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Paoli the Musician.
In two small rooms on the ground floor of a rickety tenement lived Paoli, his wife Flosca and their baby girl, Anita. They had not intended to live in such an humble manner when they left their Italian home a year ago — ah, no, they were coming to America — to I California, another sunny Italy — and Jirnia, and make lots of money. i happy and make lots of money. -^Fcr was not Paoli's father a prosper ous fruit merchant in the city so far away in the west, and had he not sent I them the gold that would bring them across the sea and land to him? So they smiled farewell to the good friends, the holy father had himself blessed them, and then the little family started for the land of sun- shine and — Paoli, Flosca and the babe Anita and the little harmonium that was too precious to leave behind. But Paoli arrived in San Francisco only to find that the fruit merchant, his father, had been dead a month, and instead of the proud array of fruits and vegetables he had expected to see nothing but a cheerless "For Rent" sign greeted his tearful eyes when led to the place by a sympa thetic countrymen. All the money of the deceased fruit dealer had been used to defray the funeral expenses. Alone, friendless and almost penni less in a strange land the little family stricken with the awful blow sought shelter in one of the big tenements that rear their gloomy fronts on the narrow alleys, which in mock cour tesy are called streets. Every day Paoli would kiss his weeping Flosca and little Anita and tramp the streets of the big city look ing for something to do, he knew not what. His countrymen were kind, but alas, so poor! and Paoli would not ' accept alms. It was work he wanted. I But when he asked for employment I his countrymen would shake their j heads kindly; he was too small, too delicate; the work was too rough; could he not find something to do with his music? But Paoli would explain j to them that he did not speak the i language s and besides, he would add J with "a bitter smile, he did not belong I 1 to the union. So for many weary days he sought vainly for work, only to meet with dis- ! appointment and rebuff. Then he | Many times during the last few months I have taken up my pen to give to the world the story of Geza Domen ico, but always after having written several pages entirely unsatisfactory to myself I have felt upon my own the V' restraining touch of an invisible hand and laid aside my work. But now that I know he is dead the impulse to write has come strongly upon me, and I know that it can be written. The family of Domenico is one of the oldest and most aristocratic in Italy. It has been for generations one of the greatest refinement, has never been connected with scandals at court, and has always lent the influence of its wealth and great name to the music and art and the literature of the time. j* Geza first saw the light of day in Flor **. ence, Where the quiet Arno flows, and up to his twelfth year breathed, in the atmosphere of bis romantic sur sroundings,5 roundings, the poetry and dreamy ro mance of that most beautiful of all Italian cities. Then through some fan cied intrigue of bis father the elder Domenico was banished from Italy. Crossing with his family into Austria- Hungary, he located after several years in Buda-Pest, that center whence so many musical geniuses flash upon the world, weaving into their Hunga rian melodies all the wild dreamtngs of love and battle and death which we find threading so much of the Hunga rian composition. Here Geza, with every opportunity wealth could afford, perfected himself in his studies on the violin, and in his twenty-first year produced his opera, "The King and the Subject," scoring an instantaneous success. The score was of the highest order, and pro duced a profound sensation in the Hungarian capital. Not so, however, .Vie libretto, which I had the misfor tune to writ*-. Innocent enough in it -2* f, in its allusions to the rulers of the ciWtry, •-. artists reading more deeply 'beVveen the lines than even I hud dreamed, and adding to the sentiment the buffoonery of the 'stage, the libret to, when it reached the court, was as unpopular as the music was accept able. The mandate issued from Vienna and Geza was compelled to Quit the coun- try. I, being an American, was treated ■'- less cavalierly, but in various ways, •which one even less observant than . myself could not fail to note, I was led '■-' to believe my continued residence in would sigh and say to himself, "Rome is so far away— far away!" The weeks passed. The little hoard of money was almost exhausted, and Poali's shoes were worn out from much weary walking over the hard cobbles. And then, when sore and discouraged from his unsuccessful tramps, the tired musician would step softly into the big cathedral and re fresh his heart and sou! with the mu sic that was so dear to him. It was on one of these days that a kindly priest, noticing the pale and haggard face of the stranger, and rec ognizing a countryman, stopped to speak a word of encouragement. In a few moments Paoli's sad story was DO THE DEAD COME BACK ? Buda-Pest, or indeed in any part of Austria-Hungary, would be greatly det rimental to my health. Geza realized enough from the sale of his score to organize an orchestra, which he took across the Atlantic for an American tour. Either because New York had been favored that season with several im ported orchestras or because of incom petent management, Geza's venture proved a dismal failure. It certainly was not because of any lack of ar tistic ability. Too proud to write home for assist ance, crowded to the wall by local musicians who were jealous of his su perior ability, unable to speak fluently the language of the country, Domenico in a moment of folly and desperation enlisted in Uncle Sam's army and was sent to join a regiment stationed at Fort McKinney, in Wyoming, in the heart of the Wolf Tongue Range of the Big Horn Mountains. Several years afterward chance sent me to Wyoming, and at McKinney we renewed our friendship of former years. Here, at least, where Geza was as much out of place as an arpeggio in a dirge, there was no danger of pun ishment for any shortcomings in the wording of librettos or the manner in which they were produced. Every evening after guard mount 1 used to sit in Domenico's room in the musicians' barracks and listen to his music by the hour. Often he impro vised, but more frequently with his score before him he was forgetful of his surroundings until weariness would recall him to himself. To me, with only a rudimentary knowledge of written music, his books were only a hieroglyphic maze of bars and plashes, but to Geza they were the open sesame which threw wide the gates of paradise. Many months passed with these even ings of delight, and I grew to love the man as I loved his music. Later I be gan to notice tbat he absented him self more and more in trips to th*-* little town of Buffalo, some four miles from the post, at that time, like the majority of frontier towns, peopled with a rough but generous class. Of the women who had drifted into the locality little need be said. Among them, however, was one more attrac tive than the rest, musical, and an ap preciative listener. Geza, not under standing the degradation of the life THE SAN ERANCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 19 ?> 1897. told. In the course of the conversation the good father learned that the stran ger was a musician, and familiar with the music of the church. The inter view ended by Paoli receiving an invi tation to call that evening at the study of the priest, who would give him some music to arrange, and if the work was well done there might be much of it to do in the future. With a hearty clasp of the hand and an admonition to be of good cheer Paoli was sent home with a light heart to tell the good news to Flosca and to dance joyously around the room with Anita cooing in his arms. So the months passed and Paoli worked hard with the music. He into which choice or circumstance had led her, lost his heart to her. Not until it was too late did the ter rible and shameful truth flash upon him. When he came home that night I knew. He picked up the violin and listlessly drew the bow across- the strings, then laid it aside wearily, but he told me nothing. I left him alone with his grief, wait ing till he should come for me. Several days later he was reported missing from the post. He was not in the town and after forty-eight hours I started out alone to seek some trace of him. Clear Creek Canyon is one of the most beautiful in all Wyoming. The creek lashes itself to foam over its rocky bed; on either side the tree-clad mountains rise to a great height, and in the far background the snow-clad peaks lift themselves into the impene trable deep of the sky. To the mere plodder a mountain torrent is a thing of danger, venting its anger in inces sant roaring; but to the artist, the musician and the poet it is at once a delight and an inspiration. The artist, in the mad swirl of the waters, sees such graceful curvings in infinite variety as he can find nowhere else; the musician finds there the many-throated lute attuned to the great orchestra of nature forever voic ing its "Ti Salutiamo" to the infinite; for the poet it is the siren wooing him with seductive sweetness of her voice, pitched at times to some ruder note as though she sought jealously to drown the whisperings of the leaves. Know ing Domenico as I did I felt certain that somewhere here I should find trace of him, and I was not far wrong. After riding nearly the entire day along the winding and sometimes dan gerous trail at last I reached a com paratively level spot where the waters flowed quietly for a space. My horse, affrighted at something I could not see, snorted suddenly ' and rearing turned and started to run down the canyon. No amount of coaxing, nor even a vigorous application of the spurs could induce him to return. Slipping the reins over his head so that he might graze along the trail, I shoul dered my rifle and proceeded on foot. Tremulously, as the faint stirring of the leaves when the day begins to make itself felt, there came floating to me the tones of Geza's violin. Strange that I should have happened upon him at such a moment. I recognized the piece that he was about to play; it was the prolusion of the second act of his opera, and entitled the "Awakening of Love." One who has witnessed a dawn in the tropics, when a thousand feathered songsters were piping their matin lays, might form a fair conception of the riotous irre sponsibility and joyousness of the music that came drifting toward me across the open. At Buda-Pest, on .the occasion of its initial production, the audience rose en masse and called for the composer. Again and again was proved himself to be possessed of rare musical genius, although he was too modest and timid to tell his benefactor at the cathedral all he could do. All day long he would write at the little dingy window— all day long and far into the night— O'Rourke, the policeman, would peer through the broken shutters and speak a kindly word to the brave little man bending over his work, while from the inner room came the soft breathing of Flosca, the wife, and Anita, the babe. It was hard to live on the slender earnings of the little musician, how ever, for Paoli was so conscientious and neat with his work that he spent much more time in arranging a mass Geza compelled to bow his acknowl edgments, and finally, leaving the or chestra, he rendered the obligato from the stage. Never, and I have witnessed many ovations at the Continental theaters, have I seen the height of enthusiasm which attended this performance. A peculiar feature of the composi tion was the impression it conveyed of absolute purity. Resting under its spell the mind became calm and se rene and clear as the depths of a mountain spring. A short distance up the canyon I saw Geza standing by a large boulder and near him, to my amazement and horror, a huge mountain lion was dancing and playing with all the abandon and agileness of a kitten. Thrilled as I was by the music, I realized his dangerous position. Fol lowing the overture, he played the part which formed the climax of the second act, "Amor Trionfale." It rang forth with all the strength and vigor of the "Hallelujah" chorus. Then it seemed a miracle was being worked. A black cloud fell across the sun and the canyon was in heavy shadow. A feeling of Intense dread crept over me; the linn, whining, thrust his head between his fore paws and lay there quivering. Through the quiet of the canyon stole the measure of a "Miserere," the equal of which has never been produced. Low over his violin Geza was bending, throwing all the sadness of his soul into those quivering chords while unconsciously my lips framed the words — In death's dark hour remain thin near. Again the theme failed, and I felt it was the denunciation. I could feel him cursing fate or God or what you will with all the depths of his nature. The setting sun had slipped around until it shone squarely into the canyon, a ball of blood, pur pling the leaves of the trees and the grasses, while against the Eastern sky the snow mountains rose like pillars Of fire. I felt the mad blood rushing to my head, and through me crept the desire for retaliation on an untoward fate, which must have animated Geza as he played. Then suddenly the lion broke the spell. Loud and terrifying, but resonant as a huge bass viol, the roar of the brute woke the echoes of the forest and sounded in perfect unison with the shriller fury of the violin. The lion's jaws were open, his tail was lashing furiously from side to side, and he be gan crouching ready for a spring. Then 1 raised my rifle and sent a bul let through his heart. He was in the air when the bullet struck him. His huge paws knocked the violin from Geza's grasp, and the dead body falling upon it crushed it completely. Then I approached Geza, and he start ed at the sight of me. He did not re alize the danger he had escaped. The loss of the violin was a great grief to him. It was a valued Guarnerius, which Wf. O ROOF PAINTS. © \jr « • W. &P. PLASTIC SLATE. An Unequaled Roof Coating. Fire Proof. Hardens Like Slate. Also Shingle Stains and Creosote Roof Paints in Colors. Pacific Refining: and Roofing: Co., SOLD BY DEALERS. 113 NEW MONTGOMERY STREET, S.F. SEND FOR SAMPLES than less careful musicians would. There was much music to arrange for the service in the great cathedral, and Father Bassini kept his protege at work. Some of the masses were in manuscript, and must be copied for the different singers, and sometimes a whole mass must be transposed a tone higher or a half tone lower, because, for sooth, the prima donna's voice ap peared to better advantage in the new key. Then Paoli would say to his wife: "Just think, Flosca, they must have it transposed! It is too high it is too low! Ma fois! If I were the organist I would play it in any key," and his eyes would fill with tears as his thoughts flew back to the happy days in Italy, when he played one of the grand organs. Yes, and to that blessed day in St. Peter's, when the Pope had praised his wonderful playing and presented him with a seal ring — a priceless treasure which the musician always wore. Then Flosca would caress him and say tenderly: "Never mind, dear Paoli, some day they will appreciate your genius, and you will play here as you did in Rome. Some day it will be so, my Paoli." And with such encour agement the work was so much lighter, the days so much brighter. O'Rourke, the big policeman, took a strange interest in the little musician, and every night would stop at the shutter to speak a few cheering words or to give a vivid description of the latest brawl at the corner saloon. Once, when the rent man was making daily trips to the poor little home, and Paoll would plead for more time O'Rourke took the collector to one side as he left the door with a scowl on his face and guaranteed the pay ment of the amount due. The big patrolman had a heart in keeping with his huge form, and his admira tion for the "plucky little Dago," as he affectionately called him, was great. One day Paoli, with many gestures and much broken English, had told his sad story to O'Rourke, and from that time on the policeman was a friend indeed. It was nearing the holidays, and great preparations were being made at the cathedral for the celebration of the services of the Christmas season. The singing was to be grander than ever, and the music especially fine. Father Bassini called Paoli into his study, and placed in his hands the mass of a famous composer. "Here, Paoll, is cur Christmas mass. It is all manuscript, as you see, and written for low voices. Transpose it a tone and a half higher, and arrange it for organ, with full orchestral ac companiment. It is a task to try all your skill, my son, and you must work fast. Have it ready the week before Christmas and here is something to keep your spirits up" — the good man pressed some gold pieces into the trembling hand of Paoll, who fairly flew home to Flosca, only stopping long enough to tell the good news to O'Rourke, as he encountered that worthy abstractedly filling his pockets at a corner peanut stand. What joy it was to Paoli's heart as he lovingly turned page after page of the great mass and it was in Mo zart's own writing, too! Late into the night he poured over the manuscript, noting each chord and note of the ac companiment. He must study it well if he would arrange it to his satisfac tion, and the little musician could not repress a feeling of pride to think that he had been intrusted with the precious task. As he scanned page after page he came to the prima donna's solo. This had been in his family for generations and had been his constant companion since childhood. He picked up the scattered frag ments and wrapped them up tenderly. I secured the skin of the lion, and find ing my horse Geza mounted him and together we returned to the post. Geza lay in the hospital with a fever for several weeks, and shortly after his recovery his troop was ordered to an other post, and except in memory he passed completely out of my life. A soldier taxidermist prepared the skin for me and applied a preservative to the head which preserved its natural appearance. This was fifteen years ago. * * * * Last evening at home I answered a ring at the door. A figure dressed in black and but dimly discernible in the gloom outside handed me a roll of pa per tied with a black ribbon, and ere I could ask any question disappeared in to the night. I returned to the parlor, where my : wife was sitting at the piano, and opened the roll* curiously. It was an arrangement for the piano, dedicated to me and composed by Geza Domen ico. My wife looked it over for a few minutes and then began playing, slow ■ ly at first, and then more and more in terestedly. It was the music of Clear Creek Canyon, softened and subdued. Gradually as it developed, however, I felt the old sensations creeping over me, and then beautifully sweet and clear rose the notes of the violin blend ing with the piano in a composition of exquisite harmony. How can I ade quately describe the return of the old emotions as the piece progressed? The hot blood surged to my temples as be fore, and then to my utter horror the lion skin on the hearth gradually as sumed the shape it held in life, the tail lashed madly from side to side and the jaws were red with blood. Then there was a blood-curdling growl, a crash of broken strings and all was silence. After a time, which seemed very long to me, I bent to touch the lion skin and it fell to pieces in my grasp, and as I lifted the head, which had fallen entirely flat, there was underneath it only a handful of ashes on the hearth. You, who never rested under the spell of Domenico's music, may say that I was imaginative or under the influence of a self-Induced hypnotic condition; but I, I know that Geza Do menico, intangible and invisible, stood in the room last night, compelling through the perfection of his art a per fect interpretation of the score and joining with his violin in a production of incomparable beauty. And through my life long I shall carry the conviction that with the brute creation there is a to-morrow of death, and that an all- wise and benefi cent God doth in his own good time guide even these By ways we cannot comprehend To some uwruesped, benignant end. HOWARD R. HURLBUT. was to be the grandest part of the whole mass, and Paoli followed rap idly, breathlessly, note after note of the music. Suddenly he stopped . short and jumped to his feet, with eyes aglow and nerves atremble. One moment he bent over the music with fascinated, burning gaze, the next to walk up and down the small apartment humming softly, then to seat himself again, mur muring, "I would not have arranged it so; a B flat here and a minor there" — the words came rapidly, almost inar ticulate with the intensity of the in spiration that came to him as he view ed the music spread out on the table. Then suddenly seating himself at the precious harmonium he com menced to play, softly, tenderly, using the composer's air, but his own har mony, humming the words In low, sweet tones. At the solo he began to sing aloud, in the enthusiasm of his improvisation forgetful of everything but the music before him. His voice rose clear and sweet, full of the intense emotion that filled his soul. Bell-like it rang out through the cold night air, and O'Rourke, startled from his dozing in a friendly doorway, looked heavenward, half expecting to see an angel host. , A drunken man, stumbling by, paused in his uncertain walk, then took off his hat and crossed himself. Flosca smiled in her sleep as the first sweet tones flitted by her dreaming ear; but now awakened she stole to the door, fearing to disturb Paoli's inspiration by so much as a sound. She stood there, clasping her night robe over her breast, staring with soulful, tear-dimmed eyesmo tionless, speechless— Paoli had sung to the end of the mass, uncon scious of everything but the music his music. "It is grand, O Paoli! It is heavenly!" Flosca murmured, in low tones, as one speaks in the sacred precincts of a cathedral. The player staggered to his feet and turned toward her a face glorified. "It is Mozart's Mass, and • I have changed it. Do you hear, Flosca mia? I, Paoli,' have made more beautiful the work of the great master. I — but, unable to bear up under the excite ment, the little artist sank to the floor, with Flosca's soft, warm arms around his neck, a smile on his lips and the music of paradise in his ears. • * » * » By working from the dark of the morning to the dark of the night Paoli delivered the mass on time, and, with a few hurried words of explanation to Father Bassini, fled, not having the ! courage to stay and listen to the re hearsal. The priest, with a look of surprise on his face, hastened to the organ-loft and distributed the parts to the wait ing musicians. The organist began the prelude, the orchestra took up the music, the artists commenced to sing, and Father Bassini was listening to the grandest mass he had ever heard. He noticed the changes that had been made, and, thorough musician that he was, he knew that Paoli had made no mistake. When the rehearsal was over the soprano excitedly inquired the name of the arranger. Father Bassini repaired to his study with the praises of the players and singers ringing in his ears and a look of pleased perplex ity on his benevolent face. "That man is a genius," he mut tered to himself. "I must see him in the morning." And when the morning came Paoli, answering the tap at the door, beheld the robed form of his friend standing there to greet him with outstretched hands and a smile of con j gratulation on his face. "The mass was a grand success, my son, and I have called to congratulate Studebaker Bros. Offer You Vehicles OF EVERY DESCRIPTION, UP-TO-DATE IN STYLES, EXCELLENTLY PROPOR- TIONED, ELEGANT DESIGNS, FINELY FINISHED, PRICES LOW. 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At last he started for the cathedral, but when the entrance was reached he faltered, a strange feeling of timidity and restraint causing him to pause irresolute. But Father Bassini, antici pating the modesty of the musician, was awaiting in the vestibule, and soon Paoli was being introduced to the singers and the great soprano was smiling upon him and praising his work. It was past the hour for rehearsal, and they were all there but the organ ist. The choir master looked at the clock and frowned. "There he comes," said some one, as a form was seen hastening up the dimly lighted aisle; but it was only a messenger boy, who brought the news that the organist had been stricken with a serious ill ness and could not come. . "What shall we do, what shall we do?" cried the priest, almost weeping in his trouble. "The music all ready, Christmas but a day off and no organ ist," and he groaned in despair. "If you will permit me, father, I will play the organ," said a quiet voice at his side, and looking up the priest be held Paoli. "You, my son? You play the great organ?" "Yes, I, father. I have played for the holy father at Rome. See! He gave me this ring because my play ing pleased him," and Paoli, in modest pride, held out a delicate finger, on which glistened the Pope's signet. After the murmurs of pleased sur prise were over Paoli took his seat on the bench, and manipulating the maze of stops with a practiced hand began the prelude. Through the whole mass he played with wonderful mastery, the organ re sponsive to an almost human degree. The souls of the singers, thrilled with wonder and admiration, made the music more soul-inspiring than even Paoli had dreamed it could be. When the musicians had departed Father Bassini clasped the slender or ganist to his breast and said, "Bless you, my son; the grand organ has at last found a worthy master!" "Oh, Flosca mia, I play the organ to morrow, Christmas, and after that al ways!" was the joyful news imparted to the waiting wife that night, and with a smile of ineffable sweetness and confidence she stood with her arms about his neck and replied: "At last, my- Paoli, we have found another Italy. This is our Rome!" » * * • » All was bustle and confusion in the household of O'Rourke, the policeman, Christmas morning. "Hurry up and dress the kids, Mag gie," said the head of the house as he struggled with a refractory collar; "we go to the cathadral this morning to hear the new organist." "The new organist, Mike? And sure, who may he be?" "Faith," responded the worthy O'Rourke as he admired as much as he could see of himself in the little mirror, "faith, an' it's me frien', the little Dago." 33