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THE ROCK ISLAND AKGUS, SATURDAY. JANUARY 7, 1911.
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By AUGUSTA IUTFTJ. SEAMAN.
B HE loiz-4rided time tad coca. Con
g stance wu allowed to remain home from
B school all day. fo eat Bbe might bo
thoroughly rested and In good trim lor
In all the Cften years of her life there was
nothing that Constance Uolbrough had ever looked
forward to w-th bo rnjch mingled anticipation and
Tear as that recital. She had been taking lessons
on the piano from Madame do Chanwix for four
years, but not till now had she attained the dignity
or being allowed to take part ia the annual recital
of the 'great Madam's cider Lnd more advance!
(flip w) '
ZZj&Kj A bovof such injriiou mind
iT) 3fti ,You wiH notr very- of teo find.!
For dotWietook t piece of, bai?eY
iitut.iu, iu ,ii(u:ftuu vvruain y
And oft in learned hands was seenu
Stuff that so veil had served the lawk
(Dick reasoned) must be free from flaw.
For liningy he the covers tookj
From an enevclooedia bock
Because(said he) youiee the'skin
; Absorbs the knowledge from ' within,'
And .when the cap ! wear. my brain 1
Of course wilKsoak it in again.
He borrowed feathers from an owl
(The bird you know is'VVisdom's fowl);"'
Therewith his headgear did he trim
A.nd set it on the done fhiio.'
At once out-'bulged his.maftivebrow7
Constance was proad of that honcr. She
bad really remarkable musical talent; she was Ly
fir the youngest ofall the performers that Eeaion.
and the was to render a Ions and exceedingly d5?Tl
cclt compofcition none other than Beethoven's
"Moonlight Sonata." The choice cf the selection
had been Uncle Geoff's. Madame de Chanwix
bad fairly gasped when she was informed what be
wished Constance to play, and secretly entertained
grave doubts as to whether so young a pupil could
do Justice to the wonderful composition. But then It
was Uncle Geoff who was furnishing the means for
Constance's music lessons, and his wishes were not
to be lightly disregarded. Therefore, they started
in bravely, several months before the appointed
time; and before long it became evident that Con
stance would be equal to hr task. In six weeks
she bad mastered the technical part, and in six
more 6he was able to exec: Is the entire piece
without her notes, and with extremely creditable
"yiession and style.
" Constance loved the "Moonlight Sonata." both
tor Itself, and for the beautiful story that Uncle
Geoff had told her of how it came to be written:
How the great master, while out walking one moon
IJjht evening, happened to pass a cottage whence
came the sound of a piano playing one of Beetho
Ten's own compositions. How he knocked and.
though a stranger, gained admittance, and found
that the musician was a young blind girl. How he
bad asked permission to play, and seating himself,
rendered exquisitely the music she had striven in
adequately to draw forth, and the inhabitants of
the cottage knew that their visitor was none other
than Beethoven himself. Uncle G-eoff told her how,
when he had ended, he looked toward the mindow
and said: "1 will improvise a sonata to the moon
light." and under his touch the gracious harmonies
p-ew like the silver, shimmering light, transmuted
Into sound: and, when the last note died away, and
the wondering listeners presped him with further
boepltallty. be refused to stay, saying that he must
burry home to write dewn the new sonata before it
v Constance thought cf this story whenever she
flayed It. and once or twice, on a moonlight night,
she had ttrrned down the light, raised the shades,
and in the semi-darkness had tried it over for
Tncle Geoff, as they sat together in the moonlit
parlor. To her own and his astonishment, she found
that the was able to do so without a mistake.
"1 believe It's because I'm thinking of the story."
she exclaimed, "and not about my notes!"
Vncle Geoff was delighted. "Constance," be an
nounced, "if you do as well as that on the night
or the recital. 1 11 take you with me on my trip to
Europe this summer."
That almost tock Constance's breath away.
"Oh. Undo Geoff, you darling!" she replied. "I
can hardly believe it. But there's Just one trouble.
It's a!l right when I play for Just you, or Mother
and Father, but I'm horribly nervous about playing
before many penpe I always make-some dreadful
mistake, cr have to stop entirely. I'm certain I'll
do something awful on the night of the recital. I
fairly shake wirh fright whenever t th-lck of it; but.
oh I do so wart to r to Kurope with you!"
"You may be frightened fcr a moment or two.
when you beln, but that will pass away, and I've
perfect faith in you, that you will do welL Re-
7 know an about howx yon felt ' Pleas ask
Madame to let you try once more, tor my sake. Be
member, I have perfect . oonfldonce In you.
The little scrap of paper ' pierced Constant's
gloom like a ray of hope. Eh hadn't forfeited that
confidence yet! It hardly seemed possible t . A mo
ment ago, nothing would have Induced her to touch
the piano again. Now a, sudden Idea occurred to
her. and she beckoned , Madame to, her side and
"I think I could try again. If yon wanted me to;
and, Madame, could you turn out the lights and let
In a little of the mocmltght?" It was a novel Idea,
but Madame waa clever enough to seize It and put It
to excellent use. Bhe stepped, to the front, and
announced that Miss Constance was now ready to
perform her prat the "Moonlight Sonata." Then,
In a few short, telling seentences she gave the' his
tory of Its composition the story so dear to Con
stance and ended by saying that with, the permis
sion of the audience, the "fights would be extinguish
ed and the selection rendered In the moonlight.
With a "click" the electric lights were turned
off, and simultaneously some one drew up, the shades
of the broad, high studio windows. The silvery,
'misty light fell directly on the piano, and left the
rest of the room In practical darkness. A fragrant
May breeze wafted in the perfume of the wistaria
Tlnc3. There was breathless silence in the room.
When Constance again took her place at the
piano, she found that her heart hnd stopped the
terrible thumping, she breathed naturally, and her
Angers sought and .found, without eTort, the cor
rect opening notes. All the staring sea of faces was
shut away by the friendly darkne.se, and only the
familiar moonlight was about her. As the hushed
harmonies flowed forth under her fingers, almost
of their own accord, she forpot her aud!ence entire
ly, and even Uncle Geoff. Sbe only heard the inde
scribable succession of sounds.but her thoughts
were back in another century 'hnd another land: in
a little cottago where a gr.it ma?tcr was drawing
from a humble instrumn't tho v.cr.dtr of an im
provised moonlight so-.ihta.
When the last ctord of the agitato had died
away, she droprvl her hands in her lap, and sat
dreaming through a moment of Intense silence. Sud
denly there vs a deafening burst of applause, the
lights wertup with a snap, and Constance, dazzled
and bew'jored, realized that It was all over, and for
some reason she couldn't imagine what the peo
ple w3re wild with enthusiasm clapping, cheering.
waving fcsndkrcnifs, and Kadam. wttl tr
French effusiveness, was hugging and klatlsf W,
and calling her "vim ltl darling!"
With a half timid bow she reached hr seat.
Just as a lovely little bouquet of plak rosea waa
handed to her. as the cheering finally ended, and
the last number was being glso, Constane earn
gradually to herself, and knew that she had vindi
cated the filth of her dear one, and scored the
success of the evening. Attached to her bouaaet
was a little envelope, and from It she drew a tiny
card on which had been hastily scrawled:
"Confidence Intact. Trip to Europe safe. Congratulation-.
! UNCLE GEOFF."
"But It was only Uncle Geoff's belief In ma (hit
did It!" sighed Constance happily.
A Weather Rhyme ; ;
By MARY ROLOFSON. j
If the sun is bright and the sky Is clear.
What do you think I will do. my dear?
I will Bkate on the pond with Nellie West,
For she is the chum that I love best;
And then I will coast on Butternut Hill
If Jack will go, and I know he will;
And then, If there's any more time at all,
I'll go to Ethel's and make a rail.
She lives in the little "snow-house," you kow.
That we built together a week ago.
And so. If to-morrow Is fair and bright,
I'll Just be happy from morning till night.
But If It should happen to be a day
When I can not go out of doors to play,
I'll make a dress for my Isabel Jane,
And string some beads to make her a chs'n;
And then I'll sit by the fireplace nook
And read awhile In my newest book;
And I'll paste some pictures, and theo. maybt
When It Is getting too dark to see.
Mania will sit down by the fire and tell
The stories I love to hear so welL
And so. If to-morrow should not be bright,
1 11 Just be happy from morning till night. '
memDer, Constance, I have absolute confidence In
you, and you mustn't disappoint me!" answered Un
Thus, on the morning of the eventful day, was
Constance filled with del.'ghtful anticipation and
nervous dread. So much hung in the balance; not
only the trip to Europe, and the approval of her
parents and friends, but Uncle Geoff's confidence
in her. And, somehow, that counted most of all.
Madame had advised her not to practice much
that day. but twice sbe went to the piano and
played the sonata through, and each time she made
several new and hitherto unthought-of mistakes.
This, of course, worried her greatly, and added to
her nervousness. In the afternoon, her mother In
sisted that she must lie down and try to take a nap.
But sleep waa far from her, and her restless fingers
were constantly shaping themselves to execute the
familiar chords and runs. Finally, after an early
dinner, the time came for her to be arrayed in the
dainty bine crepe-de-chine dress that her mother's
ekllful fingers had for days past been fashioning.
Then they were all whirled away In the carriage
Uncle Geoff had providedd for the occasion. A
splendid full moon flooded the May landscape with
almost the brightness of day.
"This is Just the night for a 'moonlight sonata,'
little one," whispered Uncle Geoff, pinching the seri
ous face laughingly. "Cheer up, my hearty!"
But Constance was feeling anything but cheer
ful, and grew soberer every 'moment. The next
thfng she knew, they were in the great stndlo, un
familiar in its gorgeous decorations, and rows upon
rows of chairs steadily being filled by invited guests
and friends of the students.
Constance found herself seated by the two grand
pianos, among a crowd of pupils gaily dressed, all
older than herself some long since "grown up."
They were all chattering among themselves, and
nervously fussing with their music, ribbons, and bou
quets. She feit very much alone, and horribly
frightened. The white glare of the electric lights,
the sea of unfamiliar fsces, Madame de Chanwix
moving about majestically in a wonderful spangled
robe, the ceaseless buzz of conversation all over the
fast-filling room, oppressed the nervous girl with a
dreary sense of forlornness. In a far corner she
could catch a glimpse, cow and then, of Uncle
Geoff's smiling face. She longed to rush to him.
Implore him to take her away, and never, never ask
her to play a note of music again.
Suddenly Madame stepped to the front of the
pianos and there was a hush. The silence seemed
to Constance more appalling than the previous
noise. The program was to begin with an eight
handed selection on the vtwo pianos. Constance
fairly Jumped at the crash of sound with which it
commenced, but the remainder of It was only an
unmeaning. Idle clatter In her ears, and she sat with
her hands gripped together in ber lap; for her turn
was to come next.
There was a burst of applause as the music
ceased, and then another tense silence. Constance
wished madly that they would all chatter and buzz
again as they had before the program commenced.
As Madame led her to the piano, she broke into a
cold perspiration, and her knees shook so that she
could hardly walk. In all her consciousness, nothing
stood out bet the blinding glare of the lights, and
the sea of staring faces.
She was to play without her notes, and when
she was seated she raised her hands to the keys.
Then she realized with a great throb of her heart,
that she could not, for the life of her, remember
how the thing began. Her memory was as bland
of all those months of practice as though she had
never touched a piano! Madame's quick eye dis
cerned her predicament, and in an Instant she had
the notes on the rack before the trembling girL
Constance's fingers found the proper keys and
she played the opening bar, but In a moment the
page blurred and became a mere meaningless Jumble
before her eyes. Again she began it, got to the
same place, and again the notes ran together. Then,
scarcely knowing what she did, she closed the music,
left the piano-stool, and found herself In her seat.
Two or three of the pupils giggled hysterically, and
she was conscious that Madame was apologizing to
the audience for her nervousness. Another per
former took her place and the concert went on.
Constance beard nothing, saw nothing, realized
nothing hut the crushing burden of her humiliation
and defeat. Sbe had forfeited the trip to Europe,
of course. That was as nothing to her now. Sbe
only longed for the evening to end, that she might
crawl away and hide herself like some wounded
animaL Her parents and friends were all sorry for
her, and rather ashamed of her blunder, she sup
posed. But even that was nothing to the fact that
she had forever destroyed the confidence of Uncle
Geoff. He had believed in her. He bad spent his
money on her musical education and for this!
She sat white and motionless during the rest of
the program. Student after student performed her
part with more or less credit, and was duly and en
thusiastically applauded. But Constance heard
naught of it. Her one thought was: "Will it never
end?" She did not dare to glance at Uncle Geoff's
corner. Just before the last selection another
eight-handed piece come cne handed Constance a
small folded note. Sbe opened it mechanically,
and read these words:
THE GREAT ICE CARNIVAL AT J0LLIPOPOLIS.