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About The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 21, 1899)
TUB WOMAN WITH THE LORG
NETTE. A HTUDY IN K0U2NTK0ITY.
The Guund of his falsotto voico jiured
on my quivering norvos like the minor
c-n'h of a broken note.
Confound it, BojrbUi, tho people are
nit dogs!" ho cxclai-.r.od. When nn
nudionco liko that" ho waved b.19 hand
toward tho front "ahrloka nnd cheers
like boyj at their lirot circuE; whon
jou'vo got 'oiti, mo.i and women, music
iaris and swells, all bowling with hys
terical joy, I toll you, man, you've just
got to "
I grasped ray hat and, hurrying down
tho steps, muilo my way out through tho
stage door, louving him for onco, I
gratefully reconizod, epaechlobP.
Play again? Sootho that many
headed, howling beast with an encore?
Dull tho momory of that gloiioup,
crushing, awful finale, which had left
mo weak and trembling as as was
E ida that night fourteen years ago
whe.i I firac played it to her; played her
to my f set, to my heart that beat and
crird for her?
No, respected Herr Mohr, cleverest of
munagera and nice despicable of men,
tuero will bo to encore tonight. And
jou will bear tho brunt of tbo people's
tlisploasuro. For this it is that we a?tis a
have managers. This is the unwritten
half of our contract, this and the hourly
misery I endure from your thick
tkinnrd, grasping, fawning vulgarity,
you excellent businees man. Bo grate
ful that ttiiaia all jou need bear, O
uiuch-BouLt-aftcr manager of great
artiets! For overy leaping nerve in my
body seconds the' loathing I've learned
to feel for you since we began this moBt
succ2Bst ul tour together, and calls for
revenge for what I've suffered.
I hato you when you smile and shrug
your shoulders, and say, "These artis s!
Oh, what one stands from a genius! '
Atd I hutsjou moro whon you ap
prove mo. I hate your every raannor
Hin, your emallott fault, with an in
tensity that maUoa mo wonder that I
have not strangled you, after some now
tv.dtfncoof your talent for advertising
and degrading me. But I hate you
mo,t whon you affect to sjmpathizo
with mo, when you affect to dtep'uo the
thing you wordhip notoriety.
I could Uugh, were I not halt mad
with neivous excitement, to remember
how one3. in my agony, I was tempted
to ciy out t you to Herr Mohr, famous
manager of arli6ts hardly moro faraou-.
To mako one's stlf ridiculous bofore a
Mohr! To expect sympathy from a
Mohi ! To look for an olevated point of
view and a high tone of artistic moral
ity from a Mohr!
'It's torture to play in pubhr, Mohr!'1
1 can hear myself say, ajmost weeping
with rajje and nervous Buffeting. "It is
humiliating, tbo essonco of sluvery, to
Imro one'B soul f jr tho edification of the
many-headed, many har.ded monster
that bids Tor ono at tho block. To b3
eold to the highest bidder was one
thing an awful one; but to uncover
one'Biut -which, after all, is only one's
innrr, truor deeper, nature to tho gi-zo
or tho pub'ic; to retuil one's inspiration,
ono'a idoal, tLo unrpeakabb, tho un
utterable, which music's eelf alone can
exprees, tho purest, the highest motives
of one's lifo to tho mob faugh!"
r whs a fool. But I waa thinking of
Elida, loalizing that every lime 1 sit
diwn to tho piano it 1b to ber I play; to
my memory of htr. With the shining
spiritual 6WcntneES of her comprehend
ing fnco in my mind, in my heart, is it
Hurprieing that the thing Mohr com
plains of my co-tempt for the audience
in written in my half-Bhut eyes, in my
bitter mouth, in my ignoiing of itfl very
It was a beautiful night, soft and
mild. Tho moon was in tho twilight of
its jouth; its ueaicB melted and diffused
through tho tiemblicg air over which it
It witb delightful to walk about alono
in ih'it ntmosphoro of prescient m)stcry.
Anything might happen on a night liko
this. It wus doubly delightful, for ul
the hotjl Mohr, I lu.ow, would bo wait
ing my return in an agony of doubt and
fear leet I Bhould not return to meet
tho guests ho had invitod tj sup vvith ub
this last evoning of our stay bore. To
mortify Mohr whilo indulging mysolf!
It wus morj than ploatuie. It wbb
If tho soul, with all its treasures of
tenderntBi, of longing, of loving, had
the powor tint rondos in a bur of Ijheo
metal eho would come to mo tonight.
Dit-tanco would be annihilated; greater
miracle sin would ba as though it had
"And jou will never forgive, Elida?
Again I hear the words wo spoke at
'I have forgiven. I cannot forget."
Thifl was herauswtr.
'And whal atonoment? Is thero
"Make my belief in you what it was.'1
Merely that, Elidb? Juet to alter
what bus bnon? Only to recall tbo ir
revocable past, and then to meet the
fateful moment with other thoughts,
other desires, other qualities than are
mine? Vet, love, you suffer and long
for the man jou loved. And I I suffer
nnd yearn for the one I love. And we
two remain forever apart.
Oh, that tho reverence I have for you
had made me like you! Ob, that the
love you bore me had boen moro pitiful,
It was dark in the theatro when I got
back, htting myself in through the
stage door by means of the key I et 11
carried. Outside, the soft bhjen of the
mysterious night whs buried in clouds
ot fog. Inside, circle upon circle of
83ut9 faced me in the thick, crowd d
darkness. I felt tho preeenco of this
dumb, waiting audience, though 1
could not 03 it till I turned on tho
Einglo eldUric light nearest my piano.
In thodHys before success caoioto
mo I dearaad of euch a.piano. When wo
were boy and girl together, fellow stu
dents who knew not yet we were lovers,
Elida and I ueod to epeuk o? tho instru
ment which ehiuld leveal my power to
the world, as thoughtful, loving parents
speak of their child Lefore its birth.
'I shall lovo it, next to you,'' I said.
"I shall he j.a!ous of it, Boris" she
nd now, having lost her, tbia great
dumb, awkward thing of ebony atd iion
and waiting strings is all there is of
light to mo in lifo. Its master, yet its
slave, ami. It is my hand thai wnkeB
it to most perfect life; it is my soul that
responds most truly to its thrilling
Come, wo will speak to each other
of hui !
Tharo'a a little studj, a quick, com
plicated, merry little melody, confined
to comparative few notes in the treble
but ba'anced by tho strong, simplo
harmonies of tho baes octavep. This I
iiEBociuto always with her, because whsn
I took my liret lesson on it and, haunt
od by itB quick, tripping biilliuxcy, was
still bUndiog by tho piano running it
ovor with ono hand, that day long ago
eho ran into tho room and into my life
Opening the piano I begin now with
this simple little,exercise, every co'.oof
which'iB a thought 6f her. Then on,
through the repertoire eho loved.
Every prelude is a picture of our musi
cal life together, and the most perfect
phrases, tho grandest chords, the moat
enchanting bile of melody aie but re
flections of my love's sweet face. Glad
or peoeive, gentlo or saucy, they are but
Elida tendered into'mUBic.
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