm once, and have her
stab him so. Peter went home to his wife
very drunk that night. Even in those days
he was a foolish fellow, who cared for noth
ing but music and pretty faces.
It was all different now. He had nothing
to drink and little to eat, and here, there was
nothing but sun, and grass, and sky. He
bad forgotten almost everything, but some
things he rembered well enough. He loved
bis violin and the holy Mary, and above all
else ho feared the Evil One, and his son An
tone. The fire was low, and it grew cold. Still
Peter sat by the fire remembering, lie dared
not throw more cobs on the fire ; Antonc
would be angry. He did not want to cut
wood to-morrow, it would be Sunday, and he
wanted to go to mass. Antonc might let
him do that. He held his violin under his
wrinkled chin, his white hair fell ovor it, and
and he began to play "Ave Marin." His
hand shook more than ever before, and at
last refused to work the bow at all. Ho sat
stupefied for awhile, then rose, and taking
his violin with him, stole out into the old
stable. He took Antone's shot-gun down
from its peg, and loaded it by the moonlight
which streamed in through the the door. He
sat down on the dirt tloor, and leaned back
against the dirt wall. He heard the wolves
howling in the distance, and the night wind
screaming as it swept over the snow. Near
him he heard the regular breathing of the
horses in the dark. He put his crucifix above
his heart, and folding his hands said brokenly
all the Latin he had ever known, "Pater
noder, qui in avium est.1'' Then he raised
his his head and sighed, "Not one kreutzer
will Antonc pay them to pray for my soul,
not one kreutzer, he is so careful of his
money, is Antone ; he does not waste it in
drink, he is a better man than 1, but hard
sometimes: he works the girls too hard; wo
men were not made to work so ; but he shall
not sell thee, my fiddle, I can play thee no
more, but they shall not part us; we have
seen it all together, and we will forget it to-o-ether,
the French woman and all." He
held his fiddle under his chin a moment,
where it had lain so often, then put it across
his knee and broke it through the middle.
He pulled off his old boot, held the gun be
tween his knees with the muzzle against his
forehead, and pressed the trigger with his
In the morning Antone found him stiff,
frozen fast in a pool of blood. They could
not straighten him out enough to fit a coffin,
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