The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, July 10, 1897, Page 4, Image 4
THE COURIER. THE PMODKSIE! WILLA CATI1ER. i I AM rr ady at last, Nelson. Have I kept- you very long'" asked Mis. Nelson Mackenzio as the came hurriedlv down the stairs. "I'm sorry but 1 just had one misfortune af ter another in dressing." "You don't look it," replied her hus band, as he glanced up at her admir ingly. "Do you like it? O, thank jou! lam never quite cure about this shade of green, it's so treacherous. I have had such a time. The children would not stay in the nursery aud poor Elsie has lost her 'Alice in Wonderland' and wai's without ceasing because nurse cannot repeat the 'Walrus and the Car psnter' off hand." "I Bhould thing cveryose about this bouse could do that. I know the who's fool book like the catechism," said Mac kenzie as he drew on his coat "Is the carriage there?" Mackenzie didn't answer. He knew that Harriet knew psrfectly well that the carriage had been waiting for half an hour. "I hope we shan't be late," remarked Harriet as they drove away. "But it's just like Kato to select the moEt diffi cult hour in the day and recognize no obstacles to our appearing. She admits of no obstacles either for herself or oth er people. You've never met her except formally, have you? We Baw a great deal of each other years ago. I took a few vocal lessons from her father and was for a time the object of her super abundant enthusiasm. If there i3 any thing in the world that has nojt at some' time baen its object I don't know it. One must always take her with a grain of allowance. But even her character istic impractibility doe s not excuie her for intiting bu3y people at four o'clock in the afternoon." "I suppose it's the only hour at which the prodigies exhibit." "Now don't speak disrespectfully, Nel Eon. They really are very wonderful children. I fancy Kats is working them to death, that's her way. But I don't think I ever heaid two joung voices of such promise. They sang at Christ Church that Sunday you didn't go, and I was quite overcome with astonish ment. They have had the best instruc tion. It's wonderful to think of mere children hoving such method. As a rule juvenile exhibitions merely appeal to tha maternal element in one, but when I heard them! quite forgot that thy were children. I astu re you they quite deserve to be taken seriously." "All the same I shouldn't like to be exhibiting my children about like freaks." "Poor Nelson! there's not much danger . of your ever being tempted. It's ex tremely unlikely that poor Billy or Elsie will ever startle the world. Really, do you know when I heard those Masssy children and thought of all they have done, of all they may do, I envied them myselfb To youth everything is possible when anything at all is possible." Harriett sighed and Mackenzie fancied he detected a note of disappointment in her voice. He had suspected before that Harriett was disappointed in her children. They suited him well enough, but Harriet was different. If Harriet Norton had taken up mis. sionary work in the Cannibal Islands her friends could" not have been more surprised than when she married Nel son Mackenzie. They had slated her for a very different career. As a girl she possessed unusual talent. After taking sundry honors at the New Eog- Mothm? 25 per cent discount on all toys' ad duldreas' clothing. Armstrong OotfisBcCo. 44 land conservatory, she had studied music abroad. It had been rumored that Leschetizky was about to launch her on a concert tour as a piano virtuoso, when she had suddenly loturned to America and married the one among all her admirers who seemed particularly un suited to her. Mackenzie was a young pbjsician, a thoroughly practical, me thodical Scotchman, rather stout, with a tendency to baldness, and with a pro pensity for blowing the cornet. This latter fact alone was ceitainly enough to disqualify him for becoming the hus band of a pianiste. When it reached Les:hethky 'sears that Miss Norton had married a cornet-playing doctor, be "re corded one lost soul more," and her her na tie never jassed bis lips again. Evei her former rivals fo'.t that they could now afford to Ls generous, and with one accord sent their congratula tions to herself and husband "whom they had beard wa3 also a musician." Harriet received these neat sarcasms with great amusement. She hed known when she married him that Mackenzie plnyed the cornet, that he even played "Promise Me;" but she considered it one of the most innocent diversions in which a man could indulge But Harriet had not married him to inaugurate a ro mance or to develop ouo. She had seen romances enough abroad and knew by heat t that fatal fifth act of marriages between artists. She was sometimes glad that there was not a romantic fiber in Mackenzie's substantial frame. She had married him because for Eome inexplicable rejsan she had alwajs been fond of him, and since her marriage Bhe bad never been disappointed or dis illusioned in him. He was not a bril liant man, and his chief m.rits were those of character virtues not always fascinating, but they wear well in a hus band and are generally abeut the eafest things to be married to. So, in Mackenzie's phraseology, they had "pulled well enough together." Of course Mrs. Mackenzie had her moments of rebellion against the monotony of the domestic routine, and felt occasional stirriags of the old restlessness for achievement and the old thirst of the spirit. But knowing to what unspiritual things this soul-thirst had led women aforetime, she resolved to live the com mon life at least commonly well. But her married life had held one very bitter diEappointmant, Ler chil dren. Someway she bad never doubted that her children would be like her. She had settled upon innumerable Lrtietic careers for them. Of course they would both have her talent for music, probably of a much liner sort than her own, and the boy would do all the great things that she bad not done. She knew well enough that if the cruelly exacting life of art is cot wholly denied a woman, it is offered to her at a terrible price. She had not chosen t pay it. But with the boy it would be different. He should leal'z: all the dreams that once stirred in th bieatt on which he slept. She bad awaited impatiently the time when his little fingers were strong enough to strike the keys. But although he had heard music from the time he could hear at all, the child displayed neither interest nor aptitude for it. In Tain his papa tooted familiar airs to him on the cornet; sometimes he recognized them and sometimes he did not. It was just the same with the little girl. The poor child could never eing the simplest nursery air correctly. They were both healthy, lively children, unusually Attention, wheelmen! 25 per cent dis count on all furnishing goods, which in cludes sweaters and golf hose. Armstrong Clothing Co. REMOVAL) - - SALE To avoid breakage in moving our immense stock to our new location, 1109 O Street. Wo will make special prices on our entire line for the next twenty days. We have many bar gains to offer you. Do not fail to call. truthful and well CDnduutoJ, but thor oughly commonplace. Harriet could not resign nerself to this, sho could not un derstand it. There ws always a nots of envy in her voice when she spoke of the wonderful Massey children, whose names were on every one's lips. It seemed just as though Kate Massey bad got what she should have had her self. When the Mackenzie arrived at tbo Massey's door Mrs. Massay rushed past the servant and met them herself. "I'm so glad you've come Harriet, dear. We were just about to begin and I didn't want you to miss Adrienne's first nuinb;r. It's the waltz song from Romeo et Juliette; she had special drill on that from Madame Marchesi you know, and in London they considered it one of her best. 1 know this is a difficult hour, but they have to eing after dinner and 1 don't want to tax them too much. Poor dears! there are to masy demands on their time, and strength that I some times feel like fleeing to the North Pole with them. To the left, up stairs, Mr. Mackenzie. Harriet, you know the way.'' And their animated hostess dashed off in search of more worlds to conquer. Mrs. Massey's manner was always that of a conqueror fresh from the fray. She demanded of every one absolute capitu lation and absolute surrender to the ob ject of her particular enthusiasm, what ever that happened to be at the mo ment. Usually it was her wonderful children. When the Mackenzies descended, Kate met them with a warning gesture and usheied them into the music room where the other guests were seated silently and expectantly. When they were seated she herself sank into a chair with an air of rapt and breathless an ticipation. The accompanist took her seat and a very pale, languid little girl came for ward and stood beside the piano. She looked to be about fourteen but was un usually small for her age. She was a singularly frail child with apparently al. most no physical reserve power, and Btood with a slight natural stoop which she quickly corrected as she caught her mother's eye. Her great dark eyes seemed even larger than they were by reason of the dark circles under them. She clasped her hands and waited until the brief prelude was over. She seemed not at all nervous, but very weary. Even the spirited measures of that most viva cious of arias could not wholly dispel the listlessness from those eyes that were so sad for a child's face. As to the Vita every dollar purchase a very fine lithograph is given away at Riggs Phar macy, H460 street. merit or even the "wonder" of her sing ing, there was no doubt. Even the un musical Mackenzie, who could not de scribe her voice in technical language, knew that this voice wbb marvellous from the throat of a child. -The volume of a maturo singer was of course not there, but her tones were pure and limpid and wonderfully correct. The thing that most suiprised him was what his wife called the "method"' of tho child's Eingicg. Gounod's waltz aria is not an easy one, and the child must have been perfectly taught. It seemed to him, though, ttiafthe little dash of gaiety she threw into it had been taught her, too, and that this child herself had never known what it was to be gay. "0 Kate, how I envy you!" sighed Harriet in a burst of admiration too sin cere to be concealed. Her hostess smiled triumphantly; she expected everyone to envy her, took that for granted. As Mackenzie saw the little figure glide between the por tieres, he was not quits so sure that he eavied Massey. Massey was a practical man of busi ness like himself, who sesm'd rather overcome by the surprising talent of his children. He always stood a little apart ficm the musical citcle which surround ed them, even in bis own house, and when his wife took them abroad for in struction he stayed at boms and sup plied the funds. His natural reserve grew more marked as the years went by and he seemed so obliterated even at his own fireside that McKenzie sometimes fancied he regretted having given prodi gies t3 the world. Mrs. Massey turned to Harriet in an excited whispor: "Herman will only sing the 'Serenade.' He selected that because it eaves bis voice. Tho duet they will sing after dinner is very try ing, it's the parting scone from Julietto, the one they will sing in concert next week." Tho boy was tha elder of the two; not bo thin as his sister perhaps, but still pitifully fragile, with an unusually large head, all forehead, and those same dark, tired eyes. He sang the German words of that matchless serenade of Schu bert's, so familiar, yet bo perennially new and strange; so old, yet bo immort ally young. It was a voico like those one sometimes hears in the boy choirs of the great cathedrals of the old world, a voice that, untrained, would have been alto rather than tenor; clear, Bwect, and vi brant, with an indefinable echo of mel ancholy. He was less limited by hia physique than his Bister, and it seemed impossible that such strong, sustained tones could como from that fragile body. All hats and caps at 25 per cent discount. Armstrong Clothing Co .